Saturday, July 22, 2017

Another Saturday Morning

Another Saturday Morning

It’s another Saturday morning.
Seems like there’s one every week or so.
I’m sipping coffee again on my
small patio. I can hear airplanes
leaving or approaching
the Millard airport, but can't see them
due to cloud cover.
I’m the only one I see
sipping coffee on a deck or patio.
In fact the only people I’ve seen
at all was a woman on a sidewalk near the
Papillion Senior Center who
appeared to be out on her
morning walk and
a guy spraying weed killer,
I presume, on a decorative
boulder feature in my parking lot.
But that was it; no other people.
Maybe they are sleeping in or think
it is too hot out. It really isn’t.
I wish I could sleep in like that.
I seem to wake up about 7 am
no matter what time I go to bed
or how tired I am at the end
of the previous day.
I sometimes can nap in the afternoons
in my leather Barca Lounger recliner,
but even that’s rare anymore.
Today is a blank slate,
tabula rasa,
sort of day. I have no
scheduled events
or appointments to attend to.
So far I’ve put away a few dishes,
took out the garbage,
watched some tv news,
and sat for a while on my patio.
Maybe I’ll write a poem.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Summer Memories

I have sixty-seven
summers so far in the
northern hemispphere.
Memories of swimming,
baseball games on
warm summer nights,
fishing in Turkey Creek,
hauling hay bales,
or irrigation pipes,
or stacking hay
are what come back to me
from earlier years.
Other years before
and after contained
vacations to
Stinson Beach in California,
or the Rocky Mountains,
or New England.
In the early 1960s,
my family toured New England
for several weeks camping, and
canoeing, and fishing.
We collected blueberries
in Maine and made blueberry
pancakes. We had lobster there, too.
We swam at Cape Cod. That Northern
Atlantic water is just as cold as
northern California’s Pacific.
In one New England overnight
camp, a new friend and I
tried to catch a raccoon.
We caught a fish, tied a long string to it, and
at bed time tied the string to
my friend’s toe. We put the fish
in an empty garbage can.
The plan was when the raccoon
grabbed the fish, it would pull on
the string, thus alerting my friend
to the nibble. The plan was
then to jump out of our sleeping
bags, and contain the raccoon by
putting the lid back on the can.
I don’t think we thought
the plan entirely through in
that when the raccoon grabbed the fish
and tried to getaway
the force of the string on my
friend’s toe caused him considerable
pain. And at any rate, we hadn’t
determined what to do
once we had the raccoon.
Probably for the best
the string broke, the raccoon
got away, and we finally
got some sleep.
Some plans are best foiled.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Egg Foo Yung

I drove to 84th and Center
tonight to have dinner at
The Top of the World
Chinese Buffet.
But it is no longer there.
There's another Chinese
restaurant there now.
I didn't go in.
I liked that place.
It wasn't fancy at all
and the food was delicious.
It was a family run place,
with cousins
at the cash register
and their teen age kids
working the water
and cleaning tables,
all the while doing
homework at an empty table.
I called it the place where
Mexicans went out for
Chinese. I heard four
languages being spoken
one time there: English,
Chinese, Spanish, and
possibly Farsi
although I'm not sure
about that last one.
For a while they
had egg foo yung there,
one of the few places
to have that -- a favorite of mine.
And their ice cream
had to be the coldest
ice cream in history -
anywhere - the kind
that gives you a
headache if
you eat it too fast.
Vanilla. Just the one
flavor, and you could
dispense a cone
or eat it in a dish.
No toppings, just
cold, very cold,
ice cream for dessert.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Necco Wafers

When I was a kid
I thought these were
called nickel wafers.
I would buy them at the
WYO movie theater
in Sheridan, Wyoming,
for a nickel and they would
last most of a double feature:
usually a western and a
World War II movie.
I would ride my bike the
several blocks to the
downtown and settle in
for a Saturday afternoon matinee.
The wafers could last for several hours
if you were careful and sucked
them gently until they were
thin and fragile in your mouth.
For a burst of flavor, you could
wedge them between your teeth
and tongue and break them in half
stacking the two halves and then
breaking that in half so you have
4 quarters of a wafer ready to
crunch for that flavor burst.
I usually ate (and still do) the
white and purple ones first,
my least favorite,
next were orange, green, and yellow,
and then pink, black, and brown,
my favorites.
You can buy rolls of the chocolate
wafers at some locations.
Sometimes, though, I’ll alternate
orange, green, yellow,
or black and pink,
and yellow and brown
go together well.
A few years ago, Necco
changed the flavor mix
and public outcry and lower sales
led Necco to return to the original flavors.
I’ve been munching on them
while I write this
and now have two yellows, one pink,
and two chocolates left.
It’s nice having something
to look forward to.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

About Three Bananas


Every Sunday I buy
groceries for my mother.
She’ll call Saturday evening,
or usually leave a message
Sunday morning while
I’m in church,
and after I’ll do the shopping,
deliver them,
visit with mother
for a bit, and then
head home for lunch.
I shop at Baker’s
where they have pina colada
yogurt, mother’s favorite.
“Six yogurts,” will be on the list.
And maybe half-a-dozen soups,
she’ll say. I’ll ask her why
six of one and half a dozen
of the other. She’ll laugh.
And I know the
various kinds of soup she likes,
split-pea with ham, or chicken broccoli,
or country style vegetable beef.
She always specifies real bacon bits,
not the fake ones, like I’ll forget.
Sometimes her over-the-counter
supplements and vitamins. Or
Honey Nut Cheerios.
Two large boxes.
Or the sweet and salty
peanut and almond granola bars.
This morning she added,
“And about three bananas,”
as though there’s an
identifiable quantity that’s
about three. “I mean about a dozen, or about
twenty, or about a hundred
I can see, but about three bananas?” I thought.
Or even about three o’clock.
But not bananas.
I paused a moment and asked, “About three
bananas? Just what does the
‘about’ mean?” She laughed and said,
“Ok. Three bananas.”

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Robert Frost

Every so often,
Facebook will remind users
of a post from the past.
Today, I was reminded
that seven years ago,
I posted this:
“I'm a little worried
about my teenage son.
I caught him reading
Robert Frost poetry
in the bathroom......”
He was fifteen.
“You do your best
to raise your children right...
and now this...
what's a parent to do?” I asked.
Sherm posted: “The road
less traveled for sure.”
“They have support groups
for that,” posted Inge.
His uncle Dave said:
“Must have been embarrassing
for him too.”
“Are there counseling
services for that?” friend Don queried.
“At least,” I responded to all,
“he doesn’t pick up his clothes.”

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Cold Milk

I sometimes put ice in my milk.
I don’t know if anybody else
does that, but I do.
I like my milk cold. Really cold.
My extended family, when
visiting, will have morning cereal
and have several cereal
boxes nicely lined up
on the counter next to the milk jug.
They will all pour their cereal
and their milk, and leisurely
sit down and eat their breakfasts,
while the milk just sits there and
gradually warms on the counter,
an abomination against nature
and all things holy.
If I’m there, they will sometimes
put the milk back in the
refrigerator where God intended
milk to go, but only after
chiding me for wanting
cold milk for they know
I’m about to say something.
In the privacy of
their own homes, who
knows what they do……

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Leo White

Leo White

Years ago
I worked in a
food stamp office
in North Omaha.
Determining eligibility for
NPA- or non public assistance-
food stamps was my job.
People would fill out
their applications,
report their income,
family size and all
that relevant info and
I would sign them up.
I remember one fellow
in particular -- Mr. Leo White.
He wanted to see me – no one else.
“I want Don Cassiday,”
he would say when he
came to the office.
He was a black guy, maybe
60 or so, but looked much older
with his white hair
and lack of teeth.
His skin was shiny and dark,
like polished ebony.
This was 30 years ago.
I liked him. He would come
in every 3 months and I would
sign him up again for his
$70 per month in food stamps
that he was eligible for.
I tried to find him a place to live
in Omaha public housing,
but he found a friend to
live with. He drank
too much and that
eventually killed him.
I donated a suit for him
to wear in his casket.
Several people from our office
went to his funeral: Lois Louis,
Essie Jefferson, maybe
Ed Hubbard, and a couple others.
Later, I attended
Lois’s funeral.
It’s strange that I
am remembering this

Nose News is Good News

Nose News is Good News

On Thursday morning,
I lay on the operating
table like a Thanksgiving
turkey awaiting carving.
“We’re only taking a millimeter
or so,” they said, holding
the pointer finger and thumb
oh so close together, about the
width of the letter o.
Nose numbed and ready, my eyes
were covered with green cloths.
“Close your eyes,” they said.
The doctor carved a nice round
circle that must have looked
like a flattened Spaghettio
around the space carved out
in a previous excavation.
I’m guessing he slowly
walked in a circle
as he carved away
the offending tissue.
Thirty minutes later
a nurse came in and said
they need to take away two more
“slivers” was the word she used.
So a bit more Lodocain
and a few minutes later
under those green cloths,
two more slivers were taken.
The lab people did their thing
and I was declared “cancer free.”
Basal cell cancer is curable in the
sense that they cut it out
and dispose of it. It’s too
bad all cancers are not like that.
After a few more minutes,
the reconstruction crew came in,
did another slice or two,
rearranged some nose
skin like furniture in a
living room, every so often
zapping a “bleeder” with an
electric thing of some kind,
and sewed what was left over
together again with thirty
or so stitches.
I have the mark of Zorro
on my nose for the
time being, from the corner
of my left eye to
the bridge of my nose,
then southward to the tip
and about as far to
the right as the top
is to the left.
Those thirty stitches
will come out in a few days,
and I’m told there will
be minimal scarring,
but I’ll remember the feeling
lying on that table
come Thanksgiving eyeing
the turkey awaiting the knife.