Monthly Archives: May 2012

Texting Ain’t The Only Thing That Should Be Outlawed

I wonder if there is a statistic for accidents caused by reading bumper stickers?

You are at a stop light, the light turns green, and the driver in front of you doesn’t move. Their head is slumped and you are about to see if the person is okay. You look more intently and see them lift a cell phone to eye level to proof read their text. You give them short blast with your horn. They push ‘send,’ look indignantly in the review mirror, and proceed like you’re a road raged, pistol packin’ crazed, red neck. (If that describes you, sorry.)

You make it out to the interstate and the person in front of you is weaving like they got a fifth of Jack Daniels tucked between their legs. You want to quickly get around them so you don’t have to witness the mayhem they are about to unleash on the Department of Transportation, State Highway Patrol, local volunteer fire department, and Jud’s Wrecking Service. As you pass you notice the driver is texting the complete works of Shakespeare; probably at the line, “To sleep, perchance to dream.”

Another distraction, to me, is those stupid-acting sign wavers. Really!

There was this guy dressed in a sombrero and poncho running up and down the curb. I thought he was an illegal who escaped from his coyote captors.

I stopped. “Get in amigo. I’ll take you to safety.”

“Dude, keep moving. You’re blocking my sign. The boss will think I’m talking to my Dad and fire me. He keeps coming by here and telling me, ‘I paid for a college education for you to wave a sign? Go, please go.”

Sign wavers are a distraction and scourge. They should be outlawed.

If you rear-end somebody is reading the bumper sticker a plausible defense? If you have a bumper sticker you’re only asking for it.

Most are funny, some are pathetic; like the Kerry/Edwards 2004 election bumper sticker. There was always something wrong with attaching patriotic bumper stickers to a car. What’s the first thing that gets hit?

The ones that proclaim their kid is an honor roll student are so self-promoting. What if that kid ends up being a drop-out and never lives up to expectations? What will their future be; get a documentary film producer pregnant, cover it up, pay her off, and go to jail? That’s what not living up to bumper sticker expectations can do for you.

I’m starting a new national campaign against bumper stickers.

With all the hoopla about texting and driving don’t you think it’s high time to outlaw sign wavers and bumper stickers too?

Here is a link to other causes worthy of crashing into the car in front of you.


Filed under Essays, Jittery Goat Store

Mom’s Gift To Dad; The Story Of The Ring

As best as I remember this is what the ring looked like that Mom gave to Dad.

Dad didn’t make it home from the war for Christmas of 1945. When he got home in January of ‘46 Mom gave him a special gift. It was a cameo ring. She doesn’t remember the cost; only that it was expensive.

Dad wore the ring proudly. At times he showed it off or people commented about it. He never said it was a gift from Mom. In fact I never knew its origin till recently.

I never heard my Dad express any sort of appreciation for where or who it came from. It seemed, as best I can recall, he treated it as a trophy; something he earned for being a good man.

I’ve never cared for men’s jewelry, but I really liked my Dad’s ring. It was manly. My Dad had huge hands. The fingers were bent and crooked from years of catching too many foul tips as a baseball catcher. So it looked good on him. It was his prize. It directed attention to his fingers and the stories he could tell about them.

About twenty years after he received the ring it was suddenly gone. Nobody knew its whereabouts or how it got lost. No one could pinpoint the exact time or place.

Mom theorized Dad gave it to a girlfriend. That, to me, sounded farfetched. Although my Dad was known to flirt and philanderer, I don’t think Dad would part with a possession such as his ring; money ‘yes,’ the ring ‘no.’

The ring was a memento from my Mom to her husband. A memento of her love and how much she missed him during the war.

Dad did not appreciate it in the same spirit in which it was given. For that reason I can’t recall another gift Mom ever purchased for Dad that had meaning attached to it.

That ring was a gesture of Mom’s love for Dad, but it was likewise a symbolic reminder of how Dad regarded the marriage. He was proud to show it off and brag about it, but did very little to maintain or keep it.

A person does not appreciate what they don’t earn.

I’m sort of hoping the ring shows up in some old box or drawer. Mom always said that if it turned up it would me mine.

You see, I can’t put my finger on anything left to me from my Dad. All I have are a lot of memories and a few photos.

I think that ring would have meant more to me than him.

There was something very telling in that ring about their marriage. The cameo was of two Greeks or Romans. The one to the front was a soldier and the one to the back was a woman. Dad was always to the forefront of the marriage while Mom was in the background.

I don’t think Dad ever saw the woman in the background. Maybe that is what Mom wanted him to see. And maybe the day he noticed it; that’s when it came up missing.

Rings aren’t just jewelery, they tell story.


Filed under Mom

A Place Called Serenity: Mr. And Mrs. Rupert (Part 4)

Mrs. Rupert’s sence of justice was swift and complete.

The day after the ride in the brand new Kaiser-Frazer Dickie asked his Mother, “Can I walk to Mrs. Rupert’s by my self?”

Dickies’s Mom looked out the window as if looking for some reason for saying no.

“Are there any bears?” Dickie said.

“No,” Dickie’s Mother said.

“Can I walk by my self?”

“Sure,” Dickie’s Mother conceded. “But don’t stop for anything. Don’t go near the dump or wander over near the pond.”

Dickie’s Mother dressed him in a jeans and a pull-over red and blue striped shirt. She tied his shoes and sent him out the door. She watched him as he walked across a gravel drive and past the Martin’s house. He walked behind the Martin house and from the view of his mother.

Dickie looked at t dump. It was a small ravine full of discarded construction scrap. There were all sorts of interesting things in a dump. A child can take a few boards and make an airplane, a house, or train.

Dickie walked to the edge of the dump. He was tempted the explore further. It never entered his mind that Mrs. Rupert expected him at a certain time and if he didn’t arrive she might walk to Dickie’s house to inquire of his absence. When children stop to explore a few minutes can actually be an hour.

Dickie jumped on to a board. It was like a springboard and propelled him high. He sprung up and down on it. It was exhilarating.

He wondered by the edge of the dump and peered over into a small pond. He watched fish jumping and the ripples on the water that they left.

Time to a child can act in the opposite way. A few minutes can seem like an hour. Dickie suddenly became aware that he might have spent too much time exploring. He ran up the ravine and onto the path that led to the Rupert’s. He ran and his feet hit the ground like the sound of beating a blanket on the clothes line.

The chickens spread like leaves from the wind. Behind him the rooster chaste. Dickie ran faster. The rooster jumped on his back. Dickie flailed it away. The rooster was relentless and attacked again. Dickie fell and rolled over on his back. The rooster landed on his chest and began to peck at the hands protecting his face. He screamed and cried out, but could not regain his feet to escape.

Suddenly there was silence except for the flapping of wings. Chickens cackled in the distance.

Mrs. Rupert had the neck of the rooster held firmly in her hand. She marched to the tree stump and dislodged the hatchet. She pinned the rooster’s neck to the stump and held the hatchet high above her head. The hatchet came down swiftly and violently. She held the rooster as it flapped and suddenly it fell limp. She dropped it to her side and walked over to Dickie.

“That was the excuse I needed to kill that ole rooster,” she said helping Dickie to his feet.

Dickie continued to shake and cry. He buried his head into Mrs. Rupert’s round stomach.

From that day on, Mrs. Rupert always chased the chickens away when Dickie came, but he never lost his fear of fowl.

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Filed under My People My Stories

Uncle Bert’s Fixit Shop (Part 1)

Uncle Bert’s fixit shop has just about everything and can fix just about everything.

Welcome to the stories about Rode Apple Junction, a small rural community where people are fair, but small-minded. It is where being yourself is fine, but  it is okay to try something else just to confirm you are not so bad-off after all. 

Right smack in the middle of Rode Apple Junction’s business district is Uncle Bert’s Fixit Shop.

Bert can fix just about anything except what belongs to him. He still drives around in his ‘68 Chevy pickup truck with “Uncle Bert’s Fixit Shop” stenciled on the doors. He still had the four digit phone number. He uses a long flathead screwdriver to open the tailgate and to start the truck by bypassing the solenoid.

The man is a genius though. He can fix anything. Bert always says, “If you have just basic mechanical ability, logic, and time you can fix anything.”

Not too long ago Ferdy Fenstermaker climbed down out of the cab of his tractor and stumbled into Bert’s place white as a sheet and short of breath.

“What can I do fer ya, Ferdy,” Bert said looking over the top of his glasses.

“I don’t know, Bert,” Ferdy said gasping for air. “I think it’s my pacemaker. It could be on the fritz.”

“Shouldn’t you be seein’ the doc?” Bert said about to reach for the phone. “Can’t afford him and he’s at the edge of town; I don’t think I can make it.”

“The only thing I know what to do is call the Doc,” Bert said about to dial.

“No, no, don’t do that,” Ferdy said. “He’ll charge me a house call and for the emergency. Last year I had a cow’s udder caught in the milker. I didn’t know what to do. I called up to the house and told Louise to call the Doc; the cow’s got an udder caught in the milker. I meant the Vet. Doc comes out. He lubricates the thing with baby oil and I get a bill $817.42. I ain’t callin’ the Doc.”

“Well maybe after that one ya got free one comin’,” Bert said putting the phone to his ear.

“I’m not takin’ any chances,” Ferdy said. “Any body who can fix a ’59 Philco transister radio ougta be able to fix a pacemaker.”

Bert rested the phone on the wall. “What did ya do just before you started getting short of breath?”

“I turned the corner down at the stop sign,” Ferdy said.

“Hmm,” Bert said. “Nothing unusual about that.”

“Show me how you did it?” Bert said and brought a chair he was working on from behind the counter.

Ferdy sat in the chair and started to speak.

“Hold on,” Bert said. “Was ya bouncing around?”

“Sure,” Ferdy said.

“Than bounce,” Bert said.

Ferdy looked confused , but bounced.

“Good,” Bert said.

“Now make a sound like a tractor,” Bert said.

Ferdy hesitated. Bert gave him an assuring nod. Ferdy created a sound with his lips vibrating.

“No that’s not right,” Bert said. “That’s more like the sound of a lawn mower. Less nasal and more throat. Remember, yer a Massy-Ferguson.”

Ferdy stopped. “Is this necessary?”

“Yes it is,” Bert said. “We have to recreate the exact conditions if you want a proper diagnosis.”

Ferdy bounced a little and made the sound of the tractor to recreate the entire experience just as it happened..

“Ya better change them plugs,” Bert said.

“I’ll do that,” Ferdy said. Ferdy pretended to apply his breaks. He extended his arms to signal a left hand turn.

“You got push that deep on the brakes ta stop?” Bert said.

“I’m short,” Ferdy said.

“Right, right,” Bert said.

“Don’t your signals work?” Bert said.

“Haven’t worked since the winter,” Ferdy said.

“I’ll fix ‘em for ya,” Bert said. Then he stroked his chin. “Take your left arm and extend it across your body to the right. The opposite of a left-hand turn signal. But before ya do come to a stop and turn off the engine.”

Ferdy did just as Bert instructed him.

“Now hold it there for a moment,” Bert said.

The two men stared at each other.

(Continued next week.)


Filed under Adventures From Rode Apple Junction

Illuminating Blogger Award

Thank you Inkspeare for nominating Jittery Goat for the Illuminating Blogger Award – I am honored and a bit overwhelmed. Now I have to live up to expectations; something I don’t do so well.

I have been nominated for similar awards and declined. I’m caving in this time. I know nothing about this award, but like every other award I’ve ever received it will probably require a credit card and I’ll have to listen to a presentation at the Holiday Inn. If I have to travel some place to receive it, I’m busy that weekend. If there’s a cash prize involved I’ll be there.

But seriously, anytime somebody takes time to single out your work it is a humbling thing and much appreciated.

I have copied the rules for accepting this award from his blog and I am sharing them here.

Here’s the breakdown of the rules:

1. The nominee should visit the award site and leave a comment indicating that they have been nominated and by whom.

2. The Nominee should thank the person that nominated them by posting & including a link to their blog.

3. Share one random thing about yourself in your blog post.

4. Select at least five other bloggers that you enjoy reading their illuminating, informative posts and nominate them for the award.

5. Notify your nominees by leaving a comment on their blog, including a link to the award site (

One Random Thing About Myself:

I spent two years in the fifth grade.

My Nominees

Here are some of the blogs I enjoy

1. Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy

2. Today in Heritage History ~ Where History Meets Humor

3. Sheila Hurst; Reading. writing, dreaming

4. Tis A Pity He’s A Writer

5. 2Me4Art


Filed under Essays

Running: My 4th Week

May 20

Cement Shoe Drop Zone; My inspiration for the week.

Today I had a special event to attend. No running; that’s why I ran two days in a row – May 18 and 19.

 May 21

Yesterday I spent the entire day on cement floors. Today my legs hurt and my ankles are swelled. I ran two days in a row now I’m not running two days in a row.

I can’t complain; there are guys at the bottom of East River who have spent decades in cement.

 May 22

The internet said no breeze. As hard is this is to believe there was a breeze out of the West; the internet lied! Which leads me to wonder; are all the benefits of running that I’ve read about on the internet lies as well?

Maybe I should hold off and not buy those really expensive $12.99 running shoes I‘ve been admiring and mulling over at Wal-Mart.

The ball of my right foot is killing me today.

 May 23

The ball of my right foot still hurts. I’m not attributing this to running, but rather the concrete I was on Sunday. I’ve had this before without running. I’m sure there’s a name for it and a reason. The only source I have available to look it up is the internet and they can’t even be trusted to give me the correct wind velocity.

 May 24

Ran a mile today. My foot was good, but I felt a sharp strain in my left calf.

I’m not saying I’m running slow, but once again I passed a motion detector light and it didn’t come on. I’ve seen a blowing leaf trip these things. I’ve heard that aliens can’t trip those things either. It has something to do with their molecular makeup. Maybe I was switched at birth for an earth child. I wonder if he’s happy today and knows what I know.

 May 25

This is a no run day.

 May 26

It rained about an hour before my run and started sprinkling at the end.

I have so much flatulence ducks are doing flybys.


Filed under Running

My Music; My Sisters Wanted Tab Hunter, But They Got Me

Tab Hunter, the boy of my sisters’ dreams.

Last week I became a little teary-eyed thinking about my sisters and the music that they liked and I listened to with them. My sisters have passed on in death.

They were big fans of Tab Hunter, a handsome wholesome boy next door type who not only charmed the young ladies of the mid fifties from the silver screen, but also had a couple of hit songs.

My sisters loved the song Mr. Sandman. Tab Hunter was the boy of their dreams they were hoping the Sandman would send. They wrote out the lyrics to the song and we performed it together in our living room. They portrayed me as the boy of their dreams (It was make-believe.)

Becky and Char wetted my hair and styled it like Tab Hunter‘s. I dressed in my best cloths and they danced with me pretending I was the boy of their dreams. Those were good times.

Here’s Mr. Sandman.


Filed under My Music