“Be careful”, Merry scolded. 

“I will”, Hanger smiled at her. 

Then he saw the stern look on her face and knew she was serious. 

“I mean it, Henry. No more zigzagging or loopty-loos like at the festival. You nearly scared half the town to death and Dexter Dolby had a heck of a time getting those poor turkeys back in their crates,” Merry looked sternly at Hanger. 

Merry was referring to the flyover Hanger did at the Harvest Film Festival. 

“It’s a good thing Roger had ‘duck tape’ on hand.” 

“That’s ‘duct tape’, my dear, Hanger giggled. 

Merry looked perplexed. 

“You say, ‘duct’. I say, ‘quack, quack’. 

Hanger got in his Ol’ Jenny and flew off in the direction of the Connelly potato farm. He worked many summers on that farm digging potatoes for Ol’ Man Connelly and daydreaming of the day when he could fly.  

Hanger joined the Army shortly thereafter, got married and raised a family. Now, all these years later, he finally has his own plane. He still works at the Connelly farm fertilizing the crops. Ol’ Man Connelly passed away shortly after Hanger went into the Army. His son owns it now. 

Hanger thought back to the festival that day and the chaos that followed. He couldn’t help but smile as he remembered how Justice, Ol’ Man Connelly’s son and Garrett Storm, Letongaloosa’s leading weather man had dared Hanger to buzz over Dexter during his speech because he tended to be a tad longwinded. The boys thought it’d be fun to shake things up a bit. 

Everything was going fine. Hanger was all set to fly when his knob to his radio fell off. Hanger was caught off guard, but he was able to pull off scaring Dexter, but he got a little too close to the crowd and the turkeys. It caused all sorts of commotion, not to mention a disgruntled   mayor.  

After Hanger apologized and helped Dexter gather a few angry birds, everyone in town was laughing at what had just happened. Including the speech presenter. 

“You sure gave me a start!” Dexter quipped. Your flyover gave me an idea for a new project. My boss at the studio has been asking me about writing a new script and I couldn’t think of anything until today thanks to you. I mean a sequel to my film, ‘Attack of the 50-FootTurkey” would be…”  

“Glad to be helpful,” Hanger sighed and walked toward the hardware store to find a quick fix for the radio knob for his Jenny. 

Justice Connelly was standing with a roll of duct tape in hand by the time Hanger reached Rollins Hardware. 

“Here you go!” Justice grinned. 

“Thanks. That should hold it till I get back to the shop. Merry is going to be upset with me for this stunt.,” Hanger sighed. 

And he was right, 

“I know Dexter talks a lot, but those poor turkeys!” Merry said. 

She was trying to sound stern, but Merry was having a hard time trying not to smile as she saw the look on Mayor Turners face once the turkeys broke free from their pen. 

“Seriously, Henry. You could have been hurt.” Merry said. 

“I know,” Hanger said as he kissed her cheek and headed toward his shop to fix the knob that started all the commotion and the inspiration for Dexter’s potential upcoming blockbuster. 

Oh, that was a fun and memorable day. Hanger smiled as he got into Jenny. He looked over at the knob. The outline of the ‘duck tape’ was faint.  

Heading off in the direction of Ol’ Man Connelly’s, Hanger grinned, looked over his shoulder to make sure no turkeys were in flight and did al oopty loo for luck. 

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Back To Work

Back to Work By Larry Day I finally got a job. I work for my wife now. Clint, our new financial adviser, set it all up for us after I told him that as a retired person, I felt more like an employee than a spouse. “What do you mean?” he had asked. I told Clint that after I became a FIG (Fixed Income Geezer) I tried to supplement our income. I applied for half a dozen jobs for which I had tons of experience, and didn’t even get an interview. But, I told him, I didn’t have time to sit around feeling depressed. My wife, Emmaline saw to that. Her daddy was a preacher when she was younger. His favorite saying was “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” Emmaline took that as gospel. So now that I’m home all the time, she sees that I my hands never get anywhere near Satan’s workshop. I told Clint my schedule: On Monday I vacuum and dust the whole house after I do the morning dishes. Then I polish the silver and re-arrange the knick-knack shelves. Tuesday I mow the lawn and trim the hedges, and pull weeds. One day a week is “fixit” day-the toaster, the humidifier, the aquarium tank, stuff like that. There’s one day for running errands, and taking stuff back to the stores, or filing out forms and sending stuff back to catalog companies. Then there are a couple of days Emmaline makes me available to do odd jobs for friends and neighbors. She says it’s good public relations. As I was telling this to Clint, he looked pained. I thought it was an expression of compassion and empathy. But Clint was thinking. For him, it’s a painful process. Suddenly the pain was replaced by a look of joy. “I’ve got it!” he shouted. “What have you got?” I asked “I’ve got you a job!” Great.” I said, “Where am I going to work?” “Right here,” he said. “Here at home?” I asked. “I don’t think I’d be good at phone sales.” “Not phone sales. You’ll be working full time for Emmaline,” he said excitedly. “I just told you I already work full time for Emmaline. That’s my problem,” I said. “But you don’t get paid,” he said. “That’s why I’m trying to find a job, dopey. We can’t afford to pay me. Emmaline and I are Fixed

Income Geezers. We can’t afford to hire me. “Look,” said Clint, “All we have to do is organize a corporation with Emmaline as CEO and you as the only employee. We take your pension check and your social security payments and convert them into company funds. Then we give the money back to you in the form of a pay check.” “What good will that do?” I asked. “We still have the same amount of money to live on, which isn’t enough to live on. THAT, I repeat, is why I’m looking for full time employment.” “I know,” said Clint, “but if you are a corporation, I can file forms GS477-332-1 and SWUS-336-557/2, and everything will be deductible. You won’t have to pay taxes. Then because the CEO, Emmaline, is a woman, the company will qualify as a WJ-4489/6 minority owned corporation. You’ll be eligible for a bunch small business loans.” “WHOA!” I said. “You’re supposed to be helping us get OUT of debt, not put us deeper in debt.” “But you won’t be deeper in debt because you won’t have to pay the loans back,” said Clint. “That’s the beauty of it. After you get loans to provide operating capital for your business, I’ll file a WH-666/6 form that gives you loan forgiveness because the corporation does seventy five percent of its business with senior citizens.” “Simpleton,” I shouted. “Emmaline and I would be the only customers.” “That’s even better,” said Clint. “That’s means your business qualifies for a $5,000 Service to the Senior Community Bonus because 100 percent of your endeavors are in behalf senior citizens.” “Geez,” I said, “That sounds as fishy as the term “compassionate conservatism.” “Now you’re thinking,” said Clint. “Now you’re getting the picture.” Then he said something that froze my gizzard. “Trust me,” said Clint. Whenever you hear a character in a soap opera say, “Trust me,” you know that the person to whom he says “trust me” to is going to wind up folded, stapled and spindled. “No way, Jose,” I told Clint. “No. Nyet. Nein.” But cooler heads prevailed, namely Clint’s and Emmaline’s. Clint put through the paper work. Emmaline sailed through several interviews with local, state and federal worker bees, all of whom had a vested interest in getting her application approved so they’d meet their quota. Good dedicated, hardworking folk, every one of them. So now I work for Emmaline, and our financial situation has improved greatly. I do all the housework and the yard work, the take-out-the-garbage-work, walk-the-dog-work. In short, I do all the things that fourth tier corporate managers do. As CEO Emmaline does the heavy lifting, corporationwise. She handles the budgets and oversees capital expenditures. She’s in charge of product acquisition (Dillard’s and the Jones Store, being major suppliers) and distribution (The Thrift Store and the Clothing Consignment Stores being primary distributees). She also guards against hostile takeovers. Emmaline works long hours–executive hours. She’s gone a lot. I’m usually asleep when she comes to bed. Things have been going well so far, but I keep my fingers crossed, since I found out that Clint used to work for a giant corporation that went bust after the government pointed out to its top management that they were supposed to be executives, not chefs.

But, like any good loyal employee, I leave those things to management. I keep my mouth shut and do my work. And I do have some fun. The other day I was out working in the front yard near the curb when a snazzy sports car cruised up. The driver rolled down his window. He looked like one of those thirty-something success stories you read about. He called to me. “Hey Pops,” he yelled, “How much do they pay you?” I looked up respectfully and said, “Oh sir, they don’t pay me anything. But the lady who lives in that house lets me sleep with her,


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Dr. Ima Farseer Gets a Hand©

By Larry Day 

La Mancha is a neighborhood in Letongaloosa where the streets are curved, and the house numbers are hand painted on Spanish tile.  A few of the folks who live in La Mancha are snooty, but most are kindly, civic-minded people who  do kindly deeds for their neighbors with no thought to income differences. 

Dr. Ima Farseer is dean of the Department of Et. Al., Et. Al. at Letongaloosa Community Junior College.  The department got hit hard recently by budget cuts right at the time the school’s enrollment rapidly increased.  Budgets were always tight, but this squeeze threatened to swamp the LCJC boat no matter how fervently Dr. Farseer and the faculty and students manned the bailing buckets. 

Charlotte Williams, lives in La Mancha and serves on a local board of directors with Dr. Farseer.  As they chatted before the meeting, Ms. Williams asked how things were going at LCJC and Dr. Ima said, “Not good, we have a budget crisis.”  

“Is there anything I can do?  I’d love to help,” said Ms. Williams. 

 “We’re not allowed to use outside donations for our specific needs,” said Dr. Ima. “All income goes directly to the state general fund.”  

“That’s a problem,” said Ms. Williams.  “I’ll think about it and get back to you.”  Just then the chair called the meeting to order. 

A few days after the board meeting Ms. Williams called Dr. Ima on the phone. 

“I think I have a solution to the problem,” she said. 

“That’s so helpful! Thank you.”  

“We’ll hold a raffle.  I’ll give tickets my friends in La Mancha.  We’ll all agree that whoever wins the raffle will donate the money to LCJC and stipulate that the funds go directly to the Department of Et. Al, Et. Al.”  

“I don’t think the powers that be will pass up such an opportunity, do you?” 

“If they do, they’ll be crazier than I think they are.” 

“Good.  Let’s do it.” 

For the next couple of weeks at La Mancha social gatherings Ms. Williams distributed raffle tickets.  Everyone who got one agreed that if he or she won, the money would be donated to LCJC’s Department of Et. Al., Et. Al.  It was a good plan, except that there was a snake in the grass.  His name was Draven Bendelgoff.  

After the winner was announced, Ms. Williams approached Mr. Bendelgoff and asked him to give her the ticket so she give the raffle funds to LCJC’s Department of Et. Al., Et. Al.” 

Mr. Bendelgoff replied, “Not only no, but hell no!  I won the raffle and I’m going to keep the money.   

“What about LCJC?” 

“LCJC to go fly a kite.  That money’s mine, and I’m keeping it.” 

What a downer! 

          Fortunately, Ms. Williams had a good friend who worked for the Internal Revenue Service.  She asked her friend to look up Mr. Bendelgoff’s returns and see if she could find any irregularities. 

It turned out that Mr. Bendelgoff was notorious for claiming deductions that were disputed, then tossed out by IRS auditors.  He made himself a pain in the neck by appealing every unaccepted deduction up the chain of command to the Director.  “Gleefully, the IRS personnel went over Bendelgoff’s income clear back to his high school paper route.   

They found that he was as tight-fisted with is money as he was creative with his deductions.  In addition to being a skinflint, he was a cheat and a liar. 

Armed with these facts Ms. Williams approached the crochety Bendelgoff again. 

“Please contribute your ticket to the LCJC fund.” 

“I told you that LCJC could stuff it.” 

“You might want to look at this.”  she handed Bendelgoff a sheet of paper. 

His face turned ashen.   

He handed the raffle ticket to Ms. Williams. 

“Give this raffle ticket to those good folks at LCJC and tell them that they have my full support.” 

“How very kind,” said Ms. Williams. 


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Another Basque Adventure©

     Many columns ago we introduced Blair Timert, a young man who had been orphaned as a baby and adopted by parents who were Basques. Those are the people who live in a land between France and Spain.  We heard from Blair the other day.

          You couldn’t pronounce Blair’s parents’ name correctly in English no matter how you tried.  Realizing that fact, Blair’s parents retained his birth name, but Blair grew up speaking Basque.

          In the earlier story Blair had been in Chicago to pick up a bundle of expired bonds.  He was going to take them to his income tax preparer.  Two Basque hoodlums saw him coming out of the bank with what appeared to be a bundle of valuable documents.

          “Tigo hari kargatuta dago.” (That guy is loaded)

          “Ongil armzen dezagun oilasko hari.” (Let’s pluck that chicken).

          The hoods grabbed Blair and hustled him into the back seat.

Larry Day’s April column page 2


          Blair yelled at the hoods in perfect Basque: “What took you so long,” pretending to go along with the hoods.

          One of the hoods froze, but the driver kept his head.

          “Eruman itazu buruzagia hauek narusiari.”   “Drop me at the next café.”  Blair pushed the bundle to the guy in the front seat who wasn’t driving.

          The driver pulled up to the next restaurant he saw.

          Blair got out without another word and the hoods drove off.  They delivered the worthless bonds to their boss who realized immediately that they’d been duped.  He reported the problem to his boss who sent someone to “take care of the problem.”

          The hoods, sensing they were in trouble, fled and ended up in Letongaloosa where one of them had a cousin who worked at a local bank.  They came to town in separate cars and talked in Basque on their cell phones.  The local police were monitoring the airwaves and picked up the conversation.  They couldn’t understand it, but one officer thought it sounded like Basque.  The police called Blair.

          Blair recognized immediately that it was his erstwhile countrymen.

          “They’re planning to rob the Letongaloosa State Bank,” he told the police.

          The authorities set a trap for the hoods and scooped them up when they entered the bank.  The hoods ratted out their colleague who worked at the bank, and they were all tried, convicted, and sent to prison.

          Blair found the worthless bonds in their car and took them to his tax preparer who worked his magic and got Blair a big tax refund.

Larry Day, page 3

          Coming out of the tax preparer’s office, Blair asked himself. “What should I do with this money?” 

          He bumped into (literally) Dean Ima Farseer,” chair of the Department of Et. Al., Et. Al.” at Letongaloosa Community Junior College.

          Blair and Dean Ima had worked together on city boards of directors. 

          “Pardon me,” said Dean Ima.

          “My fault,” said Blair. “I wasn’t watching where I was going.”

          “Ima, you look concerned,” 

          “We have a problem,” said Dean Ima.  “Our accountant under withheld taxes on employee salaries.  Now we owe the Internal Revenue Service a bundle.”

          “How much do you owe? I just might be able to help,” said Blair.  “The IRS owed me a big refund.  Let’s find out how I can make a charitable contribution that won’t require further taxes for LCJC.”

          “Bless you,” said Dean Ima.

          They took the problem to an accounting firm that specialized in helping people keep their money rather than “contributing” it to the IRS.

          The accountants worked their magic, and LCJC came out owing zero in additional taxes.

          Afterward Blair said, “I’ll buy you a drink.”  They went into a café.

          “Make it a root beer,” said Dean Ima.  “I’m still on duty.”

        “I’ll drink to that,” said Blair as they sat down at the counter. “Make that two root beers, please.” 


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“No Good Deed…”©

A citizen with laryngitis tried to do a good deed last week.  It caused problems at first, but everything turned out all right.  As Bob Jensen was walking by theGood and Solvent Regional Bank of Letongaloosa he saw a backpack lying just outside the door. Bob figured that someone who had not wanted to take the backpack into9 the bank had forgotten to pick it up when he left.

          Bob had a bad case of laryngitis.  The best he could do was to write a note to the bank teller say8ing that someone had left the backpack outside.  The teller didn’t read the note.  Bob was wearing a mask (doesn’t everyone?). The teller assumed that Bob was there to rob the bank.

          She shoved a wad of marked bills into the backpack along with a dye-pack that wazs set to explode in a moment or two.

          A couple of hoodlums who had been casing the bank saw Bob leave with the backpack.  They figured it was full of cash.  The hoods stuck a gun in Bob’s ribs, grabbed the backpack, ran to their car, and screeched away.

          Following protocol, the teller pressed a “bank robber” button under her counter to alert the local police and county sheriff.  The authorities, shouting at each other over two-way radios, began to see the fleeing robbers.

          The two cars collided.  One car carried police officers, the other, deputy county sheriffs.  Both groups wanted to get credit for collaring the bank robbers. There has never been any love lost between the local police and the county sheriff’s deputies.

          A marvelous “Keystone Cops”  episode ensued as the authorities slugged it out and the robbers escaped.

          Meantime the dyepack exploded inside the backpack.  It painted the robbers and the inside of their car red.  The furious hoodlums turned their car into a mall parking lot, and leaving the cash behind, umped out and stuck a gun in the window of a car that had just parked.

          The driver was Bob. He had stopped at the mall on his way home from having done his civic duty at the bank.

          Bob pointed to his throat and mouthed, “I can’t talk.”

          “Shut up and drive,” said the robbers.

          “Where to?  Bob mouthed.

          “Toward the metropolis.  Take Highway 10, Merge onto 466.”

          Bob:  “Lots of traffic.”

          “Just drive!”

          The car sped along for a few miles, the3n sputtered, then sputtered again and rolled to a stop.  The engine died. Bob pointed to the guage.  The car was out of gas.

          “@#$%^&*()” said one robber.

          “(*&^%$#” said the other robber.

          “Get out and flag down a car,” the hoodlum in the front seat told the hoodlum in the back seat.

          “We’re painted red,” said the other.  No one will stop for us.”

          “Get out and flag down a car,” a robber told Bob.

          “I can’t talk!”  mouthed Bob.

          “Just do it.”

          Bob got out and started waving.  The eleventh car stopped.

          “Got car trouble, Buddy?”

Bob leaned into the driver’s window and mouthed, “Bank robbers!”

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Dean Ima Farseer and the Press ©

          Ima Farseer fulfilled one of her life goals when she became dean of the Department of Et. Al., Et. Al., at Letongaloosa Community Junior College. Ima had from, the time she was a child, wanted to be a faculty member at an institution of higher learning.

          Her other long-held desire was to be a journalist.  As a child, Ima had awakened early one morning to the sound of a newsboy out in the street shouting “extra,” “extra.”  From then on Ima thought that going about gathering information and writing it up in a newspaper would be exciting. 

          Aspiring to be a journalist and becoming one, Ima found, would require her to overcome a long-time fear of talking to reporters. 

          In her capacity as a college dean, Ima had no difficulty meeting and talking with students, parents, faculty members and other educational professionals.  That came with the job and she was comfortable with it.  But when some event brought reporters to the campus and the president ordered her to “take care of the situation,” Ima wasn’t at all comfortable 

          Journalists seemed SO self-confident.  In a group, they tended to be loud and pushy. Reporters asked far-fetched questions like “Dr. Farseer is it true that the president of Letongaloosa Community Junior College has been nominated for a

Ima Farseer and the Press, page 2

Nobel Prize for literature?” 

Ima had to answer such mush without demeaning her boss.

          On the other side, some resourceful journalists who had obtained information from sources inside the institution created serious problems for LCJC.  Those questions had to be answered truthfully (lying to the press always caused problems) but very diplomatically.  

          Responses to questions about the budget, issues of federal funding, and some things about diversity required very careful wording. 

          Being pragmatic by nature, Ima decided to take her questions about the press to the source itself—in this case the editor and publisher of the local newspaper, the Letongaloosa Challenger-Bulletin-Clarion-Journal-Post.

          Ima had known the editor/publisher, Michael Stoneworthy, for years. They had served together as members of local boards of directors.  Theirs was a case of mutual, if sometimes uncomfortable, need.  LCJC needed newspaper coverage and the newspaper needed to cover the town’s major institution of higher education appropriately.

          Ima walked into Stoneworthy’s office at a time she knew he’d be the least busy.

          “Mike, I need your help.  I want to do what you do,” said Ima.

          “Why would you want to fight the rising cost of newsprint and be yelled at by everybody in town?”

          “No.  I don’t want to run a newspaper.  I want to be a reporter.”

          “Wouldn’t we all?” he mused. “Those people have all the fun and have none of the headaches.”

          “So how do I do it?  I’m afraid to ask strangers hard questions, and that’s what reporters do all day long.  I look at them—when I’m not talking about issues at LCJC, and I just dry up.  They seem so formidable and self-confident with their notebooks and tape recorders.”

Ima Feerseer, page 3

          Michael Stoneworthy paused, turned in his swivel chair and looked out the window of his office.

          “A hundred years ago, when I was a cub reporter, I asked my publisher, Carlton James, the same question.  He was a wise old duck, and he looked at me and said:

          “Mike, what you need to do is dethrone these bozos without their knowing you’re doing it.  You need to look at these formidable dudes and pretend that they’re sitting there in their underwear.  You try to see through to their boxer shorts, and the black sock-holders strapped around their shins. They’re wearing their favorite frayed undershirt that they can’t bring themselves to discard.

          “When you see them that way in your mind’s eye you say to yourself, 

“I’m not afraid of these bozos.” 

“Then you just speak up and ask your questions.”

“Did it work?”

“It worked for old James, and it worked for me.”

“Mike, you’re a lifesaver.”



“How would you like to go to dinner?”

“I’d love that Mike.”


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Kaybe Finds a Friend ©

The Enchantment is a dingy roadhouse on the outskirts of Letongaloosa. It’s the kind of place every college town needs to maintain academic accreditation. I go to the Enchantment to have a soft drink and chat with friends—some of whom live here and some, like my robot alien friend KB 11.2, live a long, long way from here.

My Alien friend Kaybe looks like a giant tuna fish can. Erector Set arms sprout from the curved sides of his body. Three spindly legs drop from the flat underside of his stainless steel torso. He has ball bearing wheels for feet, and three sensor-eyes wave at you from the ends of floppy antennae on the top his lid.

Kaybe comes from the Alpha Centauri star system. Many years ago on a visit to Earth, Kaybe saved my marriage. We have been friends ever since. Kaybe communicates telepathically– his voice comes into your mind. When we speak English, Kaybe sounds like CNN’s Anderson Cooper. When we speak Spanish he sounds like the Mexican comedian Cantinflas.

There are a variety of cosmic characters at the Enchantment none of whom are around here: Four-Finger Fanny, Henry the Hulk (about whom I have written) who is small but who has a deep voice, Minature Mike, who is huge and very shy.

Four-Finger Fanny speaks telepathically, but she also speaks human, for which I am grateful. It gives me a headache to speak telepathically for very long.

“Kaybe’s back in town, said Fanny. ‘He has a companion. Come on out, have a soft drink and chat.”

“I’d love to. See you soon.”

I drove out to the Enchantment, slid into a back booth and ordered a soft drink.

A little later Kaybe rolled up to the booth, and another alien who looked just like him, rolled up right behind him.

“Hello, good friend,” said Kaybe, telepathically.

“Hi, pal,” I replied. “Who’s your friend?”

“This is K.B.11.3, nickname K3. She’s an old (eons old) friend of mine. K3 just swung in from beyond…well she comes from way beyond any place you’d recognize.

‘’It’s a pleasure to meet you Ms. K3.”

“Just call me Three,” she said telepathically.

“So, what’s going on in the outer reaches?”

“Comets, black holes and the reach of infinity. What can I say?”

“Here on earth things are roiled and getting hard boiled. Elections are coming up and people are all excited to see what happens. Do you choose your leaders by elections? I assume you do have leaders and followers.”

“Eons ago we had leaders. But we evolved a system of governance where everyone has an equal say.”

“How do you deal with divergent views?”

“We talk it over—and we talk it over and we talk it over and we talk it over. We don’t measure time like you do in this section of the galaxy, so these conversations last and last. Eventually when we have turned up and discussed the galaxy of information and opinion and we have pondered it all for a long, long time all that “stuff” begins to seem old and raggedy. And we say, This stuff is old and raggedy. We’re not going to waste any more discussion on old, raggedy stuff like. Let’s play some board games.”

“Indeed?” I say. “That’s fascinating. What you are describing as “stuff” looks and sounds very much like what we here on Earth call politics. We’ve been chewing on the same political soup bones for decades, but we act like the “stuff” is new and compelling.

“So, do you chuck it all out and go and play board games?” asked Three.

“That would be marvelous,” I said. “That would be SO sensible. We could just agree that some “stuff” will never be resolved and go play board games.”

“Do you think that will work?” asked Three.

“I’m afraid not. I think we’d get into a big hassle about which board games are “socially and politically acceptable,” and which board games are not,” I said.

That’s stunning,” said Three. “What a wonderful bunch of “stuff,” that is.”

“I couldn’t agree more,” I said.


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Nosey Nelida Meets Someone ©

Longtime readers of this column will remember that Nosey Nelida Macamora received an invitation to the White House. Nelida owned a business on a rather downtrodden strip mall. She lived in back of her shop. One day she saw suspicious activity at a business on the other end of the parking lot. Nelida, who had been known as “Nosey Nelida” since third grade, called the government hotline and told the operator what she’d seen.

The operator, who was aware of a government “sting” operation to catch drug dealers, put Nelida’s call through to someone who, upon hearing Nelida’s story, put her through to the White House. A staff member congratulated her and invited her to Washington, D.C. to receive a citizen’s citation. Nelida met the President and told him she was going to remain alert. After she’d left, the President told his staff, “Keep an eye on her.”

While Nelida was in Washington, D.C., the government executed the sting operation and grabbed up the drug dealers. The raid was kept out of the mass media, so on her return Nelida assumed that good had triumphed over evil and went on with her life.

A few weeks later someone opened a shop a few doors down from Nelida’s. His name was Guy Winterton. Guy was a bachelor and was a couple of years older than Nelida. A few days after Guy opened his shop, Nelida came to the front door. She was carrying a paper sack with handles.

“I’m Nelida, I have the shop next door,” she said. “I hope you like homemade strawberry jam.”

“Homemade strawberry jam is my favorite,” said Guy. “Please come in.” Nelida stepped in to Guy’s shop and, being Nelida, looked carefully around. Guy stocked a variety of gadgets and gizmos for people who were good with their hands. He had pocketknives, sandpaper, screwdrivers, hammers, mallets, small sanding machines, and the like.

“I noticed the other day that you don’t have any merchandise on the top shelf of your shop,” Guy said.

I’m too short to reach the top shelf,” said Nelida.

“Maybe I can help out with that,” said Guy.

A few days later Guy walked in carrying what looked like a long wooden stick. There was a metal doo-dad—a kind of holder—on the end of the stick. Guy walked to one of Nelida’s shelves and picked up a quart of jam. He fitted the jar carefully in to the metal. The holder grasped the jam jar firmly but safely. Guy picked up the pole, swung it upright, and deposited the jar on the top shelf. He twisted the metal handle at the bottom of the pole and released the jam. It sat snugly and safely on the top shelf.

“I’ll put some more bottles up on the shelf. When you want them, just reach up and grasp them with this gadget,” said Guy.

“Here, you try it, it’s really easy once you catch on.”

Nelida, with some hesitancy, picked up the gadget. Guy helped her secure a bottle of jam in the claw. Then he assisted while she swung the jar up to the top shelf.

“Now just place it lightly on the shelf and twist the release handle,” said Guy.

When the jar was safely on the shelf, Nelida smiled. “Wow,” she said. “it worked.”

“Good job,” said Guy. “Try another one.”

After that, Nelida and Guy became close. Sometimes she fixed dinner, sometimes he did. They liked the same television shows.

One day Guy said, “Nelida, there’s a wall between us.”

“What wall?”

“The wall between our two apartments,” said Guy. “I’m good with my hands.”

Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

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There Is Hope ©

Last Sunday night, I found myself sitting in front of my keyboard preparing to write this column. As I sat staring at the screen, watching the eyebeam flash, and waiting for inspiration, I realized I was stuck. This was a difficult column.  It wasn’t because I didn’t have anything to write. It was because I had too much to write…which is worse than having too little,

For those of you paying attention, the world has gone mad—100% certifiably mad.  The unjust policing and loss of black lives in America and the protests that have followed is overwhelming enough. Couple that with a rampant pandemic that has forced a global lockdown, it’s difficult to find calm in all the chaos.

I’ve been a journalist for nearly seventy years. Those who follow my social media and blog know that in my early years, I was a foreign correspondent in Buenos Aires. I also have worked as a reporter at a few newspapers here and there. Through the years, I’ve lived through and written about some crazy things.

I retired in the late 1990’s. I went onto teaching at universities throughout the Midwest before ending up at Letongaloosa Community College. I started writing this humor column. It’s hard to believe, but that was 15 years ago.

As a journalist, I know its part of my job to look for inspiration EVERYWHERE.   Usually, I write about something I saw or did that inspired me during the week.     Whether it’s a fun place Emmaline and I discover on date night, a happy headline in the newspaper, or a light-hearted story at the end of the nightly newscast, anything can spark an idea for a column

But with all that is happening:  the lockdown, the protests, the arrests and the assaults of fellow journalists all being brought to the forefront, it’s unprecedented. There’s NOTHING funny about ANYTHING that’s happening.

Like all of you, Emmaline and I have been watching A LOT of television.  Since we can’t really venture out to our favorite Mexican restaurant at the moment, we hunker down with takeout. While watching the interviews of the doctors and nurses, the elected officials and news anchors, not to mention, the talk show hosts and celebrities, I ‘m inspired to write.

Through the plethora of serious conversation, I see and hear hope. It may take awhile to get to a solid plan of resolution, but conversations are being had by EVERYONE. There is HOPE.

It’s important to keep the momentum. Life must keep moving. The stories of those who have perished from the pandemic are many.  Our hearts go out to their families. The stories of those who have lost their lives and helped reignite the Black Lives Matter movement  must be told. We will continue the dialog. We will move forward. It will take work, but we will be better than we were before. We have to be.

Like all of you, Emmaline and I are confined to daily expeditions around our neighborhood.  We see the RESILIENCE and the COMMUNIITY of those around us. Everyone is coming together, despite the continued unrest and uncertainty and all will be stronger for it.  STAY SAFE and GOD BLESS.

* This column is dedicated to George Floyd (June 2020), Ahmaud Arbery(June 2020), Rayshard Brooks (June 2020),  Breonna Taylor (March 2020), Amadou Diallo (1999), Patrick Dorismond (2000), Ousmane Zongo (2003),  Timothy Stansbury (2004),  Sean Bell (2006), Oscar Grant (2009), Aiyana Stanley-Jones (2010), Rekia Boyd (2012),  Trayvon Martin (2012), Ramarley Graham (2012), Kimani Gray (2013), Michael Brown (2014) Eric Garner (2014), Sandra Bland (2015), Corey Jones (2015), and ALL of the men and women who have tragically lost their lives as a result of racial injustice.

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Ribby Falls in Love ©

       Long time readers of this column will remember Ribby Von Simeon. More recent readers probably won’t be acquainted with Ribby, so here’s a brief introduction.

Ribby Von Simeon is the son of internationally renowned movie star Sippa Margarita and Balderdash Von Simeon, the news and entertainment magnate.

Ruthless Von Simeon, Ribby’s grandfather, was a Western mining tycoon. Between them they acquired a heap of money.

Miss Margarita’s media profile says she was born in Valencia. Her public  relations packets contain photos of her in and around Valencia, Spain.  Reality insists that Josipa Margarita Ruiz was born and raised in Valencia, Kansas.  The couple had one son, Ruthless Ignacio Balderdash San Bernardino Cortez Ruiz Von Simeon, known all his life as Ribby.

Ribby Von Simeon was raised by his Latino grandparents in Kansas.  It was all his mother could do to handle her fast-paced movie career.  Ribby’s one enduring childhood memory of his mother was of a voyage they took. He flew to Europe and together he and Sippa sailed back on an ocean liner.

The voyage was bittersweet for Ribby.  He had his mother all to himself. But he was seasick from the moment he stepped on board until the ship docked. He spent the whole voyage in bed being tenderly cared for—this to her credit—by his mother.  She brought him broth and hard rolls and read to him.

Ribby didin’t come into his inheritance until he was in his thirties. By that time he was living simply but comfortably as an adjunct professor at Letongaloosa Community Junior College.  The news that he had inherited a pile of money came at the same time news reports said that the luxury liner Santa Maria de la Valencia  on which he and his mother had sailed the Atlantic had been decommissioned and would be sold for scrap.

The thought of that dearly remembered vessel ending up as scrap iron infuriated Ribby. That fury transformed him from a diffident and taciturn academic into a man as rapacious as his grandpa Ruthless Von Simeon and as vociferous and belligerent as his father Balderdash Von Simeon.

Ribby used his resources to attack the astonished lawyers, financial conservators, bureaucrats, politicians and shipping company executives. When it was over, Ribby owned the ship and had permission to do anything he wanted with it.  He had the ship carefully dismantled and transported piece by piece to Kansas. Then Ribby had the ship reconstituted, refurbished and moored  at the top of a hill on a large tract of land he owned a few miles outside Letongaloosa.

After the re-commissioning of the Santa Maria, Ribby dropped back into academic anonymity until 10 years later when another crisis arose.

Newly elected county officials were young and eager to raise tax revenue. They changed zoning regulations. Ribby’s property became part of an urban renewal project. The officials knew little about Ribby except that despite being a lowly professor at LCJC, he owned the land and the ship. They ordered him to dismantle and remove the vessel at his own expense.

That order transformed mild-mannered Sippy Von Simeon into an amalgam of his forebears Ruthles and Balderdash.  Within hours highly placed officials were threatening to strip the county of federal funding, bankers had cancelled favorable interest rates.  Bureaucrats, politicians and diplomats denounced the county officials and demanded that they cancel the project or leave Ribby’s land out of it. The county capitulated.

About that time Angie Appleton, a pert thirty-year-old who had focused her life and energy on her academic career, joined the LJCC faculty. Ribby fell for her the moment he saw her across the room at the first faculty meeting of the semester.

A first Angie ignored him. Then she was curious. Then intrigued.

For his part, Ribby was, at first his shy, taciturn self. But love is powerful. After an agonizing few days of despair, Love awakened Ribby’s Balderdash qualities—appropriately softened for the occasion—and LOVE won out.

Angie and Ribby snuck away and got married, went on a honeymoon, came back to Letongaloosa and settled down—more or less.


Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

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