Thursday, December 31, 2009

Gator Bowl Bound...GO NOLES!

Sometime later this afternoon I'll get in my wife's Exploder and head south on I-75, Jacksonville and Gator Bowl bound, to meet my son, his brother-in-law, and one of his college friends to see Florida State take on West Virginia to welcome in the New Year.

It's a bittersweet trip in some ways.  I've never been away from my sweetheart on New Year's Eve, not in five glorious years, thirty-one in all.  During my lifetime, I've spent December 31 in various ways:  drunk, playing to a bunch of drunks, on the road home, on my knees praying, asleep in my bed, cuddled with my wife.  But never in Jacksonville.

Carder (the son in question) purchased Gator Bowl tickets before he knew a) FSU would be playing in it, 2) before he knew it would be Bobby Bowden's last game, and D) knowing that if by some twist of fate FSU/Bobby weren't in the Gator Bowl, he could sell his tickets to some unsuspecting and unplanning soul.  And make money doing it.

Ticket prices after the teams were announced sold out in about 2 1/2 hours, then magically appeared on selling sites for approximately two gazillion percent higher than face value.  The whole time Carder was sitting on four tickets, a tailgate pass, food and drink coupons, etc.  Did I mention he was MY SON?

So, the bittersweet is overpowered by the sweet:

--I'll get to go to the last Seminole game coached by Bobby Bowden.  This means a lot, considering how unceremoniously Coach Bowden was dumped by the school.  Urban Meyer can have heartburn a stomach virus chest pains physical issues after the SEC championship, go to an Atlanta hospital, be released, resign, unresign, and take a leave of absence all in one weekend and Gator Nation still wants him.  Bobby can take a backwater program, build it to win multiple National Championships, have some bad seasons, and be asked to leave.  What'w wrong with this picture?

--I'll be at the game with my son.  There's nothing--nothing--more valuable to me than spending time with my family.  To be at a Bowl game just adds value.  We'll have a ball.

--I'll come home a winner.  Just by virtue of showing up on our doorstep.  As bad as I hate to leave, the best part of New Year's Day will be seeing my sweetheart's face light up when I walk in the door.

So....I can't wait until tomorrow.  Not just because I get better looking every day, but because of all the first day of 2010 offers.

The game starts at 1:00pm.  I'll be the guy in the stands with the FSU hat on.  You won't be able to miss me.  I'll be holding up the sign that reads, "I'll Be Home Soon, Honey!  GO NOLES!"

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Florida, A Great Place To Be...From

From the Lakeland Ledger, an article that makes me glad I live in the mountains of Northeast Georgia.

Now, I'm sure that weird things happen in Dahlonega and Lumpkin County and other places in Georgia.  I'm just as sure that we don't hold a candle to the weird stuff that happened in Florida this past year.

A congressman asked the House Speaker if she would shut down Congress so he and the representatives from Oklahoma could watch the Gators and Sooners play for the National Championship.  Speaker Pelosi said no.  In hindsight, considering all that Congress did to for America this year, that might not have been such a bad idea.

Somebody in the Ocala area got arrested for driving a lawnmower into a school bus while he was--how can I say this nicely--dog drunk.  Two more imbibers stole a freight train--A FREIGHT TRAIN--and made it seven miles before they were stopped.  A guy in Clearwater was arrested for driving drunk.  Authorities may never have noticed him if he hadn't been in a car with only three tires.

Two other Floridians, shining examples of character, were arrested for fighting over $3 in gas money, using a fish tank and a beer bottle as weapons.  No word on what happened to the fish.  Or the beer.

Again, in the Ocala area, a fellow was arrested for driving a motorcycle.  Naked.  And drunk.  At least in the mountains us rednecks know enough to keep our clothes on while drinking and driving.

Another example of the naked truth:  a 91-year-old man--completely nude-- held a 21-year-old intruder at gunpoint until the police arrived.  It's unknown where he was hiding the gun, but the visual is enough to make you queasy.

I lived in South Florida for twenty-four years.  I saw a lot of weird people, places, and things.  But it seems 2009 was the year of the perfect storm.  A weird, perfect storm.

A man broke into an 82-year-old man's home, waving a toy gun.  The homeowner waved a real gun.  And used it.  The would-be robber was 24 years old at the time of his death.  As that great theologian Neal Boortz would say,  DRT--Dead Right There.

A man in Jacksonville tried to steal a ferret by stuffing it in his pants.  Near Daytona, a 19-year-old man was arrested after he threw a taco at his mama when she unplugged his video game.  Elsewhere, a woman was arrested after she hit a man in the head with a raw steak when he refused a piece of bread.  One dad was arrested for slapping his daughter with a slice of pizza when she didn't turn off her computer.  In Port St. Lucie a husband rubbed a hamburger in his wife's face after she poured soda over it.

And don't complain about your calzone in West Palm Beach.  A store owner there pistol-whipped two guys who did.

In Brooksville, home of the state's mental institution, the city council voted to require city employees to wear underwear.  It isn't clear if the ordinance covers employees when they're off-duty.

In Fort Pierce a woman called 911 when a local McDonald's ran out of Chicken McNuggets.  Apparently a Filet-O-Fish just wouldn't do.  This made national news.

And last, but not least, a Lakeland junior-high student can no longer ride the bus after he farted to make other riders laugh and stunk up the bus.

And in my Dahlonega?  Last week deputies were called to Papa John's after an employee called to say another worker was hitting him on the arm and wouldn't stop even after he was asked to.  And he kept calling the employee a "big baby" when he complained.

We have a long way to go if we're going to catch Florida before 2010.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Environment's Going To The Dogs

A new report says that dogs are more dangerous to the environment than large SUVs.

The report states that medium-size dogs leave twice the carbon footprint of an SUV, even when you include the energy it takes to build it (the vehicle, not the dog).  Something about the size of "meat" (the report's term for dogs) makes owning a dog a luxury.

What about cats? you say.  What about them? I say back.  They leave a carbon footprint the size of a VW.  I can't stand cats and can barely tolerate VWs.  But I digress.

My  sweetheart will be glad to hear about this report.  She constantly worries that our Explorer isn't big enough is helping bring about the end of the world as we know it.  Somebody ought to write a song.

I traded an Explorer and bought her a triple-black Mustang GT convertible for our anniversary one year.  A few months later I traded the Mustang in and got her another Explorer.  The reason I had to trade the GT?  She told me it "just doesn't sit high enough".

So....if I had put a lift kit and off-road tires on the Mustang we'd still have it.

My company, Ford, sells a lot of Explorers and Expeditions.  They are big, but not as big as the Excursion we used to sell.  That beast, built on a 3/4 ton truck chassis, wouldn't fit in most folks' garage.

But women loved it.  As they did, and do, Explorers and Expeditions.  And, as it happens, dogs.

The Explorer saved my wife's life last summer.  She was rear-ended at a traffic signal by an idiot lady talking on her cell phone.  That lady was driving a Chrysler 300C.  The Explorer needed a tailgate replacement.  The Chrysler was totaled.

I think we'll keep our SUV.

My son and his wife are coming up for Christmas and will bring my grandson, Chief Atticus Berry, the golden retriever.  I guarantee that bruiser leaves a carbon footprint the size of a four-car garage.  With a little something on the ground to prove it.  But that dog loves me, which also proves he has excellent taste in people.

Think I'll take Chief for a ride in the Explorer Christmas Day and piss off a tree.

I'll Have Some Yuletide Guilt With My Egg Nog, Please

Let me say at the beginning that I had the best parents in the world.  Period.  Mama and Daddy always gave everything they had to make sure that their children were amply provided for, working hard and long to make ends meet.

Christmastime was always memorable at 26 Sims Street.  We'd pull the fake tree down out of the attic, put those big-bulbed strings of lights on it, place the ornaments, and cover it with foil "icicles".  It was killer, and usually placed so nobody in the room could see the television.

We'd all go to bed early on Christmas Eve.  Christmas morning was an exercise in patience and torture.  We couldn't open presents until Mama and/or Granny cooked breakfast, taking time to make--not pop open--biscuits and milk gravy, sausage, eggs, and grits (our house was decorated in Early Cracker Barrel).  Then--then--we'd have to clean the kitchen up before we moved on to the gifts.  Christmas Day was the one day of the year that Mama never had any problem getting help with the dishes.

Then, the glorious moment I'd been waiting for.  Daddy would play "Santa" and pass out gifts, one by one, to different family members.  I remember getting Hot Wheels, a Daisy BB gun, a bow and arrow set, slot cars, and trains.  Mama always made sure I got some cologne--even when I was small--so I'd smell like a "boy-dog" when I went to church.

After the wrapping paper was strewn about the living room and I was anxious to get outside and shoot something or set up my track inside the house and wreck something, Daddy would invariably serve up the last gift:  Guilt.

The family would be waist-deep in ribbon when Daddy would regale us with his tale of growing up in the North Georgia mountains.  They'd cut a tree off their land and decorate it with whatever they had.  Grandpa and Grandma Berry's house, as long as they lived, never had anything other than a fireplace for heating, a woodstove for cooking, no running water (only a well), and an outhouse for...well, you know.

Daddy would remind us that a "good" Christmas for them was one in which they got an apple, an orange, some hard candy, and some nuts.  I'd look around at all the stuff I got and think about Daddy or Mama at my age, just happy to have some fresh fruit for Christmas.

This year I'd just love to hear Daddy tell that Christmas story one more time.  And, as a grown man, I'd still feel guilty for all I have and take for granted while there are countless others just happy to have food for Christmas.

As fate would have it, this year at our house we'll have what Daddy and Mama called (before Dolly Parton) a "hard candy Christmas".  Circumstances out of my control determined how it would be.  But it's okay.  My family will all be together this year for the first time in years.  My sweet wife, all my children, Mama and Susie, and my granddog, Chief.

It's a good, good Christmas.

Maybe it would do us all some good to have a "mountain Christmas" one year.  And watch some little boys and girls play with toys mysteriously delivered for Christmas, while Mamas and Daddys didn't have to worry--at least for that day--what they'd feed their children and where they'd find it.

The Elvisity of Christmas

I've avoided this subject for a long time, but I think something needs to be said about Elvis' connection to Christmas.  Just consider the parallels:

The words "elvis" and "elves" are awfully similar.  Both contain the same number of letters.  Both have consonants and vowels.  Only one letter is different, and that's "i" which rhymes with "pie" and I like pecan pie.  Strange.

Santa lives at the North Pole in seclusion and you only see him once a year.  Elvis lives at Graceland and hasn't been seen since 1977.  Coincidence or conspiracy?

Santa likes to wear jumpsuits.  So does Elvis.  Weird.

Santa rides around in a custom-made sleigh with lots of bling.  Elvis rode around in pink and purple Cadillacs which were also custom-made.  Wow.

Christmas is December 25.  Elvis's birthday is January 8.  Both are in months of the year, and both are on a day in that month.  Eerie.

Elvis sings "Santa Claus Is Back In Town" as though he's singing about himself being Santa.  So far, there's no conclusive proof to refute this theory that Santa and Elvis are the same person.  Unbelievable.

Elvis loved Christmas.  Santa loves Christmas.

The connection is obvious.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Apparently, All Baptists Are Deaf

I was raised in a Southern Baptist church, went to a (then) Georgia Baptist university, and pastored a few Baptist churches.

I work with people who are Methodists, Charismatic, Baptist, and "no preference".

But I sincerely believe all Baptists are deaf.

I had a Baptist pastor in here a couple of weeks ago, a gentleman who had purchased a vehicle from me before. I relate well to pastors, seeing how I was one. It's a blessing. And a curse.

But what I noticed most about this man was his incessant reply to my every statement with a "huh?".

I told him the car's name. "Huh?"

I gave him the price. "Huh?"

I showed him the payments. "Huh?"

After he signed the paperwork my finance manager asked me if the pastor was hard of hearing. I couldn't resist.


I then told him I didn't think the good Doctor (he insisted on being called by the title) was deaf, just Baptist. He replied by telling me that if this guy was an example of being a Christian, he'd pass. Of course.

There's a marked difference between hearing and listening. Some people do one and not the other. Some people do neither. I've watched with dismay as the Baptist faith I grew up with has been disrespected, divided, and dismantled. All because folks won't listen to each other. The people in charge put the "mental" in "fundamental". I'm siding with the finance manager.

This morning one of this pastor's church members (a dealership employee) asked me a question. I gave the answer, to which she replied, "What?"

Maybe not all Baptists are deaf. Just the ones from this particular church.

But I don't think so.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

How To Dispose Of Your Christmas Tree. And Your House.

As a public service, and because I care, plan ahead for disposing of your tree after the holidays.

Kinda redefines "Honey, can you get rid of the tree?"

RIP, Oral Roberts

Oral Roberts died this week.  I'll remember him for at least two reasons:  1)  The ORU basketball team and B)  all the jokes about him and his ministry.  Remember, I grew up in the sixties when Oral was in his heyday.

Why can't you play an Oral Roberts record?  The hole in the middle keeps healing up.

The ORU Men's basketball team has been a force to reckon with for years, spoilers or champions all the way.  Probably because they couldn't stay sick or hurt.

He got a lot of press, most of it bad, for claiming that God would "call me home" if he didn't get the $8 million he needed to keep the school going.  He got the money from a gambler in Florida, and folks howled.  He simply converted filthy lucre to heavenly cash.  Preachers do it every Sunday.

My daughter's not very fond of ORU.  To her, the school stole her school's president, Mark Rutland.  He turned Southeastern (Em's school) around and looks like he'll do the same for ORU.

Oral said he hated the term "faith healer".  He preferred to say he had the hands but God did the healing.  I see this statement on a chiropractor's sign near home almost every day.

Love him or hate him, Oral Roberts did a lot of good for a lot of people, all the while using someone else's money.  Kind of like the government in reverse.

What you may not know:   John Lennon wrote Oral Roberts in 1972 asking forgiveness for saying that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus.  I have a feeling that Oral forgave him.  If only we were that gracious.  We harbor unforgiveness for generations, and beyond the grave, in the South.

My Grannie Free liked Oral up until he started, in her terms, "beggin' fer money".  Tents in those days cost a lot, I guess.

He was 91 years old when he passed away.  Reminded me of my Grandpa Berry, who used to tell me he wanted to live until he was 95, then die by being shot to death by a jealous husband.

Being shot to death by a jealous husband could probably happen to a lot of preachers.

Thank God, Oral died of pneumonia.

UPDATE:  No...he's still dead.  Just a friend of mine who felt compelled to send this along:   In my public speaking class at (school redacted), some guy whose name I don't remember was giving a speech on televangelists, during which he said, and I'm not making this up, and it's the only part of the speech that I remember:  "After about 30 minutes of Oral you'll fall asleep."  

I'm waiting for the Michael Scott response.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Adventures In Graduating

Some observations I made as my last child graduated from college last weekend:

--I found out where our tax dollars are being wasted spent.  On every mile of Interstates 75, 4, and 95 throughout South Georgia and Florida.  The DOT is alive and well and ruining trips for people from across America.  These are the people I want handling my healthcare.

--I still love dogs.  Carder and Megs have a golden retriever, Chief Atticus Berry, who loves me.  That dog has great taste in people.

--Graduation parties are lively affairs.  The house was filled with testosterone and estrogen.  My boys and I brought the testosterone from the Georgia hills.  Emily's emo boy friends from school brought the estrogen.  It was a one-sided contest.  The boys and I won.

--You can't mix college students, alcohol, and a guitar without there being some serious one-upmanship.  Most of the singing sounded like somebody killing a cat.  Except when I sang Elvis.  That was righteous.

--Never--NEVER--allow your wife to wear silk pajamas when your son has put silk sheets on the bed you're sleeping in.  She slid halfway to the front door before I could rope her and drag her back.

--When your daughter tells you to be at the graduation venue at 9:00am for a 10:00am ceremony she knows that of which she speaks.  We got there at 9:20 and almost didn't get a seat.  Miraculously we ended up on the third row from the front, the best seats in the house.  As expensive as college was, we should have had a row with our name on it.  From which I would have given the commencement speech.  Which would have been profound.  And short.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.

--Commencement speakers haven't changed over the years.  1)  They're normally around 150 years old and B)  they usually say one humorous thing at the beginning of their speech about how little time they'll take speaking so we can move on to the most important event, graduation.  Ours was, and did.  Forty-five minutes later, after eight lists of seven character traits that will prepare two hundred and forty-eight graduates to face the next five years of their lives, he mercifully finished.  (My favorite commencement speaker was Dean Rusk, former Secretary of State under JFK and then-Dean of the UGA Law School, who spoke at my college graduation.  He said he was going to speak seven minutes and sit down, and we could time him.  I did.  He did.  I love that man.)

--Mamas cry at graduations.  Jennie did, before, during, and after.  I managed to miss most of the crying because...

--I am not the one to assign picture-taking to.  I got a blurry picture of Emily getting her diploma, another blurry one of her coming down the stairs at the edge of the stage, and one of something that looked like Batman's cape flying as she walked back to her seat.  While I missed her graduating.  Entirely.  Of course the boys thought this was funny, at which point I whipped around and got a picture of them laughing at me.  It came out perfect.

--I still clean up well when I have to.  Pictures don't lie.  But my sweetheart, well...let's just say I out-married myself initially and it's proven to me every time we get our picture made together.

--Visiting with in-laws works out much better when you can keep your Georgia Bulldog-loving, Alabama Crimson Tide-spouting mouth shut in a room full of Gators.  Except for a few well-timed barbs about who won the SEC Championship.  And the Heisman Trophy, which, in God's providential wisdom, happened to fall on the same night I was with my Gator-shirt wearing in-laws.  I just love it when a plan comes together.  Saturday night was one of those times.

--The longest part of the trip is coming home.  There was rain in Florida (go figure), along with every Drivers' License reject from the entire country.  There was fog in south Georgia, which worsened around Macon, and was unbearable the closer I got to Dahlonega.  Add to the weather that one driver who speeds up, passes you, slows down, gets behind you with his brights on, then repeats the process.  I finally pushed him off the exit to Adel, which is close to Hell, because you can see Sparks from there.  (Look it up.)  I figured he was close to home.

So, we're home now.  Emily's graduated and looking for a job.  It was a long haul, but worth it.

Let the student loans begin.

Monday, December 7, 2009

My Favorite Christmas Songs. Ever.

After a previous post I wanted to give equal time to my prejudiced list of the best Christmas songs.  There are so many awful ones the list goes on forever, and so few you can name them on your fingers.  The list is totally subjective, and I'm skipping the traditional carols, since they're a given.  Get on your sleigh and let's go.

"Christmas In Dixie", Alabama.  The best line in the entire song:  "and maybe down in Memphis, Graceland's up in lights"...Christmas anywhere else just ain't the same.

"Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas", James Taylor.  It took him forty years to do a Christmas album, and this song is the best of the bunch.

"Little Saint Nick", The Beach Boys.  Who'da thunk the Beach Boys, in their heyday, would have a holiday hit that sounded just like the rest of their songs?  Their banker, that's who.  But I like it.

"Jingle Bell Rock", Brenda Lee.  A lot of artists have covered this one, but Little Brenda Lee has the lock on it.  With those deep lyrics, it must have taken minutes to write.  A classic.

"Please Come Home For Christmas", Eagles.  I always thought, with a few modifications, this would make a great Christmas song for church use.  Apparently grief, sorrow, and pain don't contribute to the joy of the season.  Who knew?

"Same Old Lang Syne", Dan Fogelberg.  Okay, the only thing this song has to do with Christmas is the first line.  But I'm a sucker for sad songs, and this one has sadness running over.  Excuse me while I weep.

"Santa Claus Is Back In Town", Elvis Presley.  You need to hear this song.  But you can't find it online, so let me share some lyrics:  "Got no sleigh or reindeer, No pack on my back, You'll see me coming, In a big black Cadillac".  Yeah, baby.  I'll take some blues with my eggnog.

"Blue Christmas", Elvis Presley.  Down at the end of Lonely Street in the lobby of Heartbreak Hotel, there's a tree all decked out in blue lights.  Righteous.

Merry Christmas, Baby.  From Graceland to your house.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Emily Brooke Berry

She was born on a Friday afternoon in Sebastian, Florida.  Her oldest brother was smitten with her from the start.  Her next-oldest brother pouted as he held her, afraid of losing his position in the family pecking-order, but quickly fell in love with her too.  As we all did.  As everyone who meets her does.

I watched her dance and act, heard her sing and play drums, and all she wanted for Christmas when she was young was a cash register.  That should have been a sign of things to come, but at the time I just thought it was cute.

She played volleyball, and her serve was unstoppable.  She painted and organized and wrote me notes.  She was the only one of my children to love cars like her Daddy did.  She'd get up at five a.m. on the Friday after Thanksgiving every year, not to go shopping with her mama but to go to Daytona with me.  To the Turkey Trot car show.  She gravitated to the engine displays because she loved the noise.

Every day I loved her more and more.

When I hurt her mama, through tears of pain, she still loved me.  I was/am her Papi and she was/is my Emmie-Bug.

I've heard parents say "I love all my children the same".  To which I reply, in the words of that great theologian Roy D. Mercer, "Bull-butter".

Not to get too far off-track here, but does God love us all the same way?  I don't think so.  His love is there for everyone, but it's applied differently.  That's how I love Emily.  And John.  And Carder.  Same love, different application.

When Em was three or four, the boys came to me saying they were being treated unfairly and wanted to be treated the same as their little sister.  Seizing the teachable moment, I replied that if they wanted to wear girls' clothes and be treated like one, I'd be glad to oblige.  The light came on for Carder first and he backed out.  Realizing his flank was exposed, John gave up too.

They knew she was my Princess, and she'd be treated like one.

She's sensitive and stubborn, spiritual and judgmental, passionate and reserved.  She has her mama's heart and her daddy's hardness.  She raises her hands when she worships and prays like Elijah.  I'm pretty sure she has an inside track with the Lord, so I try to stay on her good side. 

She lets few people in, but once you're in, to her you're in for life.  She's a great friend, but you don't want to make her mad.  You really don't want to make her mad.

She loves Elvis and Michael Buble, Sinatra and Lynyrd Skynyrd.  She watches Lifetime movies with her mama and westerns with me.

She wants to get married but she refuses to settle for just any old boy.  She'll see or hear something and say, "I want to have that in my wedding."  I can add up the cost at any time and know I'll be in line for a bailout.  But she's worth it.

She knows her future husband will have to run the Berry gauntlet, so she's careful about who she brings home.  I haven't met anyone yet who's good enough for her.

She's a mystery wrapped in an enigma covered by a question.  I wouldn't have it any other way.

I am, and always have been, proud to call her my daughter.  Some guys say "she'll always be my little girl".  Emily is nobody's "little girl".  But she is my baby.  

And on Saturday, December 12, she will graduate from Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida.  Didn't she just enter first grade?

My tiny dancer is grown up now.  Her mama and I will be there to see her get that expensive piece of paper.  Mama will cry.  I'll be strong, I'm sure.  And we'll all be proud of what she's done, but prouder of who she is.

Another chapter in her life will begin.  And another in mine will end.

Excuse me while I go glue my breaking heart back together.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

More Reasons to Celebrate in December

I was reading an article in Mental Floss about "other" holidays observed in December, so I did some research and found these verifiable observable December days:

National Fritters Day (December 2)--my Grandma Berry made the best fried apple pies (fritters) in.  The.  World.  You could put one of her fried pies on top of your head and your tongue would fly up and slap your brains out.  I'm all over celebrating this one.

Wear Brown Shoes Day (December 4), followed by Put On Your Own Shoes Day (December 6).  Is it just me or do these two need to swap days?

Saint Nicholas' Day (December 6)--for the patron saint of pawnbrokers (look it up).  The fat man in the red coat has another day besides Christmas?  What's up with that?

National Cotton Candy Day (December7)--known otherwise as "All Dentists' Eve".

National Brownie Day (December 8)--gooey chocolate with walnuts, please.

Take It In The Ear Day (December 8)--nobody knows much about this holiday.  I think it was another Hallmark ploy, planned in advance of their singing greeting cards.  I've received singing cards featuring Elvis, and Hoops and Yoyo.  For the record, the puppets outscore the King in the audio card competition.

National Pastry Day (December 9)--I've had a cinnamon roll craving since I had surgery back in March.  I want Cinnabon, hot from the oven and slathered in icing.  The closest location to me is 34 miles away.  Apparently I'll keep wanting.

Poinsettia Day (December 12)--a long time ago I heard poinsettias were poisonous.  Then I found out the average person would have to eat between 500-700 poinsettia leaves to die.  I also heard while we lived in Florida that oleander plants were poisonous.   Then I found out that you'd have to smoke an entire tree to die.  One resource says poinsettias should be classified as "toxic" and not "poison".  Hmm...okay.

National Ice Cream Day (December 13)--notice how many of these days have to do with food?  And not the kind that's "good for you", just the kind that's good.  It's either got to be a Dairy Queen Heath Bar Blizzard or Moose Tracks.  In large quantities.  While not in order, let's get the rest of the "glutton days" out of the way:
  • National Lemon Cupcake Day (December 15)
  • National Chocolate Covered Anything Day (December 16)
  • National Maple Syrup Day (December 17)
  • Bake Cookies Day (December 18)
  • National Roast Suckling Pig Day (December 18)
December 24 is not only Christmas Eve.  It's also National Chocolate Day and National Egg Nog Day.  Two days after Christmas you can celebrate National Fruitcake Day.  Then you can spend the rest of the month observing Throwing Up Week.

Forefathers' Day (December 21)--in case you don't know, this is the day that the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock.  After planting a cross and the flag of Great Britain in the sand they started an automobile company which went bankrupt twice and was rescued by the Indians.  There were probably other Mayflower-type ships that tried to land at Plymouth Rock but couldn't find a parking place.  We already have Thanksgiving.  I'm not sure I could take a double-dose of Pilgrims within one month.

National Flashlight Day (December 21)--we're inviting everyone over for this holiday.  Bring your own batteries.

Festivus Day (December 23)--I really like two things about this holiday.  During the holiday meal "The Airing Of Grievances" allows you to go around and tell everyone at the table how much they've disappointed you in the last year.  After you've eaten, "Feats Of Strength" pits someone at the table against the host.  Festivus only ends if and when the host is pinned.  Kind of like "Jon and Kate" meets "WWE".

Makes you long for New Year's Eve, doesn't it?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Thank You For Your Concern

Every day--and I do mean every day--I get at least one email intended to "help" me, usually forwarded to me by some well-meaning or bored friend.  Mama sent me this one today, so I'm passing it on to you.

I just want to thank all of you for your educational e-mails over the past year.  I am totally screwed up now and have little chance of recovery.

I no longer open a public bathroom door without using a paper towel or have them put lemon slices in my ice water without worrying about the bacteria on the lemon peel.

I can't use the remote in a hotel room
because I don't know what the last person was doing while flipping through the adult movie channels.

I can't sit down on the hotel bedspread because I can only imagine what has happened on it since it was last washed.

I have trouble shaking hands
with someone who has been driving because the number one pastime while driving alone is picking one's nose (although texting may be taking the number one spot). 

Eating a little snack sends me on a guilt trip because I can only imagine how many gallons of trans-fats I have consumed over the years.
I can't touch any woman's purse for fear she has placed it on the floor of a public bathroom.

I must send my special thanks
to whoever sent me the one about poop in the glue on envelopes because I now have to use a wet sponge with every envelope that needs sealing.

Also, now I have to scrub the top of every can I open for the same reason.

I no longer have any savings because I gave it to a sick girl who is about to die in the hospital for the 1,387,258th time.
I no longer have any money at all,
but that will change once I receive the $15,000 that Bill Gates/Microsoft and AOL are sending me for participating in their special e-mail program.
I no longer worry about my soul
because I have 363,214 angels looking out for me, and St. Theresa's Novena has granted my every wish.

I no longer eat KFC because their chickens are actually horrible mutant freaks with no eyes or feathers.  I no longer use cancer-causing deodorants even though I smell like a water buffalo on a hot day.
Thanks to you
I have learned that my prayers only get answered if I forward an e-mail to seven of my friends and make a wish within five minutes.

Because of your concern, I no longer drink Coca-Cola because it can remove toilet stains.

I no longer can buy gasoline without taking someone along to watch the car so a serial killer won't crawl in my back seat when I'm pumping gas.

I no longer drink Pepsi or Dr. Pepper since the people who make these products are atheists who refuse to put "Under God" on their cans.

I no longer use Saran Wrap in the microwave because it causes cancer.

And thanks for letting me know I can't boil a cup of water in the microwave anymore because it will blow up in my face, disfiguring me for life.
I no longer check the coin return on pay phones
because I could be pricked with a needle infected with some deadly disease.
I no longer go to shopping malls
because someone will drug me with a perfume sample and rob me.
I no longer accept packages from UPS or FedEx
since they are actually Al-Qaeda in disguise.
I no longer shop at Target
since they are French and don't support our American troops or the Salvation Army.
I no longer answer the phone
because someone will ask me to dial a number for which I will get a phone bill with calls to Jamaica or Uganda or Singapore or Uzbekistan.

And, thanks to your great advice I can't ever pick up a five-dollar bill dropped in the parking lot because it probably was placed there by a molester waiting underneath my car to grab my leg.
I can no longer drive my car
because I can't buy gas from certain oil companies!

I can't do any gardening because I'm afraid I'll get bitten by a brown recluse spider and my hand will fall off.

So....if you're one of those who send me these types of emails, don't bother.  Otherwise, keep those emails coming.  I promise I'll forward them within five minutes to my seven best friends.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

When A Tiger's Just An Alley Cat

I lived in Florida for two glorious years, twenty-four in all.  During that time I had friends and customers who were troopers with the Florida Highway Patrol.

I learned early in life to have great respect for law enforcement personnel.   My hometown's Chief of Police was Tubby Usery.  His lone patrolman was Opie Pitts.  As I've said before, I grew up in Mayberry, only called by a different name.  But one thing I knew, and knew well:  you don't mess around with the po-lice.

Unless you live in Florida.  In a gated community (another name for "Keeping-The- Undesirables-Out-Land") .  And your name is Tiger.

Did I mention I knew some FHP Troopers?  And that I learned not to mess with them?

As Daddy used to say, "If that was me, they'd have put me under the jail."

Because Tiger Woods lives in a gated community the FHP or the Orange County Sheriff's Office or the Orlando Police have no jurisdiction in traffic incidents unless and until they're called in by Property Management or a resident.  As fate would have it, a neighbor called 911 when they saw Tiger lying in the street as his wife was wailing on him with a seven-iron trying to tend to  his wounds.

I saw pictures of the Escalade after the fact.  Apparently Cadillac doesn't build a fire-hydrant/pine tree-proof SUV, since the front of the vehicle was bashed in.  And, I have a reasonable question:  wouldn't you know if you hit a fire hydrant that you should avoid the tree in your neighbor's yard?

I'm not making fun here.  I'm just an inquiring mind that wants to know.

Initial reports said that Mrs. Tiger (known affectionately as "The Panther") took a Big Bertha and knocked out a rear window so she could free her husband.  Then she knocked out another window on the side.  And another.

UPDATE (I've never been able to do that before just now):  The FHP is going to cite Tiger Woods for reckless driving and consider the case closed.  No word on any charges for his wife's driving.  But then she was using a golf club and not a steering wheel.

Daddy was right.