Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Smells like teen spirit

When the teen wonder dragged himself down from his bedroom he glared at the blank TV screen and said he was sick. Was he going to school? He shrugged.
When he was informed that the question required a Yes or No answer he mumbled and pulled a blanket up over his head.
Was he going to school? "Yes... No... Maybe... I don't know. Could you repeat the question?"
He was up.
I got the car keys.
He was down.
I put them back.
He was up.
I retrieved the keys
Eventually,I bullied him into going to school and and we ran through the rain to the car.
We made it a half a block before he began to vomit.
He was back on the couch before my feet hit the driveway.

Monday, May 10, 2010


Auto Man has returned from The Sunshine State. I saw him this morning.
Every year he and his wife head south for the winter and return when the leaves are back on the trees. He fixes cars in the garage behind his house, just down the street from Fuddsy.

After he repairs them, he parks the autos on his front lawn with For Sale signs in their windows.
He's a nice guy, skinny as a rock star and always glad to see me.
I saw him this morning tooling down the street in his hot rod, a hoodless black Ford pickup with a tiny cargo bay and a chrome engine and exhaust pipes that hang over the fenders
I waved as he passed by. He waved back, but he didn't sound his "aoogah" horn.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

The family unit took a trip over the river and through the hood to have breakfast at the railside diner. It's an Edward Hooper-esque eatery with big plate glass windows behind the hanger factory on the other side of the tracks. The diner has a counter with chrome and Naugahyde stools that separates clusters of low-backed booths and has a devoted clientele.
The smokers congregate on one side, the non-smokers on other. Smoking is no longer allowed, but the groups still maintain their distance.

An elderly woman in a walker shuffled slowly into the smoker's side, while her husband straggled in with her portable oxygen tank. A neatly dressed couple said prayers over their French toast while a biker dude in a sweaty T-shirt and a blue do-rag snorted at a joke.
Number One Son had the usual: a chocolate chip pancake. Mom was in a festive mood. She had the Monte Christo. I had the American Classic:a cheese omlette with hot dog slices. It was the name that got to me. I couldn't resist. But I wouldn't recommend it.

A train lumbered by dragging hoppers of coal north to the power plant.

Friday, April 23, 2010

He's a lumberjack? Is he OK?

The neighborhood is all a twitter. Word on the street is that Fuddsy plans to cut down the pine trees that tower over his house. And he intends to do it himself.

It's probably true. He's spray painted yellow Xs on the trees he wants to remove, just like a real lumberjack.

The pines are about 90 feet high and might fall on neighboring houses, including mine, if they are dropped incorrectly.

There's no doubt that something has to be done. The trees have been falling branch by branch particularly during winter nor'easters when the limbs are caked with a cement-like layer of wet snow. We sleep on the couch in the living room during partcularly windy storms to avoid the The Big Bang.

A 90-footer with a trunk as wide as a coffee table fell in the front yard a few years ago. It fell away from the house and knocked down four telephone poles that went down like dominos when the trunk hit the wires. The electricity was out for hours. Luckily, it blocked the street so the town removed it. The load filled a flatbed truck.

After the excitement,Insurance Man, a couple of doors down, had his pines removed a at a cost of $3,000. The Southern Immigrants on the other side of Fuddsy had theirs removed at a cost of $10,000. Both jobs were done by professional lumberjacks assisted by a gigantic crane that towered over the trees and held them as they were removed piece by piece.
Fuddsy is said to have rented a bucket truck for the project. The smart money says its way to small for the project. We'll see. It ought to be entertaining.

Monday, April 19, 2010

pre-high school musical

The pit band struck up the familiar chords of "The Candyman" and the curtain jerked open to reveal a cardboard cutout of the front gate of Willy Wonka's chocolate factory.

As the music reached a crescendo, Willie stepped out onto the stage in a silver glitter top hat and Jiminy cricket coat. The hall shook with applause.

The gym/auditorium was packed with 300 hundred hooting and hollering theatergoers in folding metal chairs who cheered on their siblings and friends as they flexed their fledgling acting muscles in the middle school production of Willy Wonka.

The Candyman came. The Oompa Loompas' oompaed. Willie Wonka winked. Nary a line was dropped, and nobody was embarassed.

Everybody agreed the show was awesome.

Did I tell you Number One Son had a featured role? He played the video game fanatic Mike TV. He stole the show.

At least in this critic's eyes.

Who says Our Town has no clutcha.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I confess

I steal pens. I just returned from a walk to the bank, where the haul was two TD Bank pens with retractable points. I got a thick stemmed beauty at the hair dresser's this morning. I've lifted ballpoints from auto dealerships, museums, restaurants and schools. A box on the coffee table in front of me holds writing instruments from a veterinarian, the town recreation department and the MSMA Alumni Association, whatever that is. I lifted them all. And I did it when nobody was looking. My wife and son think I'm crazy.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Dawn Patrol

At dawn on an unseasonably warm April morning fog hugged the river like a down conforter. I heard the distant honking of Canada goose before the motors of the commuters began to growl. As the calls grew louder and louder, it became obvious that a solitary goose had become separated from its flock while migrating north by starlight from Chesapeake Bay. As its voice grew fainter I snuggled under the covers. I still wonder if he found the flock.