Extraordinary Stories

Act of kindness (2) Acting (2) Adoption (3) Adventure (762) Advertisement (5) Aging (9) Agriculture (41) Airplanes (6) Alphabet (4) Americana (84) Amish (20) Ancestry (2) Ancesty (2) Animals (28) Antiques (5) Architecture (23) Art (149) Art? (5) Arts and Crafts (66) Athletics (4) Automobiles (28) Awards (1) Banking (2) Barn raising (1) Baseball (68) Basketball (2) Beaches (85) Bed & Breakfast (1) Bee Keeping (4) Beer & Breweries (1) Bikes (1) Birds (2) Birthdays (30) Bookbinding (4) Books (7) Boxing (1) Brother Steve (7) Buisiness (1) Business (3) Canals (1) Cancer (11) Candy (24) Caribbean Islands (2) Caribbean Villas (15) Cats (1) Chesapeake Bay (59) Children (20) Chocolate (2) Christmas (40) Church Adventures (113) Cigars (1) Circus (2) Civil Rights (4) Civil War (4) Classic Cars (6) Climate Change (3) Coin club (2) Coins (1) Collections (67) Comedy (2) Comic Books (2) Commercials (1) Comnservation (2) Conservation (33) Craftsmanship (9) Creamsicle the Cat (11) Crime (10) Crisis (277) Cruise Travel (6) Crying (1) Danger (12) Daughter Brynn (50) Daughter-In-Law Barb (7) Death (4) Death and Dying (39) Downsizing (2) Dunking (2) Easter (2) Education (35) Energy (13) Entertainment (156) Entrepreneurial (61) Etchings (1) Eternal Life (4) Facebook (5) Factories (3) Fads (6) Family (243) Farming (26) Father (40) Father Time (65) Favorites (59) Firefighting (1) Flora and Fauna (24) Fond Memories (457) Food and Cooking (148) Food and Drink (80) Football (10) Forgetfullness (3) Former Students (5) Framing (16) Friends (328) Fun (2) Fundraiser (6) Games (1) Gingerbread houses (1) Giving (5) Golf (3) Grandkids (121) Grandparents (2) Grandview Heights (28) Great service (2) Growing Old (5) Growing Up (176) Guns (1) Handwriting (3) Hat Making (2) Hawaii (45) Health and Well Being (18) Health Care (1) Health Hazards (83) Heartbreak (4) Heroes (13) High School (128) History (546) Hockey (1) Holidays (111) Home construction (7) Horses (2) Humorous (68) Hurricanes (1) Ice Cream (3) Inventions (27) Islands (3) Italy (12) Jewelry (3) Job Related (60) Just Bloggin' (54) Just Wondering (11) Juvenile Diabetes (5) Labor (3) Lancaster County (414) Law Breakers (3) LDubs In-Laws (3) Lefties (1) Life's Lessons (156) Lists (69) Lititz (16) Love (4) Magazines (1) Magic (1) Maps (1) Marching (1) Market (3) Medical (140) Memories (5) Middle School (3) Mother (49) Movies (3) Music (93) My Brother (16) My Wife (255) Neighbors (6) New Year's Day (2) Nuisance (3) Obsolescence (4) Occupations (1) Old Age (1) Pain and Suffering (8) Panama Canal Cruise (13) Parish Resource Center (14) Patriotism (2) Penmanship (1) Pets and Animals (97) Photography (198) Playing Trains (2) Poetry (2) Politics (27) Polution (1) Postal Service (2) Presidents (7) Pride (3) Printing (65) Protesting (2) Public Service (63) Questionnaire (1) Race relations (3) Reading (3) Religion (1) Revolutionary War (3) Rock & Roll (1) Rodents (2) Saints (1) Sand (1) Scouting (2) Shakespeare (1) Shelling (1) Shopping (20) Simple Pleasures (118) Slavery (4) Small Towns (3) Snow (1) Son Derek (26) Son Tad (30) Son-In-Law Dave (24) Soup (1) Sports (132) St. Martin/Sint Maarten (253) Stained Glass (1) Story-Telling (21) Stragers (2) Strangers (1) Stress (3) Stuff (3) Surfing (1) Tattoos (1) Teaching (43) Technology (79) The Arts (3) The Beach House (62) The Flag (1) The Future (4) The Shore (78) This and That (15) Timekeeping (3) Tools and Machines (23) Toys and Games (30) Track & Field (1) Tragedy (2) Trains (11) Transportation (10) Travel (3) Trending (2) TV Favorites (18) Underground Railroad (3) USA (1) Vacation and Travel (537) Vehicles (80) War (7) Watches and Watchmaking (4) Weather (47) Weddings (1) Wisdom (3) Yearbooks (9) York County (1)

Monday, February 28, 2011

The "What do you do when the power goes off?" Story

It was an ordinary day. We were on our way home from State College, PA. Arrived yesterday at Jerry and Sue's house. We get to visit with them a couple of times a year and they visit with us in Lancaster a few times. We have been traveling companions for 12 years now, since Jerry and I both retired from our jobs at Manheim Township School District. It was time for us to visit so we could plan our next vacation trip. We arrived about 9:45 AM and sat and talked for a short time before Sue asked if we were ready for lunch. Sure was. I asked Jerry to see his new gas heating system that he had installed. Isn't this something that everyone would want to take a look at? While Sue prepared lunch the guys went down to the basement and into the room where they had made the installation. "What is that thing on the bottom?" I asked him. He reached down and touched the small unit and the lights flickered. "Wow, did you do that?" I asked. "I don't think so," he responded. We looked at each other and then the basement went totally dark. "Guess I'll have to see it at another time," I said. Up the stairs to see if Sue and Carol might know what happened. Sue was upset because our lunch was in the oven and that was electric. They called around the neighborhood and found out that everyone was without power. The final call they made was to a neighbor who told them that the electric company said the power would be back on by 8:00 PM. TONIGHT!! It was only 11:30 AM. Now how can they know that it will take them to precisely 8:00 PM to get the power back on. Oh, yeah I know. It's a top notch educational town and they are smart enough to know that. Well, Sue found out that our sandwiches were warm enough, so we had our lunch. Then it was time to decide what we could do without heat. Snuggle! Nah, we're too old for that stuff. Off to Penn State's Bryce Jordan Center to see the annual "Thon" which they have to raise money for children who have cancer. For weeks around Lancaster and just about every community in Pennsylvania and I suspect a few other bordering states, students of PSU were out with their buckets to raise money for this cause. Stop in a line of traffic at a stop light and they would be there asking for donations. Only when I get to see the multitude of students involved yesterday did I realize where my donations went. Former kids who had cancer and were helped by this 46 hour long dance marathon keep coming back to be part of the activities and celebrate with the students who helped them when they needed it the most. One little girl, 7 year old Emma, got to dance with the students on stage. Four years earlier Emma was suffering from cancer and received financial aide from the "Thon". The arena was packed with students and a few adults, like us. Signs, which we didn't see until later, proclaimed no sitting in the stands. They wanted you to be dancing. The young girl next to me saw me sit, tapped me on the head and told me I had to be standing. I looked around and saw the only other people sitting were the three I came with, so I stood, as did they. This year they raised an astounding $9,563,016.09 for the children. UNBELIEVABLE! My few dollars were part of that. Shows you how caring college students really are. From the "Thon" we headed into downtown State College for some shopping and a sticky bun a la mode at The Corner Room, then to neighboring Bellefonte for some more shopping. By now it was only 5:00 PM and we weren't hungry yet (probably was the sticky bun they made me eat) so we headed to the Mount Nittany Mall for some more shopping. So far I've been lucky; no packages! After an hour of walking we agreed it was time to eat. We had to make dinner take two hours so the house would allegedly have electricity when we got back. We ate at restaurant on the south-west side of State College. Ribs for me and pulled pork sandwiches for everyone else. They knew better! 7:45 PM now and time to head home. Hurray, the lights were on in the neighborhood when we got home. Had been on for maybe an hour and the house was warm when we entered. After some conversation we headed to bed. Today we had for lunch the meal Sue had planned for last night. After a game of "Warri" and talk about our next trip, we headed for home. Fun, but an unusual weekend with friends. Carol and I will head to the travel company soon to find out prices on some of the locations we talked about for our next trip. It was another extraordinary day in the life of anordinary guy. PS - Pixs from the top are: sign outside the Bryce Jordan Center, items for sale for the "Thon" to raise money, student dance group on stage leading the rest of the arena, including LDub, in a dance, view of the masses of dancers, newspaper photo of Emma as she appeared on stage with a few students to dance, Penn State football stadium, Penn State Old Main on a cold windy day, and center of Bellefont with the fading sun and threatening sky in the background.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The "Holey Moley" Story

It was an ordinary day. I just finished repairing my lawn. Seems the snow finally melted in my yard last week. As I walked around my yard I noticed that there were numerous tunnels running up and down the lawn. These are tunnels made by moles. Moles are insectivores, meaning they eat insects, earthworms and grubs. Moles live a solitary life, constantly digging tunnels in search for food. Large front claws distinguish this small animal from a vole or mouse. A mole can dig up to 15 feet per hour, so it doesn't take more than a few to tunnel all over your yard. An adult mole is colored gray to brown, attaining a size of 6 to 8 inches. They do not hibernate, and will tunnel under the frost line in winter. Moles reproduce once a year, in the spring, and will only produce 3 or 4 offspring. Spring tunneling is most noticeable. And boy, did I notice it. What a mess. They are beneficial since they eat insects and grubs and aerate the ground with the tunnels, but really make a mess of the yard. A few years ago I purchased three devices that are supposed to scare them off, that is if the stray cats don't do it. They are metal tubes about 18" long and house 4 "D" size batteries. The unit makes a noise and also causes a vibration. I dug a hole in the ground and placed most of the tube in the hole. The vibration and sound travel in the ground for quite a distance and scare the moles. They really do work and you can tell when the batteries are bad by the arrival of the tunnels in the lawn. I'm hoping that the replacement batteries will scare the the moles across the street to my neighbors yard. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The "Public Service Announcement" Story

It was an ordinary day. Just picked up my radon kit at Home Depot. A few weeks ago I saw a segment on our local Channel 8 news about radon and the effects it can have on you. Radon is a radioactive, colorless, odorless, tasteless gas, occurring naturally as the decay product ofuranium. It is one of the densest substances that remains a gas under normal conditions and is considered to be a health hazard due to its radioactivity. Radon is responsible for the majority of the public exposure toradiation. It is often the single largest contributor to an individual's background radiation dose, and is the most variable from location to location. Radon gas from natural sources can accumulate in buildings, especially in confined areas such as attics, and basements. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, radon is the second most frequent cause of lung cancer, after cigarette smoking, causing 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year in the United States. OK, now what can we do about it? You can buy the test kit as I did and test your house for radon. When you're ready to use the test kit you should close all windows and doors for at least 12 hours before testing and keep them closed as much as possible during the testing. Don't operate fans or operate your fireplace. All you're trying to do is not stir up the air where you place the test units. You can run your heat or air conditioner. Put the units in the lowest livable level in your home. Remove the caps on both the bottles and put them about two feet from the floor and three feet from an outside wall. Put the two bottles 6 inches apart from each other and allow the detectors to remain uncapped for 4 days (96 hours). After the 4 days place the caps back on the bottles, fill out the form provided and place them in the postage paid envelope. It does cost $30 for the lab to process the bottles, but if you have radon and don't know it, the $30 is a bargain price to save your life. If you have adults or children in the house that use the basement frequently, I would do the test. I work constantly in my basement workshop on my stained glass and photos so I'll feel better if I know there is no radon in the basement. Units to remove the radon are not cheap, but not as expensive as you might think. Then again, you'll still be around to pay off the cost of the removal unit! I have known several people who have died of lung cancer and who have never smoked. Made me think that maybe the test is my best choice for prevention of the disease. How about you? It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The "Sad End Of The Journey" Story

It was a an ordinary day. Very sad, though! I got a call today from Amber Kline who told me that "The Tag Shop" was filing for bankruptcy. Amber is the daughter-in-law of my good friend Barry who died a couple of months ago. Barry started "The Tag Shop" about 10 years ago when he and his wife Mary Jo decided they wanted to get into retail sales. Barry had been a salesman all his life, and a very good one. They made a huge success of the business which was located between West King Street and Market Alley in Lancaster; located next to Central Market, one of the oldest farmer's markets in the United States. For years he has been voted "The Best Gift Shop" and "The Best Antique Shop" in Lancaster. He was first in a one room store and outgrew that in a year or two, then moved next door into the current building which fronts both streets; three times the room as the first store. Shortly after he opened he agreed to sell my Polaroid photos. I promised him he would be the only store in the area where I would have them. We both prospered with sales for many years. The past two years have been slow, but he still sold a few. Then ........ that sad day in December when I heard he had died. We had been friends since we were 8 years old. Now what?? I kind of knew. HE WAS A TRUESALESMAN!! I often told my wife that the shop would die if he would retire, close or die. And it did. I just returned from the shop with the photos that covered one large area of his store. Really sad standing there, talking with Amber about the closing. Amber and Matt, her husband and Barry and Mary Jo's son, are moving back to Oregon. Mary Jo is going with them. Maybe healing will take place better if she is with family and away from the sad memories of Lancaster. Time will tell! It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.PS - top pix is front of store on King Street while bottom pix is rear on Market Alley.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The "Where Will You Be in the Afterlife?" Story

It was an ordinary day. My grandson Caden was helping me with my chores. We had to park in the parking garage in downtown Lancaster. That is an adventure in itself for a five year old. Had to park on the top level so we could ride the elevator down to the bottom. Reason we stopped at the parking garage today was so I could deliver some of my Polaroid photos to St. James Church. This is the downtown Lancaster church were Carol and I have been members for years. Got married there and raised our family there. Father Peck, the minister, asked if he could buy a collage of my photos to give to each of the retiring vestry members. The vestry is an elected group of 12 men and women who are in charge of the church. Carol and I were both vestry members years ago. My dad is a life vestry member, having been on the vestry for many years. Caden and I dropped the photographs off at the church office and walked over to look at the church and church yard. At the rear of the church is a cemetery that is home to the graves of many famous and historical people in the history of our country. And, Carol and I will be part of it some day. There are two small memorial gardens in the cemetery where there are plaques erected. The names of the people whose ashes are interred in that area are listed on the plaque. My dad and mom have their names listed on the one in the corner of the cemetery. Dad died three years ago and he has his birth and death dates on it. Mom wanted her name to be next to dad, so we had both names inscribed at the same time. Caden and I stopped at the site and I showed Caden how they engrave the names. The churchyard is not only historical, but extremely beautiful. The sun filtering through the winter trees made warm shadows on the graves. I'm not ready yet, but I have a place reserved. Where will you be in the afterlife? It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The "Miniature World of LDub" Story

It was an ordinary day. Had just visited my old neighborhood near the railroad station to take some photos, only this time I am in State College on a visit with Jerry and Sue. Here's how this goes. Jerry was my friend since 1st grade, since we lived a few blocks from each other. Jerry's hobby, as written about over a year ago in my blog, is model railroading. His father worked at the Railway Express located at the train station and Jerry spent many summer days at the station with his dad. We played football and went sledding at the train station. I travel past the station every time I drive in and out of Lancaster City. So, I know pretty much what the area is like and has been over the last 60 years. Well, Jerry has been diligently redoing our old stomping ground as it was in the 40s, 50s and 60s. Amazing what he has done. It is like going back in time in miniature through his train yard. The row of houses, both front and back where Jerry lived he has reproduced. The alleyway where his garage was located and where he helped me rebuild my '53 Henry J looks like I remembered it. Lancaster Lincoln Mercury on the corner of McGovern Ave. and Manheim Pike where we waited every year for the new cars to be displayed and where they always had a train yard in the window during Christmas season is pretty much the same. The Gulf station at the corner of Liberty and Manheim Pike, where I still take my car occasionally, is almost the same. But what is most amazing is the depth and detail that Jerry was able to get in reproducing the Lancaster Train Station. Right down to the passengers waiting for the trains on the platforms. Jerry always loved the circus and he even made a circus train that declares on the sides of the cars, "Herr Bros. Circus." As I stand there snapping photos of the train yard, it is like going back in time to my childhood. The realism is uncanny! When I came home and downloaded the photos to my computer and saw them on the screen, I could almost pick out myself sitting on the bench at the station or standing in front of the car dealership. Hey, I bought my last car there and still take it there for service and car washes. I've seen many model railroad yards, but none that are as realistic as Jerry's yard. Maybe because I feel like I'm part of it! It's my childhood all over again. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. PS - following photos shows the realism in Jerry's train yard.

Lancaster Lincoln Mercury at the corner of McGovern Ave. and Manheim Pike.

Manheim Ave. where Jerry lived with his mom, dad, and sister. Jerry is entering his house!

Backyards of houses where Jerry lived.

Gulf station where Jerry worked as a teenager.

My grandson Caden and I visiting the station. See how closely the detail of the folloing photos matches this picture.

View of Lancaster Train Station looking west

Passengers waiting for the Eastbound train

East end of the platforms at PRR Station

Herr Bros. Circus Train

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The "Making My Little Piece of History" Story

It was an ordinary day. Working on the latest scrapbook. After each vacation I enjoy making a scrapbook with photos I have taken as well as maps of the locations and any other important mementos that I have saved from my trip. I'm almost finished with the 13th scrapbook. Some books have only one trip in them such as Italy, and our first trip to Hawaii, while others have two trips in them. It's fun on a cold winter night to dig out the scrapbooks and imagine myself on some warm island sitting under an umbrella on a beach chair with a drink and a good book. Well, I'm sitting on my favorite lounge chair by the TV now working on the trip we just took with our friends Karen and Barry to the Dutch side of Sint Maarten. I always start the scrapbook with our departure from Lancaster. Boarding passes, schedules, plane photos and a photo of Carol and me sitting on the plane. Never miss having one of us on the plane. I try to take one as we land, but I have been warned quite a few times about taking photos as we exit the plane. Have even been told to put the camera away or they would take it. I'm getting pretty good at hiding the camera or shooting from the hip. Pages follow in the order of what we did from the start to the end of the trip. I lay out all the material I have on the floor for each day to help me organize everything. Only thing that creates a problem is when Otis, my cat, tries to dive under the pages and mixes all the photos together. My current book has 37 pages in it packed full of photos I have taken, maps I got at tourist locations, business cards from retailers, and even the blue umbrella I got on my BBC at Pineapple Pete's which I used for Flat Stanley's photo on the beach. Some photos I cut out part of the background to add some creativity to the book. Some pages I paste photos and info over an entire map or full page picture from a magazine. Quite a few of the books look pretty much the same, especially the books from St. Martin, but each still has a few new ideas as part of the book. Sometime I'd love to share them with you if you're in the neighborhood. I can bore people as well as anyone else can! It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. PS - photos from the top are: My collection of scrapbooks from past trips, working on a new page, scrapbook from our trip to St. Johns showing an earring that I found while snorkeling, and pages from my current book to Sint Maarten.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The "Time for a Redo: Part 2" Story

It was an ordinary day. Just finishing snapping photos of our completed bathroom. Turned out great. I started this project about six weeks ago. Shortly after I started it my back started to bother me so much that I had to go to the doctor to get a cortisone shot in the butt. Really worked great, but I left the heavy work on the bathroom to the pros. Had Fred Q. do the tile work, a fellow from "Natural Stoneworks" install the granite counter top and bowl, and Rich from "Joe the Plumber" do the plumbing. I managed to do the painting and electrical work as well as hang the accessories. I was determined to do all the work myself, but my back just wouldn't cooperate. We had Fred do our master bathroom aswell as our kitchen, hall, downstairs bathroom and entryway, and after watching him all that time, I knew I could do it myself. But the weight of the tiles and all the bending made my choice easy. Now the plumbing wasn't such a big deal to outsource, since I probably would have messed that up. Installed new works in a toilet tank a few years ago and the first time I flushed it, with the top of the tank off to make sure it worked, the parts flew up to the ceiling with the pressure of the water. I still got to hang the backer board around the tub, put the backer board on the floor, move the light fixture and patch the drywall where the old fixture was, paint the ceiling and walls and vanity, frame and hang the mirror, put our wooden boat oar on the wall, and put the shower curtain and metal fixtures on the wall. I now can say "I" did the bathroom over. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. PS - photos from the top are LDub painting, finishing the hanging of the light fixture, Rich working on the tub fixtures, our beach towel line-up, and the new countertop with fixtures and mirror hanging behind it.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The "It's an e-Reader of a Day" Story

It was an ordinary day. I was enjoying Carol's e-reader. An e-reader is a portable electronic device that is designed primarily for the purpose of reading digital books. For Christmas I got her a Kindle from Amazon.com. I researched all the e-readers to see which one I really wanted to get for her. There are over 30 e-readers and have a variety of prices as well as capabilities. The Apple iPad was really neat, but it was $599 and did exactly what our laptop can do. The Sony reader was only $139 and we talked to someone on the cruise we were on and he told us that he can go to his local library and download any book they have in the library for the cost of his library card. The Barnes and Noble Nook had a color display which would be nice for reading magazines and newspapers. It cost $149. The Kindle had an electronic paper display which reflects light like ordinary paper. Not the backlit flat panel display which is used in some readers as well as laptops, cellular phones and digital cameras. Some e-readers have touch screens while others do not. Was the touch screen a big deal. Not really. I got online and pulled up myfavorite travel forum, TravelTalkOnline.com, and posed the question to the readers of the forum. What reader would be the best for my wife? She will use it athome as well as the beach when we travel. Well, within an hour I had about 25 responses. Over 3/4 of the responses told me to get her the Kindle. Great under sunlight which the Nook and iPad are not. Compact and easy to handle as well as easy to download books from anyplace that has WiFi. Most places we stay in the Caribbean, as well as the Jersey Shore, offer free WiFi with the rental. I was sold on their recommendation. A week before Christmas I ordered the Kindle from Amazon.com. I know I probably waited too long to order, but they promised delivery by Christmas for free. And ..... they came through. No only did I get the e-reader, but I got her a really neat leather case to put it in to try to keep sand out of it in the beach bag. Works really neat. You can search for books by your favorite author or by fiction, non-fiction, religious, research, etc. You can get most daily newspapers by the day or the month. Same with your favorite magazines. One neat feature I like is when you order a book you can get a trial run of two or three chapters to see if youlike it before you pay for the book. One of my favorite authors is Stuart Woods and he had numerous titles that I can't remember if I have read them, so I get the sample to see if I can recognize the book before I buy it. Carol has used it for a few books already, but she has about 40 paperbacks that she needs to read. The e-reader will cut down on the weight of her luggage when we travel, since she usually reads 10-12 paperbacks during a two week stay. The Kindle is extremely light in weight. Using the Kindle will take some time to get used to it, since it's tough getting away from holding a paperback in your hands on the beach Takes away the beach experience. She'll get used to it, I'm sure. For now, she is catching up on her paperbacks while I am reading the latest Stuart Woods thriller on the Kindle. And, I'm really enjoying both my thriller and the e-reader. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The "St. Martin, the Friendly Island" Story

It was an ordinary day. Having lunch at Isaac's with Barry and Karen W. who we recently traveled with to St. Martin. Looking at some photos and talking about all the nice people we met during our trip. Everyone we met was extremely friendly. Matter of fact, the island is known as "TheFriendly Island." Started with Lesley Bruce who we rented the car from at the airport. We made arrangements with him a month before our trip and sure enough, he was waiting for us at the airport with a car. Couldn't find him at first so we asked someone at the exit of the airport and they told us to look for the skinniest guy on the island. They were pretty accurate in their description when we finally found him. At the Pelican Marina Resort I waited in line to check in and when I finally made my way to the front of the line I got to meet Robert who checked me in. We had many meetings with him about our luggage, parking, etc. during the week, and he was extremely pleasant every time we talked with him. At the Butterfly farm I got to meet Tito who was very informative and was a joy to meet. He had worked at the horse stable next door to the farm for a few years and decided he wanted to work with the butterflies instead. Offered information about the island as well as the Butterfly Farm. Waiters and waitresses at all the places we ate were all friendly, but the Philadelphia sports fan who waited on our table at Pineapple Pete's was my favorite. At Kali's Beach Bar on Friar's Bay we got to meet some real characters. Started with Bob Barker who yelled to everyone passing to "Come on down." And Coco at the beach store gave us a history of not only the beach, but of her life and the problems she had with her back. Gave Barry some hints as to how to cure his MD. She thought he could use the magnets that she brought down to our beach chairs. Gave us a web site to explore, but when I got home and tried the site, it was in a foreign language. She was just a delightful person. Then Kali himself stopped to chat and welcomed us to his place. In Philipsburg we got to talk to Claudine who worked at the Guavaberry Emporium on Front Street. Neat woman who was featured in the show "Three Sheets" which was on the FLN network. In the show comedian Zane Lamprey drinks his way around St. Martin, stopping to visit with her. Check out the video of the episode at http://www.hulu.com/watch/86502/three-sheets-st-martin. Then there was Barb and Monique who ran the Ice Cream Planet at the resort where we stayed. Just opened it a short time ago and are having a great time serving and meeting the people who come to visit with them at their place. Even with all the troubles we had with out flights both to and from the island, we met many great airline workers. I know they probably aren't residents of St. Martin, but they none the less were still friendly. Carol and I will be returning in May to greet some of these people again as well as make friends with a few more people from the friendly island. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. PS - sorry I don't have photos of all our new friends, but I can share the pix of Kali with you as well as Claudine from the Guavaberry Emporium.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The "Are You Sure I Can't Go To The Vet?" Story

It was an ordinary day. Carol is giving Otis his medicine. I entered a story a year ago about our cat and the medicine that we have to give him. Actually, about both our cats that need medicine. Since that time one of our cats has died and we only have Otis with us. 17 years old now and walks around like me! He is on medicine for high blood pressure which we have to have formulated at a drug store. They take the medicine and add tuna flavoring so it is more tasty and he won't put up a big fuss when you give it to him. Carol uses a syringe and squirts it down his throat. He never causes a problem when it is time for his meds, but at times he is hard to find. He also gets a pill for the same condition. That she sticks in the side of his mouth and pushes down his throat. At times we find that pill in different places in the house. He's pretty sneaky! I add Cosequin, which is the same as Glucosamine, to his breakfast everyday. Much the same stuff that I take everyday to make my joints more pliable. Then we noticed that he was having a harder time getting down from his favorite chair and walking. Took him to the vets and Dr. George gave him a shot of cortisone. Really worked! I told the doc that I have some of the same problems as my cat. He replied that he did also. "Did you ever try the shots on yourself that you just gave to the cat?" I asked him. He looked at me, smiled, and after some thought said, "No!" I'm not sure I believe him. He hesitated just enough that I think he may have done that. Well, Otis is doing great. Carol now has to give him a shot once a month along with his other meds. Wow, we pay more for the cat for his meds than for the both of us combined, and we take quite a few pills a day. A few weeks ago, after doing demolition on my bathroom I'm redoing, I had a hard time getting out of my favorite chair. I called the doctor, the person doctor, and went to see him. HE GAVE ME A CORTISONE SHOT! See, I told you it is the same thing that my vet gave the cat, only a bigger dose. And ..... it really worked. The next day I had no pain. Great stuff! It reminded me of the Seinfeld episode when Cramer took his dog to the vet and told the vet he had a cough. He figured he would use the advice and meds for his own cough, since he didn't have the money to go to a regular doctor. Worked! May have to stand in line once a month when Carol gets out the needle for Otis!! It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The "Did You Ever Have A Lucky Day? Story

It was an ordinary day. Carol and I are headed to Chesapeake City, Maryland to make a swap. I have my altered Polaroid photos at the Vulcan's Rest in the city and they are not doing very well at this location. Maybe because it is a yarn shop! Years ago I started with my photos at the McKeown Gallery on Bohemia Ave., the main street of the city. Geraldine McKeown is a watercolor artist and she and her husband opened a shop near the C & D Canal in the city. I asked if I could put my work in her gallery on consignment and they agreed. I did well, but a few years later they closed and the owner of the home sold it. I then searched for another store in the city and found April Parcher who agreed to sell my photos in her gift shop, one block off Bohemia. In a few more years she closed. Starting to get the idea that maybe no one will want my photos! Well, I found Margaret who owned the yarn shop right down the street. She had some wall space and agreed to take the photos. Last year she only sold THREE!! Didn't even pay for the gas to deliver them to Maryland. Then a new shop opened in the original house where the McKeown Gallery was located. It is called Dragonfly and specializes in glass, pottery, and home. I asked the new owner, Jennifer V., who is younger than my children, if she may be interested in my work. I told her a new location with more foot traffic for the artwork would help my photos sell. Sure enough, she looked at my samples and marked the photos she wanted me to prepare for her shop. Today, we first stopped at Margaret's shop and picked up the remaining photos she had. She knew my plans and wished me well. Next, the Dragonfly for delivery. Jennifer has her dog "Meechie" by her cash register. More to keep him out of trouble then for protection. He is a Sheppard mix and probably as old as me (in dog years). She also has a cockatiel named "Noelle" that sits on the cash register. In the archway between the front room and back room of the gallery she has marks on the door jam showing the heights of all her nieces and nephews as well as "Meechie." Doesn't have "Noelle"s height yet. We had a bone for the dog and some conversation with the bird, then she looked at my work and said she had just the spot for them. She asked if we were going to walk around town for some time and could stop in an hour. Lunch was on the agenda, so we headed to the Chesapeake Inn. After a great meal of lobster grilled cheese sandwiches and fries with Chesapeake Bay seasoning, we returned to see Jennifer. There, on the wall above the fireplace in the main room, illuminated by spotlights, were my photos. Boy did they look great. Five minutes later she had a customer inquiring about them. I think I picked the right location. I told her what I expected price wise for them on consignment, but she pulled out her checkbook and wrote me a check for the photos hanging on the wall. Don't you just love having a lucky day!! I gave her my card with my phone number and told her I hope she calls for more in a week or two. We parted, me with a big smile on my face. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The "Hazards of Travel" Story

It was an ordinary day. Finally got our suitcase back. We left for vacation with Barry and Karen W. on January 29. I already wrote about the airline losing Barry's bag on the flight to St. Martin, but it didn't end there. On Saturday, February 5th we returned home. Minus everyone's luggage. US Airlines did it again. Our flight was supposed to leave St. Martin a 5:50 PM. By 5:00 PM it wasn't even in St. Martin. It had left Philadelphia late because of the weather. I can understand that because we saw the reports on TV. We finally departed St. Martin at 6:30 PM. Not bad turnaround time to clean and fuel the plane. But, our connecting flight back to Baltimore was going to be tough to catch. We arrived in Philadelphia with 30 minutes to get through immigrations, customs, and security again before our flight left. Then I found out that the terminal for our Baltimore flight wasn't even in the same building. We did manage to get an electric cart to take us most of the way and they held the plane an extra half hour for us. Too bad they didn't tell the luggage people about the connecting flight. When we got to Baltimore our luggage was nowhere to be found. Finally filled out a claims form and headed home. We had one large suitcase and Barry and Karen had two. They told us they would be delivered within 48 hours. Yeah, right! Well, Sunday about 4:00 PM I got a call from someone who was delivering suitcases. They were in Maryland, but would be to my place sometime before 11:00 PM. Would I be up they wanted to know. I will, I told them. At 10:00 PM there was a knock on the door and there was my luggage, delivered by a man and his wife who do that for a living. "How do you get to Holtwood?" they wanted to know. Seems that is their last stop and the home of Karen and Barry. I called Karen and Barry to tell them their luggage was on the way. Don't go to bed, yet. Can you guess who I won't be flying with anymore? It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The "Fussing and Fighting Never Stops, Almost" Story

It was an ordinary day. Kids were fighting again. I'm sure if you have a few children you will recognize this story. Seems they are always fighting or picking on one another. And, the youngest, Tad always got the brunt of the fighting. One time I took him to the barber and the barber cut his hair that it looked like he put a bowl on his head and cut around the bottom of it. Something like the Amish boys in Lancaster County wear. Well, that's all the other two needed. "Hey, Bowls," they yelled at him when we got back home. To this day they still call him Bowls, but he doesn't cry anymore like he would back then. Always was a lot of pushing and shoving behind our backs. Our oldest, Derek, naturally was the biggest and could push and shove the hardest, but one day, in our basement TV room, he and our daughter, Brynn, got into a disagreement and she grabbed the metal play cash register and whacked him across the head. Talk about blood! Wow, right on the top front of his head was a big gash. He came running up the stairs, yelling. She was right behind him yelling!! Saw what had happened, didn't even ask how it happened, since I already could guess, and grabbed a towel to stop the blood from flowing. Took a look at it and told Carol that maybe we should take him to the hospital for stitches. She said, "Why don't you just take him down the alley to the guy that moved in a month ago. I heard he was a doctor. He could tell you if it needed stitches." OK, will do. I knew him as "Rick", but didn't know what kind of doctor he was. We were going to find out right now. Turns out Rick was a real medical doctor and said he would be glad to take a look. By now the bleeding had stopped and he said it didn't need any stitches. Just be careful not to hit it again for a few days. Now that would be the hard part. Well, he survived the next few days without a fight with his siblings, but didn't survive the knock on the head after winning a big high school baseball game. That cut needed a plastic surgeon. You can read about that story in my archives; "Ecstasy to Tragedy", 11/o3/09. The fighting has ceased with age and now they are all the best of friends. So, if your kids seems to always be picking on each other and fighting, it will eventually end. Maybe! And ..... Tad's brother and sister still call him "Bowls". It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. PS - photo from 1976.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The "Trying Out The New Lens: Part 3" Story

It was an ordinary day. On my screen are the final photos that I have chosen to share with everyone. One or two of them I may enter in a photo contest soon. Just a little different. Time to download them to my blog. Hope you enjoy this edition of my favorite photos from my recent trip. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Stark image of lunch patrons at Kali's Beach Bar on Friars Bay.

The colors of the Caribbean displayed in front of a store.

Thought he was going to hit me as he flew overhead. Even with the wide angle lens I couldn't get all of the Pelican.

Front of the Guavaberry Emporium on Front Street in Philipsburg. They have some of the best rum on the island.

Gorgeous architecture along the boardwalk in Philipsburg.

Always have to take a flower photo, since the flowers bloom all year in the Caribbean.

Our final sunset of the week taken from the balcony of our condo.

An American flag flies outside the "Up on the Key" beach bar in Pinel Island.

Along the waterfront of Great Bay in Philipsburg.

On the way home! Customer waiting for her plane to arrive created a striking image.