Shootin' the Breeze

by "Bummer"

bummer @ abate

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November/Dectember 2018

Yabba Dabba Doo!!

    Ya know, we ALL have our little hang-ups about something, and you might get tired of me mentioning this over and over, but for some reason even I can't fathom, I STILL refuse to get a damned cell phone!

    I feel like I’m one of the last hold-outs from society’s continuous social connection to the Webgod (though I DO bite off a piece of it every now and then via my computer). I've had my land-line for thirty two years with absolutely no trouble, except that all in all, a cell might end up being far less total expense (with bundling etc.) Every time I say to myself, "C'mon! Get one for the saddlebags if nothing else!" (which DOES make perfect sense) I just can’t bring myself to do it... yet.

    At least if the law ever wanted to track me down (which I’m sure they wouldn’t nowadays) they couldn’t use my cell to find me... but on the other hand if I climbed a mountain (which I wouldn’t) and I needed assistance, that would be a no-go. If I was hiking in the depths of the wild (which certainly wouldn’t happen now either) and I got lost, I’d be screwed. My truck and bike are both old enough that they’re not connected to anything except my butt. And if there ever WAS a warning sent out about an eminent nuclear attack, I wouldn’t even have time to kiss my ass goodbye... but I think that would be the way I’d like it to happen anyway!

    I chuckle every time someone calls and asks me where I am. I reply that I’m either on the deck reading or soaking in the hot tub, I’m in the kitchen, I’m in the study, I’m in the living room, I’m in bed, I’m in the bar, or I’m in the garage... then I realize how MANY phones I have in this house (and most of them are even cordless!) It’s safe to say that I am a dumbass! LOL!

    I know having one (a cell) won't necessarily turn me into one of those people I see "doing" their phones constantly, but it might... and that disturbs the hell outta me! The "Social Network" is far more UNsocial than most people realize unless they've noticed it from being on the “outside”. I know sooner or later I WILL get one, but for now if we talk on the phone... I'm home. If I'm NOT at home... it ain’t happenin’! You can just leave a message and I’ll probably get back to ya. One thing that is certain though, is if we talk in person OR on the phone, you are SURE to have my undivided and complete attention for the WHOLE conversation... something that is not possible if someone is playing a game, checking texts, reading emails, looking at a joke, or posting something. Half of the time I don’t think people who do this even realize that they’re being extremely rude!!

    One night a woman at "Up a Creek" (a tavern near here) told me to put her number in my phone so I can call her up and take her on a ride some time, though I hadn’t even asked her... yet. When I told her I never use, or even have, a cell phone, she gave me a weird look, stopped talking to me, and walked away without saying another word!! LMAO!!! For the sake of us both, it was probably a good thing she did that. If she couldn’t handle someone not having a cell phone, how could she get along with someone like me who is not patient with people who are glued to them most of the time? Okay, enough with all that...

    I just woke from a nap and had a disturbing dream. Ever have one of those where you wake up and actually say out loud, "What the hell brought THAT on?" It was all about my working at General Motors and I've been RETIRED for fifteen years! I'd much rather it was about sex like my dreams usually are. Far better to wake up horny than to wake up pissed off... I’m used to being horny! Now, in OTHER exciting news...

    For those of you who hadn’t known or realized this yet, “The Outspokin’” magazine will only be delivered every other month for the next few months. Not absolutely sure why... but I assume it’s due to the costs of publishing and distribution. Keeping this very righteous and important grass-roots organization functioning is financially and strategically difficult to say the least, and supporting it means sometimes ya just gotta roll with the punches. Speaking for myself I know for a fact that I can take a punch... or a kick... even an occasional bullet... but that’s about all I can take LOL! Hopefully after this brief period we’ll be back in the black and in your mailbox every month again. So that’s that for now...

    This month begins the “Holiday Season”!!!
    My mouth is watering for TURKEY... for stuffing and gravy!! For CHRISTMAS COOKIES!! Homemade fudge!! BUCKEYES!! Pumpkin pie!! CHEESECAKE!!

    My childhood was in the 1950’s and early 1960’s, and I remember my mom baking stuff beginning in early November and continuing until New Year’s Day! She was a stay-at-home mom and back then nobody, I mean NOBODY, even thought, let alone suggested, that those women had it easy.

    Sure, some women HAD to work jobs to provide for their families due to a husband’s death... they might have been divorced. Some women decided to work simply because they wanted to utilize the skills that they developed by choice or they had a “calling” for a specific career, and many of these women STILL raised a family AND worked for their family’s sake, even if they DID have a husband who worked as well.

    But many others chose the traditional role (for those days) of focusing all their energies and attention entirely on being the “woman of the house”. They didn’t know anything about disposable diapers (which weren’t thought of yet), they washed the family’s clothes in an old-fashioned roller-type machine and hung them outside on a line to dry... they baked bread... they cooked meals without a micro-wave and fed the whole family who dined together, then they washed the dishes by hand without a dishwasher. Most of us wore clothes mended by our moms because they were the ones responsible for keeping a budget that was designed for a single-income family.

    Moms watched over everything the kids were into and made sure they stayed out of trouble. They paid attention to the little details of what everyone in the family needed, and they provided all the maternal support necessary to raise those kids properly while enabling that family to function and even to thrive.

    Most families like this created very little trash because hardly anything was left over to throw away. Tossing out left-over FOOD wasn’t even an option and was considered sinful! Plastic containers were rare. Glass bottles were usually returned to the manufacturers and many kids augmented their allowances (if they had one) by collecting pop and beer bottles that were thrown out of car windows into ditches. Glass jars were re-purposed as food containers, grease containers, paint containers, etc. Empty tin or steel cans were often cleaned out and utilized to repair things, or they were smashed flat and taken to the scrap yard. Aluminum cans were very rare back then, and whenever someone crushed a beer or pop can by squeezing it in their hand, they were showing-off that they were super-badasses and really had strong grips because the cans were all made of steel!

    One of my chores as a kid was to burn the paper and cardboard trash in a “burning” barrel in our back yard - most families had one back then and used it daily, even within the city limits. Since there wasn’t any plastic or rubber mixed in with it, neighbors never complained about the smell of the burning. I have fond memories of grabbing the big box of wooden matches mom kept by our old gas stove and going out to “burn the papers” as a seven year-old on crisp winter nights... and relishing the responsibility of it while warming my hands from the flames rising into the black sky. Today nobody would even think of giving a seven year-old a box of matches (and rightfully so.)

    It’s a given that kids being raised primarily by their moms usually turned out far better than ones being “raised” by everyone EXCEPT their moms. But my point here is that those were just different times... times when it normally wasn’t even necessary to have a two income family. Hell, most families only had one car!

    Though I was raised in a somewhat traditional family, I had (and still have, to a degree) crazy ways. But if I did get INTO trouble, I also got myself OUT of it. By the time I was a teenager, my dad was in his sixties and my mom in her fifties! And those two wonderful “old” people taught me a few things... among them: That a man is only as good as his word – if ya said you were gonna do something... ya did it. And also that once I was out on my own, nobody was going to take care of me except me. My parents were in many ways pretty laid-back and didn’t get too excited about things probably because by the time I appeared they were middle-aged and had already raised four kids, which meant they had already seen it all.

    Today, families often seem to only exist temporarily at most, and kids grow into adults who have no idea what it means to live a “stable” life, mostly because they themselves have not been exposed to what a solid family even is. In fact, many kids today are often raised by their grandparents... but that probably makes those kids far better off than those who are raised by a different babysitter each month and taught how to “be” by the other neighborhood kids, who are in turn often neglected either by choice or necessity themselves.

    Now, I know how I often wax nostalgically about how the “old days” were so much better... and in SOME ways they unquestionably were! But on the other hand, most people didn’t think twice about the “environment” (like the littering I spoke of earlier). And I would have hated to have been an adult living amongst all the bigotry and bias that was constantly beneath the surface of our society and culture back then.

    There has been so MUCH progress regarding technology, science, and availability of information... I just wish we could put it all to better use than simply for entertainment considering the condition of our humanity and my fear of our returning to that very same bigotry and bias. But pardon me for taking off on one of my tangents. This has all been only MY opinions and observations and do NOT reflect on this magazine, and they have nothing to do with the approaching holiday season, which is what I’d REALLY like to be thinking of right now...

    It seems every day we hear more and more about how screwed up this world is: The “Opioid Crisis” seems to be getting worse, constant racial strife causes stress, industrial plants close here only to re-open in foreign countries, and politicians accuse each other of everything! In other words, it’s the same old same old... but on steroids!

    It seems that the only thing I can do to really enjoy the holidays this year is to ignore all that shit and pretend it doesn’t exist... to try to at least imagine that everyone thinks like I do and that people are content and kind to each other. That might be unrealistic and in some ways selfish, but I think many of us do that every day anyway. Speaking for myself personally, I’m afraid that doing that to make the Holidays work for me is even more necessary this year because my sons are both still living outta state and I find myself alone once again. As I prepare to be bombarded with all of that annoyingly cheerful Christmas merchandising that shows happy homes and loving families, I’m going to imagine this...

    Thanksgiving will be full of friends and family for me. My sons will be here with their kids and significant others, old friends I haven’t seen in ages will show up, and the weather will be beautiful with blue skies and giant puffy clouds! An old lover or two will phone me and wish me well as we sadly regret their not being here.

    The turkey will turn out just right, and there will be homemade biscuits, plenty of stuffing, wonderfully lumpy mashed potatoes, and quarts of gravy! Desert will be pecan pie with real whipped cream, but we’ll all have become so full (burp) that we won’t be able to even look at it, so that will just have to wait until I (and whoever else) wakes up in the middle of the night!

    Now, Christmas is gonna be snowy, but the night sky on Christmas Eve will be clear and sparkling with a zillion stars. I’ll have dug out the tree from my attic a week prior, and my sons and their significant others have put it up and decorated it with the usual (I have about 50 of those little 5” motorcycles in different models and colors that I’ve put hooks in and used for many years, plus a boatload of ornaments from the past... it’s the BIKE tree!) The grandkids are all teenagers, so THEY will be out doing whatever it is they do on Christmas Eve, and that would be just fine with the rest of us because they’ll all come home safe and sound when they’re finished.

    In the meantime, I’ll watch the older, black and white, Alistair Sims version of “A Christmas Carol” like I’ve always done with my boys, who will miraculously turn into five and seven year old versions of themselves while their significant others freak-out and scream, “What the hell just happened??!!” and I’ll flatly tell them, “Never mind and go with it... this is MY night.”

    Probably none of this will occur, but who knows? An old guy can always dream. And if it doesn’t, at least I know the boys are doing fine and everyone is safe and happy.

    Speaking of safe, and regarding New Year’s Eve... I’ll be home for sure on THAT night! I’ve not partied for so long that even I’VE become a rookie again! Y’all just make sure that you’re safe. If necessary and if you ARE going out, spend a few extra bucks and get a room or have a designated driver... or better yet, from the beginning of the evening use that “Uber” service I hear so much about! My son Ben and a few of his friends did New Orleans that way all night long a while back, and it wasn’t even that expensive! (For the rides I mean.) The bottom line is... y’all have a safe and happy holiday season. I want each and every one of you to still be reading my nonsense come January!



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