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Archive for February, 2011

Happy Valentine’s Day

Standing in line at the post office I overheard a conversation between customer and postal worker.  The customer was a very elderly gent who would have fit right in with the local high school boys who wear their pants somewhere around mid-butt (will this fad ever end?).  But his red suspenders made him so much cooler than those boys, or maybe it was his just slightly askew red baseball cap; the brim shading only one of his sky blue eyes from the glaring fluorescent lights.

While his packages were being posted, he leaned on his cane; one sporting a split tennis ball to cushion the blow to arthritic hands gnarled as old oaks.  The exchange contained the usual small town pleasantries passed from one side of the counter to the other, but here’s what the old gent said that broke me and lifted me at the same time.   “I lost my wife and they gave me a cat.”

Today, make sure the ones you love know how much they mean to you.    You just never know when someone is going to hand you a cat.

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Johnny Bulldog

Ah, it’s been quite awhile since I posted, but I have good reasons.   No, I’m not going to tell you what those reasons might be.   But what I will tell you is this:  I picked the best place to live!

Big wind came through here on Saturday…or was it Friday?  I’m living off the calendar grid most of the time so tracking days is a bit difficult.   But I do remember there was a mighty wind.  I’m not sure when it came down, but I finally noticed it when driving back after getting my new spectacles…and that’s a story in itself.  Okay, I’ll tell you about it, but later.  I want to get to Johnny Bulldog.  So, today…let’s see, that would be Sunday, February 13, I’m wearing my new specs so I can see down the road past my house and a tree has fallen…oh, that would be one of my trees.   I parked, pulled on my leather gloves, took my trusty hand saw (yes, I keep both in the car) and approached the tree.  It was only the top of the tree, but there was a lot of tree laying there.   Hard as it was to admit, up against that much timber, my hand saw was about as useful as a hand brake on a row boat.  Downtrodden, I went inside and called a tree removal company to come haul it away.   I figured I could at least sweep up some of the debris, saw off a few of the smaller branches while I waited.   If I hadn’t promised my guys down at the coffee shop that I’d never power up my chain saw, I would have had a go at it, but a promise is a promise… is a hand, is a foot, is a leg (I’m told).

Suddenly, lo and behold, there was diesel in the air, a rumbling down the road, a raised iron bucket leading the way, and Johnny Bulldog behind the wheel of a bright blue tractor.   I had heard tell of Johnny Bulldog; heard that he was my neighbor; in fact, had a rare sighting of the man and his machine so long ago I couldn’t swear it wasn’t one of those 1960’s flashbacks I’ve read about.  But today was the real thing.  Today Johnny Bulldog pulled up on his bright blue tractor, told me to go ahead and cancel the call to the tree company so I could save a few bucks.   Today Johnny Bulldog and his tractor picked up my fallen tree and its severed limbs like he was playing pick up sticks.   (Not that Johnny Bulldog ever played pick up sticks.)  Today Johnny Bulldog reminded me why I chose to come and live in the woods.  Because folks like Johnny Bulldog lend a helping hand faster than fat renders from frying bacon.

Johnny Bulldog  rocks the island and surrounding environs with his music.   Oh yeah, in his spare time, he’s the lead singer for Creedence Clearwater Revisited.   I live next to a rock star with a tractor!   How great is that!   If you get a chance, check  out Johnny Bulldog’s music at myspace.   Better yet, check out his schedule on Whidbey Island, jump in your car, or grab a flight and come for a visit.

Now, about that eye exam I mentioned.   If you’ve been following along, you know that not long after I moved to the island I developed eye floaters (oh, I just lost the pre teen, twenty something, thirty is harder than it looks, forty is the new thirty, fifty is nifty demographic).   I had flashes of light, which I mistook for enlightenment, but when nothing became clearer (figuratively and literally), I leaned toward stroke.  This concerned me because I didn’t have time for a stroke – I hadn’t finished hoeing my four plus acres.  But my house was clean.  I could see that with my one good eye, which later also went by the way of floaters.    Anyway, this wasn’t that kind of eye exam, it was just an optical exam.   You know, the kind that only costs $79.00, but by the time you leave, you’ve shelled out hundreds of dollars for Norma Kamali glasses (“but, dear, they come with a case”) and a pair of Ralph Lauren Polo sunglasses (which should come with a horse).

A very nice, older (way beyond my own demographic) doctor examined my eyes.   I don’t know about you, but I can pretty much sum up how a situation is going to go in about the first 30 seconds.  I knew my situation was going to be blogable.  (It’s a word now, isn’t it?)   First, and this is usual, we have to get past my name.   My rule of thumb is this:  after I’ve pronounced my name three times for a person, I then answer to whatever they call me (within reason) because I know they’re not listening to me.  After the third time with the eye doctor, I answered to Michelene, Mickaline and Meeshalayne.   I signed my check Meeshalayne (no last name).   Bet he remembers my name next time when the bank doesn’t cash it.  (I kid you.)

The first part of the exam wasn’t too bad.  He only whacked me in the head with that ginormous (ginormous- long i sound – for my gin loving friends) eye glass contraption twice and only once did he raise the chair up fast enough to clip the bridge of my nose.  However, the farsighted portion of the exam wasn’t quite as easy.   Oh, not just because my eyes have approached that stage where I need reading glasses, too, but because the doctor had a pretty sizable tremor.  I could see the letters, but they wouldn’t hold still when he held the card up.  The first paragraph had something to do with the Romans (might be time to update those reading cards) and if I had the time and the card in my own steady hand (I know, just give it time) I would have enjoyed reading more about the Romans.   And that leads me to what I think is an appropriate question:  Why did they choose a paragraph about the Roman Empire for an eye exam?   Seriously, how many people flunk reading paragraph one because they couldn’t pronounce  Lucius Aurelius Verus or Elagabalus ?   Why not a paragraph on Euclid’s theory.   (I only picked Euclid  because just this morning Will Shortz did anagrams beginning with “eu”.   When asked “Who is known as the father of geometry?” the caller didn’t get the answer right , but I did.   (At least I remember getting it right in the 7:40 a.m. time slot, which is a repeat of the 6:40 a.m. time slot).  Of course, the paragraph with the really, really, really small font (what I now refer to as the minus ten font) could have been about anything.   All of that said and done, my bigger concern was my prescription.   When the doctor wasn’t looking, I compared it to my last prescription to make sure we were in at least the same ballpark, but his numbers looked pretty nervous.

The very nice lady (also well beyond my demographic, but very stylish) laid out over a dozen pair of glasses for me to try on while she went to confirm my prescription numbers with the doctor.  I didn’t find that encouraging.  While she was gone,  I immediately set aside the glasses with bling covered stems.  I had visions of the sunlight hitting them just right, light bouncing off their brilliance and me thinking it was another stroke.  Besides, anyone who knows me, knows I’m not blingy (it’s a word now, isn’t it?).   No, I settled on something that says I have a library card; something bookish and sturdy.  No, they’re not Roy Orbison glasses…I picked Orbison’s for my sunglasses.

I hope the sun is shining where you are (if it’s day time).  If it’s not daytime and you see light, it’s probably a floater, or a stroke…or enlightenment.

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