Friday, March 29, 2013

Birthdays (2013) - March 28, 2013

Birthdays (2013)

As published in the White River Current - Thursday March 28, 2013

Well, I have made a last minute executive decision.  Because of several important issues that need to be discussed, I am moving my baseball story to the next issue (in two weeks).  I guess politicians would call that “kicking the can.”  It’s not really just a baseball story and I wrote it several months ago.  Anyway, in two weeks, I promise.  I am writing this present article on my birthday which will be about eight days ago (March 20) by the time it goes to press in the Current (March 28).  I started the day by attending the funeral of a friend and long-time Calico Rock resident, Floyd.  He died on his birthday (March 17) at the age of 96.  He and Flora had been married for 75 years when she proceeded Floyd in death by a few months.  Another sign that I am getting older is that I remember Floyd’s mom and dad very well.  We had the annual birthday meeting of the OFC on March 14 with five of the six members attending along with the spouses that could make it.  Five of the six members and two wives have March birthdays.  Anita prepared my birthday lunch (March 20) as I requested:  Ham and beans with corn bread and ice tea.  Yummie!  I’ve been trying to back off of the sweets and otherwise unhealthy foods.  Now if I can just get myself disciplined to do some more exercising and walking.  Hard to do but I’m trying.  By the way, did you attend the Bootlegger Daze festival on Saturday, March 9th?  The Current had several good photos in the March 14 edition.  I almost dropped my glass of unsweetened ice tea when I saw the photo on the back page.  It featured Marshal-For-The-Day,  Fred, escorting a very unruly “Town- Drunk-For-The-Day,” who bore a remarkable resemblance to Tom*, to the local Judge-For-The- Day for sentencing.  I swear I heard this loud, tenor voice yelling my name wanting to borrow $50 to pay his fine.  You could have knocked me over with a Wild Turkey feather.  Yes that is the same Tom* who has a column Tom’s Tantruming …oops!  I meant Tenoring, on alternate weeks with the Ramblings.  After the OFC luncheon, I was driving Shelby on a tour of the city to show him where he used to live when we spotted Tom* painting a picnic table down by the museum parking lot.  We, of course, assumed that he was working off his fine but he insisted it was a 20/20 project and we didn’t push the issue.  I failed to mention that today (March 28) is Shelby’s birthday, so Happy Birthday, Shelby.  Harold’s big day is Saturday.  Now, turn back to the “town drunk” issue.  When I was a boy in 1938, if you were twenty one years of age or older, you could legally purchase alcoholic beverages in Calico Rock and Izard County.  That ended by a vote of the people and is still true today.  However, I would not at all be surprised if that ban ends in the very near future.  Did you make note of the big outcry in the nation when a company reduced the alcoholic content of a popular bourbon from 90 proof to 84 proof?  Red wine is considered good for your health if taken in moderation.
I’m not a “drinking”  person but I haven’t made up my mind how I would vote if the wet/dry issue is on the ballot.  Probably NO in honor of my mother who I accompanied several times when she went door-to-door carrying a petition to give the citizens a voting opportunity in the late 1930s.  I think the vote will be close.  Some say whiskey is the devil’s brew; others say it is the “oil of conversation” that brings people together.  What do you think?  Getting in over my head here in the Queen City, this is Reed.  Bye, Bye for now.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Birthday - March 14, 2013

As published in the White River Current - Thursday 03/14/2013

Holy Dick Tracy!  I just read that the next toy that Apple has coming down the digital pipeline is a wrist phone.  Brings back memories of the comic book detective that had a two-way wrist radio that kept him in contact with police headquarters.  I imagine the Apple version will be more like a miniature I-Pad.  It will be interesting to see how this sells and if it will reverse the present trend of Apple stock.  Speaking of I-Pads, Anita received one as a Christmas present from the kids.  She has only used it sparingly, but she has several Facebook friends.  The face-time feature of the I-Pad is really a lot of fun.  We were able, a few days ago, to wish Leah a happy birthday and enjoy a great visit with her and Ross.  We hadn’t seen them is a few weeks and they looked great.  Leah showed us the beautiful Tulip arrangement that her parents had sent for her BD.  Nothing unusual about this except Ross and Leah were at their home in Tulsa and we were seeing each other and communicating with our I-Pads.  Sometimes I get to thinking about all the things that have become a reality in my lifetime.  Such as jet airplanes, home computers, cell phones, copy machines, transistor radios, television and the list goes on to advances in medicine and surgery.  Hard to believe all that has happened in the short time that I have occupied a spot on this planet.  But, back to birthdays.  March has always been a huge birthday month for my family.  It has been a tradition in our church to recognize birthdays by asking the birthee to put in a special offering on the Sunday that is closest to the actual day (in recent years, we have also recognized wedding anniversaries).  In sort of a ceremony, when the call came, the birthday person would walk up to the front of the sanctuary and place a monetary offering in the proper receptacle and the rest of the congregation would give honor by singing the “Happy Birthday” song.  When I was a boy, I remember the “receptacle” was a small glass bank.  Now it is a miniature church building.  Never-the-less, back then, every year on the third Sunday of March there was a steady stream of birthday people making the annual pilgrimage to mark the anniversary of their birth.  Always included in this select group was my Uncle Ben who chose this day every year to attend church services in order, I suppose, to “put in his birthday offering.”
This tradition has not changed much over the years in our church.  I hope it never does.  A somewhat different tradition was celebrated for many years when the drug store was located down on Main Street.  Every year, just a few days before his Uncle Ramon’s birthday, Charlie T. would come by to select a suitable greeting card.  With my help, he would pick a new card from the rack, one that proclaimed “To my favorite Aunt” or something similar.  Then we would use a blunt-leaded pencil to scratch out “Aunt” and write in “Uncle”.  Next we would take a pair of dull scissors and carefully cut around the bottom of the back of the card where a person would normally sign their name.  (Do you get the picture?  We were trying to give the impression that we were using a recycled card).  Then, after Charlie had signed the card,  we would throw it on the floor and stomp on in a few times, doing the same with the envelope.  Then the card was ready to be taken to the post office.  This scenario continued for several years until Ramon passed away.  One more thing about birthdays.  One of my good friends who never forgot my birthday was John Henry.  I miss John.  Even during the time we were living in Missouri, every March Anita & I would receive birthday greeting cards postmarked Calico Rock.  I know he had help in addressing them and I can visualize him walking up the long hill to the post office.  Many of you readers know what I am talking about because John knew just about everybody’s birthday.  Every year on January 19th, the post office was deluged with cards sent by his many friends, wishing him a very Happy Birthday.  Please add John Henry to my list of Characters that I have known.  And, an apology to Freda for leaving her name off the list of contributors in the last column.  She is one of the most proficient and prolific writers in this newspaper.  Baseball season just around the corner.  Let me know how you like my next column.  Bye for now.