Hell of a Guy
Chance favors the prepared mind - Louis Pasteur

Friday, November 13, 2009

Mr. Quill, another Childhood Memory

11/13/2009

My job requires me to do a fair amount of driving.  Just this week I drove from The Farm to Columbus, Ohio and back, 326 miles each way.  A five-hour trip affords a lot of time to think, and this last trip had me traveling back in time.

I don’t know what caused Mr. Quill to pop into my diagnosed atrophied brain, but there he was clear as day looking like just as he did all those many years ago, very much the twin of Bear Bryant, hat and all.

I grew up in Baltimore, Maryland about eight miles from the heart of the city on Valley View Avenue.  Valley View Avenue was a dead-end street when I was a kid, and at the end of the street was a woods, maybe 50-60 acres of big old trees – a great place to play Cowboys and Indians, or war, or to build a fort or just get lost for a couple of hours on a hot summer’s day to smoke cigarettes one of the guys swiped from his folks.  The next street over was Woodley Avenue and it also came to an abrupt dead end.  Woodley Avenue is where Mr. Quill built houses – post World War II, and each year the dead end moved as small bungalows sprung up two or three at a time along the street.

The bungalows were the source of construction materials for many tree houses back in the woods.  Obtaining them is where many of us met face to face with Mr. Quill.  The man didn’t have much of a sense of humor, and I don’t ever remember a smile on his craggy face, but man, could he yell loud.  We got chased off the construction site more times than I can count, and, yes, we had some spectacular tree houses and forts.

It’s kind of neat the way this stuff pops up after fifty-plus years of gathering dust.  Back then it never entered my mind I might have been stealing.  I thought more of the materials as being a gift from God.

And that is all I have to say about that…

 
Saturday, November 07, 2009

The Embarrassing Question…

11/07/2009

There are a number of questions that sometimes prove to be extremely embarrassing to the person posing them.  I have seen a commercial on TV of a guy and a lady on an elevator where the guy asks her when she is due, and as she replies she is not, you see him as he sinks in a ship called “The Total Embarrassment.”  How about the one where the young woman says to a guy, “I think you are the father of one of my children?”  He, in turn says, “Cancun? Oh no!”  Turns out she is a young nun and his daughter’s teacher.  He let his ego take over as he made a very fast and dumb assumption.  Embarrassing!  Has it ever happened to you?  Today was my turn to be forced into asking a totally embarrassing question.

The Nancy and I are out visiting one of the daughters for the weekend.  We are enjoying being in the house with her and the four almost adorable kids and the cat and the dog and guinea pigs (while they are still alive), a surreal experience.  Actually the goings on in this house fit the mental picture I have of a mental institution and its inmates.

Crazy crap goes on in this house.  The three boys always seem to be in a pile in the middle of the floor wrestling, gouging, scratching and tormenting one another, or are totally immersed in some computer game.  The daughter, the eldest of the four, very rarely appears from her room except to eat or demand a ride to another venue.  Her room always looks as if a bomb went off in it with clothes scattered everywhere, leaving doubt any could possibly be in her closet or her drawers.  Her domain borders on disgusting, and if she weren’t so pretty we would probably sell her.  Actually her room would remind you of a landfill with trash scattered everywhere. 

But still with all the justifying groundwork laid here above to ease my own bruised ego, I am very embarrassed by the question I had to ask.  You see, during my morning meditation (you get the picture?), I managed to create a mechanical failure of the plumbing kind.  The untimely but necessary event forced me to embarrass myself as I had to ask the daughter for a plunger.  It one thing to visit someone’s home, whether relative or friend, it is entirely a horse of a different color to stop up a toliet.  That horse takes on even deeper hues when one has to ask its owner for a plunger.  I managed to heap more crap on (or in) this house, and now, having been forced to ask the embarrassing request for a plunger, I now have lovely crimson glow about me making me A Hell of a Guy of a different color.

And that is all I have to say about that…

 
Thursday, November 05, 2009

A Mouse in the House…

11/05/2009

The Nancy and I are preparing to spend our fifth winter in this old farmhouse.  Critters in the house, other than the damn cat we own, have been limited, for the most part to various flies, some ants and other very small bugs.  Ladybugs love the outside of the house and occasionally get in somehow.  I hate ladybugs.

We have added a new chapter to The Farm Story Book.  We had our first (visible) mouse in the house.  Sunday night we got home just a tad after dark and having had a wonderful day riding near and far on errands – meaning we did stuff and ate out and drank beer.  The Nancy went into our family room to turn on the lights and noticed our cat intently staring at something beneath one of the armchairs.  The Nancy thought it might be a toy.  The cat loves to push her toys under the sofa and chairs in the room and then wait for us to remove them.  As The Nancy moved the chair I noticed a small, fury critter run from the family room into the kitchen as it made a beeline for protection under the refrigerator.  The cat, being an astute hunter with less than stellar hunting ability, stayed by the chair watching for the mouse that wasn’t there any longer, while The Nancy and I discussed what to do next.  After careful consideration of all our options, we did nothing at all except put a humane mousetrap by the fridge and go to bed.  The trap was empty on Monday morning when I checked it, and though I left it there, it was still empty Tuesday morning, as well. 

Tuesday evening The Nancy and I were engrossed in “The Biggest Loser,” The Nancy in her chair and I in mine.  The cat – here and forever to be known by all as Lisa – was nestled in The Nancy’s lap.  All of the sudden Lisa bounds out of her comfy spot and darts full speed across the room.  The mouse had reappeared.

We chased the damn thing around for about half an hour before we finally lost sight of it and soon after went to bed hoping we wouldn’t feel the patter of little feet across our heads in the middle of the night.  I did have the foresight to move the trap prior to assuming a position of repose.  Wednesday morning was met with a little bundle of joy neatly enclosed, and unharmed, in the little metal cage that is my humane mousetrap.  Cute little bugger even if just a lowly mouse.  I could not kill it. I had to let it go.

Mickey is now living, maybe, under the barn.  I took it up there and opened the trap and it scurried out at the speed of light and disappeared.  Yeah mouse!!!

The Nancy laughs at me when I catch mice and let them go.  I have caught at least a dozen in our garage over the past four years, and I always let them go.  She says I should tag them because I am just catching the same ones over and over.  Hopefully, no more will come in for dinner, but if they do I will let them go live under the barn with a dozen or so of their closest friends.

And that is all I have to say about that…

 
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