New Ferderal Regulations!!!

US Department of Furry Affairs
Small Rodent Division
Tom Sylvester – Director

 

 On August 25, 2009, Congress passed the Irritating Rodent Awareness Act by a super majority.  This binding legislation sets strong standards for pet owners and businesses that sell pets.  The law now requires that all hamsters, gerbils, and guinea pigs be owned and cared for by citizens fifteen and younger.  Beginning November 2nd, 2009, all business which sell hamsters, hamster accessories, and hamster memorabilia will be required to post this new and helpful restriction…

ATTENTION:
FEDERAL LAW STATES THAT ANY ADULT WHO OWN HAMSTERS, GERBILS, AND GUINEA PIGS IS A GEEK AND IS UNFIT TO PROCREATE.   THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA HAS FOUND THAT OVER EXPOSURE TO THESE VARIETIES OF SMALL RODENTS CAUSES DIBILITATING ODORS, WELL DESERVED LACK OF SELF-ESTEEM, AND THE INABILITY TO FIND SEXUAL PARTNERS.
HEREUNTO, NO ONE UNDER FIFTEEN IS ALLOWED TO PUCHASE HAMSTERS, HAMSTERS ACCESSORIES, OR BEAN BAG TOYS THAT LOOK LIKE HAMSTERS.  EXCEPTIONS MADE FOR OWNERS OF REPTILES AND TAXIDERMISTS WHO MAKE THEM INTO PAPERWIEGHTS.
 

Geek advocacy groups have been very vocal about what they view as an infringement on their rights, however the overall value of a geek free populace trumped these minor concerns.  Members of Congress held many hearings on the matter before making their decision.  Unfortunately, the majority of these hearings were cut short so that the janitorial staff could find escaped hamsters and gerbils.  The frequent escapes disgusted many members of the Senate’s Ways and Means Committee and may have tilted sentiment.
 

Quipped one congressman, “How do those retched things keep escaping?  And can they do the same thing when cornered by the Justice Department on corruption charges?”

Legislation is still pending on Rabbits.  House Bill #134 attempts to address the partisan issues surrounding what a rabbit sounds like.  Biologists who have tagged wild rabbits with microphones seem no closer to finding an answer to this persistent question.

Speaking before the August congressional recess, Representative Peter Cottontail of Dakota Territory said, “Mothers, fathers, and non-traditional guardians across our great land teach the children that a cow says, “Moo” and a duck says, “Quack” but when the rabbit comes up, which it always does, parents are left speechless.  Members of Congress…I FIND THIS UNACCEPTABLE!”

Should House Bill #134 become law, an extra six billion would be earmarked for research on this topic.

Summer Angst

Life as an adult gradually blurs a person’s childhood memories.  Routines and responsibilities play a wicked role in stealing them from you.  But memories aren’t the only thing lost to adulthood so are the feelings that once coursed through your body like fast pumping blood.  I remember the thrill of holding a ten dollar bill and imagining it bringing the world to my feet.  When that girl I so adored looked at me, nothing else filled so filled me with excitement.  I recall when my birthday really mattered and Christmas held wonder. 

Above everything else was waking on a summer morning with nothing crowding my day. “What’s next?  Maybe breakfast?  Or do bother to dress first?  I wonder what’s on tv?”
 I had a bike and could ride from one end of my home town in Dakota Territory to the other.  My destination was often Greg’s house.  Greg’s mother still cooked gigantic portions (Greg had a bevy of older sisters) and was generous enough to feed the likes of me.  He also had a computer which at that time was still something of a novelty. 

So here’s the story…Twelve and thirteen year old boys are sometimes incapable of seeing the consequences of their actions.  Their eyes are blind to the subtle angst of those around them and if they aren’t told directly they may never come to understand.

Case in point:  Nothing was more enjoyable than spending hours at the Southside Pool in Dickinson, Dakota Territory.  Greg and I would many times go swimming immediately after lunch (What cramps?  I still don’t get it?  Are they an urban myth?), journey back to Greg’s house for supper, then go night swimming.  Why not?  We didn’t have anything else to do.  Only after the sun had finally drifted below the horizon would I wheel my bike home.  Too exhausted to shower or bathe, I would collapse in my bed and sleep without the pester of an alarm clock. 

When the next morning arrived, I would do it all over again.  What was the point in showering?  I soaked for hours in a pool filled with chlorine!  All week long I would go through the same procedure:  eat, swim, bike, and sleep.  As it turned out, I only bathed on Sunday mornings for church.  I lived in my swimming trunks.  Being twelve is GREAT! 

Something cosmic occurred two summers in a row.   Even now I have a hard time believing it was mere coincidence.  On the last day of the Southside Pool’s summer swim schedule, I tore my swimming trunks going off the diving board.  The trunks had worn so thin that the material (synthetic as it was) simply could not hold any longer.  I remember coming up from both of those last dives and carefully swimming over to Greg.

 

“Geesh Matt, what was that?  It sounded like you ripped one.”

Through gritted teeth I replied, “I did but it wasn’t gas Greg.  My trunks ripped!”

Greg’s eyes widened a bit.  “Really?  Wow again!?  Didn’t that happen last summer?  I guess we’d better go get some supper huh?”

“Yep, it looks like summer vacation is over.”

New & Exciting Product #562!

How many times have you painstakingly prepared for a day out only to find a blemish you missed in the car’s rear view mirror?  You’re in the car and driving…you can’t shave off that wild hair now!!  You’re screwed and your confidence is shattered.  You were hoping to ask Sally Roundbottom out (a bit on the plump side and hard to talk to but at least you have a shot with her) but she’ll be sure to spot that wild hair right away.  With no self confidence, you’ll be turned down flat.

DodoEggs.com, the galactic leader in lifestyle products, introduces Product #562!  (Attn Marketing:  You’re overpaid.)  Number 562 is a mount anywhere review mirror!  Place one on the refrigerator!  Mount one on the front door!  Donate one to a disadvantaged child with severe acne!  Now you’ll never miss that stray hair, your crow’s feet, or all those blackheads.  If there’s something wrong with your face…you’ll know it thanks to Product Number 562!

Product #562s are hand harvested from the continental US’s finest auto salvage yards!  When you want the finest in blemish / nose goblin detection try Product #562a!  These are review mirrors pulled from Europe’s finest automobiles.  Imagine the pleasure caressing your fingertips as you wrap you digits around the Corinthian leather of Mercedes review mirror (any buttons found on any models do not work). 

Listen to one customer’s recent rant, “DodoEggs.com you’ve done it again!  After opening my posh, trendy, overpriced restaurant in downtown Spokane, I needed a gimmick to get folks to eat there.  I installed Product #562s in all the stalls right above the toilet paper dispensers!  Whamo!  Instant buzz!  Ladies would spend as much time sitting in on a toilet in the bathroom than they did at their tables!  Of course, that meant I needed to build a second women’s bathroom because…well…women are slow using the restroom anyway.”

Order Product #562 today!  It’s hard to say there’s a limited number since people wreck cars everyday but if you delay we might send you one from a Yugo.

College Rules

My freshman year of college was spent in the forgotten halls of Dickinson State University in the northern part Dakota Territory.   Oh the hours I spent with my other socially disconnected friends prowling the streets looking for wild women and finding only beverages with too much corn syrup.  Time that wasn’t squandered driving pointlessly on Dickinson’s streets was left in the computer room at Greg’s house. 

We pick up the scene there…

Greg looks up from his Computer Shopper.  “Well, should we go drive around?  I just dubbed ‘Whoop-There-It-Is’ onto tape and I think I’ve got enough base to make your skull rattle.”

“Nah, let’s just relax here for another hour or so then rush to the gym for a fifteen minute workout.  Does your mom have any more Cheerios?”

“Honey Nut or regular?”

“Honey Nut of course!”

“Nope.  I ate the last of it for supper.”

Matt stares hard at the computer screen.  PageMaker stares back at him with a blank expression on its face.  Suddenly inspiration strikes.  “You know what’s funny Greg?  The phrase animal husbandry.  Think about it.”

“That’s not funny, Matt.  Now, these prices on an Intel 286 processor…now that’s funny.”

“Wait, watch this.”  Matt leans toward the keyboard and begins typing.  “We can make up a notice that we can post all over DSU.  It can be a celebration of animal husbandry only with a bit of a twist we can include dates and places for these made up events.”

The Computer Shopper finally closes.  “Alright you have my attention.”

Both young men spent the next hour coming up with a full page promotion that boasted, “DSU Student Senate proudly presents a celebration of Animal Husbandry!  You like cows and it’s OK!…

Monday:Stickney Auditorium / 6:30 PM  – The inspirational story of Eugene Utterman the first man to literally marry into his profession.  His story is called, “Coming Out of the Barn.”

Tuesday:  Emmit Building’s main lecture hall / 7:00 PM – Dr. Seiver opens the a forum of leading experts as they debate Branding or Pre-Nuptual Agreement. 

Wednesday:  Blue Hawk Stadium / 12:00 Noon – Come early to get the best seats as different breeds of cattle are lead around the field.  Experts will be on hand to match you with the perfect breed.

Thursday:  DSU Bennet Memorial Gym / 5:00 PM – Professor Seiver shares the amusing stories of the animal husbandry movement titled, “What to Serve at your Reception…Fish or Your In-Laws!”  Come and laugh until the cows come home!

Friday:  Stickney Auditorium / 4:30 PM – Honorary Doctor Yarvis tackles the fundamental issues of the animal husbandry movement with his lecture titled, “The Gold Ring Goes Through The Nose.”

Because Greg’s father was a professor at DSU, Matt and Greg were able to break in well after hours and post the signs all over the main hall.  The janitor found them after the boys left and removed all the bulletins but at least Matt and Greg enjoyed a good laugh.  That week DSU issued the following order:  “All posts to the bulletin boards now required a seal from the main office.”

I wound up doing the same thing at Crighton College.  The college was largly a commuter college and Greek life had been banned the year before I arrived.  Thusly, student life was anemic…very anemic.  There was nothing in my personality that demanded a wild party three nights a week but SOME SORT of activity other than Faculty/Student suppers would have been appreciated. 

I tried to develop a somewhat impromptu sports program by inviting every guy I knew to a large park on Saturdays.  We were supposed to play touch football or just hang out.  It never took off.  I was lucky to get a ten percent turnout.  In frustration, I made a flier that extolled all able bodied men to join me at the park that coming Saturday.  After listing the time and location I pulled from clip art for to give the bulletin a little visual appeal.  I found a female golfer swinging her club and I put in next to a cross with an Easter Lilly wound around it.  Between I placed an equals sign.  The idea was this…I’d rather die than play golf.  I know it wasn’t clear but I DIDN’T HAVE A LOT OF CLIP ART! 

Students piled out of chapel one day and the responses I overheard were…

“Golfers are Christians?”…”Only Christian golfers play football?”…”We’re playing golf in a cemetery?”…”Matt is a moron.”

My foray into public relations ended the same way as it did at DSU.  Crighton instituted a new rule requiring anything posted to be approved by the student services office.

Text This

Dear DodoEggs.com Staff:

The city of Taxweed, Tennessee has recently issued the following memo to all of their city department heads.  I enjoyed it so much that I’ve decided to make it the policy here at our Manhattan headquarters as well.  NOTE:  This is an actual memo that I pulled from a recycling bin.

Make sure your employees are aware that, effective July 1, 2009, it is a violation for any person serving the city in any official duty to transmit or to receive a text message on a hand-held mobile telephone or hand-held personal digital device while driving a motor vehicle on a public road. This prohibition does not apply to persons reading or entering a telephone number for the purpose of making or receiving a telephone call.  It also does not affect police officers or firefighters “when in the actual discharge of their official duties”

The new law is Chapter 201 of the Public Acts of 2009.  It imposes a fine not to exceed $50.00 and court costs not to exceed $10.00 for the misdemeanor; it will be considered a non-moving traffic violation.

City employees are expected to comply with applicable state laws when in City vehicles or on duty or on City premises. 

Ok that is good…a rule that cannot be effectively enforced is perfect for our corporate culture here at DodoEggs.com!  We love crafting regulations that will be patently ignored…it’s good for our egos.  Here’s our version.

Hereunto…All employees that work at DodoEggs.com are prohibited from texting in any language other than the Queen’s English effective whenever I catch you doing it.  Should it be found that you LOLed anyone or finished a fiery dissertation with IMO you will be subjected to acronym sensitivity training by our Director of Misinformation…Eugene.  OMG! 

Certain areas of the building have been marked off with pylons and yellow tape as free text areas.  These include the boy’s bathroom but not the female’s.  Ten feet to the west of any water cooler and five feet to the east are available for sloppy communications.  Also…Fridays, yea, Fridays are ok because no one is doing anything anyway.  We may extend this texting free time zone into Thursday afternoon if unproductively continues.   

Remember folks, it’s all about being a professional and that includes practicing our communication skills whether it’s a text, memo, or finished document.  Offenders of this policy are subjected to a polygraphed game of Truth or Dare with Ursula (more commonly known as the office skank). 

Snowball Effect

They say, “You are what you eat.”  Well if that’s the case what happens when you don’t know what you’re eating?

 My grandmother-in-law has always had an open kitchen policy (as all good mother-types do) and I have certainly taken advantage.  Most of the time the best thing she has for snacks are stale ginger snaps but one lucky day I found something a hundred times more fascinating.  Lovingly wrapped in a blanket of cellophane and resting on a cushion of white card stock sat two voluptuous mounds of confectionery lust…pink coconut covered SNOWBALLS!

Understand that this is the type of garbage food that normally causes me to ask, “Who actually buys this stuff?!”  Not this time.  I pulled out the treat and had it out in moments.  I opened my mouth and let my teeth plunge into the thin layer of pink dyed coconut through the marshmallow coating, the dark cake, and finally arrive at the scintillating cream center.  Wow!  All it needed was a layer of ice cream and a protective coating of Tootsie Roll!

I flipped the wrapper over to look at the nutrition facts (I know, I know).  “Huh, this thing expired about two and a half months ago – doesn’t taste like it.”

Mind you, I wasn’t expecting eggs, milk, flour, and sugar but someone would need a masters in organic chemistry to figure out what was in the ever delicio9us (no matter how far past the expiration date) snowball.

Below is the ingredient list EXACTLY as it is printed on the back of the label.  Anything in bold I added.

Sugar [surprised?], water, corn syrup [sugar’s evil twin brother], enriched bleached wheat flour [uh…you soak a bag of flour in a bucket of bleach and Flintstones?], coconut (sulfite treated) [is that what makes it pink?], partially hydrogenated vegetable and/or animal shortening (soybean, cottonseed, and/or canola oil – beef fat) [beef fat?!], high fructose corn syrup [you like getting high right?], coca, pork gelatin [an organ near the bacon], modified corn starch [modified for your pleasure], glucose [again…sugar], sweet dairy whey, leavenings (sodium acid phrophosphate [you got me], baking soda, monocalcium phosphate [helps prevent a third eye]), mono and diglycerides, soy flour, polysorbate 60 [remember, it’s not ice cream], soy lecithin, cornstarch, salt, soy protein isolate, calcium and sodium caseinate [and that is…?], sodium stearoyl lactylate, dextrose, cellulose gum, natural & artificial flavors, potassium sorbate and sorbic acid (to retain freshness).  Coating contain: blue (FD&c blue 1 lake, blue 2 lake); green (yellow 5 lake, blue 2 lake); lavender (blue 2 lake, carmine, red 40 lake) [M&Ms and Lucky Charms combined don’t have this many colors]; oragne (yellow 6 lake); red (red 40 lake); pink (carmine, red 40 lake); teal (blue 1 lake, yellow 5 lake); yellow (yellow 5 lake).  Contains wheat, milk, and soybeans.

I enjoyed the snowball anyway and was caught in the ooy-gooy middle by my grandmother-in-law.

“Oh, so you like those snowballs?  I don’t know where that one came from but I’m glad you’re eating it.  It’s been sitting in my pantry for a while now and I hate to see food or whatever it is going to waste.”

Since then she has made an effort to bring me snowballs every time she comes to middle Tennessee to visit.  Which is great because I wasn’t planning on living forever anyway.  Aside from the mysterious ingredients in those delicious snowballs, my only remaining question is, “By how much does each snowball shorten my life or do the sorbates help maintain my freshness?”

The Truth & Media Bias

Professor Forsythe scratches he beard even though it doesn’t itch.  It’s a compulsive habit akin to others rubbing their hands, adjusting their glasses, or stress sweating.  The late summer heat has forced him into a nice floral polo instead of his usual suit coat and slacks.  He knows he looks less intellectual and authoritative which only makes him scratch his beard all the more. 

His class is a collection of impassive youths looking only for some easy credit and nothing more.  For some reason they resent him for his eight o’clock class even though they are the ones who signed up for it.  Forsythe takes another quick look at his notes and right there decides to teach them anyway.

“Ok, let’s begin with trust because you can’t be an effective source of information unless those who are listening trust you.  I am correct in this.  Now you trust someone when you understand their motivation – where they’re coming from. 

For example, when you go out to eat with your mother and she offers to pay, you don’t think a thing of it.  You trust her because you know she loves you and wants to see you feed.  You understand her motivation.  Now if you go out to eat with your roommate and he offers to pay for the meal; you’re curious.  You think, ‘What in the #$%!!!$% is this joker doing trying to pay for my deep fried apple pie?”

Forsythe waits for chuckles…nothing.

“Anyway, you don’t trust your roommate because you don’t understand his motivation.  You want to know what’s going on behind the curtain.  You see, trust is when you understand what motivates a person.  When you have a good idea what’s going on inside the other person’s brain, only then are you at ease.”

The professor flips to the second page of his notes.  “Let’s jump to the media.  People claim that there is bias in the media and they’re right.  It’s professional for journalists to just state the facts but it’s impossible for journalists to completely unplug their own opinions about the situation.  Do you honestly believe that those that own media outlets and those that craft the message do nothing to shade their own point of view?  I don’t believe it and neither should you.

“I was listening to public radio on the way to class today.  Now I believe that public radio leans left.  Can I prove it?  No, but listen to this…I could make a case that it has a liberal bias based on a lot of coincidental evidence but there is no way on God’s green earth I could make a case for it drifting right.  Do you see what I mean?  I take everything they say with a grain of salt because I don’t trust them.  I can’t be sure where they’re coming from especially since Bush spent his term in office trying to nix their funding and Obama solidified it.  Which way would you shade?”

It’s difficult to tell if any of the young people are listening.  Forsythe is sure some of them are hiding their tiny earphones under their ridiculously long hair. 

“Here’s the solution.  I also listen to conservative talk radio.  I find it much easier to listen to because they make no bones about where they’re coming from!  There’s no subversion there.  They freely admit – no proclaim – that they ride the right wing.  It’s informative AND interesting!  Some of you may tap into liberal blogs.  Hey, you may not be able to trust the all the facts but at least you know where they writer is coming from.”

The professor stops to accentuate his point.  “The idea of an unbiased media is a noble one but it’s much like a utopia – it doesn’t exist and never will.  If you want balance, shouldn’t you take your news from multiple sources?  You know, hear both arguments?”

A cell phone goes off and the kids begin shuffling out.  The classroom quickly grows quiet. 
“Maybe I’ll do something useful today.”  Forsythe says to himself.  “I think I’ll dye my beard to match my favorite suit coat.”

Staff Memo – Corporate Gym

Before I begin I’d like to take full responsibility for the latest crate of corporate letterhead.  You can quit emailing me!  I know I mixed up the second D in DodoEggs.com and now the top of each sheet boldly proclaims….DoboEggs.com – The Bohemian Blog.  No one said anything about the new motto but EVERYONE commented on the simple typo.  Look, I’ve blamed the whole thing on Eugene and demoted him back to private.  My secretary is currently taking white out to all 256,000 sheets of letterhead so until she’s done…avoid writing any memos.

Ok, where was I?  Oh yea, the new corporate gymnasium in the basement. 

Many of you on the first three floors have been experiencing foul odors throughout the day.  I’ve also heard concerns about loud moaning, cursing, and heavy metal music.  Rest assured…this is not another New Age management technique.  I also want to dispel the rumor that it’s some sort of unproductive employee torture chamber.  If that was the case, I’d need a whole lot more office space than just the basement! 

No, no…the torture chamber is the employee lounge on the twelfth floor.  I’ve got the TVs permanently set to music videos from the early eighties, granola bar stocked vending machines, and informative laminated posters listing employee benefits. 

I visited about seventeen garage sales this weekend.  I got a great deal on a bow-flex, 2 solo-flexes, a used smoothie machine (that I didn’t bother cleaning), six butt-busters (injuries incurred on the butt-buster are NOT covered by the health plan), a treadmill that works if you jiggle the power cord just right, and an ENTIRE set of sand filled plastic weights!  The weights come in four fantastic colors to motivate you.

Note:  Eugene update the benefits posters in the employee lounge.

If you are lifting properly, screaming and yelling is not allowed.  As is standard gym etiquette, you may yell out and drop the 80 pound dumbbells only if you are using too much weight or are lifting improperly. 

When discussing how much weight you can move, feel free to add the “Theoretical Good Day Bonus.”  This isn’t really lying.  It’s where you boast about how strong you are by telling people a weight you might be able to move.  As a rule of thumb, it’s twenty pounds on the bench and forty pounds for any leg exercise.  Also deduct fifty pounds off anyone who uses a machine.  This means that if Eugene tells you he can bench 250 pounds this is what it means…

250 – 20 (Bragging) – 50 (Bo-flex Machine) – 50 (Screaming/Improper Form) – 30 (Dork Penalty) = 100 MAX

While I’m thinking about it, here are a few other items you should know before using the gym.  I’ve stretched aluminum foil over all the walls (shiny side out) instead of mirrors.  You probably won’t even notice.  My brother, the CEO of ChickenPoop.com, gave me his old stereo from college.  The volume is broke and so is the tuner.  Fortunately it’s stuck on the heavy metal station and the volume is blasting.  And lastly, there are no showers.  Strenuous use of showers has not been proven to increase muscle mass so you don’t need them. 

Enjoy the Gym…
ChiefDodo (Your CEO)

Grandpa Teply

About two months ago, Grandpa Teply was staring at a slot machine in central South Dakota. It’s difficult to say what his expectations were but I doubt they were winning the grand jackpot. With a seemingly nonchalant spin of the wheels and a few seconds of blinking lights, my grandfather won the 237,000 dollar jackpot.

When asked about his winnings, Grandpa Teply replies. “It’s the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me (excluding his wedding, children’s births, and grandchildren’s births I’m sure) and it has to happen when I’m over eighty! Doesn’t that stink! Do I take the whole payout or save money on taxes by spreading it out over twenty years?! Bah!”

With some of the money left over after the long arm of Uncle Sam, my grandparents paid for the entire Teply clan to travel to Omaha for the first (and most likely last) complete Teply family reunion. My extended family and I were put up in an Embassy Suites with free breakfast, pool, and (the highlight for some) a reception with free drinks. We ate until the seams holding our stomachs together threatened to break and talked until the evening’s weight forced out eyelids shut.

During one of the meals, we were asked to share memories for our time with Grandma and Grandpa. Here’s an excerpt with my extra information in parenthesis… yes, you care.

“With two young parents who both needed to work, I was dumped into the free daycare provided by Grandma and Grandpa. As far as I knew, Grandpa and Grandma Teply didn’t charge for babysitting their grandchildren. If they had, they wouldn’t have needed Grandpa to win any huge jackpot (and my parents wouldn’t have dared spawned my brother Nate four years later).

During the day, the main house stayed quiet with Grandma Helen cleaning or running her hands down the newspaper to guide her reading (Yes, I called my grandparents ‘Grandpa’ followed by their first name. It isn’t that formal and sure beats the southern tradition of coming up with your own names like Pa-Paw or Neenie-Mama). A scratchy sounding radio sat on the top of the refrigerator conveying the textured voice of Paul Harvey, the national news, or the weather. If the house became too quiet, I’d waltz over to the massive lumber yard looking for some action (Grandpa Teply owned a lumber yard across the street.). Instead of action, I found Grandpa Charley shoulders against the wall…head and hat tipped forward…sawing logs…wait, I mean, selling lumber! (I really don’t remember customers…Not a one…I’m serious.) He had an old iron chair propped against the wall with the back legs dug into grooves in the wooden floor.

If you were thirsty, Grandpa would offer you a bottle of Bubble-Up or Squirt from his soda machine. The inside of his vintage vending machine was a maze of slow sliding bottles and metal catches. The effort was certainly worth it once you were given a cold bottle that was a big as your forearm (This is something I miss about childhood. Everything seems to shrink as you grow…Including Oreo cookies.)

Using the bathroom was no issue either. All one needed to do was find your way to the back of the building. There was a dark room Grandpa used to relieve himself. The room was large and as far as I could tell being a place to whizz was its only purpose (The lumber yard didn’t have plumbing. The room had been used to store coal years ago.)

There was the junkyard where the small town my grandparents lived in (Wolsey, South Dakota) challenged the notion that trash should be buried (It is now but in the late 70s it was just piled up a mile or two outside of town.). Every time Grandpa and I drove out there I looked for the match to the boot on Grandpa’s dash. (Grandpa Charley found a like-new kid’s boot one day and kept it on his dash for years and years. That boot would have been a lot more interesting if it was filled with something other than two year old starlight mints. Yech.)

The Post Office was always one of our stops. For me, it was an entire wall of safes for me to try to crack. What I would want with someone else’s bills or junk mail wasn’t the point. While I played, Grandpa would stop to chat with whoever was behind the glass. His relationship with the Post Office had special perks. I could address a letter to Mr. and Mrs. Teply – Who Gives A Rat’s Butt Road – Wolsey, SD and it would get there (This is true. I’ve done it and it always got there.).

There was an old gas station that had a dirty looking lunch counter inside. We would stop in and Grandpa would purchase my choice of candy bars. Even as a young man I knew that the South Dakota Department of Health hadn’t visited that establishment in years. Just sitting on one of the stools a customer could reach over and flip his own burger. If I’m not mistaken, Grandpa told me he worked there once.

Uncle Tim was always up for a visit. The beard, overalls, and rotund shape made my great uncle distinctive. I always thought he would have made a great Santa Claus if he had ever been jolly. Uncle Tim seemed to constantly be bent out of shape about something (Yea, and he didn’t live at the North Pole either.).

Grandpa generally had three classic quotes that I have adopted into my own way of speaking. He had a classic six step yawn (Like six yawns rolled into one! He would yawn then yawn again and again, again, and, again, and again without closing his mouth.), the classic “What’s for supper dear?”, and the one I use the most often “I don’t care, Helen.” or in my case “Melissa.”

I remember telling my elementary school classmates that, “My grandfather is the mayor of a town near Sioux Falls.” Then I would cross my fingers and hope they didn’t hear the “a town near” part. It really didn’t matter since being the grandson of a powerful South Dakota politician didn’t make me any more popular (True. My grandfather was mayor of Wolsey for years. And we wore fedoras tilted to one side so that made him super cool even if I wasn’t.).

For some reason, breakfast was always the most hectic meal and the only one I remember Grandpa helping with (Grandma assured me that in 62 years of marriage…Grandpa never once washed so much as a fork. Now that’s a man!) The bacon (in the only nod I remember Grandpa making to healthy eating…Sizzlean) was pulled from the microwave with as much fanfare as a dish by Julia Child.”