Monday, March 31, 2008


My KU boys in blue eked out a win against Davidson yesterday, so it's on to the Final Four this coming weekend! I had to take extra seizure medication for my flippy ear muscle, which went into a clicking frenzy during the game because I was so excited. My partner in sports mania, Dr. Maureen, said she was ready to prescribe herself Valium at halftime, so I'm not alone with this sports-induced stress. Good thing we aren't coaches. We'd never make it past the tip-off.

While I'm on the subject of the Rock Chalk gang, I went rock hunting Saturday. (Great transition, huh?) I'm lining a backyard drainage ditch with sandstone. It's about 3/4 done and is looking good. I am goofy about rocks--smooth ones, layered ones, fossily ones, striped ones, colorful ones, I love 'em all. When Big Bore moved in a few years ago, he brought along some rocks he'd collected over the years. He's not quite as rock nutty as I am, but it's good to know that he won't laugh at me when I get all thrilled and say, "Look at this cool rock I found!!"

Sunday, March 30, 2008


Prom season is approaching, which brings to mind the best prom ever--the 1966 Fredonia High School prom, the prom my junior class threw together. Oh, yeah, Baby! We had decided we weren't going to mess around with one of those rinky-dink, generic themes like "Night to Remember" or "Stars in Your Eyes." No, no, no. We chose to turn the school gym into "Land of the Nile," or, if you want the alternative title, "Egypt Gone Wild."

Our band of 90+ merry guys and gals built the Great Pyramids (I think we just settled for one, actually), created our own Nile River flowing across the gym floor, and even resurrected Cleopatra from the dead, thanks to the help of the J.C. Penney's mannequin department. Someone built a sarcophagus to put inside the pyramid, which everyone walked through at the entrance. Then, we draped the entire gym with enough gauzy green cheesecloth to line all of Cairo. It was a blockbuster scenario that would have even amazed Hollywood mega-director Cecil B. DeMille, I'm sure.

Now, I wasn't handy with a saw, or hammer, or ladder, or lifting, or much of anything else, so I was put in charge of nut cups. But, mind you, they were the very best nut cups ever!! I drew a pattern for a two-part palm tree, trunk and leaves, which was traced onto green and brown construction paper. I'd say close to 200 of these little suckers were then cut out and stapled together, with a blue nut cup in the middle of the leaves. Names of the attendees were written on the tree trunks with white ink. It was genius, of course. I also helped order the special "Land of the Nile" dance cards, which were, natch, the very best dance cards ever! (If you are under 55, you are probably clueless about dance cards and the tiny pencils that were attached to them. Consider yourself, therefore, deprived of one of the finer things in life.)

My date for the big event was my railroad-riding friend, Windy, (see previous blog from March 13) He was going steady with a freshman at the time, but underclassmen were not ready to handle such a mature occasion and were forbidden, so I lucked out. He was one of the tallest guys in our class, so I could wear high heels and not have to slump over all night to look smaller than my date. I could even pile my hair up and still be shorter than Windy. Since I'd bypassed buying a class ring, $36.00 was more than my budget could afford, I went all-out for a $32.00 gown. It was pale pink, with a beaded bodice. Quite classy. When Windy walked me to his car, my younger brother and sister were outside humming the "Wedding March." We were all dressed up, ready to sail the Nile, and it was a great evening. A "Night to Remember," for sure.

---When I was a high school teacher not so long ago, I was able to tolerate the junior and senior girls in my classes as they obsessed about prom, starting right after Christmas and staggering on to April. Prom theme and evening gown catalogues were stashed in my classroom bookcase, right alongside the literary classics. I'd even sneak a peek myself, now and then. Our school has done a lot of the ho-hum prom themes, but a few stand out. A mini Eiffel Tower was erected for a Parisian theme, and my favorite was a fabulous red and gold-plated Japanese job that I personally sub-titled, "Samurai Nightmare."

For some strange reason, I can't recall why because my short-term memory is shot, Big Bore and I were talking last night about how we're both glad we're no longer teen-agers. Having to cope with the pangs of growing up is not something we want to re-live. And as much as I loved my junior prom, I would still never want to go back. Heck, I wouldn't be able to get my big toe into that pink evening gown!

Saturday, March 29, 2008


Last week I came across an article and picture in the newspaper about Paul McCartney's divorce settlement. I can remember when he was once a member of The Beatles and innocently sang a humorous little ditty called, "When I'm 64," which spoke of the possibility of relationships changing due to advanced age.... "When I get older, losing my hair, many years from now...."

Like most other teen-aged girls in the 1960s, I was a Beatles Maniac. From the very first time they appeared on the Sunday night Ed Sullivan TV show, I was hooked. "Love, love me do...." You bet I did! The Liverpool Lads, as they were known, shook their shaggy hair right into my heart.

Everyone had a favorite Beatle, and mine was George, the youngest of the quartet. He wasn't the cutest--that was Paul; he wasn't the funniest--that was Ringo; and he wasn't the leader of the pack, like John. George was tall, dark, and quiet, enigmatic, with soulful brown eyes. To show my devotion to him, I owned a 5-inch-high rubbery George doll and kept a George scrapbook. Sigh!

My older brother, Beans, liked The Beatles, too. He was quite a 45-RPM record buyer in his heyday, and he owned all the big hits. He had about a half-dozen prized Beatles records, most of which curled belly-up when our younger siblings lined them atop the floor furnace during a creative game of "choo-choo train records." The day of the big meltdown was a sad one for Beans, and was even sadder for me because I was supposed to have been watching the little brats.

The Beatles evolved over the years from their squeaky clean image into guru-hugging dope smokers, but my devotion remained...until John hooked up with Yoko and left the group John-less. Singularly, I was never as gung-ho for any of the Fab Four. They moved on and so did I.

When I saw the newspaper picture of a weary Paul exiting divorce court last week, minus $48.6 million from his bank account, I was reminded again of his old song. "....Will you still need me? Will you still feed me, when I'm 64?" He first sang those lyrics at age 25, probably never thinking his face would be creased and his cheeks jowled like they are now. He'd be "the cute one" forever. He's almost 66 now. I'm almost 59. Good grief! When did all this happen?

Friday, March 28, 2008



1. Up and Away--This was our first grade primer in Mrs. Rankin's class at Mound School, circa 1955-56. It starred Dick and Jane, their cute little sister Sally, a black and white dog named Spot, and, my favorite, Puff, the ornery orange cat. There was a workbook with the series and Mrs. Rankin would stamp perfect papers with stars, pumpkins, turkeys, whatever was in season. "See Spot Run. Run, Spot, Run!" I was empowered to read!

2. Nurse Nancy and Dr. Dan the Bandage Man--These two were Little Golden Books that came complete with Band-Aid strips. How cool is that? Nancy and Dan were actually just efficient little kids providing emergency medical care to the neighborhood gang, including pets and dolls. I still have my original Nancy book, but its cover could use some major surgery.

3. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series--A magical old maid who lived in an upside-down house, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle came to the aid of distraught parents with brats on their hands. She cured the boy who wouldn't clean his ears by planting radish seeds in them; did he ever look goofy when they sprouted! The kid who never cleaned his room got stuck in so much clutter that he couldn't go outside to play. Back talkers, whiners, never-go-to-sleepers, she treated them all. I liked Mrs. P. even if she did trick kids into behaving.

4. Little House on the Prairie--I didn't actually read this book; Mrs. Hull read it aloud to her 3rd graders after lunch recess. It was likely her strategy to calm us down from our frenzied action on the playground. Good idea. She had a very soothing voice and just the right amount of expression. The Ingalls clan was always encountering some sort of dilemma, though, so I recall being anxious to get back to where Mrs. Hull left off the previous day. I was so excited, in fact, that I'd chew on strips of Big Chief tablet paper while she was reading.

5. Nancy Drew series--This dynamic girl detective was my favorite literary character when I was in 4th grade. Daughter of a judge and best friend to a girl oddly named George, Nancy would have been my top dog even if we didn't share the same first name. She was inquisitive, brave, and smarter than all the adults around her. Better yet, she didn't have any lousy brothers hanging around bugging her!

Long live reading!!

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Another sure sign that spring has arrived: Big Bore has gone fishing today. For several hours last night, with the precision of a brain surgeon, he condensed his five tackle boxes into four, then organized them by bait type, lure type, hooks, bobbers, etc. Very scientific stuff. The quest for channel cat has begun!!

Since I'm sitting here at the computer, you can guess that fishing is not high on my recreational priority list. In fact, it's close to the bottom, right before hunting Bambi. I don't think I've wormed-up a hook since the time my Granny Bore took me to Low-Water Bridge at Fredonia's Fall River Dam and kept yelling at me to quit scaring away the fish---about 50 years ago.

I accompanied my ex-husband on a few disastrous fishing trips, which I found boring, just watching him toss out/reel in, toss out/reel in. I'd usually end up in the car with a good book and leave him to his own devices, hoping that the fish would outwit him and live a day longer. We once went to a commercial fish farm pond while vacationing in Colorado, where he paid big bucks to catch a half-dozen 8-inch trout in about three minutes. They must have been starving, as they hit the bait as soon as it was cast. The ex paid the staff at the "farm" to clean the trout, and we had a fish fry that night, but I refused to eat them on the principle that the poor things didn't have a fair chance.

Big Bore is glad that I'm not a cling-on and want to go fishing with him. We both know that I'd be whining, watching the clock, and bitching about the smell of the shad side bait he uses. He's a catch and releaser, so I don't have to worry about fish guts laying in the yard for weeks, and as long as he takes a shower within 10 seconds of arriving home, we'll get along just fine.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Big Bore is a front porch swingin' kind of guy. When he doesn't have to work the morning shifts, his favorite place to start out the day is outside at the crack of dawn, sipping his coffee, and giving the porch swing its workout. He feeds the birds, watches them eat, talks to them, whistles to them, whatever meets his fancy. He also surveys the neighborhood, assessing the progress of the remodelling going on across the street, taking note of whose dog is running loose, and discussing the weather with the guy next door. Lord of the Bungalow.

Also on his morning agenda is to bring me the Wichita Eagle when it arrives, but yesterday he had a sad story to report to me, as I rolled out of bed. The carrier had driven right on by our house without tossing the paper!! Now, just like Big Bore, I am a creature of morning habits--and mine is to read the newspaper while I'm eating breakfast. I like to check on the political capers of the day, fret over the world events, read the editorials, pour over the sports stats, outline my evening television watching, and just, in general, soak in the written word--except for the ads and stock market reports. By the time I'm finished reading, maybe an hour or so later, the living room is one big wad of newspaper. I'm happily informed and ready for the rest of the day.

Well, when I didn't get the Eagle yesterday, I didn't quite go into a panic, but I did call the carrier to sweetly ask him to return with the goods. Of course, no one was home, so I left a message on the phone recorder. He never did come back by--guess I didn't sound desperate enough-- so I was in a funk all day long. Even Big Bore said he missed my usual paper mess.

This morning, two newspapers arrived---yesterday's edition that was missing in action and then today's. Although I was glad to finally get the old news (an oxymoron!), it wasn't as much fun reading it a day late. I found myself just skimming through it so I could move on to the issue that was hotter off the press. Breakfast did taste better, though, and I was able to ease on down the road the rest of the day without feeling like I was incomplete.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


When I was in Pittsburg last week, I visited with my nephew and his family. His 4-year-old-daughter Maddie is a yippety-yapper, never at a loss for words. A condensed version of our latest conversation went like this:

"Guess what, Aunt Nancy."

"What, Maddie."

"I stepped on a piece of glass and it hurt my foot."

"Ouch! Did you cry?"

"Yes. Hey, guess what, Aunt Nancy. Have you ever stepped on a piece of glass?"

"I don't think so, but I've had a splinter in my foot. Have you?"

"No, I've just had a splinter in my finger. Guess what, Aunt Nancy. I fell on my head and got a big bump. Have you ever bumped your head?"

"Yes, and I saw stars."

"What color were they?"

"Blue and white."

"Guess what, Aunt Nancy. I had a nose bleed and there was snot and boogers in it."


"Have you ever had a nose bleed, Aunt Nancy?"

"Yeah, but not with snot and boogers in it!"

"Guess what, Aunt Nancy. I throwed up in my mama's bed. Have you ever throwed up?"

"Yes, but not in my mom's bed."

"Well, I was supposed to throw up in a sack." Guess what, Aunt Nancy. Have you ever throwed up in the toilet stool? I did."

"Yeah, and I threw up in the bathtub, too."

"You did? Well, guess what, Aunt Nancy, I throwed up on my pants. Have you ever throwed up your pants?"

"Nope, I don't think so."

"Guess what, Aunt Nancy. Have you ever thrown up on a painting?"

"NO!!! Have YOU thrown up on a painting?"


---Well, you get the drift. I got to thinking later that maybe Maddie has a great idea. I've seen some artwork before that was so hideously ugly that throwing up on it would have been a big improvement!

Monday, March 24, 2008


My mother used to make many of my clothes when I was a kid, but there was always one exception--the Easter Sunday dress. We weren't the richest family on the block, but there was no cutting costs for Jesus. And that's the truth. Good Methodists weren't like that.

I particularly remember well the selection process when I was a 5th grader. Mom and I had scoured the aisles at J.C. Penney's and Cook's Department Store, looking for just the right dress, but no luck, so we turned to the Montgomery Ward catalogue. It was there that I found the perfect Easter Sunday dress, a stunning light purple (lavender, lilac, violet, whatever) faux organza with a full skirt and puffy sleeves. It would be all mine---price be damned. When it arrived a week or so later in the mail, I was so excited. It looked even better in person--the prettiest dress I had ever owned.

Well, Easter rolled around and I eagerly entered the 4th-5th-6th grade Sunday school room, looking more angelic (and itchier) than ever. We girls exchanged compliments on what fashionistas we were. I felt just like a princess....until in walked my neighbor, who is now known in the blogging world as Literary Diva, wearing the exact, same dress as my Montgomery Ward special!! How dare she!

I could feel the embarrassment flush over my face. Having a look-alike dress was a fashion blunder of the highest order! What do I do now? Run to the bathroom and cry? Sneak out and go home? No, Jesus wouldn't like that. Both of us chose to stay put, tolerate teasing about being twins, and accept that Easter was ruined. "She is clothed with strength and dignity."--Proverbs 31:25.

Decades later we can laugh about what exquisite, stylish taste we shared in Sunday school dresses way back when, but I don't think either one of us ever walked into the Methodist Church again wearing that purple dress. Certainly not at the same time. And, I know for a fact, I never ordered anything else from Montgomery Ward except underwear!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


This is spring break week, but since I've retired now, every day is a break for me. While my neighbors are off tripping in New York City and Washington, D.C., I'm cat sitting with their little darlings, and on Friday I'm headed to Pittsburg to have a rendezvous with an old college pal, Dr. Maureen, one of my partners in journalism crime (yearbooks staff) almost 40 years ago. She grew up in the 'Burg, and her dad was a football and swimming team coach. Mo and I "helped" him during the home swim meets, acting as clerks, which meant we kept score and drooled all over the half-naked bodies that stroked before our eyes. As the old saying goes, it was a touch job...rather, a tough job, but someone had to do it.

After we graduated from college and before we decided to grow up, we spent a lost year together in Joplin, Mo., where we worked for a television station and served as mascots at Frank's Lounge, a bar that catered to what we called, "The 10-Percent Club." The station was always asking its employees to dedicate 110% of themselves to their jobs, but Mo and I figured 10% was more than enough, thank-you. We'd close down Frank's, then head out to the Denny's restaurant on I-44 and pretend we were foreigners. Great fun.

Post-Joplin, I settled down in good ol' Greenwood County to be a social worker and teacher, while Maureen moved to Kansas City to eventually pursue her medical career. For around the next 10 years, I dashed up to KC on weekends to continue my escapades with her, many of which centered around sporting events. She once was hit on the arm by a wayward slapshot puck as she was feasting at an ice hockey game. Her Pepsi and popcorn went flying.

"What the heck was that?" she asked.

"Maureen, you've just been pucked!!"

A security guard carted my stunned friend off to the first aid room, but she soon returned, iced arm red and puffy, ready for more action.

We specialized in attending Royals baseball games. This was back in the day when the Royals were championship caliber and seats were hard to come by, so we'd usually end up in the $1.50 right field bleachers with the rest of the cheapskates, first-come/first-serve. Our best afternoon was when Maureen brought her mannequin friend, Sheila, for Halter Top Day. Like all the other paying female customers, Sheila was given a blue Royals halter, and she looked stunning in it. Getting her stiff legs to sit comfortably in a seat was a little tricky, but Sheila seemed to enjoy the game. She was such a hit with those sitting around us, that the free beers flowed, Sheila got drunk, and she removed her halter top, with a little help from her human friends. Security didn't intervene this time, though.

Oh, I could go on and on about my misadventures with Dr. Maureen, but I shall save them for other blogs. She now lives in North Carolina, so we no longer get together very often, but when we do, there are loads of laugh all around. I just hope her husband can tolerate being with us Friday.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Rock Chalk, Baby! The Jayhawks won the Big 12 Conference title Sunday. What a game! I sat on the edge of a coffee table most of the time, giving rounds of applause (clapping in a big circle), shouting, "Yes!" and pumping a fist in the air with every 3-point swisher made by the good guys. There were 15 of them, so I did a lot of pumping. Fortunately, Big Bore was at work, so he wasn't around to laugh at me, and the cats were so freaked by my outbursts that they stayed in the back porch. On the negative side, Texas led by one point at halftime and hung around for most of the game, so I couldn't relax until the last few minutes, when KU finally pulled away. I was so nervous and excited that whenever there was a timeout, I did housework to calm down. By the end of the game, I was exhausted and the kitchen was spotless. My March Madness has begun!

Monday, March 17, 2008



1. What does "Erin Go Bragh" mean?

2. fortuitous trinket

3. Finish the song title: "Luck be a ______ Tonight."

4. According to legend, what did St. Patrick drive out of Ireland? (Hint: it's NOT a car)

5. What is a shilelagh?

6. What famine once nearly wiped out Ireland?

7. Prismatic arc

8. Finish the song title: "When Irish Eyes are ________."

9. Lagomorph's ruler

10. According to legend, you'll gain skill in flattery if you do this: ______________

(If you get all these right, you will have good luck all day long!!!)

Saturday, March 15, 2008


It's Big 12 championship weekend, and poor Big Bore is a basketball widower. I'm more into sports than he is; he wanted to watch the History Channel last night, while I preferred the KU-Nebraska game. Now, normally I'd be right there with him watching the historical programming, and I have to admit that the subject matter last night was intriguing--toilets, bathing, sewage, etc. So, every time there was a time-out in the game, we'd switch channels and watch "Bathroom Technology."

I never would have survived the days of no hot water and one bath a year, when the annual bathers had some scrub buddy scraping off their cruddy grime with a knife. Heck, I probably take at least 500 steamy, bubbly soakers a year. But, I digress. Back to the game, which KU won, although I had to get riled a few times before they got into gear. The good news for today is that Big Bore works second shift, so I can watch as much basketball as my heart desires. In fact, I might even watch a game and take a bath at the same time. Ahhhhhhhh!!!!!

Thursday, March 13, 2008


My fellow Bloggerette and former student Sweet Sarah wrote a glorious tribute last month to her first car, Blue Bird, which helped her to win the title Miss Hell on Wheels of Climax, Kansas about 10 years ago. This got me to thinking about my own teenage hot rod, except I didn't have one. Our family's 1958 silver and blue Pontiac station wagon failed to be designated as a pleasure mobile. Damn sorry luck I had.

Mooching rides from friends, therefore, became my prime mode of transportation. Fortunately, I had plenty of pals to mooch from for those late night freeze outs, flat tires, and Chinese fire drills. The wildest ride of all came compliments of a guy everyone called Windy--not because he was such a good trumpet player in the high school band, but because of his ability at telling far-fetched stories. He was a relentless talker and the fearless driver of an old turquoise and white Mercury.

My favorite Windy moment occurred during a country road cruise north of Fredonia one night when he whipped the Merc onto the railroad tracks. Now, his buddies had done this little stunt with him plenty of times, so they weren't alarmed. I, on the other hand, freaked out.

"You can't do this, Windy!!"

He just laughed and continued engineering his passengers into the unknown, no steering required. The car tires wrapped perfectly around the tracks, giving a smooth-as-silk ride.

"What if a train comes from the opposite direction?" I wailed, still in a panic. "What are you gonna do then?"

"Oh, I'll just steer off to the side."

"What if we're on a trellis and there is no side?"

"Guess I'll have to make a quick decision."

Gee, which would be better--slamming head-on into a train or careening down into a river? Windy assured me that there were no trains running at night, and the nearest trellis was in the opposite direction, so I calmed down and started enjoying the ride. It really was kinda neat, especially when Windy turned off the lights and laid into the horn, which sounded, and this is the truth, exactly like a train whistle. Totally awesome. And, best of all, the cops didn't catch us breaking the law.

Needless to say, I survived my first ride down the tracks and several more before we graduated from high school. Last time I drove by Windy's parents' country home, the old Merc could still be seen from the roadway, resting in the backyard, long out of service. I suspect Windy has made his parents keep it around as a shrine to his misguided youth, so he can periodically get behind the wheel and re-live his best moments. The person who came up with the saying, "Those were the days, my friend," surely had to have been inspired by someone just like ol' Windy.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Out of western Kansas tonight comes the bizarre story about a woman who had been living in the bathroom of her boyfriend's mobile home--for two years. She had been sitting on the toilet stool so long that the seat was embedded into her skin and it had to be surgically removed. The investigating police officer said, "I've never seen anything like it." No kidding!

Obviously this poor woman never had to share a bathroom with five children. If so, she never would have been able to use it for longer than two minutes, and then she would have been forced out by some kid screaming, "If I don't get in NOW, I'm going to pee my pants!" That was the standard war cry at our house when I was growing up.

Hogging the bathroom was a sin. We were expected to get in, do our duty, constipation be damned, and get the heck out. No time wasting allowed...unless you were my big brother Beans, who insisted upon reading comic books and lighting matches until the door was practically busted down by a desperate, irate sister. "Mom, he's been in there for over 10 minutes!!!"

Our bathroom also had the big disadvantage of being the smallest one in all of Fredonia. I do not exaggerate here. It fit one person, barely. The only way it fit two was if one of the inhabitants was in the bathtub or sitting on the porcelain throne. Standing room only, and that was directly in front of the sink. I have no idea how my brothers managed to do their #1 standing. I don't even want to think about it!

I recall at one time Momma Bore considered busting out a wall and expanding the bathroom, but she's lived in the same house for over 50 years now, and nothing has changed...except the number of people living in the household. Once we kids flew the coop, she discovered that she no longer had to make a reservation to relieve herself. What a royal flush that must have been!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Before my hormones kicked in and I started chasing boys, I spent part of my Saturday evenings watching "Championship Wrestling" with my big brother Bobby Bore, also known as Beans. We'd sit mesmerized before the black and white console, tuning in to KOTV-Channel 6 out of Tulsa, Oklahoma, knowing it was all el fake-o but enjoying the drama of it all, nonetheless.

We'd do a blow-by-blow commentary with the TV station's Danny Williams and Leroy McGuirk, who, although a monotone speaker, was still amazing at his craft because he was blind. Imagine that. Danny Hodge was always the local favorite, but my personal hero was Argentina Zuma. He'd do cartwheels across the ring, leap onto the ropes, then dive bomb his opponent into submission. My kinda guy.

One night a week of wrestling was never enough violence to satisfy us, so Beans and I would oocasionally sanction our own wrestling matches in his bedroom. "In the north corner, wearing a sleeveless blue blouse and polka dot pedal pushers, weighing 60 pounds, Nanny Goat Nan! And in the south corner, her opponent, wearing cut-off blue jeans and a holey white tee-shirt, weighing in at 125 pounds, the defending champion, Billy Goat Bob!"

Before ripping into each other, we'd have to go through a list of rules: no eye poking, no Indian wrist burns, no Dutch rubs, no tickling, and no pulling back fingers. Everything else was fair game. Having a slight weight disadvantage, like 60+ pounds, I never had a prayer, of course, but I was still a scrapper. Before long, though, Beans would get me in a headlock or hammerlock and have me begging for mercy.

"I give!"

"Say, uncle!"


"Say you're a monkey's uncle!"

"I'm a monkey's uncle!"

"Say you're a monkey's uncle and your feet stink!"

This banter went on and on until I screamed so loudly that Mom would be forced to save my life, or until I got in a cheap shot, broke free, and ran like hell to the bathroom, locking the door behind me, laughing all the way.

Man, those were the days!

Monday, March 10, 2008


I usually have a social calendar that is empty, but Saturday I had three special events to attend. The first was my great nephew's second birthday celebration in Pittsburg. He didn't sleep through it like he did at last year's party. In fact, he didn't miss a beat. He got scads of cool gifts--a new home will be required to store it all. I got him a porcupine hand puppet. It sort of looks like a spiky mullet wig, but he seemed to think it was okay, especially when the porcupine played catch with him. --Returned to Eureka in time to attend a boy scouts dinner. Our neighbor Scott is a boy scout, and he never fails to stop by when there is a fund-raiser. He knows I will buy anything he's selling. Big Bore was an Eagle Scout in his heyday and he, too, is a pushover. --The final event of the evening was a housewarming party for the new neighbors down the street. They are a young couple, former students of mine, with two daughters, and they've been working on this big fixer-upper for a year now. It looks great. I am so happy to see nice people move into the 'hood. I forgot to ask if they are cat people.

Sure signs that spring is almost here: 1. The tulips and daffodils are peeking out of the ground, 2. The seamless guttering guys are at our house, better preparing us for rainy days, and 3. I've had my first dog bite of the year...from a vicious shitzu (or shiztu, or however it's spelled) that was on a leash!! Can you believe it? I swear, I must have a sign on my back that says, "Please attack me!"

Saturday, March 8, 2008


About five years ago, I went goofy on eBay looking for old toys like the ones I had when I was a kid. I came up with a few great finds, namely Gund brand plush gray and red elephants, and Dolls of Nations by the Duchess Doll Company.

I received the original elephant for Christmas when I was three years old. Still have it, in fact, although it has been through hell and back and looks it. Some of the ones I've purchased through eBay are in pristine condition, I'm happy to say. They've obviously never had a child slobbering all over them.

I never actually owned one of the miniature dolls as a child, just coveted them. They belonged to my big sister, who was quite a proud collector in the 1950s. She purchased them at a grocery store in town for a dollar apiece. I recall them being placed in the produce section for some reason, as one had to reach past the lettuce to get to them.

My favorites were her Spanish Girl, Dolly Madison, and Carmen Miranda, but she had many more. Once removed from their red, white, and blue boxes, they stood upright with the help of heart-shaped, clear, plastic footstands, with a wire that stretched across the white shoes. My big brother actually owned a doll, too--a cowboy with faux leather chaps, holster, and plastic six-shooter. Cool.

Well, thanks to eBay and low prices, I've become the mayor of a whole town-full of the old Dolls of All Nations--more than my sister ever thought of having, or wanting, for that matter. They are everywhere. My favorites are on display. I talked Mom into spiffing up some of the outfits that needed overhauling after half a century. She did a great job and even created a Little Red Riding Hood for me.

Some people collect expensive antiques. I collect gray and red stuffed elephants and cheap plastic dolls. They don't talk, or walk, or drive around in toy Corvettes, but I like them, nonetheless. They just stare down at me from the shelves. Doesn't take much to make me happy.

Friday, March 7, 2008


Big Bore is overjoyed that the local greasy burger joint has re-opened after going into hibernation for the winter. The Lo-Mar has been around since the extistence of time. It's one of those little huts with no seating--just walk up to the window, put in your order, and stand around to wait for your bag of food. No drive thrus, car hops, or special frills at Lo-Mar. Just good ol' juicy burgers, fries, and malts at a reasonable price.

When I was a growing teen with a need for mega calories, I tended to gravitate to Fredonia's creme de la creme of junk food, The Cozy Cafe. The Cozy, as it was better known to its clientele, was located in the middle of the south side of the town square, so it was basically at the hub of action in the downtown area. It was a sit-down restaurant, with booths and bar stools, but the menu was mainly burger fare. The absolute best thing about The Cozy, though, was not the food but the music. Each booth had its own mini juke box selector, with files of choices to flip through. At five cents a play, we could loiter most of the afternoon, listening to our favorite hits and gossiping about the main topic of the day....BOYS!

Closer to my house was Long's Lunch, located on the highway between 9th and 10th streets. It was also a service station, thus the eye-catching sign outside: Eat Here and Get Gas. The gang in the neighborhood would gather in the horseshoe booth at the northwest corner of the cafe, and we'd always order burger baskets. Long's was generous with the fries, which I considered the best-ever. For some reason, though, I would dip them in my Coca Cola rather than in catsup. There was just one down-side to eating at Long's--no juke box, no lingering all afternoon. Eat and run.

There were a number of other food joints along the way that were popular with the teen crowd: the L&M Drive-In, I loved its pin ball machine; the Iceberg, with its crumbly beef burgers; and, later, Tri Mee Drive-In. The latter two are still in operation. The Cozy, however, quite sadly, went down in flames many years ago. Likely a grease fire, I'm not sure. And, to quote one of my favorite songs of all time, "American Pie," by Don McLean, that truly was "....the day the music died."

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Starting tomorrow, we will have a teen-ager living in the Flaming Bore household. Little Bit turns 13. I'm not sure what that calculates into human years, but it's probably leading him into old age. El Bitzo, as Big Bore sometimes calls him, is one cool cat. He has a wise, benevolent face that always seems to be examining my own. More than once I've told him that I wished he could talk because I think we'd have very interesting conversations.

Bitsy is a licker, which sometimes gets rather annoying, especially when it's 4 AM. He is not discriminatory, licking noses, armpits, toes, whatever is sticking out from under the covers. Bits is also enamored with Big Bore's Sponge Bob Square Pants doll. Meowing loudly, he drags it around the house and then gives it what we call a "kitty massage." Sponge Bob seems to enjoy it immensely, based upon the smile on his face afterwards.

Best of all, Little Bit is loyal. If we aren't feeling well, he is right there at our sides to be the ever-faithful companion and medical adviser. So, when we give him his special can of tuna tomorrow and sing "Happy Birthday" to him, it will be with all sincerity when we add "....and many more."

Tuesday, March 4, 2008



The highlight of my childhood summers was spending a week on the farm with my great aunt and great uncle, Ethel and Jobe. They had an 80-acre spread about nine miles south of Fredonia--wheat, vegetables, chickens, and, my favorite, dairy cows!

There were only about a half-dozen or so of them, but I loved perching on the iron barnyard gate, watching them saunter in single file from the pasture pond, dawn and dusk, like clockwork, ready to be milked. Jobe had names for them, mostly borrowed from relatives. Of course, my favorite was Nancy Cow, a fat black heifer with big brown eyes.

Although Jobe taught me the art of milking, squeeze/pull, squeeze/pull, I wasn't strong enough to be of much help. I mostly just stood around and watched and talked to him as he squatted on his three-legged milking stool and went about his work. His cows preferred being milked from their right side. Approach their udders from the left and they went into a snit.

Ethel, the saint that she was, was in charge of manure duty. She would stand by with a shovel, ready for that first sign of, well, you-know-what. Her goal was to catch the cow poop before it landed on the barn floor, thus preventing Jobe from being spattered by it. Now, I don't know the weight of a fresh cow patty, but it looked to be pretty heavy. Sometimes she could scarcely hang on to the shovel before making her deposit outside. I always thought she must really love Jobe. Why else would she literally be catching shit for him?

Jobe had been a career Navy man and had seen the world. Ethel followed him around the country to various naval bases for twenty years. When he retired in 1945, after World War II, they returned to their roots and settled down onto their little patch of Kansas. They had no children, just a dog, so I'm sure my summer visits were a bit of an intrusion, but they made me feel welcome and I always looked foward to packing my bags and heading out to the farm. Unlike my brothers and sisters, the cows never picked on me--they just stared, mooed, and contentedly went on their merry way.

Monday, March 3, 2008



1. "Tramp! Tramp! Tramp!" by Nelson Eddy. This one goes way back to the 1950s. It's a red 45 RPM vinyl record in our family collection. "Tramp! Tramp! Tramp! along the highway, Tramp! Tramp! Tramp! the land is free." It's a soldier song about "Virginians and Kentucks." My older brother and I are marching to it all through the house--stomp, stomp, stomp is more like it. Mom is about to thump, thump, thump us.

2. Elvis's "Can't Help Fallin' In Love," dancing at Teentown, 1961, with a 7th grade classmate, thinking I must be in love with him. "Wise men say, only fools rush in...." Boy, ain't that the truth!?

3. "Sleep Kentucky Babe." We're singing this in 8th grade jr. high vocal music. It starts out, "Skeeters are a hummin' on the honeysuckle vine. Sleep Kentucky Babe." Except we altos on the east side of the room are changing the words around. "Babies are a suckin' on their little mama's breast. Suck Kentucky Babe." For some reason, we think this is totally hilarious. The teacher, Mrs. Cole, can't quite make out what we are saying or why we are giggling, but she's giving us dirty looks.

4. "Togetherness" is a mediocre Frankie Avalon hit during my jr. high days. The record is owned by my neighbor pal, Nancy Sue. We're in her bedroom listening to it, then pantomiming, "Two hearts are better than one heart, four lips are better than two. Come close to me, let's kiss and see what togetherness can do." We are laughing ourselves silly, especially when we get to the kissing part.

5. "Joy to the World," (not the Christmas carol) by Three Dog Night, at the Pizza Palace in Pittsburg during my college days, probably 1969 or '70. Two tables of about a dozen pals, wailing out as loudly as we can, "Jeremiah was a bullfrog, was a good friend of mine...." I'm sitting on the edge of the chairback, leading the chorus. The beer is flowing. (As I'm writing this blog, guess what song is playing on my satellite dish rock radio station? You guessed it!)

6. Everything on the Woodstock album. It's a 3-record set that cost me a bundle by 1971's standards but worthy every penny. I'm in my bedroom at Siena House in Pittsburg, a senior in college, all alone, lying down, looking at ethereal images cast on the dark green walls by a black light. "Wooden Ships," sung by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, is one of my favorites. "Wooden ships on the water. Very free and easy." The melody is very soothing but the lyrics are's actually about the aftermath of a nuclear war.

7. "I Can See Clearly Now," by Johnny Nash, and Helen Reddy's "I Am Woman," 1971, Dallas, Texas. Carpooling on North Dallas Freeway with some apartment complex neighbors to our downtown jobs, I come to the realization that I hate city life. This woman can clearly see she wants to get back to small town Kansas, where "....It's gonna be a bright, bright sunshiny day."

8. "Havin' My Baby," by Paul Anka. It's 1975, I'm driving east back to Eureka on Highway 54, when this song comes on my car radio, and I immediately turn it off. "I HATE this song!" I groan aloud to no one but me. The lyrics are just too sappy and male chauvinistic. Beyond description but here are a few: "Whoa the seed inside ya, Baby, do you feel it growin'?" Well, I grow sick just thinking about this song.

9. "If," by Bread, and "Baker Street," by Gerry Rafferty. It's 1978 and Big Bore and I are canoodling in my garage apartment in Eureka. He is a 23-year-old wild buck who sort of reminds me of my favorite actor at the time, Jeff Bridges. "....then one by one, the stars will all go out, and you and I will simply fly away." Sigh.

10. "She Blinded Me With Science," by Thomas Dolby, and "Walk Like an Egyptian," by The Bangles. It's the mid 1980s and I'm cruising down Broadway, the main drag in Pittsburg, with my teen-aged niece and nephew. The stereo is turned up full blast and we are singing along and "sit dancing." The Honda is shaking like an earthquake. "Good heavens, Mrs. Sakamoto! You're beautiful!"

Sunday, March 2, 2008


My senior year in college, I lived in a 2-story dump in Pittsburg called Siena House, named after Saint Siena, the Patron Saint of Italy. Most of the girls who lived there were Catholic. I was a heathen Methodist, but they let me move in anyway. I think they were desperate for some more roomies so they could keep the rent at $20.00 a month apiece.

Unfortunately, Saint Siena wasn't watching over our house during the summer of 1970, because that's when we residents became the victims of Benny the Burglar, a very talented cat burglar, I might add. How he broke through one of Siena's window screens, stole purses in six different bedrooms, four of them upstairs, while we were girls were asleep, is just mindboggling. And, he did it TWICE!

Both times, we found our purses strewn in the yard, bereft of money. I lost a total of $15.00 from the heists, which doesn't sound like much, but when you consider that I was making 90 cents an hour from my minimum wage campus cafeteria job, it was a lot. Bummer.

The Pittsburg Police Department investigated, going so far as to plant an officer in the house one night, but, of course, Benny chose not to show up. It was believed he was the same guy who was arrested for attacking a coed early one morning as she was reporting to work at the cafeteria. She had the presence of mind to yell like a Banshee, help arrived in a snap, and he was hauled off to jail. We didn't have further visits from Benny after that.

To this day I can't figure out how not a single one of us girls woke up during these break-ins. After the first burglary, I kept my purse on the floor right next to the head of my bed. Why didn't I wake up? Of course, if I had awakened and discovered Benny lurking over me, I would have totally freaked out and could have lost more than my money. Maybe it was just safer to roll out the welcome mat, remain asleep, and let ol' Benny and his sticky fingers have at it with the purses.

Saturday, March 1, 2008


Big Bore has coined the term, "Pulling a Nancy" for those many times when I'm absent-minded or careless. Some examples of this behavior: leaving my billfold atop a toilet paper dispenser in Wal-Mart, sitting on my eyeglasses, and practically hitting the front porch railing when backing the car out the driveway...every time. Oh, the list goes on and on. Depending on the severity of the "pull," I either end up in a panic, pout, or laugh at myself. Big Bore always reacts by shaking his head, sighing, and saying, "Well, you've pulled another Nancy."

This brings me to the best joke I ever "pulled" on him, when I "pulled a Nancy" a few years ago at Wilson Lake in western Kansas. We were on our way to Colorado when Big Bore suggested we take a break and check out the lake. I was driving and more than ready to stop, stretch, tinkle. Typical woman.

We found one of those little hole-in-the-ground toilet facilities that are so common at lakes, and I went dashing in while he took pictures of the peaceful scenery--not knowing that all hell was about to break loose.

Once inside the privy, I placed my cars keys on the concrete floor, and then a fabulous idea hit me. After relieving myself, I was going to pretend that the keys had dropped down into the hole. Ooooohhhh! I couldn't wait to see his reaction. This would be the grandest, fake "Pulling a Nancy" ever!

As I left the outhouse, Big Bore snapped a picture of me (above), laughing, not knowing what was to come.

"Honey," I whined. "You're not going to believe what just happened."


"Don't be mad," I hesitated, "...but...the car keys slipped out of my hand when I was pulling up my sweatpants, and they fell into the privy hole." I scrunched up my best pathetic face.

"They what???!!!"

"It was an accident. They just slipped and...."

"You've GOT to be kidding!!!"

This time he wasn't just shaking his head and sighing. He was speechless. I could sense his blood pressure rising. Was that steam I saw coming out of his ears? As he approached me and the privy, I had to make a quick decision: tell him the truth immediately or string him along and have him come inside to take a dirty look for himself. I opted for the safer move.

"Yeah, I'm just kiiiiiiiiiiid-ing!" I smiled sweetly. I removed the keys from my pants pocket and swung them before his eyes.

The tension released before he blew a gasket, and he started laughing. Big Bore admires a good joke as well as the next long as he's not having to stick his head and hands into a tank full of raw sewage. It's one thing to "Pull a Nancy." It could be quite another to "Push Big Bore's Limits."