Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas Eve and Shoe Box Dinners



 For a number of years now, I can't really say how many because they tend to all run together, my daughter Jennifer has been hosting family and friends at her house on Christmas Eve for shoe box dinners. Jen is an elementary teacher and all elementary teachers worth their weight in salt have all manner of fun projects up their sleeves to make learning interesting to their students. I'm not sure where she learned about the shoe box dinners, but it's one of my favorite traditions during the holidays. She wraps shoe boxes with colorful Christmas paper, including the lids, and fills each one with some chips, a soda, a couple of mandarin oranges, some candy and a small gift for each person who is attending. While the gifts may be small, they aren't inexpensive, especially when she is getting something for a number of different people. This year I had several packs of hoochies in my shoe box. Our friend Mark received a flashlight, complete with a laser pointer. I can't remember what everyone else got, I was too caught up in eating my crab melt sandwiches and thinking of what fish I might catch with the hoochies. Our latest addition to the family was present this year, the gal who made us great grandparents, Evalee. She was passed around more than a joint at an Eagles concert. Babies really have to develop a toughness if they are going to survive in this world. They get man handled, kissed, hugged, squeezed, patted, rocked, jiggled and spoken to like they're some alien beings who have to be cooed at  more than any other species on earth. Can you imagine if adults had to put up with that behavior? All the bad breath you would have to tolerate, the ridiculous baby talk, the rocking and having toys and fingers shoved into your face and mouth. The only time anyone wants to put you down is when you start to stink. As soon as you're clean again, folks ( especially the ladies) want to scarf you up and start the whole process all over again. It's a testament to how well God made babies. They take a lickin' and keep on tickin'- just like Timex watches. This year we were blessed to have my daughter Autumn and her husband Aaron visit for Christmas. Autumn has inherited my sense of humor, for better or for worse. Since she lives in close proximity to Anchorage, she has access to various items that I would never have. Things like the book on bowel movements that I mentioned in a previous post. In case you can't read the cup  shown above, it states,
Dear Mom:
Thanks for putting up with a spoiled, ungrateful, messy, bratty child like my sibling.

Love, Your Favorite.

She is definitely a chip off the old block. Her and her husband left today, so needless to say, it will be a lot more quiet around here. Not a totally bad thing. As I age I find myself needing more quiet time. However, much like the See's candies, Christmas cookies, and re-runs of It's a Wonderful Life, it will be nice to see them again when the time comes. It is because my son-in-law was gracious enough to look at my computer and do whatever wiz-bang stuff he does that I'm able to do this blog post tonight, so I'm most grateful. I hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas. If was anything like mine, you've been blessed indeed. If you're one of the millions who are traveling still, I hope you make it home to your loved ones safely, with pleasant memories to keep you company on your travels. Stay safe. God bless you and God bless America. Good night.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

A Little Toilet Humor


















The other day my wife, Jan decided we needed a new toilet seat. I'm not sure why. The old one worked just fine, no splinters or anything, but nonetheless, she didn't like it, so we're now sporting a new one. With my arthritic back and knees, I was thinking that if it hasn't already been invented, a hydraulic toilet seat would really be nice. When you were done with your business, as soon as you flushed, the hydraulic rams would automatically kick in and lift your behind right off the potty. No doubt it's the next billion dollar idea.
  I spent ten years at a farm here in Alaska where there were no indoor toilets. We all had some manner of honey bucket in our homes for use during the night. As I've mentioned before, I never really had to avail myself of those once we built our house out in the woods. My closest human neighbor was over a block away, and the squirrels, deer, martens, bears and other woodland creatures never lodged a complaint when I just stepped out onto the porch and let fly. It was quite liberating, not worrying about having to find a bathroom or needing to go and finding the only bathroom in the house occupied. We did all have outhouses, which,while they will get the job done, don't hold a candle to an indoor toilet. There are a number of stories from my time on the farm involving outhouses, potty barrels, slop jars, honey buckets and whatnot. I remember Liz telling us many years after the fact that her older sister Jen made her pick up the contents of the honey bucket after she slipped in the snow on her way out to dump it at the outhouse. With sisters like that, who needs brothers? Liz is also the child who was totally distressed after a trip to the outhouse. She came in crying and distraught one summer day because the flies were feasting there. There's nothing like feasting flies to put a damper on your day. The top picture is a cup shaped like a toilet that my number five daughter, Autumn, bought us. She seems to be infatuated with toilet related items. Because the cup is a little awkward to hold, we opted to use it to hold our toothbrushes. No doubt we would create quite a few interesting conversations if we used it to drink out of, but after all, we're not dogs, so we don't drink out of the toilet. Autumn also bought me a book with an all brown cover that addresses what your bowel movements mean, complete with drawings. By far the fellow sitting on the john, strapped in with a seat belt and with flames shooting out of the base like a rocket ship with the caption #3 was the most entertaining. It's not the kind of book you want to have out on the coffee table when you're hosting your pastor's family. Actually, it takes a special kind of person to enjoy that brand of humor. Of all places I think she bought it at the Anchorage airport bookstore.  The roll of toilet paper with the twine was a gift given to us on Friday by some guests at our open  house. I really like practical gifts.  If you want to be a blessing to someone, give them something they'll use- like toilet paper. Perhaps the giver had overheard a conversation I'd had with my daughter Jen. I had commented that every time Jen comes to visit, she almost always without fail stops in and uses our bathroom right before she leaves. Her house is less than a two minute drive away, but miraculously she always has to go right before leaving our house. I figure that down through the years, she's probably used the equivalent of a case of  Charmin. She mentioned that she had given me a six pack of Kirkland not long ago, in hopes perhaps of shutting me up. I had to point out though that it wasn't a six pack- she only had five rolls left in the package, and it runs in my mind that before  I left her house, she decided she needed another of the remaining rolls to get  her through the night. Amazing. In any event, I'm delighted that ol' Thomas Crapper had the foresight and ingenuity to design such a practical contraption that would allow us to remain inside and take care of business. No doubt an accomplishment worthy of a Nobel prize.