As published in the White River Current - Thursday April 9, 2015
Totally shocked! That is the way that Brenda responded to the last Ramblings column in which I wished her a “Happy Birthday” (her 60th, by the way). I replied to her text, “Mission Accomplished.” Now, before I go any further (or is it farther?), I must assure everyone that I do not have a single “get-even” bone in my body. Sometimes things just fall into place at the right time without any outside assistance. Maybe I should tell the entire story from the beginning. When Brenda was about six weeks old, I received my army discharge papers so we loaded up the car and headed for Arkansas. Without going into great detail, I’ll just say that the trip across Kansas in a non-airconditioned vehicle with two women (Anita and my mom) and an infant daughter was pretty stressful. But, after a two-day journey of almost a thousand miles, we arrived at our destination, Calico Rock, Arkansas. We set up housekeeping in a small rental house on First Street, remained there for two and a half years until we moved into a new home on Red Lane that became our dwelling for the next 45 years. Steve was born a few weeks later so our family was complete. Meanwhile, I was keeping busy at the City Drug Store on Main Street in Calico Rock and, in 1969, we built a new drug store at the corner of Park Street and highway 56. The year that Brenda graduated from high school, we made a trip back to Colorado. We thought it was a great idea but Brenda was totally disinterested in seeing where she was born (she was in love). After a couple of years in college, she and Jack were married (strictly by coincidence on the day Elvis died, August 16, almost 39 years ago). Both graduated and became school teachers. After several years, Brenda decided to go back to college and graduated from pharmacy school in 1984. She and Jack purchased the family business in 1988 and I became semi-retired. (Since I am a rambling sort, it sometimes take me a long time to get to the point of my remarks, but here it is). It was another of those days that I’ll never forget. It was March 20, 1991. I was puttering around the house when Anita asked if I would run down to the corner grocery and get a loaf of bread. I said, “sure” so I jumped into the car and went to make my purchase. When I came out of the store, something caught my eye. There, in large block letters on the drug store sign across the street, begging for all of the world to read, was the announcement: REED IS 60. Being as good natured as I am, I took all the kidding in stride and vowed to just let it pass. Fast forward to last December. I was transferring all the birthday and anniversary dates from the 2014 calendar to the new one when I came to Brenda’s birthday. I noticed it was on a Thursday so I checked to see if it was a Ramblings day. Sure enough, it was. The moral of this story is, “Don’t mess with old dad.” OK, enough of that. We had a great OFC meeting the last of March. It was our annual birthday meeting where we invite the spouses. Several of us have March birthdays and we had 100% attendance plus two guests, Shelby’s son and wife from Boston, for a record total of 14 present. We sang “Happy Birthday” to George since he caught up with me on that date, making four of the six members the same age. Thankfully, both Shelby and Harold had birthdays before the end of March, becoming the seniors of the group again. By the way, Harold and Pat celebrated their 60th anniversary on the first day of April. We were still in Colorado when they married, but my mom wrote us with the news that this popular young couple had tied the knot, and that they had been properly shivareed. I’m sorry that we missed the festivities. Anyway, to round out this issue, I think I have mentioned before that Shelby and Beth both love to read. He reads non-fiction, she reads only fiction. I also love to read but, for various reasons, have slowed down a lot. However, I visited the library and checked out a book recently, a best-seller fiction tome, also made into a movie. It was about a “girl” that was “gone.” I should have stopped on page one. The author insisted that she use the “F” word every other sentence it seemed. The movie is R-rated, of course. Shelby says that he reads to expand his knowledge. I’m moving back to non-fiction.