Just a coincidence?
Or: There’s a signpost up ahead . . .
Zoo Lou of St. Paul: “There are moments in life that ask: ‘Is it a mere coincidence or something deeper, beyond the understanding of humankind?’
“After reading an article about the opioid epidemic, on a recent rainy afternoon, I watched the old TV western ‘Cheyenne.’ Star Clint Walker had infiltrated a gang — and guess what he found out? They were planning to bring in a big shipment of opium. I just shook my head in bemusement.
“Another day, shortly after seeing a commercial for a local law firm in which a woman talks about her husband’s being the victim of a distracted driver, I watched an episode of ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ that began with a visiting Englishman riding his bicycle through Mayberry while looking at a road map. (What? No cellphone?!) This distracted pedaling causes an accident and much chaos. The British chap apologizes for acting like a ‘proper Charlie.’ Me? I was bloody dumbfounded.
“There’s more. I occasionally watch ‘The Waltons’ and always get a kick out of Grandma Walton (Ellen Corby). But within a few hours last week, she went from sweet Grandma Walton to playing a regular Ma Barker as the leader of a gang of car thieves on ‘The Andy Griffith Show.’ She sells gullible Barney Fife a lemon under the guise of being a grieving widow and then brags to a cohort about making an easy 300 clams from the sucker of the world. What would John Boy say? Now I was getting goosebumps.
“Finally, TCM was showing the James Bond film ‘Live and Let Die,’ and host Ben Mankiewicz said to watch for the policeman who is the spit ‘n’ image of Sheriff Buford T. Justice in ‘Smokey and the Bandit.’ I decided to switch channels and within seconds came across Jackie Gleason barking into the radio: ‘This is Sheriff Buford T. Justice!’ Yes, it was ‘Smokey and the Bandit,’ and that’s when I swear I saw Elvis walk across my living room in blue suede shoes.
“So, do you think this is all a mere coincidence, or . . . (cue the theme music from ‘The Twilight Zone’)?”
Joy of Juxtaposition
And: There & Here (Highfalutin Pleasures Division)
KH of White Bear Lake: “Subject: The Joys of Juxtaposition . . .
“. . . or thank goodness it’s not a competition.
“Our daughter sent this photo as she took her Saturday-morning walk across the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City.
“Moments later, we sent her this photo as we walked across the bridge over the Kinnickinnic River in River Falls, Wisconsin.”
The (passive) verbing of America
The Retired Pedagogue of Arden Hills: “It’s that time when commentators are discussing politicians who are worried about being ‘primaried.’”
Flora Photography Division
Mounds View Swede: “I visited my neighbor who has all the lilies that are now done to see the dahlias that are now in bloom. There are many varieties of these, too, so I wanted to share the different looks with Bulletin Board readers.
“The just-opening and fully opened dahlias really caught my eye. To see both at once is a gift and makes me wonder what the other opened blossoms look like when they are just starting to open. I hope I can remember to do this next summer.
“Like the day lilies earlier, the dahlias have a great variety of blooms with varying shapes and colors. It’s a treat to see how many different ways this beauty is expressed.
“This one looks more celebratory to me.
“I wonder if this one every fully opens, and if so, what that would look like.
This ‘n’ that
Both from The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin: (1) “Subject: Hacksaw Heaven.
“I have suddenly developed an attraction to antiques. It’s kind of surprising, as I have always been contemporary in my taste and purchases. There must be a subliminal haunting that beckons. An instinct, maybe? A return to home? Don’t care, don’t know, just goin’ with the flow.
“I’ve recently been scrolling the Internet marketplace listings for old hand tools — the ones I used so long ago to build forts, tree houses and orange-crate cars and then left out in the back yard to suffer rainy nights. I don’t have a lot of room, and at my age I should be shedding, not acquiring, but I can’t seem to refuse to rescue a vintage egg-beater drill, saw, wrench or any other familiar artifact that was sleeping peacefully under a blanket of rust until awakened by an uncaring heir and posted: ‘FOR SALE, $10 OBO.’ When I am successful and collect them, they are handed over with smiles and gratefulness. There are no tears for the implements that build life’s memories. I gently bathe them in penetrating oil and rust remover. They look so useful and life-like again.
“That sounds crazy, I know, but I’ll never let go of the good past. It comforts me.”
(2) “Subject: Million-dollar idea No. 217.
“After watching the news this morning, I found myself wondering why the tiny little clip-on microphones still look like tiny little microphones?
“With the miniaturization of electronics and the miracle of Bluetooth, they could get much more imaginative, I think. They could build them into little jewelry-like pieces to be worn as a brooch or a lapel pin: Pink ribbon? American flag?
“Somebody should tell the producers that nobody is fooled by those loopy little wires with the quote marks on the end of them.
“I just wanted to take credit for the idea before it becomes all the rage on cable news.”
Kathy S. of St. Paul: “The United Kingdom’s politicians have been fighting about Brexit — leaving the European Union or not. Since I don’t understand the elaborate rules of Parliament, and they seem to fight and slander so much, I have skipped much of it — especially since I thought some attacks on the previous prime minister were partly aimed at her gender.
“But I can’t help enjoying the rich language and ritual of insults, and compare them to our Congress. My favorite quotes are from Speaker John Bercow — the guy always yelling ‘Or-der!’ When he spoke last week, he was heckled. His responses? ‘I do not require advice on order from you,’ he told a Tory MP. ‘You are a master of disorder, man . . . . I couldn’t give a flying flamingo what your view is.’ It sounds so much more elegant than yelling for people to shut up.
“My main motive for following all this is Ireland — because I am descended from both parts of it, and Brexit might affect them.
“Sometimes I think a giant hand places me in particular places and times. In 2016, I traveled around Ireland to research my family — and make local drivers crazy as I bungled the endemic traffic circles. I finally visited County Down on that trip. I needed to get there because my great-great-great-grandparents married there and had many kids, including ‘my’ Arthur, their third son. Arthur’s mother was Protestant, and his father was Catholic. — which sounds very unusual, given all the ‘religious’ violence in Belfast. But I found it was not uncommon there, even in the famously violent 1700s. There was even at least one church-type cemetery where a ‘mixed’ couple could be buried together. Who knew?
“It is the border between the Irelands that concerns me. I drove from south to north in 2016 and barely noticed the border between them. I had to switch currency again, but only an old guard shack by the side of the road flagged it. And going south from County Down to Dublin took only a few hours on a ‘dualed carriageway.’
“Then I mentioned my easy border crossings to some Irishmen in Dublin, and it struck them that the border might change. I started paying attention to it.
“Under Brexit, there might be a return to a ‘hard’ border between the Irelands. Which could also lead to more of the violence that kept me from going north in earlier years.
“Here’s hoping that, whatever happens with the British Masters of Disorder, both parts of ‘my’ Ireland get back together. As a descendant of a Protestant who married a Catholic in County Down during violent times, I know dissimilar people can make things work out.”
Could be verse!
Or: In memoriam (prequel)
Tim Torkildson writes: “Subject: R.I.P.
“When off this mortal coil I shuffle,
“let no one ever start to snuffle;
“write my obit with some verve
“(and not about what I deserve).
“The jokes, the gags, the lousy poems,
“my antipathy to garden gnomes —
“Let all my quirks and follies shine
“as to the sod I realign;
“so I can summon one more laugh
“once the Lord has pulled the gaff.”
This ‘n’ that ‘n’ the other ‘n’ the other
All from Al B of Hartland: (1) “I sat on the deck and watched on a late-August evening. Psalms reminds me to be still and know. A field cricket, nearly as black as a crow, moved past me. The sky over the yard was filled with hunters. Dragonflies flew the lowest; then swallows; the common nighthawks took the highest sky road. What brought these mighty Nimrods to my neck of the woods? In the Bible, Nimrod was a mighty hunter. They were feasting upon swarms of what I’ve heard referred to as flying plankton: ant swarms.
“A vulture performed a feeding frenzy of its own on a raccoon carcass on the road. In my boyhood, my family had a five-second rule. If we dropped something on the floor, we could still eat it if we picked it up within five seconds. Turkey vultures adhere to the five-day rule.”
(2) “I had hiccups for forever and a couple days — enough to cover a two-week vacation and then some. I was unable to eat, and sleep wasn’t restorative. They were burdensome and exhausting, but no record. Charles Osborne of Anthon, Iowa, began hiccupping in 1922 while attempting to weigh a hog. He continued hiccupping until 1990, 68 years later.
“My hiccups were relentless, like an ant bully with a magnifying glass. Hiccups might be one of the plagues mentioned in the Bible. Hiccups are a form of myoclonus, as are the sudden jerks or sleep starts experienced before falling asleep. The hiccups were side-effects of surgery. It baffled a team of doctors and nurses. They gave me shots and pills, which were of no help. ‘You shouldn’t be having these,”‘ said one doctor.
“‘Hick!’ I replied, involuntarily describing myself.
“I did radio shows with hiccups included. The guy who cleaned my room, friends, family, radio listeners and complete strangers offered folk cures. Old wives added tales claiming hiccups were caused by elves.
“I had someone frighten me by showing me my hospital bill while I held my breath, bit on a lemon, gargled with water I drank from the far side of a glass and squeezed my earlobes while tugging on my tongue. Then I spit on my right forefinger before placing dry sugar on the back of my tongue, ate mustard on a saltine cracker with a spoonful of peanut butter, and drank pineapple juice while visualizing a green cow grazing in a blue field. That’s worked in someone’s family for years, but it didn’t help me.
“I repeated the word ‘pineapple,’ using it as a cudgel until the hiccups subsided.
“Occasionally, I get a hiccup, two or three. I try not to panic.”
(3) “I stopped at an echo point. I didn’t need a password to yell ‘O. Leo Leahy!’ The echo, as an echo should, repeated what I’d said.
“O. Leo Leahy was a name used on ‘The Bob & Ray Show.’ Bob [Elliott] and Ray [Goulding] were a couple of radio geniuses not all that familiar today. I love their old radio shows. Old is good in many things, but new is often better. Cars are amazingly good today. I thought of the car I owned when I was a pup. I paid $75 for it, which was at least $70 too much. It gave me heat in the summer and air conditioning in the winter. It carried me to my last day on a job before I headed off to college. The company I worked for built implement buildings. I was the young squirt. On my concluding day, I was paid for staying out of the way. My boss said it was money well spent.”
(4): “My job was to go to the supermarket and gather as many bags of salty snacks as would fit comfortably into a shopping cart. This was to provision a large gathering of folks with a hankering for free snacks. As I checked out, the cashier looked at my cargo of chips and said: ‘Wow!’
“‘Winter is coming,’ I replied.”
Band Name of the Day: The Flying Flamingos
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