Category Archives: Just for Fun Stories

Women!!! Tell me about it. (One man’s perspective)

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I know I’ve written about this subject before, but there is sooo much more to say. Women are such a complex species. Many, many years ago, I asked God to teach me about women. He answered that prayer by blessing me with a (usually) loving wife and three (mostly) wonderful daughters. From all of that experience I have drawn a number of conclusions. First and foremost, be careful what you pray for. The song “Long and Winding Road” comes to mind. Second, actually understanding women is beyond my pay grade. But I’m OK with that. Appreciating them is what is more important.

So, what put me back on this soapbox? I am currently watching a TV show which, Elizabeth (my oldest daughter) told me to watch. I asked her whether the main characters would reconcile at the end. She refused to tell me. She only would reveal that the series ending made her cry.

As I thought about this, I realized that she actually told me absolutely nothing. I cry when I hit my thumb with a hammer. Women cry for any number of reasons. They are happy or sad or just contemplating something. Crystal can wake up from a dream crying, and blame me for not doing more in her dream. How do I respond? I’ll try to do more in your future dreams.

Women have so many more words than men. Unfortunately, as Crystal can testify, my ability to actively listen is far exceeded by her ability to talk. We are constantly having the ‘I told you…No you didn’t’ conversation. She probably did, but she had already lost me. This frequently occurs when we are watching TV, and she tries to talk over the show I am trying to watch.

 When they believe I am wrong about something, my girls will use all of those words debating. However, I also know they care deeply about me. If anyone else says anything negative, they quickly and vehemently jump to my defense.

They also, apparently want me to live forever. If I have health issues, they all do the research, and tell me what I should and shouldn’t be doing. Crystal, in particular, becomes like one of those relentless flies buzzing around my head. While it can be annoying, I know that’s woman speak for ‘I love you dummy. Don’t you dare leave me.’

            Then there are the emotions. Women feel very deeply; and that’s OK. They can also be unpredictable (Ex. Liz crying). I can almost get used to those. But the ephemeral (quick) changes! There was a time or twenty, I would hear the joyous sound of laughter coming from another room. I would start smiling just hearing it. Curious and drawn, I would head in that direction. By the time I got there, everyone looked like they were going to cry. I would quietly sneak away.

            However, as much as I know it sounds like I am complaining or confused, I’m not. Yes, I wish I could keep up with the occasionally rapid mood changes and preponderance of speech. When I do keep up, women have a great deal of worthwhile information and opinions, which I often find thought provoking and interesting. As for emotion, another word is passion. At times it can be bad or even very bad, but when it is good, it can be great. I believe that, life without passion is a pretty poor life.

            In conclusion, I am reminded of that old saying. To paraphrase; Women…you can’t live with them, but God, please don’t make me live without them. I guess I’ll just have to watch the end of that TV series, to find out which tears Liz was crying.

These are the women in my life. Crystal is wearing the quilt, and Liz has the sceaming little girl (of course).

Wisdom With Age?

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            The other day, as I was on one of my ever more frequent searches for my car keys, it hit me. Why is it that as we get older, we are supposed to be wiser? From my youth I’ve been accused of being a “wise guy”. But I think that is something else. These days I’m slower, more forgetful, but wiser? As a youth, I remember thinking my parents had all of the answers. Then in young adulthood, I thought my parents were outdated, and I had all of the answers. Later, as I became a parent, I finally realized that nobody, me in particular, had all of the answers. Many times, I couldn’t even figure out the correct question to ask.

            I think that is the first step toward true wisdom. When you realize and admit your own limitation, you are on the right path. That being said, more and more our adult children seek our reassurance and advice. They know much of what we’ve been through, survived, and accomplished. Probably the best advice I give is trust and seek God’s plan for your life. Second from “Finding Nemo”: just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. From “Galaxy Quest”: Never give up, never surrender. It’s funny how much good advice you find in cheesy movies.

My own parents were always a good example of living responsibly, and always supportive with advice, and whatever help they could give. However, I never really knew my grandparents. I had some great aunts and uncles whom I loved, and saw way too infrequently. So now as grandpa to seven, going on eight young people, I am in an unfamiliar position.

I know that both Crystal and I want to have good relationships with each and every grandchild. We want to help whenever possible, and witness with our lives, words and deeds. Our daughters and their husbands are doing amazing jobs raising them, but welcome our involvement.

Our oldest grandson recently graduated from The Ohio State University. Our oldest granddaughter is entering her sophomore year at Kent State. Recently I’ve begun sending them some unsolicited words of encouragement and advice. I do remember many of the challenges, temptations, and questions at that I had at that stage of life. I remember getting similar advice at that age. Sometimes I listened, sometimes I didn’t. I insisted on making my share of mistakes. I think that’s part of becoming an adult. All I really want to accomplish is to let them know that someone, other than their parents, loves, cares about, and wants the best for them.

They don’t read this blog, so let’s keep this between you and me. I am sharing today because, there maybe someone in your life who needs to know that you care. If you can’t come up with original quotes, just pick a subject and Google. You know there were a few wise people (different than wise guys) before me. You should probably stick with historical figures. I’m not so sure you can find much wisdom in today’s leaders.

I’ve included a few of my words of wisdom for your consideration.

  1. I believe that one sure sign you are a grown-up is when you stop blaming your parents for who you are, and realize you can take responsibility to improve. Sadly, some people; you may know some; never get there.
  2. What you ultimately become in life isn’t nearly as important as who you become.
  3. In life you will face many forks in the road. Whatever fork you take, just eat what’s on your plate and be grateful. Remember, there are always people who would love what you throw out.
You can just see all of the wisdom in the eyes….Can’t you?

Introducing Snolf!!!

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            They say necessity is the mother of invention. Well, here is one invention I just needed to share with all of you regular marriagememoir readers. You are in on the ground floor. There is no charge, and this idea could save you thousands of dollars a year. 

If you are one of the millions of avid northern golfers who feel you must travel to Myrtle Beach, Georgia, or Florida each winter to get your fix, I have great news. I have invented a great new game you can play right where you live. I call it Snolf, which is short for snow golf.

            All you will need is your favorite iron (I prefer my six iron), a dozen or so balls, a small gardening spade, and a snow/what snow, attitude. You simply go to your favorite golf course, put your ball gently on top of the snow in the tee area, and have at it. Watch carefully where the ball enters the snow, walk up to the spot, and dig up your ball. It helps if you find the entry point (be careful not to disturb burrowing rodents). Replace it on the top of the snow for your second swing, and continue until you hit the green. From there you count your score and move on to the next hole. There is none of that annoying putting involved. Since the ball doesn’t travel as well in the cold, you simply triple the normal par to see how you are doing. Also, I have decided that there is no penalty for a lost ball, as you will lose some, guaranteed. The game is over when you either finish the course or have run out of balls.

            Snolfers will appreciate the many advantages over regular golf. For one the game is free, since there is nobody at the course in the winter to collect your greens fee. You can also play at your own pace, since the course will most likely be significantly less crowded. Trudging through the snow will also help your cardiovascular system. Replacing your divots while recommended, is not required. Also, most courses are extremely beautiful, and vastly underappreciated in the winter.

            In all fairness, the few possible negatives should probably be noted. First, extra clothing, which you might be inclined to wear, could inhibit your swing or your ability to hang onto your club. Second, (my lawyer insists I add this) you could, potentially, be arrested for trespassing. And last, but not least, its freaking cold out there!!!

Disclaimer: While I have not, as of today played Snoft, I would love to hear, and gladly share, the stories from your first round.

One of my favorite Snoft Courses
Sometimes strange things happen in Snolf.

A Cat’s Life -by Ella Meinstein

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            Life is really simple, unless we choose to make it more complicated (and I don’t). I get up in the morning and dad (Ron) opens the door to my room. We take our shower together. I get my belly rubs and he gets all wet. I don’t understand why he needs all that water, but I think the steam is good for my sinuses. Then, once dad is dressed, I get my food. The rest of the day, I’m pretty much on my own. I always split my time snuggling with mom (Crystal), dad, and Lisa. Sometimes I will sit on the floor and stare them into playing with me.

            Sometimes I just like to explore the house, or play on my own. There are generally many things to play with. One fun game is stealing mom’s toys. She often sits on the couch surrounded by a lot of fun things. There are pins, and spools of thread, beads, and scissors, to name just a few. We play this game where I will watch her until she is distracted, or not paying attention, and I stealthily swoop in and grab my new toy. If she sees me, she will join in the game. She yells and chases me, to try and get the toy back. It’s loads of fun.

            My other favorite pastime is sunbathing. On sunny days, I spend a good amount of time following the sun around the house. I have the pattern memorized. I know where the sun will be all throughout the day. I love the way it feels on my fur. I get all puffed up, and let the rays do their thing. Of course, periodically I take a break to see what my people are doing.

            Sometimes dad will take me outside for a few minutes. I like sniffing the air, walking around, chewing on a little grass, and listening to the outside world. The other day dad opened the door, and a cold breeze hit my face. I’m not much for the cold. I gave him my, you’ve got to be kidding me, looks. Seriously, sometimes I just don’t get what he is thinking. I rubbed his leg and headed back to my sun therapy.

            At the end of the day, when it’s dark, I will generally go upstairs, where dad is watching TV. I sit on his lap. After a while he will carry me downstairs. After a quick pet from mom, he takes me to my room and closes the door. I really like my room. My food, my litter, and my bed are there.

            Life is good. Mom, dad and Lisa are usually happy too. However, sometimes they seem stressed or unhappy. I try to comfort them. I think they just worry about silly things. I try to tell them, the key to happiness is just enjoying what you have each moment, and not worrying about the small stuff. Also, and this is important. Spend as much time as possible lying in the sun, and relaxing each day. Boy, they could learn a lot from me.

Ahh Lisa’s Bed
I find boxes surprisingly comfortable.
I think late afternoon sun is the best!

Tough Life Lessons

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            We recently had Liz (our first daughter) and Brad’s (hubby) family over for an informal dinner. We always enjoy spending time with them and our grandchildren. Of their five children, we are proud to say, their two eldest are currently in college.

            When our three daughters were young, we programed them to go. Did you know you can program your children (to some extent)? When Lisa won a state wide art contest in first grade, she won $100, among other prizes. A reporter asked what she would do with the money. She immediately answered, ‘probably save it for college’. Liz was in high school when she came home one day, somewhat disillusioned, to tell us some of her friends weren’t going to college. Somehow, she had the impression that everyone had to go. I wonder where she got that idea.

            Getting back to our dinner and grandchildren, I often ask about school progress. Our grandson is a senior and doing well in college. He is looking forward to, and questioning the next step, and the great unknowns of life. Our granddaughter is a freshman, and finding out what many find out. College is hard. It’s not high school 2.0. I know, in time, she will adjust. She is motivated, just as I was.

            Her experience brought me back to my school days. For me, as for many of my peers, I was ill-equipped for the riggers of the scholastic requirements. Surely, they had to be kidding, a minimum of two hours study per hour of class. That would make it…like a full-time job…and then some! Plus, nobody had prepared me for all of the distractions. There were sports, parties, and worst (or best) of all, girls. In addition, you took care of yourself. Mom had given me the basics on doing laundry, but I had barely paid attention. My freshman year was also, my pink underwear year. I thought I had figured out a better way. In short, it took me a while to adapt to college life.

I may have told this one before, but it’s a good one, especially for my grandkids. The first semester of my sophomore year, one of my best friends, Larry Rose and I had Organic Chemistry together. Chemistry was my major, and Larry was, like his father, going to be a doctor (no pressure there). After pulling the college classic “all-nighter”, Larry and I entered the test the next evening somewhat confident. We exited united a couple of hours later, with the same question. What was that??? Apparently, our efforts to circumvent the recommended daily school grind had fallen short. It was as if we had thoroughly learned the alphabet, and then been asked to form words. The problem was, our words came out like kat and daug.

To make a long story short, after that brief walk across campus, and the meaningful discussion about joining the Marines, we both survived. The next day, we both dropped the class. I retook it during the summer. I aced it. It’s amazing how much easier it can be when you are truly focused. It also helps when you aren’t concurrently taking advanced Physics and Calculus. I kept my major; and several years later was one of fourteen Chemistry majors to graduate. OK, chemistry was still tough.

I know, everyone looks excited. This was after dinner and playing in the park. It’s always good to have family visit.

Remembering Field Trips

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            One of my favorite parts of school was field trips. I cared much less about where we went than that we went. I hated being cooped up indoors, in the same place, day after day. The teacher would drone on and on about dead people (History), or places you knew you would never see (Geography), or math you knew you would never use (I actually used quite a bit). And all of this, while you sat quietly (the hardest part) in the same uncomfortable, little wooden chair, and pretended to pay attention. In case you haven’t guessed, I wasn’t a very good student, at least in my early years.

            Then finally, the day circled on your calendar came, the field trip. The prison doors swung open, and, bag lunch in hand, you along with your fellow inmates, happily piled onto chauffeured limonene (school bus), on a quest for adventure.

            One of my most memorable was, I believe, in sixth grade. This was our last year at Gasteyer School, before we all moved on to the Jr. High. They actually, for the first time, gave us a choice. The trip was to downtown Chicago (about fifteen miles). The first part was set. Across the street from the Art Institute was the Borg Warner Building. At that time, they had a science exhibition in the lobby. Science was one of the few subjects I found interesting. The second part was a downtown movie. This is where the choice came in. We voted for either “Gone With The Wind” or “Dr. Dolittle”. From what I remember, it wasn’t even close. Which do you think an eleven-year-old would rather see, another history lesson about old dead people, or a guy who can talk to animals? No-brainer!

            The movie was just all right: too much singing. The exhibition however, was very interesting. I can’t remember a lot of details. I think there were a lot of sparky electrical things and a few motors. I believe one was a see-through engine. But the exhibit I found fascinating was smell-o-vision (not sure that’s what it was called). It was an actual large screen TV (probably all of 27 inches) with a repeating program. The difference was, you could actually smell what you were seeing. I thought, surely this was what we would all have in the future. I was even more certain when the camera panned over a field of flowers, and later a rain storm in a forest. It felt like I was there. Then they switched to the wet dog on the beach. Let’s just say, some ideas are better in theory. I was just glad the dog was only running on the beach, and not stopping to do anything, or discovering a fire hydrant.

            Sometimes it’s fun to remember those fun days from school, or other youth adventures. Take a minute or two and try to remember some from your childhood. If you want, write them down. Who knows, maybe that could be the way you begin your own memoir.

Crystal’s Corner

            My first school was in Roseland in Chicago.  It was a red brick tall Victorian building surrounded by an iron fence.  We very rarely went on field trips.  I do remember going to Brookfield Zoo, probably in the spring.  My brother, who was two years older than me was also on the field trip with his class.  The teachers took us all over the zoo in groups.  It was very organized and we were told to stay with the group many times.  Of course, I stayed with my group.  I didn’t want to get in trouble or lost.  Brookfield Zoo is a huge place and as a child it was fascinating but also intimidating.  I was glad we were with the teachers, in groups.

            However, that wasn’t true of my brother, Larry and his friend, Georgie.  Georgie was very adventurous, and not one to care too much about rules.  My brother was more obedient, but when he was with Georgie, anything could happen.  In the afternoon, we piled into the buses.  I thought that Larry was with his group.  I think they were on a different bus.  Then I heard a teacher saying, “Has anyone seen Larry Carlson or Georgie Bailey?”  No one answers. 

            This made me very afraid, that the buses will leave without my brother and Georgie.  This was a very strict and crowded school.  Every class was filled to the maximum.  They ran out of books sometimes.  So, I believed they could just leave my brother and Georgie at the Zoo and not really care.  I wasn’t too happy with Georgie at this point, but his sister, Debra, was my best friend so I didn’t want him to be left at the zoo either.

            Finally, one of the boys said that they were in the reptile house, and didn’t leave with the rest of the group.  So, one of the teachers had to go to the reptile house to find them, and bring them back to the bus.             I am sure they were teased about that for days and days.  I don’t think I told my mom or dad about it.  My brother and I had a code; and we didn’t always tell about stuff that happened at school.  But I told him, when I had a chance, to never do that again.  He said he knew the school wouldn’t leave them at the zoo.  They liked the snakes and other reptiles, and didn’t want to be dragged to other places in the zoo.

            After we moved to Dolton, I am sure we did go on field trips.  They took us to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.  In 8th grade we had a choice to see the play “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” or see a White Sox game.  I wanted to see the play, but there were more boys than girls voting, and we ended up at the White Sox game.  It was a really hot sunny day and we were in the sun.  We were not very close to the infield, but we could see what happened at the game.  We brought our sack lunches.  I thought the whole thing was boring.  I didn’t go to another White Sox game until I went with Ron and his friends from work.

It was much more fun with Ron and his friends. I also had a few sips of really cold beer and Ron bought me a Chicago style hot dog with all the toppings and a big pretzel.  He was surprised that I got excited at the game when the White Sox were hitting the ball.  Carlton Fiske was my favorite player.  He was the catcher, but also a great hitter.  I wasn’t a sports fan before we got married, but I decided to take an interest so we could watch games together.  I found a player I liked on all the Chicago teams: Michael Jordan on the Bulls, Walter Payton on the Bears, etc.  Then I would get excited when my guys did anything great.  I picked some really good players. 

OK, this has nothing to do with field trips, only a trip to Oregon with my parents when I was about the same age. That was the first gun I ever shot, and the first goat I ever milked….I think she liked me.

Another Father’s Day

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            Father’s Day came and went again. That’s some 30 plus for me. I know the exact figure but; I have learned not to reveal women’s ages. I have learned a few more things about women and raising good ones over the years.

            My first lesson occurred while carrying my first, Elizabeth out of the hospital. I carried her proudly in one arm, like a football. I looked down, and she looked up. She seemed to convey a confidence that, I knew exactly what I was doing. I hadn’t a clue. Crystal had read the books, taken the classes, and baby sat. Besides that, it was a girl. I barely understood Crystal. This was a much smaller, and totally dependent version.

            I was, however, motivated to learn. I changed my share of diapers. Got up occasionally for night duties. Fortunately, Crystal knew all of the rules. Did you know you have to wipe in a certain direction; and you can’t give them even a little bite of your hamburger?

            Then, just as you think you are getting the hang of it, they change. You are ecstatic as they start to crawl, and they walk. That is, until they start to move closer to an electric cord, or the stove, etc. Then come the gates, locks and outlet protectors.

            They start to talk. Again, you are so proud; until they start to say NO! repeatedly, or become overly demanding or defiant. But then at the same time, they can be so sweet, scream Daddy, Daddy, when you magically appear after a hard day. You just can’t help but love them.

            Just when you think you might have a handle on things, along comes another one. Another girl! What was Crystal thinking???? OK…. I may have had some input. But for a while, that was a lot of diapers.

            To my surprise, it wasn’t long before Elizabeth actually began to help with Michelle. She took her big sister role very seriously. Before she was four, she knew how to feed her and even change her. When the three of us (me and the two girls) went to the store, Liz would help me push the cart.

            Crystal and I were blessed by two wonderful girls. Five years later, just when the routine is being established, along comes girl number three. This time I blame God. He has a sense of humor you know. Growing up, I remember complaining to Him that, I just didn’t understand girls. Now, they outnumbered us.

            A lot happened over the next few years. Crystal insists she will write a book someday. I can just tell you that, living with that many females I learned a lot. First of all, even the quiet times, weren’t very quiet. Girls have a lot of words to use each day. But, on the plus side, you never have to wonder what they are thinking. Second, sometimes they just need you to listen. It takes patience. At times, I know I wasn’t. Occasionally, you need to wade through a lot of emotions to really understand what they are “really” saying. Finally, they are capable of great passion. That can go one of two ways. Enough said.

            So, in the long run, Crystal and I have no regrets. Our girls turned into loving, responsible, dependable women. All have lived on their own. Two have wonderful families. And they all get along and support each other. Who could ask for more?

            What is even better, is now, more than ever, they understand us, and a lot of things they might not have fully gotten when they were young. They frequently thank me (and Crystal) for all they learned. Elizabeth’s card this year mentioned, cooking, driving, sports, math, running errands, shopping, volunteering at church, appreciation of nature, and how to talk to anyone.

            I look at parenting as a long-term experiment. In some ways you are learning along with your children. You can do all of the research you want, but in many instances, it comes down to trial and error. Being there for your kids is most important. Teach, discipline, and guide in love. As an adult, you realize one truth that you can’t teach them. The lessons they don’t learn in the safety of your home, and your protection, life will teach them. Our girls definitely get that now, and are grateful. We are too.

Here I am wearing my Father’s Day gift….My daughters know.

Crystal’s Corner Registration at Bradley University

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            I came to Bradley University as a Junior.  When I was in community college, we met with our advisor and they helped us make our schedule.  So, I would receive my classes in the mail, with all the information about two weeks before classes started.

            So, when I came to Bradley in August, I thought I would be receiving my schedule the same way, but instead I think I got a letter telling me to come to Bradley Hall to register.  Fortunately, my roommate Debra, was also a Junior and her fiancé had been at Bradley for two years.  He explained to us what was going to happen.  He also informed us that because we were Juniors, we would get into the classes we needed to graduate as Seniors. 

            Going into Bradley Hall that day was stepping into chaos.  There were tons of people standing in lines and wandering about.  I got into the first line for one of my classes pretty quickly, and was accepted into the class.  Then I went to the next line.  I don’t think very many of my lines were long.  I was mainly taking my English major classes.  I did have to take a Calculus class, and that was crowded.  So, I might have just gotten in line early.  I couldn’t believe that a school like Bradley could be so disorganized with registration.  It was such a prestigious school.  Of course, this is before the computer systems had taken over the paperwork that had to be dealt with at colleges.  I was just glad that I got through the process very quicky, without any problems.  Some of my friends had problems getting into the classes they needed, and had to adjust their schedules, and stand in more lines.  I did notice some students swearing as they were refused to be accepted in classes.

            I had not found APO yet, so I didn’t know that the students that were helping with registration were from APO.  I just knew that they were friendly, encouraging and helpful.  I thought that was nice.  I may even have seen Ron that day, but didn’t know him yet.

            I think God planned the way we met and got to know each other.  I had to establish myself at Bradley, and get used to being there before I met him.  I wasn’t ready yet.  Getting to know Debra and my friend, Paula, helped me to adjust.  I was very homesick at first, and had decided to stay at Bradley for about 6 weeks before I went home.  That was a long time for me, but I think it helped me to get settled.

Ron: Some things seem so fun, and even funny, when we look back on our lives. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could have the funny stories, without having to go through the stuff? My sophomore year it took all of 8 hours to register. Sophomore were low on the totem pole.

I know this has nothing to do with Registration but I like it. Brandywine Falls near Cleveland (we were just there celebrating our 43rd anniversary}.


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            Ok, it’s time for a fun story, from the past. Because APO, our fraternity, did community service project throughout the whole school year, Bradley University’s administration loved us. We helped give the school a good name in the community, and beyond. Our reward was, they gave us more work.

            However, as opposed to our usual volunteer status, they paid us. It really wasn’t a lot of money, but it was nice to know we were appreciated. One of our jobs was helping out at registration.

Unlike today, where so much is done on line, back in the 1970s, everything was manual. You sat in a large auditorium, and the classes, which still had seating, appeared on a large screen. You would write down the classes and times you desired; then the fun would begin. As hapless students wandered back into the halls of the ivy-covered Bradley Hall building, they were directed. It was somewhat similar to cows being herded. They were directed from room to room to pay their various fees, and verify their class selections. Occasionally, by the time they got to the signup room a class had been filled. Then it was back to the auditorium to start over. Of course, if one class changed it might conflict with other classes. So those needed to be changed as well. By the end of the day, many students were wandering around in a daze.

That’s where we came in. We were the directors. Basically, we stood in the hallways on all three floors, and answered student’s questions, and helped to direct them to their next room. We also provided moral support, and some minor psychological therapy. We would say things like, ‘I know it seems impossible, but you can do it. Just one step at a time.’

I don’t know how it happened, but my first day on the job was assigned the most important job of the whole event. I made the coffee. I had never made coffee before. However, I quickly mastered the basics. Turn on the giant percolator. Water goes in the bottom, grounds in the basket, and push the on button. They were so impressed; I was assigned a primo post. It was on the third floor by the payment office. Since everyone needed to stop, all I needed to do was direct whoever made it that far into the office.

About the third day I had a brilliant idea. I used a table to block 2/3 of the hallway. Then I put up a sign on the room door at eyelevel, with a large arrow, saying everyone must stop here. Then I simply stood in back of the table and watched. I thought my plan was fool proof. However, in there dazed and confused state, I watched as about one out of every three college students simply dodged the table, and the sign, to walk past. I then caught and redirected them. I spent the rest of the day sitting on that table and pointing into the room.

Of course, when my time to register came, I don’t think I did much better. At least I knew that I had to stop in that room.

I got this picture of a couple of my fraternity “Little Sisters” working their assigned posts at Bradley registration. Ahh, don’t you miss the short skirts of the seventies?

Fun With Chemistry

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I think this blog has been a little too serious lately. I was going to share the last in our series about long marriages, but it can wait. As you know, if you have been keeping up, we are in the editing process with our memoir. Sadly, a few of my favorite stories have been lost in this process, and will not make it to the final draft. That’s bad for the book, but good for the blog. I will share one of my favorites with you now. My junior year at Bradley University was easier than the first two years but not without challenges.  

One Thursday afternoon I took a quick nap with my friend Dianne after lunch. We were just nap buddies.  We both had the time between classes and I wouldn’t have to go all the way back to my apartment. I very rarely actually fell asleep during the day but just rested. Unfortunately, this day was the exception. I was late. When I rushed into the lab, my partner George was there and set to start. He had not given up on me, but had started some homework on one of the lab benches. I apologized and explained my dilemma. He was fascinated and asked me to share some of my worldly wisdom on women. While a good example of the blind leading the blind, unfortunately, this became the predominate topic of conversation that afternoon. We probably should have paid a little more attention to properly interpreting our instructions.

            We had an idea about the identity of the unknown compound. In order to prove it, we needed to make a derivative. As we began, one of the professors brought a group of freshmen students into our lab, to take a test. Sitting at the benches, they could be spread apart properly to eliminate temptation.

We were still quietly discussing our topic of the day when we reached the part of the procedure which, was marked in quotes, “A vigorous reaction will occur.” If we had been focusing, we probably could have anticipated what happened next. As we added one compound to the other, the mixture started boiling rapidly. We stopped the addition, and turned off the flame. This only seemed to make it mad. A fume of white smoke was now filling the hood. That particular hood never seemed to work very well. Soon the beaker was sputtering and then began jumping up and down. The smoke was now pouring into the lab. We were still trying to control the reaction when one of the professors came in and rescued the freshmen, who had started to cough and wheeze from the smoke. The dense white smoke had now covered the entire ceiling of the lab. When I say cover, I mean, you could not see the ceiling.

             Another professor came in and yelled, “Who is pumping hydrochloric acid into my instruments?” He stopped only long enough to give us a dirty look and disappeared again. We finally threw a couple of handfuls of ice on the mess and left the room coughing and gagging. To this day, it still bothers me a little, that, while the precious Freshmen were quickly saved, us poor Jr. Chemists were left by two professors to die. By the time we re-entered the lab, George had explained, in great detail, the reaction which had occurred and all the noxious gasses generated. George was even higher on the geek scale than I. Think Sheldon Cooper with more personality. The lab experiment that should have taken about three hours, wound up taking about six. It was at that point that I realized, even the topic of girls, can cause problems.