Sally in The MIX

Friday, August 26, 2016

It’s the Scatter that Matters

Country Philosopher sent me the following today. No comments needed. Just read.

I was at the corner grocery store buying some early potatoes. I noticed a small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged but clean, hungrily apprising a basket of freshly picked green peas. 

I paid for my potatoes but was also drawn to the display of fresh green peas. I am a pushover for creamed peas and new potatoes. Pondering the peas, I couldn't help overhearing the conversation between Mr. Miller (the store owner) and the ragged boy next to me. 

‘Hello Barry, how are you today?’ 

‘H’lo, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya. Jus’ admirin’ them peas. They sure look good.’ 

‘They are good, Barry. How's your Ma?’ 

‘Fine. Gittin’ stronger alla’ time.’ 

‘Good. Anything I can help you with?’ 

‘No, Sir. Jus’ admirin’ them peas.’ 

‘Would you like to take some home?’ asked Mr. Miller. 

‘No, Sir. Got nuthin’ to pay for ‘em with.’

'Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?’

‘All I got’s my prize marble here.’ 

‘Is that right? Let me see it,’ said Miller. 

‘Here ‘tis. She’s a dandy.’ 

‘I can see that. Hmm, only thing is this one is blue and I sort of go for red. Do you have a red one like this at home?’ the store owner asked. 

‘Not zackley but almost.’

‘Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and next trip this way let me look at that red marble,’ Mr. Miller told the boy.

‘Sure will. Thanks Mr. Miller.’

Mrs. Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over to help me. With a smile she said, ‘There are two other boys like him in our community, all three are in very poor circumstances. Jim just loves to bargain with them for peas, apples, tomatoes, or whatever. When they come back with their red marbles, and they always do, he decides he doesn’t like red after all and he sends them home with a bag of produce for a green marble or an orange one, when they come on their next trip to the store.’

I left the store smiling to myself, impressed with this man. A short time later I moved to Colorado, but I never forgot the story of this man, the boys, and their bartering for marbles. 

Several years went by, each more rapid than the previous one. Just recently I had occasion to visit some old friends in that Idaho community and while I was there learned that Mr. Miller had died. They were having his visitation that evening and knowing my friends wanted to go, I agreed to accompany them. Upon arrival at the mortuary we fell into line to meet the relatives of the deceased and to offer whatever words of comfort we could.

Ahead of us in line were three young men. One was in an army uniform and the other two wore nice haircuts, dark suits and white shirts. . .all very professional looking. They approached Mrs. Miller, standing composed and smiling by her husband's casket. 

Each of the young men hugged her, kissed her on the cheek, spoke briefly with her and moved on to the casket. Her misty light blue eyes followed them as, one by one, each young man stopped briefly and laced his own warm hand over the cold pale hand in the casket. Each left the mortuary awkwardly, wiping his eyes.

Our turn came to meet Mrs. Miller. I told her who I was and reminded her of the story from those many years ago and what she had told me about her husband’s bartering for marbles. With her eyes glistening, she took my hand and led me to the casket.

‘Those three young men who just left were the boys I told you about. They just told me how they appreciated the things Jim ‘traded’ them. Now, at last, when Jim could not change his mind about color or size, they came to pay their debt. 

‘We’ve never had a great deal of the wealth of this world,’ she confided, ‘but right now, Jim would consider himself the richest man in Idaho.’

With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her deceased husband. Resting underneath were three exquisitely shined red marbles.

The Moral: 
We will not be remembered by our words, but by our kind deeds. Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath.

Today I wish you a day of ordinary miracles - A fresh pot of coffee you didn't make yourself; An unexpected phone call from an old friend; Green stop lights on your way to work; The fastest line at the grocery store; A good sing-along song on the radio; and Your keys found right where you left them.

It’s not what you gather, but what you scatter that tells what kind of life you have lived!

Monday, August 22, 2016

My Bad Penny

“Are you sure?”

“You really don’t want that dog!”

“NEVER adopt a mini-pin!”

That was the advice I was given when that little chestnut red miniature pincher walked into my life. Funny thing, she walked in through the back door at my workplace. The back door had been left open. So the little mini-pin just walked in. And scampered right back out after all we dog lovers tried to catch her. First thing to learn about a mini-pin – They are extremely agile and hard to catch.

So I called Sallisaw’s animal control officer, Randy F. Turned out Randy F. had been trying to catch this mini-pin for days. We told him about her last sighting, and I told him if he could catch her, I wanted her. I thought mini-pins were just the cutest things ever!

Randy F. gave me that doubtful, eyebrows up look, then grinned. “O.K.,” he said. Turned out not only had he been trying to catch this mini-pin, he’d been trying to get rid of her too. While in custody, she had been turned over to a foster family, who promptly unfostered her. Turns out mini-pins have personality deluxe, and if you are not prepared, you will pay, and pay, and pay.

It took Randy and several police officers to catch the mini-pin, who was promptly delivered to me. And then the animal control officer quickly left the building.

I told some friends I had adopted a mini-pin. One, who does dog grooming, told me straight out, “You DON’T WANT a min-pin. They’re crazy.”

She was so right.

My mini-pin, all 12 pounds of her, tore my drapes in half, knocked over all my house plants, and actually broke two windows to escape. When she kept escaping, I sort of gave up on her. ‘Fine,’ I thought. ‘Go live somewhere else.’

But she kept coming back, and so she was named The Bad Penny.

Now just known as Penny, she has also been the subject of so many of these columns, readers ask about her health, not mine! But that’s OK. I have come to love my Penny.

With age, Penny appeared to have settled down. Or so I thought. Oops.

The recent spate of really hot Oklahoma weather prompted my family to install a much bigger air conditioner in my window. Thank you Darling Daughter. It works great!

Then Penny found the flimsy little fans on the sides of the air conditioner. Uh, the other air conditioner had the same sort of fans. What happened!?!

And Penny escaped. Penny’s a house dog for her own safety. She’s not allowed to run freely. Never mind what I think. Penny figured out how to open an AC fan last week, jumped the five feet to the ground, and apparently had a great day running around the neighborhood.

I was astounded when I came home and found her outside. Had the house been burglarized? Nope. Just Penny escaping, again. And she had not the slightest intent of letting me catch her and bring her in. I figured out you just leave the door open, and when Penny wants to come home, she does.

The next day, I piled heavy weights in front of the fans to block Penny’s new escape route. Came home that night to a happy Penny running around the yard again. All the weights were laying in the floor.

Hum. Stacked tall, skinny cartons of Pepsi in front of the AC, and blocked them in place with dining room chairs. Came home that night to find chairs on floor, Pepsi cartons torn to shreds, and Pepsi cans punctured by tiny mini-pin teeth, and empty. Apparently Penny needed a soda pop so she could continue her great outdoor adventures.

Hum. I gave up, sort of. I just leave the AC fan open now when leaving the house so Penny can have her day out. But I am determined not to be out-foxed by a mini-pin. So, I have bought lumber and long screws to board up the sides of air conditioner. Hopefully my Bad Penny will not be able to chew her way through solid wood.

But then I wonder, shouldn’t such a tiny free spirit be allowed to run free? Perhaps I should use the lumber to build Penny a staircase out of and into the window. I’ll think about it.

What’s there to think about? My back door will always be left open for My Bad Penny.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Top 10 (or 20) Zen Zingers

I love my Funny Filosophers. They often put into words the things I’m too cowardly to say. So I went searching this week for some of their Zen-in-cheek thoughts and came up with the following.

Or, to be truthful, I have sat on the couch all week and watched the Olympics, which obsess me. Consequently, I have nothing else to talk about.

So relax, read, and enjoy.

1. One Zen student said, "My teacher is the best. He can go days without eating."
The second said, "My teacher has so much self-control, he can go days without sleep."
The third said, "My teacher is so wise that he eats when he's hungry and sleeps when he's tired."

2. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt and a flat tire. 

3. Q How much "ego" do you need?
A: Just enough so that you don't step in front of a bus.

4. A Zen master once said to me, "Do the opposite of whatever I tell you."
So I didn't. 

5. Drink tea and nourish life.
With the first sip... joy.
With the second... satisfaction.
With the third, peace.
With the fourth, a Danish. 

6. Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out. Forget this and attaining Enlightenment will be the least of your problems.

7. Wherever you go, there you are. Your luggage is another story. 

8. To practice Zen and the art of Jewish motorcycle maintenance, do the following: get rid of the motorcycle. What were you thinking?

9. Be patient and achieve all things. Be impatient and achieve all things faster.

10. Q: What happens when a Buddhist becomes totally absorbed with the computer he is working with?
A: He enters Nerdvana.

11. If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything. 

12. Why did the Buddhist coroner get fired? Because he’d always record the cause of death as “birth.”

13. Duct tape is like the Force. It has a light side and a dark side, and it holds the universe together. 

14. It may be that your sole purpose in life is to serve as a warning to others.

15. A student is on one side of a raging river. There are no bridges. He has no boat. He shouts out to the master on the opposite bank. “How do I get to the other side?” The master shouts back: “You are on the other side.”

16. Q: Why don't Buddhists vacuum in the corners? A: Because they have no attachments.

17. So, I hear reincarnation is making a comeback.

18. Q: Why are politicians proof of reincarnation? A: You just can't get that messed up in one lifetime. 

19. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket.

20. I didn't believe in reincarnation the last time, either. 

Monday, August 8, 2016

The Cat Named Nutter

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. . .

Not really. It was just up the road a ways, and a friend prompted my predicament. I only use that opening cause I love “Star Wars.”

My friend, Delanna Nutter, hates cats. I like cats. So when a kitten showed up at her house, she called me. That was seven years ago, the best we can figure out using veterinarian records.

I claim I just foster this cat, named Nutter in Delanna’s honor, and she still owns this cat. She is in denial, but it doesn’t hurt to try.

That’s because Nutter is nuts. Really nuts.

Nutter doesn’t like people. No one has ever seen Nutter unless he was forced to show himself, such as going to the veterinarian for shots and such. My daughter said she thinks she saw Nutter once. My granddaughter, who was housesitting one time while I was on vacation, freaked out one morning and called me, terrified. She was sure someone had broken in because a table top had been disrupted, lamps knocked over, etc. I told her not to worry. It was just Nutter, doing his nutsy things. Granddaughter has never seen Nutter. Not once in seven years.

The last time Nutter went to the vet for his shots, it took three people to hold him down while one administered the shots. And the whole time Nutter made noises like an angry grizzly bear. This all took place in a cat cage! I was the only one who shed blood.

But Nutter likes me. I’m sure that’s because I’m the one who delivers his cat kibble every day. And even then he doesn’t like me in the summer. It’s too hot to like anybody. The only thing Nutter does in the summer is lay in front of the air conditioner, spread out like a bear rug. He likes me more in the winter cause he likes to cuddle up when it’s cold. 

But this house cat, who I swear must have a little bit of raccoon in his blood cause he likes to wash his paws in his water dish, weighs about 20 pounds. So, when he cuddles up in the winter by wrapping himself around my head or perching on my chest while I sleep, he often just gets kicked out of bed.

In the summer, Nutter’s life is just eat, sleep and make stinky messes I have to clean up. I was seriously considering kicking him out. It was time for him to return to the real, outdoor world where he could make it on his own. And find a sand pile I didn’t have to sift daily.

But while I considered de-catting my house, the rats moved in. I’m not sure why. Several years ago, we had a pack rat epidemic. Pack rats like to chew on vehicle wires, and I had to have mine towed in three times for repairs. Once I ended up in a long line. “There’s a pack rat epidemic,” I was told. A few poison baits solved my problem, but I sure don’t like to do that.

Then, all of a sudden, here the rats are again. I hate rats. I suspect bird feeders attracted the rats to the dropped bird seed. It sure attracted the squirrels and rabbits. So I stopped feeding the birds.

The rats persisted.

And when one decided it was going to make a home under my new riding lawn mower, and its wiring, I took drastic measures. I turned the lawn mower on. OK. OK. I felt a bit guilty later, but that rat’s demise was quick, and I hope painless.

I didn’t care about that rat that moved into the house. Rats in the house get instant death penalty. I bought a rat trap. How does a rat get the peanut butter off the trap without getting snapped? It even broke the trap!

Poison is out of the question. Too dangerous for all involved, like grandchildren and pets.

I was still mulling over my options – like locking all foodstuffs up in metal containers – when Nutter solved the problem and eluded eviction.

On a trip to the bathroom in the middle of the night last week, I was surprised to find one very dead rat, on its back with all four feet in the air, neatly deposited in my bathroom sink. I might have screamed just a bit when I discovered the gift. But I know Nutter put that rat there just for me. If Nutter had thumbs, he would probably have wrapped a red ribbon around it.

So far, no more rats have been seen, and I believe Nutter has taken care of the problem. So Nutter is back in my good graces, and he is back to laying in front of the air conditioner. We’ll see how long this lasts. He is Delanna’s cat after all.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Stop the Heat!

It’s my annual summer rant! 

I am allowed one weather rant per season. And it sure is time for my summer heat rant. Are you kidding me. . .100-degrees plus!?! No!

Daily heat warnings from the U.S. Weather Service? No!

A heat index that makes one feel they are entering a sauna when leaving an AC building? No!

My greatest challenge during the day is to get from one air conditioned building to the next as quickly as possible. I’m walking much faster lately.

During this kind of Oklahoma summer, the most exercise I get is turning the page on the latest book I’m reading while sitting on the couch. I took on “To Kill a Mockingbird” again (for the fourth time) last week. Amazing author Harper Lee understood a southern summer. She relates how southern women, er, ladies, deal with a southern summer in Alabama– THREE baths a day.

“I can relate!” I told friends. They admitted to at least two cold showers a day, and sometimes more. My water bill has increased alarmingly.

To help ease the heat, I turned to John Grisham writing about fall in Mississippi. I’m much cooler now.

Wondering how other authors wrote about summer heat I searched the internet, which does not generate a lot of sweat, oops, that should be southern perspiration. 

First up, another one of my favorite authors, who has a bit of a hometown tie courtesy of grapes. That’s John Steinbeck.

He wrote, “What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”

Hum, maybe Mr. Steinbeck didn’t spend a summer in Sallisaw, OK, before writing “Grapes of Wrath.”

And there’s more authors, who are more to my point.

-Walter Winchell: “It’s a sure sign of summer if the chair gets up when you do.”

-James Dent: “A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken.”

Me: Exactly! I actually had a couple weeks of a perfect summer day, and no lawn mower, earlier this year. It was heaven.

-Anonymous: “Wow. I’m really enjoying this 100-degree plus weather, said no one, ever!”

-Anonymous: "I’m glad it is finally hot enough to complain about how hot it is.” NOT!

-Jane Austen: “What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance.”

Me: Brilliant woman. She writes so well about sweating and heat-destressed hair!

-How hot is it?

- The cows are giving evaporated milk.

-The chickens are laying hard-boiled eggs.

-I saw a dog chasing a cat and they were both walking.

-Hot water now comes out of both taps.

Me: Unfortunately true at my house.

-You burn your hand just opening your car door.

Me: Again, unfortunately true in Sallisaw this summer.

-You can say 110 degrees without fainting.

Me: Yes, I faint in 110 degree heat. It’s downright embarrassing.

-You learn a seat belt makes a pretty good branding iron.

Me: Yep. Happened to me.

-The temperature falls below 95 degrees, and you feel a bit chilly.

Me: Not really.

-The four seasons are tolerable, hot, really hot and ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

Me: And I’ve already said that.

OK. So it rained on us last week, and cooled off a bit as thunderstorms blew through. So it followed. . .
-Best observation of the day by Bob Hope: “If I’m on the golf course and lightning starts, I get inside fast. If God wants to play through, let Him!”

And then there is the final observation, which I noted many years ago, and still makes me a bit sad.

-“Summer will end soon enough, and childhood as well.” George R.R. Martin

Yes, summer will end soon, the cooler fall weather will make us feel better, then the joys of the Christmas holidays will perk us up considerably. But after that, gloomy winter lurks, and we will be wishing it were summer again.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Having a Foxworthy Moment

One of my favorite Funny Filosophers was having a Jeff Foxworthy moment this week. He sent me the following Jeff Foxworthy quote:

“If your favorite kind of wine is Welch’s grape juice, you might be a Methodist.”

Oh wow. Did that remind me of my youth. Yep, I’m a Methodist. Mom raised me that way. And I was so excited at my first communion. At last, I was going to get to taste wine! I could hardly wait. We, of course, were a wine-less, liquor-less family. But my above normal curiosity really wanted to know what wine tasted like.

You may imagine my disappointment that it tasted just like Welch’s grape juice. That’s because it was Welch’s grape juice. Oh dang. Of course I wasn’t allowed to say “dang” way back then either.

So my Funny Filosopher’s shared Foxworthy quote kicked off a need for Foxworthy moments for me. I had to go find some of my own Foxworthy quotes.

Not many comedians can make me laugh out loud. Bob Hope could, but he’s dead. Tim Allen can, and still does. And Jeff Foxworthy is the other one. How he comes up with his one liners is a mystery to me. It’s a talent I envy.

So I just went to Foxworthy’s website and stole the following. I’ve been told that if it’s on the internet, it’s free.

Read on and enjoy.

“You might be a redneck if. . .

-you advertise on the inside walls of portable toilets.

-your financial planner told you to buy lottery tickets. (Me: Yep. My own decision.)

-you’ve ever written your resume on a cocktail napkin.

-you wake up in the morning already dressed for work.

-the stock market crashes and it doesn’t affect you one bit.

-you ask to open a savings account and the teller asks, ‘With what?’

-you carry a case of beer to your tax audit. (Me: Not in my Methodist family!)

-you don’t need a clean shirt to go to work.

-your wife’s job requires her to wear an orange vest.

-every job you’ve had paid daily.

-the biggest sign on your place of business says ‘Minnows.’ (Me: Well, actually. . .oh, never mind.)

-you made up your Social Security number.

-you list ‘beginner’s luck’ as a skill on a job application.

-the family business requires a lookout.

-you spend 40 hours a week at Walmart, but don’t work there. (Me: Hey. I have legitimate business at Walmart!)

-you see a sign that says, ‘Just say no to crack,’ and it reminds you to pull up your jeans.

-you wake up early but still get to work late.

-you sell rabbits out of your car. (Me: Well, no. But if those dang rabbits don’t get out of my strawberries I’ll be selling them out of the back yard.)

-you were late to work because a cow was lying in the middle of the road. (Me: It wasn’t a cow. It was a horse. And those folks needed my help!)

-you won’t work on Garth’s birthday. (Me: I actually know folks who won’t work on George Strait’s birthday.)

-your lifetime goal is to own your own fireworks stand.

-your business sign has three misspelled words

-your new job promotion means the company foots the bill to have your name sewn on your shirts. (Me: Hey, boss!)

-you think common stock is a pig owned by more than one person.

-the receptionist is responsible for checking the rat traps at your place of business.

-you’ve ever been paid in tomatoes.

-you’ve ever missed work because of chigger bites. (Me: That is a legitimate reason to miss work! Unless you want to see me scratching in all the wrong places!)

-your retirement plans include getting your own place. (Me: Well, of course!) and

-you’ve skipped work for a sidewalk sale. (Me: Again, well of course!)

You know, I know people who are certified rednecks, and they are a pretty good bunch of folks. I will admit to qualifying for about one in 10 of the above, and I’ve got to say, if I qualify, then I’m proud to be a redneck.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Thoughts on Senior Citizenship

My Senior Citizen Funny Filosophers are at it again. They love to email me wisdom of the ages, their ages. After all, they are so much older than me. Ha.

Read on and think about the days to come, in those Golden Years.

-I think more about running away now than I did as a kid. But by the time I put my teeth in, put my glasses on and find my keys, I forget where I’m going.

-I don’t need a personal trainer as much as I need someone to follow me around and slap unhealthy foods out of my hand.

-Why is it that the one who snores the loudest is always the first one to fall asleep?

-Calories are the little devils that get together at night and sneak into your closet to sew your clothes up tighter. My closet is infested with the little devils.

-The best thing about being older is I did all my stupid stuff when I was younger, before the Internet.

-Pardon me. My body is experiencing technical difficulties right now.

-Nothing makes you feel so old as having to scroll down, way down, to find your year of birth. I’ve often thought about stopping sooner.

-Words on motorcycle-themed T-shirt: Sons of Arthritis – Ibuprofen Chapter

-I’m not old. I just need some WD-40.

-When I get old I’m not going to sit around knitting. I’m going to be clicking my Life Alert button to see how many handsome firefighters show up.

-The sad part about getting old is you stay young on the inside but nobody can tell any more.

-Don’t be afraid of getting older. You will still do stupid stuff, you’ll just do it slower.

-I think people my age are much older than me.

-Two elderly gentlemen from a retirement center were sitting on a bench under a tree when one turns to the other and says: "Slim, I'm 83 years old now and I'm just full of aches and pains. I know you're about my age. How do you feel?"

Slim says, "I feel just like a newborn baby."

"Really! Like a newborn baby?"

"Yep. No hair, no teeth, and I think I just wet my pants." 

-I still get carded, when I ask for my Senior Citizen Discount.

-You know you are getting older when everything hurts, and what doesn’t hurt doesn’t work!

-Young at heart. Just slightly older in other places!

-At my age I have seen it all, done it all, heard it all. I just can’t remember it all.

-You know you are ready to retire when getting lucky means finding your car in the parking lot.

-Feeling old means looking at an old picture and wishing you could go back to that moment.

-Coming Soon! Large Type Alphabet Soup!

-Just once I would like to read a medication label that says: “Warning - May cause permanent weight loss, remove wrinkles and increase energy.”

-Inside every older person is a younger person who wants to know, “What the heck happened!”