Friday, June 28, 2013

Did the Bears drive a Bus?

Did the Bears drive a Bus?   

The question of whether Yogi or Boo Boo drove at all might seem ridiculous, but only when you forget that cartoons and animation allow for such oddities; for example: 

- Rocky and Bullwinkle; one was sited as operating a hot-air balloon and the other, “Rocky”, flew around with jet-like propulsion streaming from his tail

- Wile E. Coyote of the Looney-Tunes “Roadrunner” was able to operate any vehicle Acme put-out, with or without actually reading the instructions 

- Woody Woodpecker, though a bird, was featured test-driving a hotrod (though the roar of the engine was actually a record player rigged-up under the hood)

How could cartoon characters—even the animal variety—have avoided some encounter with modern transportation of the same era? Well, in the simplest of answers, they could not; for nothing beats a high-speed, chase when behind the wheel or even rocketing far above the ground in the latest gizmo.

Oh, and these characters were no amateurs either.  Not like the much more recent SpongeBob, who can’t even pass the driver’s test; these characters, and in particular Wile Coyote, were much more adventurous and daring—sometimes to the point of defying death would what would realistically have done them in.    

But to the central question:  Did the bears drive a bus? 

They could have; for example, Yoo-hoo had a van and (recalling the previous article, “Did Boo Boo drink Yoohoo?”)  they could have been sponsored by the makers of this favorite, chocolate drink.    

But even if they did not drive a bus, or own a van, the bears could have thumbed a ride on the Mystery Machine. Imagine an episode where Yogi and Boo Boo find themselves swept-up in the crime-solving theme and setting of Scooby Doo; where the title could be: 

“Boo and Doo find a Clue”

So while free-riding, and possibly free-loading, Yogi and Boo Boo could help clean-up:  first, the case/crime at hand; then second, the cache of foodstuff that satisfy those continuous, craven appetites of Shaggy and Scooby. 

So in the next of this series, the title will be:  “Boo [and Doo] find a Clue”.  

H. Kirk Rainer was born in Atlanta Georgia, on June 16, 1961; at the present, and for the foreseeable future, he has made his home in Alabama

At this time in his life, Kirk is busy in the general direction of writing; both in training and in practicing this new found endeavor.   At the same time, he continues to ply his skills and education as an industrial engineer.

His writing is largely a reflection of his own experience through post-divorce and non-custodial life (around year 2000). To this purpose, he has gained much support and understanding from such organizations as:  the American Coalition for Fathers and Children (; Alabama Family Rights Association (; Protect Fathers' Right (; and allied resources.

To learn more, please visit  and

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

It's a Small(er) World

While eating baby back ribs recently, I noticed how napkins are shrinking. It’s bad enough that manufacturers inject air into them to make them appear plump. Now they’re decreasing their size.  One used to cover my whole lap; these days it barely fits on the top third of a thigh.
Candy bars have also been shrinking with the times.  Years ago, it took me five bites to eat my Gooey-Wooey bar. Today I have to get out Grandma’s magnifying glass to gaze at its loveliness before I pop it into my mouth and down it in two nibbles.

And have you been as shocked as I have how ice cream containers dwindled overnight from half a gallon to 1.5 quarts? We used to serve ice cream with our birthday cakes. Nowadays we simply wave the carton over each plate as a sweet remembrance of bigger times.
Coffee can shrinkage is another travesty.  Remember when you bought coffee by the pound? These days it comes in 12 or 13 oz. packages, for the same price.  Soon they’ll be selling it by the cup, and charging $3.50 a slurp. Oh, they’re already doing that.
TV shows take up only 45 minutes instead of 52; modern cars are the size of my grandson’s scooter; even band-aids barely cover a boo-boo anymore.
But what shrinkage do you suppose has created the greatest stress to my life in the last five years? Yep, you guessed it. My clothes continue to get smaller and smaller…

Wife of one, mother of two, servant of four (cats)
A spunky pastor’s wife of thirty-plus years, Jeanette Levellie authors a bi-weekly humor/inspirational column, God is Bigger, a popular feature in the Paris Beacon News since 2001. She has published stories in Guideposts anthologies, Love is a Verb with Gary Chapman, articles in Christian and secular magazines, greeting card verses, and poems for calendars. She is a lively, popular speaker for both Christian and secular groups, and a trained vocalist.
Jeanette’s bestselling humor/inspirational book, Two Scoops of Grace with Chuckles on Top, published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas,  released in April, 2012.  Visit Jeanette on her blog, On Wings of Mirth and Worth, at, and on Facebook!/profile.php?id=1796624570

Monday, June 24, 2013

No Other Way

By Marilyn Fowler

Have you ever looked at your life and wondered where the time went? We’ve all done it, and then we wonder if we could have done a better job with our life. We may ask: Could I have avoided the mistakes? Should I have made better choices? Did I waste my talents? How did I get where I am? And why?

It’s wise to sometimes evaluate today to create a better tomorrow. But it’s also wise to look inside to see how we feel about our past and where our journey has led us. Of course, we made some mistakes and poor choices in the past, but maybe we had to climb those mountains in order to learn what we needed to know to move forward. And getting stuck in regret, self-criticism or blame can sabotage where we want to go now.

A few years ago I was stuck in regret, and the following poem helped me forgive myself and move on.

NO OTHER WAY by Martha Smock

Could we but see the pattern of our days,
We should discern how devious were the ways
By which we came to this, the present time,
This place in life; and we should see the climb
Our soul has made up through the years.
We should forget the hurts, the wanderings, the fears,
The wastelands of our life, and know
That we could come no other way or grow
Into our good without these steps our feet
Found hard to take, our faith found hard to meet.
The road of life winds on, and we like travelers go
From turn to turn until we come to know
The truth that life is endless and that we
Forever are inhabitants of all eternity.

Every decision you’ve made was based upon your knowledge at the time, and hopefully each turn in the road made you wiser. Leave the steps you took in the past back there where they belong, and live each day as it comes. We move with time, and whether you know it or not, you are quite different today than you were yesterday, and you will not be the same tomorrow. Love each new day and the continued newness in you.

Keep your eyes and heart on the road ahead. 

Marilyn Fowler  a retired Licensed Clinical Social Worker/Psychotherapist. Her professional experience includes Team Leader, then Director of Mental Health Services in the Duval County Jail in Jacksonville, Florida; coordinating mental health services in five nursing homes, working on in-patient units, and in private practice for a number of years. She teaches a class at the University of North Florida on The Influence of Childhood Messages on Adult Life, I belong to the Chat Noir Writers Circle, and I write a self-help blog. (
Her memoir, Silent Echoes, was published three years ago, and her stories have appeared in several magazines and a book entitled, When God Spoke To Me. I’m now working on a fictional story, with a video on You Tube (Me and Granmama in the Hill Country Chapter 1) reciting the first chapter in costume using southern dialect. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Slow Weight Loss Best Way to Go

By Gr. Holton

Here I am back at Geezers and Gals. What do I talk about? I could tell you about the wakeup call I got with some heart issues last month, but I don’t want a lot of comments about hanging in there and to get well. Instead I want to encourage others that are in my predicament.
You see I just turned 51 and have put on a lot of weight and I am sure that there are many out there that have put on a few more pounds as they have gotten older. Now I have done a lot of reading up on different diets and fads and found one thing to be true. Fads don’t work. There are many that will take off weight very quickly… bad move! Here is what I am doing and just maybe it will help someone out there also. BUT before you start any regimen please talk to your doctor to make sure it is safe for you.
 The main goal… two to three pounds a week will stay off longer than ten pounds a week.

The first thing I found is control. Portion control is what I am speaking of. Many people like me grew up that leaving food was a bad thing. Now leaving you plate when you are full is very important, but if you start out with the right portions then you are less likely to overeat in the first place. I have found from the dieticians that a deck of cards is your friend. All your portions should be about the size of a deck.
The next big thing is to get some form of exercise. Even if you exercise in your chair you will burn some calories. But a nice slow walk around the neighborhood works great. You don’t have to join a big gym to lose weight.
The bottom line is to stick to your guns. Use three words I love… Faith, Focus, and Patience. It won’t happen in one day.
BTW… I have lost eight pounds in six weeks and keeping going.

Born outside Boston, MA in 1962 G. R. Holton began his writing career only five years ago. After spending many a day playing Facebook, he met a movie director that allowed him to read a few screenplays and from that point on he knew that this was his calling. In his short time as a writer he has won three awards including Best Science Fiction from Books and for his Sci/Fi Horror called, “Deep Screams” for 2011.He is happily married and lives at the foot of the Starr Mountains in Etowah, TN. His mom and step-daughter also share the abode with his Shih-Tzu/Poodle mix named Ewok. G. R. Holton has now written six books. He is also a screenwriter with three optioned movies from his novels and two collaborative works with his producer. All of his works are available in paperback, Kindle, Nook, and PDF formats via his website

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

"I'm Bored!" Three Reactions Parents Have to This Sentiment

So it's the second day of summer vacation and you suddenly hear something that makes you want to smack the wall.

It's your kid and she stands there in front of you and whines, "I'm bored!"

What?! You are certain that your child has taken up a new language, one you don't quite understand.

"I'm bored." With a pair of sad eyes focused on you, she slumps into an armchair, looking like she just might cry.

Your blood boils, your blood pressure rises and you sputter, "What? How? Why?"

There are three reactions parents have when the words "I'm bored" are said to them by an offspring.

First, looming large, is their reaction of guilt. Oh, no, parents think. What is wrong with me? I haven't provided enough for my child. If we had more money then she would be able to go to that wildlife camp in Alaska and have the time of her life. If I wasn't working a fifty-hour week, I could take her to the mall every day. If only . . .

The next reaction parents hold after hearing this line and feeling guilty is one of complete disbelief. "How can you be bored?" asks the mother who is working two jobs to support her family and wishing for just an hour to sit and do nothing. This mother would almost sell her gift certificate for the nail salon just for the opportunity to feel bored (but not quite because her nails are nasty and she would like to have them looking nice in case she does ever get the chance to lie on the beach and do absolutely nothing). "How can you be bored?" this mother repeats as visions of what she'd love to find time to do dance through her head.

Which brings us to the final reaction parents have and perhaps the best one. "You're bored." Calmly stated. No rise in tone of voice or blood pressure. "Good. This is a time for you to learn that from boredom comes creativity." And the father or mother goes into a long discourse about when he or she was a teen and experienced this so-called boredom during the lazy days of summer.

One mother I know well has even been known to say to her children, "Being bored is not at all a bad thing. Growing up in Japan away from all my American friends in a remote area, I learned how to handle my boredom. I learned to cook, to write stories, and my brother and I even invented our own radio show. We called it Talk a Mile a Minute and recorded each episode on a cassette recorder. It was a spoof on the Japanese radio shows that promised music but talked more than they played music." (This particular mother's teen-aged children are so sure she is wacko that they would rather be bored to tears than listen to her go on about those old days. They silently recant to their rooms.)

So this summer, when your kids say they are bored, say, "Good. You will appreciate what you gain from this experience when you are older. This is the time to discover the artist within, the writer, the reader, the dancer, and the chef." And if that doesn''t send your kids into a nirvana of happiness, then as a final line, it is perfectly okay to say, "There is a house to be painted, a car to be washed and a lawn to be mowed." Watch for their fearful faces before you hand them a bucket and then it is fine to ask, "Are you still so bored?"

And leave it at that.

Alice Wisler writes southern fiction from her home in North Carolina. She's the author of the novels RAIN SONG, HOW SWEET IT IS, HATTERAS GIRL and A WEDDING INVITATION from Bethany House and STILL LIFE IN SHADOWS from River North/Moody. Her newest devotional, GETTING OUT OF BED IN THE MORNING, is a companion through grief and loss. Thanks to the bored days of the summers of her youth in Japan, Alice learned to cook, write, fight with her younger brother and co-host the radio show, Talk a Mile a Minute. Check out her recent radio blogs and writing workshops.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Teen Idol

               Teen Idol


 Frank Baldani first showed up at our high school as Linda Barstow’s steady date. She
was really pretty and peppy so she could attract boys from all over, even out of town. Frank was from Manchester as I recall and attended the local high school, Burr and Burton Academy. He was a year old that us juniors but one look at him and we couldn’t have cared less if he was ten years younger. Frank Baldani was gorgeous. Tall, handsome with dark hair and eyes, he was friends to everyone and you just knew he was one nice guy. He and Linda came to our Friday night dances in the high school gym, and Frank would say hello to the teachers chaperoning the dance, to the janitor who worked overtime without pay, and then he’d dance with Linda and every girl there, even Anna May who had “ten left feet”.  And he was really nice and genuine.
  After a couple of months, Frank began dating Mandy Overton when Linda found herself another guy, this one from North Adams. Frank and Mandy dated for months, right into our senior year. Again, they’d come to our Friday night dances in the gym, Frank would say a friendly “hello’ to everyone and then he’d dance the night away with Mandy. Frank never complained as he threw in a dance with one wall flower after another while Mandy smiled from the sidelines.
  Then, all of a sudden, it was June of our senior year and time for graduation. Most of the guys in our class were going into the Army and from there, right over to Viet Nam. The fun of our senior year dances was just a memory. It was 1963 and things were really heating up over there. We girls were headed to college or to nurses training at Bennington Hospital and the months began flying by all too quickly. President Kennedy was assassinated and that dampened everyone’s spirits. After that somehow things seemed to change.
 Linda Barstow became, of all things, a “hippie” and went to live at a commune somewhere southwest of Burlington. A couple of the kids who were close to Linda, grew their hair long, began smoking cigarettes that smelled different from Chesterfields and Camels, and went to live with Linda and her group, growing their own vegetables and living in tents year round. Somehow most of them still are up there, just cut their hair a bit shorter, live in regular houses as their bones couldn’t take the cold.  I hear they got too old for marijuana and “hippie” living. 
   Mandy married a local fellow whose family owned a grain business and they went on to a good life together, surrounded with children and then, in time, grandchildren. When I saw her last, she still looked like she could ‘dance the night away’ as she did all those years ago.
  When we college kids came home at the holidays, we caught up on gossip about classmates and people we knew. Someone asked about Frank Baldani and all that most people knew was that he’d fought in Viet Nam as a Marine. One kid thought he’d heard that Frank was killed over there in the Mekong Delta while he was on a scouting mission, but nobody seemed to know for certain about Frank’s whereabouts. That was sad, as we all liked Frank. 
  The years began passing and suddenly we were middle-aged, our parents old and ailing. My husband and I went to the local bank in Bennington to get a mortgage for my mother so she could live in a nice home for seniors located right in the middle of town. We were ushered into the bank president’s elegant office. He sat at his desk but smiled when we entered and rose to greet us warmly, shaking our hands and offering us something cold to drink. Something about him looked familiar.
“Welcome to Bennington Trust. I’m Frank Baldani, the bank president, and anything I can do to make this paperwork easier, believe me, I will do just that.” My God, he was the same guy as years before, nice as pie and agreeable to everyone. Just older and grayer. Mr. Nice Guy, Frank Baldani.


Friday, June 14, 2013

History Lessons

Did you know every two-term president since Nixon has been associated with some cover-up or scandal in his second term?

          I asked my wife, “Which scandal is Obama connected with?”
          Ellen said, “Take your choice. They’re blaming him for everything.”
          First of all, this isn’t an indictment of Obama and his administration.
          Secondly, the recent NPR broadcast which made me aware of the second-term presidential troubles got me to thinking. So much history has happened in our lifetimes, and we of the McDonald’s-discount-coffee age have observed it unfolding.
          Quick presidential scandal test to prove my point.
          I’ll give you a line. You give me the president who comes to mind.

          “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”

          Weapons of Mass Destruction

          “I’m not a crook.”
          How’d you do?
          Great, I’m sure.
          Because the lines didn’t stumble out of the pages of a history book. They leapt from the newspaper headlines, radio speakers, and television screens from our living past.
          As I listened to NPR’s program, I came to Solomon’s conclusion about life. “There’s nothing new under the sun.”
          And therein is the advantage of these gray hairs.
          I gain perspective on current events because I have reference points from the past.
          I’m reminded of something I said last month to another vintage player on my softball team. Prior to our conversation, I had beaten out a throw to first, but the youthful first-base ump called me out.
          I said to my friend, “There was a time when that would have really bothered me.”
          The call didn’t upset me because experience tells me—from t-ball to the Majors—bad calls happen.
          And, as NPR reminded me this week, so do presidential scandals—whether real or imagined.
I’m curious as to what history lessons, scandal-laced or not, you’ve learned over the years.

T. Neal Tarver, a native Texan living in Wisconsin, has served churches in Texas and Wisconsin. He, his wife Ellen, and son Daniel lived and worked for three years as missionaries in the Russian Far East. Tom speaks enough Russian to both converse and confuse.

In 2011, Tom was selected as a semi-finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Genesis contest. He’s also been a two-time winner of MBT’s “Make Every Word Count Flash Fiction” contest. His debut novel, Dark Eyes, Deep Eyes, is available through WestBow Press, Amazon, BARNES & NOBLE, and other retail outlets.

He currently writes from his home in Richland Center, Wisconsin, and serves as the pastor of three rural Wisconsin churches. He posts articles at his website,  A Curious Band of Others, and is a regular contributor to Geezer Guys and Gals.

Tom has spoken in churches across America, and in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Yes, Virginia, the Amish eat Pizza


Over the past two years, I’ve had occasion to become involved with a group of traditional Amish in our Pennsylvania county. They’ve done some work for me, and I’ve done some work for them, and it’s been a delightful association.
When I travel to the community, I’m always struck by the slower pace of their lifestyle, and the healthy, homemade nature of their tablefare. Would I like my children to have natural foods grown from my garden?  Sure, and we do that for as much of the year as we can. (And the rest of the year, as we’ve canned.)

Of course, I also see that the men and women work long hours to accomplish the same tasks we can do in minutes, thanks to our machinery, grocery stores, and dare I say it, Wal-Mart.

We visited one day when it was noodle-making time. Two long tables were covered in white paper and small piles of hand-cranked noodles graced every few inches, drying in the sun. The Cabana Boy and I were both fascinated with the small pasta making device and just watched in amazement. Could we do that? Sure. But where would we find time for so much else that has taken over our lives?

(We are growing our own sprouts and baking our own granola. It’s a start.)

Our family is too hopelessly tech-i-fied at this point, I’m afraid, to ever consider a switch to the Amish life. The Cabana Boy’s head would explode away from his cable modem line, and I’m so entrenched in the word processor and Internet at this point, it’s the only place my girls can find me on a regular basis. A life without cartoons for my scripted ones?  Perish the thought.

Our friends in the community are generous to a fault. Whenever we stop out, we never leave without a basket of fresh fruit, or a crisp cookie for the children.

Imagine our surprise recently when we uncovered the plate sent home with us to reveal–pizza?
Now I have to tell you this was no Papa John’s stuffed crust extravaganza, piled high with gourmet toppings. But a thin bread crust, topped with a tomato sauce and homemade cheese?  What else could it be?

Pondering this earth-shaking revelation as we headed home, we considered what other modern wonders might still be hidden behind those painted Amish doors.

Are there  hand-whipped mango-peach protein pack smoothies shared by giggling girls in the larders?  Do the elders sit on the porch of an evening  by candlelight with hand ground lattes and biscotti? Are there…briefcases?

Some things we’ll never know. It could be better that way.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Great Day in the Morning!

Are you one of those individuals who get up at the crack of dawn?

Confession time: I am. Or least most of the time. I love rising and knowing I've got a whole lovely day ahead of me. Fresh and brand new, ready for me to go at it with renewed strength and vigor.

I didn't use to be that way. I liked (and still do on occasion) staying up late, then catching up on my sleep in the morning, although I've NEVER EVER been one of those who can sleep in till all hours. Sorry, that's not me.

Let me tell you what I like about the early mornings:

The misty dawn sliding up over the hill tops. We live in the hills--not mountains--hills. I don't know if there's anything more lovely than waking and seeing that beautiful blue-gray mist hanging over a valley.

Then there's the animals. They waken, and those dependent on us for their nurture--come bounding--big and small alike--awake and crying out for their sustenance of the day.

"Feed me, feed me!" the spoiled animals say.

And we caring humans bow to their demands. Their innocent and loyal faces ready and waiting patiently--or impatiently--whatever the case.

I love the dew on the summer grass, getting my toes wet or my nose when I bend to smell the roses. I love the new soft layers of snow--untouched and clean from the night's storm.

I like starting anew with a fresh aspect on the day. Sometimes it only takes a nighttime to clear my brain of a confusing fog of hesitation, to know what to do about a situation. I like starting my writing of the day with the new idea that came to me in the night.

I love the sleepy sound of birds beginning their morning songs. I like the sound of my coffee dripping into its pot. I like the tingle of coldness on a winter day before the house warms enough to take away the crispness. I like the patter of rain drops on my roof and on my umbrella when I dash around in it.

Now you can see why I titled this meander what I did. It's because I thank God for mornings.

Carole Brown's debut novel, The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman (a semi-finalist in the ACFW Genesis contest), releases September 2013. She's also published several children's stories. She blogs at and at .  She's a reviewer at the Suspense Zone and helps out at the ACFWBookclub. Besides being a member of ACFW, she also belongs to many writing groups, the Central Ohio Fiction Writers, Sisters in Crime, Romance Writers of America, and is the founder of the Circle of Pens where she mentors beginning writers. Connect with her on Facebook at: or Twitter at:

She and her husband have ministered nationally and internationally and enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?

Friday, June 7, 2013

What's Your Summer Reading Pile?

Hartline Literary Agent, Diana Flegal is GGG guest today 

and reminds us of old favorites. 

Reprinted from Hartline blog by permission of author

It is officially summer and it is heating up here in Asheville. Yesterday while running an errand I passed my local East Asheville Library. Impulsively I made a u-turn and pulled up to the front door.

There is just something about summer and books for me. I believe it is because some of my fondest memories were summer days when walks with my mother ended at the library, where I would check out a weeks worth of books and we would carry them home. After completing my chores, I'd lie on a blanket in the back yard or under my canopy bed with a book. Nancy Drew's and a Nurse Mystery series with a mystery solving female, Cindy Ames, were my companions.

Nancy Drew is a fictional character in a mystery fiction series created by publisher Edward Stratemeyer. The character first appeared in 1930; the books have been ghostwritten by a number of authors and are published under the collective pseudonym Carolyn Keene.[1] Over the decades the character has evolved in response to changes in US culture and tastes. The books were extensively revised, beginning in 1959

Cherry Ames is the central character in a series of 27 mystery novels with hospital settings published by Grosset & Dunlap between 1943 and 1968.The series stars a job-hopping, mystery-solving nurse in the Nancy Drew mold, named Cherry Ames. Cherry joins the Army Nurse Corps, and, after the war, she moves to Greenwich Village. Whenever Cherry isn't working with the Visiting Nurse Service, Dr. Joe sends her on assignments in various parts of the country.

Yesterday I choose a new mystery author, Laura Childs and her Tea Shop Mystery series title, Oolong Dead as well as Maeve Binchy's, Heart and Soul. Maeve is a fav author of mine that passed away last year. I will miss her new titles, but know I will revisit many of my favorites again.  

I feel guilty. Just a little.

I have a client manuscript I need to finish and submissions on my desk, but I will manage to carve out some evening reading- I must. After all it is summertime!

What is in your reading stack?



Diana Flegal is a literary agent with Hartline Literary Agency. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


By Marilyn Morris
 "Handy Dandy Retractable Clothesline," the blurb on the package proclaimed. I stopped dead in my tracks at the hardware store. Sometimes a gal just wants to hang the white stuff out to dry --- sheets and pillowcases and other white things simply cry out for a clothesline.
 "Installs in just minutes with simple tools.” Soon, with the help of a hammer, screwdriver, a lot of sweating and, unfortunately, a lot of swearing, I had not one, but two clotheslines stretching from the corner of the house to the fence.
            As I hung my laundry on my New, Handy-Dandy Retractable Clothesline, I thought about my grandma and her clothesline. It stretched from one end of her West Texas Back Yard to Infinity, its sagging middle propped up by a long wooden stick jabbed in the rock hard dirt. All the visiting grandchildren quickly learned to avoid The Stick as we raced in and out of the billowing sheets, towels and Grandma's voluminous "bloomers." 

Occasionally, however, some cousin or two would knock the prop loose and send all the clean laundry tumbling to the ground. Grandma stood over us until we had gathered every last stitch for a re-washing, and whoever was responsible for Knocking out the Stick was royally shunned.
            As I recall, a male cousin was responsible for building the large open fire in the back yard and placing the large black kettle over the fire. Several of us trudged to the well and carried back seemingly endless buckets of water. Next, we carefully shaved a large cake of lye soap into the boiling water, a job I particularly avoided, since lye soap will take the skin right off your hands. I preferred instead the job of stirring the mixture with a broom handle. Swish, swish, I stirred as vigorously as my young arms could manage.

Rinsing came next, in a galvanized washtub, and wringing the clothes by hand took great determination, if not actual strength. If we thought wringing the laundry was hard, so was the actual hanging the laundry on the clothesline. We quickly assumed a rhythm, all of us grandchildren: bend, select laundry, reach, pin, move the pin bag, bend, select, reach, pin, move the pin bag. I liked hanging the white sheets and towels, which would later become great hiding places from my unruly cousins.
And finally, at the bottom of the basket, came the most dreaded chore: Hanging Grandpa's overalls.

Grandpa's overalls, besides being heavy when wet, sported huge metal buckles, which, even in the slightest breath of air, slapped at my face and arms.  I considered it a huge accomplishment to have hung the laundry without sustaining major damage to my body.
Returning to reality, I stood back and gazed at my laundry firmly attached to my new Handy Dandy Retractable Clothesline and pronounced it Good. Thrilled with my accomplishment, I resumed my other weekend chores inside the house, returning later to bring in the laundry.
I gazed in utter astonishment at my immaculately laundered sheets, and towels lying in a tangled heap on the ground. I had evidently failed to latch the pulley mechanism.
 After all these years, I had Knocked Out the Stick.

Marilyn's Bio

I was born in Alpine, Texas in my grandfather's Southern Pacific Railroad section house.  The railroad company soon abandoned this part of the operation, so I was left without a "permanent" home. At the age of eight, I received my very own orders from The War Department to journey to Seoul, Korea, to join my father in the US Occupation Forces. We were isolated in a military compound with little to do, so I turned my attention to writing.  My next overseas assignment was for three years in Linz, Austria. Out of these experiences sprang my first novel, The Women of Camp Sobingo and  my autobiography,of sorts, Once a Brat, Always a Brat,  part memoir, part therapy session. Other books quickly followed, as I retired from Corporate America, and at last I could do what I always felt I was born to do: write. 
I am single, live in Fort Worth TX and have three grown children and five grands. 

Monday, June 3, 2013



By Alice DiNizo

   Every town in America has its share of characters and Arlington was no different back in my younger days. But Waylon Medford took the cake, honestly. Born to an old and very distinguished Vermont family that went way back to Revolutionary War days, most folks would have expected Waylon to be an upstanding citizen, maybe even a State Senator or at least a local leader of some sort. 

Not Waylon, no way. To look at him back about 1950, someone new to town would swear that Waylon was a bum. He shaved whenever he thought of it, dressed in the same ratty-tatty clothes with his shirt held together with leather laces, and was famous for loving the married ladies around town and then leaving them with their mouths hanging open. Decades later, some of them were still talking about his “visits.”

  “There goes Waylon! Wonder what he’s up to?” Old men sitting on their porches would watch Waylon as he’d drive down Main Street, slow and sure, going somewhere, maybe.

 His mother and sister had given up on him years before when he came home from his graduation with honors from Yale, changed his clothes, and went outside for a walk in the hills. He never attempted to work in the local bank his uncle owned or to run the family’s successful grain business. Waylon was just Waylon.

  His elegant little mother, Flora, shook her head as she watched her talented, handsome son sitting on one of her prized needlepoint chairs, reading a recent issue of the family’s Saturday Evening Post while the morning’s chores piled up, undone.

 His family just shook their heads and left food scraps on the old Chinese Export plate that Waylon used to feed his pet raccoon, Dilly. Waylon had taken the dish from Flora’s dining room hutch when she wasn’t looking so she couldn’t “pitch a fit”. Waylon loved Dilly and his faithful old border collie Glory. Dilly would ride around on Waylon’s shoulder as he plowed fields, milked the cows, and slopped the pigs. Glory followed Waylon around like she was his shadow and rode at his side whether he was driving his Jeep or the John Deere tractor..

 Waylon was best friends with a fellow who’d moved up to Arlington to get away from city life and they were always together for hunting or fishing season. They used to take one or two of Waylon’s nephews along on their camping trips to Lake Champlain where they set up their camping site, caught trout enough for everyone and had a men’s well-earned weekend away from female chatter and carrying-ons. Waylon made a point of never listening to whatever Flora and his sisters had to say, anyway.

 Now Waylon had his own way of doing things. He and his friend went down to New York City and shocked one of those fancy car dealers when he asked the price of the Cadillac convertible in the display window. The man thought Waylon was a joke with his ratty-tatty clothes until our boy opened his wallet and handed over five thousand dollars cash to pay for the car.

 Waylon died a multi-millionaire when he was in his eighties. Seems Arlington’s hometown boy had saved up his pocket money, never touched his inheritance except to buy up property over the years. He owned half of Bennington County the day he died. Never argued over what a farmer was asking for those back acres, just opened his wallet and paid in cash.

Alice's books are available for purchase  at local New Jersey events and on (, Barnes and Noble (, and Booksamillion( If you buy a copy of one of my "donation" books, I keep track of each sale and add a dollar  per sale to that organization. All through 2013, a dollar from the sale of any one of my books will go to Hurricane Sandy victims. Yes,I know I've written this before but to live here in New Jersey and see what's happened and do nothing is unforgivable.