August 09 '03

Volume 375

Joe's Last Week Dining Experience

Twice this year, our home has become a boardinghouse-style accommodation for a student from Sterling College located in Sterling, Kansas. The first occasion was last January when Josh O'Grady stayed with us, and more recently when Joe Millham's visit marked six weeks from mid-June through the end of July. Neither occasion presented a hardship for our household, and whatever personal inconveniences were imposed were of a minor nature.

In both instances, the young men were in Pontotoc to fulfill a part of the course requirements of their scholarship program, Habitat Fellows. They were expected to participate in the day to day operations of a local affiliate of Habitat For Humanity by helping with office work, participating in board meetings, and working on building projects.

The six weeks that Joe was here passed quickly. He was originally scheduled to be in a second host home after being with us for four and one-half weeks. Dr. John Baldwin and his wife, Barbara, were to have sponsored Joe for his final ten days in Pontotoc. Yet, because of Joe's being gone to Americus, GA, for almost half that time and for additional reasons, it was mutually agreed upon by all persons involved that Joe would continue staying with us.

A part of the agreement included the insistence of the Baldwins to have the three of us over for dinner one night. Thus, on Tuesday, July 29th, my wife, Joe, and I made our way across town (less than two miles) to the Baldwin's home on Oak Drive, for what proved to be a memorable occasion.

Dr. Baldwin and Barbara have traveled extensively both in the United States and abroad. He has served in the military as a dentist and has worked in a few Veterans' Homes in a like capacity. The Baldwin couple have a daughter, Heather, who married a Pontotoc native, also a dentist, Dr. Marlin Duff, the son of long-time dentist, Dr. George Duff. Of all the places lived or visited, Dr. John Baldwin would prefer to live in the Holy Land, Jerusalem in particular. He mentioned that he had a deep religious experience on his first visit to Jerusalem but did not elaborate except to say it was his favorite place on Earth.

So, how did the Baldwins end up in Pontotoc? Grandchildren; their grandchildren live here and desiring to be close to them, they live here, too. The Baldwins typically live in Jerusalem for a short spell every two years as they provide dental services to the needy. I've not visited Jerusalem and don't expect to do so in my lifetime, but given a choice of residence, I'd choose Pontotoc over Jerusalem, regardless where my grandchildren lived.

I think everyone enjoyed the evening. Dinner was not quite ready when we arrived so we spent a half-hour or more getting to know one another. I had met Dr. John and Barbara once when they visited First Baptist Church, and they spoke to Sarah and me the time we opted to attend the Methodist's morning service rather than sing praise songs projected onto a big screen in our sanctuary. However, neither of them seemed to remember meeting me.

Joe may have fielded the most questions, but as various topics of discussion were bounced around, he asked Dr. Baldwin if he were for or against the war on Iraq. I remember the answer being an involved one that included a reference to the 7th Century. I gave up on hearing a simple yes or no but surmised the answer was that war with Iraq was inevitable.

When Barbara Baldwin asked me about my hobbies, all I could think of were fishing and writing, the latter hobby giving rise to questions about this newsletter. The next day as I mentioned all of this to my sister, she wanted to know if I told her about my artistic hobby, charcoal and pencil portraits. I explained that I had not mentioned my artistic side, because I have not done a portrait in twenty-five or thirty years. Still, Sarah thinks I should have mentioned my artwork, since Barbara is an artist and would likely be interested in seeing the works of another artist. Actually, I never thought of myself as an artist, because I merely looked at a photo and copied it using techniques that employed charcoal and a few soft-lead pencils.

I only have two portraits at home, one of Barbara and one of me. I drew one of Sarah, and while it was a good likeness of the picture I used, she never liked it due to it being from one her fat-phase eras. She may still have it, but it's not on display. The two that I have are on display, but Joe couldn't figure out who the subjects were. After all, Barbara and I have changed a bunch in the thirty something years since I drew them.

Barbara Baldwin had several of her art pieces on display and I only remember one that was on canvas. Most of her items are creations using hand-made paper. A grouping of four large pictures behind the couch represented the Jerusalem "Wailing Wall" that is so special to the Jews. Another pair of pictures on the facing wall represented the priestly garb of Moses' brother, Aaron. Barbara also has an art studio downtown that I've not visited, but perhaps I will, soon.

Joe was the subject of a controversial topic initiated when I shared I had recently learned he was considering staying out of school and working for Americorp this upcoming school year. We sort of ganged up on him and tried to convince him of the error of his thinking. It remains to be seen if we were successful.

I'm not sure who learned the most that evening, the guests or the hosts, but no one appeared bored. Apart from the obvious results of folks getting to know one another better, this newsletter managed to acquire at least two more subscribers.

Joe Millham left our home early on the morning of August 1st heading back to Kansas to spend some time with his family before whatever autumn has in store for him. It was a delight having him as our guest for a few weeks. In that time, we believe he came to appreciate the qualities of Golden Eagle syrup, and, just so the memories won't fade too quickly, we presented him with a fresh 30 oz. jar of the honey flavored syrup to take back to Kansas.

Favorite Shirt New Life For An Old Item

A few months ago, an article appeared in this newsletter regarding what I have long considered as my favorite white shirt. I shared that I particularly liked the ribbed material and have never found another quite like it. Unlike so many of my buttoned-down collars, the many trips to the cleaners, where good shirts are often shrunk by repeated laundering, this particular shirt never acquired the pinched-look in the body of the shirt with the collar buttoned down. Also, the neck size had also remained mostly the same, lending credibleness to my theory that my neck’s not getting larger; it’s the cleaners that are shrinking the collars of my shirts.

There was a problem, however, with my favorite shirt, in that the collar had become rather frayed where the whiskers on my neck chaffed it. Felicia sat by me at church the last time I wore it, and she later told me she could see the frays and felt I should retire it. I've not worn it since, but I've not thrown it out either. I think old clothes are like old documents on my office desk. Within a week of discarding any of them, something will come up and I'll wish I'd kept it.

At the recent fish fry event, I was snapping pictures here and there and in the process paused to make a candid photo of Linda and Danny Weatherly as they dinned with other friends of RRN. Before I moved to another table, Danny got my attention by stating that Linda had been intending to write me.

"Well, send it on," I seem to remember saying, but that may only be an approximation of the actual words.

"What I wanted to say was I hope nobody who reads your newsletter thought you sent your clothes to the laundry at my cleaners," she stated, then explained, "If you'll give me that favorite shirt of yours, I'll fix it."

I was a little relieved to learn that I hadn't gotten myself in trouble with Linda over something I had written and assured her, "I didn't mention the name of the cleaners in the article."

"I know," she continued, "but since you no longer have a house in Greenville, I was afraid folks might think you got your cleaning done in Pontotoc."

Linda didn't want to say how she planned to repair my shirt, but she sounded confident that she could, so I told her to remind me when she started to leave and I'd get it for her. I suppose I don't have a very good excuse for not transferring my laundry business to Linda and Danny's "City Cleaners" in Pontotoc, but as I explained to Linda, "Ideal Cleaners" in Indianola is right on my way to the office.

I don't know much about tailoring clothes, making alterations, or repairing a worn out collar, but I imagined it could be done by fashioning a new collar from the shirttail, assuming there was a long enough tail, or simply by reversing the collar. I had to wait until Barbara brought the shirt home for me to find out.

"Linda Weatherly gave me your shirt today," Barbara shared, last Friday afternoon when I got back from Arlington, TN. "It's hanging in your closet if you want to see it."

I retrieved the shirt and brought it back to the kitchen to inspect it.

"She reversed the collar," Barbara explained. "She said to try it out, and if you don't like the button being on the inside, you can remove it and fashion another way to fasten it."

I have not yet tried the shirt buttoned and with a tie, but I plan to do so very soon.

"How much do I owe her," I asked.

"Nothing," Barbara answered, "but Linda says she wants your laundry business."

All of which leaves me with a tough choice. For me, changing cleaners is a lot like changing barbers or supermarkets; it helps if somebody I was already doing business with makes me mad enough to change. That's not the case in my present situation. All things considered, I may end up splitting my business between Indianola and Pontotoc. That would be fair, wouldn't it?

Night Rider Goldwing Or Shadow

I've met a number of folks this year who are into cycling on the heavy duty side, particularly motorcycling. I don’t speak the language of motorcycle enthusiasts, but still I could appreciate the following article submitted by my "new niece," Rhea Palmer:

A friend of my husband’s asked us if we wanted to do a little night motorcycle ride. "Sure!" we said, thinking we would just cruise around town. Little did we know! We pulled up on our cruiser Honda Shadow and most everyone else was there on their Goldwings. That should’ve been my first clue. John suggested riding up to Tommy’s parents house which was about an hour and forty minutes away. ACK! Okay, I could deal with that. We had our coats and I figured I could brave the small seat for a little while.

So off we go in our caravan of two-wheeled vehicles. We made a pit stop for gas 15 miles up and I got a drink and snack for Tommy and me. We were on our way again. I leaned back on the sissy bar, just enjoying the breeze. It was chilly, but not uncomfortably so. Our next stop was in a Wal-Mart parking lot about halfway there. After bathroom breaks and smoke breaks we were off again. Still comfortable, I sit back and watch the stars. It was a beautiful night. No clouds whatsoever.

We pulled up in Tom and Eva’s driveway and spent about fifteen minutes visiting. Little Tommy, our son, was spending a few days with his grandparents so we got to visit with him, too. He liked seeing all the motorcycles in the driveway. That was cool. After saying our goodbyes and giving little guy a hug and a kiss we roared back down the driveway.

We reached Selmer before I started feeling the effects of the long ride on my derriere. I’ll be fine, I thought. It had gotten a little chillier, too. Hmmm, by the time we were outside Bolivar, I was about frozen and I couldn’t feel anything below my waist. "I have got to do something," I told Tommy. "I can’t feel a thing." So we pull back over in the parking lot in Wal-Mart and I hop on John’s Goldwing. Oh my goodness, talk about soothing your soul! I normally wouldn’t be caught dead on a Goldwing. I have my reputation to uphold, you know. It was dark, though, so I figured I was safe, besides, that Goldwing was rather comfortable.

I felt guilty about deserting my husband, but my derrière thanked me. Now I understood how people fell asleep on the back of one of these things. I relaxed amidst comments of "Now isn’t that better than that old loud cruiser?" and John’s choice of music. The appeal of a Goldwing is definitely understandable now, at least for long road trips. Sorry, cruiser guys.

There’s just a time and place for every motorcycle, but I’m a faithful gal. I’ll stick to my husband’s Shadow. You know, reputation and all that.

Bodock Beau Insults And More

If you're looking for a new way to insult someone, you may find just what you need among the following lines contributed by Bing Crausby.

  1. A few fries short of a happy meal.
  2. The wheel's spinning, but the hamster's dead.
  3. All foam, no beer.
  4. The cheese slid off his cracker.
  5. Body by Fisher, brains by Mattel.
  6. Warning: Objects in mirror are dumber than they appear.
  7. He fell out of the stupid tree and hit every branch on the way down.
  8. As smart as bait.
  9. Her sewing machine's out of thread.
  10. One fruit loop shy of a full bowl.
  11. Her antenna doesn't pick up all the channels.
  12. His belt doesn't go through all the loops.
  13. Proof that evolution CAN go in reverse.
  14. Receiver is off the hook.
  15. Skylight leaks a little.
  16. Her slinky's kinked.
  17. Too much yardage between the goal posts.
  18. Got a full 6-pack, but lacks the plastic thingy to hold them together.
  19. Gates are down, the lights are flashing, but the train isn't coming.
  20. If brains were taxed, he'd get a rebate.
  21. Standing close to her, you can hear the ocean.
  22. Some drink from the fountain of knowledge, but he just gargled.

In order to demonstrate once again that this columnist is not a male chauvinist but strives to portray both genders in equally bad light, the following is shared:

Strange Funeral Procession

A woman was leaving a 7-11 with her morning coffee when she noticed a most unusual funeral procession approaching the nearby cemetery.

A long black hearse was followed by a second long black hearse about 50 feet behind. Behind the second hearse was a solitary woman walking a pit
bull dog on a leash. Behind her were about 200 women, walking single file.

The woman couldn't stand the curiosity. She respectfully approached the woman walking the dog and said, "I am so sorry for your loss, and I know now is a bad time to disturb you, but I've never seen a procession like this. Whose funeral is it?"

The woman replied, "Well that first hearse is for my husband."

"What happened to him?"

The woman replied, "My dog attacked and killed him."

She inquired further, "I'm sorry. Who is in the second hearse?"

"His mistress. She tried to help my husband when the dog turned on her."

A poignant and thoughtful moment of silence passes between the two women.

"Can I borrow the dog?"

"Get in line."

Two contributors sent this one within a two-day period, Dena Kimbrell and Lisa B. Rolik.

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