Tag Archives: summer

Climbing Higher In La Mancha ©

There are few moments in life where the time span between the current and younger versions of yourself collide. Étienne Haute-Montange had such a moment three weeks ago and despite his aversion to leaving Provence, the newly retired French cyclist was excited for his next adventure. But, he never thought it would bring him all the way back to Letongaloosa.
In the early 1980’s, Étienne was working on his grandfather’s lilac farm when news came that he had been accepted into a business program in the United States at La Mancha University. He didn’t want to leave. He wanted to stay at home and compete and after only a month in La Mancha, he rushed back to do what he loved—cycling high into the mountains.
Étienne had had a two-decade long career as a competitive cyclist.
Fast forward to just a few weeks ago. After completing his final time trial, Étienne packed up and set out to retrace all of his favorite bike routes, He wanted to think. He needed to figure out where the next stage of his life would lead.
Two days later he rode onto his favorite old roman bridge, Pont Julien. He wanted to take in its height and its spectacular views. As he gazed, his cell phone buzzed. The message was from his bug-loving best friend, Zimmy Tarbox. The call solved Etienne’s “what’s next” problem, and put him on a plane bound for Letongaloosa Community Junior College.
The LCJC was offering a summer cycling course for La Mancha and Letongaloosa residents. The course needed an instructor, and Zimmy knew Étienne would be perfect for the job.
Étienne arrived in the small Midwestern college town and got together with Zimmy. Then he went to meet with the chair of the Department of et. al, et al, Dr. Ima Farseer to get her help with the academic paperwork.
Then he headed over to the entomology department to see Zimmy.
“Be careful. The legs of a Cuban rainbow beetle can be rather delicate, or so I’ve read in a paper a good friend of mine wrote.”
Zimmy looked up from the cage of rainbow beetles and smiled.
“Is that so? Well, you know, the Cuban rainbow beetle is tougher than most people would think. This particular species lives high in the mountains and the best way to see one is to climb high into the mountains. You should know all about climbing.”
Étienne grinned, “Yes, I know a quite a bit.”
Then they headed over to The Enchantment—a bar on the outskirts of town. The kind every college town needs to keep its accreditation. They ordered root beers. Étienne filled Zimmy in on the details of his final professional time trial. Then they talked about life in Provence.
Etienne mentioned how he would miss competing in races like the Tour de Fleur, but he was delighted to come back to Letongaloosa to teach others to climb the mountains as he had done in Provence,
Zimmy laughed,” Slow down, old friend. Most of the residents taking part in the summer cycling program are looking to go bike-packing on the surrounding trails or enjoy a leisurely ride around town.”
Then Zimmy remembered the Fourth of July celebration sponsored by La Mancha U, LCJC and some of the other businesses around La Mancha and Letongaloosa. Of course, there would be fireworks, games, and a big cycling race to be held at the Letongaloosa Lake Loop Trail,
“There’s a cycling race on July 4th if you’re interested. It’s no Tour de Fleur, but it is fun and the climb might even challenge you. Plus, Bastille Day is just around the corner. I think you’ll enjoy the festivities,”
Étienne was delighted. He sipped his root beer and thought about this new stage of his life. Coming back to the small Midwestern town was the right decision. He had good friends. Étienne was able to continue doing what he loved.He was on the right path,
Zimmy and he finished their root beer, paid the bill and headed for the door. It was going to be a great summer. Étienne was ready to climb higher and have the time of his life!

-30-

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 

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Climbing High in La Mancha©

Étienne Haute-Montange sat in the Aéroport Marseille Provence. He had two hours to kill before heading off to Letongaloosa to enroll at Letongaloosa Community Junior College, the town’s center of higher education.
In the last 28 days, after completing his final professional time trial, the newly retired French cyclist had spent his time bike-packing around Provence.
He had put everything he would need on his bike frame and set out for the week to retrace all of his favorite routes. Étienne wanted to relax and think. He needed to figure out where the next stage of his life would lead.
Two days into his trek, on his way to the hidden village of Goult, he stopped on his favorite old roman bridge, Pont Julien, to take in its height and its spectacular views. As he gazed, his cell phone rang. The message put him on the path to his next great adventure.
In the early 1980’s , Étienne was working on his grandfather’s lilac farm when news came that he had been accepted into a business program in the United States at La Mancha University. He didn’t want to leave. He wanted to stay at home and compete–climbing high into the mountains.
In his imagination, Étienne was a decade into his career as a competitive cyclist.
There are competitions and races throughout the world, but certain locations are synonymous with cycling. Étienne knew he’d be a part of it all someday so he tried to learn as much as he could about the trails, the climbs and the cyclists in those races. He knew he could learn more about the lilacs, the farm and his fate if he stayed in Provence. He was right.
Within a few months of packing up and setting out for La Mancha, Étienne was back riding through the tall, deep flowers and the high roadsof Provence. But not before he had made a longtime friend in Zimmy Tarbox.
Zimmy Tarbox was in the graduate program in the Department of Entomology at La Mancha U. He met Étienne on a campus bike trail while searching for beetles. Étienne was standing on a bridge that overlooked one of the university’s highest points.
The view included lilacs, which are hard to find in a small Midwestern college town. Étienne came to the bridge when he felt homesick.
The two students struck up a conversation. Zimmy, was about to capture a cockroach he had spotted on the rail of the old bridge.
“What’s up?” asked Étienne. Zimmy smiled as he snagged the insect. He was planning to measure the space between its eyeballs.
“What in the world are you doing?” asked Étienne looking down at the small cage and the large bug. Why would anyone want to capture it?
Zimmy explained that he was studying the anatomy of the bug and that he must successfully identify all of its parts for his midterm exam. In turn, Zimmy learned that Étienne’s true passion was cycling, not business, and he really wished to return to Provence.
The two became good friends over the next few months. Zimmy became well-versed in the highest climbs in Provence, and Étienne learned the best way to obtain the measurements of a baby cockroach without harming it.
After Étienne returned to Provence the two kept in touch–a friendship that lasted through the years. Zimmy went to Provence to celebrate Étienne’s win in the Tour de Fleur and Étienne went to Cuba when Zimmy and Kate made their big rainbow beetle discovery.
So when his cell phone sounded as Étienne was standing on that bridge in Provence, he was delighted to learn that he would soon be heading back to La Mancha to see his old friend.
“The university is offering a summer cycling course for La Mancha and Letongaloosa residents. They need an instructor. Kate and I think you’d be a perfect for the job. What do you say? ”

Even though it was only for a few months, Étienne was delighted.
“Of course, my bug-loving, friend! See you soon!”
So now Étienne was waiting in the Aéroport Marseille Provence eager to follow the next stage of his adventures–in a small Midwestern town.

-30-
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

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Packin’ Light Heat ©

 

 

Virtually all states in the U.S. permit you pack heat (carry weapons) strapped to your hip like Wyatt Earp.   That’s your constitutional right. Forty-nine of the 50 states also let you to carry concealed weapons if  you have  the proper state-issued permit.

With people all over the country packing heat, it was just a matter of time before fashion designers and clothing manufacturers got involved.   People get tired of wearing grungy-looking baggy clothing just to conceal their weapons.  The clothing industry saw that people who pack heat wanted to look spiffy.  Thus, inevitably, this headline  appeared in the New York Times:

 

“New Fashion Wrinkle: Stylishly Hiding Gun”

New York Times, Tuesday, April 24, 2012 Page 1A

 

According to the news story,  fashion designers have developed, and  manufacturers have produced, stylish street clothes that help you  hide your hardware. If you’re a man, you’ll find, sewn inside specially made fashionable chino trousers,  invisible but easily accessible pockets that hold anything from a  Beretta Tom Cat  to a Ruger LCP or a Glock 26/27.    If you want to pack a bigger piece, you can buy a stylish jacket with side pockets.  You thrust your hand into the pocket.  It goes through a Velcroed opening and lets you grasp that Desert Eagle .45 Long Colt you have stuck in your waistband.

If you’re a woman you can pack heat fashionably too.  You can carry a couple of Charter Arms Pink Lady revolvers in unobtrusive pockets sewn into specially made slacks or skirts.  Trendy brocade jackets with side-slit

pockets can completely conceal a match pair of pink-trimmed Cobra derringers.  Word on the street is that a quick-draw Beretta-bra will soon be on the market.

Fashion houses can make a pile of money selling clothing to prosperous people who pack heat.  That fact wasn’t lost on Eloise Simplelkins.

Eloise Simpelkins grew up in Letongaloosa and worked as a cleaning lady in La Mancha , a moneyed section of town where the streets are curved and the addresses are hand painted on Spanish tile.  Later Eloise  made a pile of money of her own.  She founded a company that services  fastidious homemakers.  Eloises’s company sends pre-cleaning ladies to homes where the homemakers can’t stand to let their regular cleaning ladies see the mess.

Ever the entrepreneur, Eloise  figured  she could tap into a “packin’ heat fashionably” niche, so she  hired designers to create a line of clothing for the less than fully clad segment of the market.

First came a line of walking shorts. Then came short shorts. Both lines were designed to let the wearers pack heat undetected.  Eloise next marketed swim suits in her “The Bam-Bam Swim Suit” line.”  Men’s swim trunks and women’s one-piece swim wear were designed to conceal handguns. Sales for  “Bam-Bam” swim wear skyrocketed after news reports  about a woman who wounded two would-be attackers on a California beach.  The woman had whipped out a pink trimmed  Sig Saurer Misquito automatic from a hidden pocket in her zebra-striped swim suit.

Flushed with that success, Eloise decided to market a line of scantier swimming apparel.

Eloise asked Melvin Totts and Minnie Cummins, two successful swim wear designers, to create a line of men’s and women’s bikinis that would allow the wearers to pack heat undetected.

“It can’t be done.” said Totts, but Eloise got them to give the project a try by promising to import the world’s smallest handgun–a European-built revolver called  the Asp. The weapon has a two-inch barrel and fires  high velocity bullets that can be deadly at close range.

Melvin and Minnie came up with some fabulous-looking bikinis, but Eloise ran into a road block.  The U.S.  government bans the import of non-sport guns, and it refused to classify the Asp as a sports gun.

Undeterred, Eloise arranged a private fashion show for U.S. Sen. Marcus Womble and a few of his closest friends. The show’s  runway featured beautiful models wearing skimpy bikinis. Afterward there was  a cozy private reception for the senator, his friends, and the models.  After that Eloise got permission to import the Asp.  She launched  her “teeny weensy,itsy bitsy heat packin’ bikini” line.  The bikinis flew off store shelves so fast

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

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Pecked to Death by Ducks©

With the summer season just around the corner, most people are making vacation plans. I, on the other hand, have been busy stressing about all of the things around my house that need my attention.

I’ve been thinking about what to do with all my “stuff” in the attic. Emmaline runs a trim ship.   I sail a kind of garbage scow.

It’s time to get the wet leaves out of the roof gutters, put fertilizer on the lawn, fetch some sacks of pebbles for the rock garden.  On a more personal note, I wanted to rescue a couple of my favorite shirts from the church donation box sitting by the front door.
Whenever I think that I have too much to do, my stress rises. When that happens, it’s like I’m being pecked to death by ducks.  Its as if I were tied hand and foot and lying on wet grass with a raft, team or paddling (see Google) of ducks pecking me.  Their blunt beaks don’t break the skin on my head like the peck of a woodpecker would, but the sensation is still painful, and
emotionally draining.

The feeling comes when I think I have too many things to do and not enough time to do them. I often get relief by day dreaming about decades past when I traveled a lot—to Latin America, the Caribbean, North and Central Africa, Japan.  But if I day dream too deeply while I’m doing something like trimming the hedge, and I mess it up, and—out come the ducks.

I’ve been thinking Emmaline and I need to go back to the Caribbean, or Latin America. But then I realize that what we really need is to go back to our good old rental cabin in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. I always love our days on the river there, floating downstream on inner tubes, drinking steins of root beer with my friends, the little old colonial Dutchmen.
Back in March I got in touch with my humor column friends and colleagues at The Enchantment, that dingy roadhouse on the edge of town where so many of them congregate. I told them to meet us at the cabin. Then, what with the ducks in my head and all, I nearly forgot about the trip to the cabin.

So today, I got the word out—on Internet, by smoke signals, by homing pigeons, by mental telepathy–and by a few other means of communication that I won’t elaborate on here. I invited everyone

to meet us at the cabin.  The invitation to my  robot friend KB11.2 (Kaybe, for short) went zinging  through outer space to his home planet that’s just a few parsecs from our nearest star, Alpha Centuari.   And I asked Kaybe to stop by Cuba on his way andpick up Kate in the jungle down there.
Emmaline thought we couldn’t go to the cabin right now because there was too much to be done here: paint the shutters, plant a garden, clean out the garage, etc., etc.

“And What about Ginger?” she asked.  Ginger is our dog.

“I promise to paint the shutters when we get back. The weather will be better then, anyway.  It’s been a late spring, so we can put in the garden after we get back.  Ginger always comes with us, remember? Her carrier is just inside the front door, next to that donation box we’re taking to the church.”

I knew that Emmaline wanted to go to the cabin all along, but we needed to tie up loose ends.  After she went to pack, she called down to say she was including a variety of ceramic root beer steins.

She had chosen one for everybody. A few days later as we got ready to leave the ducks in my head took a nap—a nice long one, I hoped.

When I lifted Ginger into her carrier, she nestled down on top of my favorite dear old (not to be discarded) shirt. It was folded neatly underneath her.

I put the church donation box in the car to drop off on the way out of town.

-30-

 

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

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Pop Fly

There was ease in Madie’s manner as she crouched behind the plate.

La Mancha is the posh section of town where the streets are

winding and the house numbers are hand painted on Spanish tile.

The La Mancha girl softball team—the Amazons–had worked their

way to the final game of a double elimination regional tournament.

The Amazons’ catcher Madison “Madie” Sommerset was a

prototypical example of a self-absorbed La Mancha teenager. She

imagined the adulation she would get when the Amazons won.

Photographers would run onto the field. She saw herself yanking off

her brand new $140 catcher’s mask as news photographers

crowded around her.

The Amazons had won their first game against the Fairfield

Fusions, but to everyone’s surprise, had lost the second game. In a

powerful effort to put the Fusions away, the Amazons scored four

runs in the first inning. Then their bats went cold, but they led 4 to 1 in

the top of the final inning of the tournament.

Before the last inning, officials called a five-minute time out to

re-chalk the batter’s boxes and check the infield. Madie slipped

away and ran to her car. Open cosmetic containers were spread

across the front seat. Madie grabbed a hand mirror and applied a

thick coat of a New Air Foam foundation to her face. Advertisers

said the air foam foundation make-up would give her face a

“perfect matte surface.” She sprayed the foundation on thick,

smoothed it quickly, jammed on her catcher’s mask, and dashed

back to the dugout.

“Play ball,” the umpire shouted.

The bottom of the Fusion batting order was coming to the

plate. It was time to send the Fusions home with a runners-up cup.

The Amazon pitcher wasted two inside pitches trying to intimidate

the first Fusion batter, but the batter refused to back up. The next

pitch zinged in waist high and right over the plate. “Crack!” The

batter slashed a sharp line drive between first and second into right

field. It went all the way to the fence. The Amazon short stop cut off

the throw as the batter slid into second. The next batter got a single,

and the runner held at third. The Amazon pitcher walked the third

batter purposely to load the bases and get at the last batter in the

Fusion line-up. She was a scrawny substitute who had come into the

game after a Fusion player was hurt in a collision with Madie at the

plate. The first two pitches came in straight, fast , and right over the

plate.

“Strike one. Strike two,” said the umpire.

Then the Amazon pitcher’s fingers slipped and the pitch came

dawdling toward the plate looking as big as a volley ball. Scrawny

Arms closed her eyes and swung. When the dust had settled the

Fusions had three runs in and the batter was hugging third.

Fusion’s lead-off batter stepped to the plate. The pitch.

“Crack!” It was a broken bat pop fly. The ball sailed high, looked

foul, then drifted fair between home and third.

“I got it,” yelled Madie. The other Amazon players held up.

They had learned long ago what it meant when Madie yelled, “I got

it.” It meant “Get out of the way or get clobbered.”

Madie yanked at her new catcher’s mask with one hand as she

raced toward the fly ball. The mask wouldn’t budge. Somehow the

foundation make-up that Madie had just put on had bonded –like

glue–with the inside of the face mask.

The ball fell into fair territory two feet from Madie and rolled

toward the pitcher’s mound. The runner broke for home and

crossed the plate standing up.

The Fusion team picked up the scrawny sub and marched her

around the field on their shoulders. Photographers had a field day.

Madie was able to wrench the mask off just as three

photographers reached her. A three column by eight-inch photo

close-up of Madie’s face ran on the sports page the next day. The

padded mask had left inch-wide tracks in the thick make-up down

both of her cheeks. She looked like a raccoon.

-30-

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

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Pat & Pete’s Patriotic Party©

This is story began years ago when Pete and Pat were forced to take separate vacations. Patrocina Megamecheldorf Samborvich Jones and Pedro Salazar Remirez Sandoval Montoya y Montoya are known around town, for obvious reasons, simply as Pat and Pete. The two had come to Letongaloosa years before and became a couple after having been business rivals.

Pat had wanted to buy the old Peabody home from the city to house a pre-school. Pete wanted to open a pawn shop. After an intense public debate they opted to join forces and share the facility. Together they created a unique business: Pat and Pete’s Preschool and Pawn Shop. During that process they became a couple. They waited five years then got married.

Both Pat and Pete belonged to organizations related to their professions and they usually accompanied each other to annual professional conferences.

One year the two conferences were scheduled at the same time in Seoul, Korea (Pete), and Cartagena, Colombia (Pat). While at those separate conventions Pat and Pete met children they wanted to adopt. They returned to the United States and, with the help of government and nongovernment agencies, were able to adopt four children—two Koreans—Min-jee and his sister Hae-jin; two Colombians— Maria and her brother Hernando.

It took a quite awhile, as described elsewhere, but finally Min-jee and Maria, Hernando and Hae-jin, and Pat and Pete were home, seated together around the dinner table eating dolsot, bimbimbap, and chimicangas.

Hananim-eun uliloull chugbog,” (may God bless us) said Min-jee and Hernando and Maria. “Amen,” said Pat and Pete.

We now fast forward a few years. The children are older, but still young enough to be excited about family vacations, and Pete and Pat were prospering financially to the point that taking a six-person family trip was not the “break the bank” enterprise it would have been just a few years earlier.

For the kids there was one requirement for a vacation—that it be FUN.

For education-minded Pat and Pete, vacation had to be “fruitful” as well as fun.

The ensuing family council was animated. As chair, Pete sometimes exercised authoritative prerogatives not to be found in Robert’s Rules of Order.

But when the meeting ended there was harmony and excitement all round.

The family was going to Washington, D.C. to be present at A Capitol Fourth, where thousands of people gather and millions more watch on television to see the greatest display of Fourth of July fireworks anywhere. The event takes place on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol.

 

While these deliberations were going on, a telephone rang at the White House. The operator told the caller, “One moment please,” and hissed a supervisor standing by, “It’s Nelida Nacamora, from Kansas.” Some readers will recall the story of “Nosey Nelida.” As a shop keeper at a Letongaloosa mall, she blew the whistle on a government sting operation that was aimed at shutting down a major drug ring. To keep the operation secret, the government lauded Nelida for her “vigilance” and gave her an award in a ceremony at the White House. White House staffers remained sensitive to Nelida’s curiosity an investigative skills.

“Put Ms. Nacamora through to the chief of staff’s office,” the supervisor told the White House telephone operator.

“Hello, Mrs. Nacamora. This is IkeWithers, assistant deputy chief of staff.

We’ve spoken before.” “Ike,” said Nellie, who never bothered with formalities, “I’ve got a got news you’ll thank me for.” Nelida then told Mr. Withers about Pat and Pete and their diverse family.

“They’re coming Washington to attend the Capitol Fourth festivities. If you invite them to the White House, and leak their story, the mass media will splash it nationwide. You can promote them as the administration’s first annual “Capitol Fourth Family of the Year.”

A few days later they were sightseeing on the Washington Mall, Pat and Pete and the kids were approached by two men wearing dark suits with insignia in their button holes. And that, dear readers, is how Pat and Pete, Minjee and Hae-jin, and Maria and Hernando got to meet the President of the United States.

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

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Man In the Mirror Redux ©

Last month my wife, Emmaline and I rented the old mountain

cabin where we have stayed nearly every year for the past 27 years.

The cabin is located deep in the woods. This year we also rented the

cabin (capacity 12) next door. Our kids and grandkids joined us for a

family get together.

One of the reasons we love going to the cabin is that it looks

just as did when we first stayed there back in 1989. The cabin is miles

from town. It stands above a boulder-strewn river that begins

somewhere high in the tree-covered Appalachians. A wall-sized

outside window looks straight down from the cabin onto a narrow

river. The cabin is on a single floor with partitions for the livingroom

bedroom and bathroom, which is is at the far end of the cabin.

Emmaline had gone to get groceries. I was alone and it was in

the bathroom mirror that I saw, instead of my own face, the face of

the Little Dutchman—an old man with a long beard and a tricornered

hat. I panicked when I saw him. I ran back to the front

room. But there he was, standing on the kitchen table dressed in

antique Dutch garb—a cloth jerkin strapped several times around

the waist, breeches decorated with rows of buttons down the sides

and bunched at the knees. He looked like he had just stepped out

of the story of Rip Van Winkle. That’s when my first adventure with

him began.

Back then the Dutchman and his pals, with their beer steins

foaming, and I with my foaming stein of root beer, took a bumpy

ride down the river, floating on truck tire inner tubes.

I thought later that the whole episode was a figment of my

imagination. I told myself, “If you want to avoid dreaming about

bearded Rip Van Winkle characters, then don’t eat onions and bleu

cheese at bedtime.” Little did I guess.

Last month Emmaline and I and all the family made the trip

and gathered in the front room of the cabin. We wanted to toast the

cabin and our many happy visits there. We bought a whole bunch

of plastic wine glasses and two magnums of non-alcoholic

champagne. Just as we raised our glasses there was a knock at the

door.

“There’s no one at the door.”

I had a premonition.

“Look down,” I said.

“Wow!”

“It’s the Dutchman, right?”

“And all his pals.”

I handed Emmaline my glass and walked to the door. The Little

Dutchman and about a dozen others were on the porch gesturing

and pointing down the wooden stairs. Half a dozen inner tubes were

moored to the cement landing below. The Dutchmen wanted

everyone to join them on a float.

“Come in and have a drink, first,” I said. After a moment’s hesitation,

they all trooped inside and stood in a semi-circle. Someone handed

them glasses of ersatz champagne.

“To the cabin!” I said.

“To the cabin!”

“To the Dutchmen!”

“To the Dutchmen.”

The little Dutchman touched my thigh and gestured. I

recognized the gesture immediately.

“To the River!” I said.

“To the River!”

There being no fireplace, and the glasses being plastic,

everyone simply put them on the table and walked to the door.

“To the River!” someone shouted, in an entirely different

context.

“Don’t trample the Dutchmen,” I yelled. But I needn’t have

worried. My nimble little pals were already half way to the landing.

Emmaline and I paused in the living room for a moment and

embraced.

-30-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

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,