Today’s Blast From the Past

June 6th, 2006 – A Day in the Life

Starbucks Coffee

I order. “Mocha Frappacino, venti, please. Yes, put all the unhealthy stuff on it. Oh, and I’d like a banana muffin, too!” I casually extend my arm from the window with the Starbuck’s card held jauntily between my fingers. The kid at the window makes a grab for the card, misses it and the thing goes flying out of my hand and under my car. UNDER MY CAR.

I am dressed up: skirt, blouse, high-heels, and my hair is just so. I open my car door and look down. No card. I step out of the car and kneel down. Still I cannot see the card. Of course the heel of my shoe has caught on the hem of my skirt. I lose my balance and topple into the car, leaving a clean spot on the driver’s door. Luckily most of the grime has landed on my hands and my arms which — thank you, God — are wash and wear.

I step back into my car, put it in gear and backup about 12 inches. I might have backed up another two or three inches, but the fellow in the bright red SUV behind me was honking his horn and yelling, “Stop! Stop!” I am not sure why. There were still three or four inches between our bumpers. Maybe he thought I didn’t see him?

Anyway, I get out of my car again and there is my Starbuck’s card, just peeking from beneath the edge of my front bumper. I grab the card and turn to present it to the kid behind the drive-thru window. He says, “Keep it, Lady. This is on me.” Darn, I think as I’m driving away. I should have ordered two muffins.


June 6th, 2006 — The Grownups Wanted Us Dead

The Swing Set

The daily injury report from the swing set ranged from paltry half-inch blood blisters to gruesome compound fractures complete with protruding bone and gore. I suppose the swings themselves were not really dangerous – but, oh, the things we did with them!

Playground swings no longer seem to exist, so incase you’ve never seen one, here’s a description: ten foot high steel frame; two sets of tripod legs, between them spanned a four inch steel pipe; suspended from the pipe were pairs of heavy steel chains; each pair of chains was connected to a thick, black, rubber seat.

The Winton School swing set had four seats. Four seats – if you’re a kid you know that means at least a dozen kids can play on the set at once. But sometimes – sometimes someone would get greedy – he’d want a whole swing for himself. One kid I remember in particular who did not like to share the swing was my cousin, Rumble.

I don’t know why I always competed with Rumble; whenever I tried I always lost – spectacularly. For instance one day we left Gram’s house – Caution, Rumble, Angel, Smiley, Tattle and I – headed for the playground. Somebody called dibs on a swing, I don’t remember whom, but they were echoed by five other voices. We went from walking to rushing, to running and shoving in three seconds flat — because every child knows that calling dibs doesn’t mean a dang thing unless you can enforce the claim.

Caution was the eldest, had the longest legs, and naturally was the strongest runner. He was going to win. Tattle was the baby and she was going to win because we didn’t want to hear the whining and the crying (from the grownups) if she didn’t. That left four kids and two swings. Angel and Grin headed for one. Rumble and I headed for the other. I have no idea how the girls’ race went, but Rumble and I were neck and neck, arms outstretched, until we were just a few yards from the swing.

Now, I don’t know if it was because Rumble was taller and his arm a little longer than mine, or if he’d pulled just a millimeter ahead, but I realized his hand was going to grasp the chain just before mine could; so I did the only sensible thing – I jumped.

So what if Rumble had the chain? If my body occupied the seat, obviously the swing would be mine! Mine! Mine! Mine!

I launched myself into the air; arms outstretched, and flew like Wonder Woman. Guess what? Linda Carter I’m not. Rumble’s fingers wrapped around the chain and he pulled. The swing lurched drunkenly to the left and, instead of doing a spectacular swan dive into the seat of the swing, I did a beautiful belly-flop into the dirt and gravel beneath it.

Twice in my life I have had the wind knocked out of me. It is not an experience I recommend. However, if you have the great, good-fortune to have Rumble as a cousin you are truly blessed. He abandoned the swing immediately and came to stand over me – in fact, all of my wonderful cousins did – and they made such helpful suggestions; things like: “Breathe!” “Talk to me!” and, “Stop turning blue!”

Tattle asked, “Is she dying?”

If I had had the breath I would have answered, “Not until after I kill Rumble.”

The Christmas Gift Exchange

Today was the office Christmas party.  It was held at a restaurant one can only get into with reservations made light-years in advance.  We were served a lovely buffet and I ate way too much.   I had chicken, turkey, pork, shrimp, ahi (fresh tuna) and squid.  I tasted several different salads, had a bit of rice with curry sauce (more shrimp), and tasted 4 different desserts — well, truthfully, I more than tasted the flan.  I ate every bite and considered licking the last of the caramel sauce from the bottom of the dish.  (I did manage to restrain myself.)

After the eating came the service awards.  After the service awards came the door prizes — none of which I won.  BUT, after the door prizes a basket came out.  It was filled with envelopes and everybody not called for a door prize was to take one.  Irene, one of my co-workers, couldn’t decide which of all the identical envelopes she wanted.  She kept picking envelopes up and trying to figure out what was inside by rubbing them and holding them up to the light.

I just reached out and took an envelope, than started to walk away.  “Wait!”  Irene called.  “What did you get?”   I looked back at her and shrugged, showing her that I hadn’t opened the envelope.  “Open it, please,” she said.  “I want to know what they’re giving away.”

I opened the envelope and extracted a Starbucks Gift Card.  At the same time, Joe, another co-worker opened a Block Buster Video gift card.  Irene looked at the Block Buster Card and then she looked at my Starbuck’s card.  She reached in the basket and grabbed an envelope.  I started to walk away.  “Wait!” she called.  “I’m going to open this envelope and then if I don’t like what’s inside, we can trade.”

Halfway through the door, I stopped and turned back to look at her.  “You forgot to take into consideration that I am happy with my gift and I don’t want to trade.”

“Ugh!”  She said and put the envelope she’d been holding back into the basket.

The last thing I heard as I walked away was her muttered, “Don’t tempt me,” after Joe dryily asked her why she didn’t just open all the envelopes then take the one she liked the most.