Thursday, January 27, 2011

A "Playlist" Sparks Memories Of A Roller Rink

Yesterday I created a playlist for my IPod that only a few people would enjoy for the exact same reason I created it.

The 24 songs are all pop music hits that were popular in either the 50's, 60's or 70's. While they are all "golden oldies" and fans of that era of music would enjoy them; but these recordings have a specific common bond. They bring back memories of a special place from my childhood. That place is the Bushkill Park Roller Rink.

The skating facility is no longer open. I believe the last time it was was more than 5 years ago. It's located in Easton, Pennsylvania, near where I grew up. It was recently featured as part of the TV show "American Pickers".

It's where I learned to roller skate. I spent many many nights (from 8 to 11PM) going around and around with my friends and family from the time I was 8 until I was in my early 20's. The place was a very popular social scene for kids and teenagers for decades. My sister Peggy's 16th birthday part was there.

The songs on my play list were all played during the skating sessions throughout the years. They hold some of the strongest memories about a specific time and place in my life than any other songs in my personal music collection.

The song "Soldier Boy" by the Shirelles is the #1 memory maker on the play list. "This Time" by Troy Shondell, "Sixteen Candles" by the Crests, and "Puppy Love" by Donny Osmond also take me back to those days of skating counter-clock wise around the rink; racing and cutting up with friends.

But the Bushkill Park roller rink wasn't just skating around in an approximate oval. The entire building was an experience. There was the snack bar area that sold 12 oz. sodas in old fashioned glass soda bottles. The kind that had to have the caps pried off of them before you could drink them. There was also an enclosed glass display case full of candy such as licorice and gumdrops, jaw breakers, candy bars and bubble gum. It was all sold to you by a very old woman. I don't remember her name or even if I ever did know it at all. But I'll never forget her. She was very thin, had wrinkled skin, snow white wavy hair and a very prominent nose. You would tell her what you wanted and she would put it in a small brown paper bag. We called them "penny candy bags".

There were pinball machines between the snack bar and the admission/skate rental counter. Over the years the games changed but that was the place to play pinball during the night. A place to "get away" from the skating floor if you just needed a break or wanted to try your best to win a free game or set a high score. The sounds of the bells made from pinballs banging against the bumpers was as much part of the soundtrack of the roller sink as the music I've mentioned.

The admission/skate rental counter was the place you always saw Mom Long. She was old and , maybe 5 foot tall at the most. She had short grey hair and wore "granny" style wire framed glasses. She kind of reminded me of George Baily's mother in the movie "It's a Wonderful Life" only with totally grey hair. Mabel "Mom" Long was the owner of, not just the skating rink, but the entire park. Her husband had owned it for years but after he died, in 1961, she ran it with the help of the old lady at the snack bar and a really old guy named "Mel". He looked like your stereotypical mid 50's aged carny worker from the movies.

"Mom" Long was one of those women who was "old" since anyone could remember. She was a bit gruff and could be a bit nasty or insensitive at times. My cousin, Roger, once told me that his "best memory" of Bushkill Park Roller Rink was when he fell and broke his arm while skating and Mom Long pulled on it. Can't remember if he mentioned the circumstances or why she did it. Just that he said it was the worse pain he'd ever felt in his life.

I liked Mom Long. She was always nice to me. I really respected her for what she did as owner/ operator of the park over the years. It wasn't an easy thing to do. I know as far as the roller rink was concerned she ran a tight ship. She didn't put up with anything out of line or against the rules from her patrons. I thought so much of her I cut out her obituary from the newspaper when she died in April of 1989. I still have it in my personal memorabilia.

There were other unique elements to the Bushkill Park roller rink experience. The area where you hung your coat up was isolated and open to anyone. You had made sure you didn't leave anything of value in your pockets that you didn't want stolen. Getting ripped off didn't happen all the time but it did occasionally. I remember having a few hats, sets of gloves and even a heavy winter jacket stolen from me over the years.

The seating area was where you changed into your skates at the start of the night and stowed your shoes under one of the wooden chairs. Hoping that at the end of the night you could still find them where you left them. There were several 2 ft. squared gray painted "blocks" of wood cut at an angle on one side, so you could prop your foot up at an angle, to help you hold your skates steady as you put them on.

The bathroom at the rink was accessible just off the skate floor. It was small and it was primitive. Just barely a bathroom. Of course, I was never in the girls room but the boys' bathroom had a urinal that didn't have any typing of flushing capabilities. The single stall was just toilet installed over a pit dug in the ground. No flushing at all. Stink? Whew! It wreaked!.

The walls along the skating floor were painted mostly pink with a Polynesian/tropical theme to them. There were scenes of islands and palm trees all along the walls. I always imagined that back in it's most popular days (the 30's & 40's) when the paint was new and the lights all worked it was quite a beautiful place. But to me, just like the proprietors who ran it, the place always looked old.

On the far side of the skating floor opposite all the other areas I've mentioned was a small DJ booth. That's where they played the 45 RPM records on a phonograph over a very tin sounding speaker system. I don't ever remember there being a dedicated "DJ" to play the records. The job of setting up the records on the automatic spindle of the record player was that of the teenage boy who served as the skating guard. It was part of his job in addition to making sure everyone obeyed the rules of the rink.

That brings me back to the music. I've already mentioned some of the songs in which my my roller skating memories abide. And I've described the rink and it's facilities. But unless you had the Bushkill Park Roller Rink experience yourself I could never fully describe it to you. It was always, for the most part, a good time.

I was always assured of having fun at each session. More times than not, if I went skating on a Friday or Saturday I'd go to spend the night at my cousin Gary's house afterward.

I can remember taking my skates off and having that strange feeling when I started to walk in my sneakers again. It was the combination of lingering effects of the hours of vibration from the wheels of the rented skates and the blisters they gave me.

As we left for the night Gary and I would usually stocked up on candy with the money we had left over with the intention of eating it on the way home or some time before we went to bed that night.

The final memory I have connected with each session at the roller rink was the short walk from the steps of the rink entrance (see picture at the top of this post) to the spring at the edge of the amusement park.

There was a small building that, on the side, down a couple of steps, had a cement basin. Into the basin from a couple of open pipes flowed cold fresh water from a spring somewhere below the park. Mounted on the building were a couple of Dixie cup dispensing machines. You could put a penny into one of these machines, pull a lever and get yourself a small cup to fill with spring water and enjoy. After a long hot summer night of roller skating I thought those cups of water were very very refreshing. Even as I'm writing this I can fondly remember how it felt to quench my thirst with such pure cold water.

Anyway, I hope that my personal recollections of Bushkill Park's roller rink have sparked some pleasant memories of your own. if you didn't grow up in the Easton area and never ever heard of Bushkill Park or it's roller rink until you started reading this post; you're probably really bored at this point and would like me to wrap it up. And I will.

But the path I've taken while compiling my latest IPod play list (this includes researching articles on Google and watching videos on You Tube) has evoked such fond and wonderful memories of a special place from my childhood I HAD to write about it.

By the way if you want to see some video of Bushkill park and the roller rink that were taken back in 1988 just go on to You Tube and type in "Bushkill Park". You'll get to see a little of what I'm talking about as well as see the amusement park I went to as a kid. I have a lot of memories of the park as well. But that's another post for another time.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

I'm A Goofy Guy

I know many of you reading this would probably a agree with the title of this post. But I'm not referring to my behavior or personality by stating that I'm "goofy". Although I can understand if some would want to use that word as a means of interpreting the way I act sometimes.

But by describing myself with the "g" word I'm referring to an iconic Disney character's behavior, not my own.

If the fans of the "Twilight" series of books and movies can state that they are "Team Edward" or "Team Jacob"; when it comes to the 5most popular Disney characters I'm declaring that I'm "Team Goofy".

I've never been a really big Mickey Mouse fan. I mean don't get me wrong "the mouse" represents all things Disney. He's an international corporate icon. Because of that I'm always interested in all things Mickey. In addition Minnie, Donald, Pluto, and Goofy (who along with Mickey are known by Disney fans as "The Fab 5") are also character icons for Disney. They are the core group of the recognizable Disney characters. But over the last few years Goofy has become my favorite.

This is mainly because I've come to identify with Goofy in several ways. He always seems to approach physical tasks (sports, home repairs, ect.) with enthusiasm but doesn't think things through with disastrous results.

Also as a dad in 1995's "A Goofy Movie" he's considered by his own son as "uncool". Max loves his father but is embarrassed by and doesn't want to be anywhere near him. He considers him...well...a goof.

Sometimes I think that's how my family views me, at least partially. Don't get me wrong they love me but lots of times they are a bit embarrassed by the way I act or things I do and especially by my sense of humor and jokes. So as an amendment to the initial paragraphs of this post. I'll admit it. I am goofy sometimes.

I think the final drop in the bucket that tipped me over to the being a true Goofy fan was getting my picture taken with him and Pluto in Animal Kingdom's Dinoland on my 50th birthday. That was a special moment for me. Oh sure Pluto was there too but this was the REAL Goofy! (see picture above) Forget the fact that I'm wearing a Kermit the Frog t-shirt. In that picture I'm a Goofy Guy.

What does my declaration of being a member of the Goofy fan club mean? It means from now on I'm going to be looking for and collecting Goofy items. Toys, pins, t-shirts, any kind of merchandise that has to do with my favorite idiosyncratic Disney dog, Goofy.

So if you're reading this and sometime in the future the occasion comes up that you want, need or are required to buy me a gift and you want to get something that has to do with Disney. Just remember...I'm a Goofy Guy.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Our Trip To Spamalot

At the start of this month I wrote several post about presents I received this past Christmas that provided special moments and lasting memories.

Last Sunday, January 16, I received yet another wonderful memory courtesy of a Christmas gift.

My sons and I went to Lexington to see the national touring company's production of "Monty Python's Spamalot".

It is a stage show based on the movie "Monty Python & The Holy Grail". The original Broadway production won the 2005 Tony award as "best musical."

I bought the tickets back in August and gave the boys theirs as a Christmas present.

We has a terrific "guy's day out" together; something we hadn't had since they took me to a Hot Rods' baseball game last summer.

The day began with a stop at a "Cracker Barrel" restaurant just a few miles up the road. After we finished eating a hearty breakfast we headed up I-65 and across the Blue Grass Parkway.

We parked in a nearby private parking lot about a block from the Lexington Opera House. Arriving about 45 minutes before curtain.

Our seats were on the right side of the theater in the very front row. They were good seats but a bit too close to the stage, believe it or not. There were a set of stacked speakers on the stage in front of me that effected my view but otherwise we had a very good vantage point.

The show was a lot of fun and hilarious. We laughed from the time the overture began and the musical director "shot" one of the horn players for playing the wrong note, until the firing of confetti cannons at the end. The confetti flew as the entire cast was leading the audience in singing the song "The Bright Side of Life". By the way, because he wasn't expecting it, those confetti cannons going off right in front of him, surprised my 22 year old son. Although I didn't see it myself, Michael said it really made James jump. His reaction gave people around him an unexpected additional laugh.

The first act basically followed the script of the "holy grail" movie with lots of funny production numbers . But the 2nd act was more of a Broadway style retelling of the story with a tongue-in-cheek "happily ever after" ending.

After the show we stopped at an Applebee's restaurant in Lexington to have something to eat; then we drove home. As usually happens on road trips; my sons slept most of the way home.

It was the best "father and son" day we've had since I can remember. I'm going to be smiling about it for a long time. Although it's only January, for me, our trip to "Spamalot" has already made the list of highlights of the year 2011.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Orchestra Kentucky Brings Music To Life

Last night Paula and I went to the symphony. Actually it was a concert by Orchestra Kentucky. An organization of local professional musicians who perform concerts several times a year. Their concerts are held in Van Meter Hall on the campus of Western Kentucky University.

This concert, the orchestra's first for 2011, featured the music of Leroy Anderson (pronounced "Lah-Roy" not "Lee-Roy") a composer/arranger famous in the 1950's & 60's.

I am familiar with Mr. Anderson's music for several reasons. When I was a kid and I used to to our local movie theaters (there were 2 of them: "The Boyd" and "The State") I would hear Leroy Anderson records being played over the sound system before the movie started.

In addition the most vivid memory with Leroy Anderson music came at Christmas time; again when I was a kid. From the time I was 5 until I was about 12, every Christmas, I would go to a special "private" Christmas party given by the Ingersol Rand company; a local manufacturer of industrial pumps. They employed a lot of people at that time and party was given for the children of the employees. My dad didn't work for them but friends who did always gave us a pair of tickets to go.

The party was a variety show with different types of acts. Each year the show usually included a magician, an animal act and a novelty act such as acrobats, a juggler or a ventriloquist.

There was a small band that included a trumpet player giving musical accompaniment to the acts. They would also play when the MC led everyone to sing a Christmas song or two.

The start of the show was signaled when the band would play Leroy Anderson's most famous song: Sleigh Ride. The instrumental version of the song still brings back memories of those great Christmas party shows. There's also another special connection between the song Sleigh Ride and me that has to do with my dad. You can read about that in my blog post titled "A Father's Encouragement. Posted on December 19, 2009.

Anderson's novelty composition "The Typewriter" is one of my favorite parts of one of my top 5 favorite Jerry Lewis movies, "Who's Minding The Store". You can see several versions of Lewis' comedic pantomime of this song on You Tube.

As you can see I'm very familiar with Leroy Anderson's music. I looked forward to this concert since last summer when I first heard it was on the Orchestra's schedule for 2011.

Paula went with me to the concert. However a bit of miscommunication on my part led her to believe that she seeing Mr. Anderson perform and not just going to a concert.
That would have been an extremely unique experience due to the fact that he died in 1995.

Despite getting something totally different than she expected my wife said that she "enjoyed it more than she expected" and that she wouldn't mind having one of the songs played during the performance, "Forgotten Dreams", added to her the music library on her I-Touch.

I knew I would enjoy the concert. It was my first live orchestral experience since high school, I think. But I didn't expect the night to impact me to the degree that it did. Let me try to explain.

As I've mentioned Leroy Anderson's music was something I'd been hearing nearly all of my life. It was music I'd known as being from the past. I had it on my Ipod but when listening to it it only evoked memories and wasn't the least bit engaging. It was novel and entertaining but something from my parent's generation not mine.

But when I heard the music in that beautiful concert hall and saw the musicians actually playing their instruments; I experience the Leroy Anderson's talents in an all together new way. Watching the violinists plucking the instrument's strings during "Plink Plank Plunk" and seeing that the melody line of "Trumpeter's Lullaby" was made by 3 different trumpet players playing in harmony made the music come to life for me. It was an incredible feeling of something that I perceived to from the past, becoming real to my senses.

I likened it to the scene in the movie "Jurassic Park" when the paleontologist, Ellie Sattler and Alan Grant( played by Laura Dern and Sam Neil) saw the real live dinosaurs for the first time. They were awed over the experience of something they'd only imagined becoming real.

That's what the concert did for me. It made the music real. It was a thrill that I've only experienced before at Disney World. Surreal.

Leroy Anderson's music will from now on have a new spirit for me. That may sound strange and I may not be communicating what I mean very well. But the way it felt being at that concert was something I'll remember as a truly unique experience.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Disney Podcast Script Writer

My first "15 minutes of fame" for the year 2011 came by way a pair of my favorite things: writing and a Disney Podcast.

Each week I download to I-Tunes and listen on my Ipod about 6 different podcasts about Disney stuff. One of them is called "Mouse Guest".

This long running Disney Podcast that's tagged every week as "the place where Disney fans get their fix" has been running weekly for more than 5 years. It's hosted by a trio of Disney enthusiasts named: Eric, Cathy and Dan. Their podcast is one of my favorite because they are just regular 30 something working stiffs who simply share their love of Disney World and all things Disney.

I like these hosts and feel so comfortable listening to them that I frequently call their special phoneline and leave a voice mail with my comments or questions for their show. They play them as part of the "listener feedback" portion of their podcast nearly everytime I leave one.

The Mouse Guest podcast for the two weeks over the holidays was a prerecorded 2 part program that included some discussion of music, a lyrics quiz, a Harry Potter quiz and other things both Disney and non Disney related.
On December 30 I wrote a 7 page email in response to the things discussed on the 2-part holiday Mouse Guest podcast for the last 2 weeks of December.

The MG hosts liked my email and the subjects that I wrote so much about that they read nearly every word of it over the course of their first and second shows for 2011. I was honored by the fact that Eric & Dan (Cathy was not on due to illness) thought my opinons and choices for discusson topics were good enough to use on their podcast. Not just for 1 show but for 2.

So I guess you could say that not only do I have a claim to fame as the writer of this blog but I am a podcast script writer, now, as well.

If you are interested in hearing what I wrote about and how Eric & Dan respond to it you can log on to and click on the podcast link. Or you can search for the podcast in the I-Tunes store, subscribe to it then and download and listen to them there.

Most of what I wrote about has to do with Disney but I also included stuff about my TV and music preferences as well. So there you have my first memorable moments of 2011. My debut as a Disney podcast script writer. Thanks Eric & Dan.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Trio Of Technology

I am not a techno geek. I am not up on all the latest technology that's part of the popular culture of the day. I'm not a caveman living in the dark ages by any means either.

I do have a Facebook page but I don't "tweet" on Twitter. I use it to keep in touch with family, friends and co-workers. I have an Ipod but it's a "classic" that serves as a portable jukebox for my music collection. It's also a means of listening to the podcasts and sermons I enjoy while I'm driving in my car or out walking my dogs.

I have a cell phone but I only use it to make calls. I don't send text messages or connect to the Internet. I use my personal technology but don't take advantage of all the conveniences they offer. However I'm trying to expand my horizons.

I'm considering getting a new cell phone with a QWERTY keyboard and complete Internet capability. One of my goals for 2011 is to start using programs on my computer to record my Rewind shows as MP3 files so they instantly digital. I currently record onto CD's then import them into my I-Tunes library. Learning to use the recording program, Audacity, on my computer will eliminate the CD part of the process. In addition I have now gone digital with another important area of my life: my reading habits.

I had debated for quite a while before the holidays about asking for an electronic reader for Christmas. After doing research I went back and forth about which version I wanted: Kindle or Nook. I decided to ask for the Kindle.

I think it was the fact that my son, Michael owns one and really likes it. Also there was that catchy little song that they use on their commercials. I couldn't get it out of my head; still can't. But then that could be because it's playing on I-Tunes as write this post. (singing) can you fly me away. Take me away with you my love.

Where was I? Oh yeah. The Kindle. My generous wife gave it to me as a gift this past Christmas. I really like it. The convenience of being able to shop for books in an instant is a great feature I'm going to appreciate for a long time.

However I can tell from just browsing through the user's guide that I'm only ever going to use a fraction what it's capable of doing. I'll search for, download, and read books. That's about all I plan on using it for. I may make notes and create collections but that's about all I see myself doing with it.

So now that I have a Kindle every day I take my trio of technology with me to work. Should you look in on me while I'm in the Shop NBC break room eating my lunch you'll see me with the technology triplets. I'll be reading my Kindle, listening to my IPod, just after checking my voice mail on my cell phone. Am I a slave to technology?

Don't get me wrong I love the fact that I'm blessed with all these modern digital gadgets. They have help make life a little better. They keep me "in touch". But I sometimes wonder how I got through my first 40 years of life without any of them?

If they were gone tomorrow would I miss them? I don't know the answer to that question. I really don't want to know the answer.

So if you'll excuse me I'm going to finish this post and go start reading my new book. I just heard about it on TV and downloaded it to my Kindle. I'll sit on the couch and listen to my "one hit wonders from the 70's" playlist through my ear buds while my cell phone sits on the table next the lamp in case I get a call.

Ah yes, technology is like the brain. Having it is good; even if you're only using 10% of it's potential.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Christmas Memories Pt. 4

Meet The Awesomes

This final "Christmas Memories" post is about T-shirts.

This year I gave everyone in the family a T-shirt. Five of the them were shirts from the TV show "Cake Boss".

It's the TLC channel realty show featuring baker Buddy Velastro and his family, who own and operate "Carlo's Bakery" in Hoboken, New Jersey. My son, James and his wife, Brandi; my sister-in-law, Theresa; along with Paula and I each discoverd the show and became fans sometime during the year. We talked about it every time we got together as a family.
Brandi even started making cakes herself. I think she was partially inspired by the show.

As a themed Christmas gift I got all 5 of the Cake Boss fans a Carlo's Bakery T-shirt. I had intended to take a picture of all of us in our new bakery T-shirts on Christmas day but didn't. It's something I'm going to try and do sometime in 2011.

My son, Michael and his wife, Heather, were not great fans of the show. Still I wanted to get them a T-shirt that they would like.

During the summer at a get together at our new favorite local restaurant, Cheddar's, to celebrate a family member's birthday (can't remember if it was Paula's or Theresa's birthday) Heather talked about how Michael has started referring to himself as being "awesome". Michael added that he only said that because he was. She said that, as his wife, it was her "job" to constantly bring him back to "reality" in regard to his misconception of his self perceived "awesomeness" by continually denying it. The issue was a running joke between the two of them and they let the whole family in on it.

So, when it came time to order everyone shirts for Christmas I decided to get them each a T-shirt to promote their on going debate. The shirts turned out to be one of the more popular gifts of the day.

Michael told Heather that she would be "required" to wear her shirt in public at least once. Something Heather vowed never to do. The picture you see at the top of this post was put out on Facebook later on Christmas Day.

Now the on-going debate is whether or not this constitutes Heather wearing her shirt in public or not.
Anyway, I thought I'd do my part and introduce you to "The Awesomes" the 4th and final memory I going to post about Christmas 2010.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Christmas Memories Pt. 3

A Tale of Two Magnets
This Christmas story is about a surprise that I spoiled for myself.

The two Walt Disney World magnets you see in this picture look the same but they have different stories.

One was purchased off of Ebay by someone who couldn't wait and spoiled his surprise (me). The other was given as a gift by a very thoughtful someone (my lovely wife) on Christmas. Here's the story.

Back in September while we were in Disney World, my wife urged me to by a Disney World magnet (I get a souvenir magnet whenever we go on vacation or do a "touristy" thing) with a "2010". For some reason, and I can't remember exactly why now, I kept saying that I didn't want one.

Once we returned back to Kentucky and I started reviewing the items we purchased as keepsakes of my 50th birthday trip. It was then that I realized that I regretted not getting a magnet with the year on it. This was sometime in October, I believe

Well, at the time a couple from our church was at Disney World for a business conference. The woman was one of Paula's friends on Facebook. I had Paula send a message to her asking her to bring back a 2010 magnet from "The World".

I waited a couple of weeks and didn't hear anything from the friend so I figured that she didn't have time or had forgotten to get the magnet for us. I decided that I would have to find one myself somehow.

Paula very subtly tried to get me to wait. The friend had brought back a magnet because she had given it to my wife one Sunday in church. Wanting to surprise me, Paula put the magnet aside for a Christmas present.

Mr. "I want what I want when I want it" went out on Ebay and got a 2010 magnet; thus spoiling the Christmas surprise. Not only that but I got the EXACT same magnet.

I want Paula to know that I appreciate her thoughtfulness. Sometimes I'm my own worst enemy; especially when it comes to buying things that spoil surprises planned for me on Christmas.

It started back when I was 12 or 13 years old. I really made my mom mad when with my own money I went out and bought a very cheap electric football game 2 weeks before Christmas. My parents had gotten me a rather expensive deluxe model of the same electric football game as one of my "big gifts". I made my mom so mad that she took the present back. I never got it.

You'd have thought I'd learned back then but, as my wife now knows, I haven't yet realized that I shouldn't buy myself anything in the weeks before Christmas.

Once again, I'm sorry Honey, perhaps I've learned this time. You really have given me a gift that I needed without realizing it. Because now I have a visual reminder about an area of my life and a time of the year that I should exercise some self control. And I see it every time I look on the refrigerator at those two 2010 Walt Disney World magnets.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Christmas Memories Pt. 2

Nipper Bookends

Another moment of surprise for me on Christmas morning is captured in the picture you see to the left.

The pair of little white dogs that are cast iron bookends. They are sculptures of "Nipper" the little dog in the logo that used to be on RCA records.

If you're over 40 years old you know what I'm talking about. If you're under 40 go "Google" the name "Nipper" and you'll see what I'm talking about.

The hand and red shirt to the left, halfway in the picture, belong to my sister-in-law, Theresa. She was the mastermind behind this surprise.

As you can tell from the smile on my face I am rather pleased to have these little puppies. You see I'm holding them for the first time. But it's not the first time I'd seen them. Here's the story behind the surprise Christmas gift. A story that took 4 months to unfold.

Back in the summer, sometime in August, while I was walking my own two "nippers", Dory & Angel, through the part of our little town that's home to a series of antique shops I saw the Nipper bookends on display on top of a roll top desk near the windows of one of the stores.

The shop was owned by a local woman who was rather elderly and delicate health. Because of her condition the hours she open her shop were limited to Saturday mornings between 8 & noon.

From the moment I saw the cast iron doggies I wanted them. They represent 2 of my favorite things, dogs and music. I worked during the store's limited hours so I had to find someone to inquire about the items for me. I didn't want to ask Paula to to get up and go out of the house early on her only day of the week to sleep in just to ask about a pair of bookends I might not be able to afford.

So I decided to ask my sister-in-law, who always an early riser, to go to the antique shop and find out how much the little Nippers cost. She told me she'd to it. That Saturday passed and I didn't hear anything from Theresa about the bookends. I figured she'd forgotten about it and would ask her to try and remember for the next Saturday.

Well, when I walked past that same window again the next time the bookends were gone. I was really disappointed. Who knows how long they had been sitting there waiting for someone to buy them? Then, it figures, as soon as I notice them they get gone. I lamented the fact that even though I really wanted them I would never see the Nipper bookends again.

Now, what I didn't know was that Theresa, who knows everybody or knows someone who knows everybody (she reminds me a lot of my mom in that aspect) knew the woman who owned the antique store.

That same Saturday I asked her to inquire about them she called the store owner and told her to put the bookends aside for her she wanted them.

To make a long story short Theresa kept the Nipper bookends for 3 months, wrapped them in December, put them under the tree, and, much to my delight as you can see, surprised me with them on Christmas.

The doggies now sit on a bookshelf in my living room guarding a bunch of new DVDs I yet to watch. Every time I look at them from now on I'll always remember what a great Christmas surprise they were. Thanks to my favorite sister-in-law, Theresa.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Christmas Memories Pt. 1

Happy New Year Everyone. It's 2011 and I've decided that it's time to start posting blog entries again.

Since my favorite time of the year (Christmas) was just last week I thought I'd start off by posting some of the pictures that capture some of the best moments and memories of this year's holiday season. Don't know how many there will be but I promise to make them short and sweet.

Facebook Post Turns Into A Gag Gift

On December 16, 2010 I put up this post on my Facebook page:
"Gotta give the "it seems like a good idea but it still won't work" award to the guy who decided that making it in an army camouflage colors would make guy's decide that it would suddenly be "manly" to wear a Snuggie. What were they thinking? Camouflage or not it's not going to happen. Nice idea try though."

Of course my wife Paula read this post on Facebook. It came to mind while was out shopping one day.

Standing in line at CVS she spotted a camouflage Snuggie. According to Paula it was the last one on the shelf and was "calling to her". She just couldn't resist buying it and giving it to me as a gag gift on Christmas morning.

It really surprised me and I was very amused that my wife had pulled off a very funny joke.

She knew that I would get a laugh out of it but also knew I really would not ever ware it. The Snuggie has been returned but the memory of Paula's Christmas morning gag gift will always be part of my memories from Christmas 2010.