Keep Up The Good Work

A person holding a megaphone with the words " great job !" in front of it.

One of the things I really enjoy is receiving emails from my friends telling me what’s going on in their world.  My last WOW generated quite a few replies and I enjoyed each one.  I have come to accept the undeniable fact that the more contact I have with the people I enjoy, the better my life becomes.  Reaching out reveals, I think, a need to include others in your life and to enhance your life through your shared mutual experiences.  Some of the experiences you relate to me make me laugh, others make me sad, and still others make me think.  When all is said and done, I am a better person because people like you choose to reveal a small slice or your life, or an opinion, with me.   To all of you who share I say “Keep up the good work!â€. 

The other evening around 7:00 pm I had finished reading our daily paper, put it aside for my wife to read in a couple of months (her pile goes back to March) and reclined in my chair for a nap.  After all, naps are what people my age are notorious for taking.   I quickly approached that area of sleep we all strive for called REM (Rapid Eye Movement).  It is this stage of sleep that is supposed to be the most rewarding.  It is where I either, become a hero, or I’m scared out of my wits; I’m slaying dragons, or being chased by something and it is impossible for me to escape.   Just as I’m about to do something heroic, Jerilyn puts her hand on my shoulder, shakes me vigorously and tells me to “Wake up, wake up, there are about 7 poopin’ geese in the back yardâ€.   You should know that we are very unkind to Canadian Geese in our back yard.  They remind me of when I used to go up Clell Holler to visit my Grandma & Grandpa Hale.  They had plenty of chicken and those chickens roamed everywhere.  There was practically no place you could go without stepping on their droppings.

Anyway, I groggily got out of my chair, headed for the garage to obtain my weapon of choice (a Wal-Mart slingshot and a pocket full of marbles) and out the door I go in my best Indian crouch, slingshot loaded, hiding behind trees and bushes as I approach my prey.   Half-way there they pick up my scent, or whatever it is they pick up, and stand very silent and vigilant.  I step from behind the tree and let go with my first shot, it goes zinging over their heads into the creek.  I reload again with the same results.    I expected, I guess, that the geese would start to chatter amongst themselves, but, they just stood there quietly.  I knew it was useless to hit one of the males, so I concentrated only on the small females.  If I could hurt one of them, it would fly away and the others would follow.  On the fourth shot I nailed a small female and in unison every goose went airborne, flying down the creek screeching epithets at me.  Geese have a very good memory, so I don’t expect them back for another six months.  My slingshot and marbles are waiting for me in the garage.

A few weeks ago someone left a message on our answering machine.  It lasted about 2 minutes, but, what caught my attention was the number of times “you know†was used (16).  That is probably the most over used phrase in the English language.   I think, perhaps, we use it as a placeholder while we think of the next thing we want to say, but it becomes very distracting when it is used too much.   Since that time, I have tried to notice how often I used that phrase and as it turns out, I too, am guilty of the same, only not quite as often as the caller.  So let it be known far and wide, the “you know†police are out monitoring conversations and tickets will be forthcoming.  

I took our truck to our local Dodge dealership the other day.  They called a few days earlier and offered me a special rate ($40) for an oil change, tire rotation, car wash and 24 point inspection.  I also had them replace the PCV valve (positive crankcase ventilation) and fix a problem I was having with it idling to fast and the cruise control not working.  Total cost was $125.  I wasn’t unhappy with that price, considering the amount of additional work assigned to them.  I specifically stated to the service rep that I wanted it greased.  I gave her a list of things I wanted done.  I get home with the truck, and as I normally do, I changed clothes and crawled underneath to see that it was greased.  The reason for doing that is the last four times I took my vehicles to have it serviced (I normally do it myself) it has not been lubricated.  Yup!  You guessed correctly, it wasn’t.  Aggravation is not a condition I enjoy, but as you can imagine, aggravation set in on me big time.  I head inside and call the service rep and explained to her what happened.  “Hold onâ€, says she, “I will check with the mechanicâ€.  She returns shortly and says “I checked with the mechanic and he says it didn’t need greasingâ€.  “Ladyâ€, says I, “I specifically stated that I wanted that done and I’m very unhappy that it wasn’t!  Your company normally calls me after a visit to inquire as to my experience.  I will tell them I was very unhappyâ€.  “Wellâ€, say she, “that’s unfortunate, but do what you have to doâ€.  I am not a violent man, but people are pushing me in that direction

My wife and I ran our favorite trail today (Noland), but this time it had a different twist: it was pouring rain.  The Trail is about 30 minutes from our home and all the way there she was fretting over the possibility of rain.   We arrive at our starting point and, sure enough, it started to drizzle.  We decide to proceed without our customary warm-up.  Well, about 1.5 miles later it starts to pour, I look over at Jerilyn (she has a piece of plastic over her head) and she is drenched.   I tell her, without cracking a smile, “You aren’t really wet until your underwear is wet, so you can’t judge by your outer garmentsâ€.   She looks back at me with a frown and says “Well, I’m officially wet!â€.  So was I.  We finished our run in 55 minutes, dried ourselves as best we could with the towels we took with us and jumped into the truck, both of us feeling a surge of enthusiasm for what we had just been through.   Sometimes, the rain can wash our cares aware, renew our energy and improve our outlook for a short period of time.  That’s what it did for us.  I expect that renewal to last all day.  I’m already looking forward to the next time we can run and play in the rain like children.

I hope you’re enjoying whatever season it is in your part of the world.  Thanks for reading my monthly missive.