Thanksgiving Can be A Turkey

Nothing says a good family fight like getting everyone together for a day of Thanksgiving Day celebration.

I can recall some doozies down through the years as normally sane people seem to lose all control when confronted with the idiosyncrasies of Aunt Martha and Uncle Paul.

Suddenly the constant belching issuing forth from some distant cousin or the showoff dress worn by your sister Sharon comes to a head and tempers flare and words are spewed forth like Jonah from the proverbial whale.

If people could just learn to eat the tryptophan-laced turkey first they would quickly pass into afternoon slumber. You don't see anyone fighting after they eat as they are all sprawled out and asleep in the chairs, beds and couches of the hosts’ homes.

Of course this leaves said host to clean up the mess left by the gobbling guests and with no respite as they all wake up about the same time ready for another round of food and pie.

Recently I was in Idaho and had the pleasure to meet a man who is from the Shoshone Tribe. If you know your history you will remember that those people helped Lewis and Clark in their journey across America.

As we talked it became clear that he also felt like guests can be a pain especially when they overstay their welcome like the early pilgrims and pioneers did. For just like any guest, coming to visit is one thing but moving in with you is quite another.

I have to think that the Native Americans that fed the early Pilgrims to this nation must have eaten the turkey first, otherwise they would have had a fight right at the beginning and sent those immigrants packing.

The one thing you now find in many Native communities is a casino. Since they really got a raw deal by the intruders, I am all for them getting what is owed to them $1 at a time.

My great-great-grandfather was Native American and could not live in town due to that bloodline. I got to thinking about him the other day and about all the talk of reparations being owed to people of different races.

I soon figured out that I would love to get some of that free money but then realized that being of Scottish and Heinz 57 ancestry in addition to Native American I would end up owing myself.

Isn't that how it always is? Just when a person figures out an angle to get rich someone throws a wrench in the works.

Trixie for her part may owe me quite a bit however as her ancestors came to Texas back in 1833 and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that her great-great-great moved in on someone else’s land.

Regardless of your heritage or political leanings try and remember to get that turkey on the table early and hopefully prevent some Thanksgiving fireworks of your own. And if that doesn't work, relish the fact that you will have a nice peaceful evening when everyone gets mad and goes home.

Lightning Bugs and Fireflies

Having grown up in Kansas I am not really sure of how much experience folks from Colorado had with lightning bug. In my growing up years, we had them by the yard full.

Many a night throughout the summer all the neighborhood kids would run through the yards catching them in clear glass mason jars making luminous lanterns to carry around.

And it didn't take long for the average American boy to find out that if you pinched them dead at the moment the light was blinking on, it would remain on full blast for some time

Now, before you scold Ol' Dutch and tell him that was cruel, he already knows that and probably was the least among area killers of that era so chill out.

If you are not familiar with these little bugs that so delights with their erratic blinking as they fly around the dark lawns, you have truly missed out on something quite amazing.

I never could figure out how they carried around a battery to keep that tail end a’going either. Turns out it’s a chemical reaction in their tail end and that makes it blink on and off in some mating ritualistic fervor.

Which in fact reminds me of the foolish ways that a lot of people act when they themselves are in the dating scene. Running around half lit and blinking their eyes like a bat in a hailstorm to boot. Just like those bugs.

Trixie and I have found our way down to Texas after an exhausting stay in Idaho helping No. 1 daughter Cricket remodel her house. It was a very long trip and dragging a big ole RV behind me for some 1400 miles in three days just wore me out.

So imagine my despair upon arriving in the Dallas area only to find out our RV spot had already been rented to a bunch of Boy Scouts. Now I normally don't mind these types of organizations and without the Girl Scouts where would I get my Thin Mints?

But to take my spot after a grueling trip of endurance and on the verge insanity, to find my spot gone just about drove me over the edge. Trixie just remind me that I went over there long ago so maybe it was deja vu all over again?

The park manager did some heavy manipulation only to be compared on difficulty as getting dead people to vote and snuck us in to a spot.

Finally hooked up and settled in Ol' Dutch was standing outside enjoying the quiet when the Scouts arrived. I have never seem more flashlights in one spot and lightning bug fever hit me like a brick.

Those dancing flashlights told a tale of an incredible amount of activity as they tried to pitch their tents around us.

They were pretty quiet at night and I was just about to commend them on their wonderful demeanor when I found myself needing to use the shower house in the Park. Imagine trying to fit your schedule into the lives and colon schedules of 119 Boy Scouts that had consumed vast quantities of Beanie Weenies?

Now you know the meaning of the word “impossible.” I did get a shower to which Trixie added an “Amen” which I guess is a good thing?

There are no more fireflies so it seems as I have not seen one in many a year. Some say it’s due to farming practices, some say it’s the sprays we use while others I am sure hold out for global warming or cooling whichever they need to use that day.

I don't know what the cause is but I sure do miss seeing them. The only question is what kind of mother gives their kid a glass mason jar to run around the neighborhood with?

Noodling Around

“Noodling around” is defined as “the act of doing things for no purpose other than entertaining yourself and/or others.” And Ol' Dutch is certainly an expert on that.

But with my time in Idaho with No. 1 daughter Cricket coming to a close, somehow the topic of homemade noodles came up and before you could say lickety split Ol' Dutch was volunteered to make them for the crew.

Now normally I don't mind cooking and grilling and using a smoker is one of my favorite things to do actually, but this came at a bad time for me. You see, for the last two days I had been fighting sewer troubles and my normally cranky disposition became even more severe with each passing -- or shall we say “not passing” -- day. Ol Dutch was plumb pooped out.

Only I could blend toilet troubles and a meal but if you think about it the two are connected at the end of a very long colon.

I did wash my hands well before starting the process of making noodles and soon I was up to my oodles in noodles.

Trixie got the chicken to boiling into a nice broth and soon it was time to drop those plump yellow noodles into the flavorful mixture.

Like I said, Ol' Dutch doesn’t mind helping out in the cooking department when asked but I have begun to notice something peculiar about that situation and last night brought it out to the forefront of relationship problems to avoid.

Now Ol' Dutch has been making noodles long before Miss Trixie was even a thought in her parents’ minds but it appears that somehow I was “doing it wrong.” The more “wrong” I did it the more heated the conversation became until a divorce was imminent. It was that bad and we are not even married.

To further let you know the seriousness of the conflict, the danger of separation of powers was close to the boiling point just like that pot of noodles.

Finally having what is known as “enough” in a man’s world, I threw up my hands and left the kitchen. For most of you this is what is known as “smart” as you get out of the chore at hand but when you live in an RV there is no escape as I now had to endure the continued chatter about the noodles across the counter top.

The conversation turned to what a fine job I had done which in Trixie's world is called “working the crowd” which is meant to get me back in there to finish the job.

Now I know most of you out there can relate to some of this story as I know you have at least eaten noodles if nothing else. The rest can maybe learn a thing or two about relationships and how men need encouragement and not criticism when they are undertaking a not so favorite activity.

My suggestion to anyone wishing to “noodle around” later is that you go out to eat at your favorite restaurant. That has to be cheaper than a divorce.


Remodel from Hell

Someone once said “No good deed goes unpunished” and that seems to hold true in about every area of life that I can think of.

No matter what you do to try and help some people, it seems like your good efforts bring on some form of punishment after the fact.

I recall most vividly helping my church do some work only to see all of it torn out a year later for yet another new addition and although there was no real punishment involved there, it sure felt like it to my soul.

Most of you can relate to having something like that happen in your life and it sure leaves a sour taste in your mouth for the next time that same person is looking for volunteers. Trixie is the ultimate helper and she will bite on the same bait over and over even though she is pretty sure there is a hook in it. Even a fish with a pea brain learns pretty quickly not to take the bait over and over.

But not Ol' Dutch, no siree Bob. Ol' Dutch has gotten a tad wiser with time and it’s easier for me to pass on the pain when it’s offered. Well maybe not wiser but more cranky and with that comes the ability to say no.

I pride myself on being able to put aside a sure road to hurt and pain when I am asked to volunteer and that my friends is true personal empowerment. No longer do I have to look forward to having my feelings hurt after helping someone and their ultimate slam of some part of my participation. I go about my life happy as a pig in a mud hole with nary a care in this world although I have to live with a certain amount of condemnation from well-meaning folk for not helping.

There are only two people I never say no to and although that gets me in plenty of trouble, it’s probably natural for a father to dote on his two kids above all other people. And no one dotes more than Ol' Dutch.

Most of you are up-to-date on our recent trip to Pocatello, Idaho, to help my Daughter Cricket and her husband Cap remodel their house. For those of you not so fortunate to have read my past columns, last Christmas they held a party at the newly acquired home and tore out all the plaster walls and ceiling. This led to what is called “freezing” as Idaho winters do not tend to lean toward tropical and balmy.

Ol' Dutch is not a stranger to helping out his kids as I remodeled their basement one time in Lawrence, Kansas, and last summer went back to Kansas to help the No. 1 son remodel his house. Whatever it is about these two kids that make them buy houses and gut them needs to be addressed quickly as I am getting too old to do this year after year.

So here we are in Idaho and although just saying Pocatello does kind of give me a pleasurable sensation in my mouth, this project has drug on into overtime with no sudden death in sight. For my part, I have been doing the wiring and for a normal house this is not that hard of a job but with these two, it has extended into something akin to illuminating the 2016 World’s Fair in scope.

I have never seen so many outlets, lights, three way and four way switches nor miles of wire in my lifetime of construction. These two kids have decided that if one is good four of anything has to be better.

Our weekends usually involve some planning sessions for Ol' Dutch so that I am on the same page as to what they want done for the week. Of course that seems to change by the next weekend and Ol' Dutch is back to moving things around, stringing countless rolls of additional wire and it’s the redoing that is worst of all for me.

Now of course they never say it, but since I have Trixie as a witness it’s the old “oh no, you did it just like I told you to,” before I have to tear it out once again.

Like I said, I have gotten pretty good as avoiding volunteering at about every venue I am at and if I can get Trixie to quit volunteering we still will have a shot at the “good life.” Now if I can just find a good psychoanalyst to address these two kids “remodeling” issues Ol' Dutch will have conquered life for sure.