I’ve been to two Friday Night High School Football games this month playing with my new camera trying to freeze action. Here are some of the photos I took – more are on my Flickr site here.
I promised to post a video in my next post but will put it off because a long hidden funny Christmastime memory rose to the surface of my brain today which I’d like to share.
Many years ago I was a division director at a one of my agency’s regional offices. Each year, a few days before Christmas, our Regional Commissioner, who I will refer to as ‘Mr. Big’, purchased a giant four or five pound box of chocolate candies, donned a thoroughly ugly Christmas themed necktie, and, accompanied by his Secretary, made the rounds of all the offices in the Regional Headquarters to wish each employee a Merry Christmas and to offer each employee to select one piece of chocolate.
This occasion, for reasons I will reveal was eagerly anticipated and the subject of much hilarity as employees subsequent discussed the event.
You see, Mr. Big was a manager who eschewed contact with the ‘little people’. In fact, he never left his fancy executive office except to attend monthly staff meetings with regional managers, so at least he knew our names. I doubt he would have even recognized any of the non-managerial staff. Thus the need for the accompaniment of his secretary. He would approach the desk of each employee, proffer the box of chocolates, exclaiming: “Merry Christmas Ms. (or Mr.) ……” followed by a pregnant pause, during which his secretary would conspicuously whisper the person’s last name into his ear…. “……. Jones. Have a piece of candy.” Whereupon, the employee would select a piece of candy and respond: “Thank You, Mr. Big. Merry Christmas to you.”
I must mention here that Mr. Big did not purchase expensive good quality candy. He bought the giant boxes carried by drug store during the Christmas season – extremely cheap in both quality and price. I doubt that they were even chocolate – most likely imitation. At least they were brown!
It was hilarious. The word would rapidly start spreading the moment he left his office to begin his rounds, his progress being duly reported via telephone by the secretaries of each division – – – “Mr. Big just left Personnel headed for Logistics!” —- “Mr. Big just left Internal Audit headed for Classification and Value!”, etc. So all the employees knew when to expect Mr. Big and Secretary to make their entrance.
One year, though, was especially memorable. In my division there were two heavy-set black women accounting clerks. Other than their skin color and their physical size, however, they had nothing in common. They dressed differently and their personalities were almost polar opposites – one very serious, the other almost bubbly. But, most of all, they didn’t look a bit alike.
Well, when Mr. Big arrived in our office one of the women was at her desk and the other was out of the office, probably in the ladies room. Mr. Big stopped at the one lady’s desk and performed his ritual, and, after greeting everyone there, headed out – just as the other lady entered the office. She approached him, exclaiming: “Merry Christmas, Mr. Big.” and reached or a chocolate. Whereupon, Mr. Big pulled the box back out of her reach remarking: “You already had one!”
Saturday morning when I went out to get the morning newspapers from my lawn I sensed a lot of yellow in my peripheral vision. A quick glance in that direction, towards my yellow hibiscus bush revealed many beautiful yellow hibiscus blossoms and many more leaves of matching color! 😯
“Holy sh*t!” I thought. Friday all the leaves had been green. With some trepidation I peaked around the corner of the house at my other three hibiscus bushes. Yeah, they were in the same state, although not nearly as bad as the yellow blossom bush – not a happy development – and before breakfast, already!
Later in the morning I did some Google-ing to see if I could find out what could have caused the yellowing leaves and what I could do about it. I actually learned a lot – good stuff as well as bad.
I learned that hibiscus are known for just such overnight transformations. I also learned that hibiscus are very delicate and require a lot of care. If I had known that I never would have bought and planted them. I didn’t get them to care for. I got them to look at! 😕
I learned that there are four possible conditions that cause a hibiscus to throw such a hissy fit. I considered each and made my diagnosis.
First – bugs! I rejected this. I had such a problem earlier and cured it easily with soapy water. Each of the bushes had been happily producing beautiful blossoms for a long time – right up through Friday.
Second – poor soil, needing fertilizer. I was sure that was not the cause. The plants had been doing fine – healthy blossoms and rich green leaves and rapid growth.
Third – not enough sun. I rejected this also. Even though this is our rainy season whenever it isn’t raining or it’s not night the Sun is blazing, The bushes are located in areas with ample exposure.
Finally – rain, too much or too little. Too little was definitely not the problem! This month we have had over 14 inches of rain. The average July is 7 1/2 inches. I have decided that is likely the problem.
What can I do about that? Nuttin! I can’t make Mother Nature turn off the spigot. But, doing nothing is what I have decided to do. Since Saturday morning we’ve had only sporadic rainfall and lots of sun. As of today, all the yellow leaves have dropped and the bushes all look normal; they’re even producing blossoms.
So I will keep my fingers crossed. But if the problem returns I know four hibiscus bushes that will find themselves at the curb on trash collection day! As I said, I don’t want to care for them. I just want to look at them.
Back in my room I watched TV for a while, read a few chapters in a book, and went to bed around midnight. The front desk had not called to inform me that my coat and contents had been returned, but I was not particularly concerned.
I realize that this was rather odd, but it has always been my nature to believe the best in people and to expect it – I’m a product of my upbringing, of course. Both my parents preached and practiced personal honesty and integrity. If I had been the one to mistakenly take another’s overcoat I would certainly return it as quickly as possible, even if I were hundreds of miles away when I discovered it.
I don’t think my head had been on the pillow more than ten minutes, when I heard the sound of a key turning and the door starting to open. But I had set the chain lock in addition to the dead bolt. The dead bolt was no deterrent to a key but the chain was. The person attempting to enter my room, pushed hard against the chain just once and then closed the door. Apparently he or she had hoped to find the room unoccupied.
Well now, it had become quite clear that my coat and keys were not going to be returned. I wasn’t worried that the person would make another attempt to gain access to my room – but a new concern arose – my car! Out there in the parking lot was my practically brand new Lincoln Town Car and some stranger who obviously did not have my best interests in mind had my keys which were identifiable as for a Lincoln. I had no intention of going back to bed and wait until morning to see if the car were still there!
So I dressed and packed my luggage and headed down to the lobby where I explained what had happened and that I didn’t intend to stay. I paid the bill and asked the clerk to make me a reservation at a nearby motel. I then checked the phone directory to find a locksmith offering 24 hour service. I was lucky. The first one I called agreed to come directly.
He arrived about a half hour later. While waiting I had gone outside several times to verify that my car was still there. I thought it had been cold when I was wearing my overcoat and gloves, but that had paled in comparison to being coatless and gloveless! 😦 When the locksmith arrived I told him the make, model, color, license plate number and location of the car; then I waited in the warmth of the lobby.
He didn’t take long – it couldn’t have been more that 20 minutes. He returned and gave me a new key and his bill -which I paid and added a generous tip.
Then it was out into the frigid night for the five mile drive to my new motel. shivering all the way. It wasn’t long enough for the car’s heater to work its magic. It was close to 3 AM before I was once again in bed.
I was able to stay in the sack much later than I would normally, because I was going to have to buy a coat and gloves, and I knew there wouldn’t be any stores open until at least 10 AM. After having a complementary continental breakfast at my motel I went to a department store in a nearby mall and bought an overcoat and gloves – then it was back onto the Interstate Highway homeward, sadder but wiser!