Saturday, October 29, 2016

Trains and Memories




                           
 Now you see me, now you don't; in a second, I'll be gone

  I'm sure you never thought you'd see me rolling across your lawn.

  I just got off. This is my stop, it's where the train slows down

  I'm visiting a friend of mine. I came from out of town.



During my years growing up in West Virginia, I rode in a train about a half dozen times. I went from Montgomery to Charleston with my grandmother, rode to summer camp when I was eight and nine years old, and traveled to Washington D.C. with with the eighth grade school safety patrol.

I rode on the outside of the train at least a hundred more times. During my junior high and early high school years I did some bone head things. The most dangerous of these was "hopping" trains.

A few of my friends and I would run along side the train as it was passing through Glen Ferris. We would grab onto a rung of the metal ladders that were fastened to the side of the train car and pull ourselves up to where we could balance ourselves where the cars connected. I never said it was a smart thing to do, but I do admit to doing it.

We would do this to get a ride to the next town which was maybe four or five miles away. We wanted to visit friends in nearby neighborhoods.

Our most common destination was Charlton Heights where we had several friends. We also had a place where we always jumped off of the trains. We had done this enough that we knew just where the train was going the slowest. It was just after the curve going into town and directly beside the Cary's house.

We would tell our friends to look for the yellow ranch at the near edge of town. We would try to start running as soon as we hit the ground, but that never worked. We always ended up falling and rolling across their lawn.

I always wondered how so many kids could do something that stupid and never be seen. Riding and jumping off a train that ran along side Rt. 60 for a period of at least five years.

Fifty years later and I have become facebook friends with Corky Cary and his wife, Betty. I'm curious to know if he even knew about the many times that I "passed" through his yard.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Photo Finish

I thought I knew a winner so I went to make a bet

Sometimes there is feeling that you normally don't get

You seem to see the future and you can't explain just why

At times you have to suck it up and give it one good try.

 


Anyone who has read Mr. Joe knows how much I enjoy handicapping the horse races. It has nothing to do with the money. It has everything to do with figuring the outcome of races. It is the mathematical challenge that I can't resist.

Many people read for pleasure, but there aren't that many who choose the Daily Racing Form. I happen to be one of the few who do. I can buy an early edition of the program and have two to three days to make my picks. It's cheap entertainment and I enjoy it very much. I can make my picks and go on line and check the results later. I can have three days of entertainment for next to nothing.

I bought an early program for Mountaineer Park in West Virginia two days ago. I studied and looked for anything that would give me an edge and I found it. I found a horse in the first race.

There have been so many times that I saw a winner and didn't make the effort to go and place a bet. This time was going to be different. I got in the Mazda and went off to test my theories.

When I got to the betting site I already knew which horse I would pick. I could not see number seven losing, but that was no guarantee of success. Maybe the horse that I had chosen wasn't familiar with my system.

Betting sites are probably a lot alike. You can always hear how someone knows the winner and might share it with you if you will place a small bet for them. They always seem to know the outcome of the next race, but they have empty pockets. This evening was no different.

A man came up to me and asked which horse I liked in the first race. I told him that I came there to bet number seven. He said that there was no reason to walk all the way to the betting window. He told me that I could give him my bet and if I won he would pay me. I'm not sure if I looked like an idiot, but I am sure that he took me for one.

I ended up going to the window and betting forty dollars on number seven. The favorite was number nine and it was leading all the way into the stretch and my horse was dead last. All I heard from that man was how stupid my choice was.

Coming down the stretch my horse came from dead last to win in a photo finish. Number seven was a long shot at 11-1 and paid $24.00 for each two dollar ticket. I won a little over $480.00 and did something that few gamblers do. I put the money in my pocket and came home.















 


Photo Finish

I thought I knew a winner so I went to make a bet

Sometimes there is feeling that you normally don't get

You seem to see the future and you can't explain just why

At times you have to suck it up and give it one good try.

 


Anyone who has read Mr. Joe knows how much I enjoy handicapping the horse races. It has nothing to do with the money. It has everything to do with figuring the outcome of races. It is the mathematical challenge that I can't resist.

Many people read for pleasure, but there aren't that many who choose the Daily Racing Form. I happen to be one of the few who do. I can buy an early edition of the program and have two to three days to make my picks. It's cheap entertainment and I enjoy it very much. I can make my picks and go on line and check the results later. I can have three days of entertainment for next to nothing.

I bought an early program for Mountaineer Park in West Virginia two days ago. I studied and looked for anything that would give me an edge and I found it. I found a horse in the first race.

There have been so many times that I saw a winner and didn't make the effort to go and place a bet. This time was going to be different. I got in the Mazda and went off to test my theories.

When I got to the betting site I already knew which horse I would pick. I could not see number seven losing, but that was no guarantee of success. Maybe the horse that I had chosen wasn't familiar with my system.

Betting sites are probably a lot alike. You can always hear how someone knows the winner and might share it with you if you will place a small bet for them. They always seem to know the outcome of the next race, but they have empty pockets. This evening was no different.

A man came up to me and asked which horse I liked in the first race. I told him that I came there to bet number seven. He said that there was no reason to walk all the way to the betting window. He told me that I could give him my bet and if I won he would pay me. I'm not sure if I looked like an idiot, but I am sure that he took me for one.

I ended up going to the window and betting forty dollars on number seven. The favorite was number nine and it was leading all the way into the stretch and my horse was dead last. All I heard from that man was how stupid my choice was.

Coming down the stretch my horse came from dead last to win in a photo finish. Number seven was a long shot at 11-1 and paid $24.00 for each two dollar ticket. I won a little over $480.00 and did something that few gamblers do. I put the money in my pocket and came home.















 


Photo Finish

I thought I knew a winner so I went to make a bet

Sometimes there is feeling that you normally don't get

You seem to see the future and you can't explain just why

At times you have to suck it up and give it one good try.

 


Anyone who has read Mr. Joe knows how much I enjoy handicapping the horse races. It has nothing to do with the money. It has everything to do with figuring the outcome of races. It is the mathematical challenge that I can't resist.

Many people read for pleasure, but there aren't that many who choose the Daily Racing Form. I happen to be one of the few who do. I can buy an early edition of the program and have two to three days to make my picks. It's cheap entertainment and I enjoy it very much. I can make my picks and go on line and check the results later. I can have three days of entertainment for next to nothing.

I bought an early program for Mountaineer Park in West Virginia two days ago. I studied and looked for anything that would give me an edge and I found it. I found a horse in the first race.

There have been so many times that I saw a winner and didn't make the effort to go and place a bet. This time was going to be different. I got in the Mazda and went off to test my theories.

When I got to the betting site I already knew which horse I would pick. I could not see number seven losing, but that was no guarantee of success. Maybe the horse that I had chosen wasn't familiar with my system.

Betting sites are probably a lot alike. You can always hear how someone knows the winner and might share it with you if you will place a small bet for them. They always seem to know the outcome of the next race, but they have empty pockets. This evening was no different.

A man came up to me and asked which horse I liked in the first race. I told him that I came there to bet number seven. He said that there was no reason to walk all the way to the betting window. He told me that I could give him my bet and if I won he would pay me. I'm not sure if I looked like an idiot, but I am sure that he took me for one.

I ended up going to the window and betting forty dollars on number seven. The favorite was number nine and it was leading all the way into the stretch and my horse was dead last. All I heard from that man was how stupid my choice was.

Coming down the stretch my horse came from dead last to win in a photo finish. Number seven was a long shot at 11-1 and paid $24.00 for each two dollar ticket. I won a little over $480.00 and did something that few gamblers do. I put the money in my pocket and came home.















 


Photo Finish

I thought I knew a winner so I went to make a bet

Sometimes there is feeling that you normally don't get

You seem to see the future and you can't explain just why

At times you have to suck it up and give it one good try.

 


Anyone who has read Mr. Joe knows how much I enjoy handicapping the horse races. It has nothing to do with the money. It has everything to do with figuring the outcome of races. It is the mathematical challenge that I can't resist.

Many people read for pleasure, but there aren't that many who choose the Daily Racing Form. I happen to be one of the few who do. I can buy an early edition of the program and have two to three days to make my picks. It's cheap entertainment and I enjoy it very much. I can make my picks and go on line and check the results later. I can have three days of entertainment for next to nothing.

I bought an early program for Mountaineer Park in West Virginia two days ago. I studied and looked for anything that would give me an edge and I found it. I found a horse in the first race.

There have been so many times that I saw a winner and didn't make the effort to go and place a bet. This time was going to be different. I got in the Mazda and went off to test my theories.

When I got to the betting site I already knew which horse I would pick. I could not see number seven losing, but that was no guarantee of success. Maybe the horse that I had chosen wasn't familiar with my system.

Betting sites are probably a lot alike. You can always hear how someone knows the winner and might share it with you if you will place a small bet for them. They always seem to know the outcome of the next race, but they have empty pockets. This evening was no different.

A man came up to me and asked which horse I liked in the first race. I told him that I came there to bet number seven. He said that there was no reason to walk all the way to the betting window. He told me that I could give him my bet and if I won he would pay me. I'm not sure if I looked like an idiot, but I am sure that he took me for one.

I ended up going to the window and betting forty dollars on number seven. The favorite was number nine and it was leading all the way into the stretch and my horse was dead last. All I heard from that man was how stupid my choice was.

Coming down the stretch my horse came from dead last to win in a photo finish. Number seven was a long shot at 11-1 and paid $24.00 for each two dollar ticket. I won a little over $480.00 and did something that few gamblers do. I put the money in my pocket and came home.















 


Photo Finish

I though I knew a winner so I went to make a bet

Sometimes there is feeling that you normally don't get

You seem to see the future and you can't explain just why

At times you have to suck it up and give it one good try.

 


Anyone who has read Mr. Joe knows how much I enjoy handicapping the horse races. It has nothing to do with the money. It has everything to do with figuring the outcome of races. It is the mathematical challenge that I can't resist.

Many people read for pleasure, but there aren't that many who choose the Daily Racing Form. I happen to be one of the few who do. I can buy an early edition of the program and have two to three days to make my picks. It's cheap entertainment and I enjoy it very much. I can make my picks and go on line and check the results later. I can have three days of entertainment for next to nothing.

I bought an early program for Mountaineer Park in West Virginia two days ago. I studied and looked for anything that would give me an edge and I found it. I found a horse in the first race.

There have been so many times that I saw a winner and didn't make the effort to go and place a bet. This time was going to be different. I got in the Mazda and went off to test my theories.

When I got to the betting site I already knew which horse I would pick. I could not see number seven losing, but that was no guarantee of success. Maybe the horse that I had chosen wasn't familiar with my system.

Betting sites are probably a lot alike. You can always hear how someone knows the winner and might share it with you if you will place a small bet for them. They always seem to know the outcome of the next race, but they have empty pockets. This evening was no different.

A man came up to me and asked which horse I liked in the first race. I told him that I came there to bet number seven. He said that there was no reason to walk all the way to the betting window. He told me that I could give him my bet and if I won he would pay me. I'm not sure if I looked like an idiot, but I am sure that he took me for one.

I ended up going to the window and betting forty dollars on number seven. The favorite was number nine and it was leading all the way into the stretch and my horse was dead last. All I heard from that man was how stupid my choice was.

Coming down the stretch my horse came from dead last to win in a photo finish. Number seven was a long shot at 11-1 and paid $24.00 for each two dollar ticket. I won a little over $480.00 and did something that few gamblers do. I put the money in my pocket and came home.















 


Sunday, July 3, 2016

Size Matters



I have heard of having blessings and some are in disguise

Now it's time to offer you a good word to the wise

Be thankful for the gifts you're given while upon this Earth

Do the best with what you've got and you'll get your monies' worth.




Yesterday, I read something that made me think of someone I haven't seen for over twenty years. I read where a local Independence Day celebration was going to feature a skydiver and I immediately started thinking of my friend, Jim.

Jim and I worked together at the meat plant for nearly three decades. He was about the size of a small jockey and was constantly being teased about it. The number of "short jokes" seemed to be endless, but they were all in good fun. Jim always seemed to take it well.

One day, during our lunch break, several of us were talking about things that we had always wanted to do. Jim said that he had never jumped out of an airplane and that was on his bucket list. He went around the table asking each of us if we would try it with him. I quickly declined and explained that I was scared to death of heights, but three others accepted the challenge.

We talked about it each day at work and finally Jim and the other three went to the local airport and signed up for lessons. I think that they took courses for a couple of weeks, but I really don't remember what all was involved. I do remember the day they came to work telling me that they were scheduled to jump. They seemed to be excited and terrified at the same time. It was going to happen on that coming Saturday.

When you work in a factory, not much is kept secret. Their jump wasn't the exception.They were the talk of the plant and everyone wanted to wish my friends good luck before we left work on Friday.

We couldn't wait for Monday to come. The entire production crew was waiting to hear their stories. We all felt like we were a part of it. We were all happy for them.

But, when Monday came and the shift began, Jim wasn't there. The other three were at the time clock, but the man who started it all was absent. They told us that Jim had been injured and would be on medical leave for about six weeks. They told us that he had broken both of his ankles.

Jim was given a blessing that he wasn't aware of for most of his life. You see, his parachute never opened on that jump and nothing slowed his fall from those thousands of feet in the air. The doctors told him that the only thing that saved him was his size. They said that if he had been any heavier he would have be crushed.











Friday, June 17, 2016

A Father's Day Memory



    I wanted to build muscles and I wanted to be strong

    According to the ad you wrote, it wouldn't take that long

    Just use our product like we said and work out every day

    And make sure that you keep receipts to show that you have paid.

                         

I am reminded of this story because of Father's Day. I was never close to my father and he wasn't in my life nearly long enough. There was, however, one memory that stands out to me.

When I was growing up, one of my favorite things to do was to read and later trade comic books with my friends. We would all talk about the latest offers on the inside of the last page of our latest issue. I longed to order everything from a Superman ring to the glasses that they said would give you x-ray vision. There were so many promises made in those ads and I believed all of them.

When I was in the fourth or fifth grade, I finally found a product that I couldn't resist. The product was called Lever-Bars if my memory is correct. I know that it is close to the name if not exact. I can't always remember what I had for breakfast, but I do remember placing this order nearly sixty years ago.

I remember the day that my order arrived and how disappointed I was. Things never looked as good as they were portrayed in the ads. I was expecting a set of weights that I could use to build my muscles and made me stronger. What I got was something far below my expectations.

They sent me what looked like a section of broom handle and a brick with a hole in the center. I was to insert the handle through the brick and adjust it with a set screw. The farther I put the brick to the end of the broom handle, the more it would seem to weigh. I could use it as a dumbbell and increase the weight as I got stronger. I was using leverage and that is where they got the name Lever-Bars.

All of this for only $32.95 divided into twelve monthly payments. That was a pretty steep investment for a nine year old in the fifties.

I worked out with this contraption every day for several months. I would save my  allowance and what money I could earn doing chores at home and for the neighbors in order to make the payments. Shortly before I made my last payment I  received a rather official looking letter addressed to me. Upon opening and reading the letter I found out that I was being sued. The company in the comic books was threatening to take a nine year old to court.

I remember that I was scared to death at the prospect of going to court and then spending my life in prison. I believed every threat that they made. I decided that the only thing I could do was to ask my dad for help. I had never done that before and wasn't sure how it would pan out.

I found him sitting in his favorite chair in the living room. I told him that I needed his help and climbed up on his lap. I told him about everything. I told him that I had ordered the weights on my own and I had made every payment on time.

I found out that he was easier to talk to than I thought he would be. He asked if I had kept the receipts for the money orders that I had used to make the payments. I told him that I had and quickly ran to my room to get them. Dad had me write a letter to these people and tell them that a nine year old had saved every receipt and could prove that I had paid for the product.

I never heard from them again, but I had learned a valuable lesson that had nothing to do with the company that had threatened to take me to court. I learned that I could ask my father for help and I learned that I could trust him.

I guess my rambling is over. This was my Father's Day memory.
















Friday, April 22, 2016

Take Two and Call Me in the Morning

                     

             
  I learned a lesson recently that might have saved my mind

  Sometimes the proper dosage can be very hard to find.

  Sometimes doctors make mistakes even though they're trained

  I should have asked more questions when I turned out scatterbrained.




Over the past few months I have not been myself. My concentration and my motivation have been well below their normal levels. You might even say that they were nonexistent. I have talked about blogs that I was going to write and then I wouldn't produce.

My work at school has also been sub standard compared to my normal quality of cleaning. I don't think that was what they were looking for when they hired me as a custodial-sub.

The reason I am writing about this is because I got my first complaint about my work this week. I had forgotten to replace toilet paper in the student restrooms. I know that doesn't sound like the end of the world, but I couldn't remember not doing it. My mind was a blank.

I tried to figure out what I had been doing different for the past eight weeks. I had been afraid that my age had finally caught up to me. I worried that all of my good days were behind me and I had forgetfulness, constant fatigue and even senility to look forward to in the near future.

After much thought I realized that my doctor had adjusted my pain medicine about the same time that this nightmare began. I had been taking eight 300 mg. capsules a day for the nerve pain in my legs. He suggested that I take 800 mg. at a time and I would only have to do it three times. I had never had any bad side affect in nearly three years so it made sense to me.

The higher dosage proved to be more than I could handle. Taking three times the amount that I was used to at one time was a bad move.

For the past two days I have cut the tablets in half and been very careful not to take any more than I have to. I can already feel the difference in my energy level and my memory is no longer a memory.

Sadly, medication is necessary for many people to get through the day. But, we are also very lucky to have it available. This blog is a lot different than my usual rants, but I felt like I owed some of you an explanation for the way I have been acting. Medication is something that no one should take lightly. I know that I won't ever again.