Monthly Archives: October 2014

“No” Trick or Treat

“I’m out of candy, now scram!” Walter yelled at the boys

“What do you mean you’re out of candy, it’s only 7 o’clock!” said the tall boy in his basketball warm-ups and a plastic axe sticking out of his head. “Every year you run out and then start yelling at us. Getting kinda old ole’ man!”

“Deal with it, punk. Now beat it!”

“Why you yelling at us? Why’d you even open the door if you ain’t got candy? That’s what normal people around here do.” said axe boy to a chorus of ‘That’s right’ and ‘yeah’s’ from his cohorts.

“What you gonna do about it? You kids ain’t nothing but trouble any way. Go home to your mommies!” Walter proclaimed with an evil grin on his face.

“This is trick or treat ole man, no treats, guess that means tricks for you!”

Walter slammed the door as the boys walked away laughing, he watched through the little window on the door as the tall boy, the leader he guessed, got to the end of his walkway, turned around and stared back at the house. He then took his index and middle finger on his right hand, pointed them at his eyes, and then directly back at Walter and smiled. He then turned and ran after his friends as Walter could feel his blood boiling.

“What are you doing, dear?” asked Marie, Walter’s wife of 40 years.

“Them boys just threatened me! They are gonna do something to the house tonight, I can feel it. But I ain’t gonna let them, they’ll be in for it if they try anything. I’ll be ready for ’em”

“Which boys?” Marie asked “and why would they wanna get back at you? Are you giving out the candy like I asked you to?”

“We’re out! And it is that tall kid from next door, the one always out in his driveway bouncing that damn basketball at all hours of the night.” Walter responded.

“You mean Billy? He’s such a sweetheart. You know that he stops playing ball by 9 o’clock ever since you complained.” She then walked to the front door and saw her huge Tupperware bowl still overflowing with candy. “And why aren’t you giving out any candy? The bowl is still full”

“Them boys don’t deserve any, now leave me be”

Marie just shrugged her shoulders, shook her head and walked back into the kitchen. Walter stayed at the front door, just waiting for anything suspicious to happen. He’d watch the kids walk by the house, knowing that the neighbor kid was going to come back and do something to his house. Throw eggs or tomatoes at it, put toilet paper all over the trees or something. He just knew it. He had turned the lights out on the porch so not too many kids came to the door, most of them knew that Walter was especially grumpy on Halloween for some reason and didn’t want to feel his wrath over a miniature snickers bar.

So Walter stood at the door with the lights off, listening and watching. At one point he swore that he heard a ball bouncing next door and flung open the door and went to his driveway as fast as he could to try to catch that boy out there, but there was no one there. Walter stood in the cold, biting wind with no coat on, shivering while trying to figure out where those boys were, and what they were going to do. A young couple walked by with their daughter dressed in a little red devil costume. They waved at Walter, but he ignored them. He was looking for his suspects, the ones that were coming to get his house.

After ten minutes or so, Marie came to the front door which had been left open and called for him to come back inside. “At least come in and get a coat, you ole fool! I’m going to bed, are you coming?”

Walter just waved her off and made his way to the backyard, maybe that’s where they were going to come. Dogs were barking throughout the neighborhood, the wind was howling, trees and bushes were shaking and at every noise, Walter was sure that it was “those boys” coming to play a prank on him. “Ain’t no one gonna get me tonight!”

The night went on, Walter was in and out of the house, watching and waiting. He knew it was coming it was just a matter of when. And even worse, it was a Friday night so “them boys” didn’t have school tomorrow, they might attack late, real late. Walter was shivering now, even when he was in the house. That wind was a cold one, an early arctic blast as the weatherman on channel 13 said. But it didn’t matter, he was not going to give in, even if it meant getting sick, he was not going to let anyone threaten his home and get away with it.

He had pulled his chair over in front of the big bay window in the living room so that he could see the entire front yard, and it was positioned so that all he had to do was turn around to see the window in the dining room looking into the backyard. By now he had turned all of his outside lights on, he had it all covered. Suddenly there was a loud noise from inside the garage, sounded like one of his paint cans had been knocked to the ground. Walter got to his feet and made for the garage door, wondering how they might have gotten inside the garage without him hearing anything. He flung open the door, reached around and turned on the light.

“A-Ha” he yelled, then “Aahhh!” as the cat jumped off of the shelf next to the door and ran in through the house. “Damn cat!” He picked up the paint can that the cat had knocked off the shelf when he heard it. There was a loud banging against the aluminum siding on the side of the house.

“They are hitting my house on the side. Damn kids, I’ll show them that they better not mess with me.” Walter got to the front door as fast as he could, slammed it open, knocking all of Marie’s decorations off it, and made his way to the side of the house. “I got you now Billy!”

As Walter turned the corner, he slipped on something in the grass and went down hard. He laid there for a minute gathering himself back together. Didn’t feel like anything was hurt, he reached down to his slipper and felt something warm and squishy, bringing his fingers to his nose he stopped when he recognized the undeniable smell of dog poop.

“Dammit!” Walter yelled. “I bet they put that there on purpose!” The noise from the side of the house continued, were they throwing eggs at his house? What was that noise? He got himself up to his feet, his pants now soaked from the early morning frost as well as the streak of poop running up his leg, and limped to the side of the house where he saw the large oak tree, swaying in the wind, hitting against the siding with each strong gust.

Walter walked to the back yard and was checking behind every bush and shrub that he had to make sure that no kids were hiding. Getting his arms and faced scratched up as he went, he was surprised to notice that the first light of morning was showing in the eastern sky. He walked back to the front door, his pride swelling in his chest, knowing that he did not let “those boys” get the best of him tonight. “No one outsmarts ole Walter here” he thought as he reached the front door, which had been blown shut by one of the strong wind gusts. He reached for the door knob and tried to turn it, only to find that it was locked. Reaching in his pockets and realizing that he did not have his house keys, he started ringing the doorbell for Marie to come let him in.

After a few minutes, she arrived at the door and opened it.

“I did it. I beat them kids. I won, they did not get me!”

As Marie looked at her husband standing there with scratches all up and down his arms and face, shivering in the morning cold, pants wet and covered in dog crap, his hair windblown and sticking straight up out of his head, she said “Are you sure about that Walter?”

 

HAPPY HALLOWEEN


10 Years Younger? Hmm….

http://startsat50.com/5-steps-to-looking-10-years-younger/

Came across this report and shared it on my “Starts At 50” blog, wanted to share it here as well. I would love to feel 10 years younger, heck, right now I would love to feel my own age. But I will get used to being on my feet most of the time again. . . .

I am also planning on moving everything over to that blog, but continue to do what I have been doing here, I hope that everyone can join me there. Just a lot easier keeping up with one blog instead of three.

I tend to bite off more than I can chew at times 🙂

Have a great night y’all

Mark


I’m Working!

It is so good to be working again, regardless of what the job is. One thing I have learned is that nothing should be considered “beneath me”.

It took a long time for someone to give me a chance, for someone not to think that I am “overqualified” to be making an hourly wage. Yes, it is very much below what I used to make, but it is a lot more than I have been making these last few months. I have been saying all along that all I needed was a chance to get my foot in the door, I have that chance and I am going to make the most of it. My feet hurt, my legs hurt, my arms hurt, but believe it or not it feels good. I had not realized how soft I had become. Of course we spent the last couple weeks cleaning out our old house to put it on the market, so my whole family is pretty sore right now.

Was thinking last night as I talked to one of my new bosses, in fact he is the owner’s father who is supposedly retired but spends an awful lot of time at work, about the hiring process and just how different it is from the other side. For 20 years I was hiring people and interviewing them regularly, and many, many times we would come to the conclusion that the candidate was “overqualified”, regardless of what they said about wanting to step back and just start fresh. Made me wonder how many good people I passed up because we figured that they would only stick around until they found something better. I can sure understand their frustration of being passed over, or not even getting an interview because of your past history and level of employment achieved.

Anyway, I am very grateful for this opportunity, and will be even more grateful when I don’t have to walk like I just got off a friggin’ horse….

Until next time…Enjoy Life

Mark


Losing It

Been thinking about this all day. If the world lost all color except for one, what would it be?

It is not about just not seeing colors to me, it would be about losing the ability to see all the colors that I once saw. The changing of leaves in the fall, a sunset over a body of water, or a field of wildflowers blowing in the wind. None of those would ever be the same. One argument that came to me was “what about the poor people that are color blind?” As unfortunate as that is, they really have no way of knowing what they are missing. I inserted the song above because it is what came to mind when (over) thinking about this, “Sadder still to watch it die, than never to have known it….”

It is not about picking one color, it is about a change. Ask the dancer that can no longer dance, or the actor that can no longer remember their lines, or the athlete that just can’t keep up. Look into the eyes of an elder who is searching for the answers that they used to be able to give at the drop of the hat. Or an animal struggling to be able to even get to their feet any more. It is sad.

Like I said, I am sure I overanalyzed this way too much, but change is hard. Very hard. Looking at what you once had and knowing that it is gone……do not like that feeling at all.

So back to the question, what color would I choose?

I think what I would miss most is the color of the fields of green grass, of the many, many shades of trees in a woods while walking down a path. If I had to choose, and even though if asked I would probably not think to say green is my favorite color, probably because I have been saying blue my entire life, but I believe it would have to be green.

Hope everyone had a great weekend, weather has been beautiful here and driving and looking at the trees this morning really made up my mind for me.

Peace

Mark


Return From Crazy

It has been a while since I have been here, it seems like forever.

Been a little busy the last couple weeks, moving out of our house and into an apartment has pretty much taken up most of our time. You don’t realize how much “stuff” that can accumulate over a period of time, and then having to let go of some of said “stuff” can be difficult at best.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel and we are praying that it is not another train coming at us at 150 miles per hour. We just want to be able to get back into a routine. Starting a new job in about an hour and a half which is a GREAT thing since I have not worked since March.

God is working in my life today and I feel it more and more. I am back with my family again which is something that I wasn’t sure if it would ever happen again, but it has and I am so very grateful.

I miss my writing more than I ever thought I would, I need to get back to it and I WILL, just been taking care of some more pressing issues. Today’s prompt wants me to talk about the craziest, busiest, most hectic day I have had in a decade and I have had a few, but none of those days would really be worth talking about. They would center on my old job and that I let it run my life, and I choose to try not to do that anymore.

So I figured I would just send an update on where I have been and that I will be back. I’ve missed this, missed the comments that I get and give on blog posts, miss the little star at the top of the page telling me that someone out there actually liked what I had written. I missed getting caught up in words and thoughts and being able to get them down in black and white.

Funny moment during the move, my son picked up a box full of some of my books and proclaimed, “Geez, WORDS ARE HEAVY!”

They are even heavier when they are floating around in my brain and I am not getting them out!

Have a blessed day, glad to be back!


Seven Wonders of the World – Growth Excellence

Love this story……

 

Seven Wonders of the World – Growth Excellence.


The Locker Room

I felt bad for the kid. He has a chance to walk through the clubhouse and meet all of us and skip calls a meeting for the coaches and Lonnett is walking the kid out. Man he looks disappointed, coach is apologizing to him, but what could he do?

“Hey coach!” I called across the locker room, “you want me to take the kid around and meet the guys?”

“You sure Rudes?” I nodded. Coach introduced the kid to me as his buddy’s nephew.

“What’s your name?” I asked the kid

“Mark” he responded in a quiet, terrified voice.

“Well I am Joe, nice to meet you, come on lets meet the other guys.”

The kid’s eyes were as wide as saucers, just soaking in everything. He knew every guy’s name before I even introduced him to them. The guys love when we get to meet kids like this, quiet, polite and looking at us as if we are something special. Never considered myself anything more than a grown man playing a kid’s game and getting paid to do it. All the guys went out of their way to make the kid’s visit special, one of them, I think it was Tovar, had a program in his locker that had all of our pictures in it. He gave it to Mark and told him to get everyone’s autograph before he left.

Garner was the only one I steered clear of, the idiot never gets dressed until right before we take the field and was walking around butt naked. Not sure if the kid saw him or not, but I did my best to steer him away. Went into the trainer’s room and Tovar, Cesar Tovar who is one of the nicest guys around, was getting treatment on his back. He wanted to see how the autograph book was coming along. I motioned to him that I had to get the kid out of there, and he waved me off and proceeded to find every guy that had not signed the book yet, and got them to do so.

Then I saw Billy North found a couple of bats that got cracked during batting practice and gave them to him, one of them was a Reggie Jackson bat apparently. We found a bag and filled it with balls and whatever else we could give him and sent him back out to his waiting uncle

That was quite a day for that little guy, I just hope he enjoyed it.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

This is a true story and yes, I enjoyed it and 40 years later can remember it like it was yesterday. It was a game between the Oakland A’s and the Chicago White Sox at old Comiskey Park, my uncle asked me if I wanted to go with him to the game and then after we were going to have dinner with Joe Lonnett, who was one of the coaches for the A’s. We were sitting in our seats and saw Mr Lonnett waving us down to the dugout. When we got down there he asked if I wanted to come see the clubhouse before the game started.

We ran to the clubhouse entrance and Joe Lonnett was standing in the door waiting for us. As soon as we walked inside, Chuck Tanner, the manager of the A’s called a meeting for all the coaches. Joe apologized profusely but told me that he had to go and would not be able to show me around, I was very disappointed but there was nothing I could do. That is when Joe Rudi, the A’s starting left fielder when they won the World Series in ’72, ’73 and ’74 came over and offered to take me around. Mr Lonnett asked me if I wanted to go with Rudi and I emphatically said yes.

Joe Rudi and Cesar Tovar made a lifetime impression on a 11 year old die hard baseball fan. We read so many negatives about today’s high priced athletes, but I refuse to believe that all athletes are like that. All I know is that the kindness of two men that day in 1976 will forever be remembered and I hope that there are other stories out there similar to this.

I posted a couple of videos below, one of them of Joe Rudi making a great catch in the 1972 World Series and the other a biography of Cesar Tovar. Unfortunately both Cesar Tovar and Joe Lonnett have passed on, but Joe Rudi is still around and on the very outside chance that he ever reads this, I just wanted to say thank you for a great, cherished, once in a lifetime memory.


Perspective of Inequality

in·e·qual·i·ty
ˌinəˈkwälədē/
noun
noun: inequality; plural noun: inequalities
  1. difference in size, degree, circumstances, etc.; lack of equality.
    Based on the definition of equality above, wouldn’t everyone feel inequality? And wouldn’t that be a good thing?
    I mean, why would we all want to live the exact same lives as anyone else? Why would we want to be held to the same standards as anyone else? And why would we want to be held to anyone else’s standards, except maybe God’s?!
    Of course this is simplifying things a whole lot, or is it? Yes, I do understand that there are people that live in circumstances not of their making and they have no way out of them. But there are also people that put themselves into situations even though they do have the ability to get themselves out of them, and those are the people that seem to complain the loudest.
    We all feel inequality at some point. Be it socially, emotionally or physically. The problem, in my opinion, is when we feel this inequality and, rather than trying to make a change in OURSELVES, we complain about what the other person has or is. We cannot change other people, no matter how hard we try.
    Trying to get others to change to make me feel better is not working, so it is up to me to change.
    Anyone else in?

Pass

What’s messier right now — your bedroom or you computer’s desktop (or your favorite device’s home screen)? Tell us how and why it got to that state.

I need to take a pass on this one today, not a fair question to ask. We are in the middle of cleaning out the house that we have lived in for the last 10 years so I am pretty sure that you can figure out the answer.

Will write when I can…:(


I’d Speed It Up

Good news — another hour has just been added to every 24-hour day (don’t ask us how. We have powers). How do you use those extra sixty minutes?

My standard response would be to come up with something clever (at least in my head) to say about how adding an hour wouldn’t matter as I would do the same crap, just more of it, or that it would throw off the whole space-time balance and we would all end up without gravity and that would not be a good thing. (I don’t know if that is true as I just made it up)

But all that is changing now, I will take that extra hour please.

There is so much out there that I enjoy reading, but I never seem to have enough time. So many good blogs, good articles, good books, information/educational reading that I have purchased to help me in my next career endeavor. Just way too much that it gets frustrating when I don’t get around to reading what I want to read.

So after much thought (at least 2.5 minutes), I figured it out. I am going to use that hour to improve my reading speed. That seems to be the logical choice to me. I have several books about speed reading, but I haven’t read them yet. I have a computer program that is supposed to be able to triple my reading speed by the time I am done with it. I bought it two years ago and I think I just finished lesson 7.

So for all of you that do not think that they need the extra hour, please go ahead and send it my way. I’ll use it.