This is among my very earliest memories: my father carrying me in his arms, rocking me, and singing this to me: You Are My Sunshine. And if I tried to sing it now, wit you well, it would make me cry. I dassn’t even play it on my harmonica.
I had these fantods, see, of undefined scary things assembling outside my bedroom window and whispering evilly among themselves, just waiting for me to fall asleep so they could come in and get me. So Daddy had to come and calm me down, which of course he always did.
I hope he knows how much I miss him.
And now I have to stop, because it’s getting to me.
This is shameful. I know I’m being manipulated by my cats, and yet they succeed in manipulating me anyway. Neither of them has yet jumped onto my head while I’m brushing my teeth, but they do try to stop me writing.
Meow. Meow. Meow. It’s like the water torture. Robbie is agitating for cat food. I say, “Do you think I don’t know how full of it you are? Do you think I don’t know that as soon as I serve up the food, you’ll walk away and let Peep eat it all, so you can keep on bugging me?” Meow, she explained.
Except at mealtime, Robbie totally dominates Peep. Then the food is put out, and she turns into the incredible shrinking violet. All right, this time Peep didn’t eat it all, so now Robbie’s having some.
*Sigh* Back to work. If they’ll let me.
Who couldn’t use a few Sundays like this one?
And I have pressed wrong keys galore, for reasons which will soon become apparent… We’ll just see if I can publish this post at all.
This is their sequel, “The Phantom of the Pines”
I post this as a tribute to my brother-in-law, Ray, who wrote the book on the Jersey Devil. Well, this book, at least. And a sequel.
If you ever have occasion to read Weird N.J. Magazine, you’ll learn that people are still having run-ins with the Jersey Devil today.
Ray died last year, but his work lives on.
I’m happy to report that my sister Alice made it safely through the last four weeks of that crazy stupid job that was killing her, and is now free. Falling asleep behind the wheel of her car, and getting awakened and warned by a police officer, convinced her that she had to cut herself loose. “It was the Holy Spirit warning me,” she said.
I thank all of you who prayed for her. I thank the Lord for getting her out of there before those 20-hour days destroyed her. Falling asleep while driving on the highway–that could have killed somebody else, too. Anyway, He brought her through it and now she’s safe.
Thank you, Father: we know you hear our prayers.
The lesson: keep on praying.
Boy, oh, boy, did I love these when I was a little boy! Marx jungle animals–I still have dozens of them in my toy box. I think I was five years old when Aunt Millie gave me my first little set of them.
I used these as characters in “stories” that went on all summer, or all winter, or whenever. I gave them names and put them in adventures. Some of those pictured above are newer than any of mine, but ten of them are originals from the 1950s.
Sometimes my brother or my friends would join me in playing out these little dramas, and sometimes I played alone. Once I started getting dinosaurs and cavemen, too, the stories got more exciting. Lost treasures, nasty big game hunters that had to be dealt with, lost worlds full of monsters–whatever popped into our heads, often inspired by a movie or TV show, we used. Unusually, I rarely played with little army men. I was committed to the animals.
Do kids still do this kind of play? Or has it all be buried under a mass of video games? I don’t know. Maybe some of you have children or grandchildren who use their toys to act out stories. Careful–they might grow up to be fantasy writers.
Aren’t they cute? Bright green baby iguanas, small enough to perch on your finger.
I had my iguana for 17 years, and this was what he was like when I got him. If you’re thinking of adopting a baby iguana–the adults tend to be set in their ways–make sure you take the time and trouble to raise it up to be a good iguana and a good pet. They’re social animals, and they will learn if someone teaches them.
Handle your baby a lot, albeit gently, let him ride on your shoulder while you’re doing something else, feed him by hand every day, and you’ll be rewarded with an adult iguana that’s calm, peaceful, friendly, and self-assured. Mine always tried to make friends with dogs: shows you where his head was at. Throughout his life, various good women (my mother, my sister, a neighbor, and my wife) somehow wound up making nice salads for him. I was able to bring him in to school when I had an art class, so the kids could draw him and give him snacks, and he was always perfectly well behaved.
It’s true for most animals: they will respond to love and care. And they will love us back, which is one of the coolest things that God has done.
This is one of the songs my father used to sing to us when we were little. He had quite a repertoire of songs, just right for those awkward moments when you were sure there was a ghost just outside your bedroom window. If you were really in a bad way, he’d sing “You Are My Sunshine.” Not so bad, you’d get “Sweet Violets.”
But I think he sang “The Jones Boy” because he really liked it. I was five years old when the Mills Brothers first sang it on the air; my brother Mark was two, and my sister Alice hadn’t been born yet. Later on in life I remember my father playing the spoons as he sung this.
Anyway, here it is from 1957 on glorious black-and-white TV: the Mills Brothers, and “The Whole Town’s Talking About the Jones Boy.” It was a big hit for them, but I’ll always remember the way my daddy sang it.
Thank you, everybody, for your prayers: God must have heard them, because the doctor told me this morning that I’m doing very well–nothing wrong with me that some fish oil capsules won’t cure. That’s for lowering my cholesterol, and I can live with that. Everything else, he said, is just my body aging.
Meanwhile, I would much appreciate it if you’d all continue to pray for my wife. We are two wheels united by the axle of our marriage, and if one can’t turn, neither can the other. You should’ve seen the work she did, preparing our taxes–and without the fatzing instruction booklet, which did not become available to us until yesterday, literally just an hour or two after she’d finished her colossal amount of work. Patty always sticks with a task until she’s done it: an inspiration to me.