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Posts Tagged ‘People’

For Milk Delivery

This old building in downtown Lexington, Virginia features a small set of doors on a side wall.

I thought the little doors were a local curiosity and my own curiosity prompted a small research project.  Google is quick to respond so it didn’t take long.

The old doors were called a “milk chute”.

Evidently they open to a platform where the milkman (they used to have milkmen in the old days you know) could pick up empty milk bottles and replace them with full ones.

The homeowner would retrieve the delivery (not the man – the milk bottles) from inside the house.

And if something extra was needed  (not the man) or  something different (well, maybe the man) from the usual order, the owner could leave a note in the neck of one of the returning empty bottles (hmm…secret messages?).  Actually, you could order vegetables or bread too.  The chutes were multi purpose.

And if you locked yourself out of your house, a little kid could usually crawl through the chute to get inside and open the door for you.

Clever huh?

Although home deliveries of perishable products came to a halt by the late 1960’s, there are still many old buildings with milk chutes (unfortunately, not milk men).

But, discovering little doors like this made me yearn for the good old days of  home deliveries, milkmen and mystery doors.

milkman2

vintage milktruck

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horse-head-49642_640This morning featured a unique Neighborhood Breakfast.

I am not a morning person. Maybe closer to a bear.

I used to get up early to fix bacon and eggs  for Bill, but he was always too sick to eat!  Then he found out  it was me who made him sick and he has made his own breakfast ever since.

Nevertheless, at 8:30 this morning I managed to stagger into the Hunt Lodge where our neighbors were meeting other neighbors, and all with widely divergent interests.  The breakfast was to spread good will and I guess they had no idea about grouchy morning people.

But this is the story of a Buffet Breakfast designed to bring even me around to discovering the joy of connecting in an equestrian community.

Bill and I live in  the middle of a 700 acre tract designed for traditional fox hunting.  The scenery is spectacular and we have always loved  seeing the riders in their pinques (scarlet jackets) and the thrill of seeing them “ride to the hounds.”

They say they never actually catch a fox and I fervently hope that is true, but I diverse.

One of our fellow property owners is a Fox Hunting Club.

As you might expect, the Club’s main interest  is “horsey” and although many of the Hunt people once owned parcels and lived on the land, the Club Members  no longer do live here but now come to ride from far and wide.

The “other Land Owners”  are like Bill and me.  We own a parcel of land we live on and that is partially accessible to the Fox Hunting Club.  

We, the “other” Land Owners, are the people who love horses but  don’t ride in the Hunt.

We oftentimes feel vulnerable to the Club’s hounds, horses and riders who traverse our land.

And we tend to worry about liability.

Over the decades since our equestrian haven was conceived, the Hunt Club and  the other Hunt Landowners  have drifted apart and do not always agree on the use and care of the land or even the roles of each entity.

Enter two dedicated fellows with peace and harmony in mind. One is from the Fox Hunting Club and one from The “Other” Landowners, and these two peacemakers decided to host a Neighborhood Breakfast!

Cook & Dishwasher

They planned the event right down to name tags and provided all the food and drink.  There were home baked scones and biscuits, West Virginia sausage, ham and eggs, beautiful fruits, mimosas and all the coffee we could drink.

Maybe  people were motivated by the yearning for good will, and  maybe they were mellow from all the goodies, but soon there were folks chatting  away and getting to know each other better.

We talked about horses of course.  We used to have two of our own.  

We talked about the way things used to be,

the people we knew who were such assets to the Club and to all who live here,

the beauty of the grounds, the fun and camaraderie.

We talked about “the way we were.”

And the Neighborhood Breakfast Buffet was a big success!

Kudos to Pete and Hugh who hatched this ice-breaking outreach event, and to those of us who participated in spite of morning stupors.

I hope next time we will talk about ways to work together going forward and I hope next time the party will be in the late afternoon.

But, in spite of my bear-like morning persona, I must admit there is something to be said about sharing a lovely breakfast with good people.

Communication must surely be the way to overcome divergent interests so we can all live and let live and enjoy a beautiful world.

Amazing Egg Maker

Amazing Egg Maker

06TailRideJulyBrownJarvis2

Please Come Near (626x460)

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My friend Scott in repose.

Scott Xmas 2015

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MotorCartI learned to drive a go-cart at a big Virginia grocery store this week!

What a joy to get off that bad foot!  What freedom in zipping around the canned goods and toilet paper aisles!

Retail Therapy took on a whole new meaning

from the seat of what seemed like a toy golf cart.

Fortunately no one was hurt, but people simply do not realize the danger from Un-mechanical Dor on a go-cart.

  • First, it is a bit difficult to steer and much too quick to stop, and to set it at a comfortable speed is an ongoing challenge.
  • Have you ever seen a new driver learning the stick shift?  Of course not.  You are too young and only know automatic transmissions.  But lurching is the trademark of most new drivers and I regret to say I am a true lurcher.
  • The great fun though (even with all the lurching), is in acquiring a whole new perspective of the human race from the nether regions of a grocery aisle!

 There it is – the ultimate learning experience –

a bottoms-up viewpoint of human nature!

  • First I noticed some folks are actually embarrassed and uncomfortable looking down upon a poor motorized invalid.  You can tell by the careful averting of eyes.
  • I kept wanting to say, “Hey, it’s me.  I’m just like you when I stand up. This is only temporary.  Really!”
  • And then I began to feel sorry for those who really are disabled.  I will certainly pay more attention to being kind to go-cart motorists now.  It is demeaning and lonely to be looked at as if you are invisible.
  • Some folks look right at you but register annoyance.  They will not budge from established positions, probably thinking, “You want in here?  You will have to wait. So you are too lazy to walk huh?”  These are Scrooge descendents!  They should all take a ride in a grocery store go-cart to be converted into nice people (like me).
  • Others looked down, focused eye to eye, smiled sympathetically, and graciously gave way.  Some even offered to help with the reaching. I secretly believe they are the true Earth Angels and I plan to become just like them when I’m on my feet again!

In the end, I am an untrained motor scooter-er and did not realize there is a final parking procedure.  Never receiving instructions I pulled straight in and limped out of the store.

But before that I watched a 98 year old fella (well, he looked 98 – he was driving a go-cart wasn’t he?)  backing his cart in with great skill.  Then he gave me the frowning evil eye.  I was feeling so innocent and unjustifiably maligned but the truth was:

I should have backed my cart up to a wall too.  Ha!  Lurching forward was hard enough.

And then I should have plugged the thing in for recharging.  Ha!  Not easy for the electronically handicapped you know.

Obviously, I haven’t made Earth Angel grade yet.

Keep watching though!

I am learning the hard way…from the bottom up.

 

 

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The Top of My Hospital

The Top of My Hospital

We are approaching the end of a week.

Thankfully.

This week has been just chock full of exciting things.

I have been visiting my local hospital so often it is beginning to feel downright homey.

View from My Hospital's Parking Lot

View from My Hospital’s Parking Lot

I am also feeling popular, kindly and easily approachable..

Every time I go in for a test I meet some old fella (well maybe about my age) who immediately starts talking and tells me his whole life story including all current anatomical deficiencies.  It is more than I wish to know of course but I lend a sympathetic ear and nod and ooh and ahh in the right places.

I know you would like to hear why I have been visiting the hospital so often.  And since the hospital buddies/admirers never ask about MY reasons for being there, you are the unfortunate recipients of this sad tale of woe.

It all started with a swollen foot.  I think I told you about that about two weeks ago.

It ended with a tooth extraction.

And the swollen foot is still swollen.

I am finding it difficult to sort this all out too.  But here is an attempt.

I did go to my primary doctor about the foot.

“Should I baby it Doctor?”  “Or should I walk through it and exercise it away?”

“I won’t know that until I know what caused it,” said he.

And he promptly scheduled:

  • A blood test to rule out gout.   Nope, no gout.
  • An Echocardiogram to rule out heart.  Nope, heart’s just fine.
  • A sonogram to rule out a clot. Nope, no clot.
  • An X-ray to rule out a break or fracture.  Nope, no breaks or fractures.

None of these appointments could be scheduled on the same day – hence, the multiple hospital visits and the ever growing number of male acquaintances and their autobiographies.

About this time a back molar tooth (mine) became sensitive to pressure!

Then it began to really hurt non-stop.

That meant a trip to the dentist who said it was a bad tooth and had to come out ASAP.  He referred me to a tooth pulling specialist with a fancy name like Oral Maxillofacial Surgery.

And so yesterday I had an extraction there.  That means they yanked the offensive tooth right out!

I will not beleaguer you with details about that horror-fying experience, but the extractor person accomplished the deed  in 30 minutes.  Fortunately, Bill went along for the ride and was there to catch me as I staggered out.  He was my life-saver-hero who literally let me cry on his shoulder! That was yesterday and when the shakes wore off there was no pain and no pain since.

Note:  Next time I will request total anesthesia, gas, PUT ME OUT COLD PLEASE!

That brings me back to the swollen foot which is still swollen!

Now the doctor is talking about a possible MRI for the foot – not the tooth.

And while I wait, Bill purchased a glamorous set of hotpink and black lace-up, sturdy, walking shoes for me.  Ahh, I know it’s not a fur coat or diamonds, but I am hero worshipping anyway.

Bill Got Me Some New Shoes!

Bill Got Me Some New Shoes!

 

 

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salt-shaker-pouring-400x400“The cook is not in love.”

That’s what my unforgettable Hungarian Dad used to tell us (with a smile) at the dinner table.  He claimed it was a popular saying from the old country that meant the cook (in this case, my mother) did not put enough salt in the food.  I have never heard that again but I always taste and re-taste to avoid the label “not in love.”

Lately, I have been thinking of all the sage words of wisdom my parents offered us kids growing up.  The parents are long gone now but many of their beliefs and admonitions live on.  And surprisingly, I think much of my life is still parent-directed (or maybe mis-directed as the case may be).

Dad used to say,

“Never visit a person’s home without bringing a gift – bread, wine or candy.”

Yep.  I do that.  If you were thinking of inviting me over, you may be in for a treat.

Chocolate 1

“Never borrow.  Never go into debt.  Pay CASH.”

Do credit cards count if I pay them on time?   Always do.  No debt here Pop.  Nope.  No debt here.

“Do not get FAT.  Your husband will divorce you.” 

Uh oh.  Well Dad, I am  “pleasingly plump” and  still married.  However, due to that warning I am always a bit worried about a slimmer woman taking over.

Weight

.

“Do not sit by an open door or window during a thunder storm. And do not pat a dog.  Dog’s attract LIGHTNING!” 

No wonder I head for the closet!  Used to blame it on the dog’s fear though.

 “Allow for cross ventilation in a hurricane or the wind will take the roof off.  Be sure to open two windows.”

We lived in Florida and had hurricanes.  Dunno if Dad’s observation was true but a roof is important right? I don’t live in Florida or even in a hurricane prone area, but still keep two windows cracked just in case.

“Only FOOLS sing at the dinner table.” 

Does humming count?  I can’t carry a tune, so maybe he invented that one to ensure silence.

But Dad wasn’t the only one who came up with interesting cautions and observations.

Mom said,

“You are not really old until you are 60.  It’s all downhill after that.”

Uh oh.   Thanks A LOT Mom.  It’s  definitely a steep decline.

“Always carry a dime for an emergency telephone call.”

Huh?  I suppose now it would be, “Don’t forget your cell phone!”

“Don’t be an OMELET!” 

Can you guess what she meant by that?

“He’s a big Butter and Egg man.” 

How about THAT?

“There is no excuse for bad manners.”  

Agreed.

“Don’t be a doormat.”

(Stand up for yourself)  Agreed.

After a cursory revisit to the words of wisdom of my parents, I have concluded it may not really be the sins of the fathers or mothers that shape our lives, but the sayings.

What did your parents say to influence your life today?

Note:  The cartoon of the woman on a scale is from an unknown source.  It came to me in an email and I cannot make out the bottom credit.

 

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CostcoMoncton

Most days I amble around town unrecognized until someone cries, “Hi! How are you?”  That calls for delay and catching up and is part of the whole great thing about living in rural Virginia.

It is rare however, to be heartily greeted by complete strangers.

In the last few days, undoubtedly due to my astounding beauty I have garnered the attention of MEN.  Or maybe this is happening because I look motherly old helpless tired  safe?

It all happened first at Costco in Harrisonburg, Virginia.  It was our twice a year visit to a big store in a bigger city, and talk about exotic places!

Bill was perusing the bakery section.

I was studying  ingredients and drooling over some mini organic oat cake muffins

called Vegan Aussie Bites!

Maybe the drooling was the attraction?

As I resisted the idea of buying anything sweet (talk about noble!), a very tan hippie-ish looking fellow walked alongside me and expounded upon how much he loved those little cakes and how, “I can’t keep my hands off them.”  Still feeling astoundingly beautiful, do you suppose he meant “me” and not “them?”

“Good for you,” I said, clutching my purse which was safely cross-body slung anyway.

As I furtively looked around for Bill to come to the rescue, I noticed my devoted spouse was aware of the exchange, but he was even more immersed in studying some big luscious bear claws than in rushing into any rescue efforts.  Such are the perils of a long marriage.

As it turned out, the strange fellow was just friendly and as he kept nattering away on the merits of the mini cakes,  I determined he was harmless.

I also determined men are more interested in pastries than in elderly women.

However, he did see me drooling over those oat cakes too, so I could not blame him for experiencing unrequited love.

MAKING FRIENDS AT CHECK OUT TIME

Even though Bill and I managed to bring home a carload of “essentials” from Costco that equated to spending a carload of money, I still had to go out for groceries again the very next day.

Bill keeps telling me our food bill does not go down even with all the Costco savings.  Maybe that’s true, because there I was in a regular grocery store again stocking up on all the things we forgot the day before.

And in the check out line ANOTHER STRANGE MAN STRUCK UP A CONVERSATION!

No, it wasn’t the same man.

And I don’t think I was drooling.

 I was simply unloading stuff from the shopping cart onto the moving conveyor belt.

The new fellow began by saying, “I never check the length of check-out lines.  I check out the checker and I always choose this particular lady who knows how to get the job done.”

I smiled and said, “Good for you.”   You may have noticed, I am not too vocal when meeting strange men in markets.

The stranger  went on to say, “I am 68 years old and going for a Bachelor’s degree online and I put up (preserved) 61 jars of garden fresh green beans, and  I am providing  home care and support  for my daughter and grandchildren.”  And while he never stopped talking he reached over and helped unload my groceries!

“Good for you,” I said again,

and of course, “Thank you.”

I don’t know if my reticence scared the two guys away but after engaging in conversation (theirs, not mine), they both quickly disappeared.  Where were they when I needed help loading the car?

Well, now they are fond memories (preserved) in my WordPress blog post of

Exciting Things that Happen to Elderly Beautiful Women in Grocery Stores

(a similar process to preserving green beans).

Please do not pity me for a boring life.

When you live in rural Virginia on the edge of a forest, with only Bill and the deer for diversion, being greeted by two old fascinating men in two days is as exciting as going on Safari!

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