Friday, July 31, 2020

Somebody Needs a Good Clubbing

We had lunch at our new favorite casino on Monday.

Hick had his regular cheeseburger and fries. His slice of pie this time was normal size. There was more of a selection, and he chose apple.

The Pony switched off the burger, and had chicken strips. They were gargantuan, compared to the meager allotment I tried to give him from Dairy Queen a while back. In fact, The Pony could only eat two of the three chicken strips, and gave one to Hick.

So Hick and The Pony had no complaints. As you probably expected, Val DID!

I wish I had taken a picture of our meals. I guess we were in such a feeding frenzy that I forgot. But for comparison, take a look at the Chicken Club Sandwich I had the last time.

Yes, I should have showed you the inside. It was grilled chicken with tomato, onion, and bacon. I asked for no lettuce. The server brought us a basket of condiments with a tube of mayo that I added.

Anyhoo... THIS TIME, my Chicken Club came with a bone of contention.


Who does that? A Chicken Club is not a burger! Why was it on a BUN? That's something you might get served in CRAZYTOWN! A Chicken Club should be on toast. Or at least on bread. NOT a BUN!

The grilled chicken itself was cooked right, and of sufficient size. The tomato, onion, and bacon were proportional. But there was some kind of SAUCE on it! Yes, I added a tube of mayo. But the liquid that poured out of my Chicken Club was not mayo! Nor was it juice from the tomato, as suggested by The Pony.

My Chicken Club emitted a yellowish liquid with dark spots. It had a slight mustard taste. I had to lean over the serving basket like eating from a trough! So it wouldn't drip on my shirt, which was not my usual casino uniform of pink plaid, but a white shirt with a pink and tan checked pattern. That liquid pooled at the bottom of my cardboard serving basket. In fact, it ruined 4 tater tots!

There was no sauce listed on the description of the Chicken Club hanging on the wall behind the counter. As far as I know, a Chicken Club does not come with sauce. Mayo, maybe. But not something yellowish and mustardish, with black spots.

I know that little casino grill was having trouble with the help last time. The same lady was taking orders and cooking and bringing out the food. Whoever is cooking now needs a thorough lesson in the construction of a proper Chicken Club.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Even Steven Demands Loyalty

For two days, I did not get a 44 oz Diet Coke at the Gas Station Chicken Store!

On Monday, we took a trip out of town, and got back around 4:15. I did not feel like I'd get my money's worth out of a 44 oz Diet Coke that late in the day. Although lately, I've started sipping it at 3:00, even when I buy it around 2:00.

I went in, though, to trade some scratchers. The Gun-Totin' Clerk chastised me for throwing off her routine.

"I'm used to putting your change right here! You're confusing me!"

"Sorry. We got back too late. I'll just have a bottle of soda at home today. I'm still here for the lottery! And you know I'll be back tomorrow..."

She let me off the hook with a warning.

On Tuesday, The Pony wanted a chicken strip combo from Hardee's for lunch. I decided to have the same. A combo comes with a soda. No need to get my 44 oz Diet Coke. I did, however, go in the Gas Station Chicken Store for my scratchers.

"WHAT? No soda again today?"

"Well, I'm going to Hardee's for a combo. So I'm getting my Diet Coke there today."

"You're not loyal! You're stepping out on us! That's two days in a row."

"I'll be back in my routine tomorrow. I'm just getting my Diet Coke at Hardee's today."

Of course you know what happened... but I'll give you the details.

I pulled up at Hardee's and ordered a medium chicken strip combo with honey mustard sauce and a Sprite, and a small chicken strip combo with honey mustard sauce and a Diet Coke. The gal repeated the order, and told me the price through the speaker. I drove around to the window. I paid. She handed out the Sprite. Then the bag of food. Then said, "We're getting your Diet Coke."

Then she came back!

"Um. Our Diet Coke is acting funny."

[What do you mean it's funny? The way it talks? Funny how? What's funny about it? Funny like a clown? Did it amuse you? Did it make you laugh? What is so funny about it? Tell me what's funny. OH, SORRY! I watched part of Goodfellas before I left for town.]

"Will you take Diet Dr. Pepper?"


"Oh. How about Coke Zero?"

"I guess. Give me Coke Zero."

Of all the times for Hardee's to have FUNNY Diet Coke, it had to be on the day I wanted one. On the day I told the Gun-Totin' Clerk at the Gas Station Chicken Store that I didn't need my 44 oz Diet Coke, because I was getting one at Hardee's.

I paid for COLORED WATER! There's no caffeine in Coke Zero! No sugar. Just colored water. At least I added my powdered Sugar Free Cherry Limeade to it at home. And part of a bottle of regular Diet Coke. So I had caffeine and fake flavor. Plus a little more color.

Here's the thing. That Hardee's gal KNEW she had funny Diet Coke when I made my order. I'm sure of it. She could have told me at that time, so I could decide if I still wanted a combo. There's a reason she took my money first, and handed me every other item on the order. THEN discovered the funny Diet Coke. I'm a little miffed at her tactic. I couldn't cancel that combo and ask for a refund, because I ALREADY HAD THE FOOD IN MY CAR. They don't take back food. Also, the price of fries and chicken would be about the price of a combo anyway, if ordered separately without a soda.

On Wednesday, the Gun-Totin' Clerk seemed a little too happy upon hearing what happened to my smug order of a Diet Coke chicken strip combo.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

The Far-Out Side

Just like your bologna has a first name, AND a second name... Hick's Freight Container Garage has a toilet side stolen street sign side BARn-field side, AND a far-out side. Here's the side that faces out of the field, towards the gravel road. It is mostly hidden by a copse of trees.

There is only one logical sign on the front side. That is the big SHELL sign. Hick used to work at a Shell station when he was in high school. Pumping gas, changing tires, cleaning windshields. I can understand the sentimentality of the SHELL sign. The others have absolutely no connection to his life, other than being bought by him at an auction or flea market, or GIVEN them if he happened upon a crew replacing them.

Imagine, if you will, a wayward driver, seeking services along our gravel road. It's a DEAD END, you know. So hopefully he would see that sign right away.

Then again, he might believe he was actually capable of getting a CAR WASH by driving through that people-door. He might even stop to put chains on his car tires, seeing as how the car wash is on the SNOW ROUTE.

What if that driver wanted an 89-cent POLAR POP? While two signs proclaim this to be a CIRCLE K convenience store, there are definitely no polar pops inside. Not even if they're on a snow route. Oh, and he'd better be careful not to park there on the FIRST TUESDAY OF THE MONTH. Because it looks like that's the day this space is reserved for flying saucers. Not sure, but that's the best I can read of the NO PARKING sign.

He'd better not be peckish, either, because there are no snacks to buy, despite the FOOD MART promise(s).

I'm a bit concerned that this wall still has space available...

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Beauty Is In the Eye of the Re-Sold-er. And Hick.

Well, Hick is clamoring for attention again. He must show off his latest handiwork. Lucky for him, I'm not averse to mentioning his exploits on my blog a time or two each year!

Hick bought some more "decorations" for his Freight Container Garage at the auction. I really can't do them justice with words. So here you go:

I'm sure the guy he bought them from was giddy with joy to unload these signs. Especially since they appear to have been LIBERATED from poles on streets and highways...

Yes, Hick was mighty proud of his new recycled decorations. He sent me the pictures, wanting me to rave about the composition of his masterpiece, and the beautification of the BARn side of the Freight Container Garage.

I'm pretty sure that IRONY is somehow involved in this scenario. What with the pile of old lumber and a TOILET sitting in front of Hick's artistic display...

Monday, July 27, 2020

Weirdo Festival at the Creach

I hope you didn't have plans to attend major events this year!

Coachella: canceled
Burning Man: canceled
SXSW: canceled
Calgary Stampede: canceled
Cannes Film Festival: canceled
Tokyo Olympics: canceled

WHOOPS! Hold on there a minute!

Weirdo Festival at the Creach: Ongoing

Yes, nothing stops a weirdo. The Creach (our creek beach down by the mailboxes) remains a popular destination. Saturday alone boasted a major crowd.

As I left for town, I saw two 4-wheelers parked halfway in the gravel road, by that little waterfall area. I figured it must be some kids out here, exploring. I see 4-wheelers go by our house a lot. Didn't give it another thought.

When I came back from town, I slowed on the blacktop hill, and signaled to pull over by Mailbox Row. Across our low water bridge, I saw a maroon sedan. It, too, slowed as it came down the opposite hill, by the gate where a former Post Office tryst occurred with our rural carrier. I figured they must be wanting to drive up beside the mailboxes, too, and get their mail. I jumped out to fetch mine, and get out of their way.

But no. That maroon sedan inched across the low water bridge, and turned into our gravel road. Slowly it continued, with no confidence. Funny how you can tell that about a car.

It drove past a parked white pickup truck with ALASKAN on the side in gray. No driver. Just an empty truck, parked at the Creach.

The maroon car was just rounding the bend up past the waterfall entrance. It had been slowed even more by the 4-wheeler riders emerging from the Creach. Not exactly kids as I'd thought. Maybe KIDULTS. Mid-to-late 20s. Two couples, with one of the guys wearing the standard Creachware attire of cut-off jeans shorts with boots.

One of the 4-wheelers pulled out in front of T-Hoe, then backed up. To give us more room to get hit head-on while on the wrong side of the narrow gravel road on that blind curve.

Once I started up the next hill, I saw the maroon sedan. It had turned left onto the first offshoot gravel road, just before the Great Chasm (a deep rut where water washes across in a deluge). There it sat, making an awkward U-turn. The driver was a dark-haired lady woman, looking like a cross between a meth head and a rode-hard Courteney Cox. She had a nondescript girl passenger. As I passed, they started back from whence they came.

I need to find a way to make the Creach profitable.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Val Thevictorian's Negligent Adventure

It's no secret that Val has an addiction. An addiction that took her to the liquor store on Saturday. No, not an alcohol addiction for teetotaler Val. She hasn't fallen OFF the wagon (nor jumped ON the wagon). It's her common everyday scratcher addiction.

Let the record show that I buy my scratchers at four Backroads locations. The Casey's, the Gas Station Chicken Store, Country Mart's machines, and Orb K. About a month ago, I branched out to the liquor store across the road from the Gas Station Chicken Store. No, it had nothing to do with Hick's request to PICK UP A CASE OF BOTTLED BEER for him. I'm not a musclebound freak with the ability to do that.

I don't particularly enjoy going into the liquor store. Not that I'm snooty, or a Carrie Nation without a hatchet. I've spent half my life looking over my shoulder for the morality police, who would love nothing better than to call my employer and declare me unfit for a job that nobody else wants to do. Technically, this place is named a variation of "Inexpensive Cancer-Sticks." But everybody knows it's a liquor store.

Anyhoo... I went in and purchased my tickets, and came back out to T-Hoe. As I rounded the front bumper, I pushed my clicker. I pulled on the door handle, which didn't open! At least it didn't come off in my hand like that one time! I figured I must have hit the button next to the unlock button. So I pushed the unlock button.


Well. That's not what I had in mind. I fiddled with the keys. I have one for SilverRedO that is the exact same shape. I finally got the right key, and put it in the door lock.


That REALLY wasn't what I had in mind! Louder and more urgent screaming from T-Hoe for HELP! Sheesh! People in the drive-thru line were gawking. People sitting at the 4-way stoplight were gawking. I'm pretty sure the clerk over in the Gas Station Chicken Store was gawking. How embarrassing! The only thing that could have made it MORE embarrassing would have been if I was holding a case of bottled beer.

I leaned in, trying to shove that key in the ignition, turn it, and make that alarm stop. Oh, Val is no stranger to a car alarm. It's happened before, but usually at home, in the garage. Dang it! I couldn't get that key in. I might as well have hoisted my ample rumpus up on the running board for better reach. Because I also have an ample gut-us. Hot-wiring might have been quicker than inserting that giant, extra-long, plastic-ended key in the slot at the right angle!

Whew! Finally! I hope I gave everyone a good show. My scratchers later broke even. So there's that.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

If It's CENT to Be, It'll Be

Val continues to collect coins for her Future Pennyillionaire Fortune, like Hick collects odd assorted gewgaws for his multiple hoarding sheds.

WEDNESDAY, July 22, I dropped The Pony off at the cattle chute in front of Walmart, and tooled on over to the School-Turn Casey's for scratchers. Of course somebody had parked the wrong way, across three spaces, where I usually take up ONE of them. Dang it! So that's how we're gonna play, UNIVERSE?

I drove down to the other end. Parked on a sideways slant. I opened the door and started to slide out, but my foot didn't even touch the ground. Nope! Not going to drop down, not going to try to hoist my ample rumpus back up on the running board when I come out. Just NO. I backed out, planning to take my business somewhere else. But a car in the middle of the row was leaving, and two more followed. Okay. It's more level there. We'll give it one more try.

The minute I slid my foot onto the pavement, I saw it!

A DIME! From 2020, face-down. Shiny and clean from the rain. That lifted my spirits. In I went, to join the socially-distanced line, and purchase my (later-found-out-to-be losers).

Good thing I didn't abandon my mission.

A PENNY was waiting for me!

More precisely, it was a face-down 2013 penny.

THURSDAY, over at the Sis-Town Casey's, waiting to pre-pay for T-Hoe's gas, I spied a precious gem upon the floor between the registers. Follow that center grout line all the way to the counter. It's there at the junction of the last horizontal grout line.

No close-up of this face-down 1964 penny. Long story, long line.

Both registers were open. One man was at the left register. A lady at the right. The waiting customers had made a single line, with the front person ready to take whichever register became available. The's how it should be, but it's awkward with the distancing. I was fourth in line. Another four people came up to join behind me. They were lined up back to the bathrooms!

Anyhoo... I saw that penny, and I really, really wanted it! Just like any other addict. I got my picture, intending on a close-up when it was my turn. With the plethora of people staring daggers at my back (don't even think about my ample rumpus!), I settled for sliding the penny towards me with my left foot. No sense in impaling an eye on a metal candy-holder when I picked it up.

Here's the weird thing. That guy on the left? Had dumped a giant pouch of pennies on the counter, and the clerk was counting them up. I'm pretty sure that was one of his pennies. Oh, well! You snooze, you lose! To be fair, the Casey's chain has put up signs asking for change. So it's not like the guy was an alcoholic pauper trying to redeem his stash for beer. I saw him come out with a sandwich, soda, and snack. Money is money! Now it will take HIM longer to become a Pennyillionaire.

Anyhoo... that's 3 COINS and 12 CENTS for Val this week!


Penny       # 79, 80.
Dime         # 14.
Nickel       still at 8.
Quarter    still at 1.

Penny     134
Dime        20
Nickel        8
Quarter      5

Friday, July 24, 2020

Oh, the Chickenanity!

Remember when I selflessly gave up my chicken-strip lunch to The Pony, only to find out that he had eaten Hick's leftover pizza that I coveted for myself? The Pony might be more crafty than I presumed.

Only a few days earlier, I had brought home the same lunch for myself, the Dairy Queen two-piece chicken strips, and pretzel sticks with queso sauce. They're on the 2 for $4 menu. On that day, The Pony didn't dig into the bag to get out his own chicken/pretzel meal, because I got him a burger at Hardee's across the street from DQ. So I KNOW he didn't see the sad state of my chicken that day.

What in the NOT-HEAVEN? In what universe would those be considered chicken STRIPS? They're barely chicken NUGGETS! When a soft pretzel stick and plastic ramekin of queso look gigantic in comparison, you know I got chicken-cheated! Sure, they gave me three instead of two. They KNEW they were short-chickening me! That's an admission of guilt right there. No way would they accidentally give me THREE chicken STRIPS off the 2 for $4 menu.

I really hope The Pony enjoyed my that leftover pizza. At least I had two respectable chicken strips on the day I tried to be selfless.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Keep Your Ethernet Far and Your Cell Phone Closer

I'm keeping a close eye on my NOT-iPhone NOT-8. Yes indeed. My new Samsung Galaxy A5 is going to be treated with care. Not that it's overly-special. But because everything else has gone to Not-Heaven in a handbasket over the past week.

When it rains, it pours. Then lightning strikes something in the yard. Then my landline is fried. Then I have a BEEP like a heart monitor pound my eardrums for 4.5 days. Then I have to get up early to wait for the AT&T repairman. Then that very night, another storm rolls through and I lose internet in my lair, to New Delly. Which turns out to be permanent until I order a new switch box. Leaving me without a printer connection.

Oh, and then the next morning, I open up my blogs on my laptop HIPPIE, which runs off the router, and discover that I've been infested by NEW BLOGGER!

I think my scream was heard all the way to the Gas Station Chicken Store.

Good news is that I set my blogs back to RETRO BLOGGER. Or whatever they're calling the normal settings these day. But I really need to practice on the new format, for when I am DRAGGED KICKING AND SCREAMING INTO THE PRESENT.

Also good is that Hick appeared at my left shoulder on Wednesday evening at 5:35, like some silent sidling office worker, to take a look at New Delly's wiring, after being gone all day to a state park to play with trout. Hick crawled under the desk he built for me, did a lot of loud and condescending talking, and declared that HE didn't know what the problem could be. Proving himself right by referring to "Genius's computer" as the broken point. Which is downright silly, since Genius has no computer here, it being my OLD, OLD one, on Genius's desk out by the basement stairs, which is not even hooked up to anything.

Anyhoo... The Pony showed up, like Juno trying to keep the peace in a dog fight, and took my misinformed side to persuade Hick the the real issue was indeed a bad Ethernet connection. Solution? A new switch box under my desk, which would restore connections as normal, like we did with a switch box replacement in January 2019.

Also, in a BONUS random moment, MY PRINTER CAME TO LIFE for no reason!

The Pony was looking over my right shoulder as I asked him about what length of Ethernet cable I should order to have on hand in case that was the actual problem. We agreed 3 feet was not enough, 5 feet might work, but 10 feet would be best. During our discussion, my HP Laserjet started to hum, and spat out an empty page, then page one of Genius's letter I tried to print Tuesday night.

In theory, the printer should not have worked, since New Delly was hooked up again with the 50-foot Ethernet cable that runs across the basement floor to the router.

I'll take what I can get. And I might tuck in SamGalA under the quilt, next to me and away from Hick, rather than leave him on the kitchen counter, where a bear could break in and ravage him overnight.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

4.5 Hours Later

Oh my gosh! I’m living in the Dark Ages! Okay. Not exactly the Dark Ages. I still have light. Electricity. Word 2013. But I DO NOT HAVE INTERNET! I haven’t gone out to check, but I probably don’t have TV, either. Except here in the basement, where I can watch my multitude of DVR-ed shows. I have limited music, since Spotify berates me to CONNECT. I can only get songs that I have stored on there from when my New Delly was switched from my old computer about 10 years ago.

Anyhoo… this satellite DISH stuff is for the birds. It’s been off more this month than all of last year! Oops! “Photographs and Memories” just ended. Let’s see what’s next. “I Got a Name!”

I’ve already written Genius’s letter for this week. Can’t print it, because HELLO there’s no internet. So the Ethernet or whatever I need for my printer to communicate is inoperable. But I DID address the envelope by hand.

The Pony must be happy that he took the trash dumpster up to the end of the driveway before supper. It’s a long walk in the rain!


This olden-days stuff is for the birds! How did people survive without the information superhighway? Thank you, Al Gore! But sadly, I’m now living an inconvenience truth. I guess I could build a fire, and have you all pull up a rock. Gather round for my story-tellin’. Good luck getting here, unless one amongst you has invented the wheel. Hope you’re not all…

“Wasted on the Way.”

One good thing about having Spotify open is that it tries to reconnect. So ALL my playlist will turn white when the internet is back again. Not holding out a lot of hope for that. It’s been down over an hour so far. So much time to make up everywhere you turn…

Let’s see. What to tell you next. We had leftover meatloaf for supper. And potato cakes made from last night’s mashed potatoes. Along with Hawaiian Rolls. We’re carb-loading ourselves into a stupor. Perhaps we sensed this outage coming. Hick is happily ignorant of the predicament The Pony and I are in.

“Baby I’m A-Want You.”

Surely somebody could have done better with that title, don’t you think? Perhaps it’s just…

“Part of the Plan.”

Gosh, it’s slow-going, trying to think of something interesting. Yes, I know I’ve failed. I can’t even check the weather radar to see if this stormed is almost past, or if there’s a huge swath of it still to come! We got our four-day house phone outage fixed today. So I guess in a way, I’m lucky. But…

“Operator, That’s Not the Way It Feels.”

It’s not like we use the house phone for anything but calls from Hick home, when he’s out running around, and I’m in bed waiting for a wake-up call, or in my dark basement lair. Okay. That’s about enough of this. You’ll read it, and you’ll curse me or be grateful. Right now I’m going to do a restart after unplugging the router. Sometimes that works. It DIDN'T.

“Free Fallin’.”

When the TV came back, the internet didn't. Separate satellites. I unplugged the router. Then the internet DISH. Still no good. Troubleshooter kept telling me I had a bad Ethernet cable. That's what it often says when I only need to restart the router. But I called Troubleshooter's bluff!


We had left it plugged into the router, strewn across the floor, from previous issues. 

 Printer does not...

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Now I'm Not So Sure Hick is Trying to Kill Me

Monday morning, we were blessed with Hick's presence in the house, due to a sudden downpour that chased him off the lawnmower. Of course he came inside, dripping wet, and plopped down in the new recliner. Which you may remember is leather or pleather or something besides cloth that will soak up rain and then dry out. Of course Hick objected when I suggested that he move to the short couch while wet.

"Aw. It don't matter. It's just rain. I didn't even get wet."

"Um. Dad. It's right there on the front of your shirt. I can see the droplets on your arms."

Hick wiped them off with his hands. Then wiped his hands on his shorts.

"I'm sure the back of your shirt is wet, too. And you're leaning back in the chair."

"Nah. I had my hat on."

"Dad. A hat doesn't keep the rain off your back."

While my morning HIPPIE time was being usurped by these two, I decided to read them some headlines. One of the stories was about the three men who went night-fishing, found murdered in Florida. One of the guy's Dad was pictured, giving a quote.

"Hey. Listen. This isn't funny, but the dad is wearing a t-shirt that says...



"WHAT? What in the world?"

"Dad. That's really not something you should say to your wife."

"And you've got TWO tractors!"


"So you even have an EXTRA tractor! A SPARE! And you'd trade me for a third?"

"If it was a good tractor."

Maybe Hick isn't trying to kill me after all! I'm worth more to him alive.

Monday, July 20, 2020

If Shaggy and Rapunzel Had an Elderly Baby

How's your hair?

My lovely lady-mullet has been growing like a weed. Weeds. Weeds without benefit of Roundup. The front has a mind of its own, and that mind is not on business. The back, though, is all about the party. It dips down in my collar, and out of my collar, and pretty much moves like one of those air-blower stick people on a used-car lot.

I haven't had a haircut since mid-February. Or maybe even February. I remember, because it was just before we made a late-birthday visit to Oklahoma to see The Pony. Since then, I've trimmed the bangs three or four times. It's not that I'm afraid to trim other visible parts. I just can't do it. I cannot coordinate the scissors with my view in the mirror. I'm forever snipping empty air in front of or behind the swatch of hair between my fingers.

Hick has been to his barber during this month, but had to make an appointment. No sitting around, shooting the bull for three hours, with other men escaping from under the collective thumbs of their collective wives. And Hick has hardly any hair to cut! No beard-trimming, though.

I guess I need to make a stop at Terrible Cuts. Last I heard, one of their chains in Springfield exposed about eleventy-hundred customers to the VIRUS. Yet none of them caught it. So I guess I'm just as safe as if I'd taken a Memorial Day dip in that cheek-to-cheek bar pool party at Lake of the Ozarks. Where only one person came down with the VIRUS in the month after that viral (no pun intended!) photo.

Don't even suggest letting Hick behind me with a pair of scissors! I'd never see my scissors again! They disappear like leftover pizza around here.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

A Story Inspired By O. Hick

Thursday, Hick returned from town while I was in the shower. I heard him enter the house, but then leave again by way of the slamming front door. He's not an angry slammer. Just an inconsiderate one.

Anyhoo... by the time I was starting up the driveway for town, here came Hick on the Gator. He drove at T-Hoe, so I figured he wanted to talk to me.

"I'm on my way to town."

"I'm on my way to the pool. It's hot."

"Why did you come in the house?"

"To put that pizza in the fridge."

"What pizza?"

"That I get in town, at that new place. I couldn't eat it all. I usually can, but I ate the salad, and got full during the pizza. It's in there if you want it. There's about a third of a small pizza."

"I was planning on getting Dairy Queen chicken and pretzel sticks. But I could eat the pizza. Wait! Is it pepperoni? I hate pepperoni."

"No. It's Canadian bacon and mushroom." 

"Maybe The Pony will want it. NO. He doesn't like mushrooms. We'll see. Maybe I'll have it for supper, instead of what you guys are having."

Off I went. Not wanting to waste any pizza. The more I thought about it, I figured I would give The Pony the two-piece chicken strip with honey mustard, and have the pizza with my pretzel sticks.

Let the record show that almost daily, I get something off Dairy Queen's 2-for-$4 menu for The Pony and myself. Sometimes we both have chicken and pretzels. Sometimes we just have pretzels. Sometimes we split it up. On this day, The Pony had declared that he didn't want anything brought back for him.

Still, I figured he would be disappointed if I didn't bring him something. You have to get an even number of items to get the 2-for-$4 deal. Yeah. That sounded just right. I'd give The Pony my chicken, and have the pizza and pretzels. He'd said he was just having snacks until supper, but the chicken would give him some protein, anyway.

As usual, The Pony trotted out to the garage to carry in my purse and the Dairy Queen bag (only I carry my magical elixir). How cruel it would have been for him to see that I actually DID bring him NOTHING!

"Hey. I'm giving you my chicken. I'll just eat that pizza Dad had left over from his lunch."

"Oh. I ate the pizza."

"Wait. You don't like mushrooms."

"I picked them off."

"I just thought I'd eat the pizza, and give you my chicken."

"I thought you might do that, to be nice, and I didn't want to take your chicken. So I picked the mushrooms off the pizza, and had that instead."

Yes. The Pony gave up his watch-fob chicken, and instead ate my hair-comb pizza. You might call such a story: The Gift of the Hick-Guy.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Sing a Song of Ten CENTS

Val is in her counting house, counting out her Future Pennyillionaire Fortune! It has been a profitable week.

SUNDAY, July 12, dirty dirty Orb K once again came through with a penny.

Looks like the same employee responsible for sweeping is also responsible for stocking the candy in front of the counter.

It was a face-down 2014 penny. With a reflection that makes it look like it's on fire!

TUESDAY, July 14, Orb K once again shouldered the load of providing my coinage. A penny was waiting for me at the door!

Of course I risked a concussion from an opening door to stoop and pick it up. My ample rumpus might not have been seen from space, but I'm pretty sure it was seen from the parking spaces, the gas pumps, the county road, and the interstate overpass.

It was a face-down 2012, too tempting to step over. I can't believe somebody didn't snatch it before I got there!

But WAIT! Once inside, I found ANOTHER penny waiting for me at the counter!

This was resting near the still-depleted snack rack, but at least the floor had seen a cursory sweeping in the past two days.

It was a face-down 1979 penny, unable to camouflage itself on the worn-away, over-polished floor surface.

FRIDAY, not to be outdone, the Backroads Casey's had thoughtfully left THREE coins waiting for me, just beside T-Hoe as I climbed out.

I first noticed the penny and nickel together, near the right side of the picture. Then the lone penny on the left edge caught my eye.

It was a face-down 1995 penny, and a heads-up 1990 nickel.

The other penny was a heads-up 1980 version.

That makes 6 coins this week (five pennies and one nickel), for a total of 10 CENTS. It won't be long before I can afford a four-and-twenty-blackbird pie!


Penny       # 74, 75, 76, 77, 78.
Dime         still at 13.
Nickel       # 8.
Quarter    still at 1.

Penny     134
Dime        20
Nickel        8
Quarter      5

Friday, July 17, 2020

Slowly I Didn't Turn

Every morning I get up between 10:00 and noon. Why, thank you! Yes, I AM quite breathtaking, due to all that beauty sleep. Which commences around 5:00 a.m.

Anyhoo... I go to the kitchen and plug in my (NOT-I) phone (NOT-8), take a pill, wash dishes, and go sit on the end of the coffee table in front of the living room window, perusing the innernets on my laptop, HIPPIE.

The Pony usually stays in his room until I'm ready to leave for town. Can you believe that? He doesn't want to bask in my presence? Most days, he will open up his door a crack, to better hear me when I call to him about what he will want for lunch.

Thursday morning, I was up a little early. 10:15. I puttered around on HIPPIE, while glancing sideways at the TV on my left for a marathon of Jersey Shore. Did you know that Sammie liked MIKE (The Situation) before RONNIE? I'd forgotten that.

Anyhoo... around 10:45, I heard the "snick" of The Pony's door as it opened. He didn't say anything. Sometimes I think he's just spying on me to see what I'm doing. Then he goes back to lie on his bed with his laptop, watching TV in there. If I turn around, I can see the reflection of the screen off the glass of a plaque on his wall. I don't turn around much, because it hurts my neck to do an owlish 180-degree twist.

At 10:50 I was checking the local online newspaper (Two Injured in Motorcycle-Deer Accident) when a movement outside caught my eye. Somebody was walking across the yard, right off Shackytown Boulevard! Who in the Not-Heaven WAS that??? I squinted. A few more steps... approaching the porch...



Imagine, if you will, observing your son (whom you'd just heard five minutes earlier, opening his bedroom door)... WALKING ON THE OUTSIDE OF THE HOUSE!

The Pony entered through the front door.

"What are you doing?"

"Coming in the house?"

"I just heard you open the door of your room!"

"No you didn't. I've been helping Dad. Cut my finger, too. I'm getting a bandaid."

"So you've been out there all this time?"

"For about an hour. He made me go help hang some stuff in the sheds."

"I swear, not five minutes ago, I heard you open your door!"

"Not me. I left it open. Maybe it was Genius's door. It's open."

"No, it was open when I got up. From you and Dad getting those batteries last night. I didn't look at your door this morning."

"Huh. Maybe when the air conditioning kicked on, it moved Genius's door?"

"No. It was the latch sound."

"Here. Let me try mine."

The Pony went to his bedroom and moved the door back and forth. It made a squeak.

"No. Not that. It didn't squeak."

The Pony closed it all the way, then opened the door.

"No. That latch was too hard. This was just barely the little click. THAT'S IT! But not the squeak!"

"I don't know how it would have done that. I left it open when I went out. It was just now open when I came in."

"I don't know either. But I have a feeling something was watching me..."

I'm going to look at The Pony's door every morning now. For a baseline. Just in case.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

And Like a Good Neighbor, Poparm is There

Hick has been playing nice-guy again. Tuesday morning, he got a text from our neighbor across the road. The dog-groomer who stopped to question some gals down by the mailbox, petting my little Jack and feeding him something, telling them they'd best get moving, because that was her neighbor's dog, and she had their picture.

Anyhoo... DG said that her husband, Mr. DG, was recuperating from knee surgery. They'd made an appointment for THAT MORNING to take their side-by-side (glorified 4-wheeler/golf cart thingy) to get repairs. But Mr. DG couldn't do it with his knee stuck straight out.

Of course Hick said he'd be right over. He hitched SilverRedO to Mr. DG's trailer, and pulled that side-by-side to the repair shop. He also hauled Mr. DG.

"It was his left leg. He got it up in the truck. He's tall enough that he could sit his butt on the edge of the seat, and pull himself and his other leg up in. It wasn't easy. He never could have driven that down there by himself."

That evening, Mr. DG called, and Hick agreed to take him the next morning to pick up his side-by-side. That's what neighbors do. Although it seems like Hick has a long list of helpees who should be ready to step up for him if he needs it.

You never know when his Poparm might need some assistance.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Weirdo Alert!

I can't get away from them! Weirdos are everywhere, unable to fight off the gravitational pull of my ample rumpus. I can sense them behind me, and a visual check reveals that my teacher eyes-in-the-back-of-my-head have not grown vestigial.

I picked up a few items at Save A Lot on Tuesday. Romaine lettuce, milk, bologna, hamburger, two TV dinners, buns, and bread. Plus some cookies and brownies for The Pony. I was halfway down the first aisle, the dairy section, when I heard a cart behind behind me. I glanced around and saw an old man a bit younger than Hick. No big deal.

Moving on to the meat case, I grabbed a pack of thick bologna. Despite the beliefs of many, Hick is not actually FULL of bologna. A bit farther down was the real meat. I took a family pack of hamburger. Hick has asked for "something with hamburger, and mashed potatoes, and macaroni and cheese." He might be carb-loading for a marathon. Those seemed an odd choice of sides. One of them would be sufficient.

Anyhoo... my next move was the paper plates. I parked my cart to peruse the selections. Not that it's expansive, but that I was hoping I was just overlooking what I wanted. Which was the large coated plates with a design on them. Save A Lot has been out of them the last several visits. As they were this time. So I took a smaller version, halfway between the regular size and a cake-slice size.

That Old Man had come up my aisle. That happens. He was stopped beside me. I figured he was wanting some plates for himself. I got out of there, to give him room. Yet he also turned, without taking any plates. I moved to the glass-doored freezer case along the back wall, with TV dinners. They're handy for Hick when he plans to leave before regular supper time to get to the auction early. As I was locating the BBQ Pork with Mashed Potatoes and Corn, I noticed that Old Man with his cart right beside mine AGAIN.

So close, in fact, that I couldn't turn my own cart sideways to open up the glass door. I had to push it forward, almost into the black swinging doors leading to the warehouse portion of the store. I put my two TV dinners in the cart. I couldn't get up the freezer case aisle along the side wall, leading to the bread up front, because Old Man was standing there with his cart.

It was THEN that I noticed Old Man was loaded for bear. He wore a t-shirt with a button-up shirt over it. He'd left the top shirt unbuttoned, with one side tucked behind the HOLSTER WITH PISTOL on his belt.

I don't freak out about shopping on the Old West Frontier. Missouri is a concealed carry state. Every now and then you see weapons. I guess Old Man wanted everybody to know that he was packin', no concealing about it! That's not what makes him a weirdo. FOLLOWING ME, and not picking anything off the shelf where he was standing by me, is what makes him a WEIRDO!

I backed up my cart, and took the next aisle, the chips and salsa and nuts, to make my way to the front bread. Old Man also reversed his cart, taking nothing from the freezer case, and started after me. I glanced over my shoulder again. Old Man continued to the soda/dogfood aisle on the back side of the chips. Where he could have gone initially, instead of following me to the frozen food TV dinners to block my way and select nothing.

Guess I showed HIM! It always pays to be aware of your surroundings...

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

What We Have Here Is a Failure to Pre-Educate

Monday, we took a different route through Outer Backroads, with Hick at the wheel of A-Cad. I turned to tell The Pony,

"We're coming up on the church where we vote."

"I know where we vote. You took me there several times, remember? So Genius and I could see what it's like to vote. I don't remember what it's like, though. All I remember was sitting on those weird benches along the wall while I waited for you, playing my Gameboy."

"Weird benches? WEIRD BENCHES? Those were PEWS!"


"Pews! CHURCH pews!" Hick likes to insert himself into our conversations.

"Pews? Then why were they in a basement? Pews don't belong in a basement! OR on a front porch..."

"Because the church basement is where the voting is set up! People waiting need somewhere to sit. Besides, it's the room where they hold potluck dinners and stuff. Like that room at Grandma's church, where they have the funeral receptions."


"Did your skin feel all hot while you were waiting?"

"No. Why would it?"

"I'm surprised you didn't burst into flames when you crossed the threshhold! You know, what with later moving on to your devil music and Ouija-playing..."

It looks like doing my part to teach my boys their civic duty of voting did not make the impression that I'd hoped! I'd like to think that I was 50% successful. Genius was foaming at the mouth to vote his first time, in 2012, but his December birthday made him wait 4 years for the next Presidential election.

Monday, July 13, 2020

The Pony is Full of Dis and Vinegar

With The Pony home from college, Hick and I have grown accustomed to things... um... not working as they formerly did. Only Friday, we finally received our replacement La-Z-Boy. Which is not so much a La-Z-Boy as a rocking recliner.

Anyhoo... the new chair (name yet to be bestowed) was in. Hick was out, having gone to help back-creek neighbor Bev with an electrical issue. The Pony was halfway between having his nightly two-hour soak in the big jetted triangle tub, and fetching a gallon of vinegar from T-Hoe's rear (for cleaning hard-water residue from the tub). I was on the short couch, having conversation with the elusive Pony.

He was standing behind the new chair, over my left shoulder. He KNOWS I hate people behind me. Anyhoo... I sensed movement from my peripheral vision, and turned to see what shenanigans The Pony was up to THIS time.


The problem being that right behind him, about 2 millimieters from the apex of his vinegar-swing, was Hick's curio cabinet. With the glass doors.

"You really need to stop that. I have visions of the glass shattering from your carelessness."

"Oh, you mean like it did when GENIUS broke it?"

"Yes. Like that."

"And blamed ME?"

"You didn't deny it."

"I didn't think to. Besides, I was barely talking yet."

"It only took a couple years for him to confess."

Anyhoo... the curio cabinet survived. But I almost did not, the next day, when I drove The Pony to Walmart, and loaned him a pen to mark off items on my list.

I had just pulled into the garage when The Pony said,

"Oh, here's your pen."


Even The Pony had to the good sense to look alarmed.

"I didn't mean that! It got away from me!"

"You SAY. Your dad only has one eye, and now you're trying to take one of MINE!"

"It missed you! Here. I'll get it."

I can't stay mad at The Pony for long. He's a congenial sort, though clumsy-dangerous to the point of possibly excelling at a career as an assassin. I was once again on the short couch, and The Pony in the new chair, behind his laptop, watching The Simpsons.

"I have a new conspiracy to share with you. But FIRST..." I reached over to pick up the ink pen that stays on the side table. Just for safekeeping. "I want to make sure no unfortunate event befalls me. I'll just keep this until I'm done."

The Pony gave me a wary look. Like I was going to shoot that pen at HIS head like a throwing star. When I started the introduction to my newest conspiracy, The Pony picked up the remote control and JACKED UP THE SOUND ON THE TV so I had to yell. He laughed.

That made ME laugh.

"Staaaahhp! I can't breathe! I sound like Muttley!

The Pony laughed some more. He turned down the TV. But as soon as I started talking again, he jacked it up.

"NOOOO! Give that... that... reTOEte!" (It's the remote that I caught him holding with his FOOT a few weeks ago).

Then The Pony laughed like Muttley.

"Do you want me to hand it to you, with my FOOT?"

"NO! For the love of all that is not-Not-Heavenly!"

It took us a while to restore our oxygen levels to normal.

I don't get no respect!

Sunday, July 12, 2020

A Trifecta of Coincidences

SOMEBODY seems to know that The Pony is back home.

Saturday morning, we were getting ready to leave for town. I drop him off at Walmart with a list, and he does my shopping. I drive over to the School-Turn Casey's for some scratchers, and get back about the time he's in the checkout.

I was putting on my shoes as The Pony rummaged around at the long couch.

"Oh, Mom! Look what I found under the middle couch cushion while I was looking for my earbuds!" He held out a PENNY. "You're not the only one who finds them! I have no idea how it got there, or how long it's been there. It was in the middle. Not in a crack between the cushions. It's a 2011."

Huh. Of course I was jealous! The 11th of a certain month is my birthday.

Anyhoo... off we went to town. I told him we were driving through the cemetery. I hadn't been yet this week. We only spent a minute. Then off to Walmart, where The Pony bought himself a couple of crossword puzzle scratchers in the lottery machine.

We were nearly home, tooling down the blacktop county road, when I put my hand on The Pony's shoulder and said, "I'm really going to miss you when you leave again. I've enjoyed our time together today."

The Pony didn't say much, having the old feedbag strapped on to devour a Whopper, with cheese, no pickle no tomato.

I switched stations on the radio, to Prime Country on SiriusXM. You'll never guess what song came on. Oh, yes you will. Since I mention it all the time, as being OUR SONG that The Pony and I hear, that reminds us of my mom. Holes in the Floor of Heaven, by Steve Wariner.

We looked at each other. "That's our song, Pony! What are the odds we would be out together, on that station, when it started playing?"

The Pony had finished his lunch, and went back to scratching his crossword puzzle tickets that he'd set aside when the food came out the window at the Burger King drive-thru. He started the last one. Finished just as we stopped for him to get the mail out of the mailbox.

"I'm pretty sure it's a loser." He handed me the mail. We started up the gravel road for home.

"Oh, Mom. This ticket I just finished? One of the words on it is DOT."

My mom's name was Dorothy. But everyone called her "Dot."