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 – 2018

Archive for the category “Marriage”

Can I Offer Some Advice?

 

A few days ago I bumped into something online that snapped me back to my youth. Well, not my youth specifically, I never read the “Ladies Magazines,” but my mother did.

In 1958 McCall’s Magazine, which billed itself as “The Magazine of Togetherness,” published an article that if printed today would have activists marching in the street and people being fired at the magazine.

“129 Ways to get a Husband”

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Throwback Thursday From July 2015 – “18 For Lunch”

Throwback Thursday From July 2015 – “18 For Lunch”

18 For Lunch

phone booth crowdedIT IS VERY DIFFICULT TO CARRY ON A CONVERSATION over lunch when there are 18 people huddled around the table. It can be hard enough when there are only two people, but the additional sixteen can really throw a monkey wrench into the process.

It ends up sounding something like this:

“So, how have you…seen my green beans, they…flew in last Thursday on…your Aunt Martha just before she…slid into third base.”

Eighteen was the headcount at our Family lunch down in Texas last week. Six orders of Catfish, Four Chicken Fried Steaks, Two Fried Shrimp, Five Fried chicken and one Salad Bar.

Somebody had to keep the cholesterol count down.

When you get together with the family it can be a real crowd and, while they are a lovely bunch, I grew up in a different set of familial circumstances.

My father was an only child and his father was an only child as well. That fact right there seriously cut into my count of cousins, aunts and uncles. I was one of two children and my brother had two daughters.

The Norman Rockwell picture around the Thanksgiving table is turning into a snapshot at the lunch counter.

On my mother’s side of the family they were more fertile. She had three sisters and one brother who made it to adulthood. My Uncle Tony was a great guy who was never married except to his job selling cold cuts at the Central Market and golf. Aunt Nellie was married to Uncle Paul and I think one of the conditions of the Potsdam Conference was that they never have children.

For a next generation on that side of the family we must turn to Aunt Annette and Aunt Anne. They both had two kids each. Of those four only one – Cousin Florence got into the baby production game. She had, if I recall, five or six kids. The other three cousins had a grand of one and even that is more or less an apocryphal child. Nobody has seen that cousin for thirty years, so there is no concrete proof like fingerprints, wanted posters or an appearance on “America’s Most Wanted.

You put all of this together, and the knowledge that those kids are scattered from California, to Ohio, to the Outer Banks of North Carolina and you can see that getting 18 around the table for lunch would necessitate hiring some extras to sit in for dessert.

So, you can see why I relish the blessing of squeezing around the table with them. I have married into this family that has accepted me and welcomed me – even though I see them sneak a peek at me every so often with that look that whispers, “There’s something funny about that boy”

By marrying into the family I have become a Texan-in-law and I think that has some kind of real legal status. It’s not on my Driver’s License or anything, but I know that it does entitle me to swagger on certain holidays. Of course, with my limp and galumphing stride, any swagger I have could easily be mistaken for an attempt to walk while under the influence.

 

Throwback Thursday from Dec. 2015 “$65K A Month Should Be Enough”

melanie 1

OVER COFFEE I SCANNED THE CELEBRITY NEWS to see if Ihad been nominated for something – nothing again this year.

Failing to score any Oscar or Golden Globe nominations I shifted my focus over to the “Splitsville” column where I learned that Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas are divorcing. Que Lastima!

In La-La Land this Splitsville stuff is a big money world.

With the Miss Melanie and “Zorro” Banderas rupture the dollar amounts got my attention. It seems that Antonio agreed to a settlement whereby Melanie gets 65K PER MONTH for living expenses.

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It Has Been A Slice

pizza1WHO SAYS WE DON’T KNOW HOW TO BE SOCIABLE? We can be just as sociable as any other group of semi-civilized men who spend their Golden Years discussing the important issues of the day: Which was better – “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” or “The Bionic Woman?”

The “Usual Suspects” as I call them, or my “Play Group” as my wife, the lovely and sarcastically fine tuned, Dawn, calls them, hold our meetings in the Chapel at St. Arbucks almost every morning over coffee.

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Not Just Another Day

val1IN CASE YOU HAVE BEEN LIVING IN A CAVE for the last six weeks or so let me be the one to tell you – Today is Valentine’s Day. And you time is running out if you wish to live.

Valentine’s Day is a holiday dedicated to Love, Candy, and Greeting Cards. There is nothing else like it. Christmas may dominate when it comes to the cards and Halloween has a lock on the candy thing, but no other day – not even Opening Day of Baseball Season – can do Love like Valentine’s Day.

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

Fiction Saturday – continued

pull-dons-mansionChapter 15

The homes in the Hamptons are as close as one can find anyplace in this country to real palaces.  Size and ostentation were the bywords when most of the so-called “cottages” were built in the late nineteenth century.

The men sat in two soft, green leather wing chairs, facing each other.  Don Giani’s cottage was absurdly large and provided him with the aura of old money that he felt painted him with respectability.

The room was filled with too much of everything.  The Don had wealth, but not the taste to know when enough was enough.  Tables were crowded with small mementos and photos.  He kept an antique barber chair in one corner, ostensibly to remind him of his humble roots.  The reality was that he liked to sit in it during meetings.  It made him feel like a king on his throne.  There were at least a dozen pictures of his daughter at various ages.  She was his prized possession.

“Dominic, where is my daughter?  Have you found her yet?”

“Honest, Don Giani, I don’t know where she is—yet.  I traced her to Boston, but after that, nothing.  Do you think she might have gone up to Montreal, you know, to visit her people up there?”

“No.  Let me tell you something, Dominic.  I’m losing my patience with you.  I’ve got my own people out looking for her, too.  I already know about her car in Boston and the airline tickets.  She’s not in Montreal, or Miami.  I would have heard and she’d be back home by now.

“You have your people looking – I have mine,” continued the Don, his patience waning.  “I don’t care who finds her first, but if I find her first you are going to pay for my expenses on this.  I put the blame for all of this mess on your head.  So, you are going to pay for it.”

Dominic was starting to sweat.  Under his suit jacket, he could feel his shirt sticking to his back.

“Sir, I hear where you’re coming from, but since I don’t actually know why she took off, it may have nothing to do with me.  She may have just gone off on a vacation.  So, I don’t think, necessarily, therefore, and ergo, that I should have to pay for something you are choosing to do on your own.  I love her with all my heart and I’m scared for her.  I don’t know where she is and I want her home, that’s all.  Can’t you see this from my point of view?”

“Your point of view?  In this, you don’t have a point of view until I tell you to have a point of view.

“My daughter fell in love with you for some reason and wanted to marry you.  I wasn’t happy with her choice.  I always thought you were never going to amount to anything beyond a two-bit grift.  I was right.”

“I done all right,” protested Dominic.

“Don’t interrupt me.  You ‘done all right’ you say?  The only reason you’ve got more than two pair of pants to your name is because of me.  I give you whatever you have.  I have to order other people to throw some crumbs your way.  I protect your sorry ass. Without me watching over you, Beverly would already be a widow.  Dominic, you are nothing but a slow-witted, violent fool.”

Dominic’s fear was turning into a barely concealed rage.  His earlier decision to kill Don Giani, after first taking care of his wife, was feeling more and more like a very good idea.  But for now, he had to sit and take the insults.

“Don Giani, I thank you for whatever help you have given me over the years, and I’m truly grateful.  I really am, but I came here to talk with you about Beverly.  I didn’t come here to be insulted and called names.”

With a quickness that belied his years, Don Giani Montini reached out and slapped his son-in-law hard across the face.  The sound cracked like a small caliber gun and Dominic’s cheek reddened immediately.  Dominic restrained his reflex to return the blow, to beat his father-in-law to death.

“You useless little piece of trash,” the Don said softly.  “Get out of my house and don’t come back without my daughter.”  He looked at Dominic like he was something he had stepped in.  “I ought to just kill you myself, right here, right now, but you are still, much to my disgust, family.”

Dominic stood up, adjusted his lapels, composing himself, and headed toward the door.  He was quiet.  He didn’t want to say anything more.  He would get his satisfaction from seeing Don Giani’s eyes staring up at him from the gutter, dead.

“Dominic, remember this.  If you have harmed my child you will beg me to let you die.”  He lowered his head and closed his eyes.  A major headache was starting to gather.

As he opened the door, Dominic turned and faced Don Giani.  It was time to twist the knife a little.  He couldn’t resist the urge.pull-beverly-as-child-copy

“Don Giani?”  When the older man looked up, Dominic reached out to the small table by the door and picked up a framed photograph of Beverly as a child.  With his ice cold eyes fixed on his father-in-law, Dominic kissed the image of Beverly’s face and then tossed the picture to the carpet.  He smiled as he walked out and closed the door quietly behind him.

Don Giani watched the door close and made a decision.

noir-man-at-big-windows

 

A Postponement

burns

“The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft a-gley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promised joy.”

— Robert Burns

Translated into modern American English:

“Let’s take a look at Plan B.”

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Throwback Thursday from October 2015

Throwback Thursday 2Throwback Thursday from October 2015

Love Among The Lattes

Barista weddingIT’S NOT OFTEN that you can have an, “Awwwww,” moment at St. Arbucks. Most of the time I have “Oh, for crying out loud,” moments there.

But not yesterday.  It was, “Awwwww,” all around.

Two members of the St. Arbucks Corp of Baristas were on the scene to make an announcement – they were going to be getting married!

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

Fiction Saturday – Continued

Chapter Four

 

pull patioOn a pastel-colored sun porch that would have been more at home in Boca Raton than in the New York City suburbs sat an old man who, though frail, still comfortably carried an air of command.  Shrunken from time and disease, he was almost lost in the oversized peacock chair.  A glass of iced tea nestled in his left hand.  He cradled it as if it were as delicate as a swallow’s egg.  His attention was focused, not on the man who was talking to him, but on the game table in front of his chair.

Four young and muscular men lounged about on the porch, getting some sun and seeing to the old man’s needs and wishes.  They respected his position and feared his power.

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

Fiction Saturday – Continued – Chapter Three

 

pull target The last thing she thought she would be doing on her cross-country vanishing act would be this–pushing a shopping cart up and down the aisles of a Target store in Indiana.  The waitress at the truck stop had scared her enough to listen.

“If you want to survive you need to blend in with your surroundings, not just hide in a hole.  That means getting rid of your New York wardrobe. Now.”

Beverly left her a hundred-dollar tip.

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

Fiction Saturday – Chapter Two Continued

 

pull waitressHeads turned and watched her slide into a booth by the far wall.

In a matter of seconds a waitress came over carrying a steaming coffee pot and a six-page menu.

“Coffee, Hon?”

“Yes, please.”  She wanted to eat and get out of there as soon as possible.

One driver seated at the counter let out a bark and panted in Beverly’s direction.  The waitress shook her head.

“Don’t mind them, Honey.  They been sucking in diesel fumes all day.”

As the waitress poured a cup of strong coffee she let her practiced eyes give Beverly the once over.

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I’m Only Here For The Cake

wedding1I WENT TO A WEDDING LAST SATURDAY. A lovely couple, a lovely setting, and everyone wondering who in the hell I was and what I was doing there. The answer to that question was that I was the Rev. Dawn’s Roadie, Security, Driver, and – oh, yeah – her husband.

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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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A Lesson In Living

week1SOME WEEKS ARE BETTER THAN OTHERS. This is not a week I could classify as one of the “better” weeks.

We have had some nasty weather lately that has brought down some tree limbs. I still have volumes to learn about how to properly do a Ponytail. My wife, the lovely and seriously Southpaw, Dawn, is still dealing with the discomfort and frustration of a broken left arm – and we’ve had two members of the church pass away.

This week is one we would just as soon forget, but life won’t let us do that.

You have to stand up and deal with it as it comes. You can deal with it well, or you can deal with it poorly, but you can’t pretend it isn’t there. It is what it is.

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

ea2aaa16-9ca9-4cc2-9758-196a8712cbaeFiction Saturday – Chapter One – Continued

She forgot her ringing ears and ran for the hallway door.  He watched her run.  There was no need to chase her.

“You can’t outrun a bullet, Beverly.”

Dominic got up from the bed and lurched down the hallway after his wife.  He had a deadly coldness in his unsteady step.  She was running toward the front door.  He raised the chromed pistol and aimed at the back of her head.

As the hammer fell toward the brass cartridge, Beverly dove to her right, into the kitchen.  The lump of lead tore into and through the wall into the kitchen.  It passed two inches above her head, and dug its way into the refrigerator door.

She screamed, and from the tone, Dominic knew that he had missed.

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Adjusting The Focus

Food5NOW THAT WE ARE HOME, after almost two months in Ireland, there are some things that are obvious only now. We were perfectly comfortable there and had no “When do we go home?” moments. The one exception might be when it comes to food. It was a case of “Close, but no cigar.” It’s just a case of liking the things I’m familiar with.

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Returning

luggage_large_1xAs you read this we should, and I emphasize “Should,” be home in Terre Haute (That’s French for, “You have a ton of junk mail waiting for you.”) and dealing with the stresses and strains of jet-lag and culture shock. Hopefully our luggage has arrived with us, but I always feel a bit cynical about that.

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I Have No Need To Move

Beach-deckI KNOW THAT SPRING OFFICIALLY BEGAN a few weeks ago and I was truly grateful. Spring means that better weather is coming – unless you live in Denver or someplace like that. If you live there then Spring means that winter continues, pedal to the metal until mid-summer. That alone has kept me a “Flatlander” or close to it.

But now, it is definitely Spring, which in my book means that warm weather is on the way. However – I feel that I must define “warm weather.”

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Who Is Having A Baby?

baby 1RONNIE WOOD OF THE ROLLING STONES IS EXPECTING A BABY? No. He and his wife are expecting twins. Ronnie is 68.

The other day I was having a conversation down at St. Arbucks with one of the Usual Suspects about Ronnie Wood – daddy to be.

My guess is that Ronnie has been itching to top Mick Jagger at something for a long time. Ronnie fathers a child at 68 while Mick’s youngest joined the world when Mick was 56.baby 2

Sorry, Ronnie, but Mick, born in 1943, is a great-grandfather. Mick wins.

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It Must Be Love

SOME DAYS YOU JUST WANT TO PUT YOUR BRAIN ON HOLD. married love fireThe other night, my wife, the lovely and very telegenic, Dawn, was channel surfing, hanging ten off the remote. All we wanted was something mindless after a hectic day.

Boy, did she ever find it.

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