Extraordinary Stories

Acting (1) Adoption (1) Adventure (733) Advertisement (2) Aging (1) Agriculture (33) Alphabet (4) Americana (52) Amish (16) Animals (25) Antiques (5) Architecture (19) Art (137) Art? (5) Arts and Crafts (64) Athletics (3) Automobiles (23) Awards (1) Banking (2) Barn raising (1) Baseball (62) Basketball (1) Beaches (83) Bed & Breakfast (1) Bee Keeping (4) Beer & Breweries (1) Birds (2) Birthdays (29) Bookbinding (3) Books (7) Boxing (1) Brother Steve (7) Buisiness (1) Business (2) Canals (1) Cancer (5) Candy (19) Caribbean Islands (1) Caribbean Villas (15) Chesapeake Bay (57) Children (13) Chocolate (1) Christmas (28) Church Adventures (103) Cigars (1) Circus (1) Civil Rights (2) Civil War (2) Classic Cars (5) Coin club (1) Collections (65) Comedy (2) Comic Books (1) Commercials (1) Comnservation (2) Conservation (32) Craftsmanship (8) Creamsicle the Cat (11) Crime (8) Crisis (256) Cruise Travel (5) Danger (10) Daughter Brynn (50) Daughter-In-Law Barb (7) Death (2) Death and Dying (28) Downsizing (2) Dunking (2) Education (28) Energy (11) Entertainment (151) Entrepreneurial (59) Eternal Life (2) Facebook (4) Factories (1) Fads (6) Family (238) Farming (20) Father (40) Father Time (64) Favorites (43) Firefighting (1) Flora and Fauna (24) Fond Memories (443) Food and Cooking (141) Food and Drink (72) Football (4) Forgetfullness (2) Former Students (4) Framing (9) Friends (303) Fun (1) Fundraiser (6) Giving (3) Golf (3) Grandkids (119) Grandparents (2) Grandview Heights (27) Great service (1) Growing Old (2) Growing Up (172) Handwriting (3) Hat Making (2) Hawaii (45) Health and Well Being (11) Health Hazards (72) Heartbreak (1) Heroes (9) High School (123) History (478) Hockey (1) Holidays (106) Home construction (7) Humorous (67) Ice Cream (3) Inventions (27) Islands (1) Italy (12) Jewelry (3) Job Related (60) Just Bloggin' (52) Just Wondering (10) Juvenile Diabetes (5) Labor (3) Lancaster County (367) Law Breakers (2) LDubs In-Laws (3) Life's Lessons (150) Lists (68) Lititz (13) Love (3) Magic (1) Marching (1) Market (2) Medical (127) Middle School (1) Mother (49) Movies (2) Music (84) My Brother (15) My Wife (254) Neighbors (5) New Year's Day (2) Nuisance (3) Obsolescence (4) Old Age (1) Pain and Suffering (3) Panama Canal Cruise (13) Parish Resource Center (14) Patriotism (1) Penmanship (1) Pets and Animals (94) Photography (191) Playing Trains (2) Politics (27) Postal Service (1) Presidents (5) Pride (2) Printing (64) Protesting (2) Public Service (59) Questionnaire (1) Race relations (1) Reading (1) Rock & Roll (1) Rodents (1) Sand (1) Scouting (2) Shakespeare (1) Shopping (19) Simple Pleasures (115) Slavery (2) Small Towns (3) Snow (1) Son Derek (26) Son Tad (29) Son-In-Law Dave (22) Soup (1) Sports (123) St. Martin/Sint Maarten (241) Stained Glass (1) Story-Telling (20) Stragers (1) Strangers (1) Stress (1) Stuff (2) Surfing (1) Tattoos (1) Teaching (42) Technology (75) The Arts (3) The Beach House (61) The Shore (78) This and That (13) Timekeeping (3) Tools and Machines (23) Toys and Games (30) Track & Field (1) Trains (10) Transportation (10) Travel (2) Trending (2) TV Favorites (16) Underground Railroad (3) USA (1) Vacation and Travel (520) Vehicles (79) War (6) Watches and Watchmaking (2) Weather (46) Weddings (1) Wisdom (3) Yearbooks (3)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

The "Chasin' Another Week" Story

It was an ordinary day. Checking my emails. Had one from VRBO, which is Vacation Rentals By Owner. We rented a place through this website for an upcoming fall vacation to Barbados with our friends Jerry and Just Sue. This email declared "St. Martin (SXM) Escapes for the Fall." Wow, maybe Carol and I should head back down to our favorite island for my birthday. We have been in various exotic settings for Carol's birthday over the last 10 or so years, maybe it's time for me. But, how much would it cost. After all, we are going to Barbados late fall, already. Guess it won't hurt to see the cost. I searched through the VRBO email and sure enough, there was a beachfront studio on our favorite beach, Orient Beach, for a really cheap price. Now, you have to remember that the fall is hurricane season in the Caribbean, so hence, the cheaper prices. I emailed the owner and he had the week open over my birthday. Send a message back to him asking if he could hold it for a few days while I looked for airfare. No problem! Then I called Karen, our travel agent, to find out about airfare. Holy cow, the prices were steep. Over $600 round trip, per person. I'm sure Carol wants to go, also, but that's not going to work. I kinda gave up hope. This was on a Friday and at noon that day my AARP magazine arrived. An article said to always look for airfare on Tuesday, since most airlines start sales on Mondays. OK!! Tuesday I called Karen again. "Sorry to bother you, but could you check again on the prices to SXM?" I asked her. Price was now $449 on USAirways. Only problem was that it left from Baltimore and returned to Philadelphia. Can't drive to one city and return to another. Couldn't get my car. I'd have to find a ride both ways. Not only that, USAirways is my least favorite airline, since they have lost my luggage on a couple of flights that I have taken with them and they now charge $25 for every bag you check in. I told Karen my predicament and she told me to call in another couple of days. I knew the rental place was on hold until the end of the week, so I waited. Friday I called her again. "Wow, Mr. LDub, American is down to $400 for roundtrip from Baltimore." "I'll take them," I told her. We finished the transaction and I told Carol to tell them at work we will be on vacation for another week. It's getting harder to do that, since it seems like all we do is go on vacations. But, as someone is always telling me, you better do it while you still can. You'll regret it if you don't. And, she's ready! When you travel as far as the Caribbean, it's nice to be able to spend more than 7 days, but hey, the crystal blue waters, warm sun, and sand gravity are calling. Can hardly wait. I can see a few more stories to share. And besides, how often can you lay on your favorite beach, on your birthday, in your birthday suit, if you choose?! Do I choose to? It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The "Paraprosdokian" Story

It was an ordinary day. Reading the local paper and saw an unusual headline that really caught my eye. "Time flies, unless you're a politician caught up in your own lies." Pretty neat headline, and just a pretty neat statement. Later I was reading an entry on a computer forum about paraprosdokians. Ever hear about what they are? Well, naturaIly I had to "Google" paraprosdokians and here is what they had to say about the word: A paraprosdokian (from Greek "????-", meaning "beyond" and "?????????", meaning "expectation") sentence is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to re-frame or reinterpret the first part. It is frequently used for humorous or dramatic effect, sometimes producing an anticlimax. For this reason, it is extremely popular among comedians and satirists. I clicked on the first link and found a list of many paraprosdokian sentences that were very funny and somewhat true. Are you ready to read a few? Here goes:
1. I discovered I scream the same way whether I’m about to be devoured by a great white shark or if a piece of seaweed touches my foot.
2. Some cause happiness wherever they go. Others whenever they go.
3. There’s a fine line between cuddling an holding someone down so they can’t get away.
4. I used to be indecisive. Now I’m not sure.
5. I always take life with a grain of salt, plus a slice of lemon, and a shot of tequila.
6. When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water.
7. I didn't say it was your fault. I said I was blaming you.
8. To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.
9. Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.
10. Some people hear voices. Some see invisible people. Others have no imagination whatsoever.
11. If you are supposed to learn from your mistakes, why do some people have more than one child?
12. Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine
13. Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?
14. Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.
15. Why do Americans choose from just two people to run for president and 50 for Miss
America ?
16. Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.
17. A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
18. The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas!
19. Always borrow money from a pessimist. He won’t expect it back.
20. A diplomat is someone who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you will look
forward to the trip.
21. Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.
22. Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
23. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
24. War does not determine who is right - only who is left.
25. If I agree with you, we'd both be wrong.
26. Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.
27.
Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
28.
The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
29.
Evening news is where they begin with 'Good evening', and then proceed to tell you why it isn't.
30.
How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?
31.
Some people are like Slinkies ... not really good for anything, but you can't help smiling when you see one tumble down the stairs.
32.
Dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity, they can train people to stand on the very edge of the pool and throw them fish.
33.
I thought I wanted a career, turns out I just wanted pay checks.
34.
A bank is a place that will lend you money, if you can prove that you don't need it.
35.
Whenever I fill out an application, in the part that says "If an emergency, notify:" I put "DOCTOR".
36. Where there's a will, I want to be in it.
And, a few that I made up:
1. Roses are red, violets are blue. So how's that work with 3D glasses?
2. Why is it that the red sports car always looks faster than the black sedan it is following?
I know, two isn't many, but all the good ones were already taken. And here are my three favorites:
1. You're never too old to learn something stupid!
2. We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.
3. We are the people that our parent's warned us about (Jimmy Buffett).
And, the last one I practice all the time, as you are aware:
1. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.
And, I do a lot of research. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The "It's Outta There!" Story

It was an ordinary day. Just got back from the Ocean City boardwalk and was watching the Phillies on TV. My favorite team, you know! Not many people sitting in the living room appreciated the fact that I had the game on the TV, but I was the first one in the door and grabbed the remote right away. All I wanted to do was watch an inning or two and then they could change the channel. Well the Phils were having a good inning. Two walks and a hit batter loaded the bases and brought Carlos Ruiz to the plate. Now everyone was watching. FLASHBACK: For years I enjoyed listening to Harry Kalas do the play-by-play for the Phillies. He was famous for his calls when a Phillie would hit a homer. "It's Outta Here," he would declare!! I missed it so much after his death that I would say it myself when I saw a shot launched towards the outfield fences. Swing and "It's Outta There," I would yell and smack my hands together in a pointing motion toward the fence, even if I was watching by myself. Well, tonight I had an audience. And, Carlos obliged. A mighty cut and, "It's Outta There," went up the cry. But, not just by me. My two granddaughters chimed in on the call and the hand smacking. I was kinda stunned. I looked at them and saw the big smiles on their faces. For the last couple of years when they would come to visit at my place or Carol and I would go to visit with them in Maryland and during the summer months I would be watching a ball game with them. Many times they would watch and listen to me give my call. And, tonight they helped me. Not only once, but on the replay. But, on the replay, we had a full house giving the call and the special hand smack! It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. PS - The girls and I make the call after a home run and below, Harry making the call!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The "How Did We Live On That?" Story

It was an ordinary day. Going through my filing cabinet and trying to clean out all the unnecessary items that have accumulated over the last 40 or so years. You ever do that? Seems like I have really accumulated plenty of stuff. Matter of fact if I had done this 10 years ago, I would have saved the cost of a second filing cabinet. Well, one of my many finds was my first contract with the Manheim Township School District. Dated September 25, 1968! I graduated from MTHS in 1962 and entered Millersville State Teacher's College in the fall of '62. Got my first teaching job with York Eastern School District in the fall of '66. Teachers were in such demand that I started with an emergency certificate, since I hadn't graduated from Millersville yet. After one year at York I started teaching at my high school Alma Mater. I was almost finished with my classwork, but was still on an emergency certificate. The contract that I found was my first official contract after graduating from Millersville in the summer of 1968. The amount was $6,414.00!! Holy Cow! That's $102.79 a week. How did we ever live on that? Didn't go out to eat many times. Actually had trouble buying food at times. Now, Carol also worked, but a few years later she stopped working when we had our first child. We both wanted her to be a stay-at-home mom. Now to give you some perspective, in 1968 a new home cost, on the average $14,950, gas was 34 cents a gallon, a new car was $2,822, going to the movies cost $1.50, and the minimum wage was $1.60. And, while I'm at it, here are a few other facts from 1968: Viet Nam was still going on; President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act; Sen. Robert Kennedy was assassinated; the Pope banned Catholics from using "The Pill" (How'd that work out?); 911 assistance code was started; the Big Mac went on sale for 49 cents; the musical "Hair" opened in London featuring on stage nudity and drug use; The Beatles record "Hey Jude" and was the 1st single they recorded on the Apple label; Jackie Kennedy married Aristotle Onassis; the Boeing 747 made it's maiden flight; air bags were invented for the automobile; the Apollo 8 orbited the moon and was the first manned space mission to do that; Dr. Christian Barnard performed the 1st successful heart transplant; popular movies were The Graduate, Bonnie and Clyde, The Odd Couple, Rosemary's Baby; popular musicians were Rolling Stones, Supremes, Grateful Dead, The Monkees, Beach Boys, Doors, Moody Blues; favorite TV shows were Route 66, Monkees, Ironsides, Fugitive, Columbo, Hogan's Heros, Benny Hill, Brady Bunch, Peyton Place, Get Smart, Mr. Ed. Oh yeah, in 1968, 50,000 people participated in "The Poor Peoples March" in Washington, DC. Somehow I missed it! Definitely should have been there, but couldn't afford to take off to go. Well, Carol and I survived 1968, and eventually my salary increased. Eventually, being a teacher wasn't just for the person who wanted to do good for humanity, but for the person who could make a decent living as well as do good for humanity. Even though we barely got by for years, we now look back on those times and appreciate what we now have! It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The "Ultimate Dog Tease" Story

It was an ordinary day. Just got back from the doctor and am resting. Actually I went to 2 doctors today. One was my urologist who told me to return in a year, since my blood test was better than the last couple of years and the other was the family doctor who gave me a steroid shot in the butt for my back pain and told me to go home and rest. Oh yeah, the urologist did look at this bump I had on my groin that I thought may have been a tick under the skin. I had a few ticks I picked off the past couple of weeks and thought this one had burrowed under the skin. "That's not a tick," he said. "It's two ticks!" Then he looked at me with a big smile and I knew he was joking. Well, back to the resting thing. What better way to rest than to check my email and to write a story for my blog. Had a few stories in mind, but when I checked the mail, I found a YouTube video that someone had sent to me that I just had to share with you. I laughed so hard it was borderline not resting. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The "Hey, I Didn't Have Any Part Of That!" Story

It was an ordinary day. Jerry and I are talking about the good old days. And ... they get older all the time. Jerry asked, "Do you remember when ...... someone ...... took the engine out of Warpy's car?" "I think I do," I replied. Well by now our wives are listening intently to this story. "I wasn't part of that, you know," I told Jerry. And, he said, "Me neither." Yeah, right! Warpy was our gym teacher in high school. Not very well liked. Made us really "listen" and had us doing some of the most stupid things in gym class. His name was Mr. Wilson Lewars and his daughter was one of our classmates. Evidently a few of our classmates, since it wasn't either one of us, took a tow truck to his house one evening while he slept, quietly removed the engine (I know you really don't believe that, but it's true), and closed the hood. Now if you have been reading my stories you know that Jerry helped me take my engine out of my Henry J and rebuild it. But, no names will be mentioned in this story. The engine legend grows all the time. The story was the topic of conversation for weeks during our senior year. Even bigger that when ..... someone ...... put the driver ed teacher's car on top of the school building. Probably would've needed a tow truck for that, too. I remember Mr. Lewars as a short, old man who was very strict. As you were leaving the building to head out to the athletic fields for gym class, nobody was allowed to talk. You had to walk in single file or he would whack you across the butt with a stick. I graduated without a whack, and six years later was back at my Alma mater teaching alongside "Warpy." Even ate lunch with him every day. We had many tales to hash over, but the engine legend never surfaced. I couldn't of told him who did it anyway. Didn't know!! It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. PS - photo is of our gym teacher, Mr. Lewars ("Warpy")

Monday, July 25, 2011

The "My Tax Dollars at Work" Story

It was an ordinary day. Finally, it's time to celebrate. The story goes like this ...... back in mid-October I visited the Department of Veterans Affairs office in downtown Lancaster. I had heard from a friend that my mom might be eligible for a widow's pension from the VA, since my dad was in the Army during WWII. Sure enough, they agreed and helped me fill out the application. Needed dad's birth certificate, Social Security number, Service number, marriage license to prove he was married to mom, and his death certificate. Also needed a canceled check from mom's bank account so the pension could be deposited in her checking account. Gathered them all together and made another visit to see Ms. Catrina L. Dean, VSO (Veterans Service Officer). We finished the paperwork and she told me that everything was in order and she would submit it within the week. She also told me that the process is slow and it would take at least three months before I would learn how much money mom would be eligible to receive. November 18 I received a letter telling me they received the application and that it was their sincere desire to decide mom's case promptly. Got another copy of the exact same letter in December, January, February, and March. OK, enough of this bulls*#t, I thought. What can I do? I tried my PA house representative, Mike Brubaker, and was told that since it was a federal government issue, I should contact U. S. Representative Joseph R. Pitts' office which is located next to the VA office in downtown Lancaster. Called and they actually answered the phone. No messages, no answering machine, just a human person on the other end of the line. Explained that my mom was running out of money and the VA pension would be a big help. They sent me a consent form that mom had to sign allowing them to contact the VA and see what was holding up her pension. Within TWO weeks I got too envelopes in the mail, the same day. One was the form letter that I already had five copies of in her file in my filing cabinet, and the other letter was from the Department of Veterans Affairs which read:

Dear Mrs. Woods:

Senator Congressman Joseph R. Pitts has expressed an interest in your claim and will receive a copy of the letter. We have made a decision on your claim for dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC), death pension and accrued received on November 15, 2010. This letter tells you about your entitlement amount and payment start date and what we decided. Your monthly amount is shown below.

WOW! Joe did it! After half a year of waiting I finally got results for mom. Shows you it helps to know someone. I had actually met Rep. Pitts when he rode in a parade and the Lancaster County Corvette Club, which I was a member of, supplied the transportation for him. Nice guy! If he ever changes his opinion on Woman's rights, funding education, etc., maybe I could vote for him. But, I will admit, he carries a big stick and can get the job done when needed. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

PS - Mom finally got the first payment deposited in her checking account on June 1st.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The "Rope Around the Dresser and Bed" Story

It was an ordinary day. Talking with Mike about our weekends. Mike works with me in the print shop at Manheim Township High School during the summer doing the school's in-house printing. Has been with me over 30 years now. He was telling me about his recent vacation he took throughout New England. During one stop he and his wife Anne, stayed at a AAA one star hotel. He figured if AAA gave it a rating, it must be OK. Well he starts to describe it and then tells me that when they went to bed they ........ "Let me guess," I said. "You pulled the bed in front of the door!" He replied, "Almost. We wedged a chair under the door knob." Made me think of the time Carol and I took a long weekend and traveled to the Jersey Shore. Got my mom and dad to babysit our three kids and left on a Friday morning for the weekend. Went to The Golden Inn and Resort in Avalon, NJ. Nice place with a restaurant, tons of rooms, and a beach off the one end of the hotel. We had a room on the second floor with a balcony that we could see the ocean. Only thing about it was that you couldn't lock the sliding door. Now I know it was on the second floor, but you could look around the barrier to the next unit and see in their door. So, I figured if someone wanted to break in our room, they could climb around the barrier and open the door and have access to our room. I know, no one would do that. Or would they? I wasn't taking any chances. I knew that I wouldn't sleep at night if I thought someone may break into the room while I was in bed. And, I reasoned that the Golden Inn must know that the door doesn't lock and may rent the next room to someone who wanted steal all my stuff. So, I got a heavy rope out of the car trunk that I used to tow my other car with at times and brought it up to the room. Can't imagine what the people who saw me do it must have thought. I proceeded to tie the rope to the handle of the door, around the dresser, and around the one post of our bed. If anyone was going to get into the room, they would have to move our bed and it would wake me. Carol said, "You sleep so sound, it'll never wake you!" But at least I now could get into that sound sleep, knowing nobody was going to steal my stuff! It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The "Not A Good Move" Story

It was an ordinary day. We have almost arrived in Urbana, Maryland for a visit with my daughter and her family. We got a call from our granddaughter Courtney a few minutes ago asking where we were. After giving her an approximate time when we would arrive, she told us that they were going to take Rocco, their dog, for a short walk and would be back at the house when we arrived. Well, they weren't! Carol and I entered through the garage and after not finding them in the house, went out the back door, onto the rear deck, to see if they might be visiting with friends at the rear of their house. Nope. As I opened the back door to go into the house, a blur flew past my leg. It was Ruby, their cat. Ruby was a rescue a few years ago. She had been found in a dumpster behind a McDonald's. She has never warmed up to me, or most people as a matter of fact. I wrote a story titled "The Devil in Disguise" a few months ago describing Ruby's antics. Well, what do I do now. Carol quickly called Brynn's cell to find out where they were, while I tried to locate Ruby. I walked down off the deck, into the rear yard, and there she was, trying to hide under the deck. I could see part of her back and tail sticking out from under the deck. I told Carol I was going to try and grab her before she ran away. NOT A GOOD MOVE! As soon as I grabbed her she started to hiss and make all sorts of noises. Then she twisted her body around and grabbed my left hand in her mouth and started biting. If that wasn't bad enough, she started clawing my right arm with her back legs. I was determined not to let her get away ....... for about maybe 10 seconds. Then the pain and the sight of the blood dripping to the ground made me change my mind. Just before I released her, I felt this hot fluid, running down my leg. She had peed on me! Wow, she was using all the arsenal she had to escape! And to where? As soon as I left her go, she hustled in the open back door. Jeez, if I had only known. Carol grabbed some wet paper towels and I wrapped my right arm in them to stop the bleeding and take away the pain. She said, "I guess she doesn't like you!" Duh! I sat on the deck until Brynn and the girls returned with Rocco, holding the wet towels on my arm. When they returned, they wondered what I had done to my arm. "Ruby did that?" Courtney asked me. "Yep, Amah said Ruby must not like me," to put it mildly. At least she was save and sound inside the house! And ..... I now know not to try to pick her up again. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The "Haunting Memory" Story

It was an ordinary day. And, I have this photo in my head. Think about it often. Years ago, when I taught school, I taught a unit on famous photographers. One of them was W. Eugene Smith. Ever hear of him? In 1936, at the age of 18, he entered Notre Dame University where his pictures so impressed the faculty that a special scholarship was created for him. A year later he joined the staff of Newsweek Magazine, but was fired within a year for using a smaller camera than they wanted him to use. He then turned to freelance work and in 1939 signed a retainer with Life Magazine, but by 1941 he resigned from Life so he could do more creative work. Then came WWII and he became a war correspondent for Ziff-Davis and later for Life. His images of the war are considered some of the best war photos ever taken. In 1944 he was wounded and spent two painful years recovering. His first photo in 1946, taken of his two young children and titled "A Walk To Paradise Garden", served as the final photo in the famous "Family of Man" Exhibition. He eventually did many photo essays for Life Magazine that redefined the meaning of the term Photojournalism. Eugene was considered the master of photojournalism. Well, one of his photos from an essay in Spain is of a man who had just died. A few woman are viewing the man when Gene entered and made three exposures. It is a photo that has stuck with me for years and years. When my father died almost three years ago, I arrived at Moravian Manor in Lititz, PA just after he had died. As I entered his room he was lying on the bed with my mom sitting next to him, accompanied by a few of the staff from the nursing section. The room was dimly lit and seemed very eerie. Very haunting! I immediately remembered the W. Eugene Smith photo taken almost 60 years before. The photo was in black and white and what I was viewing in my dad's room seemed black and white. To this day I still remember the two scenes as almost the same. It was as if I had viewed the same photo over again. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. PS - photos from the top are: photojournalist Gene Smith, Gene in his darkroom, photo taken about 5 years ago of my mom and dad celebrating Christmas with us. Dad had the the most beautiful baritone voice and shared it with everyone. I still get comments about how people were moved by his singing. Love you Dad!

The following "You Tube" video is part 1 of 9 depicting the life of W. Eugene Smith. The photo that I remember from time to time is close to the beginning of the video. You will know which one when you see it. If you care to view more of Gene's work, continue with the series, as they are all linked together.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The "Makin' Soup" Story

It was an ordinary day. Just makin' soup. My Grandpap's Chicken Corn Soup. Every year when the new supply of corn starts to appear in the county, I buy two dozen ears and make soup. Yesterday my grandson, Caden, and I stopped at a produce stand near his house and picked out the corn. After work today I got the big pot from the garage and prepared to make the soup. Seems that each time I make it I do something slightly different, but it always turns out the same. I think that Grandpap is watching over me to make sure that it does turn out terrific. I had purchased a large stewer chicken that was cut into pieces with a few pieces of extra fat. The extra fat makes for a great broth.Covered the chicken in the pot with water and turned on the burner to medium. Learned years ago not to try to get the chicken cooked in a hurry or it will burn and you'll have to go get another one. While the chicken was cooking, I husked and cut off all the corn from the ears into our big green bowl. Some of you know about that bowl, I'm sure. I have this special little knife that I love to use for that purpose. Has a serrated edge and works great. If you encounter a worm or two while cutting the corn off the cob, add that to the batch if you're daring. That was my Grandpap's favorite thing to do when making the soup. He enjoyed seeing who would get the worm. When the corn is finished I put a few eggs in a pan of water and hard-boil them. Recipe calls for 2-3 eggs, but I love eggs in my soup, so I triple the quantity. After the chicken is starting to fall off the bone, take it from the water and cut it into small pieces. I also had the liver and gizzard in with the rest of the chicken, since I love to eat them, but the heart didn't quite make it into the pot. As I was washing the chicken to put into the pot, I dropped the heart into the sink and it went down the garbage disposal. I tried and tried, but couldn't reach it at the bottom of the disposal. I took that as an omen that maybe that shouldn't go in the soup. DO NOT discard the water you boiled the chicken in, since that is the stock for your soup. OK, pop the chicken back in the pot, add the corn, salt and pepper, and two bags of baby lima beans. Love that final ingredient! Cover it all with extra water which will be the broth of the soup. Back to medium temperature for an hour to cook the soup. After that hour you can add the hard-boiled eggs and a stick of butter. Make it real butter as Paula Deen would do. Simmer until you are ready for the meal. The smell of the soup cooking is tremendous. When Carol came home from work, she immediately said, "Boy, does it sure smell good in here." The last ingredient for a great meal my Grandpap would be proud of is buttered bread. Dig in!! If your nose doesn't run and you don't have sweat running off of you, the soup's not hot enough. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The "I Just Don't Get This Social Networking Stuff" Story

It was an ordinary day. Checking my Facebook page for the first time in a few weeks. I joined, oh, maybe 2 years ago. My friend Bill, from Arizona, was visiting here in Lancaster, and helped me set up my Facebook Page. Seemed like fun and the thing to do at the time. You know, an old guy trying to keep up to date with current technology. Started searching for people to be friends with. For a few months I found all kind of friends. And, that's where I ran into trouble. Mostly relatives and some high school class members. Then friends of my relatives started wanting me to be friends with them. I had no idea who most of them were, but I clicked on their request, and Viola, I was a friend. Then I thought it would be neat to make friends with people who had the same name as me. In no time I had over a dozen of them. Then the problems started. The friends of my relatives started sending me messages about something called "FarmVille". "What's this stuff?" I asked my wife. "Someone wants me to buy some crops or help keep their animals in their barnyard." And ....... it was about all anyone wanted to do on Facebook for a few weeks. Then I found out it was a social game that was played on Facebook. More popular than e-mail. Unbelievable! I started to de-friend them. Then I find out that I'm getting tagged in photos of people I don't even know. Seems like the other LDubs friends are tagging them, and since I have the same name, people think they are my friends. Sound confusing? My wife is looking at my Facebook Page and asks me, "Who's this Bailey Anne and this Laura who have tagged your photo?" "No clue," I tell her. Do you think she believes that? I'm having a hard time even explaining it. Then one of MY friends sends me a message and tells me they agree with my entry about what Ed Shultz called a radio talk show host. What! I hadn't even visited Facebook for a few weeks, let alone commented. OK, time to de-friend the other LDubs. Who's left. Well, if you are in to Facebook and I'm still your friend, I guess I haven't de-friended you yet. Sorry if I do, but ........ Now, I really did make those comments about windmills on Tintamarre and I really am corresponding with Hendy Reese from Barbados, but I swear that's all I've done on Facebook in months. At times I just don't get this social networking stuff. You sit by yourself in front of a computer and send messages to others who sit in front of their computer. How social is that? I'd much rather stop by and sit with them and talk instead of use the computer. Maybe time soon to close my account. Blogging's fun, but this social networking is more than I can handle. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The "Presses are Running in Room 308" Story

It was an ordinary day. Running the AB Dick Offset Press in room 308, excuse me, I mean room 168, at Manheim Township High School. Used to be room 308 when I taught in the room. Woods Printing is back in business at the same location it was before renovations started at the high school a few years ago. In 1999, after retiring from teaching at MTHS for over 30 years, I formed Woods Printing Services so I could continue to do the in-house printing for the school district. I was now an independent contractor. My friend Mike, who was an elementary school teacher in the district and also a neighbor of mine, who had helped me with the school printing since the early 70s, continues to help me. He retired last year from teaching. A few years ago we thought that the school district was going to discontinue doing their own in-house printing in the high school, but I was able to convince them that the savings we could achieve were substantial. Really a no-brainer, since the school owns the presses and other equipment and there is no overhead. Four years ago, at the end of the school year, Mike and I were told that the print shop would be closed for the summer when the school district would remove all the asbestos in the building. Did some quick thinking and convinced the district to move the equipment across campus to the middle school. Worked fine and we set up shop in the Graphic Arts room. Only thing we had to do differently was to have our negatives for printing made at a local business. At the end of the summer we moved the equipment back to the high school. The following summer a total renovation of the school was started and we were told no summer printing; plus told us the middle school was having some updates and that was out. So, I did some searching. Hey, I had worked for over three centuries in the district and knew my way around. I knew that the district owned private residences on either side of our 6th grade building, so I scouted them both and proposed to the district that they move us into one of them. OK, they agreed. But, the one THEY chose had the water already disconnected. No problem, I told them. We brought our own buckets of water into the house. Needed water for the darkroom, developing plates as well as clean-up. Even was able to set up a darkroom for our camera in a small room and make our own negatives. The water thing did create a big problem, though. NO BATHROOM! They gave me a key to get in the 6th grade building if we needed to use the toilet. They were kind enough to put in a few window air conditioners for us. Then September came and the renovations in the high school print shop were not done. We remained in the house and what was hot in the summer became freezing in the winter. Some small space heaters didn't help much, but we were still got the jobs finished. By the end of that school year, the presses were moved back to the high school with the completion of the renovations. Only problem was they forgot to put in a new darkroom for the camera which was needed. Duh! I found an old basement room in the 6th grade building that I was able to use for the darkroom ........ until a teacher complained that the smell bothered her. The school finally purchased an Xante machine which will make a negative from a computer file. I look back at the last few years and wonder how Mike and I survived all the problems. Persistence I guess. And why? Well, for one reason I love the smell of printing ink and so enjoy the field of printing. Both my sons are pressmen for large companies. My daughter reminded me the other day of the cartoon I had under the glass top on my desk in my classroom in room 308; shows a cartoon caricature with a print roller in one hand and a tube of ink in the other saying, "Years ago I kudent even spel printor, and now I are one! In .... room 308 .... or is it room 168? It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. PS - photos from the top are old house we used for sometime for printing near the 6th grade building (you can see the distance to the school and if you had to use the restroom you better plan early), outside shot of what is now room 168 of the high school where the printing presses are currently located, and looking in the door at room 168.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The "What A Difference 31 Years Makes" Story

It was an ordinary day. Sitting under a tent, trying to stay cool, waiting for the next heat to start. I am at a youth swim meet. FLASHBACK: Years ago my daughter, Brynn, wanted to swim on the local swim team. We were members of Skyline Pool, so she tried out for the team and became a member. After a few weeks of practice, she was ready for her first "official" swim meet. An away meet at Golden Meadows Pool, which was a few miles from our house. She was 6 years old and had just finished kindergarten. Her first race was the 25 meter freestyle. Eight 6 and under girls lined up behind the starting blocks and waited for the official to start the heat. "Swimmers, step up," was the first command, as the girls climbed on top of the starting blocks. "Swimmers, take your mark," was the next command, as the girls held their hands in front of them and prepared to dive off the starting blocks. And then ...... the official's starter pistol left out a loud blast. All dove in .... except Brynn. She was standing on the starting block, crying. Holy cow, what happened? The pistol scared her and she started crying. A week ago my wife shared this story with our granddaughters who were preparing for their first ever swim meet. Courtney is 10 years old and Camille is 7 years old and they swim for The Village of Urbana Sea Hawks Swim Team. Approximately 200 boys and girls swim for the team!! Camille just turned 7 so she is officially in the 6 and under group while Courtney is in the 10 and under group. They have been practicing for a few weeks and invited Carol and me to watch their first meet. You could see the excitement and nervousness in their eyes and body movements. They each had chosen 3 events to swim in during the meet with another local team. The meet is being held at their home pool which is a few blocks from their house. Both are dressed in the really neat green and black swimsuits which signifies they are Sea Hawks. Courtney is swimming first in heat #8, the girl's 25 meter freestyle, with 7 other girls. Same scenario as 31 years earlier, except no pistol is used. An electronic "beep" signals the start of the race. Courtney finishes in the middle of the pack with a respectable 26 seconds. The jitters are gone for her, now! Heat #12 will start soon and Camille is standing behind the starting blocks. And again, Camille finishes her 25 meters without any problems. The day continues with waiting and talking and many exciting girls visiting Carol and me as we sit in the shade of the tent waiting for their next event. About an hour later Courtney swims in heat #28; the 25 meter breaststroke. How do I remember the heat numbers? I have a photo of them on the desktop of my computer as I type with the numbers on the back of their hands. They put them there in indelible marker so they wouldn't come off in the water. Everyone does the same! Again, a few seconds later, Camille swims the same event during heat #30. Both girls find the breaststroke slightly harder to perform and their times are not as fast as the freestyle times. Time for a few snacks to tide them over until their final event. About an hour and a half later Camille is standing by the starting blocks, waiting to get in the pool for event #46; the 25 meter backstroke. She told me that she was pretty good at this stroke. I stand by the blocks with my camera ready, set on continuous mode so I don't miss a thing. She's in the water, grabbing the stainless bar, waiting for the "beep". And off they go. And she really is pretty good. My camera is catching her as her hands come out of the water and reenter again and again. Them I zoom back and ....... my gosh, she's ahead of everyone! I catch her as she touches the other end ahead of the other 7 girls. Her face lights up as she is handed the ribbon for winning the heat. She really was pretty good at the backstroke! She holds up the ribbon so I can take a photo of it. Finally event #54 arrives and Courtney is ready for her last event of the day; the 50 meter freestyle. She has practiced this event many times in practice, but it is always so much different in a meet. She has a smile on her face as she gets on the starting block. One of the few who doesn't like to wear a swim cap, she gets a good start and heads toward me. I keep my finger on the button and record her every move. She's trying her best!! Makes the turn and heads back to the other end of the pool to complete the final 25 meters. We wait for her as she gets her time and then heads in our direction. As she get near you can see the smile on her face starting to shine through. "I beat my best time. BY 18 SECONDS!" she told us. Didn't matter if she won her heat or not, in her eyes she was a winner. And in my eyes, also! I don't remember much from 31 years ago when Brynn was on the swimming team, but it sure was fun to watch my granddaughters first swim meet. I'll be back for more. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. PS - check out the photos that follow:

The Villages of Urbana swimming pool

Brynn giving encouragement to Camille

Making sure they don't miss their "heat"

Courtney showing off her swim team "tattoo"

Camille in the 25M breaststroke

Courtney swimming in the 25M freestyle

Camille pulling ahead in the 25M backstroke. She's wearing the purple goggles

Camille displaying her "Heat Winner" ribbon for me

Courtney besting her time in the 50M Freestyle

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The "Memories of 2011 at the Beach" Story

It was an ordinary day. Checking out the photos from our family trip to Ocean City, NJ. Over 500 photos and you just knew I couldn't keep them to myself. Picked out a few that I like that I will not be using in another post. Hope you enjoy them.

"Moby Dick" - one of the "girls" favorite rides.

One of our evening meals.

Caden showing me his balancing skills with the restaurant menu.

Celebrating birthdays for both my daughter Brynn and granddaughter Camille. Started with the 7 for Camille and then added the the extra 3 for Brynn. Courtney helped blow out the candles.

Courtney finishing riding a large wave into shore on her boogie board.

Caden and Camille on their boogie boards. Camille needed the swim cap because she had cut her head recently and had staples to hole the wound together that couldn't get wet.

Instant after the last photo was taken. Wipeout!

Tampah and his grandkids Camille, Courtney and Caden.

Early morning stroll along the shoreline.

Traditional family portraiture.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The "One Last Photo" Story

It was an ordinary day. Heading home from dropping a few of my photos at Strawberry & Co. in downtown Lancaster. Returning home my usual route. North on Queen St. towards the train station, left on McGovern Ave. and right at Lancaster Lincoln & Mercury (LLM). Oh wait, it's not LLM anymore, since Ford stopped making the Mercury model. Ford took their dealership away from them because theydidn't want to handle all the Ford models. Still kept the LLM name, but now sell high quality used cars. I know all this because I bought a new Mercury Mountaineer from Bob Neff at LLM almost 5 years ago. And, they really treat you right. I get free oil changes for life, free inspections for life, free loaner car, and free car washes anytime I want one. Anyway, I make my right turn and out of the corner of my eye I see this car in the window of LLM. Wow, neat car! Red Vette!! I head over the bridge which is over the railroad tracks, make a turn, and head back. Pulled in front of the display room window for a better look at the bright red car and ..... Holy cow! It's the red Vette I used to own. Had to get home and share it with Carol. Our Vette was a 1987 4+3 coupe. Red on red (means red outside and red inside) with a removable top. Stick shift. Wouldn't be a sports car if it was at least a 4 speed I reasoned. We purchased the car in 1994 (I have a few stories about the Vette posted over the last 2 years if you care to find them) and joined the Lancaster County Corvette Club (LCCC) shortly after. Enjoyed the camaraderie of others who were members. Made trips to the shore, entered car shows, drove in parades and homecomings, and did a variety of other things with the members. After 12 years we found we weren't using the car as much as we had been, and the insurance was getting higher, so we sold the car to my next door neighbor, Hank. He talked to me about buying it for a few years and I finally caved in. He did let me use it whenever I wanted while he housed it and paid for the repairs and insurance. Well, Hank's wife died not long ago and he decided to take a job offer in Detroit. He still kept his house next to me, hoping to return sometime in the future, but had relatives staying there. Then a few months ago I saw he was home and I stopped to visit with him. He had gotten married and was planning a move eventually to Florida. Told me he was selling the house and wanted to know if I wanted to buy the Vette back from him. If not he was going to have his friend at LLM sell it for him. I thought hard about it, but finally turned him down. Carol and I like to travel now and the expense of running the Vette would take away from our travel budget. I finally called Bob at LLM and asked him if he still had my Vette in the window. Silence on his end of the line. Then, "You interested in the red one we have in the showroom?" he asked. "Hey, that's my old Vette," I told him. "Mind if I come and sit in it one more time? How about I bring my camera along and you can take a photo of me before you sell it." "Come on in now. I'm not busy," he told me. Off I went with my camera. Wow, it really looked neat in the showroom. They even had special colored lights on it to make the red paint glow. We talked about the car for some time. I pointed out special things about the car he may want to tell a buyer. I even took an extra copy of a 1998 "Vette Magazine" along that had a feature story about me and the Vette. I told him to give it to the new owner if he wanted some history about the car. Then I handed him the camera and Bob took a photo of me standing next to the car. I didn't want to get in the driver's seat for fear I might change my mind about buying it again. I then snapped a few more pixs of the car, said goodbye to Bob and headed home, satisfied that I did the right thing. All I really wanted was a chance for "One last photo"!! It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.T

Friday, July 15, 2011

The "Bank Heist" Story

It was an ordinary day. Just got back from the bank. Had to make a deposit at the drive-in and return the cylinder that I stole the last time I was there. Now, I didn't actually steal it, I just forgot to give it back to them and I didn't realize it until I got home. Seems I went a week ago to the my bank to make a deposit at the drive-in window. I wanted some cash back and the girl in the window must have been new. Didn't recognize her and she must not have recognized me. She told me I would need to give her my driver's license if I wanted cash back. No problem. She sent the cylinder back to me and I put the license in it. In a few minutes she returned the cylinder with the money and my receipt. I opened the cylinder, took out the envelope with the money in it, put my license back in my wallet and proceeded to count my money. Got into a habit of doing that after getting too much money back one time and didn't know it until I got home and counted the money. Had to make a trip back to return the extra. Well, after counting the money, I started the car and headed home. When I got home I was getting out and saw the cylinder on the passenger's seat. Decided I wasn't going back unless they called me. Hey, they knew who had it. Carol said, "You have to take it right back. They'll think you stole it." "Nah, I'm only borrowing it," I replied. "Besides, I know almost every cop in the Township and they know I wouldn't steal a deposit cylinder from the bank." Today, when I headed back to the bank, I returned it to them. I'm sure I wasn't the first person who did that. That's why they have a collection of them sitting in the window. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The "The OFFICIAL Photo" Story

It was an ordinary day. Getting ready to take "The Photo". This would be our annual family photo at the shore. Every year for the past 6 years we have been traveling to Ocean City, NJ for a family vacation in the end of June. Choose that time because the rates are still low, while the sun is nice and hot. And, every year we schedule a family photo at the end of the condo complex, on the steps leading up to the condos. This year was no different, except our youngest son, Tad, was not able to make it. We usually schedule it for the end of the week so we all have some color from the week-long beach exposure. A few members of the family, who will remain anonymous, seem to always have that milky white glow to them, so we try to get them to look like beach bums by waiting to the end of the week. Well, tonight is the night. Our final night of vacation! We all dress according to our personalities and after our evening meal,before we head to the boards for the final time, we all gather by the steps. I have my DSLR camera, which is the OFFICIAL camera of the family, while others have their smaller cameras for individual shots or smaller shots of just their family members. I seat everyone according to size and status in the family, with Carol and me in the front. Our daughter Brynn and her family are on one side and our son Derek and his family are on the other side. Tad usually took up the center. We all look great! Now, the trick is to corral someone passing to snap the myriad of pixs necessary for "The Photo". I wait by the street and view prospective people. Can't be anyone too young or too squirrely, because they may think it is a big joke. And, large groups passing I don't even bother with because they will do a quick job and probably miss a great shot. I see 3 women in their 50s walking together and I walk over to them and ask if they can take a photo for me. They look at me kinda funny and then I point to the group sitting on the steps. Then their faces light up and they immediately agree. Now, the lady I give the camera to is really into this. They have suggestions to make us smile and make sure they can see everybody's faces. I picked a real pro this year!! And the results are in. She did a bang-up job of "The Photo". See for yourself. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. PS - from the left are: Carol, Camille,Courtney, Brynn, Dave, Caden, Derek, Barb, and LDub. Can you tell what my personality is?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The "All-Star Game" Story

It was an ordinary day. Watching the All-Star Game from Arizona on TV. Sitting in the living room watching on regular TV, since Carol beat me to the HDTV in the family room tonight. But that's OK, since my regular TV reception is fine. Started thinking how neat it would be to play in an All-Star Game if you were a player. You have reached the pinnacle of your profession. Yeah, I know it is only a game, but it is their profession and very few people in the world can play baseball in the All-Star Game. Then it hit me. I DID THAT! Way back in 1959 when I was 15 years old. Holy cow, that's a long time ago. I was playing in my 4th year of organized ball for the Grandview Midgets. That title refers to the age bracket, not the size of the players. I played 1st Base for one year on the Schick Midget-Midget team and one year at 1st Base for the Young Republicans in the Jr. Midget bracket. Then "graduated" to the Midgets and the Grandview team. Most of my friends were playing for the team so I decided to try out for the team. The first year I switched to 3rd Base, since the player who played 1st Base had returned from the previous year. I ended up with the second best batting average on the team that year, even though I was a first year player at that level and probably the skinniestkid on the team. Grandview was in the Lanco League South Division with 7 other teams from the county. There were 8 teams in the North Division. My second year I did some pitching, but mostly played 3rd Base, since I had a fairly strong arm and could make the throw across the diamond with ease from 3rd base. And ..... still had my good batting eye. Led the team in quite a few categories that second year on the team. So good that when the All-Star Game came around, my coach, Mr. Geist, chose me as one of the two players he could send to the game. Other player was my friend and pitcher, George Healey. Wow, what an honor. And, I really mean that, from a kid who just loved baseball and had only played organized ball for 4 years at that point. Well, the week before the game, I was sliding into 3rd Base during a regular season game, trying to make a double into a triple, and sprained my ankle. Hurt? Wow, did it ever! But, I didn't let on that it did, because my mom and dad, who were sitting on lawn chairs watching the game, probably wouldn't let me play in the All-Star Game if they knew. Game was in three days. I found some Ace bandages in the hall closet of our second floor house on Queen Street and wrapped it and wore my high top sneakers I had to conceal it. At times it hurt so bad it made me cry, but I was determined not to miss the game. Game time and I got to start the game at 3rd Base for the South squad. Don't remember how well I did, but at least I got to play in the All-Star Game. One of my biggest accomplishments in baseball. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The "Extraordinary Readers of My Blog" Story

It was an ordinary day. And .... I'm impressed! Impressed with myself! A few days ago I lost the counter on my blog. I added the counter back in 2009 when my wife asked me if I had any idea how many people were reading the stories that I was writing. Since I didn't, I added a counter. Holy cow! Some days as many as 50 people would tune in and read the stories. Well, after a year and a half the counter had reached almost 15,000. I checked it every so often to see if some of the dumb stories I had to tell were slowing down the amount of people who read them. Nope! When I found that the counter had disappeared, I was disappointed. I knew approximately the amount on the counter when it went kaput. I got into the blog program and found out that the counter had been disabled. Why? Seems that blogspot, who carries my blog, had started a place where you could add a counter, and anyone who had one had it disabled. I started a new one and was able to start it where the old one had left off. Then I started to explore all the other features of blogspot. Unbelievable what I found. On one page it told me my all-time favorite stories that I had posted. That distinction goes to a story posted on November 26, 2009 titled "The Puka Dog Story". Story about a great hot dog sold on the island of Kauai in Hawaii. Were you one of the 277 people that read that story? If you were, thanks. The "Ma Doudou Story" placed 2nd and was posted February 2, 2010 and was about flavored rum made on the island of Saint Martin. It has 108 readers. "The Last Game" of November 4, 2009 which was about my last softball game due to getting hit in the face with a line drive and "Learning to Live with JD" from May 13, 2011 about my granddaughter dealing with Juvenile Diabetes were also in the top ten. My final post of the first year of my blog titled "The Final Chapter of LDub", which was my imaginary obituary and was posted September 1, 2010 was also in the top 10. Another neat page I found was a bar graph showing an overview of daily, weekly, monthly and all-time readership. Seems that the month with the most readers tuning in was August of 2010. That month 1,108 viewers read my stories. To me, that's unbelievable!! Carol asked me why I don't put ads on my blog. You get a stipend every time someone clicks on an ad while looking at your blog. I initially chose not to do that because I hate to read other blogs that feature that service. Another statistic on blogspot shows you readers of your blog by countries. Naturally the USA leads the way, but I have readship in: United Kingdom (20 people), India (8), Russia (8), Pakistan (6), Philippines (5), Canada (4), Croatia (3), Australia (2), Costa Rica (2) as well as a few on different islands in the Caribbean. Carol suggested I click on the box that would change my blog to other languages and I may increase my readership. Maybe an option sometime soon. Most people follow me on Internet Explorer while others use Safari, Firefox, Chrome and Opera. And by far the most popular operating system is Windows (67%) followed by Mac (29%), while a few follow on their iPhone or iPod. Hey, thanks to all of you for these neat stats. It kind of blows my mind when I read this stuff. I'm just having fun typing and seems that people all over the world are tuned in. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary day.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The "Nite on the Boards" Story

It was an ordinary day. Getting my afternoon shower after returning from the beach and helping get supper ready for the family. Seems to be the daily routine during our yearly family vacation at Ocean City, NJ. Well, tonight is a night for the boardwalk. Weather is great and the grandkids and the regular kids are ready for the rides and a late evening stroll accompanied by a cold treat. We never have dessert for supper, since we save that for the boardwalk. After the evening meal we clean the table, wash the dishes and dress for the boardwalk. Carol and I always take a sweatshirt with us in case it gets cold later in the evening. Everyone else passes on the extra clothes, since they all have better circulation than we do. We take a right out of our condo complex and head up 9th Street to the boardwalk. Only takes about three minutes, since we are so close to the beach. Turn left when we get to the boardwalk and head towards Wonderland Pier. That is where most of the rides are that everyone enjoys. The sun is setting when we reach Wonderland and my granddaughters and me head to the Giant Wheel. One of my favorite rides and the only people who will ride with me are Courtney and Camille, and sometimes my son-in-law Dave. But, he holds on so tight and doesn't look around much when you get to the top. What fun is that? After a 15 minute wait we hop in the car. Time for a quick photo before the car starts in motion. Don't like to move around much in the car when it is motion. Tonight, after the photo, Courtney sits on one side while Camille and I sit on the opposite side. I hand Courtney my camera and she starts shooting pixs from her position. Got a few really neat ones of the other rides and the entire length of the boardwalk. She really enjoys taking photos. We travel around for three times and the car stops us at the top for loading at the other end. After a short time we travel three more times. Unbelievable sights of the sunset from the top of the wheel. Years ago I was terrified of heights, but overcame the fear by telling myself that it was no big deal. Worked!! "OK, now who's ready for the Canyon Falls ride," I ask as we exit the Giant Wheel? My son Derek, grandson Caden, Camille and I head in that direction. Rides are fairly empty tonight and we hop right in a car. The entire name of this ride is the Canyon Falls Log Flume and you sit in a car shaped like a log, two people in the front and two people in the rear. Caden sits in the front with his dad and Camille and I take up the rear part of the car. If you haven't figured it out yet, it is a water ride. I decided to put my sweatshirt on instead of leaving it on the seat of the car and having it get wet. Bad mistake! We move around the waterway and then hit the ramp that will take us to the top. Up we go! You can hear the metal chain under the car catch and whine as it pulls the weight to the top. Probably about 40-50 feet up by the time you reach the top. The car floats in a trough around the top and then ....... drops at a very steep angle to the water pool at the bottom. "NO HANDS!!," I shout as we start down the drop. Hey, they're all holding on! No Fair! Never get tired of the thrill you get in your stomach when you hit the top and drop down the chute. My daughter-in-law has her camera trained on us and starts shooting. We hit the bottom and the water rushes to the back and soaks my sweatshirt. Gonna be a chilly night, I can see. Darkness is setting in and the family heads to other rides. I got my fill for the night and start taking photos. Little bit of everything; even a few timed exposures to show the action. We wander into the arcade next door to Wonderland and watch the kids try out the video games. Courtney challenges me to a basketball shooting contest and I give it a try. Carol and I can't seem to enjoy all the noise at the arcade and head down the boardwalk to find our treat for the evening. The choices are limitless, but we choose Dairy Queen; a hot fudge sundae for me and a mint Blizzard for her. How do all these people seem to have limitless energy? We tire of walking and head back to watch the end of the Phillies game. At least I watch! It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Off to Wonderland to act like a child, again.

Camille, LDub, and Courtney riding the Big Wheel in 2011

Next 2 are Courtney's shots from the top of the Giant Wheel, about 50 up in the air


The Canyon Falls Log Flume ride

"Hands Up," I yelled, but looks like no one heard!

The Giant Wheel at dusk

Timed exposure of the Big Swings on the left and the Giant Wheel on the right

Courtney, daughter Brynn, and Camille getting ready to ride their favorite, the "Moby Dick"

Times exposure of my daughter and granddaughters riding their favorite

Courtney changeling me to a game of basketball

Evening on the Boardwalk

Seems to be a popular place to buy a souvenir.

How can all these vendors survive year after year?

Corner of 9th and Boardwalk. We have to pass it as we head to home, so ......... why not?