Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.
When it got up to 100° on that 28th day of June, I just knew it was gona be a hot summer, and so it is. Oh what a difference a year makes. Last year there was not a single day when the EastWing grass was brown. This year I’ve had brown grass since late May. What a difference a year makes.
The Dog Days of Summer! Ya gotta love ‘em. It’s the summer time! It’s supposed to be hot, it’s supposed to be humid, it’s supposed to be miserable outside, after all, it’s the summer time. I’m sure those Al Gore, tree hugging, climate change radical *&^%$&^%’s, they’ll be out in force all summer long. ‘Course these folks are screaming ‘bout something all the time anyways. So we’re having the hottest summer in 75 years. Whoop-Te-Du! I’m loving it. They’re always looking for a cause, looking for a reason to get crazy. Always wanting to occupy something, anything they will. Even that 99% – 1% crap, they will. In case those crazies didn’t know, Al Gore, yeah, he’s in that 1% thing. Looking for the green. That’s green as in greenback money of course.
One of the things that makes our country great is we, as a people, don’t place a limit on stupidity, ya can have as much of it as you can handle. And are you ever amazed at how much some people can handle? I sure am. One can you buy stupid at Wal-Mart. Now some may think it’s a gift from God, but I’m not sure ‘bout that. I’m just glad it’s not for sale at Wal-Mart, else Lord help us all. ‘Cause If you’re reading this story, then I’m sure you’ve seen some of the “WAL-MART SHOPPERS” photos out there on the internet. Scary stuff, and if they could buy stupid by the pound with those falling prices. And then it would probably end up being stupid from China, like everything else there at Wal-Mart.
The other day I was asked if I had it to do over, what about my childhood, or about my life, would I want change. WOW! Did that ever make me stop and think. Not because the question was so complex, because it was so truth-seeking. What would I change about my childhood, about my life? A question for the ages. How many would exchange? How many would alter? How many would “do over”? How many would not? How many would re-do? How many would never, would never ever pass this way again? Questions for the ages. Food for thought. And so I thought.
I was born into a family of girls. My most important hope in life is to be born into a family of girls. I was not the oldest, who holds certain authority in a family. I was not the youngest, who holds certain authority. I was the only. A special place in the hearts of all. I would never change my place in my family of girls. I’m the only, in my family of girls, and as such, I’ve always held a certain authority. And loved it every day of my life in my family of girls.
Then I played in the dirt when I was a kid. Played Marbles and Mumbly Peg, Hop Scotch and Red Rover, Tag, Hide & Seek, Dodge Ball and Jacks. Learned about mud puddles, both how to stomp into and make mud pies from. Would not change a single game in the dirt. Did ya ever hear that ya gotta eat a peck of dirt before ya died? I heard that too. I wonder if that’s true. I’ve only ate ‘bout a ½ peck so far. So I’m good to go on that dirt eating part, just in case it’s true. Would I change playing in the dirt? Are you kidding me, of course not. When ya play in the dirt ya love it, ‘cause that’s part of what little boys are made of. That, along with the hammers and nails and puppy dog tails. I used to carry little frogs in my pocket just to scare my baby sister, that’s what little boys are made of, stuff in your pockets.
Just lived in an age when ya played outside all day long. Ya got thirsty and drank from a garden hose attached to an outside faucet. In the summertime, the water had to run for a few minutes ‘cause the water in the hose was too hot to drink, laying there in the sun all day. Finally when the new water cooled off the hose, ya took a drink. I loved drinking from the hose. I still do.
I learned to skip rope. Then two ropes, then dual skip rope (for the non rope skippers of the world, that dual skip rope, it’s when two people skip rope at the same time, skipping two ropes going in different directions, being twirled by people who have mastered the difficult process of twirling two ropes in different directions.) Would I change drinking from a garden hose and skipping rope with my sisters? Both the short answer and the long answer is NO. It’s when ya can skip in and skip out of the ropes and the two ropes never stop, that’s skipping rope. Would I give that up? Shewwww. Nor would you if you’d learned to skip rope.
Pop bottles were currency(2¢) and a glass gallon milk jug made ya rich for a few days(10¢). There was no such thing as trash along the roadside, it was money for the taking. And when we picked up the pop bottles along the way, should we come across a piece of paper, why of course we’d pick that up and take it to the garbage can. ‘Cause we all kept the world clean. That was what you were supposed to do. Would I give up memories of the Pop Bottle Wars of Toto? Never in a lifetime, or two lifetimes for that matter.
Rock & Roll and I were young together. And I had the joy of seeing many of the future stars of Rock & Roll live at Schaffer Lake, in Monticello IN before they made it big on the national “Band Stand”. Chubby Checker, Fats Domino, Fabian, Beach Boys, Deon & The Belmont’s, Richey Valley, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins, Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper, the last two seen just days before they died in an Iowa plane crash. And to this day, some still say “The Day The Music Died”
And all that list is just right off the top of my head, and I’m sure I missed some. I remember seeing Fats Domino playing a full nonstop 30 minutes of “Blue Berry Hill”. We wouldn’t let him stop, just keep yelling, keep clapping and stomping our feet. I saw, heard, and danced the “Twist” before it was on Band Stand. I was up close on that one, and I’m telling ya that big boy sweats a lot. Would I change that part of my childhood? Only if hell froze over, and I got to see ‘em all over again, live, just one more time.
I sauntered the sidewalks of history during the race riots of Chicago when Martin Luther King Jr. died, and the west side of Chicago lit up like a Roman Candle from the fires set by rioters. I was operating a clinical laboratory on the near north side of Chicago during the time when those riots occurred. It was necessary for me to travel on foot some eight blocks into the riot zone. I had a homebound diabetic patient whom I’d visited every other Monday Morning for over a year to obtain a blood sample for fasting blood sugar analysis at my laboratory. Normally, I rode a cab to the patients home. This time the streets were barricaded by the rioters, as well as blocked off by the Illinois National Guard.
Monday Morning was coming up Just three days away. I was never more frightened in my life. I truly was afraid for my safety. I’d decided not to enter into that den of disaster. After all, this city was on fire. Whole city blocks were being burned in different sections of Chicago. There were parts of the city where the police and fire departments had stopped service. The Illinois National Guard patrolled the Chicago Subway System with dogs trained in riot control. It was a scary time to walk the streets of the big city. Streets filled with people dressed in military uniforms, with dogs at their side, dogs that didn’t wag their tails. Scary times.
On a peaceful, sunny, summer Saturday Afternoon, I shared these fears with my dad while setting under a shade tree, in the swing, there at Toto. Told him that I’d decided not to walk into the riot zone come Monday Morning. He said that’s ok, but if I really had to go, he’d tell me how to go into those jaws of hell and be as safe as in my mamas arms. And then he told me the story.
“All ya gotta to do”, he said, “is get crazy on ‘em”. “Now ya gotta keep in mind there are two forces inside that riot. The National Guard, scared to death for their own safety, and the rioters who are also scared for their safety, but just in a different way, they’re kinda afraid of each other. And both of those sides, well, they’re both scared to death of crazy people, ‘cause everybody’s scared of crazy people, no matter what, everybody’s scared of crazy people. So all you have to do is act really crazy and they’ll both leave ya alone. Not only leave ya alone, they’ll even get away from ya as fast as they can, it ya act crazy enough.”
To this day I’m still surprised that I had the courage to take my dad’s advice and walk into that shadow of the valley of death, that riot zone. Several streets had been closed off, so it was foot traffic only. I walked on the street, then to the sidewalk, back to the street, back to the sidewalk. All the while laughing and waving and singing a song to anyone and everyone I saw. Groups of people standing on the sidewalks split as this crazy white boy came toward ‘em laughing and pointing at ‘em, as if to say let’s me and you be friends.
They didn’t want to be friends with me, they wanted to get out of my way. It was kinda like the parting of the Red Sea. They just got out of my way. Both the rioters and the Illinois National Guard, they just split. Whoever was in front of me, made it a point to get out of my way. It turned out that my dad was so right, nobody wants to be in the path of a crazy person, even when you’re rioting, ya still don’t consider yourself crazy and as such, ya just don’t mess with crazy people. Later when I told my dad about how well that worked out for me, he said “Did I ever give my boy bad advice?” Not once in his lifetime.
But back to the original question, Would I change any part of my life? Now don’t make me get crazy on ya.
Stay safe in Afghanistan.
From The EastWing, Summer Heat & Dog Days, Wal-Mart Shoppers, Do Over Or Do Not
I Wish You Well,