A Rose by any other Name

At one point of my home ownership, I was given a lovely rose-bush which I planted in the front yard. That rose was what I would call a traditional rose, like so many roses that are given as a gift or as a corsage. That rose eventually died as roses thrive in cooler climes. At some point, I was given a different kind of rose–a so-called desert rose. It thrived for many years, grew larger and even attracted people to my yard when it was in bloom. However, at some point, it began to look needy. I therefore put it in a larger container and, for a time, it appeared to recover but then suddenly took a turn for the worse and died. Since then I have tried several times to root pieces of desert rose stock, so far unsuccessfully. My latest rooting was given to me by a friend in Palmetto whose mother has a desert rose. If this rooting is unsuccessful, I am promised I will inherit the desert rose when the mother passes away. In the meantime, I am certainly willing to do my best to cultivate the cutting, hoping once more to see in my yard a beautiful desert rose.

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Dimitris and I both have memberships at the library, which is perfectly legal. Usually when we drive to the library to pick up material, he goes in while I sit in the car, saving myself the uphill walk. Gradually, the library workers have learned that we are partners. I have picked up for Dimitris several times while he has been in Greece. I guess I have never been challenged as most of the library assistants are people with whom I worked when I was volunteering at the library. This afternoon, I decided to drive over and pick up two DVDs that were being held on Dimitris’ card. Thank goodness, Dimitris always leaves his library card with me when he is gone. Therefore I presented his card to a young lady whom I did not know. She looked at me; she looked at the card and requested identification. I guess I did not look like a Dimitris Tsitsiras. Thank goodness, Charly, one of the librarians with whom I worked, spoke up for me. I teased her about being “carded” at the library.

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Bloody Work

I just had blood work done for a routine checkup. My appointment was scheduled for 8:30 in the morning and required that I not eat or drink anything other than water after midnight, the night before. Because of the problem finding a vein, I’m encouraged to drink a lot of water before my appointment. When scheduling these appointments, I always insist on “the earlier, the better.” 8:30 was an okay time; 9:45 was not. Because my appointment turned out to be the morning after I was to see my granddaughter in a play in Naples, FL, I had to reschedule that “blood-letting” appointment. 9:45 was the time I was reassigned. Bad! As it turned out, I went to the gym at 8:00, finished riding the in-place bicycle at 9:00, came home, took a shower and headed to the doctor’s office. I signed in and, before I could sit down, the nurse called “Thom, don’t sit down.” The blood work was done, and I was on my way home for my cereal and cup of coffee.

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Advil, the Miracle Drug

Rick Coffman has been my Saturday morning bowling partner for oh so many years. We can’t remember when we started bowling, but it was probably back in the 1980s. Our first bowling alley burned down after being heavily damaged by a tropical storm that hit St. Petersburg. Our second bowling place informed us one Saturday morning that they were adding leagues and had no more room for us. Liberty Lanes, our latest bowling establishment, meets all of our needs to satisfy our two-game bowling appetites. Although Rick is younger than I, we have sort of blended age-wise over the years. I have teased him about our bowling scores not improving. Last week, when he complimented me on my score of 155, he asked, “What do you think is the reason for your improvement?” I responded, “two Advil.” He said, “I also take Advil every Saturday morning before bowling. We agreed that perhaps we should call our bowling partnership, “The Advils.”

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My Granddaughter, the Star

My eleven-year-old granddaughter Gracey has been building on a career in Hollywood (or on Broadway) ever since she was born. For years, I took her to a dinner theater so that she got a good introduction into musical theater. She loved it. She was fortunate that there was a very good youth theater group in Naples, FL, where she lives with her parents, and I saw her perform with that group once or twice. Though she was one of the younger ones, she did amazingly well. The latest achievement was a performance of “Fiddler on the Roof” done at her school. The youngest member of the cast was a 3rd grader; the oldest, a sixth grader. The production was awesome with great praise deserving of not only the cast but also the music director who seemed to enjoy the performance even more than the kids as she watched them sing, make appropriate gestures, deliver jokes sometime well-timed while others were not so well-timed but still hilarious to the audience, made up mostly of parents and family. Gracey, my little star, was Tevye. I will never forget this evening, and I thank God that He has given me 79 years so that I could experience the joy of grandchildren.


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A Haircut a la Forrest Gump (re-edited)

Although my barber’s name is Christine, behind her back, I call her my “barbara.” She’s been cutting my hair for quite a while at the Disston Barber Shop just off 49th Street. The shop is very convenient for me, and I head over there about once a month. Christine not only gives a good trim, but she is quite a talker. She’s presently attending college, and I hear about her favorite as well as her unfavorite classes and professors. I’ve been going to this barber shop for my $12.00 plus a $2.00 tip haircut for years. Not only is the shop convenient, but I usually don’t have to wait very long. There’s a sign on the door that says “Friendly Barber Shop.” I tease Christine occasionally, reminding her that I have come for a “friendly” haircut. Once when I went in for my monthly cut, Christine wasn’t there so I allowed someone I didn’t know to cut my hair. When I checked on the cut, I found that I had been butchered on the sides. My first reaction was that it would soon grow out. However, my bowling buddies’ evaluation was: “Where did you get that Forrest Gump haircut?”

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How Green is my Yard

I live in a typical middle-class neighborhood. My home, which was built in 1987, is one of the newer homes in the neighborhood because there once was another house on my lot. When I had this house built, I had a beautifully sodded lawn, the envy of the neighborhood. However, I found that it was too expensive to dig a deepwater well plus, at the beginning, I had no sprinkler system. So now, I do not have one of the greener lawns in the neighborhood although, in the fall, I planted winter rye which did fairly well. However, I realized that the rye grass would disappear with the advent of spring so I spread shade tolerant grass seeds several weeks ago, hoping for a bumper crop. Now, I can’t tell what is new growth and what is the old rye grass. I do know though that I need to give it another round of seeds as the grass does not completely cover the lawn. My neighbor, across the street, who has an impeccable lawn, will be the determiner of whether or not my lawn is up to par. If it isn’t, trust me, he will let me know. Thanks, Ted.

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