Another reason why I love the Southside

I have a watch that is close to thirty years old, or thereabouts. About a month or so ago, the wristband pin broke. Thinking maybe it was time to give up on the old wrist watch, I dropped it on my dresser, having decided my cell phone could do the duty of keeping me on time.
It did not work. I kept looking at my now empty wrist. Such was the inconvenience of dragging out my cell phone whilst simultaneously looking at my empty wrist that it was decided now was the time to pull the old Timex™ off the shelf and onto its rightful place on my wrist.
The old thing hardly worked anymore. The night light was out and the pin on one side was gone. I would need a new battery and pins for the band. Does anybody even sell this stuff anymore?
I drug the debate around for a month or so then decided to see if I could get the “old thing” fixed. Where could I go? The last time I got a band for it was at a now closed big box store and they were no help at all (which explains why they are out of business, in my opinion). My bride recommended that I go to McGee’s Jewelry on US31 in Greenwood. Well, I thought to myself, that would cost me and arm and a leg.
I left the house with no intention of going to a jeweler and paying twice what I bought the thing for in the first place. I also did not want to go from big box to big box and wind up with nothing.
So, I went to McGee’s and that’s where I met Stephanie. I’ve been there before with my bride but I had never seen Stephanie. I don’t think I have met anyone that could smile as much as she did and be as cheery as she was. She handled my old Timex as if it were a diamond ring. She declared the battery dead and replaced it. She went even further and went through numerous little boxes to find the right pin for the band. She did all this whilst keeping a super cheery conversation going that made my day. I learned that she is born and bred a lifelong Southsider and has been at McGee’s for somewhere in the five year range. On top of all that, I did not pay anywhere near what I thought I would.

McGee’s is lucky to have her.

My friend Webster

It was the greatest joy in recent days for the wife and I as we had the rare opportunity to spend a substantial amount of time with our good friend Webster. As he is what one might refer to as a “snow dog,” the chances of seeing him beyond the five or six months that he spends in Indiana each year, are not favorable. Our recent visit with him at his Florida estate was to celebrate our fortieth wedding anniversary. It was a joy and privilege that we shared that time with him and his staff.
Webster owns a security company and is under contract to provide security for two properties. One is in Indiana and the other in Florida. He excels in the discharge of his duties as there has never been a burglary in either residence for which he is responsible. Ever.
Webster has a staff of two who have charge over the administrative and logistical duties of the firm so that Webster is not distracted from his patrolling responsibilities. He is unmatched by anyone anywhere in his ability to sniff out and chase away any and all intruders. I myself saw him identify and repulse multiple flying fowl and an innumerable mass of lizards that wage a constant war against his client’s Florida abode. There is an unsubstantiated rumor that he has repulsed more than one alligator from the ground. That’s he said at least,
I have never met his customers as, so I am told, they live a life of leisure and travel so are not at the residence very often. I have met his staff though. They are a hardworking pair in constant vigilance to fulfill all the needs that Webster has, and they are many. His security duties are of such a demanding nature that he has no time to see to his own physical needs that includes preparing his own food and making his toilet. He does have to discipline his staff on occasion as well as train them in the various functions that are required. His tool for this is a ball and attached rag that he requires them to pull on while he yanks them around until the exhaustion of his staff implants the desired instruction.
Yes, Webster is one of a kind and he will tell you so. His staff is loyal and he has friends in both high and low places. He says he even has friends amongst the local pelican gangs. I have, however, heard more than one report that he is not thought much of among the hogs of Indiana.
That what he says, at least.

The old guy

My daughter is pretty handy around the house. It is a talent I did not expect to see in her and I am glad she has discovered and is developing such a useful ability. I have to say though, I am not certain where she found this talent. I suspect it is a hand me down skill passed on from her Mom’s (i.e.my wife’s) family. Save to say that the handyman gene on my side is somewhat underdeveloped.

She called me the other day. She had come upon a plumbing problem and wanted to see if I could offer any solution to this wet dilemma. As I do anytime I am faced with a question I do not have an answer for, I told her I would have to think about it (to get an answer, I would later avail myself of the many repair videos on You Tube). The conversation ended with her decision to go to the hardware store.

When she got back, she called to tell me she had found a solution at the hardware store and proceeded to explain what she had done. The repair had been a success and she was elated at her victory. I asked how she figured it out. She said she had gone to the local hardware store, looked for, and found, “the old guy.”

Of course! The old guy. Every hardware store has one or two of these all-knowing fountains of the doctrine of home repair. You’ve seen him. He’s older than dirt, knows where every screw and bolt and who knows what else is in the store and is the very origin of the wisdom of the handyman. He knows all, tells all, and can fix dang near anything one could conjure up. He has a quiet confidence developed from years of fixing stuff all over the house.

Implementing the old guy’s wisdom respecting her situation, the repair was a resounding success. Of course it was! Had not the “old guy” pronounced the solution?

The old guy is never wrong. Ever.

Joy at a burger joint?

One would never expect to find unbridled joy at a burger joint. Oh,  I suppose it is possible to witness the occasional jubilant  patron gushing over a good burger. I myself have been known to express plain old fashioned giddiness whilst consuming an onion and cheese festooned hamburger (and NO tomatoes!).

No, the unbridled elation that I refer to was witnessed by yours truly just the other day at a South side White Castle™. I had an early morning meeting to attend so decided that I would stop by the local White Castle for coffee and a sausage biscuit. White Castle, by the way, is known to have one of the better cups of coffee in town and their sausage and egg biscuits are among the best you’d find anywhere. That’s a given at any White Castle upon whom you would care to render your custom.

What made this visit exceptional, though, was Tanya. I think that’s her name. I had to go back later that morning to ask. I think I have it right. Anyway….She will tell me if I don’t.

I deduced that Tanya was the manager in charge at that hour of the morning when most folk are still waking up and coherency is often challenging. The first thing I noticed about her was that she had a contagious grin and everybody, from customer to employee, was addressed as either baby or honey. There may have been the occasional sweetie tossed in as well. Further, she went about her task of tending to her patrons and encouraging fellow employees with more joy than I have seen as of late anywhere. It is not common to see that kind of effervescence at that hour of the day. In a burger joint no less! I must confess, I was taken aback by it.

I had to hang around the front counter whilst Tanya constructed my breakfast. She went about her task with the smile and joy that I bet made everybody’s day. I had never, before this moment, seen anybody cook up a sausage and egg biscuit with the joy I saw in Tanya.

I wanted to ask her the source of her joy. She was far too busy engaging her world and putting truth to the old adage, “In all labor there is profit.” Tanya is rich beyond words.

Snowmageddon

This week, I want to share a story from my childhood in the Texas Panhandle that fits right in with the “Snowmaggedon” that we’ve had here in the Midwest.

Sometime in the late sixty’s, we had a terrible snow storm in Amarillo, Texas where I grew up. Amarillo does not get snow like we do here (least wise not as much).  Anyway, a snowstorm came in with lots of wind, the result being a fair amount of drifting. School was called off for the day so it was just me, Mom, and our dog, Brutus. Brutus was a thoroughbred St. Bernard. We had a good sized fenced in the backyard and Brutus spent most of his time out there, weather permitting.

The day after the storm I let Brutus out the back door so he could do his business. After about ten minutes or so, the front doorbell rang. It was early in the morning and we were surprised that somebody would be out in this lousy weather. Mom answered the door to discover it was Brutus. He waltzed in the house like he owned the joint. I went to the backyard as I thought the back gate was open which would explain how Brutus showed up on our front porch. It was, in fact, closed. I figured the wind had slammed it shut and gave no more thought to it. By and by, Brutus announced his desire to go outside again. I let him go without a second thought but, within the span of ten minutes, he announced himself at the front door.

He pulled this same stunt twice more. Mom and I were at a loss to explain how Brutus could get out of the fenced-in back yard, go to the front door AND, ring the durn doorbell. I went outside again to make sure the back gate was shut and it was. There were no tracks in the snow by the gate either. I was flummoxed as to his trick until I turned around. There at the point where the house and fence joined was a large drifted pile of snow that had frozen. On that drifted snow was paw prints. The snow had drifted up on both sides of the fence allowing Brutus’ escape.

To this day, I do not know how he figured out how to ring the door bell.

Getting organized

I have to get organized. Course, I say that every year and repeat it at least once a week. I do manage to drag myself through the years without missing too much but it’s getting harder.

As of this writing, I am in the possession of, or have exclusive access to, two desktop computers, a laptop, a tablet, smart phone, and a paper planner. I have a business card scanner and an app on my smart phone for the same purpose. In short, I have every possible tool that could or would make my personal and professional life the envy of my neighborhood. The end result of this state of organizational copiousness is nothing works.

The two desktops have different versions of the same time and task management software. Neither one of them will talk to my cell phone though they will talk to each other if they are in the mood. The laptop is old and works when it feels like it. Because it was the workhorse of the bunch until a few days ago, much of my history is on it. I can get it switched to a desktop when the beast is up to working.  It’s just plain ornery in its old age. The tablet is so conceited it won’t talk to anybody. The smart phone tries to get along but it’s tough when nobody will talk to anybody. Oh, I failed to mention that I have a twelve-plus year old customer relationship management software that will talk to nobody but itself.

I bought a business card scanner and its attendant smart phone app in the hopes that I could, at long last, get this crowd of braniacs to talk to one another and help me get my act together. The end result is I have to load each card twice. Once into the desktop scanner and again into the cell phone with no advantage at all to me.

The only “system” I am not having problems with is the paper planner. It never crashes, does not NEED to talk to anybody but me, and does not require any weird stuff or tools. It’s also cheap. Its sole downfall is the entry clerk. “He” can’t write worth a hoot.

Toby

Toby the cat met his maker last Monday at a little after 10:00AM. I think he was somewhere around sixteen years old. I was with him at the moment of his passing. You will be comforted to know that his passing was peaceful.

Toby is survived by his keepers, namely, the wife and I. He did not, so far as I know, have any siblings and I never did meet his parents. His house, two cars, and remainder of his worldly goods have been left in our care until such time as another cat takes up residence. Toby was insistent that the heir to his fortune be an orange short hair such as he was.

Toby liked eating, sleeping, and otherwise ordering his keepers about. He was devoted to his cat nip mouse, the likes of which remain in the house until the new owner arrives. There is also an assigned spot on the front room couch that he instructed not to be set upon by any human at any time. It is reserved in his memory and for the sole use of his heir.

He and I had a conversation not long before he passed. He was angry with me, as I recall, because neither I nor my wife had given him any food, as of late, that he considered worthy of his pallet. I tried to explain to him that he had diabetes and this new food was meant to treat that. Cats, as you may know, have zero knowledge of medicine so he took instant and violent opposition to my claim. He had the temerity to accuse me of changing his food to save money. When I defended myself he excused me from the room. I spent the rest of that day in my bedroom.

On the day of his passing, we had our last discussion, during which he dismissed my claim that he was sick in the strongest of terms. I made the observation that he had gone from a very healthy sixteen pounds to just over eight in a few weeks’ time. He responded that his weight loss had been the direct result of the lousy food we had given him. His final comment to me was to pee on my jacket.

Toby was a special part of our lives. We will miss him. Rest well, little buddy.