Sears + Roebuck = Da World

Summers on the Jacobson farm, especially before electricity came along, did lead to some sense of isolation. Not so much for us kids, who never ran out of things to explore and invent, but to the woman running the household. There was church on Sunday mornings and the occasional visit to one of the neighbor women “for coffee.” But for daily reminders that you were part of a larger world, it was the mail.

When the U.S. Post Office got around to installing mailboxes in rural America, they weren’t always conveniently located. Grandma Jacobson’s front step was a mile and a half from the mailbox. Too far for a lady of her constitution to walk, especially in hot weather. So she would drive the car.

Picking up the mail was the only time she ever got behind the wheel. But her hands were steady, she fixed her eyes on the road ahead, and off she would go. In first gear.

Grandma never used anything higher. There was little need for speed and she had never learned how to change gears on the fly, so first gear provided everything she needed in a vehicle.

When this was coupled with her very light foot on the accelerator it meant that the car’s velocity rarely exceeded 5 miles per hour.

As kids, we loved it. We could jump off onto the road … get out on the running board and stand in the 5 mph whirlwind … all things were possible. Modern ideas about where a child belonged in a moving vehicle were still to be formulated.

When you reached the mailbox there was that sense of possibility, of expectation. What was behind that big galvanized door? Maybe it would change everything. Maybe … if we were very, very lucky … it was the day for the new Sears Roebuck catalog to be delivered.

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CANDIDATE FOR POST OF SUPREME PREVARICATOR

Newly elected Rep. George Santos has announced that he will be aiming for the honorary post of Supreme Prevaricator, as soon as former president cluck formally relinquishes it.

“Even though I am a young man, I believe the I have more experience in this area than almost anyone in the country. As a matter of fact, I can’t recall the last time I told the truth. I know that there is a lot of competition for the post, but if you fact check my speeches and writings over the past several years you will surely come to the conclusion that I am a master of poppycock and dissimulation.”

Everybody Lies, by Leo Kottke

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I am by nature a quiet person. Never more so than in the early morning hours when my erratic sleep habits have me awake when more grounded people are sleeping. I pad around the house in stocking feet like a jewel thief, making far less sound than you’d expect of a medium-sized mammal. In fact, with my golden-age hearing acuity, I can’t hear myself at all.

But Poco can.

I will be in the kitchen sneaking a snack from the pantry, trying not to make a sound. I turn around and there he is. Silently staring at me like some stone lion from out in front of a public library … only miniaturized.

Nothing gets by that guy.

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I posted this video on the blog several years ago … time to run it past you one more time. You don’t have to be a psychotherapist to want to give this advice on occasion.

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In this strange little world my mind occupies, once we hit January it is okay to begin to hope for Spring. Of course I will be disappointed for another three months, but it’s my life and I resent your attitude. I saw that flicker of a sneer at the corner of your mouth, don’t think I didn’t.

When you hit an age that archeologists begin to be interested in you, winter is not your friend. Icy patches do not attract me like they used to. Once while I was still in college I walked out the door of a building, hit a slick, flipped up into the air, and came down hard on the back of my head. After looking around to see if anyone had noticed my uncool move, I got up and walked to my next class.

That would not happen today, not now that I live in Humpty Dumpty land. Someone would need to come by with a large shovel, scoop me into a wheelbarrow, and take me to the Emergency Department for examination. “Here,” they might say to the nurse at the desk, “I found this in the parking lot. I don’t know what it is, but it’s moaning so maybe you’d better take a look.”

Open any of the things I get sent in the mail these days that tell me how to live a better life in my senior years, and avoiding falls is at the top of most of the lists. Practice standing on one foot so you don’t fall, always leave a light on so you don’t fall, don’t throw your dirty laundry on the bedroom floor so you don’t trip yourself up and fall. You get the idea.

A few days ago, while still in my bathrobe, I was carrying out a bag of trash and I missed seeing one of those icy patches that had been covered by a thin dusting of snow. Bang! and down I went hard to one knee in a twinkling. I instantly began a mental checklist:

  • is my leg still there?
  • is it still connected to my body?
  • how about gouts of blood … anything?
  • do I hear angels singing?
  • am I looking down a tunnel toward a white light?

Once I had all the answers I needed and had determined that I was likely to survive, I could then give the pain my full attention and utter the appropriate curse words. I forget which ones I chose, but they were spot on, you can be sure of that.

So today it is January 4, and I am excited that Spring is just around the corner. Can’t come too soon for me.

Jerusalem, by Faces

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