I love family parties. It gives me a chance to catch up with my cousins who I don’t see nearly enough and the aunt and uncle on my dad’d side of the family who provide me with a lot of information about my dad and what he was like as a kid. I hear about how their dad paid them for their report cards and how he got them to do all of the work around the house without ever having to lift a finger. My grandfather on my dad’s side was not a very good dad. It sometimes amazes me that his three sons all turned out to be really good dads and even better grandfathers.
I listened to my dad and aunt talk about their childhood Christmases and how they acquired the tree for the season. From what I gathered they went to the lot and picked out the tree they liked and the teenage sons were sent back at night to get the tree free of charge. This explains a lot about why my dad was really disappointed in me when I shoplifted as a kid. He raised me to work for your money and go buy the things you need. Stealing is wrong. I think his dad had a different theory about how to obtain the things in life you want or think you might need. They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, but I think my dad must have hit a limb on the way down and got thrown far away from that old apple tree.
My aunt stayed with my parents the night of the party. She was on her way to Florida and in town for a day or two so she slept in my parents’ spare room. My daughter and I went over to visit with her before she left since we don’t see her very often and she told me a story about how she obtained a bike the prior spring to peddle around town. She apparently found a bike that was in front of someone’s house, close to the curb, not chained to anything and in very good condition. It was a boys bike so it wasn’t ideal for her, but it was good enough to ride around town on. She jumped on the bike and rode off. She said obviously they were throwing it away if it was outside, unlocked and unattended. She also said she didn’t ride down that street all summer just in case the person wasn’t actually throwing away the bike that was somewhere between the house and the curb that night she walked by. She rode the bike all summer and when she was done she went and put it back by the house. In the end I guess she borrowed a bike for a few months without the owner’s consent or permission. She laughed when she told the story the same way she laughed about how the boys in the family got the Christmas tree.
Maybe the female apples stay close to the tree and the males roll as far away as they can. I don’t know, but I’m really grateful for that branch that shot my dad so far away from the tree that he didn’t even know he was an apple anymore.
*I wrote this story while listening to Pennywise
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I am a firm believer in the idea that you do good things and you are rewarded. Today I was running errands with my mom. We are both members of a women’s organization that does volunteer work in our community. One of the projects we are working on requires us to set up artificial Christmas trees in public areas with a sign attached asking people to “decorate” them with hats and scarves and socks for people in need. We collect all of the donations over the holiday months and distribute them to different homeless shelters, group homes and warming centers. Today was the day we went to dismantle the trees and store them away until next year. While we were picking up the trees and all of the “decorations” I parked next to a minivan that appeared to be more of a home than a vehicle.
I probably wouldn’t have noticed all of the unusual things on this vehicle if I didn’t have to keep walking past it, but loading the charity trees and loot into my SUV afforded me the opportunity to walk by the minivan beside me several times. Each time I passed it I noticed something new. The first thing that caught my eye was the steering wheel lock. It was a giant bar across the wheel that was popular in the 80s. My eye was drawn from there to the sunflower emblazoned dishtowels draped over the seats and the gold lace table runners covering the seats. I went about my business wondering if the Sunflower King & Queen owned this vehicle. When I came back to my vehicle from the building on my first trip I noticed the soup can that was covering the exhaust pipe of the minivan. Yes, a soup can was placed over the exhaust pipe. All I could think about was how long it took this driver to put all of this crap on his car once he parked it. Between the steering wheel bar and the soup can he had to have spent ten minutes arming his car to fend off the alien invaders.
It wasn’t until I passed the vehicle the third time that I noticed the aluminum foil encased windshield wipers. I’m guessing these are not very effective against rain but might deflect the bolts of lightning coming from the space invaders chasing this guy. As I walked around the van I also noticed that it was being held together in many parts with duct tape. It was grey so it matched the paint. Foot long pieces of duct tape covered rust spots around the wheels and on the side of the van. It had several dents on the driver’s side. I’m not sure if they were from crazy pants running into things or if it was the aliens using a battering ram to break in and get their hands on the 250 count package of napkins on the passenger seat. Either way, the grey duct tape was surely going to cover up the damage.
The cross magnets on the outside of the car and the stickers all over the dashboard had me wondering if the owner was a priest, but the spoon and opera program sitting on the passenger seat made me think maybe this person was a single guy looking for his partner. He had a lot of rubber bands and duct tape so I’m not so sure about his approach. I don’t know if the Sunflower King lives in the building or if he was just visiting, but it made my day to see this vehicle. I took a few pictures before jumping back in the car with my mom. I didn’t want either of us ending up in that passenger seat.
* I wrote this while listening to Bouncing Souls
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