As a freshman in college, Dodd worked as a waiter at a pizza parlor in town. He was prompt and friendly, and people were liberal with their tips. Dodd saved his tips in a glass jar and opened a savings account at a local bank. When the tip bottle was full, Dodd took it to the bank to make a deposit. He asked the teller to use the bank’s money counting machine to count the coins.
The teller said, “Count them yourself.”
The Outcome: Dodd immediately closed his savings account and opened one at another local bank. The new bank’s teller cheerfully used the bank’s machine to count Dodd’s loose change. After Dodd graduated, he got a good job and continued banking with the folks that had counted his coins. In the following decades Dodd took out half a dozen loans and two mortgages at that bank.
My wife Emmaline is one no nonsense, “just give me the facts,
please,” kind of woman. You won’t find Emmaline running on the
gerbil wheel of fad or fashion, much less giving heed to folklore
traditions. So it was with some consternation that I found myself in the
car (with Emmaline at the wheel as usual) driving to the city to buy a
statue of St. Joseph
We had decided to put our house on the market with an eye to
moving to something smaller, with fewer stairs. Before we signed a
sales contract and way before the for sale signs went up, Emmaline
got word from her good friend Rosalie that if we were serious about
selling our house we had better seek the divine assistance of St.
“You have to bury a small statue of St. Joseph upside down in the
front yard,” said Rosalie. “If you do that, your house will sell fast.”
Rosalie had told Emmaline to try We Believe Books, a Christian
store on the outskirts of the city. We drove around awhile and then
spotted “We Believe,” in a strip mall.
“Hi folks,” said the man behind the counter. “It’s a blessed
“Indeed it is,” said Emmaline. “Especially if you have a statue of
“A statue?” the man asked.
“Well, actually small figurine of St. Joseph.”
“We don’t carry figurines,” he said.” Would a book mark do?”
We have some nice St. Joseph bookmarks.”
“No. It has to be a figurine.”
“Then I’m sorry, I can’t help you.”
“Is there another religious store close by?”
“You could try Light and Knowledge over on Linden Tree Road.”
Emmaline asked how to get there and the man gave her detailed
directions. After driving around for half an hour we found ourselves in
a in a rough neighborhood. Emmaline pulled up to a rundown
“See if the clerk knows where to find Light and Knowledge,” she
The clerk was in his early twenties. He had a silver nose ring and
a nickel-sized ivory plug in each ear lobe.
“I’m looking for Light and Knowledge,” I said.
The clerk straightened up. His right hand moved slowly out of
sight under the counter.
“I’m all out,” he said.
“I’m all out, man. Come back later.”
My confusion turned to insight. I felt a chill.
“Oh yeah, right. Okay, man,” I said. I backed toward the door.
“Did the clerk know anything?” asked Emmaline.
“No,” I said
Twenty minutes later we were in a less stressed part of town. We
passed a church. Six or seven women and a pastor were chatting on
the front steps. Emmaline pulled to the curb.
“Ask if they know where it is,” she said. “Hi, folks,” I said. “We’re
looking for the Light and Knowledge bookstore on Linden Tree
Road.” The pastor came to the car.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “I have no idea. But Salvation Now
Bookshop is up the street three blocks.
The woman behind the counter at Salvation Now was tall and
“We’d like to buy a small figurine of St. Joseph, “said Emmaline.
“You don’t want Salvation Now, you want Light and
Knowledge,” said the woman.
“Right,” I said, “on Linden Tree Road.”
“Yes,” she said.
“Is it far?”
“About twenty blocks. My sister Ginger owns it. My name is
Sheila.” Sheila handed me a sheet of paper with a map showing
how to get from Salvation Now to Light and Knowledge.
“You must have lots of requests for St. Joseph figurines, why
don’t you stock them?” I asked.
“Ginger and I both wanted to stock St. Joseph figurines, but we
decided to do “rocks, scissors, papers” and let the winner have an
exclusive on them,” she said. “Ginger won. I got exclusive rights to St.
“What does St. Redondo do for people?” I asked.
“He brings customers to yard and garage sales,” she said. “You
hide him carefully in the worst, most useless, item you have. I’ve
heard of St. Redondo yard and garage sales that have nothing left
less than half an hour after they began.”
We thanked Sheila, and followed her map to the Light and
Knowledge Book Store. The St. Joseph figurine came in a little box
that had instructions on how and where to bury him to insure a quick
We haven’t sold our house yet, but Emmaline says St. Joseph is
working on it every day. Meantime she’s planning another trip to the
city. Emmaline wants to buy a St. Redondo figurine to use in the
garage sale we’re going to have before we move.
Dr. Larry Day is a retired foreign correspondent turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase on Amazon.
As a teenager I worked on a farm one summer. I used to talk to an old guy after work. He was hard of hearing. When the old guy didn’t hear me , but didn’t want to acknowledge the fact, he would say, “That’s no joke,” after my remark.
But some of the time I WAS telling a joke.
Dr. Larry Day is a retired journalist turned humor columnist. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales from the Fourth Dementia is available at Amazon.com
No one has ever mistaken Nelly Potsdam-Clark for a beauty pageant contestant. In point of fact she looks like a fire plug. And when provoked she can be pushy, grabby and coarse.
Verita, Nelly’s 17-year-old daughter, inherited her father Sidney’s genes. The Clarks are as tall and willowy as the Potsdams are squat and thick, and folks use such words as refined, gracious and polished when speaking about Sid and Verita.
The couple’s marriage has lasted because over the years pushy trumped refined, grabby trumped gracious, and coarse trumped polished whenever things got tense in the Potsdam-Clark household. People call Nelly’s husband “Silent Sid.” Verita had Sid’s quiescent personality, but she had looks that beat all.
When Verita was born, Nelly saw her chance to seize the personal recognition that nature had denied her. Verita was only three months old when Nelly entered her in her first beauty contest–a “pretty baby” competition at the local mall. Verita finished ninth. Verita was sixth in the “Tiny Toddler,” pageant, and won fourth place in a contest to choose the most photogenic three-year-old. For the next four years Verita was either sick or recuperating from a series of childhood maladies, so she wasn’t able to compete. But that time wasn’t wasted. Nelly hired coaches to come to their home and teach elocution, diction, posture, social skills, and body language.
When Verita turned seven Nelly sent her back on the child beauty circuit and she won first in the The Bill Magoony Used Car Good Girl Gala. Nelly reveled in all the attention. Verita barely tolerated it, and Sid shrank from it.
A decade passed with Verita winning or placing high in competition after competition. Verita continued to prep and compete effectively, though reluctantly, in contest after contest. Long before Veritas’s 17th birthday Nelly began planning for the regional round of the Miss Teen Nation competition.
After supper one night Sid and Verita were sitting on the front porch.
“Dad, I don’t want to compete anymore.”
“You’ve been competing all your life. What’s changed?”
“I did it for Mom. I love her, but now I want to quit and get on with my life.”
“I’ll do the Miss Teen Nation, but then I’m through. I won’t compete again.”
“How will you tell Mom?
“I’ll figure it out.”
“I hope you do, dear,” said Sid, quietly.
Verita found a way out when she read the rules of the Miss Teen Nation competition.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” said the master of ceremonies, “our judges have given me their scores for the five finalists in the evening gown competition. First place goes to Miss Letongaloosa, Verita Clark!” The applause died down.
“Now stand by for our final event, the swim suit competition.”
Back in the dressing room Verita shed her winning gown it was floor length with an embroidered top that covered her shoulders. The gown had scored points with the judges for elegance and modesty. Verita put on her swimsuit.
Standing off-stage with the other four contestants Verita waited calmly for what she knew was coming. Miss Dilltonville spotted it first.
“She has a tattoo! That’s against the rules.”
There was a pause in the proceedings while the officials consulted. Then the master of ceremonies came to the microphone.
“Ladies and gentlemen, it is my unhappy duty to announce that Miss Letongaloosa has withdrawn from competition.”
Nelly rushed back stage.
“What have you done?!”
“I broke the rules, Mom,” said Verita and turned round.
On her back, between her beautiful white shoulders, was a big red heart. Block letters inside the heart read: “I LUV U MOM.”
“Do you truly?” cried Nelly.
“Yes. Truly. But Mom, I don’t want to go to fashion school. I want to go to college and become a social worker. I want to help needy children.”
“And so you shall, my dear,” said Nelly.
Sid made it back stage just in time to join his wife and daughter in a long, heartfelt embrace