I talked to Gus today. He wanted to know where his flyswatter is. Now that I think about it, I remember it looked like it had already killed a few too many flies. Not that I have sympathy for flies. They are about the most annoying bugs around.
I didn’t admit that I probably threw it away or even try to blame it on Billy. I mean how much does a flyswatter cost? You can get them at the Dollar Store. And then I felt bad because, right now, he has to depend on friends to take him to the store. It will be a huge effort for him to replace that flyswatter. Meanwhile, he said he has a huge fly buzzing around the house. Billy is going to see him on Friday. I’ll call and tell him to add a flyswatter to the things he needs to pick up. Gus can’t find his fingernail files either. I must have thrown them out. How could I be so cruel? One trip to the dollar store should do it…a flyswatter and Emory boards.
I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. After all, I did remember where I put the prunes and nuts. Gus, if you’re reading this, the nuts and prunes are in the drawer inside the cabinet marked crisp bread. I forgot to change the label. Do you see those little glass vases on the counter by the spice rack? They belong to the nice lady who has been bringing fresh flowers and goodies. You should probably return them to her so she can reuse them…and remember to get your mail every day.
I’m sure happy that Billy will be there on Friday. I hope you two remember to call me. I’ll put that on my list. 1) Billy and Gus will call. If it’s not on my list, I might forget.
You know what they say. “Out of sight. Out of mind.”
I wish there was a simple way to describe the last three plus weeks. I’m sure many of you will scratch your head and wonder if this is a true story. It can be validated by my brother, Billy and our Step-Father, Gus. Just remember as you read this, Gus is 90, Billy is 77, and I’m 69. The good news is we all found that we’re made of pretty good stuff.
Between the three of us, we can usually remember the important things…like where our list is hidden. Except for Gus, who has recently had open-heart surgery, we can lift heavy objects and still walk the next day. We have learned how to pile garbage sacks on a wheel chair and, with the aid of a flashlight, find the dumpster in the middle of the night. We’ve learned how to discard items belonging to someone who never throws anything away…and for the most part get away with it.
I’m from Texas, my brother is from Los Angeles, and Gus lives in Ontario, California.
It all started several weeks ago when I decided that Billy and I should try to gather all of the paperwork needed to help Gus file for a VA pension. At the same time, Gus was scheduled to have his chest opened up to replace a valve. Sounds easy enough. Billy put about 4,000 miles on his car transporting Gus to his regular doctor’s appointments and taking forms to said doctors to complete and sign. Be advised…you make an average of 5 trips and 10 phone calls to get one form.
By the time I got to Ontario for Gus' surgery, which didn't happen then, there was frustration in the air. You can smell frustration, you know. BTW Gus didn't have surgery until about two weeks later because his COVID test, which was part of his preop came back positive. That was a real shock to us as he had COVID last February and later had the vaccination. It was even more of a shock to the group of Gus' friends who were sitting with us in the bakery when he got the phone call. I came back to Texas and stayed the 10 days that Gus was in quarantine. I flew back to Ontario the day before he was scheduled to try it again. He sailed through the surgery and they released him 5 days later. His ribs are literally wired together. (My brother missed two vacations, and was picked to serve on a jury the week Gus came home. Kip and I got two new rescue dogs. We found one on the day I came home the first time and the other the day I came home the 2nd time.
The problem with the coming home part was that Billy and I hadn’t finished making our midnight trips to the dumpster so we couldn’t get the house ready for the recovering patient. Gus is an admitted, um… collector and we had to uncollect him.
One important lesson that I would like to pass on. Before you try to move a newly purchased recliner, be aware that with most of them, the back slips off, making it much easier to carry. We moved that sucker to the motel before we discovered that feature. If we hadn’t figured it out, we would have had to take an ax to it in order to get it through the door at Gus’ house.
Since we weren’t ready, Billy put Gus up in a very nice motel for several days and I stayed at Gus’ house.
Back to the VA project.
We finally got everything together and a Veteran’s Service Officer pronounced it ready to send off to the big guys who make the ultimate determination. Three days ago, we got a letter stating they needed another piece of information. We got it, took it, and handed it to a local VA Service Officer. We read they try to expedite the process if the veteran is over 90. Now we’ll wait and see.
The night before I left, I got to take a break and took the train to Los Angeles. My brother’s wife, Liz, picked me up at Union Station and I spent a lovely evening with Liz and Billy, my niece, Erin, and her boyfriend, Carlos. Liz fixed a wonderful dinner, and we sat at tables on one of the two beautiful decks that were recently completed. As they used to say in the Murdo Coyote, “A good time was had by all.”
Have a wonderful evening. I can’t sit and type too long. I stiffen up.
In the six plus years I’ve been writing this blog, this has been the longest time between posts. I can’t say exactly why. Maybe I figured we could all use a break. In hindsight, I realize it wasn’t very nice of me not to let my loyal friends know I would be absent for awhile. I didn’t plan it that way. One day just turned into another.
I’ve been spending time with my California family. Gus was supposed to have surgery to replace a heart valve last week, but it got postponed until next week so I came home for a few days. I’ll fly back on Saturday so I can be there in time for his surgery on Monday.
It has been great to spend some quality time with both Gus and my brother, Billy. I could write a book about everything that has happened to us in the last two weeks, but I’ve been asked not to.
We have a new doggie. Her name is Nellie May. We’re all still getting used to each other, but so far so good. She has a sweet disposition with a funny side. I have been a little under the weather for a few days and she has shown a lot of empathy. I think dogs can tell when their humans need attention from them.
I went out for a walk with Nellie this morning so she could teach me how she walks on a leash. I watched training videos last night so I would be prepared, but I didn’t do so well. We’re going out for another try in a few minutes. I sure hope she brings better training treats this time.
We’re also being investigated by the German Short-haired Pointer Rescue group. They were going to speak to our vet today and then call to set up a time to come and interview us and decide if we would be good foster-to-adopt parents.
I don’t know if we’ll need references, but if we do, I think we can probably come up with a few.
We have a tradition of giving our dogs a name that ends in ie along with a middle name. The first name we tried out was Ellie but we both kept calling her Lillie so we tried Cassie, and then a couple of others that didn’t fit. We almost named her Wyn (What’s Your Name) but it didn’t end in ie. We got a dog tag with Nellie May on it so we would be invested in the name and not be tempted to change it again.
We just got back from my walk. I’m doing better on the leash, but those treats just don’t agree with me. I’m going to ask Nellie if I can have some Tums. We all know who the new boss is.
We got up at 3:00 a.m. yesterday morning so I could catch a 7:00 o’clock flight to Ontario, CA by way of Phoenix. I decided on an early flight because I dislike fighting.
I hear they have regular bar fights on passenger flights now. Mostly because passengers drink too much before boarding and then get upset because they have to wear a mask.
I didn’t get very far with this blog post yesterday.
Brother Billy picked me up at the airport. We needed help getting out of the parking lot and had differing opinions on how to get back to Gus’ house. Gus and Mom moved there 30 yrs ago, and Billy has been there 4 out of 5 days this past week. I guess he was coming at it from a different angle. I don’t know what my excuse was.
Last time we went to the Jone’s County gathering in Mesa, AZ, we stopped at a Dollar Tree store. After leaving, we drove for an hour before passing the same store which was 2 blocks from our destination.
I guess my brother and I are directionally aging poorly. Cousin Lav and Gus were both with us. I don’t know what their excuse was.
We decided we always get where we’re going. We just need to allow more time…lots more time. The cost of gas is killing us.
I wasn’t able to escape the Texas heat , but it’s all good as long as Gus has a successful surgery (Thursday) and a rapid recovery. Say a few prayers please.
We’re going to my favorite bakery this morning to have coffee and pastry with some of Gus’ friends. After that, Gus has insisted we stop by Trader Joe’s to get my favorite cheesecake for later. We’ll be sure to allow plenty of time to get there.
I just noticed there are pictures of Bill and Liz, their kids and grandson, and some pictures of my kids, and grandkids, on the walls. I don’t see any of Kip and me. What’s up with that? My brother has been spending far too much time over here, but I’m here now.
Give Billy an inch and he takes a mile…sometimes in the wrong direction.
When I lose a family member, friend, or pet, (Lilie and Pattie were all three), the thing that comforts me the most is to understand that they will live in my heart forever. The thought makes it easier to adjust to life without them, and once the pain of loss begins to subside, it is replaced by fond memories, touching, or funny stories, and gratitude. All of which warm my heart. I know what they say is true. “It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
Many of you know that Kip and I lost our little cocker spaniel, Pattie Ruth and our short haired German pointer, Lilie Dale. We had to have both of them put to sleep on Tuesday. It was unexpected and surreal. I think we are still in shock. Pattie had a stroke and while removing what was thought to be a benign fatty tumor in Lilie, the vet found an aggressive form of cancer that couldn’t be treated.
Kip and I have made a good home for more than a few dogs in our forty years of marriage. We have always tried to let them go when it was time, and we’ve always been there with them to say goodbye. This is the first time two of our much loved friends went to doggie heaven, otherwise known as rainbow bridge, together.
Even though she won’t admit it, Dollie Lee, the cat, misses Lilie and Pattie, too. She is acting very needy. She has always used the doggie door to go in and out at her leisure. Now, she wants us to open the door for her. She meows for treats every hour and craves lap time.
We have been overwhelmed by all of the kind and loving messages so many of you have shared with us. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We only had Lilie Dale for a year and a half, but she was so very special to us. She was the happiest dog we had ever met. Her tale wagged constantly and she danced for her treats. Pattie was Sammie’s sister. We had them both for thirteen years after finding them running the streets of Gun Barrel. Pattie was always a little plump and rather lazy, but she found her voice after Sammie died and she and Lilie became really close.
Now, I head for California on Monday to spend some time with one of my favorite guys in the whole world. Gus is having some surgery next week and Billy and I are going to hang out with him for a couple of weeks while he recuperates…
This is not about me, personally, but I have seen families and friendships suffer because of strong opposing views and the confusion in our world continues to get worse. The anger is frightening. We seem to have lost sight of the important things that must be cherished and protected. Is it just me or do you agree that no one seems to have an end game? We must have a common goal before any kind of progress can be made. All I hear are buzzwords.
We think about our differences and in our hearts we feel despair.
We think about the times we were in need and they were there.
We think about our worldly views and the chasm which divides us.
We think about our faith in He who’s there to guide us.
We think about our shared beliefs that we know must be protected.
We think we can save the world but saving ourselves remains neglected
We think about friendships that suffer when resentments replace love.
We think about relationships and the valued histories disposed of.
We think we’ve been forsaken and we could both be right.
We think it possible to reconcile without being boastful or contrite.
We think we can bear this cross if our love is unconditional.
We think it’s worth the effort to build a friendship that’s invincible.
Faith, hope, love, trust, and forgiveness will get us where we need to be.
Yram woke up early Saturday morning and decided to walk uptown to get a cup of coffee before the book club met. She hasn’t read the book yet, but something tells her it most likely won’t be an issue. She notices the town is pretty quiet. In fact, it’s downright silent…almost eerie. “Where is everybody?” Yram wonders. She has walked almost a block when she wearily sits down on the court house steps. (The book club meets in the court house.) Suddenly, she hears a click, click, click, click (4 clicks). Upon further investigation she decides it’s coming from north of her in the direction of Main Street. Tentatively, Yram gets up and walks toward the clicking sound. Her heart is beating and her pulse is pounding. (Or is it the other way around?)
Before she can see where the clicking is coming from, she hears a loud roar. Well, not really a roar. It sounds more like a truck engine that’s choking on something.
As she walks toward the click and the choking, the subjects of the noise come into view. It’s Lav on a horse and behind her is KK driving a flatbed, and on the flatbed are Windy Lindy and Airy sitting in their broken down airplane.
“wouldn’t it be easier to walk than to sit in your broken down airplane that’s riding on a choking truck?”
Yram looks at Lav and says, “Why are you riding a horse, Lav and where are you going? The book Club meets in five or ten.”
“We’re going on a hay ride,” Lav says. “There won’t be anyone at the book club meeting, Yram. Every letter of the alphabet, even all of the Ha Ha’s are going on the hay ride.”
“You’ve heard of the Ya Ya sisterhood?…We’re the Ha Ha Sisterhood.”
“We’re all going to the funny farm,” says the Ha Ha Sisterhood.
“Willingly?” Yram asks.
“Flying on the ground is spooky, I think,” says Airy Heart. “I sure hope we get our airplane running again. I sure would hate it if I had to change my name. I like being Airy. My name used to be Bleeding Heart. I fainted all the time then.”
We live on the funny farm, but we’re moving. It’s just getting too crazy.
“I made a pineapple upside down cake,” says Patty Cake.
“Perfect,” says Yram. “We’ll all go to the nut house at the funny farm and ride around on hay while we eat upside down cake with the Ha Ha Sisterhood. Sounds like a blast!”
This is Yram Sicnarf. I was asked to report on our Funny Farm experience, so I have written a little piece for the paper. It seems some of the loco locals think the Funny Farm isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I would be willing to bet they are just repeating some insane things they have heard others say and haven’t even darkened the unhinged door of the Nut House. I promise to tell it like it is. After all, they don’t call me a crack up reporter for nothing.
Lav rode her horse, named Loopy. Airy and Windy rode in their airplane which is temporarily grounded. They have it on the back of KK’s flatbed truck, which isn’t running with a full deck either. TC, AI, PG, PC and the Ha Ha Sisterhood, rode on the back of the hay wagon kindly provided by the Nut House. (I pulled it with my 1951 Willys Jeep.)
A day at the Funny Farm, By Yram Sicnarf
It was a barmy day as our group made it’s way to the only certifiable Funny Farm in the state. We figured as long as we were there, we might as well get certified.
Anyway, we made good time and arrived at the gates of the farm shortly before lunchtime. We were greeted at the door by a sweet young lady who said she was Daffy. We assumed Daffy would be the one to register us, but she had us sit in a waiting room and wait for the person who would admit us. That part was a little unpleasant. With the evergrowing Ha Ha sisterhood and all, we’re a pretty large group. One of the Ha Ha’s said she wished they could sit on the nice padded walls instead of the hard old benches. I tell you, those girls drive me bonkers sometimes.
Finally, a very nice looking man came in and said he was there to help us, but he wanted to get to know us first. This upset Lav just a little. She told the nice looking man who said his name was Bizarro, she was worried about getting Loopy. (We had to leave the horse tied up outside,)
Windy, who is an animal lover said she was touched. The nice man told her she was in the right place.
Airy asked when we would get to eat lunch. She said she was so hungry she could even eat Patty Cake’s fruitcake. He didn’t hear her right because he said she really shouldn’t say fruitcake in a Nut House.
The Ha Ha Sisterhood asked if they could have their picture taken. He said he needed a break, so we could go to the building with a sign out front that said, Unstable. We assumed that was where they kept the horses, so we headed that way. We were gratified when we walked in, to see it was full of people eating lunch. We sat down and waited for someone to take our order.
A nice lady came over and said she was Kooky and handed us all some crackers. Airy said she was hungry for something more substantial and Kooky said there were nut cases in the hall.
Nuts sounded pretty good so we left the Unstable and started wandering every hall we could find looking for the nut cases. A I said she was feeling a little weird, so we went outside and sat under a tree and ate Patty Cake’s upside down cake. We had a great afternoon. We were all entertained by the divine secrets of the Ha Ha Sisterhood, and a group of ladies came by and serenaded us with their rendition of Crazy Arms by Ray Price. They were so cute with their arms all tied up.
By this time it was getting time to head back to town, so we went to find Daffy to thank her for everything. We told her we thought the Farm and and The Nut House were better than we had heard, and the only suggestion we had was they should put their nut cases in a place where people could see them.
So off we went with Lav on Loopy, KK driving the flatbed with Windy and Airy on the back in their airplane, and me in the Jeep pulling the hay wagon with all of the Ha Ha Sisterhood, TC, AI, PG and a few squirrels that were hiding in the hay. They must not have been able to find the nuts either.
I will conclude by saying, it’s a great place to clear the cobwebs out of your head and meet people just like you and me. We will be going back soon. We forgot our certificates.
Update: PG called to see if they would mail our certificates. The FF said we weren’t certifiable. We weren’t committed enough.
Hi! This is Yram Sicnarf. I’m filling in for Murdo Girl for a few days. She’s resting. You probably don’t realize this, but I’m quite a bit younger than Murdo Girl. I reside in Texas near Gun Barrel City, where our motto is, “We Shoot Straight.” I’m a traveling crack-up reporter.
I just got to Rapid City. I’m going to the Crazy Horse Monument this morning. I snagged an interview with Crazy Horse, himself. This interview was hard to get, but it will put another feather in my cap, and an arrow in my quill.
The Crazy Horse Monument is far away from the Harold Thune auditorium and the Jerrald Applebee floor, so how much trouble can I get into, right? Can you see Crazy Horse putting a restraining order on me? I don’t even like to ride horses.
We are back at the Crazy Horse Monument where Yram Sicnarf will soon be interviewing Crazy Horse. You know how when the politicians speak, they always have a bunch of people standing behind them? It makes for a good camera shot, so Sherri and Kodak are going to shoot and record the whole thing.
Yram: Good morning all! We are waiting for Crazy Horse to arrive. He is a busy man you know and he travels everywhere on his crazy horse. Oh there he is! I’ll try to get his attention. “YEOEOEOEOEYO!!” I think he heard me.
Yram: Hello Mr. Crazy Horse…Pleased to make your acquaintance. I have read your dossier, so I know everything there is to know about you. Are you new in town?
Crazy Horse: I’ve been through here a couple of times many winters ago. I remember it was cold.
Yram: It says here you are a leader. That’s pretty vague. In what kind of work are you a leader?
Crazy Horse: Well, I’m retired now, but I used to put colorful paint all over my face, then go and scare the Calvary. It was fun, but it didn’t pay much.
Yram: If you’re retired, why haven’t you completed your monument…arthritis?
Crazy Horse: Something like that. What is there to do around here?
Yram: Well Mr. Crazy Horse. Do you mind if I call you Crazy? Have you been to Custer State Park?
Crazy Horse: You’re joking, right?
Yram: Not a park person?
Crazy Horse: A very great vision is needed, and the man who has it must follow it as the eagle seeks the deepest blue of the sky.
Yram: Just the other day, I was talking to my girlfriend and I said that same thing. I can really relate. Where are you going from here?
Crazy Horse: I’m going to Murdo. Have you ever been there?
Yram: Yes…but not within 500 yards. They don’t want me close to the football games.
Crazy Horse: I can relate.
Yram: So would you mind having your picture taken with me Mr. Horse?
Crazy Horse: That’s my horse’s name. You can call me Crazy. I don’t like having my picture taken.
I thought that was one of my better interviews, and being the tenacious crack up reporter I am, I managed to get that picture.
So the sun sets on another western South Dakota day. I wonder what foolhardy thing tomorrow will bring? How about Mt. Rushmore? That would keep her busy for a while.
Mr. President Washington, is it true you have wooden teeth? Are they hard to floss?