Bananas for Uncle Sam.

My Dad has been gone awhile, but managed to make the news (at least the local DAR chapter’s newsletter)! I was surprised to receive the digital copy from lunch guest/DAR rep Jeanne.

Thanks to the ladies for their lunchtime visit on Flag Day earlier this summer, and we appreciate the mention of Ray J.’s enlistment saga! – His veteran’s flag sits beside his US Navy portrait in the shop.

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In case the print in the newsletter is too small, it briefly recounts how dear old Dad (back when he had just turned 18) tried to enlist in the Navy, and was turned down by the recruiter as being underweight. (A problem I have never had…) Ray J. was advised to go home, eat some bananas, and come back to be weighed again. Don’t know how many it took, but after his banana snack, he returned, passed the weight requirement, and went on to serve as a radio operator on a Pacific Fleet destroyer escort in WWII.

No bananas here, since we are chef-less until Tuesday… and as a result, we’re taking a longer Labor Day break than normal… Have a safe and happy holiday!

The Ladder of Success? Nah. Bulb Changer.

You can keep your roller coasters. The white-knuckle adrenaline rush I get from standing on top of the ladder is enough for me. I wouldn’t even choose the ‘ladder ride’ if I could get the burnt out bulbs to replace themselves.

It’s one of the things they don’t mention when the advantages of self-employment are being discussed. You may be your own boss, but you wind up being your own floor-mopper, trash-emptier, bathroom-cleaner – and light bulb changer – as well.

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Ours is a two ladder shop. The hanging fixtures in the center require a tall A-frame ladder (or whatever they’re called), but the lights along the wall are much too high up for that. So, it was me scampering up the extension ladder on Sunday afternoon. (That’s a joke. There was certainly no scamper in my ascent. More like a plodding, cement-shoe, iron-claw climb…)

My Grandpa Ray had a high-ceilinged place and people have confused my pictures (I’ve included one of them here) of his PALACE NEWS shop with our current building. Both had the high ceilings and suspended light fixtures. I’ve mentioned before that Grandpa Ray took a fall and broke something when changing bulbs, and my father filled in at the counter while his dad was on the mend.

Every time I climb a ladder in here, I make it a point to not be a chip off the old block. So – I make sure the ladder is firmly in place before I slowly trudge my way up the rungs.

This time, though, I decided to provide some evidence of the height and pocketed my cell phone along with the new bulb. When I got to the top and managed to swap in a new light, I convinced myself that I could grab that phone and take a picture.

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Well.

Thinking about it and doing it proved to be two different things. It took a minute or two, but I finally squirmed myself into a looking backward position and snapped a shot.

The lighting is better today. I trust the bulbs will last for a good while. I consider ladders to be in the same category as car jacks – indispensable when you need one, but something you really hope stays out of sight in its storage spot.

We’ll be doing a well-lit lunch again tomorrow, so – come visit!

McHuston

Booksellers & Irish Bistro
Rose District, 122 S Main St. Broken Arrow OK!

My current Moto is a phone. Trouble driving it, too.

It may have been the sight of a high school buddy sitting astride a motorcycle, I don’t know. He looked good in the picture, comfortable astride that big machine. I starting thinking about my own school-daze transportation.

My little motorcycle seemed a lot bigger back then. While trying to remember exactly what it looked like, I did what every self-respecting researcher does. Googled it.

Luckily, I remember the name of the thing. Yamaha.

The pictures popped right up, and it didn’t take but a couple of moments to find one the same year and color as my little beast. I had purchased it from my friend Craig, who had used it to deliver the Tulsa World – a large newspaper back then. Requiring a motorcycle. At least that’s what Craig told his Dad.

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We used to fold papers together in his garage of a morning. I envied the way he roared off on the Yamaha while I pedaled away on my high-handlebar Schwinn (making motorcycle mouth-noises, probably).

My newspaper job was delivering the Daily Democrat (RIP), and while I aimed for the front door, I rarely hit my mark. The route was in a subdivision called Redbud Acres, and most of the houses had one of those lamps-on-a-post in the front yard which effectively guarded the porch. It was such a simple paper route that I could do it in my sleep – but I snapped to attention one morning when my tossed newspaper blew straight through the front and back glass of the subscriber’s yard light. With the accuracy of a ninja throwing star. In and out. Smash. CRASH.

It occurred to me to pedal away. Fast.

Decided I probably ought to face the music, got off the bike and trudged across the grass. I was hesitating at the door chime when the door flew open, and a man in a bathrobe leaned out.

“Wondered if you would own up,” he said.

“How did you know?” I stammered.

He explained that he had seen me ride up, watched the throw, witnessed the exploding glass panes, and saw my expression when I realized what had happened.

“Worth the price of the repair,” he said, “just to see that look on your face. Since you came to the door, we’ll just forget about it, OK?”

I nodded and quickly assented. I learned a valuable lesson that day, recognizing the benefits of practicing sheepish looks to use in future events in which I was equally culpable.

The motorcycle brought its own hazards in delivering newspapers, but I always loved roaring up the hill (more like chain-saw sputtering) at McAlester High and hurriedly parking it alongside the other ‘scooters’ before running to first hour. (I was always running late, it seems.)

I met a little old lady on the Yamaha, at the Third Street intersection where Mann’s Flower Shop was located. I came out of the meeting (at about 35 mph) a little better off than the Yamaha, which was sent to the scrap heap. After some deliberation, my folks chose to affect a repair on me, which was somewhat difficult on a Sunday afternoon (and doctor’s golfing weather) in McAlester.

When I reminisce about two-wheeling down the road with the wind in my hair and how fun that might be again, I remember that I have less on top for the wind, and even less resistance to impact than I did back then.

Probably a better idea would be to paste a picture of the Yamaha on the dashboard of that thirty-year-old van I’m still driving. I can roll the window down and yell Yee-Ha!

Meantime, I’ll be racing down the bookstore aisles tomorrow – 100% foot power – so come visit for lunch!

McHuston

Booksellers & Irish Bistro
Rose District, 122 S. Main St, BA OK!