Toying With Time

I don’t recognize toys anymore. Our grandkids are coming from out of state to visit and I can’t find anything to get them as a surprise.

Why? I don’t know what anything is or does.

Toys should teach you how to prepare for life and be fun.

Bakugan – Japanese Power, was one of the first things that showed up under a search for popular toys. The website says:

“The Great Collision. The event that once captivated the world’s attention now seems like a ...

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The Clothesline

We had a clothesline, but no washer or dryer. So the Laundromat was a weekly destination.

Today, most folks would find the absence of a laundry room in the home as foreign as no air conditioning or Wi-Fi. Fifty years ago, most folks in Ashdown, Arkansas, didn’t have the first two, and the only person who had the latter was Captain Kirk.

When I was a kid, a washing machine was a luxury. A dryer was something rich people had. But, we ...

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Slow Going

Small town life is slower. I’m reminded of what I traded when I left Ashdown for big city life. Here’s a message I received this morning:

“We had a wren make a nest in our mail box. She only has one leg, so we put a box in a chair on the front porch for the mailman.”

Some might find humor in this. I find love.

There’s a reason The Andy Griffith Show still draws viewers; sometimes more than local newscasts.

Most of us ...

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Starry Starry Night

When the weather was cool and the sky was clear, our mother led us to the backyard and put out blankets.

My sister and I called them, “Star Nights.” And they were special.

In the mid 1960s there were no video games, social media, or 24-hour children’s TV channels. Families had each other. And our mother always made sure that family time was special.

My dad worked hard. He left early and worked all day. He’d pull his 1952 Chevrolet pickup into the ...

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What Grandmothers Do

My grandmother made the best oatmeal. It was so good, it even tasted good cold.

She made it each morning for my grandfather who always left some for any of his grandchildren who wanted it.

I always did.

There were no microwaves, so oatmeal was made on the stove. And the remaining porridge sat in the pot waiting for me to eat it.

And eat it I did.

My mom stayed home until my younger sister started school. So when I was in third grade ...

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The Wee Hours of the Morning

People who wake up early get it. The wee hours of the morning are the ones you can own, because most everyone else sleeps through them.

I didn’t used to be a morning person. I can recall my father coming into my room, opening the blinds, turning on the light, and blaring my stereo as loud as it would go.

It was his way of saying that no son of his was going to sleep until noon on a Saturday.

When you’re 16 ...

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Mow Mow Mow

When I was a kid, I was the designated (fill in the blank).

If the TV antenna needed turning to pick up Star Trek or Dragnet, I was the designated antenna turner. If the channel needed changing, I was the designated remote control.

When the ubiquitous Ashdown, Arkansas, pine trees dropped their needles, I was the designated chief raker and burner.

Before cities stuck their noses into a family’s business and personal rights, you could burn needles and leaves in town, in your ...

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Watch This

One of my fears is that I’ll die and my family will throw out, or sell cheaply, my things that have value.

I went to an estate sale awhile back, and the grandkids of a family member were bagging up some remaining items and were going to throw them away. I asked if I could buy what was left and go through them later. They agreed.

Included in the bag of pencils, staplers, Tupperware, and other things that had once been part ...

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Name That Tune

Some days are just lucky ones. Such was the day I found a half-century old console stereo at an estate sale.

It isn’t exactly like the one my parents had, but it’s sure close.

Today, people stick in an earbud and listen to an endless supply of music on their phone via the Internet. But not so long ago we listened to one artist at a time on the family console stereo.

I start a new job soon and I was thinking about ...

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Believing The Hype

This space is usually relegated to discussions centered on fried baloney sandwiches, classic TV shows, and the like. But today, I’m venturing into Dear Abby territory.

With apologies to Abby, Heloise, and Anne Landers, here we go.

No one actually wrote me for advice, but let’s pretend they did:


Dear John,

My Toyota Sasquatch isn’t very fuel efficient. My budget no longer allows for driving and buying food. What should I do?


Hungry in Houston


Dear Hungry,

Have you tried hypermiling? It’s a trick you can do ...

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