Autumn

Autumn

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Hallmark

My lovely wife has for the last week or so been tied to the Hallmark channel. She loves their Christmas shows.

A few moments ago I made the comment it might be nice if the writers made a few changes I would, perhaps, watch one. She asked what changes. I replied, well, cast a few normal actors. Perhaps an ugly bucktoothed fella or girl and make them poor. Have them live in the country, chew tobacco and pack rifles and handguns with a hog pen in the backyard.

Why make all the characters beautiful, wealthy, with castles for homes and a staff of twenty.

She turns to me and said, "Last week one show had a poor mother of two. She did not have a job and lived in her car. So there."

Tick, tick, tick...then I smartly said, "Yes, but she was still beautiful."

She gave me 'the look.'


Stephen

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Distracted

So when you're distracted what do you write. My mind is, again, blank. Picture me in deep thought. Wait for it...


The holiday season is underway and I can't seem to find my spirit for eggnog and mistletoe and holly berry flecked door wreaths. The jingles and jangles of Christmas music leave me empty. Still, I have children in my life.

The local school pack that each day walk along the sidewalk in front of my shop on their way home from the elementary school stopped this afternoon, as is their way. They always ask to visit inside my business, which gives me pause. One must be careful with children so I always leave open the door...and again, today they asked permission to visit. Seems to thrill the little boogers. Imagine a pack of second graders, each in full scream, bouncing off the walls as I stand and hold my door. Fifteen seconds, in and out.


Anyway, I'm normally all smiles when they leave. One or two will ask for jobs and when I hire them how much 'monies' will I pay. The standard answer is one hundred dollars an hour which elicits screams of pure joy. The first time I told the children their hourly rate one little boy ran, in full scream, down the street, "One hundred dollars an hour. Wait until I tell mommy." Oops....

This afternoon they each left with a piece of bubblegum. They seemed satisfied. At least until tomorrow.

The one little boy that ran home and informed his mother of his new job and hourly pay hasn't forgotten and reminds me each day he's ready for work. He told me his mother said she'd pack him a lunch and wants to know when she should expect him home after we close shop.

I'm willing to bet this young man isn't a future democrat.

Ah, there it is...my holiday spirit.

Stephen

 




Monday, November 26, 2012

The Day in Pictures

The day trip went well. Sweet Wife is happy. Last evening, when we arrived home and as we walked inside she turned to me and said, "Wasn't it a nice day." She's easy like that.

The true purpose of our trip, as it is every year, was flowers. 

The cemetery is old, and many acres in size. This cemetery holds the spirits of Spanish explorers of which my wife is a descendant, and as such, her family has the honor of a large plot set aside for their eternal rest by the local Village government. Sweet Wife has lovingly informed me I shall rest here, too, when my time has expired. I think not but that's another story. 

Now, allow me please, to explain this picture.



Her name is Elizabeth. She became an angel in her twenty-first year of life.

Many years ago, after my father-in-law's death, we made monthly visits to his grave. My wife, as you might expect, was in deep shock; her father after all. Each visit required fresh or artificial arraignments. With each removal of the last token of her love and remembrance the flowers were placed in the trash. I thought this a waste, yet never hesitated in my wife's wishes. It was, after all, a sad period in her life.

Then, Elizabeth came into my life. Her grave was located upon a rise just north of my father-in-laws stone. One cold sunny afternoon as I waited with Sweet Wife, discarded flowers in hand, I noticed Elizabeth's marker. Her grave is within a granite fenced plot. Her parents watch eternity alongside her. The lack of care and visitation was very obvious. For some reason this bothered me and so I walked over and without thought placed the flowers at her marker, flowers destined for the dump had new purpose.

I wish I knew Elizabeth's story. 

I like to imagine her beautiful, perhaps with ringlets of brown hair and dark eyes with a constant smile of deeply red lips. I imagine her tall and well read, intelligent. Until those last few days of her life (Influenza, I'm sure) I like to imagine her happy with life.

I've placed flowers at her grave for the last twelve years.  In all this time I've never witnessed evidence of other visits. It's possible her descendants have joined her. In any case, she'll not be forgotten as she's now my Elizabeth.


In the above photo Sweet Wife prepares a Christmas arrangement for her father's grave. She'd kick my butt if she knew I'd taken and posted this picture.

The cemetery, like I've said, his huge. Its filled with ancient trees and as its close to both river and ocean there is a constant breeze and the Spanish moss is thick and ever in movement. During summer's intense heat the sites deep shade is a relief and of course it chills under winter's winds. When we visit I always go walkabout.

Once, on one of my walkabout's I discovered a plot of graves all with the same appearance. Each marker engraved with the same date of death. A garden of nuns, sweet wives of God. All died of influenza. Ten all together. I always walk over and say hello. Ten plain little stone markers of simple sisterly names and dates gone now these many years and I'm sure each died while giving help to another sick soul.

Yesterday I walked down hill and paid my respects to the 1st Florida Infantry Battalion. These good men lost their lives in service to our country in the Spanish-American War.


The above picture: the graves of the 1st Florida. I never taken a count of the markers. There are many grouped in the shade of old palm trees.

I snapped this photo of Alvin's stone as it had recently been cleaned. I believe the war was fought in 1889. Correct me if I'm mistaken.


We left the cemetery and made our way into the local village for seafood. It was a chilly day and Sweet Wife was ready to eat. I went along for the ride....

I love the way she waits...her hands almost always crossed in front, delicate like...

The evidence of our meal is printed on the place mat. We were, after all, in a fishing town famous for its shrimp and seafood festivals. I ordered shrimp with a side of oysters. First things first which means iced sweet tea.

Then, my meal. When the cold winds blow the oysters turn sweet and tangy and firm fleshed and when fried they require Tabasco...


I have a silly habit, as I wait for my meal, of paper flower construction. I use the papers from the straws. I always make them as a gift to my wife. I know, silly but still she smiles. Once upon a time I'd make two.

She has such delicate and tiny hands.

After lunch we parked the car and walked the village. Our day was made for a stroll. The church in the above picture is St. Peter's Episcopal. The church dates from 1855. I like it...


We ducked into an antique market. I believe it was my friend, Sandy, that left a comment on my post of yesterday in which she mentioned I'd probably not find any camping gear (Coleman) in the local antique market. Sandy, this is for you. It's a World War Two pressure gas stove used by our men to cook their meals while on the battle front. Its dated 1944 and held a price of seventy-five dollars. I passed. But still...

I know, the picture is awful hard to read. I really do need a new camera. I only use my Blackberry and it just isn't suitable for the task. I really wanted this little stove but upon close inspection I felt it needed far more work than the price justified. They offered me twenty percent off but I passed.

I also like this fifties vintage Westinghouse radio but it was pink and the price was fifty-five dollars. The price and color wasn't worth losing my dude membership admission card.

See this structure..its the local post office...kinda neat.

My favorite bookstore. Prior to the Internet and the subsequent crash in the first edition's market I'd never fail to visit. Yesterday I didn't even crack the door. How times change...

Now, some random shots. Please be warned...I'm not a good or even close to fair photographer...so deal with it.





As my wife shopped I perched outside on the many benches placed just for men like me. I sat and read or watched the pretty ladies stroll along the sidewalks. These views were taken from the many benches.







Enough.

We drove home along the coast line as the sun slowly set and offered us views of the marshes and river and many boats tied to the homeside docks. I must have counted twenty hawks, ospreys and one eagle. We crossed the long bridge as daylight passed into darkness. It had been a good day.


She fell into sleep with a smile on her face.

Stephen


  









   

Sunday, November 25, 2012

We're Off

I believe it was Bilbo Baggins who yelled the famous line, 'I'm off to an adventure.' We're about to leave too and I sincerely hope it's an adventure. Never the less, it's a day away.


I shall make an attempt at photography.

Until later,

Stephen

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Content

It's obvious I've been away for almost two days. To tell the truth my work days have been long and tiring. The morning after Thanksgiving I was back at the shop at zero dark thirty, then again today. It's funny to see the surprise on the customers faces when they drive by, brake, and walk inside...almost all say they thought I'd have been closed. I remind them I have democrats to support.

Late this afternoon, after my shop was locked, I came home and took the left over turkey and as the new age chefs like to say, 'deconstructed' that sucker. Then I built a nice stew. It met Sweet Wife's approval. It was served with garlic toast made from a baguette of French bread. Contentment in a bowl.

Tomorrow after church we shall drive north and place a Christmas arraignment on the grave of my father-in-law. Then, after Sweet Wife has a few minutes with her father, we'll walk around a quaint little village and visit a few antique stores. We'll have dinner at a local seafood joint and then a peaceful drive home. Like I said, we're content.

It's been a nice quiet Thanksgiving. I hope yours was the same.

Stephen

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Pecan Pie and Coffee

I'm stuffed. As such I was forced, made to eat a slice of pecan pie...matter of fact Sweet Wife almost had to beat me with a stick and force it down my throat. She even forced a cup of fine coffee on me.

She's mean that way.

But let me tell 'ya, Southern Pecan Pie and an excellent cup of coffee sure hits the spot on a late Thanksgiving afternoon.

Time for a nap.

Stephen

A Thanksgiving Thank You

Several sticks of butter wait upon my butcher block; I want them soft and easy to spread on the turkey's breast.

My fresh herbs are on standby, and the stock, at a low simmer since yesterday, has given the house a thyme and sage scented richness.

The fresh cranberry sauce, prepared last evening, chills in the refrigerator. I hear the Macy's parade issuing from the family room where Sweet Wife sits with a blanket wrapped around her legs.

It's cool outside.

My coffee is hot, and for all this I give the Good Lord thanks.


I'm also thankful to Mike Miles. Thanks and welcome my new friend. Mike took a chance and hit my follower button a couple of days past, and Mike, I promise to always answer your comments. Take a chair and jerk a cup of coffee and let's have a chat.



May God bless each and every one of you.

Stephen



Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Monday, November 19, 2012

Coffee Pot

I like this picture. Stumbled across it this afternoon and just want to share it with you.

I'm thinking circa 1950's.

Update, thanks to Old NFO we have a date of 1945. I had to physically raise the picture to read the date.

Stephen

Dark Waters

The lakes water is warm and deep and tannin stained like over boiled tea and it holds lily pads and cattails, and along its shores are deep pockets of shade and the odd fallen tree trunk where the bluegills hide from the bass and the boat floats just outside the edge of the lily pad field.

The boat is old. It was constructed of  cypress milled when Hoover was president and has three seats and a forward deck where the old man sculled with one paddle. He sculled in silence. The old man had the paddle locked the length of his right arm and his skill and experience barely moved the dark water.

The boy sat in the back. Between him and the old man you will find a two gallon can of red wigglers, small worms, freshly dug before sunrise and covered in dark cool earth. The boy liked the scent of them, and of the musky odor of fish beds and of the Springs chilled early morning air, and he even enjoyed the sharp brambly cloud of cigar smoke that issued from the Old Man's habit.

They each held Calcutta cane poles of six or seven feet with lines tied their length with small bream hooks and the boy had added a slim float of cork locked in place with a thin piece of twig. He liked the word, 'float,' as he had read of its proper term in one of his outdoor magazines and refused thereafter to call it a  cork or bobber. Float seemed to match his idea of correctness. It held class, so float it was but the Old Man thought it silly and yet the boy didn't care.

The Old Man insisted the red and white plastic bobber with its top activated spring button was the only gear one needed for bream and he stubbornly stuck to his way. The boy thought him silly too.


The Old man worked them close to the pads and without a word the boy extended his arm and the line slipped out and as the worm neared the water he dropped his wrist and the bait slid silently beneath the tannin waters and the boy waited as the worm sank.

The sun on his back felt warm and a slight puff of wind touched his hair, blond and long enough to just touch his shoulders. He was lean and tall and just to the point in his life where girls had become very interesting - but not today.

The bluegill simply pulled without fuss or fanfare and the boy gently applied pressure; no jerks or squeals of delight, just steady pressure and soon the slab sided fish flopped on the deck and the Old Man turned and smiled.

The boy smiled right back and gathered the bluegill and removed the hook. The fish was the size of both his hands held together. Just ahead, a field of cattails held his interest and he whispered, "Let's ease up and try the bulrushes." He'd read 'bulrushes,' too.

"Not yet, have patience."

As the boy rebaited he listened. In the distance he heard a lonely woodpecker hammer a tree and red winged black birds sing and felt the wind push and scud the clouds towards the southeast. It had been a long winter, a cold dull gray period of hard work and loss. It felt good to be back on the dark water.


The Old Man had boated two fish in the time it took the boy to rebait. The boy took the fish and strung them by their gills on the grayish rope fish stringer. He tied the stringer to the edge of the boat and lowered the fish into the water. The boy always paused to watch the fish gently fin and gulp for air but he knew they'd die quickly and he hated how they'd grow stiff and how their colors would inevitably fade, as if the water itself was jealous of their beauty and bleached the reds and blues for spite.

The Old Man glanced back at the boy and asked, "You still working down to the gas station 'wid old man Butler?"

"Yes, Sir."

The Old Man leaned and spit. The boy waited. He knew, for certain, the day would be long in interrogation. The boy had fished with the Old Man for many years. They were close in the way two kindred spirits can be in spite of their age difference.

The Old man wasn't related, but to the boy he was family. The Old Man was his neighbor. The Old Man was his father figure, by proxy. He also owned a boat, and a big worm bed and very nice vintage fishing lures with bait-casting reels and rods built by the likes of Heddon and Mitchell Garcia and South Bend and these names were important to a country boy in love with books and magazines devoted to the outdoors.

The fact the Old Man held such precious and valuable items, all that wonderful fishing gear, was important to the young man because the boy was poor. The boy's gear was simple, the equipment of peasants - the lower working class. He'd read about peasants and the hoards of bent back labor in one of his books too.

For the Old Man to own such nice equipment meant only one thing to the boy - the Old Man was rich and when the boy discovered, by snooping around the Old Man's house, his friends firearms and hunting gear, well, hell, the boy was certain they'd be friends forever.

After the Old Man spit in the water he turned back to the boy. The boat had drifted with the wind and as he shifted and sculled them back towards the lilies he continued. "Hate to change the subject but how do you feel?"

The boy understood and just shook his head, wiped a stray piece of hair from his eyes and flipped his line out towards a lily bloom. "I'm fine."

"Ain't no reason in lying to me, young man." The Old Man sighed. "I'm sorry about your friend. Awful thing. Your mother said you watched, witnessed the shooting. That true? The paper didn't give much on the details."

A few weeks prior the boy had seen his best friend murdered, shot. The killer, a kid, had stepped around the corner of the post office in their small village, had moved fast with a little .22 rifle and had shot his friend in the head.

The dark waters held the boys attention.  He took a finger and placed it just above the surface and gently tapped. The ripples from the point of impact spread gently away and faded, after time, into nothingness.

The Old Man waited. Then, "I understand. It's hard when we lose friends. It's even tougher when you witness their passing. But, boy. Look at me." The boy glanced at the Old Man. "Son, time will heal your hurt. Do you understand me?"



The boy didn't respond.  He subconsciously reached and touched his belt to feel for his handgun. It wasn't in place. He'd been in the habit of wearing the old firearm since he'd reached his tenth birthday when he'd been given a long talk by his father, the game warden, and then permission on the condition he never shot himself in the foot. That was the year before his parents had divorced.

When at home, in the country, it had been his constant companion. Then, the day after, for some unknown reason he'd failed to buckle the holster around his waste.

The night after the shooting he'd experienced awful nightmares.

The image of blood on the rear window of the car. The door open and his friend slumped sideways and how the street light highlighted the streams of gluey crimson on the glass, like little rivers of red on its way to form a lake. The clean tiny hole above his friends left eye. He even dreamed of the pool of vomit he'd left as evidence.

He wanted to fish. He wanted to watch, afterwards, as his mother and the Old Man fried the bluegills and hush-puppies and he wanted a big plate of grits soaked in butter and a tall glass of iced tea.

He just wanted to read or walk a creek bank or swim or take the Old Man's boat down to the river and sling a River Runt for bass. Or, wait until mid-night and soak a worm for catfish. He didn't care if he ever held another rifle or handgun in his life.

The Old Man waited. The boat neared an exposed log where a turtle had climbed to soak in the warm sun. Somewhere nearby a fish jumped. The boy could smell the bedding bluegills, a musty scent and unforgettable. The cattails swayed in the breeze and the boy pulled his line and gently sat the pole to one side and stretched his legs. The boy reached behind the seat and pulled a now warm Coke from his bag and without a look in the Old Man's direction, "You wanna a Coke?"

"Sure."

"You want an answer?"

"It's important."

"Truthful answer?"

"I'm your friend. I always expect truthful answers from you."

"Life sucks and I hate it and I hate the way I feel and I don't want to shoot anymore and I have awful dreams, and..."

The Old Man cut him off with, "It's okay, Son. I understand. You must believe me when I tell you time will heal your wounds."

Then, the boy screamed, "Why do people always give me that shit? Why? It didn't make my father come home and I haven't seen Jesus yet and God never answers my prayers. Why?"

The Old Man, "Quiet, Son, you'll scare the fish."

Without a moments hesitation the boy stood and dove into the dark water.

Later, on the drive home, as the Old Man's truck rattled and shook and as the boy sat shamed faced and wet, the Old Man asked, "Feel better?"

"Yes, Sir."

"Boy."

"Yes, Sir."

"I'm serious. Time will heal your wounds and you will shoot again, and life will get better. Take some time off from books and guns and shooting and game and fish and pay attention to the girls. They have a way of healing a man's soul. Trust me. We'll fish again next month. Okay."

"Yes, Sir. You gonna tell my mother I acted the fool today?"

"Nope. We'll tell her you just fell in...she'll believe that little white lie, knowing you."

He kept his word, and the Old Man was right.

The boy loved the Old Man...even when he too passed on to those dark waters.

Stephen







   




    

  

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Later

As I've seen others post - no blog for you today. Well, maybe just a bit.

As soon as Sweet Wife returns from church we're off to the markets for the makings of our Thanksgiving meal. A dinner for two.

I was able to find a fresh ten pound turkey last evening, so its in the refrigerator on standby. Today we'll gather the other ingredients.

I like fresh produce...hate canned cranberries. I mean really, how hard is it to drop a bag of berries, a cup of sugar, and a cup of orange juice in a pot and boil. I suppose if the goop plopped on a plate with its ridges turns you on, then fine, but for me I want mine to have that delicate homemade flavor.

It'll be hard for me to adjust meal prep for two. There will be many leftovers, I'm sure, and the day after I'll bone the bird and make a soup. I'll save the breast meat for sandwiches.





If I'm not careful some will think I write a food blog...then again...I guess I'll be the only food blogger that packs a .45.

*****

Had a set back on my Sears camp stove restoration yesterday. I'd printed a duplicate Sears logo for the stove. It isn't a cheap process. Anyway, I carefully cut the logo from the print paper and after asking advice from the experts, carefully placed the logo on the new paint of the inner cover of the stove.

I stood back and admired my work...it was beautiful. Then, still following instructions, sprayed clear sealant on the label. The sealant immediately ran off the sticker and puddled along its bottom edge.

(Above, an example of the label.)

I tried to stop it with a clean rag soaked in denatured alcohol...didn't work. It destroyed the stoves carefully applied paint job and my reproduction Sears logo. I damn near cried. 

All those long hard hours of labor gone in a moment. So, I removed the label and wiped what residue I could from the lid and, hopefully, sometime this evening will remove the lid and lightly sand away the ugly area and repaint. I was so close to test firing the stove...now, another week of work awaits.

Such is life.

Ya'll take care. I really do need to light the afterburners.

(and no, I'm not a food blogger. I just pretend once in a while, so there.)

Stephen



Saturday, November 17, 2012

Dinner; Chicken In Forty Cloves

The house smells wonderful. With the holidays upon us I'm in a food mood. I've posted two, now it's your turn.

Instead of the pictures depiction of greens I went with asparagus steamed in white wine vinegar and butter.

Simple, and quick. Cut a fresh chicken into its individual pieces, discard the back and ribs or save for stock. Dry the chicken with paper towels.

In a large dutch oven heat two tablespoons of olive oil and two tablespoons of butter. Season your chicken (I used simple  mixture of salt, pepper, and Cajun seasoning) and place skin down and brown. Rotate in batches. Set aside.

Take forty cloves of garlic, large suckers if you can find them, and brown in this same oil. Return the chicken on top of the garlic. Add one half cup of quality stock and one half cup of wine...slightly more if needed. Bring to a quick boil then reduce heat and allow to simmer until the chicken until juices run clear.

Serve over rice or diced potatoes.

It's slap 'ya mama good.

For a detailed recipe (which isn't much more than I just gave you) hop over to this nice food blog written by a husband and wife team...click here. 

h/t, The Butcher and Baker.

Stephen

Breakfast

Most mornings my breakfast consist of nothing more than a dried tasteless granola bar, accompanied by a good cup of coffee.

For some unknown reason, this cloudy Saturday morning, I want this:

A perfectly fried egg.

Need help - okay, take your pan and place it over low heat, throw in a tablespoon or two of butter (real butter, not that yellow vegetable oil) and cover. Yes, cover the egg with a lid. Set your timer to three or three and a half minutes.

Slide it from the pan and enjoy.

Or, better yet, place it atop a nice juicy steak.

h/t, Felicity Cloake.

Stephen

Friday, November 16, 2012

An Orwell Experince

Sometimes, after I've spoken to a few customers, I feel as if I'm living within a George Orwell novel.

It is not a pleasant experience.

I'm telling 'ya folks, people out there are hurting.

Stephen

It's Cool and Damp

Today, and I like it.

It appears my muse has slipped away, taken a vacation, skipped town. I write best at home. There I have a laptop which gives me comfort when I slip back into my old chair.

The chair, a recliner, is of ancient mahogany constructed around the turn of the last century and its arms have been worn smooth and give the texture of silk and its cushions form perfectly to my body and I like that old chair. So there.


Anyway, here, as I was about to say, it's tough to write. There's the darn doorbell, the tick of several clocks, like little time-bombs which bounce from eardrum to eardrum, and the almost constant traffic noise. I mute the television. It's locked on Bloomberg. The scroll at the bottom keeps me informed of the movements of gold and silver and any likely attempts made against our country....but, it draws my attention and strangles my feeble attempts to compose.

So here I sit, blank. I wish for my old mahogany chair and the silly little laptop and the silence of home just so I can write this piece I've had hidden in the back of my mind for months. I know, for sure, if I make any attempt to slip it from my fingers to this keyboard the bell of this shop will, ding.

Then, it'll be lost.

I do not sit and write long hand notes, nor drafts. When I write it's a one time deal. I write in one long, albeit jerky, session. Its now or never for me.

Notes, little post, aren't so bad. A customer walks in, I stand, and return several minutes or hours later and, ping, back to the subject like nothing just happened. Doesn't work for longer word painted pieces.

If that last made sense to you let me know.

My pretty friend, DFW, came by for a visit recently and we discussed this subject. I believe she understands too but I'm not sure...at least she enjoyed my coffee and that's something, anyway.

There, I've written a post.

Stephen


Thursday, November 15, 2012

When Thanksgiving Arrives

I believe I'll make a mess of this...

Southern style turnip greens, stewed with salt pork, beef base, a bit of sugar and cider vinegar. Serve with cornbread and pickled onions and pass the hot pepper sauces at the table.



Ya'll come, 'ya hear...

H/T, Deep South Dish

Stephen

Twice A Month

I sit and pay my bills. It's a real pain in the butt. Sadly, it's also a real reflection of the rate of inflation.

I've written checks at a steady pace for two accounts (my business and home accounts) for the last three hours. One of those checks was for our local newspaper, a write off for me, and I came close to just throwing the statement in the trash can. A one year subscription (weekends included) cost me just shy of three hundred dollars. It wasn't all that long ago I'd write the newspaper a yearly check for one eighty.


Our transportation cost has also increased to the point I might ask the wife to walk to work....what's a twelve mile jog gonna hurt a pretty woman, heck, she's young. Between the two of us our monthly fuel bill averages three hundred and fifty dollars. It's ridiculous. And, hey, I don't blame the oil companies. I lay the blame on the government and its asinine regulations.

I cringe when I enter the local market to shop for our weekly groceries. Prior to the current mini-depression I kept monthly records of our food purchases. No longer. Its just too darn depressing.

What's the answer you ask...good question. I don't know. Sure, live frugally. Stay out of debt. Save money. Been there, done that.

My advice. Keep your head down and stay off the radar, because sooner or later the poop is sure to hit the fan and it will be awful.

*****
(edit) click here and read the headlines.

There....my gentle rant and rave for the year is finished.

Take care,

Stephen

Thanks & Welcome

To my new friend and follower, BadgerMedic. My friend I promise to always answer your comments so feel free, anytime, to drop a line.



Again, thank you and welcome to my humble blog.

Stephen

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Rambling, with light rain

I can hear it...the light rain. Its a soft gentle patter. My coffee is hot and the shop is quiet, which I like before the hustle of the work day.

When one sits in the dark with the glow of only one small light and shuffles through the newspaper as a cup of coffee steams on the desk and the only noise is but of the few vehicles that pass outside it gives one time to think. Which, in and of itself isn't all good.

Well into my paper, this morning, I found myself half asleep. Seductive, rain and warmth. It eases you into a state of well being which frees the mind into deeper wells of uncertainty. Then, anger, if you allow it.

I refused and begin to plan my menu for Thanksgiving. Then it occurred to me my meal preparations should be altered from the norm and limited for only two. It'll make for a lonely table. Still I'll tend to my stock and plan my purchase of a fresh turkey and take as much care with the meal as usual.

*****

An apology is in order as I've been remiss in my updates the last few days. Over the weekend Sweet Wife grabbed me by the ear for daily road trips. She decided I was in need of additional restoration projects and since it's almost impossible to find camping equipment in this city (city boys don't like the outdoors) she said we should search the country.

She wore me out. 

Picture this - A flea market stall crammed full of junk, odd glassware and broken children's toys and old cardboard boxes filled to the brim with garage sale leftovers and rusty broken tools and dust and dirt coated clothing, six bins of yesteryear golf irons, and on every item a price tag worthy of Macy's.

Near the rear of the stall I find a high shelf. Scattered within the kitchen bowls and broken wall clocks are six dirty but still usable gas pressure lanterns, all worthy of restoration.

I reach and take one lantern. Its red and the globe isn't cracked. I like it as its a single mantle. No price tag. To my left are two old men seated on milk crates. I glance over and asked, "How much?"

The old man shifts and strains his neck upwards so I bend a little and show him the lamp. He grunts and said, "I don't know let me find the owner. He's in the other stall."

Sweet Wife is deep into exploration. I wait and watch as the shoppers move along the main hallway. There are pretty country girls dressed for winter even if the day is slightly warm. Asians with pull carts filled with vegetables and I can smell the sweet aroma of baked cookies and kettle corn. I like flea markets.

After a few minutes the owner of the merchandise appears and before I have a chance to say a word he yells, "Hey, that's expensive and you can buy it if you have the cash."

I instantly dislike this man.

Me, "How much?"

"It depends on the date. I price 'em by their age."  I take the lantern and look at the base. Its marked '3-66.' March 1966.

Again, "How much?"

He reaches and takes the lamp from my hands, holds it high and says, "Forty-nine dollars." I offer fifteen. The owner, a balding pot bellied gentleman of perhaps fifty-five does a Fred Sandford intimation. An act worthy of Broadway.

I wait.

Then, "Do you know how rare this lantern is? Its worth at least forty-nine dollars."

"Fifteen dollars. If you'd like, make a price on all six and I'll take them off your hands."

The two older men behind me mumble. Sweet Wife has now moved into position next to me and has placed an arm on mine. She tiptoes and whispers, "Stay calm."  

I thought, 'I am calm.' The owner, "Hey, I'm a Coleman expert. Been repairing them for thirty years."

I smile and say, "I've been using them for fifty."

Quick as a wink he came back, "One hundred and fifty dollars for all six, and I've a few more in my other stall. Even got a heater. My price on the heater is forty-nine dollars too. He likes the number forty-nine.

He leaves and returns with a Coleman 502 one burner camp stove. "See here, a heater." I don't correct him and made my offer on his entire stock of pressure lanterns and his 'heater.'

Sweet Wife has gradually worked me, by gentle tugs, towards the exit. His prices are high retail, high.

We walked. After a while she said, "I'm sorry, Honey. I know you liked them." I smiled and said it's fine. The man really doesn't want to sell his wares. He has an emotional connection to his stock. I bet he collects them and they're his show pieces."

Her, "True, that and he was an arrogant butthole."

My wife, she's bright lady.

*****

Later, at the same flea market I followed my nose to a mid-aisle stall where I find a table covered in plastic bags of cookies and banana bread and loaves of buttery delight. A nice slim man with an Indian accent stands and gives out samples.

He has peanut butter and oatmeal raisin and so many others I lost count. All freshly baked early that morning. He explains to me he's a chef - aren't we all. The Chef hands me a business card and explains he teaches the culinary arts at a local college but bakes at home to supplement his income.

Best damn cookies I've eaten in many many years. He offers me a plastic grocery bag and I begin to fill it. I'm like a kid in a candy store. Sweet Wife begins to worry and ever so often, "Honey, that's enough."


The Chef and I discuss his methods, the lack of state laws which give him the freedom to sell his baked goods at the market. He said business was good even though he only markets his cookies and cakes weekends. We discuss the underground economy and the market. We both agreed. Nice man.

Behind my back Sweet Wife had removed several dozen of my treasures. She allowed me the peanut butter and oatmeal....and one loaf.

I ate well on the drive home.

(Please excuse my lack of edit. I'm just too busy.)

Stephen









  


 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Matt's Back

Quick, run over and say hello to Matt, he's back. Hurry he might decide to leave before you have a chance.

He's, here.

While you're dinking around the net stop a moment a say a quick pray for Tam. As mentioned by Matt she has a problem and sure could use a bit of help. Besides, she's special.

Just home after a road trip and I'm too whupped to write. So ya'll take care out there.

Stephen

Friday, November 9, 2012

Sally Forth

Want to read a great piece....then sally forth. 

From the interesting mind of Sarah Holt. Click, here.


I'll try and get back with you later this evening. We  have cool weather here in North Florida and it has the rascals out and about, so I'm kinda busy. I hope you nice folks have a great day.

Until then.

Stephen