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Caramel Apples At The Fair October 20, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Fiction, Fun & Games, People, Poetry.
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29 comments

My niece Emily, now 21, loved horses growing up ~ real ones with toothy grins and wooden carousel horses racing in perpetuity on Merry-Go-Rounds.

In August, I shared a 25-word story about Emily urging a carousel horse to go faster, Falling On Deaf Ears.

That reminded me of this horse tale from years ago.

* * *

HorseracingEmily and her horse Trixie are ready for fun
School’s out for three months.  Summer’s begun!

They’ll go to horse shows and compete for first place
They’ll ride round the farm and win a horse race

They’ll see the excitement at the State Fair
And make new memories while they are there

* * * * *

The day of the Fair dawned bright and clear
Emily headed to the barn, overflowing with cheer
She saddled up Trixie with her usual care
All the while chatting about what they’d see at the Fair

They headed for the trail and cantered up and down
Until they spied the Ferris Wheel towering o’er the ground
“Oh, look, there it is!  We’ll have such fun, me and you.”
Trixie neighed as if to say, “I’m excited too!”

On the midway, they smiled as they took in the sights
Clowns, rides, barkers, and colorful flashing lights
When Emily got hungry, she knew just what to do
She stopped for a caramel apple and ended up with two

“Trixie loves apples . . . and sugar cubes, of course ~
a caramel apple is perfect Fair food for a horse!”
Emily held out the caramel apple and Trixie bit in
After swallowing the treat, she shared a toothy grin

That night, with Trixie in the barn, Emily curled up in bed
Smiling at the images twirling and dancing in her head
She and Trixie had made memories they would always share
Of the day they ate caramel apples while visiting the Fair

Aah . . . that’s better!

Wry Observations on Dry Politics October 19, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Fun & Games, Humor, Life Balance, People.
Tags: , , ,
32 comments

After my grandfather retired, he ran for the State Legislature in Vermont and served a few terms as Town Representative for Hartland.   While serving, he peppered letters to my dad with wry observations on otherwise dry politics.

Margaret & Walter at my parents' wedding, 1955

Margaret & Walter at my parents’ wedding, 1955

1956

8/5 ~ Hartland: “The date is closed for filing for Town Rep.  No one else filed as far as I know.  I ought to be able to win I guess.  To lose, I would have to fall on my face or die.”

9/13 ~ Results of primary on 9/11.  “The total vote was 155. Senator Aiken received 145. Representative Prouty received 144. Walter Hatch received 140. I had expected to win but had expected there might be more who would not vote for me.”

11/7 ~ Results of election. “Hartland had a big turn-out to vote. Some 75% of the clerk’s list. The total vote cast was 595. I got 452 out of a possible 500. That needs explaining. Max Rogers only had 500 Representative ballots printed. The last 95 could not vote on Town Representative. So politics is over for a bit.”

Damon Hall ~ Hartland Vermont

1957

1/1 ~ New Year’s Greetings with exuberant good wishes and details of his new suit for Montpelier.  “I have bought a new suit in reddish brown gray.  It is said to look well with gray hair, a little thin, you know, on top.”

1/12 ~ Montpelier:  “I am now officially a member of the Honorable General Assembly.” Details of 1st week.  “As ever, your “Honorable Dad.”

6/13 ~ Montpelier: “We are nearly through with our work in the House except for such bills as come from the Senate.  They are behind us with their work again this year.”

1958

9/2 ~ “Politics are getting hotter.  I still have no contest, but the Senate race and Lt. Governor are interesting.”

9/10 ~ Hartland: “Dear Richard & Barb, etc.  The “etc.” is also important.  I have been watching the TV for two or three evenings.  Last night was the VT and NH Primaries.  Of course, I had to sit up for that.  The vote was light I would say.  Too bad people don’t take more interest.  I think they would sit up and think some if they lost the right.  It was quiet here in Hartland.  No contests.  Out of a total of 214 ballots, I got 203.  Of course, these are Primaries.  As you know, the real election is in November.”

11/6 ~ Hartland: “I will write to give you the results of the election. With a total vote cast of 384, I had 352. Stafford (Rep.) for governor got 260 while the Democrat candidate polled 111. Since no one was running against me, I got quite a few votes from Democrat voters. State wide, we have a democrat for the lone Representative to Congress for the first time since before the Civil War.”

Governor Robert Theodore Stafford (in Public Domain)

1959

1/16 ~ Hartland:  “We are off to a flying start in Legislation activity.  Robert Stafford is our Governor.  I worked for his election so was satisfied.  On Thursday, the retiring Governor gave his farewell address before a formal Joint Assembly with the Supreme Court in attendance in robes, etc.  After lunch, we met again in like manner to hear Gov. Stafford’s address.  Committee assignments were read Thursday. I am on the State and Courts Expense Committee.  I do not know all the types of bills we have to process.  The Chairman is a man named Lawrence.  I liked his reports in the last session but did not get to know him then.  Today I read over a part of the Attorney General’s Report.  It is a 200 page book giving opinions of the past 2 years and cases he tried, etc.  I figured I better know something of his thoughts because we will have to work with him in our committee quite a lot.”

5/24 ~ “Legislature is in its last days but may last a week or possibly two.  It is a split session and I expect to work some in October or November getting some bills ready for Jan. 12 1960 when the final part of this session will meet and eventually close.”

9/6 ~ Hartland: “I have to be in Montpelier the 21st for as long as committee meetings last thereafter.  I am quite interested in the outcome of the coming visits between Russia and the U.S.  I expect both lies and bluster mixed in with honey ~ for peace.”

12/13 ~ “It is 10 minutes walk to the dome. Ray Heyser, the House Speaker, was in town and ate dinner with 6 or 7 of us. After dinner, Ray cornered me and grinned and said, “How are you getting on, Walter? How do you like the committee I put you on?” I told him I hoped I was doing all right. He went off with a wicked gleam in his eye. And so we go. “

Vermont State House, circa 1870

1960

1/31 ~ Hartland:  “The third week of the session is over and we are getting on quite well.  The first big bill #386 passed the house and senate and is back in the house with minor amendments. The second #392 which dealt with consolidation of departments is through 2nd reading.  There was an attempt made to amend it to death.  We upset the amendment and I did some of the talking against it.  I orated in my best form that:

“No one should as a public servant be appointed for life. We want no Kingdom of Education!  Let me point out: an indefinite appointment may perpetuate a poor policy equally as a good. I hope you see fit to defeat the amendment.”

Very dramatic.  And with those short and simple words, I sat.  Well I have rambled on and I hope you can get at least some of the picture of what happens as you make a law.  We have got a good committee if I do say it and we were all happy Friday night but trying hard not to appear smug.”

8/26 ~ Hartland:  “Louis Springer is filed to run for Representative also, so we are in a contest.  It is friendly so far.  I encouraged him to file and let the voters decide it Sept. 11.”

My grandparents' home in Hartland Vermont, circa 1972

My grandparents’ home in Hartland Vermont, circa 1972

9/13 ~ Hartland: “We vote today. News later.” “8 PM ~ I just returned from the hall. I seem to have won in the Town Representative count: 133 to 118 for Springer. Unless someone files by petition, I will have to work in Montpelier again this Winter.”

11/14 ~ Hartland:  “I was disappointed when Nixon lost and by so little. However, we have to live and not wring our hands.  Here in town, Stafford won over Meyers and Keyser is governor.  Hartland had a big vote out ~ 644 (72%). My vote was 558 as I had no one running against me.  We went to Montpelier and got a place to stay engaged.”

1961

1/4 ~ Montpelier: “Here we are again “under the Dome.” Tomorrow is Governor’s Ball. We may go and watch awhile. And so it goes.”

State House, Montpelier Vermont (in Public Domain)

1/11 ~ Montpelier: “Roy Lawrence read Committee appointments this morning. Evo is chairman of State and Court and I am Vice Chairman. You can see I will soon be Governor or something. Probably something.”

3/19 ~ “Our committee has requests in various bills for pay raises of $2,100,000 per year.  Revenue is off just now so I fear we will have to use a knife and pare them down some.  Not so pleasant to do.”

7/10 ~ Hartland: The 200 Year Celebration.  “Margaret is mailing a parcel for Nancy. And tomorrow back to the snake pit.”

7/25 ~ Montpelier: “I thought we would close the session this week but the senate is stalling (11 to 2 for lunch today). I visited the Senate afternoon session. It ran exactly 20 minutes. It was a stall session. Most people in both houses are disgusted but it is not easy to force the Senate leaders.”

7/31 ~ Montpelier: “We are really on our final week. I shall be glad to be out of it. A few people are cleaning out their desks as far as possible ready to leave tomorrow.”

1962

7/27 ~ Pavilion Hotel, Montpelier: “I am called to a Special Session to consider 4 matters.  It was nice to see everyone and I have had some good visits.  I talked with the Governor a few minutes.  I presume I will be up here into next week.  It depends on the Senate.  It is a lot of in fighting done with a smiling face.  I have kept a lot of notes on what I have learned in various ways.  It is as interesting as “Advise and Consent.” ”

Pavilion Hotel, Montpelier VT (in Public Domain)

8/7 ~ Montpelier: “We are still tied in a reapportionment deadlock with the Senate. It is a power play. The cost is about $25,000 per week while it lasts. I expect you are back home. We had a nice visit at the lake.”

8/15 ~ Hartland: “The Special Session of the Vermont Legislature has passed into history. It was an interesting session and I expect my last.”

1963

1/12 ~ Hartland: “I have been watching the start of the 1963 Session in the papers. I don’t feel too much of an itch to be there. I believe I am getting lazy.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

The Tie Salesman October 18, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Fun & Games, Humor, Joke.
Tags: , ,
32 comments

IMGP3157bWhile crossing the Afghan desert, a fleeing Taliban terrorist saw something off in the distance.

Desperate for water, he hurried toward the oasis.  There, he found a frail old man standing at a small makeshift display rack, selling ties.

The terrorist asked, “Do you have water?”

The salesman replied, “No. No water. Would you like to buy a tie? They are only $5.”

The terrorist shrieked, “Infidel! I do not need your over-priced western adornment. I spit on your ties. I need water!”

“Sorry, I have none – just ties – pure silk – and only $5.”

“Pahh! A curse on your ties. I should wrap one around your scrawny neck and put you out of your misery . . . but I must conserve my energy and find water!”

The salesman nodded. “It does not matter that you do not wish to buy a tie from me or that you hate me, threaten my life, and call me infidel. I am bigger than any of that. If you continue over that hill to the east for about two miles, you will find a restaurant with the finest food and all the ice-cold water you need.  Go In Peace.”

Cursing again, the desperate Taliban staggered away over the hill.

IMGP3155b

Several hours later, he crawled back, almost dead, and gasped . . .

“They won’t let me in without a tie.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

That’s Just Crazy! October 15, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Fun & Games, Humor, People, Travel & Leisure.
Tags: , , ,
30 comments

IMGP3167bWe watched a show on Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Those people are crazy.

They eat dinner at 10 pm . . . and that’s the Early Bird Special.

Even families with young children arrive at restaurants to dine at midnight.

That’s not the crazy part.

The clubs open at 2 a.m. and people dance til dawn.  Then what?  A quick yawn, shower, and off to work?

And that’s not the crazy part.

Folks there are big fans of plastic surgery ~ 1 out of 3 has had work done.

That’s not the crazy part.

IMGP3151bA high percentage of folks are receiving therapy for mental health issues.

But that’s not the crazy part.

Here’s the crazy part ~> they take their psychoanalysts on vacation with them!

How bizarre!

Maybe they bring them along to check for skeletons in the closet?

Or bats in the belfry?

Aah . . . that’s better!

A Spooktacular Contest October 10, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Fun & Games, Humor, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
Tags: , , , ,
26 comments

Snoopy-PumpkinSharpen your pencils, rev up your keyboards, check your typewriter ribbons!

It’s time for Susanna’s 4th Annual Halloweensie Contest.

In a pumpkin shell:

* 100 words (or less, no more)
* 3 required words ~> pumpkin, broomstick, creak
* prizes, prizes, prizes!!!

Post your story on your blog between 12:00 AM EDT Monday October 27th and Friday October 31st by 11:59 PM EDT and add your post-specific link to the list that will accompany Susanna’s October 27th post.

snoopy-&-linus-pumpkin-pathFor complete rules:  The 4th Annual Halloweensie Contest (Susanna Leonard Hill)

Tell her the Great Pumpkin sent ya!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Source: Mixon Fruit Farms

 

How NOT To Cook A Turkey October 5, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Fun & Games, Humor.
Tags: , , , ,
36 comments

In letters written by my grandfather to dad in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s, my grandfather mentioned getting up early to dress the turkey for Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings.

Most years, his calculations resulted in a stuffed bird ready to be eaten at the appointed hour.

But not always.

In 1971, he wrote my dad the day after Christmas to say:

The Royces were here in time for the gifts.  Previously, I started the turkey at 5:45.  Let it rest in the oven during gifts.

When I took it out it was OK ~ OK but the meat was off the bone, in the bottom of the roaster, all ready to lift out with a fork.  Which I did and filled the platter with delicate hunks.

The dressing was contained by the skeleton and I could see right in to get it out fine.  The dressing was dry and well seasoned with sage from the garden.   They were so hungry by then it was a big success and they cleaned the platter.

It was a happy day.

In the same letter, he shared a moment about his wife Margaret’s Christmas:

She insisted she could not be happy with anything except a new toilet seat.  I tried to tell her what a good one the old one was.

No Soap.  It just had to be.

I dangled a new watch, diamonds, a few dresses, another coat ~ No, A Toilet Seat.

IMGP2057

I had Hi bring one down from Shepards.  I worked all one forenoon trying to remove the old.  It clung to its position till in desperation I cut the bolts with a hacksaw.

The new one went on better and Margaret got a new set of table linen for it.  It sure looks nice especially the bib about the base.

I don’t long for the old days and old ways.  I recall how the wind whistled in the olds . . . out in the shed.

Public Toilets ~ Wikipedia (in Public Domain)

Aah . . . indoor plumbing . . . that’s better!

Collateral Conditions October 4, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Fun & Games, Humor, Joke.
Tags: , ,
29 comments

250px-New_Orleans_City_of_Old_Romance_and_New_Opportunity_Crop_p_23_MoneybagsHarlan Davis walked into a bank in New York City, asked for the loan officer, and explained that he was going to Paris for two weeks and needed to borrow $5,000.

Since he was not a depositor of the bank, the bank officer told him the bank would need some form of security for the loan.

Harlan nodded and handed over the keys to his new $250,000 Ferrari parked on the street in front of the bank. The bank agreed to hold he car as collateral for a loan at 12% interest.

A bank employee drove the Ferrari into the bank’s private underground garage and parked it.

Two weeks later, Harlan returned from Paris, met with the loan officer, and repaid the $5,000 plus interest of $23.07.

Dollar-BillsWhile waiting for a bank employee to bring the car around, the loan officer said, “Mr. Davis, we are happy to have had your business, but I’m a bit puzzled. When I checked you out on Dunn & Bradstreet, I found that you are a highly sophisticated investor with real estate and financial interests all over the world, including NYC. Why would you bother to borrow $5,000 for a 2-week trip?”

Harlan chuckled, “Where else in New York City can I park my car for two weeks for only $23.07 and expect it to be there when I return?”

Aah . . . that’s better!

Source:  E-mail from unknown author (sent by Joe M.)

Out Of This World October 1, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Fun & Games, Humor, Travel & Leisure.
Tags: , , , ,
37 comments

We took a star-studded tour of the known Universe at the Planetarium on Saturday morning.

With Tom Hanks narrating, we flew out past the edges of the Milky Way via Passport to the Universe.

We saw stars!  Billions and billions of stars.  And Earth from a decidedly different perspective.

Imagine everyone you’ve ever known on that pale blue dot . . .

At the far reaches of outer space, we found a Black Hole and used it as a short cut to shoot back across the Universe, saving us millions of light years.

Back on Earth, we bumped into H.G. Wells and his Time Machine.

2014-09-27 11-58-44_0001

It’s quite a brilliant mode of transport, allowing passengers to travel through time and space without undergoing groping and probing at TSA checkpoints.

2014-09-27 11-59-02_0003

Just punch in the coordinates and GO!

2014-09-27 11-59-15_0004

But it was time for lunch . . . so we’ll save that adventure for another day.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Love What You’ve Done With The Place September 26, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Bulletin Board, Fun & Games, Home & Garden, Humor.
Tags: , , , ,
28 comments

BFF is painting, which means that we are stepping over and around drop cloths and displaced possessions.

2014-09-25 14-28-37_0009

Tigger doesn’t like it.  Not one little bit.  He is overflowing with reproachful glances (a/k/a “giving us the stink eye”).

2014-09-10 16-09-33_0003

From his perspective, it’s unneeded disruption of a carefully honed routine.

2014-09-25 14-28-16_0008

That’s too bad.

2014-09-25 14-28-03_0007

We didn’t give him a vote.

2014-09-25 14-28-46_0010

Even after he tried to stuff the Ballot Box.

2014-07-15 16-52-40_0006

Aah . . . that’s better!

Page Turner ~ A Mystery Thriller Contest September 25, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Fun & Games, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
Tags: , , ,
33 comments

Stephen King, who winters in Sarasota, agreed to speak in Manatee County on January 29, 2015, at a fundraiser for the Manatee Country Library System.

As one might expect, sponsorship tickets for the event zoomed out the door.

All but one.

The Library Foundation holds a ticket for the lucky winner of Page Turner ~ A Mystery Thriller Writing Contest.  Entrants are not restricted by age, but must possess a valid Manatee County Public Library card that is in good standing.

Since I do . . . I tossed my 250 words into the pool.

* * *

IMGP4187

Violet’s threat hung in the air.  She pointed a gun at me, placing more pressure on the trigger than I deemed prudent.

I scanned Hal’s living room, noting the crimson stain pooling around Hal’s body.  Violet meant business.  Some other scandal hound would get the scoop on Hal’s death, and mine, unless I helped her.

I gave Violet center stage.  Like a true diva, she dove in.

“Hal called this morning. He said he had some dirt on me and invited me over. When I arrived, he suggested we discuss the situation over a glass of wine . . . in the Jacuzzi. I refused. He got ugly. When I started to leave, he called you. After hanging up, he said, Sugar, when Ketchem publishes the photos I dug up on you, your career will be on permanent standstill. I knew I had no choice.”

Violet paused.  I glanced at Hal.

Seeing the trajectory of my eyes, she gasped.  “No! No! I know what you’re thinking, Sammy. I didn’t KILL him. I agreed to meet him in the Jacuzzi and went to get a towel. I heard a gunshot, raced back here, and found him like, like . . . that. I heard a noise behind me, grabbed the gun, and turned around. There was no one there. I panicked and started tearing the place apart to find the photos. Before I found them, I heard the doorbell and you walked in.”

I exhaled.

If Violet didn’t kill Hal, she didn’t need to kill me.

Aah . . . that’s better!

General tickets will go on sale Nov. 1 and can be purchased later this year through the Manatee Performing Arts Center box office and the Manatee Library Foundation website.

 

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