Mama, take this badge off of me. I can’t use it anymore. It’s gettin’ dark, too dark for me to see.
I feel like I’m knockin’ on heaven’s door. Bob Dylan Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door 1973
Welcome to Drivel Over Coffee. A blog that rambles through this thing called life, stopping here and there for reflection, enlightenment, storytelling, and joke telling. All the while my brain reverberates with the best music in the world – The ‘60’s and early 70’s. Yep, Lost in The Sixties.
….. As I was saying, I am taking some time off during the holidays to re-charge the batteries. Wait, I have done that. Where did that time go? Oh, I had that two-week to two-month crud that is going around. The coughing, sneezing, wheezing, sleepless, achy type of crud. Yes, my Christmas was fine thank you. Got a lot of nice gifts and had family over here a lot of the time off and on. Really wonderful time had I not been experiencing my out of body kerfunkle. Who did you call after the holidays? We called the “Turd Burglar”. Picture of their truck is on the left. Slowly the fog is lifting so let’s see what kind of trouble I can get into right off the bat here in 2018.
RULES OF RURAL IOWA
I want to begin 2018 by setting people straight with our rural Iowa country-side and our farmers and people living in the country. Rural Iowa and small-town Iowa is totally different from urban America. Different rules apply out here and here are some. So, listen up City Slickers, millennials and idiots!
1. Pull your droopy pants up. You look like an idiot.
2. Turn your cap right, your head isn’t crooked.
3. Let’s get this straight; it’s called a ‘dirt road.’ I drive a pickup truck because I want to. No matter how slow you drive, you’re going to get dust on your Lexus. Drive it or get out of the way.
4. They are cattle. They’re live steaks. That’s why they smell funny to you. But they smell like money to us. Get over it. Don’t like it? I-80 goes east and west, I-35 goes north and south. Pick one.
5. So, you have a $60,000 car. We’re impressed. We have $150,000 combines that are driven only 3 weeks a year.
6. So, every person in rural Iowa waves. It’s called being friendly. Try to understand the concept.
7. If that cell phone rings while an 8-point buck and 3 does are coming in, we WILL shoot it out of your hand. You better hope you don’t have it up to your ear at the time.
8. Yeah, we eat taters, gravy, beans and cornbread. You really want sushi and caviar? It’s available at Jim’s bait shop.
9. The ‘Opener’ refers to the first day of deer season. It’s a religious holiday held the closest Saturday to the first of November.
10. We open doors for women. That is applied to all women, regardless of age.
11. No, there’s no ‘vegetarian special’ on the menu. Order steak. Or you can order the Chef’s Salad and pick off the 2 pounds of ham & turkey.
12. When we fill out a table, there are three main dishes: meats, vegetables, and breads. We use three seasonings – salt, pepper, and ketchup. Oh, yeah…. We don’t care what you folks in Cincinnati call that stuff you eat … IT AIN’T REAL CHILI!!
13. You bring ‘coke’ into my house, it better be brown, wet and served over ice.
14. You bring ‘Mary Jane’ into my house, she better be cute, know how to shoot, drive a truck, and have long hair.
15. College and high school football are as important here as the Cavs and the Knicks… and more fun to watch.
16. Yeah, we have golf courses. But don’t hit the water hazards — it spooks the fish.
17. Colleges? We have them all. We have State Universities, Community Colleges, and Vo-techs. They come outta there with an education plus a love for God and country, and they still wave at everybody when they come for the holidays.
18. Turn down that blasted car stereo! That thumpity-thump crap ain’t music, anyway. We don’t want to hear it any more than we want to see your boxers. Refer back to #1.
19. Four inches of snow isn’t a blizzard – it’s a flurry. Drive in it like you got some sense, and DON’T take all our bread, milk, and bleach from the grocery stores. This ain’t Alaska. Worst case you may have to live a whole-day without croissants. The pickups with snowplows will have you out the next day.
20. By the way…. if you want to talk to God in Iowa, it’s a local call.
The Drivel has spoken. Rural Iowa ground rules are laid down for 2018. Let’s move on. It was “Bring Your Squeeze” night at Jimmy’s Grill & Bait Shop the Friday before Christmas.
Rumor had it that Jimmy & Mustard had been hard at work cleaning up the place anticipating a good crown with quite a few first timers and he really wanted to make a good impression. He put some new plastic table cloths with a Christmas motif. I noticed what appeared to be fresh fish in the fish case, but they have been plastic replicas. Not really sure.
This was the very first time I had been able to convince my current wife that she should go to Jimmy’s. She had always felt that it was not really a lady’s place and, well, she’s right but on this night with a clear sky, sub-zero temperatures, Christmas Carols playing it was magical. We had a very nice meal unbelievable, but I swear it was catered by Hy-Vee but oh well it was good. At the table next to us were a youngish married couple. They have been having a good time chatting back and forth. After eating and the husband consuming several beers, they start a question and answer thing. I think I heard most of it, but I didn’t want to be too obvious because he was a pretty big guy. Anyway, the back and forth went something like this:
• Wife: Do you drink beer?
• Husband: Yes.
• Wife: How many beers a day?
• Husband: Usually about three.
• Wife: How much do you pay per beer?
• Husband: $5.00 which includes a tip (this is where it gets scary!).
• Wife: And how long have you been drinking?
• Husband: About 20 years, I suppose.
• Wife: So, a beer costs $5 and you have three beers a day which puts your spending each month at $450. In one year, it would be approximately $5400 correct?
• Husband: Correct.
• Wife: If in 1 year you spend $5400, not accounting for inflation, the past 20 years puts your spending at $108,000 correct?
• Husband: Correct.
• Wife: Do you know that if you didn’t drink so much beer, that money could have been put in a step-up interest savings account and after accounting for compound interest for the past 20 years, by now you could have bought an airplane?
• Husband: Do you drink beer?
• Wife: No.
• Husband: Where is your airplane?
Sue, my current wife, surmised that the car ride home for the couple was probably a longer and colder one that night. Oh, she had a relative good time at Jimmy’s. She was glad to confirm that it indeed was a guy cave and not a brothel that I was hanging out at. I was really relieved that my coffee drinking buddies were not there.
Saw a little blurb in the paper about a guy who bought a new fridge for his house. To get rid of the old fridge (still working), he put it in his front yard and hung a sign on it saying: “Free. You want it, you take it”. For three days the fridge sat there without anyone looking twice. The guy eventually decided that people were too mistrustful of this deal. So, he changed the sign to read: “Fridge for sale $50.” The next day someone stole it! They walk amongst us and vote.
I promised myself at 71 that I would not get into this resolution business this year. I mean for the majority of my life I have gone down this slippery slope resolving to make positive changes in my life only to see those resolves smashed to bits minutes, hours or days later. How does that help one’s mental outlook for the next year when you are already on a downer? After much prodding, I have a list of sorts. Here goes.
• Finish a chap stick
• My “don’t make love to Victoria’s Secret models” resolution is going great so far.
• Don’t go to the gym on days ending in “y”.
• Start buying lottery tickets at a luckier store.
• Remember to brush teeth with bristly end of toothbrush.
• I will always wear clean underwear, “just in case”.
• I will never again take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.
• I will stop saying,” Ooh, that feels nice” whenever the security guys frisk me at airports.
2018 Bucket List
• Draw up a list of people who were nasty to you in 2017, get back at them in 2018!
• Have a tenderloin at all the top 10 rated tenderloin cafes in Iowa.
• Stand in front of the Exit door at Wal-Mart with a sign reading “This is Exit Only – You are going the wrong way. Use the ENTER door, please!”
• Lobby all large box stores to place a cart corral near the handicap parking area.
• Lobby the city government to place handicap parking near the parking meters.
• Get a gig on Shark Tank for my windshield wiper for a billy goats butt.
• Find the person who first spoke the word “Drivel”.
• Have a sandwich in a town called Sandwich!
• Just once I want to come out on stage naked and have people pay me to put my clothes back on.
• When standing in a crowded area, shout “Heads Up!”.
• In Hy-Vee try to put items into peoples carts without them noticing!
• While in a crowded elevator, stare at another passenger for a while, then announce, “I have new socks on”.
• Buy 4 pigs. Paint the numbers 1, 2, 3, and 5 on their backs. Release them in Wal-Mart. Sit back and watch security search and search for number 4.
… Well my friends, thanks for allowing me back into your day. It is always an honor. If I can make at least one-person smile, laugh till they leak, or maybe spit out a drink, my day was not wasted. Until we meet again -TA!”
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