Down the Hall on Your Left

This site is a blog about what has been coasting through my consciousness lately. The things I post will be reflections that I see of the world around me. You may not agree with me or like what I say. In either case – you’ll get over it and I can live with it if it makes you unhappy. Please feel free to leave comments if you wish . All postings are: copyright 2014 – 2017

Archive for the category “Breakfast”

Do You Know The Muffin Man ?

THE TIMER IS COUNTING DOWN. Tension fills the air. The crowds are a-buzz with antici…….pation. I am on Muffin Watch.

It is Saturday morning at Gramma’s House. We have all had our tea so our hearts are once again beating.

My wife, the lovely and culinarily adept, Dawn, has put some muffins in the oven and handed me the responsibility of keeping watch on them. Everyone seems to be a bit nervous – no – they are scared. They are fearful that I will drop the ball on this and instead of hot steamy muffins dripping butter or jam we will have charcoal briquettes. I mean – really now! I am a college graduate.

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Let’s Hear It For Gluttony

THERE AIN’T NUTHIN’ LIKE A GOOD BURGER. It doesn’t have to be fancy (and probably shouldn’t be). It doesn’t have to be expensive. It sure doesn’t have to be in some high class restaurant. But it has to be prepared with gluttony in mind.

About a five minute drive or twenty minute crawl from home is a small neighborhood joint (that’s the only appropriate word) that does a burger right.

This particular watering hole has been around for about two million years. It is on its third or fourth owners now and doing well. It is probably also on the Hit List of the American Heart Association.

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A Walk On The Wild Side

I DID SOMETHING TODAY THAT I HAVE NEVER DONE BEFORE in all my 120 years. It was risky some people told me. A close friend pleaded with me not to even try to do it.

“You may not get out alive.”

Don’t you just love a little Hyperbole? At least I was hoping it was Hyperbole.

I decided to not take any unnecessary chances – so I took my wife, the lovely and ever so courageous, Dawn, with me.

On our first travel day, as we headed off to Georgia, we threw all caution to the wind and – brace yourself – had dinner at “The Waffle House.”

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Rooty, Tooty, Point And Shooty

NAME THREE ACTIVITIES THAT CAN BE VERY DANGEROUS:

1) Sky Diving

2) Space Travel

3) Breakfast

The first two are pretty obvious, but the third can be downright deadly.

About a month ago in the town of Decatur, Illinois the pancakes went flat at the local IHOP when some customers became a bit unruly and the Manager stepped in to make everything Fresh and Fruity once more.

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I’m Only Following Orders 

ADDITIONALLY HAPPY, ADDITIONALLY HAPPY, MODERATE JOY, MODERATE JOY.

A little piece of the jigsaw of my everyday life has fallen into place once more. About a month ago the Little Chinese restaurant in the neighborhood reopened and yesterday the Dollar Store right next to it has returned to active duty. Both places were hit by a pair of teenage arsonists last August. The little intestinal orifices were caught, but I was in Pot Sticker and Won Ton withdrawal for a long time. Now, praise to heaven above, both commercial spots are open again.

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On The Road Again

WHILE THE CIRCUS IN WASHINGTON CONTINUES I find that there are smaller side shows going on that I find both interesting and entertaining.

Example: While we were down in Texas, visiting family and avoiding nasty northern weather there was a great story on the TV about two Congressional Representatives from The Lone Star State who felt the need to get back to Washington and actually do their jobs. The problem for them achieving this end was that the entire northeast, including D.C. was getting blasted by a late winter snowstorm and airports in the area were closed down.

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Fiction Saturday Chapter 27- “And Pull The Hole In After You” – Continued

Fiction Saturday

Chapter Twenty-Seven

pull-mexican-borderBoth Laura and Davis slept late the next morning. Laura had planned on a day or two of rest before crossing into Mexico.  She knew that they might need all of their strength and all of their wits.  She hadn’t come this far just to get caught or killed due to some bonehead mistake brought on by exhaustion.

She also wanted to lay low for a while to—hopefully—confuse their pursuers.  If there was no scent to follow for a couple of days they might think that Laura and Davis had already crossed into Mexico and that was that.  Or they might think that the couple had pulled a fast one on them and was heading off in another direction altogether.  Laura knew that at least for now, time was their ally.

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Puppies And Kittens And Snakes, Oh, My!

schroedingers-cat-is-alive-deadLIFE IS A SERIES OF CHOICES. The choices that some people make mystify me. I’m not saying that people shouldn’t have the right to make their choices – I just don’t get the why and the how sometimes.

What I’m talking about today is People and their Pets.

Don’t get me wrong. I love animals. I love pets. I have been a pet owner many times and cried like a baby when they died. I’ve had dogs, cats, fish, and, for a short time, a parakeet. That bird and I just didn’t get along. I’d give him seeds and he’d throw them back at me. I got him to perch on my hand only once. He called me an obscene name, bit me, and went back into his cage, slamming the door. I gave him away to a friend who owned a cat.

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Throwback Thursday from January 2016

Throwback Thursday from January 2016

Cereal Killer On The Loose

Coupons 2TOO MUCH EDUCATION CAN BE A DANGEROUS THING.

I know a person with a graduate degree in finance from an Ivy League school. He can squeeze so much value out of a dime that it makes FDR get up and walk.

Now, I like saving money as much as the next guy – maybe a bit more even. I grew up poor with cardboard in my shoes to cover the holes. Even today, at an overripe old age, I still wince whenever I spend money. But, the fellow of whom I speak has elevated money-saving to an Art.

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We’re Doomed! What’s For Lunch?

happy-danceICE? WHAT ICE? I DON’T SEE NO ICE.

I take that back – I see ice in my coffee, but there is no ice on the roads or on my windshield. I’m not complaining mind you. In fact, I am doing my Happy Dance – big time.

For the last week the Weather Bunny on Channel Two has been predicting that Terre Haute (That’s French for “What’s that floating in the Wabash?”) was going to be hit with several days worth of ice storms, Sleet, Freezing Rain and NCAA Athletes. I don’t mind the athletes, but the ice, sleet and freezing rain I can do without.

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Throwback Thursday From January 2015

Throwback Thursday from January 2015

The Last Biscuit Protocol

last biscuit

 

BY AND LARGE we are a polite society. Of course, the exceptions to that are loud, obnoxious, and to be avoided at all costs – particularly around dinner time.

Whenever the family gathers, like at Christmastime, or other major events, we can have a considerable number around the table. And, for the most part, they are members of that polite society. But that politeness can lead to some interesting observations. Let me explain.

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Coffee And Cake At 7 AM

cake1ONE OF THE MORE INTERESTING PARTS OF THE HOLIDAY SEASON – maybe the most interesting part – is taking time to observe the children. Take a moment to watch a three year old when they first see all of the colorful and glittering lights.

I never knew eyes could be that big.

The look on the face of a Little One must be similar to when the first self-aware humans looked up at the night sky.

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Our Legal System At Work

donut1SOME PEOPLE NEED TO GET OUT MORE OFTEN, and others need to just stay home. I was scanning the newspaper the other day and saw a small item about a lawsuit underway in California.

There is a chap out there in the Golden State, a lawyer himself, who is suing Krispy Kreme Donuts. It seems that he became royally upset with the donut chain when he learned that his Chocolate Iced Raspberry Donut did not have any real Raspberries in it.

Oh, the humanity!

Wait until he learns that The Golden Arches are not really made of gold. He may just faint away.

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Fiction Saturday – And Pull The Hole In After You – Continued

Fiction Saturday 

Chapter 14 – Continued

pull-coffeeThey sat there looking down at the waiter’s tip, tucked under the edge of a plate, knowing that if they got up from the table now it would be over.  The ease and promise of the evening would simply sputter out like a cheap candle.

They sipped at their cooling coffee as the waiter paced, wishing that they would leave so he could get a fresh couple in place.

After a silence, Davis mentally conceded defeat and set down his empty cup.  Laura smiled and opened the door to the future.

“You know, Davis,” she began hesitantly, “I’ve had a really nice time tonight.  I’ve needed something like this.  It’s been a long time.”  She smiled at him and meant it, really meant it.

“I’ve enjoyed it too.  I don’t want it to end, but I know it has to.  Can we do it again?” he asked.  “Can we do this again?”  He was feeling surprisingly shy.

The ball was in her court.  If she said no she would be back where she started, in her apartment and alone.  If she said “Yes”…who knows where it might take her.  But it would take her someplace.  That much was sure.

“Yes, I’d like to do it again, but next time it’s my treat.  I insist.  Fair is fair.”

Davis nodded in agreement.  “If that’s what you want, I’m okay with that.  What about lunch tomorrow?

Laura thought for a moment before speaking.  “What about breakfast?  There is a place down on Chestnut.  They make great omelets and…”

Davis interrupted her.  “I know the place.  They have some tables out on the patio? Yes, very good, super French toast too.  Breakfast tomorrow?  What time?”

Almost laughing at herself for her forwardness, she asked him, “Is seven-thirty too early?  I like the early morning on the street.”

“Seven-thirty it is.”  He was hoping for something a little bit later.  He was going to be up late tonight, working, but he smiled and agreed to meet her there.  She insisted on that condition, yet again.  “First one there chooses the table,” he added.

Outside the restaurant the sun had set and the fog was sending the temperature down.  Laura shivered as soon as they stepped out onto the sidewalk.

“Brrr.  It’s getting cold.  Laura, you’re going to freeze to death.  Here, take my jacket.”

He started to remove his sports coat in a very traditional gesture, but Laura stopped him.

“Don’t worry, I’m fine,” she said, trying not to shiver.  “I live close by.  You just go on home now and I’ll see you tomorrow morning.  Okay?”

“Are you sure?  I can walk you home.  Remember, this is a big city with some very nasty people.”  He really was concerned. And, he wanted to spend more time with her as well.

“Thank you, but I’ll be fine, really.  That’s very sweet of you.”

She leaned into him and kissed him softly on the cheek,  gently squeezing his arm. “Good night, and thank you again for the best time I’ve had in quite a while.”

With that, Laura turned and walked around the corner into the shady darkness.  The fog swirled behind her and she was gone.

Davis stood there, not really knowing what to do or how to feel.  Should I follow her and see pull-fogwhere she lives?  No, that’s stupid and juvenile, and besides she’d kill me if she caught me.  I like her.  She’s smart, a good talker – once she relaxes, and I think she likes me.

He started walking home.  It was only seven blocks.  He’d be there before he got too chilled.  He didn’t need to catch a cold or anything.  He had too much work to get done.

“Seven-thirty a.m.  Why did I agree to that?”

Laura moved quickly through the shadowy side streets back to her apartment.  On her way home she stopped several times, just to check and make sure that he wasn’t following her.

Once she was inside, with the deadbolt locked, she took a deep breath as she kicked off her shoes and sat on the end of her bed.

I like him.  He’s smart, he doesn’t talk too much, and I think he likes me.  She saw her image in the mirror on the dresser.  She thought her reflection was giving her a stern glance.

“What are you looking at?” Laura said from the bed.  “It’s just breakfast.  It doesn’t mean anything.  Nothing is going to happen.  He’s just a nice guy.  I’m not going to hide anymore, so I might as well have some company.”

 

***

The next morning came very quickly for Davis.  He had stayed up working on his client’s accounts until a little after two a.m.  Spending the evening with Laura just pushed everything back.  It was worth it, he thought.  With a few hours of sleep and a shower he’d be fine.  Why didn’t I suggest nine a.m.?

The morning was bright and sunny.  The fog held just offshore, obscuring all but the tops of the Golden Gate Bridge towers.  It left most of the bay clear with whitecaps glistening and the commuter ferry boats bouncing in the choppy water.  The large blue and gold ferries came into The City from Marin county and the East Bay communities. A steady stream of southbound cars and buses crossed the bridge, emerging from the fog and spilling onto Lombard Street on their way to downtown.  Just another work day in paradise.

Laura was up early.  Her hair took little more than a towel dry and a quick fluff.  The new look, being more casual, required less.

Anyway, this was just breakfast.

She slipped on the denim jacket, donned the floppy hat, her sunglasses and, with a sense of guilty caution, tucked the small revolver into her bag.  She felt that Davis was not a danger, but, as even he said last night, “It’s a big city with some very nasty people.”  She had already met one of them.

Taking her time and enjoying the walk, she spotted a flock of the wild parrots again, and heard the deep bellow of the foghorns from out by the Golden Gate Bridge.  She felt at ease and was looking forward to the day.  She half regretted bringing the gun.

Arriving first at the cafe gave Laura, by prior agreement, the right to pick the table. Contrary to her last visit, she chose one of the tables on the small patio.  The edge of the umbrella above the tabletop fluttered in the early morning offshore breeze.

Ordering some orange juice, she sat there, lifting her face into the sunlight rising higher over the East Bay hills.  The warmth felt comforting.  She closed her eyes and let it wash over her.  “Oh, God, this is good,” she said out loud.

“It’s fresh squeezed for every order.”

Her eyes snapped open to see the smiling young waiter standing next to the table holding a ceramic coffee pot, steam rising from the curved spout.  “Would you like some coffee?” he asked.  “We get all of our coffee from a roastery in Mill Valley.”

When her heartbeat slowed, Laura smiled back at him and lifted her china cup.  As he poured, the aroma of the strong Kenyan blend made her mouth water.

“I’ll be having a friend join me shortly.  He would love some of this.”

“Then I’ll just leave the pot for you both,” he said, and wandered away to greet some new arrivals.

pull-cafeSipping the coffee, with just a splash of cream, Laura saw a clock on the cafe wall.  It said the time was seven twenty-seven a.m.

By her second cup it was almost ten of eight and Laura was beginning to think that she had been stood up, when she saw a frantic looking man half running down the sidewalk.  He hurried up to the short wrought iron fence that bordered the patio.

“I’m sorry…I’m sorry. I overslept and then I couldn’t find a clean pair of socks.”   She looked down and saw two bony ankles peeking out from under his chinos.  “I’m sorry.  I hope you didn’t think I forgot.”  He was panting.

“Take it easy, Davis,” she said, laughing at his discomposure.  “Come on in and have some coffee.”

Over Eggs Benedict and hot coffee Davis gave Laura a short primer on things to see and do in “The City.”  Some of the touristy things were worth seeing, others were not. There were some great little shops, cafes and vistas that must be explored and neighborhoods to experience.  He went on and on about the cultural glories of the Mission District and it’s “best food in town.”

She listened, enjoying his enthusiasm for his new hometown, only rarely interrupting him.

“It all sounds like so much fun, so much to see and do,” she said, “but what I wish you could really tell me is where I can buy some decent clothes.  I’m getting tired of wearing the same few things all the time.”

“Union Street,” he said, “is just a couple of short blocks from here.  Lots of nice shops.”  He pointed south toward the steep hills that set the Marina apart from the rest of The City.  “When we finish here we can stroll up there and you can check it out.  Okay?”

“Oh, that sounds good.  I really do need some new things and maybe I’ll buy you some new socks, you poor soul.”  She smiled and patted his hand as it held his coffee cup.

The waiter brought over their check and Laura handed him a crisp $100 bill.  She left him a good tip, thanking him for his attentive service.

“Now,” she said, “which way is Union Street again?”  She took his arm as they crossed Chestnut and headed south.

The shops on Union Street, a neighborhood called “Cow Hollow” from its rural origins, let Laura find the clothing and accessories that she needed to refill her closet.  It also lifted her spirits.  She didn’t feel so temporary any more.  Maybe things could work out for her here.

As they moved up the street, Davis found himself carrying shopping bags from several different stores, and loving it.  He didn’t know why, but he just did.

They stopped for a light lunch and then worked their way down the other side of the busy street, this time browsing in the overpriced art galleries and bookstores.

In the window of a real estate office, they ogled the pictures of the narrow Victorian row houses known as “Painted Ladies,” being offered for $1.7 million and a “fixer-upper” for a mere million.

“They have got to be kidding!” Laura exclaimed.

“Nope, and at that price, there’ll be a bidding war,” said Davis.  “Real estate here is insane.”

They were sitting in an ice cream parlor, enjoying a scoop of mango gelato when Laura noticed the time.  It was a little after three p.m.  They had spent the day – just spending the day together.

“Oh, Davis, I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to monopolize your whole day.”pull-union-street

“Don’t be sorry.  I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.  Even if these bags are getting a bit heavy,” he teased.

“Oh, again, I’m sorry.  I’ve used you like a slave.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Davis answered.  “I got breakfast, and a very nice new pair of Irish woolen socks out of it.  I feel fully compensated.”

As they left the ice cream parlor Laura looked at Davis struggling with the bags and said, “This has been a wonderful day and I have you to thank for that, but let’s catch a cab from here.”  With that, she stepped to the curb and let loose with an ear-splitting whistle. Two taxis came close to colliding trying to get to the curb first.

They got into the red and white “Veteran’s Cab,” the bags piled on their laps.

“Where to, folks?” asked the cabbie.

Laura spoke first.  “Where to?  I’ll drop you.”

She was not ready to let him know where she was living.  Realizing her strategy he leaned forward and told the driver, “You can drop me on Fillmore, down by the middle school.”  He was going to stop for a drink.  The cab pulled away from the curb, into traffic.

“Laura, thank you for today.  Dinner again tonight?”

She thought for a second and then countered with, “How about breakfast again tomorrow?  I’m exhausted.  Same place, same time tomorrow morning?”

Knowing that he couldn’t push her too hard, he agreed.

“Sure, only could we make a bit later, say, nine a.m.?”  He was going to be up most of the night making up for not getting anything done today.

“All right, 9 a.m., Sleepyhead.”  The taxi pulled over at the corner of Fillmore and Chestnut.

“Thanks again for a great day.”  He leaned toward her.  She met him halfway and they kissed.  This time her fingers rested on his cheek as she found his lips.

He got out of the cab and waved as it pulled away, executing an illegal u-turn and joined the flow of traffic on Chestnut Street.

He was not much of a drinker, never was, but he stopped at the little tavern a block up Fillmore.

Sitting on the stool, nursing a light beer, he went over the day, playing back the moments.  It was a good day with her, even though there were several things that struck him as–not odd, so much as mysterious.  When Laura paid for breakfast and for her purchases on Union Street, she paid in cash.  What woman doesn’t use credit cards?  And she paid for everything with hundred-dollar bills.  He saw the dress store clerks check them with their fraud pens, so he knew they weren’t counterfeit.  But who carries that many hundred-dollar bills with them to go out to breakfast, and why did she not want him to know where she lived?  She didn’t have a wedding ring on.  He had reflexively checked for that while they were both holding onto the ice cream in the Safeway.

If he was forced to list everything he knew about her, it would be a very short list, indeed.  He took out his pen and jotted on a bar napkin.

  1. She has a New York accent, although it sounds like she’s trying to hide it.
  2. She pays for everything in cash.
  3. She is afraid of someone named Dominic.

After that…nothing you could say for sure.

Oh, yes, he thought, and added another item to the list.

  1. He was falling for her.to be continued 1

Throwback Thursday – from November 2015

Throwback Thursday 3

Two Lobes, No Waiting

I’M FEELING IN A MAGNANIMOUS MOOD TODAY.

I feel like reachingFB_IMG_1444792041486
out to my fellow bipeds and seeing if I can be of help. So, I have declared that today is officially:

FREE BAD ADVICE DAY!

For today – and today only – I will be dispensing free bad advice on a wide range of topics.

Let the games begin!

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A Treatise on Lunch

giphyWHY I THINK OF SUCH THINGS I DO NOT KNOW. I certainly could find a better use for my remaining brain cells. There are days when I worry that my gray matter is slipping away by the cup full. Those days are usually Mondays.

The substance of my obsessive thoughts for today is: Lunch

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The Good, The Bad, And The Crispy

pizza1I LOVE PIZZA. CORRECTION: I LOVE MOST PIZZAS.

Pizza is a very simple dish (or pan). It is not difficult to make. I suspect that you could make a passable pizza in one of those old “Suzy Homemaker” or “Easy-Bake” ovens.

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Throwback Thursday – from August 2015

Throwback Thursday1

A New Shiny Object

Parking lotTERRE HAUTE (That’s French for “I hope there is enough parking.”) is a town that loves something – anything, that is new. If you want to create a stir in this town just open a new store or restaurant.

“Build it and mail out coupons and they will come.”

— Paraphrase from “Field of Dreams”

Maybe it is because for many years Terre Haute was just an exit off of I-70 – a place where nothing happened. That seemed to have started changing about twenty five years ago.  The local colleges began to make headlines as innovative and exciting places. New businesses began to come here and my wife, the lovely and inspiring, Dawn, moved here in the late 1980s and it was, “off to the races!”

(I showed up here about 13 years ago and that put the seal of approval on it.) OK….maybe I’m being a bit facetious there, but I still think I helped.

The town is expanding and new growth is bringing jobs and a sense of mild excitement to this old river town.

If you want to turn that mild excitement into something near to frenzy all you need to do is open a new store or place to eat.

Late last year a “Cheddars” restaurant opened up on the south side of town and you would think it was a branch office of Fatima the way the crowds mobbed the place. Nobody was getting cured and tossing away their crutches there, they were just getting some decent chow.

Last month a new “Five Guys Burgers” opened and if you drive past it yet today you would think that it was the site of a gold strike or the discovery of Jimmy Hoffa’s grave.

And now…

Yesterday was the unofficial official grand opening of a new Meijer mega-store with 195,000 square feet of retail delights. That is one honking big store. The “Official” official grand opening is in a couple of days.

I’ve watched them build it as I was on my way to the Wal-Mart that is squatted directly across the street. What a coincidence!

Can you say “Free Market Competition?” I knew you could.

Both of the stores are on the east side of Terre Haute. Up until less than ten years ago that stretch of road was farm land and an onramp to the Interstate. Now it has turned into the hottest property in the area with these two behemoth stores, a Holiday Inn and more construction going on than this town has seen in years.

(Scuttlebutt has it that one parcel of land has had a building permit issued to “Hooters.” That I find hard to believe. Cracker Barrel maybe, but Hooters? Naw.)

Some people don’t like it when these big stores open up. I have no problems with them at all. Increased competition does two main things:

  1. It makes existing stores improve the way they do business.
  2. It makes for lower prices.

New stores also bring jobs. This Meijer store means 270 new jobs according to the morning paper. There isn’t a small town anywhere that wouldn’t welcome that.

It will be a while until I go out there to investigate the new store. Right now the parking lot looks like the world’s largest used car dealership. I figure that after a month or so the glow will have worn off and the crowds will dissipate to a degree and move on to the next new shiny object. By then I’ll be in the market for something or other and I’ll give them the once over.

Until then I think I’ll go out to dinner at Cheddars. It doesn’t seem to be as crowded lately.

Leave The Gun, Take The Donuts

donut1WHEN I GET UP EVERY MORNING one of the first things I do is turn on the TV to catch the Weather and local news. The Weather helps me to decide on how to dress and the News either confirms or dispels my decision to get out of bed at all.

One day a week or so ago the lovely Dana Winklepleck (Anchorwoman) ran a story that grabbed my attention like a hungry pit bull on a pork chop.

Dateline: New Albany, Indiana.

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I Won’t Go There. You Can’t Make Me.

BB6TRYING TO UNRAVEL THINGS THAT ARE NOT OBVIOUS CAN BE A CHALLENGE AT 6:30 AM. They can be a challenge at 6:30 PM too, but the AM factor makes it harder by exponential degrees.

This morning, for example. The chain of events went like this –

  1. My eyes opened.
  2. I verified that I was alive and said a short prayer of thanks.
  3. Turned on TV to local morning news.
  4. They aired a story about a guy using his gas station as a B&B.
  5. I slapped my own face. I couldn’t have heard that right.

But I had.

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