Monthly Archives: January 2012

I miss the ice cream truck

I miss the musical jingle of the ice cream truck.  When I was a child it would come down our block playing its merry tune and all the kids in the neighborhood would suddenly stop blowing bubbles and appear in the street.

Most of the time there wasn’t money for our family to buy frozen concoctions, but when we could it was such a treat.  Buying actual ice cream was out of the question, but frozen flavored sugar-water bars called popsicles were just fine with us. A lot of popsicles came with two sticks.  Often we would buy one to share.  We’d break it down the middle and then we would lumber back to our own yard.

I also miss the bread man.  He drove his truck down our street once or twice a week. Mom used to buy day old bread and once in a while day old doughnuts.  We never ran out of bread even though Mom didn’t drive and couldn’t make a mid-week trip to the market.

We also had twice weekly milk delivery.  We would go out in the morning and find the fresh bottled milk sitting on our porch.  We never ran out.

But this past week I think I missed the coffee truck most of all.  We had Standard Coffee Company when I was very young and later the Jewell Tea Company had a truck that came down our block when I was older.  They also sold coffee, spices and other desirable products.  Last week I really missed the coffee delivery truck.

Last week it snowed for several days.  Each time the plow went past our house he piled up icy snow in front of our driveway.  It is an uphill drive out of our driveway to the road.  When we reach the road it is part way up a small hill on the road.  Getting out requires shoveling.  And if the roads are icy there is always the chance of getting into a wreck.  If I don’t have to go out when it snows, I don’t go out.  By Saturday I was out of coffee.  We had to shovel to get out to go buy coffee.  Oh yes, last week I missed the coffee man most of all.

Written for Three Word Wednesday:  bubble, lumber, wreck.

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Ring! Ring! RI-I-I-NG! Ring! Ring RI-I-I-NG!

Ring! Ring! RI-I-I-NG!  Ring! Ring RI-I-I-NG!  Two shorts and one long ring.   That was our ring.

In the 50’s, at our house,  the telephone was still a fascination.  It appeared to be nothing more than a shiny black box with a rotary dial and long cord running into the wall.  Each hole of the dial, except for the one and the zero, had three letters and one number.  Our number was LA2-1309.  I couldn’t understand how the telephone knew if mother was dialing LA or JB.

We were on a 4-party line.  Recognizing the ring was important.  Not everyone had phones in those days and if you did, it was common to share a line with two to four other homes.  Occasionally Mom would pick up the telephone and have to wait to make her call because the line was busy.  However, in the 50’s telephones hadn’t yet become an external part of the body.   She seldom had to wait long.

The phone in our house had a special stand.   It sort of resembled a school desk with the chair attached sideways.  It was shiny dark walnut and had a cubby-hole to hold the telephone book.  The top of the desk area was just large enough for the phone and mother’s desk calendar.

Although our telephone was fascinating, when we visited my grandparent’s in South Dakota their phone intrigued me even more.  It was a wooden box that hung on the wall.  The mouthpiece was black with a brass ring behind it.  It had two bells on top that you could watch vibrate when the phone rang.   It had no dial.   Grandma lifted the earpiece, cranked the handle on the side and the operator answered.  She would say something like “162W”.   Well Grandma wouldn’t usually say that because that was her number. But she gave the operator the number she wished to call and waited until the desired party answered.

Telephones were treated  differently then.  In our home the telephone was a tool for adults.   As children, we seldom used it.  If mother was there, she would answer it.   We answered it only when she was away. And we never answered the telephone at Grandma’s house.

One evening, however, when I was nine, the phone rang while Mom and Dad were grocery shopping.   “Answer it!” my older sister commanded.   She was a very meek 13-year old and didn’t want to answer the phone.  “Answer it!”  She commanded once more.

So I carefully slid onto the vinyl seat of the telephone stand and gently lifted the receiver to my ear.   I expected to hear the voice of one of Mom’s friends.  But I didn’t recognize the voice at all.

“Is the LA2-1309?” inquired the stranger.

“Yes it is,” I replied.

“Do you have your television on?”

“Yes,” I replied.

“Does it fit?” with that comment from the stranger, hysterical laughter filled the air.

I quickly hung up and told my sister about the call.

She thought it was pretty funny, but we decided we wouldn’t tell Mom and Dad about the call because they might not agree.

It wasn’t long before “Ring, Ring, RI-I-I-NG.  Ring, Ring, RI-I-I-NG.  The phone once again began to ring.

“Answer it,” my sister once again demanded.

Now I wasn’t a very worldly nine-year-old so I picked up the phone.

“Hello,” I chimed.

“Hello,” again a strange voice on the line. “Is your refrigerator running?”

“I think so,” I replied.

“Well you better go catch it!” Again hysterical laughter filled the earpiece.

“Who are you?”  I demanded.

The phone went dead.

My sister thought it was pretty funny.   When we told our folks– yes we told our folks– they found it annoying.   Yes annoying, not harassment as it would be called today–just annoying.  But in the 50’s the telephone was a tool not an attachment to our bodies.  Six-year-old children did not carry them to school.  Telephones did not sing and show movies.  They had no ability to send a text message.  They simply transmitted one voice to another.  It was a much simpler time.

The nuisance calls of the years have gone downhill.  Now the callers are freaky, not funny.  Some of the pranksters don’t have a sliver of conscience to control them.

 

(Three word Wednesday:  freak, downhill, sliver.

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Moving on….

(authors note:  this is just a beginning)

 

The sun peeking through gray skies, bouncing off the snow-capped mountains of the Olympics and sparkling off the water seemed much too cheerful this morning.  A sullen day would have been much more in keeping with the way Sierra felt.  She paced back and forth in front of the office window.  She didn’t believe she had ever felt so alone.  She was grateful that her Uncle was an attorney, well a judge to be exact.  He had guided her through this dreadful journey, but she knew the journey wasn’t over. There was no time left.  She had to make her move now.

She checked the lateral file in the credenza one more time.   She was certain that all of the files were in order.  Copies of the audit work programs, for both of the audits she had been working on, were in the first folder.  She had initialed all procedures she had completed prior to making the copies.  The originals she had already mailed to herself, in-care-of her Uncle, per his instructions.   She surveyed the room again.  She had removed the last of her personal effects the night before.  Nothing remained on the desk except for her time sheet, the telephone and the computer terminal.

She knew her time sheet  was totaled and balanced.  She picked it up, checked one last time to make certain that the required adding machine tape had been attached to the back, and then she wrote her Uncle’s post office box on the top of the sheet.  A copy was securely tucked away in her briefcase.  She found herself wondering  if she would ever receive her final paycheck.   The only thing she knew for certain was that her employer could not be trusted to do the right thing.

“Wow, you look different this morning.”  The voice of the secretary interrupted Sierra’s thoughts.

Sierra just smiled.  She knew that wearing brown silk slacks and a crème linen tank top with matching blazer did not comply with the office dress code.  When Mr. March had hired her, he had informed her that navy-blue, gray and black were necessary colors to create a professional impression in a public accounting firm.  As of today, she did not care.

Nell stood staring at Sierra.  Sierra could tell that Nell could not understand this change.  Sierra knew that everyone viewed her as the  woman who had followed every office rule to the letter.  Sierra liked Nell.  She wished she could tell her what was going on, but instead she just handed the time sheet to Nell and said, “Here’s my time sheet.  Please note that I have changed my mailing address.  The new address is on the top.”

As Nell took the time sheet and walked to her desk, Sierra removed her resignation letter from her briefcase.  No time like the present, she thought.  She knew it was going to be brutal.  Mr. March didn’t handle  things that weren’t on his agenda very well.  She was certain that her resignation was not on his agenda.

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Sons & Daughters

I am the mother of two, a son and daughter; friend to two more, another son and daughter.  In some ways it is like two families because they were all adults when our families intertwined.  And yet to me, we are more one family than two.  I love and respect them all in different ways and for different reasons. Each of them is special.

Because jobs have taken three of them to far-away cities in far-away states only one of the four lives near.  She is my friend.  I am blessed that she and her husband are here and included us in their Christmas plans.  But I missed the other three and their families. 

There were no siblings sharing memories this year.  No brothers and sisters teasing each other.  No grandchildren or great-grandchildren underfoot to entertain and delight, to laugh and to cry. 

There were no Scrabble games at the dining room table, no extra beds to make and no dirty towels in the bathroom.  It was the first time in 46-years that I had no son’s visit the week between Christmas and New Years; the first time in 18-years that I had no grandchild cross over the threshold of my front door.  The house has been quiet.  Christmas was too quiet.

As parents you have to let go if your children are to be all that they can be.  So, I rejoice.  My sons and daughters are all healthy and happy; working and busycreating lives of their own–as it should be.

 

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Soaring with the eagles….

With tactical planning and no time to be naughty, Jordan Romero reached the zenith of his life on Christmas Eve.  At 15 years of age he scaled Mt. Vinson  Massif, making him the youngest to climb the tallest peaks on each of the seven continents.  He already knows how to soar with the eagles.  Where will he  soar next?

 

Three word Wednesday–tactic, naughty, zenith

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If I hadn’t walked….

I try not to think of walking as exercise.  I consider “exercise” work.  However there are days when I still find it difficult to get out there and move.  There is one section of our waterfront trail that always provides something interesting; I usually head in that direction when I don’t really want to walk.   The disadvantage of this part of the trail is that I have to walk past a contaminated mill site and the sewage treatment plant to get to the interesting part of the trail.  (Life is like that.   You have to get past the stinky stuff to get to the good stuff.)

If I hadn’t taken that walk on Monday I would have missed the eagle as it swooped down, grabbed its prey and flew away, two seagulls following close behind–I guess the seagulls were hoping for an easy meal.  Farther down the trail I looked up to see two eagles in a tree.  One stayed quietly perched on a branch while the other alternated between swooping over the water and returning to anxiously sit in the tree.

As I continued my walk I listened as the surf snapped against the rocks, and stopped and watched ducks glide gracefully along the water’s edge.  Then I walked on savoring the silence.

As I started the return trip the silence was interrupted by the honking of a gaggle of geese.  I heard them long before I saw them soar overhead.

If I hadn’t walked….

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Goods Things in 2012….

Port Angeles–Victoria Ferry

A New Year’s Walk–

Several years ago my husband and I discovered that the typical New Year’s Eve celebrations no longer excited us.   So we replaced that tradition with a New Year’s Day walk.  Normally we walk out on Ediz Hook.  The weather is always unpredictable this time of year so we have walked in wind, rain and even snow.

This year we changed our route.  We started at the City Pier and walked East along the waterfront trail.  Cloudy skies greeted us as we left the car, but there was no wind.  It remained calm.  The sun came out and warmed us, both physically and emotionally.  It seemed like a good omen.  Sunny skies on the first day of the New Year certainly must mean good things will happen in 2012. 

I plan to take that thought and run with it this year. Let’s all change our route and believe that things can get better….

City Pier

 

Ducks at play

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