Love in a Burger Joint

I apologize for my absence the past few weeks. A trip to Denver to learn marriage counseling techniques required me to read four books and be in Colorado all last week. You can only imagine my schedule leading up to this event.

If anyone knows me, they know I despise flying. Oh not because I’m afraid to fly, rather I want to be treated better than a refugee when I travel. The last flight I took, I felt like I was in line for the last plane out of a third world country before the coup took place. Kids screaming, frantic people running everywhere with cold, terse, officials asking, “Papers please.”

So this time, I chose the more calming route. I rented a car and traversed the interstates west to Oklahoma City. Accomplishing that part of my itinerary, I then took nondescript roads through the prairies all the way to Denver. I went through little towns in Oklahoma like Forgan. It’s total school population from K-thru-12 is only 160 students. I traveled through Eads, Garden City, and Ulysses, Kansas, Kit Carson, Lamar, and Limon, Colorado. I saw more grain and beef cattle then one could see in a lifetime.

It was in one of these small prairie towns that I made the unfortunate decision to stop and get a quick meal at a fast food joint. Have you ever seen something you wished you had never seen? That was me. Standing in line in front of me waiting for their order to be taken was a couple that was just too into each other to notice the rest of us. Let me describe the lovebirds to you. She was in her mid twenties, some teeth missing, and she was wearing cotton shorts and a matching spaghetti strap t-shirt. Her hair looked as if the only hair product that could work for her was Grease Relief, and she wouldn’t have won best supported actress either. Her small t-shirt one size too small, left here with an ample amount of what we used to call back in Kentucky, Kentucky cleavage. That is, her shirt and her shorts could never meet thus leaving her belly resembling a busted can of biscuits.

Despite one eye being crossed, she was a starry eyed as she she was held by her boyfriend from behind. While a distinguished looking gentlemen stood next to me and rolled his eyes at their continued show of love, it sure didn’t stop the boyfriend’s ardor. He looked to be about 100 pounds lighter than her, and sported a shaggy tufted haircut. With also a tooth missing and grinning ear to ear, he continued to nuzzle and kiss her neck and stared at her with all the love he could muster with his own two crossed eyes. Watching this fairy tale romance was as stomach churning as a prince climbing Rapunzel’s hair only to find out she was bald and he had been crawling to her by her armpit hair.

I left that place thinking while I may have stopped for a quick sandwich from a burger joint, I bet that was the high point of their week. A friend of mine used a saying that is most appropriate for their young love, “There is a lid for every pot.” I guess in this case, she would have to clarify that with, “a lid for every pot belly”.

I doubt they cared what anyone else thought of their public display of affection. They were in love. Though their story might never be told except one day to their own children, it didn’t matter to them. They shut the rest of us out of their world while we stood in line. I am a romantic at heart, but some love stories might be better left untold.

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Still in the Hunt

A middle aged man was once asked the question we have all pondered at times, “How would you want to die.” Thinking for a brief moment he replied, “I’d like to be shot by a jealous husband when I’m 99.” I believe like an old hound dog, we all want to be in the hunt of life one more time before it gets away from us.

It’s hard to fathom at times how fast time flies by. At my age I still remember all those sporting events I used to play in, but like the old hound dog resting on the front porch, it’s easier to make one woof and continue the nap. Sometimes the memory of the chase is better than the truth.

Back in my first year in college, I dated a young woman who got extremely jealous when I talked to any woman at all. I didn’t realize how bad it was until the I sang a popular song of the day by England Dan and John Ford Coley. While driving into town, out of nowhere I started singing the words, “Oh, it’s sad to belong to someone else when the right one comes along.” I laugh at her reaction now, but back then, I had to put on the defroster in the car to thaw her icy chill. I have since learned to only listen to all gospel stations anytime someone rides with me, it’s safer that way.

A lot of time has come and gone since that failed relationship. I married a gem and had three great children. I have been contented now for thirty-one years. Standing in front of the mirror putting on her makeup today my wife lamented, “It takes so much longer every morning to look young.” She tells me often that she is going into old age kicking and screaming. My patent answer to her wistful comments are, “At least you have something to work with.” My advice at looking great is hang around people twenty-five years older than you and are three sizes bigger. I came across an activities calendar for a retirement village in Florida, praise the Lord, I’m still young at heart.

Games for When We Are Older:
Sag, You’re it!
Pin the Toupee on the bald guy.
20 questions shouted into your good ear.
Kick the bucket
Red Rover, Red Rover, the nurse says Bend Over.
Doc Goose
Simon says something incoherent.
Hide and go wee
Spin the Bottle of Mylanta
Musical recliners

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Looking for Trouble

Sometimes I am amazed at what people get ratcheted up about. This week it’s not the economy or the political cycle that has feminists angry, it’s that Muppet character Kermit the frog has a new girlfriend. Oh, and top it all off, she’s young and thin. In typical fashion, social media Twitter followers expressed outrage and dismay that Kermit ditched his feminist full figured Miss Piggy for a thinner younger model. How is it that the world is unraveling faster than a one-dollar sweater yet a fictitious frog dating a pig gets people upset?

Each week I sit down to pen my analysis on life, sometimes it’s get harder and harder to find the humor. The joke seems to be on the rest of us. Some years ago 23-year-old Michael Gentner of Akron, Ohio lost his life after swallowing a five-inch-long live fish on a dare. When he began to choke on it, his friends stopped laughing and phoned an ambulance. They told the EMT’s their friend had ‘eaten some fish’. Paramedics were surprised to find the fish’s tail still flapping in his mouth. The Deputy Police Chief later stated he wouldn’t charge Gentner’s three friends. “I don’t know what you’d charge them on. If I dare you to jump off a bridge and you do it, and you’re 23 years of age, you’re stupid,” he told reporters.

At a nursing home in Florida not long ago a resident group was discussing ailments. “My arms are so weak I can hardly lift this cup of coffee,” one said.

“Yes I know, my cataracts are so bad I can’t even see my coffee,” replied another.

“I can’t turn my head because of the arthritis in my neck,” said a third. At which several others nodded weakly.

“My blood pressure pills make me dizzy,” another one went on. “I guess that’s the price we pay for getting old,” winced an old man. “It sure beats the alternative.”

“Well, it’s not that bad,” said one woman cheerfully. “Thank goodness we can all still drive!”

Do you think our priorities are just a bit out of place today? Are we so thankful to be in life’s drivers seat that we don’t see the problems all around us and ahead of us? Maybe like the man who choked on a fish, the problem is us.

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Attitude is Everything

I used to have a boss that was as fickle as a spring day in New England. You never knew what type of mood she’d be in. Each day so we could know what we could expect for the day, we department managers would take turns coming out of our gopher holes (cubicles) and say hello to the boss. If she was pleasant, we all would take a collective sigh of relief and mingle. However, if you were one the unfortunate slobs who picked the wrong day and received frostbite from her icy greeting, we became the messenger to pass the word. “Keep a low profile today.” I hated living like that.

It’s not unlike the story of a housewife that drove her husband nuts with her incessant complaining and bad attitude. One day while he was relaxing in his chair reading the newspaper, she walked into the room and commenced with her typical moaning and complaining. She said with disgust, “You won’t believe the awful day I had.”

The husband at wits end interrupted her and said sternly, “There is a new rule in this house. No complaining is allowed. Unless it’s positive and affirming, you can’t say anything at all.” The wife stunned for a moment thought quickly and said with a cheesy smile, “Then you’ll be happy to know the airbags work!”

Attitudes impact everyone. When I see ads on TV with smiling happy housewives using a new bathroom cleaning product, the only thing I want to buy are the meds they must be on. I mean how often have you seen five housewives dancing around a toilet bowl singing how clean it is? My wife only does this sort of thing when I remember to take out the garbage. There are some exceptions to the rule.

Midst the amusing and funny Facebook posts each day, I am compelled to wade through an inordinate amount of things I’d rather not see and frankly could do without. I am not blind to the sufferings of humanity, but I don’t want to see multiple posts of a dog that looks like it went through a cheese shredder. Nor do I want to see mistreated children, posts on bodily functions, nor comments that read, “If you don’t share your love for me or Jesus, you will be a cursed sloth for eternity.”

I’m setting the tone for my Facebook wall as well as all my personal relationships. Only positive attitudes apply if you want to spend time with me. Because starting today, if my friends fail me on this, I’ll be wearing a button on all my shirts that reads, “Ask me about my vow of silence.”

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