Extraordinary Stories

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Thursday, June 30, 2011

The "A Gift from the Heart" Story

It was an ordinary day. Recently I posted a story about my wedding anniversary; 44 years to the same woman. And ..... we had agreed not to buy presents for each other, since we had just come back from a Caribbean vacation and were heading to the Jersey shore for a week long vacation with the entire family. Well, on our anniversary, Carol hands me a card and a GIFT. "I know we said no presents, but I just had to get you these," she said. "Besides," she continued, "you probably already know about these, since I had to charge it." She figured I saw the post on the credit card website. But, I hadn't! Was really surprised when I opened ...... 3 - 7 oz. bags of personalized M&Ms. She ordered them from the M&M website. She sent a photo of the two of us to them and they produced chocolate M&Ms with our photos on them. Four different varieties in water-based ink that I assume was OK to eat. One featured me, one featured her, one said "June 17", and one said "44 Years". And, they were in aqua, pink, and white, the same colors as the bridesmaids dresses in our wedding. Really neat gift! She said, "I know that one bag would have been enough, but you had to buy three bags." And, each bag cost $9.99. Still not too bad for a nice gift. But, shipping and handling added $20 on to the bill. Seems they had to ship them overnight so they wouldn't melt in a hot delivery truck. Well, they're all gone now, but did take a few photos before I ate them all. Check 'em out and see if you don't agree that they were "A gift from the heart." It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The "Dunkin Away!" Story

It was an ordinary day. Making toast and cocoa for breakfast. In the winter I often start my day with this for breakfast. Good way to warm up in the morning. Pop 2 pieces of white bread in the toaster, fill the cup with non-fat milk and pop that in the microwave, and grab the Chocolate Nesquik. Butter the toast, put jelly on top of the butter, put 2 big tablespoons of Nesquik in the hot milk and Viola! Breakfast!! Start dunking. Don't all of you dunk? You gotta! I dunk everything, absolutely everything. Birthday cake, or any cake as a matter of fact, always needs a cup of milk to dunk it in. If the host of where ever you are for the birthday party doesn't have cups, use your glass. All you need is milk and a spoon to get the cake out of the cup or glass. I buy my cookies according to how well they will retain milk when I dunk them. The cheap store brand sandwich cremes are some of the best. Dunk them in a cup of milk and in no time they are ready to eat. Carol know exactly which cookies to bake for me for Christmas. Snicker Doodles and sugar cookies dunk the best, but I do make an exception for her chocolate chip cookies. They have to remain in the milk longer, but they are still my favorite. Cookies like sand tarts are useless. They don't retain any milk. But then, all you dunkards know that, right? Donuts are the same. The cake donuts work best, but I can sacrifice and dunk a Bavarian cream if I have to. And, you can also use hot tea for dunking if that is all you can find. Works just as well. I also enjoy dunking bread or crackers in my soup when I go out for a meal. Does it ever embarrass me if others see me dunking and eating my cookie or donut with a spoon? Nah! We only get to go around once in this life so enjoy it. I certainly do. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The "Luigi is Turning in His Grave" Story

It was an ordinary day. Trying to decide where we would eat supper. For the last five years my kids and grandkids have been vacationing in Ocean City, NJ. Each year we stay at the same four bedroom condo on 9th Street. Half a block to the beach. And, every year we all share a meal with one another. Carol and I start the week with a salad on Saturday evening. Probably the healthiest meal we have all week. Our daughter, Brynn, and her family, as well as our one son, Derek, and his family also bring a meal. After all these meals, there is always enough left-overs for one more meal. So that leaves us with three more meals to complete our week at the Jersey shore. Hey, pizza is always a good choice and we usually have a meal at the Food Court on the Boardwalk. For the last meal we try to eat in a restaurant. This year someone suggested we eat at Luigi's which seems to be an Ocean City landmark. Place is Italian, as if you couldn't have guessed, and was opened in 1958. We pass it every year as we enter the town. Located at 9th and West streets. OK, so I Google the place on my laptop and ....... holey moley! Over 75% of the reviews were negative! Place smells like manure, sauce comes out of ajar, terrible service, wouldn't accommodate my son who has food allergies, and the most telling; Italians will be appalled - Luigi is turning in his grave. Cross that off the list!! The night before we had passed a restaurant on the boardwalk as we traveled to Wonderland at the north end of the boardwalk. The "Ocean Cafe" was located at 720 Boardwalk (neat address) and was also Italian. It opened in the summer of 2009. We arrived at the restaurant at 6:00 and immediately got a table for nine. Could this be a bad sign. There were no reviews of this place on my computer, so we knew very little about it. Food was very good, plenty of it, reasonable price, attentive service, and it arrive hot and promptly. The place was very large and can accommodate quite a few people. I naturally had the cheese ravioli which I had a hard time finishing. Carol and I shared a bowl of one of the best soups ever: tomato crab bisque. Truly amazing. I will continue with - We will definitely return next year! It was great. The soup was the highlight of the meal for us. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The "Memories of the Sting Ray Motor Inn" Story

It was an ordinary day. Riding bikes on the boardwalk in Ocean City, NJ. Always brings back memories. I went to Ocean City as a child, Carol and I took our three kids to Ocean City when they were children, and now we are visiting with our kids and grandkids. Wow, that's quite a few memories. We passed the "Beach Club Hotel" at 1280 Boardwalk, on the south side of the boardwalk, pulled the bikes to the side, and starting reminising about the place. "What was the name of this place when we stayed here years ago," Carol said. "I'm sure I'll remember it, but I can't think of it right now," I replied. That seems to happen quite a bit as I get older. The "Beach Club Hotel" sits right on the boardwalk and has 82 rooms, a restaurant, and a pool that you can see as you walk past on the boardwalk. It opened in 1970 as "The Sting Ray Motor Inn" (I finally broke down and called them to get the name) and was renovated in 2007 when the name was changed to it's present name. Carol and I stayed there in October of 1973. My mom and day babysat our two-year-old child Derek so that we could get away for a long weekend. We had an end room on the northern end of the top floor. Beautiful fall weekend!! The monarch butterflies were migrating south and we sat on the balcony and watched as they filled the air. The sun was shining brightly so we spent time on the beach and around the pool. And ..... we rode bikes on the boardwalk, as we were doing today. The memories! Oh yeah, we did a few other things, also. On July 4, 1974 our daughter Brynn was born. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. PS - photos from the top are: Sting Ray Motor Inn postcard from when it first opened in the early 70s, "Beach Club" restaurant on the left, hotel rooms in front of the pool - we stayed in the top right room in 1973, view of the pool from our room.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The "Killer Skeeters" Story

It was an ordinary day. Carol legs are covered with mosquito bites. We have been on the island of St. Martin for two days now and the skeeters are flocking to her. Why? They love sweet things, and she falls into that category. Now, she’s not happy at all about it, since she had a hard time sleeping last night with all the scratching she had to do. Didn't bother me a bit, since I can sleep through anything! We had purchased some Off Deep Woods Sportsmen repellent, but didn’t realize that the mosquitoes were as bad as they were until after she was eaten alive. Me? I watch them land on me and take off just as fast. Must be the over abundance of testosterone in my body! Since we wanted to use our outdoor space at our villa, we went searching throughout the house for anything that would repel the buggers. Found the usual citronella candles which worked minimally, but the only thing that really worked was the Off! Oh yeah, the electronic racket really worked!! Carol found it in a cabinet and wasn’t sure what it was. Had a little black button on the side of it and when she pushed it in, a small red light lit on the handle. While she was holding the button in, she touched the “net” on the top of the racket and ...... WHAT A JOLT! “It’s electrified,” she said. She carried it with her for the next two weeks when we were at the villa. Swinging at the mosquitoes with the racket really worked. You could actually see the smoke coming off the racket and smell something cooking when she hit them with it. While we were in St. Martin, I read TravelTalkOnline (TTOL) ever evening to see what was going on on the island that we might be missinmg. TTOL is a travel forum where you can submit questions or help people out with answers and information. I started to read about quite a few people who had returned home and had symptoms of Dengue Fever. Dengue is a viral disease transmitted by the dengue mosquito and found in most tropical areas of the world. St. Martin would fall into that category. The disease may cause illness ranging from a mild fever to a severe, even fatal condition known as dengue hemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome. The more I read, the more it got my attention. I guess the FATAL part was what got my attention. Then I read about a vaccine that was developed in 2009 by France's Sanofi Pasteur and is getting very good results in a clinical study being made in Thailand. If all goes well, it will be released in the US in 2014. Great news for the deadly disease. As vacation went on, we searched for more ways to battle the potential killer skeeters. Found a website called “Snopes.com” that published a letter that said to use Listerine around the area where you are sitting and even on your body. Someone else wanted to know if Mint Listerine will do the same! Another letter said to use a dinner plate, fill with water and add a few drops of Joy dishwashing soap and that will attract them and they will fall in the water and drop dead. But then, as I read on, it said that these are urban legends and the only real repellent is DEET and will repel mosquitoes more effectively than solutions intended for completely different purposes. The Off! Deep Woods Sportsmen we brought with us had 25% DEET and was very effective. The smell was a bit overwhelming at times, but much better than having to battle a deadly disease. We were lucky, I guess. We survived and will know better on our next trip. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. PS - photos from the top are the mosquito that is the carrier of the Dengue Fever, best thing we found to fight the skeeters, and Carol reading and playing "skeeter pong" at the same time.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The "You Just Gotta See This" Story

It was an ordinary day. Just got an email from my longtime friend, Bill, who lives in Arizona. He had read my story of May 16 of this year about Buddy Holly and thought I might enjoy seeing a video he had found on You Tube. Wow! Pretty neat. The video is based on Don McLean's song "American Pie". Don was born in 1949 in New York. Both his father and his grandfather bore the same name as him. As a teenager he became interested in folk music and by the age of 16 had his first guitar. In 1963 he entered Villanova University and became friends with singer/songwriter Jim Croce. In 1971 he recorded his second album titled "American Pie." The title song in the album made him an international star. "American Pie" is a sprawling, impressionistic ballad inspired by the deaths of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. Richardson (The Big Bopper) who died in a plane crash in 1959. The song reached #1 on the U.S. Billboard Magazine charts for four weeks in 1972 and was his most successful release. In 2001 the song was voted #5 in a poll of the 365 Songs of the Century. Songs ahead of his in the poll were "Over the Rainbow", "White Christmas", This Land is Your Land", and "Respect". In 2002 the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. The You Tube video took place in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Roger Ebert calls the international sensation "The greatest music video ever made." Check it out and see for yourself. And ... you must watch the entire thing! It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The "Don't You Have A Jeweler?" Story

It was an ordinary day. We had just come back from having lunch at Chesapeake City. Carol and I stopped in "Dragonfly" where I have some of my photographs for sale. We were greeted by Jennifer, the owner" who introduced us to her parents. Seems that they enjoy traveling the Caribbean as much as Carol and I do and had just come back from a trip to St. Martin. We got to talking about all the things we both enjoy doing while on the island and then Jennifer's mom asked Carol, "Who do you have as a jeweler on the island?" Wow! Didn't know you need one. I can't quite remember Carol's response, but we passed on to other subjects. upon leaving the store Carol said to me, "Well, I guess I'm going to have to get me a jeweler when we go on our next trip." And she did!! Just got back recently from St. Martin and on one of the many days that it rained or was cloudy, we traveled to the Dutch capital of Philipsburg and walked up and down Front Street for something to do. I happened, by mistake, to mention to her that DK Gems, which was the next store on our walk, was the favorite jewelry store of most of the members of TravelTalkOnline (TTOL), a travel forum the I read all the time. In the store we went and after the diamond necklace we purchased from the male employee, "Vicki", we now had a jeweler. Simple as that!! "Wow, I can't believe we didn't have a jeweler before now," I said to her. "Just lucky we found one you liked." I must admit that Jeff Mohnani, who is part owner with his sister Deepti and Raj and Kamal, was very interesting to talk to while Carol looked at all the jewels in the store. He is a certified Gemologist who, after mentioned that I read about him all the time on TTOL, treated us like family and allegedly gave us a great price. I must admit that I felt comfortable making a purchase from him and I'm sure he will be our jeweler in the future. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. PS - photo of LDub, Carol and Jeff in DK Gems.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The "Your Mouth May Speak More Than Words" Story

It was an ordinary day. Was telling Carol and our friends, Jerry and Just Sue, who were visiting from State College, about being able to sniff our sickness. Certain sicknesses and diseases cause your breath to give off unusual odors. If you know what the different smells mean, you may be able to diagnose a sickness or disease and seek treatment before it it too late. Now bad breath or halitosis, which is usually caused by bacteria in the mouth, is not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about kidney, liver, intestine and even pulmonary diseases. Certain medicines and drugs may also cause bad breath. Well, I'm telling them that bad breath may help to determine an illness and I look at them and they are all holding their cupped hands up to their mouth, breathing hard into them, and trying to smell their breath. Pretty funny sight, especially for Jerry who can't smell a lick anyway. OK, they wanted me to give them some examples. A fruity odor to the breath occurs as the body attempts to get rid of excess acetone through the breathing. This is a sign of ketoacidosis, which may occur in diabetes. It is a potentially life-threatening condition. Breath that smells like feces can occur with prolonged vomiting, especially when there is a bowel obstruction. If your breath has an ammonia-like odor (also described as urine-like or "fishy") you may have a kidney disorder or it may be related to lung cancer. If a pregnant woman's breath smells like lighter fluid, she may have Preclampsia. If your breath smells like ether (any idea what that smells like?) you may be schizophrenic. All these smells created by our breath occur when sickness or disease alters cell metabolism. If you happen to notice any unusual odors it's best to call your doctor who will certainly recommend a throat culture. Oh, by the way, If your urine smells like cheese or a locker room you probably have a urinary tract infection and if your skin smells like gasoline you may want to head to the dermatologist to be checked for melanoma. Life's not easy is it? And getting old isn't what it's cracked up to be. But, I guess we don't have any other options. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The "Watching Time Go By" Story

It was an ordinary day. Going through a few more files and boxes of items from my mom and dad. Dad died almost 4 years ago and I'm still finding really neat "stuff" that was part of his life. Found a manila envelope loaded with old watches. Some look valuable while others look like junk. Part of the find was a Westclox pocket ben with a horse fob on it. Probably made in the 1920s as far as I know. Still in working condition. The value? Who knows! My dad was a watchmaker almost all his life. He graduated from high school in mid-1937 and started working at Meiskey Jewelry Store on Chestnut Street in downtown Lancaster, PA. During the years that followed World War II he went to school on the GI bill at The Ezra F. Bowman Technical School on the corner of East Chestnut Street and North Duke Streetin Lancaster. This school was founded in 1887 and offered courses in watchmaking and repairing, jewelry work, and engraving. Not sure what courses my dad took, but he did quite a bit of watch repair while working for Meiskey's store as well as Sheeley's Jewelry Store in his later years. The Bowman building is still at the same corner, but is now apartments. At the time, The Hamilton Watch Company was one of the biggest and well known watch companies in the world. It was founded in 1892 along the Columbia Pike in Lancaster. Dad did quite a bit of work on Hamilton watches and many of the watches I found were Hamiltons. Hamilton lasted until 1969 when they joined the Buren Watch Company from Switzerland and moved the company to Switzerland. The building on Columbia Pike is now known as the Watch Tower Apartments. In 1957, Hamilton introduced the world's first electric watch, the Hamilton Electric 500. When I graduated from high school, my mom and dad presented me with a Hamilton electric watch. A top notch gift in 1962. Still have it today, but it isn't in working condition. Mom and dad had watches and clocks everywhere in their house. On the top of the refrigerator was a large tray that was always filled with watches that dad's friends would give him to have repaired. At times he would work on them at home, but most times he took them to Meiskey's to repair them. I grew up hearing constant chimes from the many clocks that filled the shelves in the living room. I met my wife, Carol, through dad working at Meiskey's. Carol's mother joined the workforce at the store in the early 60s and through her, I met Carol. For Christmas one year mom and dad gave Carol and me a Seth Thomas mantel clock. Still have it. Another year mom and dad gave Carol an antique wood mantel clock that was made by the New Haven Clock Company. Dated sometime in the mid-1980s. What do I do with all the time pieces that I find as I search the boxes of goodies? Not quite sure, yet. But the timeless treasures are certainly interesting to explore and wonder who might have had them in their home, in their pocket or on their wrist. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. PS - pictures from the top are: my dad as a young watch repairman, Bowman Technical School, Westclox pocket ben, Hamilton Watch pocket watch, Hamilton Watch Company in Lancaster, a few of the watches that I found in a manila envelope, my Hamilton electric watch that I received as a graduation present in 1962, and Carol's New Haven mantel clock.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The "Day on the Canal" Story

It was an ordinary day. Headed to the Chesapeake for a day of relaxation and laughs with our friends from State College, Jerry and Just Sue. Every so often they visit and we head to the bay for lunch and some sightseeing. Naturally the laughs always are part of the day, since Jerry and I have been friends since 1st grade. And, we are never disappointed. I had made lunch arrangements at the Chesapeake Inn in Chesapeake City for 1:00 PM. We left about 9:30 AM for the hour and a half trip to Chesapeake City. We decided we would make a few stops along the way if we saw anything interesting. We traveled through Quarryville and then picked up Rt. 472S which takes you through Oxford, PA and then to Rt. 213S to Elkton, MD. Chesapeake City is about 5 or 6 miles south of Elkton. Got there by 11:00 AM and decided to continue south on Rt. 213 to a few other bay points. Along the way I handed Jerry a CD we all wanted to hear and I ejected the old one. As he was holding it he dropped it between the seat and the center console. You think we could find that d*#m CD. OK, when we stop we'll find it. As we were heading over the bridge at the C&D Canal I looked to my right and saw an immense ship coming our way. Quick made a U-turn after crossing the bridge and headed back over the bridge and to the right to what used to be Schaeffer's Canal House, right on the water of the canal. Out of the car and to the water to see the ship barely make it under the bridge. Car freighter from Japan that was traveling the canal from Baltimore to somewhere in Delaware. Neat start to our journey! And then, we climbed on to the floor of the car and finally found the CD under the BACK seat. Back over the bridge to Locust Point, MD where we vacationed years ago. Still looked the same. Onward to Kentmore Park to see other places that we had rented years before. We needed to cross the Sassafras River to reach Kentmore Park and had to wait while the drawbridge was up. One of the few times in our life that we ever had to wait. By now we are getting hungry so back to Chesapeake City for lunch. Wouldn't you know it,the drawbridge was up again. Finally arrive and have an enjoyable lunch. Time for some sightseeing in Chesapeake City. Busy place today with a wedding about to take place and many tourists walking the streets. And then, here comes another immense car freighter. This one waving a USA flag and heading the opposite direction. Seldom do we see ships of that magnitude, and to see two in the same day was exciting. Fun, but tiring day on the Chesapeake. More memories to share with our friends. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. PS - photos from the top are: Japanese ship coming under the C&D Canal Bridge in Chesapeake City, searching for The Merrymen's CD, At last!, waiting for the drawbridge over the Sassafras River on Rt. 213 to go back down, street leading to the canal, old storefront in Chesapeake City, wedding photos along the canal, and final USA ship passing under the bridge.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The "Secret Spot" Story

It was an ordinary day. Very interesting ordinary day. Today Carol and I visited the Marigot market in St Martin. Marigot is the capital of the French side of the island of St. Martin and they have a market which is open most every day, but is officially open on Wednesday and Saturday. On those days the produce and fish vendors have their stands open as well as the numerous tent vendors which sell just about everything, but mostly junk or tourist items. T-shirts are 3 for $10, hats are $5, and the list goes on and on. One of those tent stands is our favorite in the market. Called "Secret Spot" and is run by Claudine and her husband, although we have never met her husband. They produce artistic T-shirts of the finest quality. All original designs and are hand-printed by silk-screening. Ah, that's why I'm interested. I taught Graphic Arts and Photography in high school for 35 years and we did quite a bit of silk screen printing. Had a great conversation with her about the equipment that they have. They have a four-unit revolving station so they can keep perfect register when printing shirts with up to four colors on them. And they also have a dryer to help cure the ink after it is applied. Pretty much the same set-up that I had in my classroom. Well, I just love the designs and the quality of the shirts. And they last, and last. Carol got me started on their shirts a few years ago when she bought one and after we got home, I wished I had purchased one also. We have been making stops at Secret Spot since then and add to our collection every year. Shirts are even certified by the "local product" label. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. PS - photos from the otp are: open air tent market in Marigot, Carol talking with Claudine in her stand "Secret Spot", samples of long sleeve and short sleeve shirts she has to offer, and my collection of "Secret Spot" shirts.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The "Woods Boys Head to the Ballpark" Story

It was an ordinary day. Watching the Barnstormers play the Road Warriors with my two sons, Derek and Tad as well as my grandson Caden at Clipper Magazine Stadium. The Woods' boy's day out. The Barnstormers are Lancaster's professional baseball team and they play in the Freedom Division of the Atlantic League. The Atlantic League is divided into the Freedom and the Liberty divisions and each division has 4 teams. The Road Warriors have no home ball park and play all their games on the road. The team is necessary so that there are an even number of teams in each division. The Atlantic League is an independent league, not associated with any major league baseball team. Most all of the players have played in organized ball with quite a few of them making it to the big leagues. Many are in their declining years and just love baseball too much to give it up while others were in the low minor leagues and were cut, but hope by continuing in the independent league, they will get called back to the minors. A few days ago, the shortstop from the Barnstormers was recalled to the minor leagues and Lancaster now has a new shortstop. The manager of the team is Butch Hobson who played third base for the Boston Red Sox and eventually became their manager for three years. Other managers that have been in Lancaster were former second baseman Tommy Herr and outfielder Von Hayes. Lancaster has a beautiful stadium that can hold somewhere between 5,000 and 6,000 fans. Today there are maybe 1,000. Place looks dead! And, today is Cylo's birthday. Cylo is the team mascot and looks much the same as the Phillies Phanatic, only a bright orange-red. Really neat costume and the kids love him. Matter of fact, so do the adults. People line up to have their photo taken with him and to get his autograph. As with the Phanatic, he does not speak. Well, the game started and some very young boy sang the national anthem. Great job! An hour later, as the game was dragging on and getting more boring, the dark clouds rolled in. We were sitting in a sky box. Are you impressed? Tad works for Intelligencer Printing Company and he got free tickets for us for the game. All the popcorn, chips and peanuts as well as sodas, ice tea, lemonade, and beer that you wanted for free. Almost. The beer was gone in about 10 minutes and then you had to buy your own. There were 16 people in the box and it was directly above the third base bag. Great seats. Well, when the rain came we decided that we were done for the day. Game was only in the 5th inning with the Road Warriors ahead by a few runs. We did have a good time and I managed to walk around the park for an inning taking photos, which follow. It was really a big event for the family since it was Caden's first live professional baseball game. And, he's a real fan already. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. PS - photos follow.

Cylo delivering the 1st pitch on his birthday.
View from centerfield of the stadium.
View from behind homeplate of the stadium.
Barnstormer pitcher Cesar Carrillo, former major leaguer, delivering a pitch.
Barnstormer getting a hit.
Dragging the infield between innings.
An encounter in the hall with Cylo.
One of the many things that you can do at the game.
Caden enjoying himself at the game.
Stadium as we ran to the car after the rains came.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The "Boat Nazi of SXM" Story

It was an ordinary day. Standing on the pier in Anse Marcel waiting for the ferry to take us to Pinel Island for the day. Always one of our favorite day trip destinations when we travel to St. Martin. The ride is approximately 10 minutes in a boat that they pack about 60-75 people into and hope that it will not take on water on the way over to Pinel. When you reach Pinel you have to be careful that when all the passengers on the one side of the boat step off at the same time, that the boat will not tip over the opposite way. Payment of $7.00 is collected as you prepare to enter the boat. That is the round-trip fare. Was only $5.00 when we first started visiting Pinel about 10 years ago. Seems that the same gentleman has collected the money for the last 10 years. I'm not sure how he got his nickname, but he is called the "Boat Nazi." His left arm is disabled, but doesn't keep him from blowing his whistle and collecting the money. He still pilots the boats to Pinel and barks directions the entire way. "Last boat back is 4:00 PM. Don't be late or you'll have to wait until tomorrow to come back. Don't stand up or try to get off before I have the boat against the dock." Blowing the whistle the whole time!! How he does all this with one arm is amazing. Seems to really enjoy what he is doing. Knows he has the advantage over his passengers, since he controls the ferry! My kind of guy. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. PS - photos from the top are: "The Boat Nazi", collection of the passage fee, boat load heading to Pinel.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The "6 More Years Until the Big One!" Story

It was an ordinary day. Almost! Our anniversary!! 44 years ago today, June 17, 1967, I was sitting on the front step at 944 Janet Avenue at 8:00 AM relaxing before my brother Steve and I would have to get dressed for the wedding. Steve was my best man that day. I have written about my wedding before and the fact that I swore it was at 11:00 AM when it really was at 2:00 PM at St. James Episcopal Church in downtown Lancaster, PA. Hey, I may have forgotten the time, but I have never forgotten the date! Bought my card a few weeks ago to give to my lovely wife of 44 years and even picked up a double jar of peanuts at Costco for her. Pretty neat gift, huh? We did some jewelry shopping during our recent visit to St. Martin for our anniversary, so the peanuts will have to fill the bill for today. Every Sunday in the Lancaster Sunday News they feature a section which lists engagements and anniversaries. Fun to see who has been married for 50 years. Used to be you had to have been married for 50 years to get your article and photo in, but with the recession, they will take any amount of years as long as you got the money to pay for it. Every now and then someone will announce their 5th or maybe 10th anniversary. Hey, that's not a milestone! Now 50, 60, 70, etc., they are milestones. When Carol and I celebrated our 25th, our kids gave us a party which was really neat, but we wouldn't have thought to put it in the paper. Not 50, yet!! In six more years we will do that. And those years will come and go quickly. We need to search for a photo for the paper that makes us look really young!! Happy Anniversary, dear. Wow, how old are we?? Don't even want to think about it. Besides, we're only as old as we think we are, and I feel young today. Love, LDub. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. PS - pixs from the top are: the bride before the wedding, getting coated with punchings from a computer machine, and waiting to leave the church to visit Carol's sick Grandmother at the hospital. Check out the Buddy Holly look-a-like glasses.