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 “Vacation”

A Few Days For Ourselves

LOUISVILLE – WHICH IS NOT PRONOUNCED “LOUIE-VILLE,” is where we have been for a nice long weekend. 3 ½ days is not long enough to really qualify as a real vacation, but you take what you can.

This long weekend is our first real time just for ourselves since our Ireland trip last year. For this trip we had no meetings or family obligations.

 We had not made any plans for our trip beyond Sleep, Eat, Nap, Eat, Sleep, etc – plus two actual things to do that would require putting on our shoes.

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A Basket Of Brisket

WELL, HERE WE GO – OFF TO TEXAS! Surprisingly our flights were uneventful – which is what you want. Eventful airplane flights make the news and that is never a good thing. Things even went smoothly in our dealings with the TSA aerobic organisms. I think they were having an “On-The Job Slumber Party. They were just waving people through without even looking at them. I bet I could have walked through there toting a Howitzer and Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. It always makes me feel so safe.

Once we got to our ultimate destination (Corpus Christi) we did what any sensible person would do – we stopped for lunch at Whataburger. It’s a tradition that goes back to the days of the Alamo and Davy Crockett I think. A Family thing, you know.

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I Am In The Upright And Locked Position

HERE WE GO AGAIN. We are barely home from our trip to Georgia and we are packing up for a visit with the family in Texas.

By the time this moves to the head of the queue we will probably be back in Terre Haute (That’s French for “We left the TV on.”). Such is the miracle of scheduling the posting of blog entries ahead of time.

There is a time difference to deal with when we go to Texas – it will be 1 PM in Indiana, but it will be High Noon in the Furnaces of Hell in South Texas. It gets HOT there in July. I like things on the warm side, but when we go to Texas in July I don’t feel like I’m sweating. It’s more like I’m being basted.

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Be Nice And Bring Money

IT TAKES A LOT TO MAKE ME LAUGH OUT LOUD. If you want to sit in a room that is really quiet just be there with 50 comedians who are listening to another comedian perform. Those 50 comedians will be nodding their heads or looking around the room, but they won’t be laughing. They are sitting there analyzing what they are hearing – tearing it apart down to the last molecule of wit. I’m kind of like that too. I’m not THAT bad, but something really has to set off an alarm to get me to guffaw and chortle. It is even harder to do if it is something in print. Then I’m really a tough audience.

I laughed out loud this morning.

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She Was Here Somewhere

I JUST LOVE IT WHEN TRULY SILLY THINGS HAPPEN. I recently saw a story, datelined Iceland, which had me laughing out loud sitting there at St. Arbucks. I’m sure that most of the people who saw me laughing just thought that I had skipped my meds.

Nope, not this time.

What made me hit my Giggle Switch was a news item about a group of Japanese tourists in Iceland.

According to the news item the group was touring some of Iceland’s volcanoes and hot springs. Sounds like fun.

But wait! There’s more!

The fun really began when the group was ready to get back on the bus and leave. That was when someone noticed that one of their group, a woman, seemed to be missing.

Uh, oh – it’s bad form to lose the tourists.

A search party was formed and everyone started desperately looking for the missing lady. Everyone was given a description of the lady and what she was wearing. Hours went by with no success. There was fear that she may have fallen and was injured.

Finally, at 3 AM a member of the search party noticed that one of the other searchers bore a strong resemblance to the missing woman.

The kernel of this story is that the missing lady had, during the tour, gone back to their tour bus to “Freshen up,” and change clothes. When the tour group was ready to leave somebody spoke up, saying, “Where is the lady in the red jacket?” she was there, but now wearing a blue jacket.

And so the fun began.

For hours and hours the apparently “missing” woman took part in the search party’s efforts that were methodically looking for her. The description that was handed out didn’t ring a bell with her, she said. She had no idea that she was the “missing lady.”

I love stories like that. Nobody was hurt – inconvenienced to be sure, and maybe P.O’d to the max, but unhurt. If some scriptwriter had come up with that as an idea for a TV Sit-Com it would have been rejected. Fortunately, I don’t have standards that high.

While I would rather not spend a long time in a search party looking for myself I do think that it could be a chance to learn what people really think of me.

How many people are willing to look for me? How hard are they trying? Are they muttering about possibly missing lunch or are they singing my praises? When I am “found” are they saying “Thank Heaven we have found him,” or are they making threats?

It would almost be like being able to attend your own funeral, without the flowers and that slow drive through town.

Yearning To Return

LAST YEAR WAS A TIME OF TRAVEL FOR US. Our seven weeks in Ireland was followed by about 10 days in Detroit, then a week in Texas. That was all squeezed into the period from early April to early July.

This year promises to be more sedate, but hardly comatose. We’ve already done one trip to Texas with another booked for Mid-July. In between there will be another 10 day sojourn, this time to Georgia near Atlanta. After that the calendar looks empty as far as travel is concerned – until the Holidays late in the year.

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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 Need A New Shirt

THE RAVAGES OF TIME HAVE TAKEN THEIR TOLL ON MY WARDROBE. At least on the part I care the most about – my Hawaiian shirts. The rest of my clothes are there solely to avoid public prosecution, frostbite, and scaring animals and the rest of the population. I do have jeans that have holes in them and shoes that have outlasted their laces, but I cannot allow my Hawaiian shirts to paint me with a colorful deterioration.

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What, And Give Up Show Business?

WE ARE DOWN IN TEXAS FOR A SHORT VISIT. Not only is that a good thing in and of itself, but the weather is certainly better than up north – no snow and I’m actually going around clad in the season’s first outings for my Hawaiian shirts. I look like a tourist.

Another difference, whether we travel to Texas, Ireland, or wherever is local television. Local television outside of your major markets is where you can see careers beginning, careers flourishing, and careers ending – sometimes all within the span of a few days.

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I Kinda Like The Idea

“IT’S GOOD TO BE KING!” – Mel Brooks

Even in a world with very few Monarchs who are anything more than figureheads being a King still sounds like a good job. The days have passed when mobs of peasants used to storm the Palace with torches and pitchforks. Very few people have pitchforks anymore and I don’t recall ever seeing anyone carrying a real, honest to goodness torch. Yes, I think that might be the job for me – “King Krafty.” That has a nice ring to it.

There are only a couple of obstacles in my way.

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I Can See It All Now

newsflashNEWS FLASH!

Terre Haute (That’s French for “99¢ Shrimp Cocktails!”) is seriously considering leaping into the 21st century!

The local Chamber of Commerce, a body with all of the power and influence of a grilled cheese sandwich, has expressed its support for the idea of having a casino open here. This is an idea that gets floated about every two years. So far that’s all it has ever done – floated – like a dead fish.

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Six Kolaches Over Texas

kol1SOME THINGS ARE WORTH EATING.

Other things are not.

A nicely done “medium-rare” steak – Yes. A “well-done” steak – No.

 Fried Chicken – Yes. KFC – No.

Airline Cookies, Cheap Mexican Food, and Beets – No, No, and No.

Kolaches – YES!

Kolaches? Wazzat?

Sit and learn, my child.

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I Intend To Rock Their World

front-deskTHINGS WERE GOING SMOOTHLY… TOO SMOOTHLY.

All we wanted to do was get on the airplane to Texas and do the whole Christmas thing. Perhaps we were asking for too much. To put it in just a few words – “Anything that could go wrong did go wrong.”

We had a scheduled flight to take us from Indianapolis to Houston. Our liftoff time was 7:45 AM. Rather than get up at 2 in the morning to pack the car and drive to Indy we did our usual thing. We went up the afternoon before, and checked in at a hotel near the airport. That way we could get a good night’s sleep, leave the car at the hotel, and take the hotel shuttle to the nearby airport. We have done this a dozen times without any problems.

Our shuttle was set for 6 AM.

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Cleared For Takeoff

texas1WE ARE FAST CLOSING IN ON CHRISTMAS and shortly we will be winging our way down to Texas. Airports in December – Such fun.

Experience has taught us that the best day to fly during the Holiday Season is on Christmas Day. The airports are not nearly as crowded. You can get a seat in any airport restaurant without waiting or having ten thousand other travelers (and their carry-on baggage) crammed in next to you. On the plane things are not as crowded either. We can stretch out a bit and the Flight Crew is generally in a better mood.

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Welcome to Holland 

holland1A FEW WEEKS AGO I WROTE ABOUT A RETREAT we took in the Holland, Michigan area. It was an intensive week, but it was not all work and no play.

On Thursday afternoon we had some time off to relax and let our brains blow away the sweat. It was listed as free time so we decided to morph into tourists for a few hours. After stops at the local St. Arbucks for coffee and a mini-mart for a Dr. Pepper we headed into downtown Holland.

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Throwback Thursday from October 2015

Throwback Thursday 1From October 2015

Start Planning Your Vacation Now!

Casey windchimeIT IS PART OF HUMAN NATURE to want to excel, to be the best, at whatever one attempts. That is why we keep records of achievement. Sports keep records of just about every facet of a game, important or not. This mania for record keeping is why there is such a thing as the Guinness Book of World Records.

Starting in 1955, the Guinness Book of World Records now keeps track of more than 6,000 records with 50,000 attempts annually to break into The Book.

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I Liked Chad the Pilot

IT HAS BEEN A LONG TIME since I’ve flown on Southwest Airlines. Their schedules and ours just never seemed to coincide. When we wanted to go to Florida they wanted us to go to Phoenix. When we wanted to go to Phoenix they had a nifty plane ready to whisk us off to sunny Anchorage. I couldn’t tell if they didn’t really want us or if they were just playing hard to get. Those little teasers.

Then, out of the clear blue of the western sky all of the pieces fell into place. We wanted to go to Texas and Southwest said, “OK, just once, but don’t think this means we’re easy. We’re not that kind of airline.”

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Throwback Thursday – from August 2015

Throwback Thursday 2

The Mormon Tabernacle Bomb Scare

alarm clock bombWHEN I WENT TO SEE MY DOCTOR yesterday I expected to do most of the talking.

“This feels good, that doesn’t feel good, I’m taking my meds and we’ve been on vacation.”

“I’ve been there.”

This time my Doctor surprised me by opening up and telling me a bit about himself.

He is a native of India (I figured that out all by myself) and when he was a student he travelled extensively in the U.S. by bus. He gave me a hot travel tip (forty years out of date) that Greyhound Bus sold passes for $99 that were good for unlimited travel for 99 days.

Who in their right mind would want to spend 99 days on a Greyhound bus? Obviously, the answer is the man who is now in charge of keeping me alive.

When I did not express shock, disgust or fear and did not bolt from the room, he continued with his travelogue.

Back in the days of his youth, the 1970s is my guess; his ninety-nine dollars took him to Salt Lake City (I’ve been there). He wanted to attend a performance of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and to hear their magnificent pipe organ in concert. That’s about it in Salt Lake City – unless you want to walk around town stepping over the outstretched legions of “Urban Nomadic Sommeliers.”

He continued.

“No matter where I went I always carried my small suitcase with me that had all of my clothes and ‘essentials.’ I carried it when I went to hear the choir.”

When he gave me that detail I was lost as to where this was going. He soon filled in the blanks for me.

“As I sat there, waiting for the concert to begin, it got very quiet in the hall. Some people near me began to talk, saying that they could hear something ‘ticking’ and they were afraid that it was a bomb.

“Shortly, an announcement was made that the hall was to be evacuated because of a bomb threat. When I tried to leave I was surrounded by fifteen policemen. They escorted (his word, not mine) me into a room and asked me if I had a bomb in my suitcase. I told them that it was just my alarm clock that was ticking. I had no bomb.

“When I tried to open my suitcase to show them they became agitated and would not let me.”

At this point in his narrative I was laughing – he was not.

Of course, they found only the Good Doctor – To – Be’s Indian-made alarm clock ticking away loudly.

“After they returned my alarm clock I thanked them for the ‘VIP Treatment’ they had given me.”

That was his attempt at wry humor.

“I never did get to hear the choir. They wouldn’t let me back into the hall.”

Life is like that, Doctor.

After all of that my blood pressure was fine, my heart was still beating and he gave me the go-ahead to stay alive for another three months.

As I was leaving I gave him a new adage to think about:

“Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose and sometimes you get the ‘VIP Treatment,’ but they still won’t let you back in.”

Fiction Saturday – The 5 People I Almost Killed

AddTextToPhoto(9-9-2015 4-55-5)This “Fiction Saturday” posting differs a bit from the usual format  –  in that it is (How shall I phrase this?) – embellished truth. Just look at it the way you approach things in your local newspaper.

So…

“The 5 People I Almost Killed” – Part One

I think it is important to stress that in the title of this piece I say “almost killed,” and not “killed.” To the best of my knowledge I have never actually killed anyone. I just tend to come close. Sometimes very close and I’ve done so five times – so far. The five nearly “dearly departed” have all shared one characteristic: they are, or to a large degree were, famous. Let me explain.

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Flying To Texas Can Be Fun

monorail cat

A LONG TIME AGO in a galaxy far, far away I grew up in Western Pennsylvania on the edges of Pennsylvania Dutch Country. Most people refer to them as the Amish. That is an oversimplification of course. There are a large variety of “Amish” communities and sects – each with their own set of rules.

The date of the community’s founding determines some of the rules. Many will not use a technology that came about after the founding date. That is why some groups will not use motorized vehicles while other will. Some will use telephones, others will not.

Last week while we flew to Texas I saw something new. Passing through the Indianapolis airport I saw an Amish family heading toward baggage claim. This was the first time I had heard of Amish flying. “Must be a new community.”

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