Older Than Dirt!

A young person asked the other day “What was your favorite fast food when you were growing up?”

I answeredWe didn’t have fast food when I was growing up.  It was all slow.”

C’mon, seriously” he continued,  “Where did you eat?”

I sighed that older person’s sigh and answeredIt was a place called home.”

To clarify, I told him Mom cooked every day and when Dad got home from work, we sat down together at the dining room table.”  I further explained “And if I didn’t like what she put on my plate, I was allowed to sit there until I did!”

By this time, the kid was laughing so hard I was afraid he was going to suffer serious internal damage, so I didn’t tell him the part about how I had to have permission to leave the table.

Here are some other things I would have told him about my childhood if I figured his system could have handled it: 

Some parents NEVER owned their own house, wore Levis , set foot on a golf course, travelled out of the country or had a credit card .

My parents never drove me to school. I had two good legs and at one point a bicycle that weighed probably 50 pounds, and it only had one speed -S L O W

The first television in our house was, of course, black and white, but there was a screen we could put on it that turned the sky blue and the grass green.  The 3 stations we had went off the air at 11, after playing the national anthem. It came back on the air at about 6 a.m. and there was usually a locally produced news and farm show on, featuring local people.  The only stuff worth watching was on Saturday mornings and Sunday nights.  Period!

I never had a telephone in my room. The only phone was on a party line and before you could dial, you had to listen and make sure some people weren’t already using the line.  If so, you’d hang up and wait.  Or if you were like me, you’d listen 😉

Pizzas were not delivered to our home… But milk was.

All newspapers were delivered by boys and all boys delivered newspapers.  My brother delivered a newspaper, six days a week before school and on Saturday.

Movie stars kissed with their mouths shut. At least, they did in the movies!  There were no movie ratings because all movies were responsibly produced for everyone to enjoy viewing, without profanity or violence or most anything offensive .

(Growing up isn’t what it used to be, is it?)

Another memory (that, according to this generation, prove I’m older than dirt!)

Have you ever seen a cola bottle with a stopper with holes in it and wondered what it was?  Did you ever see your mother or grandmother iron and see them use it?  If yes, you are as old as dirt too!  If not, you’ll have no idea.  I’ve heard kids guess it was a homemade salt shaker.  Wrong.  It was to sprinkle water on clothes that were being ironed.  They didn’t have steam irons, so they made their own!  I got a steam iron when I got married, but before then?
Sprinkle Sprinkle Sprinkle!

(Man, I am old!)

Okay, here’s an Older Than Dirt Quiz :

How many do you remember?  Count all the ones that you remember, NOT the ones you were told about  (Ratings at the bottom)

Head lights dimmer switches on the floor
Ignition switches on the dashboard

Pant leg clips for bicycles without chain guards

Wearing plastic bread bags over your shoes instead of boots

Curling irons you heat on a gas burner or wood stove
Using hand signals for cars without turn signals
 
Candy cigarettes
Coffee shops with table side juke boxes
Home milk delivery in glass bottles 
Party lines on the telephones
 
Newsreels before the movie

Serials and cartoons before the movie
Drive Ins
TV
test patterns that came on at night after the last show before and were there until TV shows started again in the morning
Peashooters
Cap guns
It’s Howdy Doody
 Time
45s and 78s records
33 1/3 Hi-fi records
Metal ice trays with lever
 
Blue flashbulbs
 
Cork popguns
 
Studebakers
 
Wash tub wringers
 
Outhouses

If you remembered 0-3 = You’re still young
If you remembered 3-6 = You are getting older
If you remembered 7-10 = Don’t tell your age
If you remembered 11+ = You’re older than dirt !!

We might be older than dirt but those memories are some of the best parts of our lives

…but on the bright side

So much time is spent negatively talking about, writing about, thinking about, debating about, and snarking about, our country in the last several years, that many folks forget what it feels like to be proud of who we are, where we live, who we cry for, and what we die for. Perhaps forgotten too, that the generations before us fought and died, lived and dreamed, for the same things we are fighting, dying, living, and dreaming for today.  And the generations after us will do the same.

I, for one, am taking a moment to remember that we do have a brighter side.

For this one moment, as bittersweet tears softly track the history of my life in the wrinkles on my face, I’ll remember how they got there.  This facial road map of my life’s joys and sorrows distinguish me from anyone else, just as our country’s road map is like no other.  And as I look at her wrinkles, I’ll remember how they got there too.

I love my country, wrinkles and all, and invite anyone needing a reminder of what that feels like, to read about and listen to others who felt the same.

The history of a special song, written for a special place, sung by a special woman, needed by a hurting people…

Frank Sinatra considered Kate Smith the best singer of her time, and said that when he and a million other guys first heard her sing “God Bless America” on the radio, they all pretended to have dust in their eyes as they wiped away a tear or two.

Here are the facts… At the bottom of this post, you’ll see the link to the video showing the very first public singing of “GOD BLESS AMERICA“. But before you watch it, you should also know the story behind the first public showing of the song.

The time was 1940. America was still in a terrible economic depression. Hitler was taking over Europe and Americans were afraid we’d have to go to war. It was a time of hardship and worry for most Americans.

This was the era just before TV, when radio shows were HUGE, and American families sat around their radios in the evenings, listening to their favorite entertainers, and no entertainer of that era was bigger than Kate Smith.

Kate was also large; plus size, as we now say, and the popular phrase still used today is in deference to her, “It ain’t over till the fat lady sings.” Kate Smith might not have made it big in the age of TV, but with her voice coming over the radio, she was the biggest star of her time.

Kate was also patriotic. It hurt her to see Americans so depressed and afraid of what the next day would bring . She had hope for America, and faith in her fellow Americans. She wanted to do something to cheer them up, so she went to the famous American song-writer, Irving Berlin (who also wrote “White Christmas”) and asked him to write a song that would make Americans feel good again about their country. When she described what she was looking for, he said he had just the song for her.

He went to his files and found a song that he had written, but never published, 22 years before – way back in 1917. He gave it to her and she worked on it with her studio orchestra. She and Irving Berlin were not sure how the song would be received by the public, but both agreed they would not take any profits from God Bless America. Any profits would go to the Boy Scouts of America. Over the years, the Boy Scouts have received millions of dollars in royalties from this song.

This video starts out with the news, then Kate Smith coming into the radio studio with the orchestra and an audience. She introduces the new song for the very first time, and starts singing. After the first couple verses, with her voice in the background still singing, scenes are shown from the 1940 movie, “You’re In The Army Now.” At the 4:20 mark of the video you see a young actor in the movie, sitting in an office, reading a paper; it’s Ronald Reagan, the future 40th president of the United States, and at 69, the oldest president ever elected.

To this day, God Bless America stirs our patriotic feelings and pride in our country. Back in 1940, when Kate Smith went looking for a song to raise the spirits of her fellow Americans, I doubt whether she realized just how successful the results would be for her fellow Americans during those years of hardship and worry… and for many generations of Americans to follow.

Now that you know the story of the song, I hope you’ll enjoy it and treasure it even more. Many people don’t know there’s a lead in to the song since it usually starts with “God Bless America …” So here’s the entire song as originally sung… ENJOY!

Today, I exercise my right to remove the flag from underneath the flag-stomper du jour and wave it proudly in the air.

God Bless America…and all who stomp on her.

Good Analogy or Same Ol’ Shit Politics? YOU answer that for yourselves

For me, I think the commentary below is a damned good analogy for Obama-care…aka The Affordable Care Act.

Yeah me, the ‘so-called’ middle class…the one who is now paying more than twice the cost for less than half the coverage.

The one who can no longer afford to go to the doctor, even though I have insurance, because the deductible is a joke.

No…worse…the deductible is half a year’s living expenses.

Political?

I wish it were that easy.

Reality?

You betcha.

I am one of those who has insurance, but will never reap the benefit of the (50% greater) amount taken from the paycheck for the simple fact that, the (4x greater) deductible is more than we could ever afford to pay on top of the premiums.

Therefore, for all (his) intents and (his) purposes…we consider ourselves one of the “Insured WITHOUT the state and federal benefits of the uninsured”

Yes, this is the reality.  If you are part of the subsidized health exchange system…good for you.

If you are not…like me…then this is our reality.

Does this mean I’m anti-poor or anti-needy?  HELL NO!

Does this mean because I work and you don’t, I am responsible for taking care of YOU before I can take care of me and my own?  NO

Does this mean I think I deserve decent, affordable health coverage because that’s what I pay for?  YES

Do I think there is a better way to achieve this than Obama-care?  YES

Why?

Because more than 50% of what my household makes ALREADY goes to the government.

When is it enough?

When is it going to be okay to think YOU take care of YOU and YOURS and I take care of ME and MINE is the way it should be, if at all possible?

Charity begins at home.  Right?

Charity comes from the heart.  Right?

Charity is NOT a mandatory tax.  Right?

Since when did the government become a charity?

I give what I can when I can, which is often.

I have never passed another human being in need, without offering a helping hand.

When did that cease to be ‘charitable’?

The future Analogy of which I speak (and please, this is not a personal attack on the Prez…just his policy) is outlined below:

Affordable Plumbing Act

Only weeks after leaving office on Jan. 20, 2017, former President Barack Obama discovers a leak under his sink, so he calls Troy the Plumber to come out and fix it.

Troy drives to Obama’s new house, which is located in a very exclusive, gated community near Chicago where all the residents have a net income of way more than $250,000 per year.

Troy arrives and takes his tools into the house. He is led to the guest bathroom that contains the leaky pipe under the sink. Troy assesses the problem and tells Obama that it’s an easy repair that will take less than 10 minutes. Obama asks Troy how much it will cost. Troy checks his rate chart and says, “$9,500.”

“What?! $9,500?!” Obama asks, stunned, “But you said it’s an easy repair. Michelle will whip me if I pay a plumber that much!”

Troy says, “Yes, but what I do is charge those who make more than $250,000 per year a much higher amount so I can fix the plumbing of poorer people for free. This has always been my philosophy. As a matter of fact, I lobbied the Democrat Congress, who passed this philosophy into law. Now all plumbers must do business this way. It’s known as the ‘Affordable Plumbing Act of 2014′. I’m surprised you haven’t heard of it.”

In spite of that, Obama tells Troy there’s no way he’s paying that much for a small plumbing repair, so Troy leaves. Obama spends the next hour flipping through the phone book calling for another plumber, but he finds that all other plumbing businesses in the area have gone out of business. Not wanting to pay Troy’s price, Obama does nothing and the leak goes un-repaired for several more days. A week later the leak is so bad Obama has had to put a bucket under the sink.

Michelle is not happy as she has Oprah and guests arriving the next morning. The bucket fills up quickly and has to be emptied every hour, and there’s a risk the room will flood, so Obama calls Troy and pleads with him to return.

Troy goes back to Obama’s house, looks at the leaky pipe, checks his new rate chart and says, “Let’s see, this will now cost you $21,000.”

Obama quickly fires back, “What? A few days ago you told me it would cost $9,500!”

Troy explains, “Well, because of the ‘Affordable Plumbing Act,’ a lot of wealthier people are learning how to maintain and take care of their own plumbing, so there are fewer payers in the plumbing exchanges. As a result, the price I have to charge wealthy people like you keeps rising. Not only that, but for some reason the demand for plumbing work by those who get it for free has skyrocketed! There’s a long waiting list of those who need repairs, but the amount we get doesn’t cover our costs, especially paperwork and record-keeping. This unfortunately has put a lot of my fellow plumbers out of business, they’re not being replaced, and nobody is going into the plumbing business because they know they can’t make any money at it. I’m hurting too, all thanks to greedy rich people like you who won’t pay their ‘fair share’. On the other hand, why didn’t you buy plumbing insurance last December? If you had bought plumbing insurance available under the ‘Affordable Plumbing Act,’ all this would have been covered by your policy.”

“You mean I wouldn’t have to pay anything to have you fix my plumbing problem?” asks Obama.

“Well, not exactly,” replies Troy. “You would have had to buy the insurance before the deadline, which has passed now. And, because you’re rich, you would have had to pay $34,000 in premiums, which would have given you a ‘silver’ plan, and then, since this would have been your first repair, you would have to pay up to the $21,000 deductible, and anything over that would have a $7,500 co-pay, and then there’s the mandatory maintenance program, which is covered up to 17.5%, so there are some costs involved. Nothing is for free.”

“WHAT?!” exclaims Obama. “Why so much for a puny sink leak?!”

With a bland look, Troy replies, “Well, paperwork, mostly, like I said. And the internal cost of the program itself. You don’t think a program of this complexity and scope can run itself, do you? Besides, there are millions of folks with lower incomes than you, even many in the ‘middle class’, who qualify for subsidies that people like you must support. That’s why they call it the ‘Affordable Plumbing Act’! Only people who don’t make much money can afford it. If you want affordable plumbing, you’ll have to give away most of what you have accumulated and cut your and Michelle’s income by about 90%. Then you can qualify to get your ‘Fair Share’ instead of giving it.”

“But who would pass a crazy act like the ‘Affordable Plumbing Act’?!” exclaims the exasperated Obama.

After a sigh, Troy replies, “Congress… because they didn’t read it.”

“Misogynistic MINI Mechanics” or “WHOA…Them Dudes Make a Shit-ton of Dough!

After 3 weeks, I leave the Great Frozen North (a.k.a. The Northeast Kingdom) Friday, on the journey south to reclaim Mini Me and head home to Virginia on Saturday.

The hotel room near the dealership is booked so I can arrive at the service door bright and early Saturday morning to pick her up.

Speaking of the dealership…I was in contact with them today, as I had asked them to do an ‘extended’ test drive to make sure she was sound, knowing I was leaving for Virginia directly from picking her up.

Word back from the Wrench Wench was…

“The test drive went really well, the Mini’s purring, but one of her high beams is out.”

“Which one?” I ask

“Driver’s side high beam” she replies

“Really? I had that replaced in July” I remind her, since she has all the service records.

“Maybe the other dealership used an aftermarket bulb” suggested she.

“Not sure what you mean by aftermarket bulb Marissa. Last I checked, the bulbs were not MINI specific. As far as I can tell from the receipt, they installed a Sylvania 9008, which seems to be the standard.”

“Do you want us to fix it? If you do, I can order the bulb today and it will be here tomorrow.”

“Order it?  You don’t HAVE one?  What would that cost me Marissa?”

“$78.96”

“To replace a bulb????”

“The cost of the bulb is $13.96 plus tax. Labor to install is $69.13. And, if you had it replaced at a dealership last time, maybe they would offer a warranty on the bulb?”

“Marissa, the cost to replace that same bulb in July was $36 complete. I think charging $69 just to install a bulb is MORE than UNREASONABLE! I’m not sure why your quote is so high, but would appreciate if you could work with me on the price (not to mention, between me and the warranty company, you just got paid 8,600 bucks!”

” I can’t really speak for other dealer’s pricing. All dealerships vary around the country usually because of state differences.”

“Well, I think I’ll pass on your installing a replacement bulb and I’ll take care of it when I get home.”


Sing along with me?

I dream of Mini with the bright gold lights

Yeah, you’d think so wouldn’t you?

I’m really not convinced this entire scenario would have played out the same way had I, been a bloke and not a sheila.

Even a sheila as mouthy as me.

Who’s to know for sure.

All I do know, is that come Saturday morning…I’m back behind the wheel, headed home.

And depending on how fast I dare to drive until I know Mini Me is with me or against me…

14 or so hours later (I’m taking the road less traveled home), I’ll be in my own bed, snugglin’ with my Sadie, and scratching my husband.

Really?

Really?

Oh wait…In my own bed, scratching my Sadie and snugglin’ my husband.

Either way…I’ll be at a Ford dealership the day after.

Depend on it!

I’ll let ya know how it goes.

🙂

If it ain’t broke…

land mines
Barbara Walters, of 20/20, did a story on gender roles in Kabul, Afghanistan, several years before the Afghan conflict.

She noted that women customarily walked five paces behind their husbands.

She recently returned to Kabul and observed that women still walk behind their husbands.

Despite the overthrow of the oppressive Taliban regime, the women now seem happy to maintain the old custom.

Ms Walters approached one of the Afghani women and asked,

‘Why do you now seem happy with an old custom that you once tried so desperately to change?’
The woman looked Ms Walters straight in the eyes, and without hesitation said,

“Land mines.”

And Now You Know the Rest of the Story…

His name was Fleming, and he was a poor Scottish farmer.
One day, while trying to make a living for his family, he heard a cry for help coming from a nearby bog.
He dropped his tools and ran to the bog.
There, mired to his waist in black muck, was a terrified boy, screaming and struggling to free himself.
Farmer Fleming saved the lad from what could have been a slow and terrifying death.

The next day, a fancy carriage pulled up to the Scotsman’s sparse surroundings.
An elegantly dressed nobleman stepped out and introduced himself as the father of the boy Farmer Fleming had saved.
‘I want to repay you,’ said the nobleman. ‘You saved my son’s life.’
‘No, I can’t accept payment for what I did,’ the Scottish farmer replied waving off the offer.

At that moment, the farmer’s own son came to the door of the family hovel.

‘Is that your son?’ the nobleman asked.

‘Yes,’ the farmer replied proudly.

‘I’ll make you a deal. Let me provide him with the level of education my own son will enjoy.  If the lad is anything like his father, he’ll no doubt grow to be a man we both will be proud of.’

And that he did.

Farmer Fleming’s son attended the very best schools and in time, graduated from St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School in London.

He went on to become known throughout the world as the noted

Sir Alexander Fleming.

The discoverer of Penicillin.

Years afterward, the same nobleman’s son, who was saved from the bog, was stricken with pneumonia.

What saved his life this time?

Penicillin.

The name of the nobleman?

Lord Randolph Churchill .

His son’s name?

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Sir Winston Churchill

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“The simple act of paying attention can take you a long way.”