Francesco

July 22, 2013

Depending on who does the estimating, we hear that there are between 10 and 20 million illegal aliens currently living in the United States.

For years now Congress and the President have been bickering over what should be done to “fix” the situation.

First, who caused the situation?

Well, the short answer is  the Federal government did by not have a method in place to secure its borders and allow proper, planned immigration into this land of immigrants.
So for years now while Washington fiddles, these immigrants are burning to go on with their lives in the land of opportunity.

They get jobs, marry, have kids ( US citizens) and well… live.
One of these folks is my friend, Francesco.

He entered the U S legally about 20 years ago and made his way to southwest Florida where John  hired him to help us in the orange grove. Immediately, Francesco proved to be a valuable addition to our little operation. He quickly showed his patient, methodical skill in running and repairing farm equipment.

He also knows the orange grove better than anyone, …although I can grow tomatoes better than he can!
About 8 years ago, Francesco became an American citizen.
He is yet another wonderful example of what immigrants can achieve for themselves, their family and their country through hard work and determination.

To bad the self-absorbed elitists in Washington DC don’t have the same work ethic.

Grandpa’s Prunes

July 8, 2013

Prior to turning 60, I don’t think I ever ate a prune.

OK I might have eaten a few plums here and there during their lush summer season, but no prunes.
Now however, prunes and raisin bran have become my daily breakfast companions.
I don’t know what it is, but as one gets older prunes become more delicious.

I so much prefer them to a nasty bacon, cheese omelet with a stack of buttermilk pancakes for breakfast.
I did not realize how attracted to and protective of  my prunes I had become until Sydney and Kate were over the other day.

They were rooting though the “snack” basket on the kitchen counter,  when their mother, Wendy admonished them.

“Do  not to eat grandpa’s prunes.”

“Oh we won’t!,”  They snickered.

I don’t know why they laughed, but I was happy when they ate some Cheetos instead. And now I have recently found out that some prunes have essence of  orange  in them.
Now this is a fruit I could get behind!

The boy in the bank

June 26, 2013

One of the nice things about small towns is that you get to know nearly everyone in the place and the pace of commerce is slower and more civil. Like the other day when I went to the bank in the little town near my orange grove. I had just sold some cows and needed to deposit a check.
Before you can transact business however, it is polite and customary to “visit” with the people you know and extend polite exchanges to those you don’t. After spending a few minutes talking with some folks, I proceed to the teller section to make the deposit.
On this day, there was a woman at the teller’s window ahead of me. The woman’s young son, who was about six was standing behind her and stomping on the tile floor in front of me.
As I got closer, I could see he was stepping on a bug that foolishly tried to cross in the little boy’s path.
” Did you get him?”  I asked the young man.
“Yes sir,” he replied.
With that the boy bent over and picked up the smashed bug depositing him in the pocket of his blue jeans.
As I looked curiously at him, he reached into the pocket again and pulled out 4 or 5 other bugs in the same smashed condition.
” I got to feed my lizard!” he announced.
Holding back a smile, I said, “Nice. What kind of lizard is he?”
I don’t know, but his name is Spike and he is green.” was the reply.
“Well, I am sure Spike will enjoy that yummy lunch.” I concluded.
With that the boy put his lizard’s lunch back in his pocket and he and his mom said good-bye and left the bank.
Somehow my banking business seemed sort of anticlimactic as I stepped up to the teller’s window with my deposit.

Now and Then

May 14, 2013

My friend, Bill owns a bait and tackle shop. For years, I have gotten some superb worms and other live bait from him for my meager catches of Snook and Red fish.
The other day, I stopped in to say “hi” and Bill was busy as all get out.
Knowing he used to hire college kids to help him, I asked, “Where’s all your help.”
“I’m not hiring those kids anymore more. Unreliable.” was his terse reply.
“You want a job?”
“What happened”, I asked
“They don’t show up. They don’t call. When I finally see them they say oh, I was tired. Tired?!”

He went on to say, ” I can overlook their tattoos, eyebrow piercings and all that texting, after all we are just selling nightcrawers and fish heads, but I need people to show up on time.”
This trend bothered me so I checked around and it seems there is a lot of this Aesopian grasshopper attitude among young people.
I know times have  changed a lot in fifty years, but is the virtue and self-satisfaction of a job well done disappearing in my America?
Virtue and self-esteem have seemed to given way to a kind of lazy, self-absorbed hedonism.
Today, kids think nothing of living in their parent’s basements, rent free well into their thirties.
Still thinking about this lack of work ethic, I heard on the radio that over 50% of women under thirty who were having babies were unmarried. Over 50 percent!. In some areas it was over 70 percent!

It used to be that a certain amount of shame was associated with giving birth out-of-wedlock. Now it seems it is celebrated.

I can understand women not wanting to get tied to another “child,” one who is too tired to go to work or wants  to spend his days in his parent’s basement playing video games. What I fail to comprehend is why women did not see this ” child” before the carnal entanglement began.

Now, when most of these newborns grow up in ignorance and poverty, who really suffers?

It seems to me the few minutes of fornication experienced by these women was not the wisest choice they ever made.

Still the babies keep coming.

And they will grow up poor and uneducated with no hope of a better existence regardless of how much government program money is spent on them.,

The pregnant young woman interviewed on the radio explanation of her status still rings in my head,

“Who wants another child to look after, these boys (not men) are content to play video games and hang out with their friends.”
Yet, these children are still having babies with no societal shame or stigma.

I suppose you could say it is a generational thing with me, and perhaps there is some of that involved. But I think that America is headed down a slippery slope. Its youth have been coddled.

In academic and athletic programs across the country, awards are presented to all children regardless of the level of achievement.  It is argued that not to do so would lower the self-esteem of the losers.  Where is the incentive for children to excel developed with this practice? Lowest common denominator kids lack the maturity and internal substance to make tough decisions and courage to carry them out.

Of course, not all young people are like that.  There are legions of stellar youngsters with extraordinary courage and virtuous rectitude, but sadly these leaders of tomorrow are outnumbered by their more egocentric cohorts.

I can just imagine my basic training drill instructor, Sargent Somerset’s reaction, if I told him I was too tired to report to reveille at 4:45 am!

I would still have his size 11 boot marks on my butt.

Mother’s Day, 2013

May 11, 2013

OK, I guess in the past, I have said some provocative things that got me in trouble with one person or another, but I always seemed to be able to get out of any sticky situation.

However, this time I may have crossed the line.
Yesterday, I was in the grocery store, getting some provisions for the holiday weekend. As I approached the checkout lane, I noticed that Pat was on duty as she skillfully scanned the items and John bagged them with his determined efficiency. While paying for my purchases, I sometimes joke with Pat about the latest news or other items of topical interest.
So, as I put my selections on the checkout belt and they moved forward, I decided to have some fun.
It was one of those moments when as the late comedian, Flip Wilson used to say, ” The devil made me do it.”
At this point, I commented to Pat,

” You know Pat, I am not completely certain, but I think this entire ‘Mother’s Day’ thing is a scam.”
Well,  you would think I just performed some objectionable bodily function in church. The belt stopped moving, Pat’s steel-blue eyes focused on me like a red dotted laser, her white hair seemed to turn crimson and I swear smoke shot out of her ears.
The grandmother in line behind me obviously took offense at my observation and banged my leg with her fully loaded cart….and John, who was bagging my groceries so efficiently, slowly shook his head and slinked away to the safety of the produce section.

There I was alone surrounded my some very angry mothers.

What seemed like hours later, Pat, broke the silence and admonished me in language that would have made my own mother blush. Clearly, I had to be  a complete moron not to understand that without mothers, society would cease to exist.
Doing some fancy mouthwork, I recovered and assured her, the grandma behind me and everyone else within earshot that I was fully aware mothers were the backbone of our culture and in fact, in my opinion, mothers performed most, if not all of society’s heavy lifting.
Further, I explained that what I thought was the scam was all the card companies, candy makers,  breakfast in bed people and the “take mom to brunch” restaurant crowd cashing in on a manufactured Mother’s Day guilt syndrome in an effort to line their own pockets.
While that explanation seem to mollify Pat somewhat, Grandma was having none of it. She made it quite clear she liked all the hoopla and folderal of the commercial Mother’s Day event…and so did her daughters-in-law who by now were gathering in the old lady’s defense.
Extracting my pants leg from her cart,  I wished Grandma a very, very happy Mother’s Day.

I then bagged my own groceries and left the store within an inch of my life. vowing never to return, unless my mouth was sealed shut with duct tape!
Happy Mother’s Day!

5,002,013 Anno Domini

April 5, 2013

I just read an article by a researcher in the UK who proclaims that in 5 million years, women will rule the earth and men will have become extinct.

Her rationale apparently is that men’s genes in the Y chromosomes are declining too rapidly to continue to sustain the gender. Apparently, at one time we had over 1400 Y genes, but now we are down to a paltry 45.

Well, you know come to think of it, lately I have felt my estrogen/ testosterone ratio changing, but I thought this was just the result of pop culture telling me to avoid my masculinity and urging me to get in touch with my feminine side.
In spite of this,  5 million years is a long time; maybe 250,000 generations or so.  Considering recorded history only covers about 400 generations, give or take a few dozen, this is quite a leap.

She goes on to say that by the time  all the men gone, the women will have evolved into self pollinating, reproductive beings and will be able to reproduce on their own.
Now, before I get into a discussion about this, I just wonder who funds this type of research and why do the researchers always predict occurrences far into the future so no one can test their hypotheses? And why did I not think of a gig like this?

OK,  well, maybe I will buy into this prediction , but since showtime for this happening will occur very late, past my bedtime, and I am not going to stay up and watch it,  I have a few questions which might be considered by us here and now.

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First, if women rule the world and men are extinct, and when all the women start talking at once, who will be there to listen… and nod their heads in agreement?

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Who will take out the trash? For that matter, with no men around, who will make the trash? I guess if there is no making of trash, then there will be no need to take it out.

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What about killing spiders? or changing  flat tires?

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Who will stand out in the freezing cold  holding up potential Christmas tree candidates, while the women sit in warm cars and indicate their preference in trees?

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Living room walls will never get painted in houses occupied only by women. As women perceived color much better than men and have strong opinions about color and design, there will be little agreement on the correct choice. No men around means there will be no one to say, ” Paint it any color you want, I don’t care.”

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What will become of all the beer and scotch in the world with no men to drink it?  And will the earth be able to produce enough boneless, skinless chicken breasts, white wine and Activia yogurt to feed and nourish the expanded female population?

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Then, not an unimportant consideration,… where will we put all the women’s shoes?

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And last but certainly not least,
with no men around, who will answer the question,

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“Does this dress make me look fat?”

This land is mine, God gave this land to me,
This great this golden land to me.
And when the morning sun reveals her hills and plains,
I see a land where children can run free…..Exodus, 1960

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A cool, still morning greeted the Gilchrist Park people  as a rare spring cold front brought a heavy mist to this historic riparian strip along the  Peace River.

The quiet calm however belied the tension of the past week between the TennisFolks and Pickleballers.

But, even as the well bundled, early runners and walkers emerged to the new day, word quickly spread of a great compromise achieved by the Town Council in a very rare midnight, (actual 9 pm) meeting last night.
Taking a page out of history, the council followed the path taken by the United Nations in 1948 when that world body carved out a section of Palestine for the state of Israel.

By council degree, the Pickleballers  were presented with a piece of land of their own.

Two existing tennis courts were now and forever, designated for occupation and use by the PickleBall People.
Several of the council members, who were present during the 1948  negotiations of  the Arab /Israeli solution, credited their experience in that dispute with helping resolve the Pickleball  issue.
Many agreed and hoped that this decision will go as smoothly as that landmark 1948 proclamation.

However, some worry that a dangerous precedent may have been created and more trouble could be just down the road as questions immediately arose.
What if Ballers who prefer other condiments want their own land too?

The mustard and catsup people are already feeling  they have been being squeezed out. Then there are the onion and relish folks who think the entire process stinks. And if those Chicago Style people, with their tomato and sport pepper preferences get involved, the situation could really get messy.
No, unlike the universal appeal of the Arab/Israeli compromise, the only person happy on the Gilchrist strip this morning seems to be  the hot dog vender.