Monday, October 26, 2009


I’m an early riser but after a day of several appointments I decided to sleep in this morning. It’s now 6:30 a.m. and the neighbor’s lawn mower has me wide awake. As I sip my coffee I wait for the bizarre procedure to end: mow the lawn, water the lawn, mow the lawn again (yes, again), edge the lawn with a gasoline powered edger, and finally, FINALLY, use the loudest blower known to man – and this routine takes place sometimes twice a week!
I wouldn’t complain so much about the noise, if the blower operator would at least blow all the clippings, leaves and debris into a pile, then pick everything up and get rid of it (preferably by recycling). But that’s not what most people do. They use their blowers to disperse the mess they’ve made to their neighbors’ yards and gutters. Thanks, but no thanks, if I wanted a carpet of grass and crap covering my sidewalk I have six hundred square feet of yard that could easily supply my needs.
I can’t figure it out. A blower isn’t like a ray gun; it can’t make junk disintegrate – it’s gotta go someplace! And if the idea of yard work is to make things look nice and tidy, where does a gutter full of litter fit into the picture?
It must be true; beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
FACT OR FIB – you be the judge.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


When I was growing up if someone had mentioned the word supermarket, people would have said, “Huh?” What we had were corner stores. Ours was owned and run by three men: Jimmy, Carmine, and Whispering Johnny. These guys knew everybody, as well as their shopping preferences. If a kid was sent to the store (which was usually the case) the men made sure the child bought the correct brand for that particular household. And all three guys were friendly with everyone.
Although for the most part the checkers in the supermarkets are friendly, it’s not exactly the same kind of friendly. Or it wasn’t until Babs (I’m calling her Babs for anonymity sake because I think she got fired) came on the scene. Babs was in her forties with contacts a startling shade of blue, and a friendly personality in the extreme. Once you dealt with her you couldn’t help but like her – and of course she liked you back. From that time on, if you were smart, you’d check in with Babs as soon as you entered the store. Otherwise a surprise greeting was eminent. The second Babs spotted a friend she’d come flying down the aisle to throw her arms around the person and give them a big smack on the cheek. And this welcoming would take place even if it meant leaving startled customers stranded in the midst of a transaction – I’m afraid that was Babs’ downfall.
Her friendliness was an asset to the store so I think the manager put up with a lot for a while: snacking on items as she stocked shelves, walking off and leaving a long time of people (“Break time,” she’d call over her shoulder, “be back in ten.”) and hiding out if she didn’t feel like working. Once we spent a good five minutes searching her out because we had an important question. After going up and down the aisles in vain, we ended up near the glassed-in enclosure where the video rentals were displayed. A movie was playing on one of the TV’s inside the room and the music caught my attention. I glanced over, and above the stacks of movies were two hands swaying high in the air. Hubby went to the door and peeked in.
“There you are,” he said, as someone grabbed him and pulled him inside. By the time I got to the door, both him and Babs were dancing up a storm.
We haven’t seen Babs in a long time, but the memories of those shopping days are as vivid as the days, long ago, when Whispering Johnny would carefully help me select the correct brand of peas.
When was the last time grocery shopping was a memorable event for you? Stay vigilant, it might be today.
FACT OR FIB – you be the judge.