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THE BEST FRUITCAKE EVER!

1 Cup Butter

1 Cup Brown Sugar

1 Cup Sugar

2 Cups Dried Fruit

3 Cups Flour

Lemon Juice to taste

4 Large Eggs

Ĺ Cup Pecans

1 tsp. Baking Soda

1 Cup Walnuts

1 tsp. Salt

1 or 2 Quarts Whiskey

Before you begin mixing the ingredients, sample the whiskey. The quality must be excellent for the success of this recipe. Good, isnít it? Now go ahead.

Select a large mixing bowl, measuring cup, etc. Check the whiskey again, as it must be at just the right temperature.

Begin preparing ingredients. If whiskey has been on the counter too long, put it in the refrigerator for 1-2 minutes and test again. If it seems too cool, let it sit on the counter for 1-2 minutes and test again periodically.

This recipe requires the highest quality of whiskey in order to produce the finest flavor and consistency. To be sure of the quality, pour one level cup into a glass and drink it as fast as you can. REPEAT

With an electric mixer beat 1 cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl. Add 1 tsp. thugar and beat again.

Meanwhile, remember to test the whiskey periodically (every 1-2 minutes for consistency) for quality and tempertur. Cry another tup. Open second quart if necesscessary.

Add 2 arge leggs, 2 cups fried druit and beat till high.

If druit gets stuck in beaters, just pry it loose with a drewscriver.

Sample the whiskey again, checking for sonscistricity.

Then sift 3 copes of salt or anything, it really doesnít matter. Test the whiskey by pouring slowly into a cup with a large hangle. Dring, tasting each sip. Repeat.

Sift Ĺ pint lemon juice. Fold in chopped butter and strained nuts.

Add a babblespoon of brown thugar, or whatever color you can find, and wix mell.

Grease oven and turn cake pan to 350 degrees.

Now pour the whole mess into the coven and ake.

Check the whiskey again, and bo to ged.

It will be better in the morning.

A Tandem Story

ON A LIGHTER NOTE: The internet reports that the story below was turned in to an SMU English professor following an assignment to write a "Tandem" short story in which students, working in pairs, contribute alternate sections.

At first, Laurie couldn't decide which kind of tea she wanted. The chamomile, which used to be her favorite for lazy evenings at home, now reminded her too much of Carl, who once said, in happier times, that he liked chamomile. But she felt she must now, at all costs, keep her mind off Carl. His possessiveness was suffocating, and if she thought about him too much her asthma started acting up again. So chamomile was out of the question.

Meanwhile, Advance Sergeant Carl Harris, leader of the attack squadron now in orbit over Skylon 4, had more important things to think about than the neuroses of an air-headed asthmatic bimbo named Laurie with whom he had spent one sweaty night over a year ago. "A.S. Harris to Geostation 17," he boomed into his trans-galactic communicator. "Polar orbit established. No sign of resistance so far. . ." But before he could sign off, a bluish particle beam flashed out of nowhere and blasted a hole through his ship's cargo bay. The jolt from the direct hit sent him flying out of his seat and across the cockpit.

He bumped his head and died almost immediately, but not before he felt one last pang of regret for psychically brutalizing the one woman who had ever had feelings for him. Soon afterwards, Earth stopped its pointless hostilities towards the peaceful farmers of Skylon 4. "Congress Passes Law Permanently Abolishing War and Space Travel." Laurie read in her newspaper one morning. The news simultaneously excited her and bored her. She stared out the window, dreaming of her youth -- when the days had passed unhurriedly and carefree, with no newspapers to read, no television to distract her from her sense of innocent wonder at all the beautiful things around her. "Why must one lose one's innocence to become a woman?" she pondered wistfully.

Little did she know, but she had less than 10 seconds to live. Thousands of miles above the city, the Anu'udrian mothership launched the first of its lithium fusion missiles. The dim-witted wimpy peaceniks who pushed the Unilateral Aerospace Disarmament Treaty through Congress had left Earth a defenseless target for the hostile alien empires who were determined to destroy the human race. Within two hours after the passage of the treaty the Anu'udrian ships were on course for Earth, carrying enough fire-power to pulverize the entire planet. With no one to stop them they swiftly initiated their diabolical plan. The lithium fusion missile entered the atmosphere unimpeded. The President, in his top-secret mobile submarine headquarters on the ocean floor off the coast of Guam, felt the inconceivably massive explosion which vaporized Laurie and 85 million other Americans. The President slammed his fist on the conference table. "We can't allow this! I'm going to veto that treaty! Let's blow 'em out of the sky!"

This is absurd. I refuse to continue this mockery of literature. My writing partner is a violent, chauvinistic, semi-literate adolescent.

Yeah? Well, you're a self-centered tedious neurotic whose attempts at writing are the literary equivalent of Valium. You total $#@%! Stupid &*%@!#!

21st Century Profound Thinking

Health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die. 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth. 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day; 
teach that person to use the Internet and they won't bother you for weeks. 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Some people are like Slinkies . . . not really good for anything, 
but you still can't help but smile when you see one tumble down the stairs. 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, 
lying in hospitals dying of nothing. 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Have you noticed since everyone has a camcorder these days 
no one talks about seeing UFOs like they used to? 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again. 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
All of us could take a lesson from the weather. 
It pays no attention to criticism. 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
In the 60's, people took acid to make the world seem weird. 
Now the world is weird and people take Prozac to make it seem normal. 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. 
I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first. 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, 
but it takes a whole box to start a campfire? 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
AND THE # 1 THOUGHT FOR THE DAY! : You read about all these terrorists-most of them came here legally, but they hung around on expired visas-some for as long as 10-15 years. Now, compare that to Blockbuster; you are two days late with a video and those people are all over you. The Government needs to put Blockbuster in charge of immigration!

 

    Į ON A LIGHTER NOTE:

The stories and information below were selected for the Singles Network Newsletter in 2003. 

TO ALL EMPLOYEES:

DRESS CODE

It is advised that you come to work dressed according to your salary.

If we see you wearing £350 Prada sneakers, and carrying a £600 Gucci Bag, we assume you are doing well financially and therefore you do not need a raise. If you dress poorly, you need to learn to manage your money better, so that you may buy nicer clothes, and therefore You do not need a raise. If you dress in-between, you are right where You need to be and therefore do not need a raise.

SICK DAYS

We will no longer accept a doctor's note as proof of sickness.
If you are able to go to the doctor, you are able to come to work.

HOLIDAYS

Each employee will receive 104 holidays a year. They are called Saturday & Sunday.

BEREAVEMENT LEAVE

This is no excuse for missing work. There is nothing you can do for dead friends, relatives or co-workers. Every effort should be made to have non-employees attend to the arrangements. In rare cases where employee involvement is necessary, the funeral should be scheduled in the late afternoon. We will be glad to allow you to work through your lunch hour and subsequently leave one hour early.

TOILET USE

Too much time is being spent in the toilet. There is now a strict 3 minute time limit in the stalls. At the end of three minutes, an alarm will sound, the toilet paper roll will retract, the stall door will open and a picture will be taken. After your second offence, your picture will be posted on the company bulletin board under the "Chronic Offenders" category.

LUNCH BREAK

Skinny people get 30 minutes for lunch as they need to eat more, so that they can look healthy. Normal size people get 15 minutes for lunch to get a balanced meal to maintain their average figure.

Fat people get 5 minutes for lunch, because that's all the time needed to drink a Slim Fast.

Thank you for your loyalty to our company. We are here to provide a positive employment experience. Therefore, all questions, comments, concerns, complaints, frustrations, irritations, aggravations, insinuations, allegations, accusations, contemplations, consternation, and input should be directed elsewhere.

Have a nice week!

The Management

Service with a ???

14Aug03

This is some correspondence which actually occurred between a London hotel's staff and one of its guests. The London hotel involved submitted this to the Sunday Times. No name was mentioned.

WHAT TO DO WITH ALL THOSE "FREE" SOAPS WHEN TRAVELING

Dear Maid,

Please do not leave any more of those little bars of soap in my bathroom since I have brought my own bath-sized Dial. Please remove the six unopened little bars from the shelf under the medicine chest and another three in the shower soap dish. They are in my way.

Thank you, S. Berman

Dear Room 635,

I am not your regular maid. She will be back tomorrow, Thursday, from her day off. I took the 3 hotel soaps out of the shower soap dish as you requested. The 6 bars on your shelf I took out of your way and put on top of your Kleenex dispenser in case you should change your mind. This leaves only the 3 bars I left today which my instructions from the management is to leave 3 soaps daily. I hope this is satisfactory.

Kathy, Relief Maid

Dear Maid

I hope you are my regular maid. Apparently Kathy did not tell you about my note to her concerning the little bars of soap. When I got back to my room this evening I found you had added 3 little Camays to the shelf under my medicine cabinet. I am going to be here in the hotel for two weeks and have brought my own bath-size Dial so I won't need those 6 little Camays which are on the shelf. They are in my way when shaving, brushing teeth, etc.

Please remove them.

S. Berman

Dear Mr. Berman,

My day off was last Wed. so the relief maid left 3 hotel soaps which we are instructed by the management. I took the 6 soaps which were in your way on the shelf and put them in the soap dish where your Dial was. I put the Dial in the medicine cabinet for your convenience. I didn't remove the 3 complimentary soaps which are always placed inside the medicine cabinet for all new check-ins and which you did not object to when you checked in last Monday. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

Your regular maid, Dotty

Dear Mr. Berman,

The assistant manager, Mr. Kensedder, informed me this A.M. that you called him last evening and said you were unhappy with your maid s service. I have assigned a new girl to your room. I hope you will accept my apologies for any past inconvenience. If you have any future complaints please contact me so I can give it my personal attention. Call extension 1108 between 8AM and 5PM. Thank you.

Elaine Carmen, Housekeeper

Dear Miss Carmen,

It is impossible to contact you by phone since I leave the hotel for business at 7:45 AM and don't get back before 5:30 or 6 PM. That's the reason I called Mr. Kensedder last night. You were already off duty. I only asked Mr. Kensedder if he could do anything about those little bars of soap. The new maid you assigned me must have thought I was a new check-in today, since she left another 3 bars of hotel soap in my medicine cabinet along with her regular delivery of 3 bars on the bathroom shelf. In just 5 days here I have accumulated 24 little bars of soap. Why are you doing this to me?

S. Berman

Dear Mr. Berman,

Your maid, Kathy, has been instructed to stop delivering soap to your room and remove the extra soaps. If I can be of further assistance, please call extension 1108 between 8AM and 5PM. Thank you,

Elaine Carmen, Housekeeper

Dear Mr. Kensedder,

My bath-size Dial is missing. Every bar of soap was taken from my room including my own bath-size Dial. I came in late last night and had to call the bellhop to bring me 4 little Cashmere Bouquets.

S. Berman

Dear Mr. Berman,

I have informed our housekeeper, Elaine Carmen, of your soap problem. I cannot understand why there was no soap in your room since our maids are instructed to leave 3 bars of soap each time they service a room. The situation will be rectified immediately. Please accept my apologies for the inconvenience.

Martin L. Kensedder

Dear Mrs. Carmen,

Who the hell left 54 little bars of Camay in my room? I came in last night and found 54 little bars of soap. I don't want 54 little bars of Camay. I want my one damn bar of bath-size Dial. Do you realize I have 54 bars of soap in here? All I want is my bath-size Dial. Please give me back my bath-size Dial.

S. Berman

Dear Mr. Berman,

You complained of too much soap in your room so I had them removed. Then you complained to Mr. Kensedder that all your soap was missing so I personally returned them. The 24 Camays which had been taken and the 3 Camays you are supposed to receive daily. I don't know anything about the 4 Cashmere Bouquets. Obviously your maid, Kathy, did not know I had returned your soaps so she also brought 24 Camays plus the 3 daily Camays. I don't know where you got the idea this hotel issues bath-size Dial. I was able to locate some bath-size Ivory which I left in your room.

Elaine Carmen, Housekeeper

Dear Mrs. Carmen,

Just a short note to bring you up-to-date on my latest soap inventory. As of today I possess: --On shelf under medicine cabinet -18 Camay in 4 stacks of 4 and 1 stack of 2. --On Kleenex dispenser -11 Camay in 2 stacks of 4 and 1 stack of3. --On bedroom dresser -1 stack of 3 Cashmere Bouquet, 1 stack of 4 hotel-size Ivory, and 8 Camay in 2 stacks of4. --Inside medicine cabinet Ė14 Camay in 3 stacks of 4 and 1 stack of 2. --In shower soap dish -6 Camay, very moist. --On northeast corner of tub -1 Cashmere Bouquet, slightly used. --On northwest corner of tub -6 Camays in 2 stacks of 3. Please ask Kathy when she services my room to make sure the stacks are neatly piled and dusted. Also, please advise her that stacks of more than 4 have a tendency to tip. May I suggest that my bedroom window sill is not in use and will make an excellent spot for future soap deliveries. One more item, I have purchased another bar of bath-sized Dial which I am keeping in the hotel vault in order to avoid further misunderstandings.

S. Berman

Observations from the Dating Game

by Cathryn Stephens

  1. Dating is a serious sport. Your entire future hangs on the potential mate nervously sipping ice water across from you. Be sure to hang all of your childhood fantasies on him, as well as your ego. This should make for a wonderful, spontaneous, fun evening for the both of you.

  2. Don't date men who wear skirts. Kilts count. Just trust me on this one. Makeup also falls into this category.

  3. College bands are God's punishment to us all. The only thing they can do well is turn up the volume on their amplifiers. "Singing to the cantaloupe cooking in a microwave" is not a good song title. It's a cry for help.

  4. Beware of men with well-groomed spiky blonde hair. They reek of insolence. And impossibly beautiful girlfriends.

  5. Young men should not attempt to grow a beard - unless they can prove that they can do so well. Otherwise, they resemble nothing so much as foolish chickens.

  6. If you really want to annoy your date, talk to them excitedly about your favorite band, and then insist on playing only that band's music during your conversations, and any other times you can find to fit it in. Don't forget to have some tapes for the car so that your date's listening enjoyment will be uninterrupted - for the entire evening. 

  7. True, you are a very interesting person. However, your date has not been hungering for endless information about your sordid past - in fact, your date would rather eat the fish plain, without all your sauce.

  8. People who have a cell phone permanently attached to their hands should also be avoided. That is, unless you plan to have emergencies with fair regularity throughout the evening. And they are willing to stop their conversation about their sister's rash for a few minutes and place a call to 911.

    Reprinted from August, 1999 edition of the Singles Network Newsletter

Worry

Things Most People in Iraq Donít Worry About:

1. Being involved in a roll-over in their SUV.

2. Losing a lot of money on the Stock Market.

3. Their son becoming a Rock Star.

4. Their daughter becoming a CEO of a company and forgetting her roots.

5. Forgetting their password while on vacation.

6. Whether a dance is dressy or casual.

7. Maximizing their retirement package.

8. Their leader having a flagrant affair.

9. Planning their retirement cruises.

10. Their Social Security in retirement.

11. Smearing their mascara in a hot tub.

12. Which is the best bar to find a hot babe.

13. The best Medicare package for old age.

14. Their daughter flunking out of high school.

15. Their sonís ruining his social life because of his absorption in physics research.

16. Christmas toys for their grandchildren.

17. Dinner reservations at a popular restaurant.

18. Environmental damage from large factories.

19. Company stock benefits.

20. Striking dock workers.

21. Drug smugglers planting in the National Forests.

22. Wildlife refuges on the national seashore.

23. Wetlands preservation.

24. Limiting immigrants.

25. Bigger contracts in professional sports.

26. Investments when their daughter becomes a country music performer.

27. Office air conditioning being too cold.

28. Weight gain over the summer.

29. Increasing exercise / limiting carbohydrates.

30. Whether to plant geraniums or pansies in the garden.

31. How their job will be affected in an economic down turn.

32. How the leaves on the trees change color.

33. Fluoride in their water.

34. Cost of gasoline for their trip to Disneyland.

35. The amount of time consumed in commuting to work.

36. Statistics from last yearís World Series.

37. Whether their web site is secure.

38. Email hoaxes.

Things Most People in America Donít Worry About:

1. Having their arms cut off when they vote.

2. Racing elephants crushing people and fruit stands.

[Elephants race through town to the Hindu shrine in Guruvayer, India to begin the annual festival.]

3. The dropping price of crickets.

[Hunters are concerned because heavy spring rains have created 
a glut of crickets, a favorite snack in Cambodia.]

4. A good husband for their 13-year-old girl.

[UNICEF is calling for an end to child marriages, which are common in Africa, Asia, Middle East and Latin America. (74% in Congo, 54% in Afghanistan, 30% in Cuba, 28% in Iraq)]

5. Having a forbidden second child.

[Girl babies are often given away or killed in China.]

6. Whether their wives and daughters stay completely covered and off the streets.

7. Enough rice for the next meal.

8. Land mines where their children play.

9. Whether their women will be raped by the soldiers when they search for firewood.

[In Sierra Leone it is a womanís job to get firewood, 
but they are often raped in the field.]

10. How to scavenge for food in a drought.

11. Finding hidden stores of food or ammunition.

12. How to survive frigid temperatures outdoors.

13. Whether they will be killed for speaking out against the government policies.

14. Whether soldiers will break into their homes.

15. Allowing their children to learn to read.

16. Facing criminal charges for talking to someone about their religious beliefs.

17. Removing unexploded bombs and twisted metal from their farmlands.

18. What they can carry on their backs if they need to escape from the city quickly.

19. Whether their ancient religious statues will be blown up.

20. Whether they will be able to salvage enough grain from their harvest 
      to last through the winter.

21. A tiger killing a young woman walking in the forest.

      [Newly introduced predatory animals in Nepal are killing local inhabitants.]

22. Killing exotic animals to trade for salt.

[Environmentalists have begun to trade salt for the promise not to kill endangered animals.]

     

RIDDLE ME THIS:

Little Nancy Ellicoat wears a white petticoat. The longer she stands, the shorter she grows!

(HINT: These are seen most often in churches and at Christmastime.)

Į  ON A LIGHTER NOTE

The neighborhood hasnít changed much since Jane Austen wrote this piece in 1818.

No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy would have supposed her born to be a heroine. Her situation in life, the character of her father and mother, her own person and disposition, were all equally against her.

Her father was a clergyman, without being neglected, or poor, and a very respectable man, though his name was Richard ó and he had never been handsome. He had a considerable independence, besides two good livings, ó and he was not in the least addicted to locking up his daughters.

Her mother was a woman of useful plain sense, with a good temper, and, what is more remarkable, with a good constitution. She had three sons before Catherine was born; and instead of dying in bringing the latter into the world, as any body might expect, she still lived on ó lived to have six children more ó to see them growing up around her, and to enjoy excellent health herself.

A family of ten children will be always called a fine family, but the Morlands had little other right to the word, for they were in general very plain, and Catherine, for many years of her life, as plain as any. She had a thin awkward figure, a sallow skin without color, dark lank hair, and strong features.

She was fond of all boysí plays, and greatly preferred cricket not merely to dolls, but to the more heroic enjoyments of infancy: nursing a dormouse, feeding a canary-bird, or watering a rose-bush; and if she gathered flowers at all, it was chiefly for the pleasure of mischief ó always preferring those which she was forbidden to take.

Such were her propensities ó her abilities were quite as extraordinary. She never could learn or understand any thing before she was taught; and sometimes not even then, for she was often inattentive, and occasionally stupid. ...Not that Catherine was always stupid, ó by no means.

Her mother wished her to learn music; she was very fond of tinkling the keys of the old forlorn spinet; so, at eight years old she began. She learnt a year, and could not bear it.ó The day which dismissed the music-master was one of the happiest.

Her taste for drawing was not superior; houses and trees, hens and chickens [were] all very much like one another.

What a strange, unaccountable character! ó for with all these symptoms of profligacy at ten years old, she had neither a bad heart nor a bad temper; was seldom stubborn, scarcely ever quarrelsome, and very kind to the little ones, with few interruptions of tyranny; she was moreover noisy and wild, hated confinement and cleanliness, and loved nothing so well in the world as rolling down the green slope at the back of the house.

At fifteen, appearances were mending; she began to curl her hair and long for balls; her complexion improved; her features were softened by plumpness and color, her eyes gained more animation, and her figure more consequence. Her love of dirt gave way, and she grew clean as she grew smart.

She had reached the age of seventeen, without having inspired one real passion... Strange indeed! But there was not one family amongst their acquaintance who had reared and supported a boy accidentally found at their door ó not one young man whose origin was unknown. Her father had no ward, and the squire of the parish no children.

But when a young lady is to be a heroine, the perverseness of forty families cannot prevent her. Something must and will happen to throw a hero in her way....

Mrs. Allen was probably aware that if adventures will not befall a young lady in her own village, she must seek elsewhere. So she invited her to go with her to Bath, and Catherine was all happiness.

 Į   ON A LIGHTER NOTE: The sign on the back fence reads

CAUTION: "Watch Dog" hiding on these premises

Perhaps I should explain.

I live one-half mile from a Prison. I have a small, enclosed garden outside my back door. Hidden in my garden is a valiant, alert Attack Animal guarding my back door.

I do not know how he made his way uphill from the small intermittent stream into my garden -- perhaps he followed one of the tiny streamlets of water flowing downhill from one of my watering sprees. I do not know how he escaped into my garden -- I don't think that he climbed the fence.

All I know is that I was calmly watering one day -- giving the tiny office cactus more than it could handle and barely keeping the impatiens alive -- when my son called from behind the air conditioner, "We have a new pet!" I could not imagine what it was. I have several visitors to my garden: squirrels, blue jays and pigeons examine the plot beneath the birdfeeder daily for the seeds thrown about by the sparrows. and one day I caught a chipmunk eating one of my wild strawberries. [I didn't mind. You can buy strawberries at the grocery store, but you can't even buy chipmunks at the pet store.]  But I digress. All previous inhabitants scatter the minute I come into the garden. What was this resident?

My son lifted the squirming green turtle from his hideaway -- where he had probably been quietly munching on the birdfeeder sprouts -- and brought him into the sunlight. We filled a dish with water for him and added a few small stones for his comfort. We named him Homer. We set him down near the tomato plants and watched him carefully. Nothing happened. He did not move.

At last we began weeding and watering and in a few minutes we glanced his way and noticed that he had disappeared.

Homer does not keep the neighbors awake with his barking. Homer does not frighten the wild birds. The neighborhood cats are not afraid of him. He does not doodle in other people's yards. (Think about it, have you ever seen turtle doodle in your yard?) Homer does not bite the postman. (I suspect that Homer does not believe in postmen since he has never seen one -- they are so very tall, you know.) I believe that Homer is strong and ingenious. I am quiet, alert and valiant. I believe that Homer is quiet, alert and valiant too.

I have not seen Homer in several days, but he cannot get out of my garden because I keep the gate closed (except yesterday). Why should he want to leave my garden where all that water and sprouts are handy? I believe Homer is waiting quietly behind the asparagus for his opportunity to show his bravery.

I thought about putting up a sign to frighten burglars: Caution: Watch Turtle, but decided that intruders need not know the particular species of their attacker. Since Homer is acting as my watch dog my sign can read: CAUTION: "Watch Dog" hidden on the premises. That sign and my trusty Homer should keep burglars away.

As a back-up I have installed a Security Light -- so Homer can target his attack more accurately.

Contributed by Mary Carol Lewis, whose most recent book is Season of Lovers.

The One Who Got the Cat ... That Was Me

by Will Stanton

I've always liked the story about the miller who had a fine house with broad fields and fat cattle. His mill was overrun with rats, so he got a cat to kill the rats. When he died, the eldest son inherited the house and fields. The second son inherited the mill, and the youngest son got the cat. That son was me.

I took the cat and went out to seek my fortune. I didn't find it. My wife, Cindy, says forget the fortune and look for a job. She has a negative personality because of her childhood. Her stepmother and her step sisters made her do all the work and sleep in the ashes. If I've heard the story once I've heard it a thousand times. I wouldn't mind, except she keeps calling them the good old days.

Our daughter Goldie has this real long blond hair. That's about it. The other girl, Beauty, spends all her time spinning straw. Cindy says look at all we save on clothes. Maybe so, I told her, but I've about had it with straw underwear. It rustles.

One day our son Jack traded our cow for a handful of beans. "Jack," I said, "just what was your thinking on this deal?"

He mumbled something I couldn't understand.

"You're not a cow trader," I told him, "you're a giant killer. Stick to what you know best." He said he would.

That evening he planted his beans in a flowerpot, and the next morning the beanstalks had gone right through the roof. I chopped them down, but they left a hole an eagle could fly through.

"Jack," I said, "next time before you do anything, check with me." He said he would.

The fact is all three kids are underachievers. I went down in the cellar the other day and found Beauty spinning away and there wasn't anything coming off the wheel. I asked what she thought she was doing. "Making a suit for the emperor," she told me. The generation gap may be bigger than we think.

Then there was the time Goldie washed her hair and hung it out the window to dry, and some fellow climbed up it. She claimed that was how he came to be in her bedroom.

"Goldie," I said, "I'm your father, you don't have to lie to me."

"It's the truth," she said.

She showed me a place on her hair that had grease and tar on it from his shoes. "And right after I'd washed it too," she said.

Beauty almost got married once to a beast she met at a Stanley party, but Cindy broke up the match.

I told her she should keep out of it. "Maybe he won't win any prizes for looks, and he knocks things over with his tail, but he's loaded. Got a big palace with rose gardens and all."

"No daughter of mine is going to marry a beast," she said, "and that's final."

"I don't know where she's going to do any better."

Cindy had that stubborn look. "She's not going to make the same mistake I did," she said.

Well I could go on, but I hate to sound like a complainer. I mean, when you're raising a couple of daughters you expect little ups and downs from time to time. I just wanted to show that every family has its problems, but they can be solved if you have faith, and look for the bright side. Then if everybody does his share, we can all work together for a happier tomorrow. I think if our family can do it, anybody can.

Reprinted from the August, 1997 edition of the Singles Network Newsletter courtesy of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, Texas (May 24, 1973 edition)

"The kiss originated when the first male reptile licked the first female reptile, implying in a subtle, complimentary way that she was as succulent as the small reptile he had for dinner the night before."

-- F. Scott Fitzgerald

A Few Words & Phrases that you didnít know a short time ago ~

Taliban

Burque

Al Queda

Triage

W

WTC

WWW

Segway

.com business

web site

email

floppy disc

diskette

CD (the other kind)

CD ROM

Hard drive

Software

Online

Internet

Web-based initiative

Cell phone

Fax

Satellite reception

Cable TV

VCR

VHF

Voice mail

Fuel injection

Proactive

Reganomics

Greenhouse effect

Ecosystem

Seventh generation

El niŮo

Kiwi

Yogurt

Bagel

Explaining Enron Terminology

Background Terminology

FeudalismóYou have two cows. Your lord takes some of the milk.

FascismóYou have two cows. The government takes both, hires you to take care of them, sells you the milk.

CommunismóYou have two cows. Your neighbors help take care of them and you share the milk.

TotalitarianismóYou have two cows. The government takes both and denies they ever existed and drafts you into the army. Milk is banned.

CapitalismóYou have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull. Your herd multiplies. You sell the milk and some of the meat and the economy grows. You sell the herd and retire on the income.

Enron Venture CapitalismóYou have two cows. You sell three of them to your publicly listed company using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows.
The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the right to all seven cows back to your listed company. The annual report says that the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more.

"Multiple contingencies confuse the enemy. If you can't keep a secret, you can leak them to death."
--Rumsfeld

 

 

A Motherís Garden of Knowledge

by Mary Carol Lewis

Experience provides a wealth of information.

  1. Candles will burn for a long time inside a bathroom cabinet before going out, being detected or setting the cabinet on fire.
  2. It takes 7.39 minutes for a fire truck to reach a suburban house at 7pm in the spring.
  3. A butcher knife will chip a bathtub if the knife is banged against it repeatedly.
  4. Young children can usually jump from a garage to a mattress on the ground without breaking an arm or leg.
  5. It takes 23 minutes to get to the childrenís hospital from my house in mid-afternoon.
  6. Children rarely lose their balance and break their front teeth when dangling between kitchen cabinets.
  7. It takes 31 minutes to get to the dentistís office from my house in the evening.
  8. It is easy to build a fire in your playhouse without anyone finding out until it burns down.
  9. It takes 9.53 minutes for a fire truck to reach the house at 4pm in the summer.
  10. Even using batting to fill the spaces, a crate does not create a bathtub that will hold water.
  11. Weed seeds that look like wheat do not perform like flour in mud pies.
  12. Given enough time one child can cover all the walls of a white closet with a phrase such as "What New York Needs is a Four-Day Week" with only one green crayon.
  13. It takes 2 Ĺ hours to paint the inside of a closet with white paint.
  14. Yes, Virginia, a two-year-old can climb a 20 foot ladder that is leaning against the roof of a house.
  15. It took 9 minutes for a fireman to arrive in 1951.
  16. A child can put a black crayon mark the length of a newly-painted hallway during a parentís long distance call.
  17. It takes 48 minutes, plus preparation and clean-up, to paint over a black crayon mark in a long, white hallway.
  18. A child in a campground can white R O C K on 37 limestone boulders in one hour using only charcoal from the fire pits.

 Summer Letters

+             June 5

My Darling,

Of course I love you; I can hardly bear to be out of your presence this long, hot summer. Do you realize that this is the first time we have been apart (not counting those three days you spent in Philadelphia *sigh*).

But as I told you at our last, warm (*sigh*) embrace, I must explore myself as a woman -- all alone. I must get in touch with my inner feelings and draw deeply from the well of my existence.

Iím so glad you understand my need for independence. Thatís one of the things I need in someone I love deeply.

I am sitting under an oak tree at the camp entrance. I havenít met anyone yet -- or even set up your "shrine" on my dresser. The adorable dleegies you made for me will remind me of you all summer. I will write you often. Are you the Adonis of my dreams?

Your own Sylvia

PS. Camp is really dry and dusty this year.

+ June 6

My Alexander,

Morning Thought: Isnít it inevitable that I would love someone as sweetly wonderful as you are. Your mother was so wise to give you a kingís name! 

(I hope your mother never finds out about our last weekend together! !)

There arenít many other camp counselors, and they seem to be mostly "Yankees" so Iíll be mostly walking through the woods and thinking of you (and my search within my inner soul, of course).

My girls are really fun, but there are several activities for them here, so I should have plenty of time alone. These cabins seem to be a lot hotter than when I came as a kid.

Your loving Sylvia

+                         June 8

Dear Jane,

Camp life is pretty routine. "My girls" are wonderful. They are learning to do so much, and most of them have gotten over homesickness by now. There are so many activities here, and Iím only doing swimming, so I should have plenty of time to do my "soul work."

There are an even number of male and female counselors here. (Its almost like we were paired! What an insult!) They will all know soon enough, however, that Iím an INDEPENDENT WOMAN and not available to ANYONE (and of course, if I ever were to make a commitment, Alex would be my consort of choice -- but I CAN NOT promise to spend the rest of my life in our hometown!)

One counselor teaches ropes, another canoes, another crafts, and one brought a telescope to teach astronomy (No Dodo Bird, astronomy!) I donít know anything about constellations, but Bob makes it all sound so interesting! Must go -- the camp bell is ringing! It is REALLY hot here.

Love, Sylvia

+ June 13

Dear Alexander,

The counselor who teaches astronomy took the rest of us to the top of the mountain after supper yesterday. He showed us how to find several of the constellations. It was magnificent! Saturn really does have rings -- just like Mrs. Frobrish told us in the fourth grade! Amazing! It was so cool up there. There was a gentle breeze, so some of us stayed behind for a long time to listen to the wind whispering in the leaves.

My girls stay really busy. Yesterday Pattiís pet squirrel got into the cabin and ran around wildly -- he knocked over your picture and spilled the water in the mustard jar Iím using as a vase. There was water all over my bed! What a mess! I had nowhere to sleep! But fortunately Bob came over to help with the clean-up. We laughed and laughed. It is so cool to walk on the mountain in the evening. 

More later. I love you. Sylvia

+         July 5

Dear Alex,

Wow! The fireworks were spectacular! We could see four different fireworks shows in the valley from the top of the mountain. And the sky was so clear that we were able to watch Orion set and pick out the planets.

Have you ever thought how much our inner souls are like the universe we can see in the night sky? There are points of living fire in a sea of velvet darkness. There are clusters of events in our lives that change our existence -- and sometimes they revolve around each other like a binary star. And sometimes there are small, daily things in our lives that eclipse the sun of our eternal existence. Oops, I guess Iím getting too philosophical for you again. Must go -- got to get out of this heat! Itís "up the mountain for me!" Write again soon. 

Yours, Sylvia

July 30

Dear Jane,

How are things at home? I was thinking today about how much Alex and Sally have in common. Is Sally working in her Momís bakery again this summer? Is she still crazy about Alex? You and Pete would really enjoy doubling with them sometime, Iíll bet. The four of you would have a wonderful time!

Things are past wondrous here. The rain night before last really cooled things off at camp. One of the counselors and I got caught in the storm! We were walking near the top of the mountain and had to work our way down in the mud! It was great! We used the camp hose to clean off. You should have seen the mud in my hair! The camp kids call us "Mr. and Mrs. Bigfoot"!

Well, Iíd better go. Itís almost time for my evening walk, and I still need to iron my dress.

Much love, Sylvia

August 15

Al --

Iím glad to hear that you and Sally hit it off so well last weekend. Iíll bet that drag race was really fun to watch! (Jane wrote yesterday.)

Itís so good to have a friend like you. Iíve enjoyed all four of the letters you sent, and that knapsack thing you sent has been really useful for carrying the books of poetry I bought to read when I reach the top of the mountain.

Bob knows a lot about poetry. He has read three of Shakespeareís comedies to me -- all the way through! I found out that he is from Massachusetts -- so he is not really a Yankee, you know.

Well, Iíve got to get back to the lake for swimming classes. Bob will be waiting for me.

See ya, Syl

+         August 25

Dear Jane,

Hope I get to see you when Iím in town. Iíll only stop by for two days. Iíll be moving to Boston in a week. Bobís parents -- they are really nice -- got me a job so I can work while he finishes law school. Say hello to Alex for me -- the two of you have been my friends forever, so start putting aside money now so you can come to the wedding next June.

Love always, Sylvia

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