355.The Dinner Party; The Force Awakens

You know how it goes at this time of year. Festive festivities pop up like mushrooms after a warm rain, given the necessary fungi enriching  ingredients. We were invited by our hosts to their house on the hill, which hovers above the Falling Spring like (may I say it out loud?) a Death Star. It was the Croquet Bunch from post #303. plus two, but for me it had a Star Wars sort of feel to it. I sensed almost from the get go that a power struggle between the Force and the Empire was about to unfold in the guise of a Christmas dinner party gathering amid gargoylish repartee. Over the hills and faraway I thought I heard Led Zepellin warning me not to cross that fateful threshold. I disregarded my Jedi intuitions and crossed over.

Image result for han solo picturesHan Solo (i.e. Jerry) greeted us at the decorated door. “Welcome. Let me take your coats.”

“Let me get it off, Jerry!! You are neither my tailor nor my urologist. Let go!!”

“I was just trying to be a good host.”

“Then get a good wooden hanger, and stop groping my leather jacket so fetishistically. Gosh!!”

I sensed cosmic tension and made a mental note to stay vigilant against being sucker punched. Time has not been good to Han, I noted. He is shorter than I recall, which is forgivable, but also more talkative, which is not. Also, he was wearing bright orange shorty socks without boots, shoes, or even flip flops. His mood was suspiciously upbeat. I wondered if Jimmy Buffet style free flowing pharmaceuticals had been ingested recently, not out of paranoia but from an over abundance of Jedi caution. I wondered, and still do.

As the other guests arrived, Princess Leia met them and whisked them off to the living room with the formal Christmas tree. Nerdy pictures were taken all around the Death Star as the ladies exchanged presents and pleasantries while the males drank solar brewed beer on leather couches. Han/Jerry demonstrated his dog’s mind control abilities by letting Sadie Dogstar in and out 17 times in 20 minutes, each time rewarding Sadie with a dog biscuit for coming back in the Death Star. Had I been training her, I would have given her the biscuit to leave and locked the door, but it was clear that the dog had Jedi mind meld skills and was Jerry/Han’s puppet master.Toward the end of the demonstration Sadie’s belly was dragging across the threshold and she could not continue, so Jerry went in and out at her almost intelligible bark commands. It was the most impressive set of animal skills I’ve ever witnessed outside of Sea World and Shamu playing chess while blindfolded.

Before we knew it, an intergalactic dinner was served (actually we did it buffet style since the robots and storm troopers had the night off) in the formal dining room. The eight of us ate, and ate eight servings of splendid choice chicken in a perky pineapple sauce brought by Barriss Offee, aka Snarky SueBeeDOOBeeDoo, and an almost too perfect salad presented by Toryn Farr/ SoosannNITRAM, who had been planning a clonespiracy for later in the evening. Not even their husbands knew that these dishes had been dastardly prepared by their brides to weaken the Force’s forces. Truly, we ate in a cloud of ignorance.

Much later, 8 pm on Pluto Central, the Plus Two arrived. By then we had descended into candlelight, setting the stage for what was to come. I sensed the conflict about to begin. My arm hair rose and sizzled with static electricity. It was Zoltran Magyar and his CoCounsel, Nancee WOnton Kenobi. The napkins were thrown down like gauntlets on the tablecloth as Princess Leia served decaf coffee all around.40. Sabe15. Darth Maul

Dan/ 3CPA and his droidmate SoosannNITRAM began the blog interrogation, as if we all did not know this moment was inevitable. Sure, help the hostess wash up and then post-apron kitchen duty throw down the real gauntlet. “So, how is the blog going, Burrito?” Not a hint of entrapment in his voice.

Around the table of ten it went, affably at first. You would not know a coup d’état was in progress. Princess Leia mentioned the Indian restaurant/ belly dancing episode post that she had orchestrated on planet Nasturtium. Hot nervous laughs snorted through clenched teeth and flared nostrils of droids and wookies alike.  Markbaccaman seemed confused at all the flustering. He bellowed baritone yeti growls, possibly trying to warn me of an ambush. Too late. We continued on with way too much interest in my blog and coffee nation world, a utopian land of unemployed men condemned to clean their navels all day. It was suggested that my real job does not exist and my wife simply allows me to live out my harmless delusions, which, like my snoring, I am unaware of. The laughs and guffaws built into cosmic thunder as the poisoned entrée and salad digested out of sight, trickling into neural synapses left unguarded.

I shared the inner workings of the blogiverse, which most attendees did not know well, or pretended so. There was an unnatural focus on my alternate universe. I knew something was wrong. I mentioned how many hits I’d recorded from countries all over the world, and gave examples of my Brains and Potatoes post that brought a lot of Russian traffic. That’s when Snarky SueBEEDooBeeDoo struck like a cobra. “Can you tell how long they stayed on?” she asked in such a way that it implied folks scurried away from Burritospecial as fast as roaches from light.

 SoosannNITRAM’s circuit board overloaded on comic input data and she spewed 12 cubic feet of laughter gas, while Dan 3CPA schnoozled next to her with his belt light blinking and blaring ” AMBER, AMBER. INTRUDER, INTRUDER!!” They were uncontainable disgraces to droidhood.

Image result for star wars characters pictures I pondered my chances of escape from the Death Star. I wanted to save my wife Queen Latifahspanx, but the rest would have to be sacrificed. As my bride got up to use the ladies room on my cue, I turned to Zoltran, who was at my right hand side, and gave him a Jimi Hendrix Jedi handshake at full voltage. The blue arc of cobalt vapor coursed around that unholy assemblage, expanding them for a second and then each one imploded, sucking the glass inward from the Death Star’s picture window. Only Sadie Dogstar and my Queen survived alongside me. We left behind only an incomplete set of Star War plastic figures as we exited the Death Star.

 

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345. Robbing Reality

Rawcuss Thursday to you, Blogwallowers. As you know by heart, Thursdays begin with Coffee Nation Summit, and today was no exception, nor was it particularly exceptional.  Joel was busily typing a business e-mail as the scavenging coffee crows began to roost around him like fresh roadkill. Me first. Some discussion ensued about his eulogy, which I told him earlier I had cut and pasted to personalize it for his funeral.

Groggily, “I thought you said obituary.”

“Certainly not, my august friend. Well, December friend now. I don’t pretend to know the cause or time of death. That work belongs to the crooning coroner around the corner. The newspaper will publish your obit at no charge under a picture your family will provide. They have little choice. However, I prudently wrote your eulogy before it was needed. (silky soft salesman voice) Think of it as a reverse mortgage plan that frees you to enjoy life now on your terms, knowing that an essential final need has been taken care of, so that your loved ones don’t have to face that awkward question: ‘Whazzznext?”

“Do I have to pay you now?” he inquired with hesitance in his voice.

“Of course. I don’t want to trouble your bereaved survivors with pecuniary matters when you can relieve them of that burden by paying me now.”

“Hmmmph.” Joel knew this game of verbal dodge ball was over. There was only one of him and twenty six of me, and my team had the balls.

“Well I suppose, um, I could, uh… well, look who’s here!”

Rob joined us in his sleepwalking fugue state of new fatherhood, a defenseless uncaffeinated putty puppy. He vainly attempted to make sanity chicken salad out of insane chicken poop. We weren’t havin’ none of it, nosirree!!

Steve needed to do real business with Joel and proceeded to spell his name, “Steve with a V dot com.”

Rob, “Why do some folks spell Steven with ph? What’s with that?”

“At one thyme that was how Jewish Stevens distinguished themselves from Christian Stephens. They made a Vulcan V like Spock did. It was sign language for ‘I’m Jewish Steve.'”

“Really? I never knew that.”

“You still don’t. I am encouraging you to google it and find out for yourself, Rob. Man up.”

“Oh man, why not just trust you? Wait, that’s stupid, but I don’t have time to research it. You make things hard on no thinking Thursdays.”

“It’s tough love, Rob. You’ll need to tone up as your baby boy grows. Consider this DAD CAMP for wusses.”

Next Doug shared family drama with the group as well as several well timed puns. “Joel, estate planning is a dying business.”

Steve gave us a glimpse at managing elderly parents and his obsession with Christmas lights. He’s the kind of guy who will find the bad bulb and replace it, no matter the time or cost. He and Doug shared esoteric bits of insider information on Christmas light repair [and changing diapers. “You never fan the naked baby or it will pee on you.”]

“They’re $3.98 for 150 feet at Lowe’s, for God’s sake. Just buy a new string.”

Doug continued the Christmas light repair lecture as sleep deprived Rob fought for consciousness. “You’re killin’ me. Just go to Lowe’s and get a set!!”

“See when the bulb filament burns out, there’s this connecting wire that burns out with it and then runs the current around the burned out bulb, so that the other bulbs glow just a little brighter since 110 watts are being divided by fewer bulbs. And this will go on until a tipping point where nothing will light up no matter what.”

“Christmas light Armageddon.”

“Go to Lowe’s and get two sets!! I’ll buy them. For the love of the Baby Jesus in the Manger, Stop with the lights stories!!”

“Look, Rob. You don’t have to be cranky with us. We didn’t get jiggy with your wife forty one weeks ago. That was you, Buddy. Look at me and mind meld along!”

I placed two empty 12 ounce coffee cups with white lids over my eyes like Mr. Magoo spectacles. “Listen, Blister Butt. And repeat after me,

For we need a little Christmas
Right this very minute
Candles in the window
Carols at the spinet…. Everybody sing it…”

“That’s not doing it for me, Supreme Commander. I need real eye contact.”

I moved the cups down to bouncing breast level and gave him the next verse,

” Yes, we need a little Christmas
Right this very minute
It hasn’t snowed a single flurry
But Santa, dear, we’re in a hurry”

“That is truly disturbing. Why not put that in the blog?”

“Okay.”

“I never read it. Why don’t you put me in it and then I’ll read that post, but you have to tell the truth.”

“Done.”

“I used to read it and then I’d feel like I wasted good productive time, so I’d rush off to do something I could feel good about, something with purpose to assuage my guilt.”

“Hey, I take that as high praise. You see, I am providing a much needed service that propels others to lead more upright, productive lives. After wandering in the black hole of Burritospecial, sojourners rush headlong toward sanity and meaning. They go out and lead lives of consequence. It’s just reverse psychology, Rob. The more unglued I am, the more you want to get your poop in a pile and glue yourself into top shape. You feel angrily invigorated to conquer your deficiencies.”

“That is truly brilliant.”

“Yup, like Christmas lights at Steve’s with a V. Or Doug with a potent pun.”

“No, no, no. I need a latte to go for my wife. I’ll see you next week, fully slept up and caffeinated.”

“Good, one day, my son, you will be a real man. And always remember,

  1. don’t fan the baby.”
  2. V is for Jewish Steve.
  3. We all need a little Christmas.”

“Got it.”

 

 

344. drizzle… the rain…deer

A glorious November  deteriorates into soggy goose down weather that slowly slides down the smoky gray skies. So long seventy degrees and no layers. Hello icy drizzles. Light the wood stove and keep it lit from here on. Seal up the windows. Get those stinking non functional Christmas lights up as the temperatures exit the fifties. Oh crap! they just blinked out again! Wait for a day in the thirties in January to take it all down again. Farump! Happily if not completely, the yard work is over till spring. Where’s that snow blower?  Better yet, where is that ticket to Tucson?

A few distant booms preceded the alarm this morning. It’s the first day of buck season in PA, a holy day for a million soggy pilgrims in the woods and fields of our commonwealth who worship at the Whitetail Temple of  Boom. Soon deer carcasses will be festooning  fenders and decorating truck beds as the happy hunters return home tonight. The grisly job of butchering lies ahead after the meat seasons a bit. Eventually it will find a way to the dinner table as burger, jerky, roasts, and steaks. Heck, I made a venison meatloaf yesterday that was la- la- la- luscious. The meat was either two or four years old. I couldn’t tell. It was deep in the frosty freezer and unlabeled, but still better than store bought beef. Mine were the only hands that ever touched that venison. Think about that as you eat your next burger served to you by a sniffly waiter at a greasy spoon.  “You want to thooper thize that, thir?”

I won’t be venturing out to kill Bambi this year. Standing in the rain last season doused my hunting flame for a while. Misery– cold, dark, chilling wet forest stagnation is all I recall from the time spent under an umbrella screwed into an oak tree. It felt like my penance for killing two deer over the past three seasons. Not that God minded; I respected and enjoyed those creatures. They did not die in vain nor did they die in rain. But no matter, this pilgrim is staying home for the duration. I can entertain myself with the written word, and cut and paste pictures like I do. It lasts longer than deer meat and usually does not smell so gamey. Go ahead and sniff your screen. Now smell some fresh kill venison. See what I’m saying?

But, gather round my chilly children and hear the tale of Drizzle the Whitetail Rain Deer.

Twenty five years ago on this very day a solo buck wandered into the old J.C. Penney store at the Southgate Mall, which borders the Conococheague Creek at the south west corner of Turtle Town, just above the flood wall. This deer was not shopping on Black Friday, folks. No. It was in rut, I think, and picked up the smolty unmistakable scent of Doe-Eyed Danger that Doris Muhlenberg wore at the perfume counter that dark and tragic day. Some shoppers say the buck saw a deer mannequin in the Christmas display window; others reported that it was being chased by a Tibetan yeti. (Of course, that was Fred’s belief. He’s got the bipolar bear complex.) Me, I’m going with the perfume theory. Crazy, I know.

Unreliable witnesses claimed the buck bolted up out of a patch of woods near the creek bed behind the strip mall, and pursued a woman in a three quarter length suede coat and black heels, later identified as Doris Muhlenberg (59) of 612 Franklin Street, apartment B.

Some say from a distance she looked like a doe prancing on her hind legs that day. She apparently walked or pranced briskly toward the shopping center, unaware of the buck bounding across the parking lot in hot, frothy pursuit.

Accounts differ after that. Some say the buck waited for the Walk sign to light up, and others claim he bounced right across Washington Street in one clickety jump. In either case, he landed in front of the store. He either waited for the electric door to open or blasted his way through plate glass, depending on which histrionic local you spoke with. What all agree on is that this buck had a constant post nasal drip so heavy that he left a puddle of drizzle on the pavement beneath the overhang. As the buck snorted and sniffed and cavorted after Doris, other witnesses unfamiliar with deer in the wild, believed he had allergies or a bad head cold. Possibly a chronic sinus infection. Thus the name Drizzle was given to him, and unlike most facts from that day, it stuck.

“After I put my lunch and coat away, I came out to the perfume counter station across from Ladies Intimate Apparel and Hardware Department. We have some size 3x ladies in town who require steel reinforcements in their bustiers. Oh, listen to me. TMI, as my grandkids say. Anywhoo, as I was settling down on my counter stool, I heard an ungodly commotion coming from the front, so I did. And what do you know? A drippy-nosed six point buck was slipping  and sliding on the tile floor.”

Hunching down in a whispery voice…

“I sensed I was in danger, so I crouched down a tad, keeping constant eye contact with the beast through the display case. I grabbed an atomizer full of Chanel # 5 in case he charged me. I read somewhere that deer hate aerosol sprays. I made peace with my Maker and braced myself for the most bizarre encounter of my life… worse than my honeymoon with my first husband.”

“That dang Drizzle was dazed from all his blood lust and perverting about. He sniffed and started trotting a bee line towards me. Suddenly, though, his front legs slipped out from under him and he crashed into an end cap full of ladies bras, several of which got tangled up on his antlers. I’ll never forget being eye to eye, no farther than you are to me, and seeing a Bali bra label at the base of his rack.It was a living lingerie nightmare, let me tell you.”Bali Lace Desire Demi BraJust then, Chief of Police Cecil Smack came rushing in brandishing his 9 millimeter sidearm. What a sight he was! I knew I was gonna live through this bralopalooza after all. So I stood tall to watch it all go down.”

“Out of nowhere Leonard Finkle, the maintenance guy who’d been moping all morning about having to work on the first day of buck season, came roaring out of Men and Boys with a box cutter in his hand. He leaped onto Drizzle and began to hack at him with the box cutter. Dang fool didn’t have the blade out, so all he did was ride the deer around Ladies Intimates and Hardware until poor Drizzle collapsed in a heap under Leonard’s weight. ”

“Later on the Game Warden come in and tazed old Drizzle and hauled him off to a petting zoo in Altoona. Truthfully?  I think the warden ate Drizzle for Christmas, but I can’t prove nothing. Any ways, the reporter and photographer showed up and I was in all sorts of newspapers, people wanting my autograph and deer meat. Some “friends” asked for the soiled bras, I mean, if they was gonna throw’m away any ways, and all. I mean they give me cup size and style just in case. You know what a good bra costs these days? Quite a few bucks, heh, heh…. That there is a joke. Y’all can laugh now.”

 

334. International Blogationalism– Greatest Hits

A really neat feature of  the WordPress blog tool bag is the tracking of hits by countries. At the end of  a day, week, quarter, year or all time, I can hit the country summary prompt and get a list of all the countries that have accessed my site. I am amazed, of course, since I find my writing hard to understand, and I am the author. I think I am. Pretty sure I am. At least it started out that way.  Anyway, I have had to go to the map three times for countries I did not know existed. In alphabetical order they are the Faroe Islands, Kyrgyzstan, and Reunion Island.  Now my little Blog globetrotters, can you guess where these places are located without Googling?  I didn’t think so.  Allow me to geo-educate you.

About the time I had my first hit from Reunion Island it happened to be on the news cycle as parts of Malaysian flight 370 washed up on its shores. The astute blog reader will recall that I wrote about this doomed plane way back in Post 210. Lost. Not my best work, but then, what is best when you are spreading psychic fertilizer as a hobby? Now, true, I had to look it up since I’d never heard of the tiny nation either. It’s in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Why oh why were they cruising my blog? Perhaps they were lost or hungry since my blog title is a popular food. Imagine their horror when they tapped into my site via dial up, after waiting 3o minutes for a new recipe, and finding my soporific prose served on a delightful platter of greens. A lot of hangry islanders who won’t be inviting me to their next Reunion…unless they are cannibals.

I wrote about genocide and mentioned Namibia in post, 209. False Springs and  Genocide. Dang if I didn’t get Namibian hits. Actually they were nibbles. Now I can sort of understand that connection because I mentioned them by name. And Namibians have so little food in general that they usually just nibble to make it last longer between famines. But Kyrgyzstan?  I had to look it up– landlocked and mountainous in Central Asia. Apparently they have wi-fi there, glued in among China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan.  I’ve often wondered where the Stan came from.  My unvetted theory is that a guy named Stan the nomad traveled through that region selling early model vacuum cleaners and got jiki with various women– Kazakh, Uzbeki, and Tajiki. Not to mention their cousins Afghan, Paki, and Turkmeni. [I have ruled out Lichtenstein from this list. It’s seems improbable according to my in depth research. Plus, what an unfortunate name for a girl, Lichten. What were the parents thinking?] Now I am theorizing that I will get some blowback hits from these countries, perhaps offering to hack me to pieces for insulting them or questioning the virtue of their female ancestors. I plead ignorance in advance. Can I get an “Amen” on that, Blog Nation?  [A thunderous AMEN rumbles across the globe.]  Okay, okay, that’s enough. STOP ALREADY!!  I didn’t ask for a tsunami.

Let’s see, where was I?  Yes, I wrote about how to make vodka in post 91. Brains and Potatoes. I am not saying what I’m saying here, I’m just saying it– a bunch of Russians lit me up. That post was a call to use one’s brain for the good of mankind instead of pickling one’s brain with home made alcohol. I can’t say for sure, but I think most of the Ruskis checked in for the recipe I scarfed off an internet site. Please don’t cut me up and make Irish Whiskey from my old carcass, Komrades.

Perhaps the best example of bait and switch blog posts was post 204. Local Navel Dancing, live, Tonight 6-8 p.m. I still get hits on that from India and the Middle East, which is why I have the justified fear of being hacked to pieces, not for false religion but for false advertising plus bad manners.  I blame the whole incident on Suzanne and Gary who basically forced me to go to an Indian restaurant with them while belly dancing was erupting at waist level, i.e. my eye level. I’m still in therapy for the disturbing visuals.

Okay, the Faroe Islands are located between Scotland and Iceland. Sail to the Shetland Islands, pet the adorable ponies, and hang a left at the fork. If you run into Norway, you took the wrong left, so turn around and take the right one. (Yogi Berra paraphrase) Speaking of Norway, in an old and bizarrely prophetic post, 158. Totalitarian Penguins, I mentioned that the Norwegian slice of Antarctica will be the launching pad for penguin revolution and total world domination. “Whaaaack Whaaaack”. You can’t make this stuff up….well, I guess you can if you have a fevered imagination and no job and are devoid of a conscience. Fortunately I meet all the above criteria.

So, you may be wondering how the name came about for the Faroe Islands. Yup, you guessed it already. The Egyptian connection ties this little known nation to the Empire of Egypt. If you know your Bible well, you know that Moses was set adrift in a basket and found by the Pharaoh’s people, then raised as an Egyptian until a bunch of plagues broke out and Revelation Zombies overthrew the Death Star. Just trust me on this.  Unbelievably at the same time Moses was basket skiing on the Nile, another prince and future Pharaoh was set out on the same river, which is why no one noticed when the baby shuffle took place and the wrong Egyptian baby was brought into Pharaoh’s house. The real heir apparent, named Sam, sailed right out into the Mediterranean Sea, where his little basket continued to float with the currents and winds, past Cyprus, Gibraltar, Portugal and other countries that have hit my blog posts before the internet had even been imagined.

Sam eventually washed ashore on the rough rocky beaches of what we now know as the Faroe Islands. He was greeted by wild wooly people known as the Wooly Bullies. They took him in and sang around fires in the winter nights. Sam somehow recalled his pre-Pharaotic life in Egypt. The people were so amazed, but one called it all a sham. And you know that they all got together and cut a record in the early ’60’s called “Wooly Bully” by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs.

 So kids, it’s important to know your geography really well just in case your plane disappears or your baby floats away, you need to make vodka, dance navelly, survive famine or overthrow the world. If you can’t find a globe, you can just trust my blog posts.

 

 

 

291. Work is the Thing

A couple of friends ( are they really?) have asked me how I can come up with so many different topics as I approach 300 posts .  Well, catching ideas and playing with them is something I enjoy doing. Others in the asylum like to pull the wings off of flies and train them to do circus tricks, but not I. I glue the cast off wings onto ants and liberate them from gravity’s curse. Random association is not difficult for me. It might be painful for those around me, but I rather enjoy the thin attachment between ideas that often results from freewheelin’ associative thinking like a Rorschach ink blot interpretation.

It’s a cow, right?No, it’s a young Bob Dylan hiding from attacking crows behind a fake beard and spectacular sunglasses. Hey, Bob. You are not fooling anyone, dude.

I think the same thing is at the heart of some humor, and, of course, the painful pun.  If you abandon worrying about what others think of  you, you are free to riff on. Sort of like dancing or singing without constraints. If you stay in your head over analyzing every step and syllable you put forth, you are fatally screwed, my friend. Letting go… can be tantamount to breaking on through to the other side, as Jim Morrison sang.  Elsa sang “Let it go” ad nauseam in the Frozen movie.. My youngest daughter has done some Elsa impersonations locally for little kids. It’s a hoot, but at the heart of it is a willingness to pretend on both sides. It’s a real buzz kill if you get the brat kid who yells, “Hey, you’re not Elsa!”

“Hey, kid. Everyone knows that, but we were all happily and harmlessly pretending she was Elsa, or maybe a close relative. Schmelsa from Bushwick.”

Literalist concrete thinkers are pretty boring folks, I think. They lack imagination. I suppose they make good farmers who spread manure methodically or cut corn religiously, but they are sadly lacking in the fun part of life. I’ve had a few run ins with manure spreaders in Franklin County, and I have to say it’s a good thing I don’t drive one. I’d be tempted to spray folks in open convertibles just for giggles. But a good farmer wouldn’t want to waste his precious manure on pranks when it could fertilize some soy beans up along the fence line. See, work’s the thing not foolishness.

In fact, I learned long ago that many farmers are taught a little song when they are in the cradle. It goes like this,

“We’ll have fun when the work is done, but the work is never done.

So put your back into it, son, cause we’ll have fun when the work is done,

And if that day never comes, don’t worry, we’ll have fun, son, if the work is ever done, now hurry

Oh, when we stand on that cemetery hill and our work is finally done

We’ll have fun, so much fun, watching that humorless sinking sun.”

It’s a real hit at birthday parties. It starches up the young’uns for a life of … starch… and concrete. And fence posts. Arthritis too.

So when young Billy is 12 and wants to play football or wrestle after school, Pa says, “Well, sure, son. You can do all that once the work is done.” But poor innocent Billy rediscovers that no matter how fast he works, the work is never done. The blisters on his hand heal over into callouses while his heart draws tight like old leather shoes on a miser’s feet.

In high school Billy has a car and a savings account at the Valley Bank because he has learned from Pa “Work’s the thing”. He doesn’t have time for silly sports or concerts, movies or dances. Heck, they don’t put money in your pocket. “Work’s the thing that sets you free.” He remembers reading this in History class somewhere. It don’t matter, really. S’pose it’s true, if you like book learnin’.

Something irritates him like poison ivy, though. ‘It’s those freeloading fun lovers. They don’t do a dang thing but laugh and carry on. Why, if they didn’t play all the time and worked some, I wouldn’t have to work so hard,’ he thinks. ‘Sure, those girls are mighty pretty, but Work IS THE THING!!! Girls like that just want your car and money. They know nothing about hard work.’

Billy graduates and works and works and works, setting his roots deep in the soil. So much so that he rarely leaves the county. And why would anyone need to leave this place? There is so much to do– plant, milk, trim, fence, milk, spread manure, milk, harvest, combine, complain about the weather. There is no end to it. But you know what?  We’re gonna have some fun when the work is done.

Caleb Johnson took a cruise after he sold his farm to his second son last year. His skin cancer just about got him licked though. Why would a body want to go to the Bahamas, anyway?  All they do is drink rum and dance. That ain’t work. No wonder they’re stuck in the poorhouse. Me? I’d like to go to China or North Korea. Them boys know how to work, so they do. Pa always said, before he lost his last marble, “Works the thing, Son. Never forget. You can have your fun when the work  is done.”

There was never a more practical man than my Pa. Why he insisted that I bury him with the front loader to save on the funeral costs. So I did. He’s in that berm up behind the milking parlor now. I guess he’s having his fun now. Ma carried on something fierce at the services. I’m not sure if she missing Pa or the fun they never got to.

Anyway, I’m pretty set to follow Pa’s footsteps. It’s a free country but not a freeloading country. So turn off the music and get a job. Work is the Thing.