My Fresh Hell
Life in Scribbletown.

An Ill Wind Blows

2004-11-10
The election results have, needless to say, had quite an impact on my family. They've made them ill. Literally. In the last 5 days, I’ve missed three days of work and had to scrap any weekend plans due to colds and stomach viruses among those who live in this house. I have fortunately not come down with anything yet….but I do have a sore throat so we’re not out of the woods yet, my friends. Dusty seemed to be improving last night but relapsed this morning so, again, I had to scratch out everything on my calendar. I’m making no more plans until – if you will indulge me in one more dreadful cliché – the coast is clear. Clear of coughing and puking and sneezing. It’s always fun when more than one virus sneaks in the door. Why they don’t just fight amongst themselves and kill each other off, I don’t know. At least Dusty and me managed to get flu shots this year, thanks to Red being too young for one. She put us all in the high-risk category. Way to go, baby!!

So, this will be another disjointed entry full of a variety of things I’ve stored up over the last week or so. If I don’t get them out here, they’ll vaporize. Like – the county has recently installed a tractor crossing sign on my road. It’s actually a nice visual: just a yellow diamond with a fairly stylistic tractor floating in yellowness. It is certainly tractor season around here. All the farmers have their big machines out mowing down the last dead cornstalks and soybean plants. Enormous trailers, hitched to semis, are filled with remnants of plant parts. I don’t actually know what’s in them but I don’t think they’re edible anymore. At least the tops of the trailers are covered in tarps so the remnants don’t all spill out onto the windshields of the cars (mine) behind them as they pull out from long, dusty gravel farm roads.

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The other night, before she was felled by disease, Dusty was coloring the daily comics and began to remove the wrapper from a red crayon. I asked her why she was doing that and she replied, “I don’t need it anymore. I already know it’s red.” Duh, mommy.

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Tomorrow may be Veteran’s Day to some but to me it is the 19th anniversary of my grandfather’s death in 1985. My grandfather, known as Rocky, was a lover of many things including the weather (he worked for the National Weather Service for most of his adult life). He liked to talk about cumulonimbuses and stratocumuluses until we were writhing on the floor in an agony of boredom. He was a student of geology, and a lapidarian. Also all things Japanese, especially bonsai. He grew up in New York City, the son of a jeweler, and moved to Washington D.C. during WWII. That’s where he met my grandmother, a widow with two daughters. He appreciated women, in more ways than one, and was a fan of old time burlesque and the Marx Brothers. Oh, and dirty jokes. I have a bunch of his “cheat sheets” – little pieces of paper with outlines of his favorite jokes. I’ll share some with you soon and write more on him later. Once I’ve caught up on my life.

But, I’ll leave you with this, Rocky’s favorite shaggy dog story. Hope I remember it well enough:

Guy decides to build a house. He builds it with bricks and, when he’s done, discovers he’s got one brick left over. Whaddya think he did with it?

He threw it away.

Huge woman sits down on a train carrying a slobbery poodle in her arms. A man smoking a stinky cigar sits in the empty seat next to her. “That cigar stinks,” the woman says and throws the man’s cigar out the window. “Oh, yeah? Well that mutt stinks worse,” replies the man and he throws the dog out the window.

Two hours later, the train pulls into the station and the man and woman, who haven’t spoken to each other since the altercation, both leave the train. The woman gasps—here comes her dog trotting up the walkway. Whaddya think it’s got in its mouth?

The brick.

Da DUM chhh. Thank you, ladies and germs. And, for my next trick……..

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3:23 p.m. ::
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