Approaching 60, The big 6-0.

One person’s take.  Mine!!!!

You know, life gets interesting past 60.

When a date’s underwear covers their belly, and you tell your friends, she’s a “keeper”!

And a breathalyzer, you welcome it.

What about when shuffleboard is a considered a contact sport?

You go to the DMV and consider yourself lucky, when your golf cart, doesn’t need a learner’s permit.

Another psyche job, is when you go out to eat with your young ones and hand out

Your phone number to a 22 year old Hooter’s girl and can’t remember why.

They kids don’t know, that you are serious.

You knew all the Golden Girls, when they were 12 and you had a date with Betsy Ross, before she sewn the flag.  A flag?

You call a computer, “that fandangled thing”.

Your first date was named Gertrude and her hair was already grey.   You were so proud of her and knew her SSN,  when there was only two numbers.

You think that TV Evangelists, really care about people and you send them all your money.

You look at the clock and get in your car at 4:00, go 20mph, during rush hour and then go to KFC and flirt with that Asian girl,  God bless you heart!

You know are getting old, when you kick the tires on your walker.

You and your wife, comment, what’s a remote? (TV)

When using an escalator is an extreme sporting event.

You go a sock-hop and wonder what ‘rap music is?

You think that, the music on an elevator is hard rock.

You remember when no one smiled in a picture!

When a pup tent, was a 5-star hotel!

Mighty Mouse....Saturday mornings:

When you think sooner than later, are the same.

When Ronald Reagan considered becoming a Communist.

When you confuse Benny Hinn with Benny Hill.

The crank on your car broke.

When you commented about Two-live crew, “I should hope so”.

When Bad Grandpa was good.

 

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Paying It Forward; Racing’s Legacy in the Community.

This is a true story and the results of doing a good thing is often repaid richly.     This is no exception.   Back in the 90s I worked as a Support Group Facilitator for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America in Tampa.    During my stint as facilitator I also volunteered to do the annual Bowl-A-Thon fundraiser.

One of my first stops was the racetrack at East Bay Raceway Park in Tampa,  Florida.    The track manager was a former Air Force veteran and he got me going as well as connected with the track on a more or less permanent basis.   Ron Braaten  gave me the names of drivers who love to participate in charities,  so I purchased photographs of drivers and their cars and then got autographs.

We had twenty-two race car drivers from that track,   two big radio stations,  one TV station,   Jazz singer Belinda Womack and twenty-two football players from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.   The year previous the CCCFA had only two lanes and we had twenty-two.   That number keeps popping up.   Oh by the way,  we made a record $22,000 for that day and the drivers,  fans and football players all coalesced to a good cause.

I got mentioned on Channel 10 and Reginald Roundtree,  the anchor at NewsTen called me and asked me how I did it and I said,  “I didn’t,  we did”.    But I am going to tell you,  this event and others helped the track and the community.   I was also working with the Tampa Tribune’s Weather page and a friend of the sports racing division, a Miss Holly Cain.  She also helped with a friend who was able to get a week-by-week accounting of his racing exploits.

We’ve done events with the Taste of Town n’ Country,   Florida Blood Services of Tampa at Hooters near the Airport,  Crohn’s and Colitis of Tampa and a few others.   I even used to do tropical forecasts for a local Christian Radio Station DJ who was one of the sweetest,  kindest men of the cloth that I have ever known.   This while I was working for Q-105, WWBA and about 80-90 stations across the country.

Johnny Gilbertson

#22 of Johnny Gilbertson of Tampa.   I remember Johnny’s old #10 sprint car owned by Gary White and later he moved on to the #3 owned by Kenny Mulligan,   #42 of Paulie Milum.   Johnny was one of the first and I knew him since he was around 20ish.

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Bruce Watkins of the B12,  modified and limited late model.   Talked with him a lot on the phone and he too was there with the racing stuff on the day of the big bowling event.

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Did a lot with David Schmauss shown here in the Cardinal #105 Late Model.  He went on to be track champion at least once in his career.

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Bobby Alexander is an interesting story.   A big time star on both the asphalt and dirt tracks,  he used to race at Golden Gate Speedway,  East Bay Speedway, Tampa Fairgrounds and quite a few others including Tom Stimus’ Desoto Speedway.   While he was racing at what is now the Oldsmar Flea Market outside of Tampa,  he had befriended Gordon Solie,  the former WTBS-Ted Turner-owned Wrestling Program.   Tony Atlas and those days.   Gordon was track promoter at Golden Gate and had Bobby improvise,  TNT style.   Funny stories there but promotions and intel matter.

21 Gough

One of my first friends at this track and since the Bowling Event.  he has either won or came in 2nd in points around ten times.   One of the classiest level-headed guys going and well-respected for that.   I remember when he sons were young and now all grown up.

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Kenny Adams was a national star in many respects and a big winner at East Bay.   I was told that his wife wanted him to come out of retirement just to beat Gene Lasker.  LOL.  Kenny was also a multi-time champ with ASCS Southern Tour and garnered some interest from upstate NY,  PA and CA.

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Gene Lasker –   Too many people see the wild side but if you have a need and are his friend,  he would do about most anything to that end.    We have done several events together for charities.   Kids just love him to death and a lot of adults are wary or intimidated by him and I think he doesn’t care either way.    He was the former American Winged Outlaw Champion in around 1996 and East Bay Champion in 1997.     He has raced for Hulk Hogan and Bubba the Love Sponge (gimmick) Clem.

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world finals

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decaire-motorsports1  I have known the DeCaire family since father Terry DeCaire piloted the USA#1 Late Model at East Bay.   The family also helped with that as did Dirt Devil’s Speedway.

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Ed Lynch Jr

The Lynch family is from outside of the Pittsburgh area where Ed Lynch Jr, a second generation driver has totalled well over 200 feature wins.    I have worked with his Mom for over 25 years and have done charities where they helped out with raffle items much as we did with the bowl-a-thon.    The Lynches are racing royalty with Ed’s father and mother in the Sprint Car Hall-of-Fame in Knoxville,  IA.   What gets things done is partnering with a common goal and the sky is the limit.   Not one of the drivers who have helped have failed to have a winning career.   That is no accident whatsoever because if you strive to help others,  good things will follow.    Drivers rally together to help each other and their families.

So rather than mumble,  get out and rumble with life.  It matters!

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Museums or Monstaries – You got it all.. and your slipping away.

You pass an old race car lying in a ditch.   Lonely and restless it’s soulful headlights looking back at you.   You notice the grill,  and remember that face from an old Chilton’s Repair Book circa, the 1960s.

Like a mugshot in a police lineup,  eyes from Pontiacs  Oldsmobiles.   Chevys and Fords look back at you.   Like a class picture maybe or a Racer’s Reunion.  with tailpipes eager to sound without mufflers.

Car grillCar grills 3Grill classics

Recollections of pre-racing days,  girls with nice tail-fins and built for speed but never really loose.  You sit at a Drive-thru sipping Root-beer with your first love.   And when you leave,  your curtain call is a couple of quick throaty revs.  Kisses to the past as the roar of a big V-8 leaves no doubt.  Killroy was really here.

Car grillsss

Past the old filling station where you hung out and your car dined on old leaded-gas and the cost of the brew made cruising a snap. You saw old friends with new names and the pumps now self-service.   No more Mr Clean with a squeegee and the question,  regular or unleaded?

Self-service had arrived.   What was once a fairly limited choice of refreshments usually dispensed by a rounded soda machine pouring out Pop in a cup or a can with a detachable lid.   But those glass bottles were the best.   Free of Poisonous PVCs and the fresh taste of chilled Coke bit at your throat.   Now only plastic bottles and Big Gulps full of air.  Some servicer!

Gas stationGas station110c soda

A time when Kleenex were tissues and Scott came along to break up the dance.    But back to the old race.   You see,  the old couple was sizing you up too.   It was not a matter of was the car good enough but were the passenger or grateful driver allowed to enter.  That was the issue!

Pumping gasGAS pricegas station attendent

That old car had reckonings as well,  victory laps with a checkered flag and a proud chariot rider.  You were pretty much in constant contact with your wheels and the term sled was more like Low-Riders and we do not allow that kind of talk around here.

You were proud to have Tom or Rick,  Mike or James painted on the driver’s side,  a kind of spiritual thing like a 2 carat engagement ring.   You were in love and were lovingly paraded  You rode piggy back on either a flat bed of some kind or had a luxury suite called Featherlite or the equivalent.

Old stock carNewtons

Needless to say,  that you were picked that sunny day when that racing legend once again roared to life.   A moving Museum of combustible angst paraded around the fairgrounds and an old friend or two came over to see if it were really you.

Then like a Prince and his charioteer you took another lap in this thing called life and remembrance.    Cinderella’s Shoe was found in the back seat where it belonged.

Silly Love Songs

The moment of awareness of sexuality comes with vistas not before imagined.    Kind of like in the Wonder Years and I was about to find my own Winnie Cooper.

.   But this process was painful and at times I felt like I was watching a show from behind a sound-proof glass.  I was in love with a few girls and a few could see behind the two-way mirrors.    Music was a way to escape and so naturally certain songs were buoyant,  light-hearted and romantic in a way that fit with my own personality.

So I cringe at terms like one-hit wonders, bubble-gum music and silly love longs.   Paul McCartney nailed it and even John Lenin and Yoko Ono proved that commercialized music may not be all that bad.    For me it was Day After Day by Bad Finger and  I pined for a cute little idealistic blond teen.  I remember that we went on a date to the Paddock Room and I stammered and stumbled and was probably incoherent but it was a date and it became news around the school.    One of her friends found out we went out on a date and said that I had the hots for her!  And I did.   I fumbled that ball a few times but years later the ball was back in my hands and I fumbled it yet again.

“What she had realised was that love was that moment when your heart was about to burst.”
Stieg Larsson, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

She basically told me one day long after High School  that I already found what I was looking for.   Her!   I was confused and botched that badly but she still really liked me,  just a bit concerned that I missed the obvious clues.   It was like I found the pot of gold but just stared at it and then walked away.

The old High School was a special place where we would play basketball on a court that had a shallow ceiling so you had to shoot a somewhat flat shot.  Oddly enough they used to play Varsity Basketball games on that cozy little court.  The place had the old building scent which wafted through it’s halls and hinted at love and life and where in the gutters floated love notes and old trees cried out.

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“What she had realised was that love was that moment when your heart was about to burst.”
Stieg Larsson, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

One night Mom drove me to the old school and there she was in the crowd still yet coming into focus.  She was pretty as a Blue Jay and wobbly as a colt,  I saw her skating across the ice when she suddenly saw me and smiled.   It was a soft invitation and I took advantage of that opportunity to say “Hi” to her.   I was a terrible skater and was very skilled at falling down.   Noticing that she grabbed my hands and steadied me.   I was in heaven.    The warmth of her body and the prospects of something more filled my mind with curious and yet predictable emotions.

As a side note,  I did have a first love.    The kind where you smile at each other meant you were going steady…LOL

I did have a sixth grade girlfriend named Cheryl and during the fall festival and play I was a paper-machete pumpkin with a green hat that looked like a stem.    Sitting inert on the stage until my cue,  I was rather inspicuous.  Afterwards I dressed in a suit and tie we danced and for some reason it seemed that all the parents with little girls was smitten by me and I had serious game in spite of my shyness.    I had ton of pictures taken by parents and this was more fun than square dancing in gym class.

Next year I was in upstate NY in a very strange place,   where the community was named after our family Ellistown in Barton, NY outside of Waverly and on Ellistown Road.    We moved to the old Brink’s Greenhouse and their fading history replete with a caretaker’s house that become home to hundreds of wasps and other incendiary insects.   My parents found Rhubarb though I had never heard of that before.

Maj Russell Kline Trees

On my first day in homeroom class the teacher accosted poor Ann R. with a comment about the contraband in her mouth. (gum).    I think we were more perplexed about the word (contraband) and I was pondering Ann’s abject humiliation and embarrassment…..

Even at that point were the Freudian connection with her plight and my trying to remain as anonymous as possible.   Things were a bit discomfiting as I was elected to the Student Council for our homeroom.    An honor that I was both proud of and embarrassed by.    I got the feeling the election was more of a joke than an honor.

So the music does play a role in the development of our higher needs.    Merely dismissing out of hand any song because of what some people consider to be corny or not deep is ridiculous.    These songs do get overplayed but that isn’t the artist fault and sometimes the DJ’s either.    From Seasons In The Sun to Sugar Sugar by the Archies,  these iconic pops songs transcended the Rock N Roll critics scorn and embedded themselves in the psyche of our frontal lobes.   These radio voices were our muses and they live forever and a day.

I think it is funny when the rock jocks,  those middle-aged men dressed in black whine about superficial pop songs while wailing on a Fender Stratocaster as their own aging bodies and receding hairlines and pony tails are stuck in a past to be forgotten like an old Class Yearbook and High Times Magazine.     Between have Lava Lamps,  Mood Rings and Chia Pets there are far worse diversions than a Bobby Goldsboro song like Honey.    It is too sappy but Two Live Crew exploits carnal depravity.    Dude,  where’s My Viagra and remote.

or this…..

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Black History Month & the Greatest Pitcher Ever – Bob Gibson

My favorite baseball player is almost 80 years old next November.    He is about five weeks older than my mother and regardless of the fact that he does NOT know me,   he is my role model,  my baseball idol and a man of great character.

I feel that too many times Jackie Robinson is hailed as the great trailblazer of equal rights.   But Mr. Gibson himself grew up in one of the most dangerous ghettos in America…   Cabrini Green.    His own father died about three months before Bob was born and his brother who was some 15 years older was a kind of mentor.

The song above is probably my favorite from Elvis and conveys the hard reality of disadvantage and self-destructive behaviors.     Growing up in Texas in a segregated neighborhood it seemed that integration was happening and no one had to tell us racism was wrong.   How is it little kids can figure out.   One day this black boy came across me and asked his friends,  “Who is this peckerwood?”     One of my friends from that run down place called the young black child out and told him I was his friend.

Racism was very real but the good part of that change was not a slogan or a gimmick,   we had real problems in our country.   We had Little Rock Hall and the protest of the brave young black students.    I was one year old as this cauldron was beginning to boil over and an ugly scene ensued.

This young lady was a hero and young kids of all races were angry at the over racism and Jim Crowe Laws that permeated the nation and especially  the South.    It was this that the young Cardinal star had to deal with and he did so relatively easily as was his character never to lose at anything.

Gibson had rickets and asthma as a kid and yet become a good basketball player,  averaging 22ppg as a senior in high school.   After that he went on to be an All-American  basketball player at Creighton University.    And from there the Harlem Globetrotters and finally signed with the St. Louis Cardinals.

When pitching for the St. Louis Cardinals in spring training,  black players were not allowed to stay in the hotel that was white only.    Eventually the Cardinals organization fixed that problem.    Imagine being the superstar pitcher in the second best baseball organization and then being spit at in Florida.

The rough life growing up and his competitive nature made him a force in the game and he set one record that is still a record fifty or so years later.   (1.12) over 300 strikeouts and 13 shutouts with 22 wins.    He was a prolific hitter also bashing 24 Homeruns and 144 RBIs.   During the day there were not a lot of televised games and especially the Cardinals so I would listen to KMOX in St. Louis while we were living in upstate NY.      I loved and was proud when watching him pitch and would emulate his pitching delivery.

Mr Gibson like Hank Aaron survived the rigors that racism and hate with class and strength.   One time his catcher Tim McCarver ( a really good one) came to the mound and Gibson, “told him the only thing McCarver knew about hitting was he couldn’t.”

He was known for a blistering fastball and an awesome curve.    When he retired I felt such a deep sadness on a variety of levels.    As the years have passed fans revere him as a classy human and one of the greatest pitchers and one of only a few black pitchers.      So my looking up to him is influenced by so many factors.    I refused to lose and invariably I came through in the clutch every so often.   That included beating an undefeated wrestler in a state tournament,     and an unassisted triple play.    The baseball coach told my little brother that he had large shoes to fill.

I was born in a turbulent time with wars,   bitter conflicts racial and otherwise so I take a dim view of blacks using slavery as a crutch and so do the stars,   businessmen and fathers who do the right thing and do represent the status quo,   There is a lot of work and Ferguson roiled the waters and I am not going to be political but to say,  we collectively have to see each others as valuable as ourselves if not more.

This is a condensed version of my love and respect for this great man and served as a role model to black and white kids.

BobGBGibson45BGBG2

A dream-like world. Basic Training!

On a springlike evening just as the sun was beginning to fall,    I was on what seemed to be an old base,  replete with World War II barracks that were both offices and dorm rooms for the college students.    In the military you were privacy to some antiquated housing and furnishings but comparatively,   the Air Force was light years ahead of other branches.

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In any regard this is a reasonable facsimile of dorm life back in the 60s and 70s and some back as far as the 1950s.   It is hard to imagine that our new dorms in Basic Training were the new dorms then (1974) and are the old dorms of yesteryear.  Confused?  Me too!

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The Dorms above were those new-old dorms and the new ones today are very nice.  Almost too nice.   The second floor overhang is where we did PE and was also close to the Chow Hall (We called it the dining halls because we were more sophicated, lol).   Anyhow,  our first day was about 11PM and like in the movie ‘Stripes’  the old stodgy Sergeants had the most pleasant things to say.

While we were waiting to go into the chow hall the TIs went in for awhile,  ostensibly to find good things to say to us when they got back.   But all of a sudden we had two black guys in line who were dancing and clapping and changing rows.   I snickered and marveled at their nerve or stupidity.  I can’t believe they didn’t get caught!   It was kind of like ‘Soul Train’.

TI2TIs get up close and personal with Dover Airmen

And like in ‘Full Metal Jacket’,   we had such great give and take with the Drill Instructors, or we called them  TIs or Training Instructors in the Chair Force.    The banter was light and convivial as we drank tea and did bird-watching.    It was almost like we were bestest friends and most TIs wanted to adopt us because we were the finest bunch of recruits they ever saw.

Then I woke-up,  and yes they (The TIs) took out their wrath on the aluminum trash cans and told us how much we stunk.   I even had the pleasure of discussing facial hair and the need to shave.   I had a face like a baby’s behind.   I looked like the smaller end of the height scale amongst 7th or 8th graders than a new recruit.   Even the foot lockers stood taller and menacing.

There were no private Jokers in our flight,  instead we were all Private Pyle.  With our shorn and shaved domes,   we looked like Vin Diesel without the muscles.  And while they were strongly encouraged not to kill us, they found other ways of making us feel like spineless-soft-bodied flesh-eating larvae in the noon day sun (maggots).    I think they took a class on how to jam their cute little TI hats into our face.  I still have entrance and exit wounds from those hats and dreams of reveille or the girl I used to have in upstate NY.

I never knew I had biological family and friends in basic because our Instructor told us he was family! Literally!   He was our parents, our friends,  family and girl friends.   No wonder they were cranky at 4A.M.!    After breakfast we swam along the Euphrates with 300 lbs of gear,  against the flow!    Okay,  that might be a little stretch or maybe a war story.  The war in Vietnam was coming to a conclusion and not ending well for people in the south part of that country.

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As Adrian Cronauer said,  “It was hot,  damn hot”.   With our canteens full of Perrier Water and Fig Newtons hidden in our lids (hats) even SEALS didn’t mess with us.   I had a lot of freckles then and was what you youngins refer to as Gingers.   So basically we were hardcore,  like a bunch of newborn fetuses dressed in green,  we marched or tried to, to the strains of Mozart and Tiny Tim.

One of the more fun ventures were the shots (vaccinations) that were delivered by a kind of air gun loaded with testosterone and Viagra.   No wonder that trees were not safe and off-limits to us.  Now I know why we had to stay off the grass.

And at night we had girls and partied late into the night.  Okay,  more accurately we had letters from our hot chicks (if you were lucky) and got to shine our shoes and the GI Parties were not co-ed!   We learned how to wax floors and fold our underwear.   Those beds were made with hospital corners and if they were not done right,  the hospital was a very real possibility.

When we started molting and changing from maggots to gadflys,  we were getting salty and irascible.  To give us a pass meant to go watch a movie on base or go and frolick with the natives in San Antonio and watch a movie..   We took pictures and discovered four-lettered words but couldn’t use them on base or against our family (The TIs).

But all good things must end and just when we were having fun.  Remember back then too many civilians hated our troops so while our facilities are better now,  so is the frame of mind and the acceptance of our communities.

Basic 1948

To Grandmother’s House We Went.

There are those times as a child when certain memories come back like yesterday.   For those of us with doting Grandparents these times are even more special.   Grandma and Grandpa lived in near Wellsboro,  PA.   The town was one of those factory areas with lots of farms, and lots of old dirt roads.

Charles Chips

In the early days going to Grandma’s house there were a few nostalgic places along the way.  One was an area that was flooded and a dam built where there used to be farms and one of those were owned by our extended family.   Next was the old store just before we turned onto the old Route 6,  the road my grandma lived on.

sock monkey

The road was semi-paved and long and the old store was torn down a few years later with my only recollection was a new road was put in it’s place.   The old road also marked the nearness of Grandma’s place and a sense of magic and an accommodating environment.   Grandpa was always a bit annoyed at Grandma’s eccentricities and she had a few.   But in th end,  his love was born out for her even though Dr House probably learned snarkiness from him.

He used to show us the severed finger he suffered while working on an old car that collapsed as his finger got in the way of the hitch.    He wore his infirmity with pride and he was also very keen to my dad’s mistreatment of Mom.   Grandpa seethed with an inner rage and a few choice words from time to time.

Dad’s father was a bit of a jerk also and his sister would tell how he was beat by own his dad and thus the cycle of abuse was passed down.   That inner rage like an old tire tube,  slowly leaked it’s venom and poisoned what would have been an ideal childhood,  all things considered.

Staying at the house was the feeling that dad was powerless there and that he could only go so far pushing my mom to tears.   Something about being patriarchal and fair.   But Grandma always had the Charles Chips Potato Chips,  cases of soft-drinks and a few cookies to boot.  She was in love with her children in the sense that her world revolved us.  From the sock cookies to her love of the Pennsylvania Amish.   I remember light switches that read, “Outen the Lights” and other relics of a different time in the midst of the present.

I remember one time when Grandpa and Grandma visited us in Fairbanks, Alaska.    The bitter cold was relieved by their presence and true to form,  Grandma,  who my dad despised,  was able to help give aid to my mom’s beleaguered spirit.  This is where my anxieties deepest fissures stemmed.   The memory of my dad on top of mom was a knife threatening to hurt her (kill her) if she ever did whatever she allegedly did.

Being the only child old enough to remember much,  it as though something was relentlessly scratching the blackboard in school.   I dangled like an ornament precariously situated on a branch and Christmas a kind of detante against the ongoing drama and virtual cold war.

But back at her mom in Pennsylvania was a place of peace,  a lean-to and suspending sanctuary against the bitter winds that blew like an angry wind.   The best was staying over at Grandma’s during the summer and a few times during Christmas break.   I used to watch the traffic on the new Rte 6 and when there was snow,  the crunching of tires and the slow procession that followed the ruts in the snow packed ice.

The chiming of the old grandfather clock and the old black and white TV that sat below it.  My mom told as kids that they put a kind of tri-colored flimsy on top of the black and white picture to get color TV.    The only cable back then was the one that towed your car out of a ditch.

Speaking of ditches.   While still very young I was in the front seat of our old blue Ford stationwagon while mom and dad were inside.   I decided to go with my first driver’s education class and put the car in reverse and it slowly rolled down the driveway and onto old 6 and against a barb-wired fence.   Beyond that fence was about a twenty foot drop.   My dad was sheepish at his thoughtlessness and I was pretty scared myself.   Afterwards was a warning and a laugh from grandfather that dissipated the pressure of that event.

The old Grandfather clock croaked out the time,   it’s face made of copper and ornate arms which  spun slowly,  methodically and predictably.    Calming the tempest in a generally unfamiliar way.   The stairway seemed much longer than it really was and the excitement of the old house gave it a kind of haunted house feel.

Grandma’s heart seemed in synch with the old time keeper and my grandfather sat in his chair and winked at us.   He had a quiet power over us and though 70ish he was no one to mess with,  He was a steadying force in the family,  truly a great man in my eyes.

I really feel that he loved Grandma even though his first wife died pretty young.  Reminders of her were her spinster sisters,  kind of like the Baldwin sisters in The Waltons.   He was also a pretty good ball player and played in the industrial leagues that were common then.

Both of my grandfathers played semi-pro baseball and probably where I got my athletic skills.   My dad did too though he opted for working hard and there is nothing wrong with that.   The problem is he was terribly conflicted and full of inner rage.   He never went to my sporting events and he missed something special when I was in high school upsetting the number one wrestler in the state of NY in my division (105lbs) LOL>

But Grandma T’s house was a kind of sanctuary and better when the cousins showed up.   We rigged an old crate and used a small beach ball and played basketball.    The excitement with the prospects of going to our Aunt and Uncle’s House on the Dairy Farm.   Days were long with chores and all and since it was a novelty,  the fact that it was work was not a problem.

After eating during the spring and summer we played Little League Baseball.   With tons of catchers mitts and other types of baseball gloves we would head off to the park.  Even cousins who were girls played baseball and this was true even at the fair they had each year near Blossburg in a towned called Roseville.   It was Hooterville with our telephones inside but they were party lines.   Yeah they did exist and long distance calls in the states, a few miles away were expensive.   No cellphones then unless the cans with the string attached could be considered thus.

On our way home we would stop at the Farmer-in-the Dell Creamery were absolutely delicious fresh ice cream was served.  Too bad but that place was bought out and leveled in corporate America’s siege of small farming communities and forcing farmers to find jobs in a world that was decreasingly hospitable to the menial-minded laborer.

The only time it was tolerable was when I had my 17 year old girlfriend Marci along for the ride.   We stroked each other’s hair and cuddled for the long ride.   I was pretty happy at that time.    I remember waiting at her parent’s house one day and the song by Gordon Lightfoot ‘Sundown’ was playing.    As she emerged to come downstairs,  her long flowing black hair felt right at the moment.   I was pretty happy with that too.  Of course.

As my dad and my mom’s mom grew older my dad actually conceded that it was a nice time though he hated going because I think,  it reminded him of what he never really had and the world is sadder when you cannot feel that way about Grandma and Grandpa.