Monthly Archives: September 2013

What’s the big deal?

We stopped at a fast-food place where, when you buy a burger, you get to put the mustard and ketchup on yourself. We also bought a side salad and got to pour the French vignette dressing on ourselves.

It was one of those days, when we could smell fall in the air and the change in temperature and climate made us want to go out for a snack rather than cook at home. I guess you could say we were out to butter our own nests.

My wife ordered a drink that’s dispensed from a self-service fountain, and decided on lemonade. One sip and she realized she’d gotten Gatorade instead. So, she mustard all the politeness she could to call attention to the Gatorade-lemonade confusion. “Oh, it’s really Gatorade. We ran out of lemonade, but everybody knows what it is,” the teeny-bopper explained to Bonnie. Continue reading

It’s a shared experience

Something clicks when people are faced with a kind of commonality that matters. The flooding in Las Vegas proves  that such is true.

Let me explain:

    I first noticed this we-have-something-in-common phenomenon when I was a few years younger and a student at the University of Missouri. The Columbia campus is so spread out that a bicycle becomes the main means of transportation. Have a car? Forget it! Some dormitories are a mile from the classrooms.

So, I got used to riding my bike. The many miles I clocked convinced me that other bikers felt as I did: Riding is not for pleasure, and we don’t generally acknowledge one another as we pedal.

In the summer, Columbia is like one of Dante’s rings in The Inferno. It’s far worse than even the hottest day here, and it’s humid. On the rare occasion that we had rain, it came down out of nowhere and with a vengeance. Continue reading

A graveyard for baseballs

It’s great to come across someone who remembers when we played baseball without needing an instruction manual, and when we played with baseballs without covers. My dad wondered where all his black friction tape had gone before he saw the criss-cross patterns of my baseball — one of the few in the neighborhood.

In a column a few years back, I wrote about how Railroad barrio boys of the ‘40s and ‘50s got by, using the natural terrain as our baseball field. The street that dead-ends on the east side of Columbia was a natural for baseball. The tracks (and sometimes the Super Chief) often prevented baseballs from crossing the tracks and rolling all the way to Pecos Street.

Too many balls that our neighbor Don Archuleta sent over the tracks never returned, causing the majority of us to rule that “‘over the fence’ is out.” Continue reading

It doesn’twerk

If I have 11 pine nuts and I give you five, keeping six for myself, what do we have? We have a difference of a piñon.

What if our differences concern not quantity but time? My wife, Bonnie, and I have radically divergent conception of time, which I will now explain.

You see, I’m likely to say to Bonnie, “We haven’t seen Diana in two years,” to which my wife will reply, “It’s been more like 10 years.”

Who’s right? Well, let’s not go into that now, except to stress that I usually give her the benefit of the doubt. On one such occasion, we even looked it up and discovered that it had been closer to 10 years, but it wasn’t exactly 10 years, more like nine. Continue reading