Donna

A girl by the name of, Donna, stopped over last night. She came to check out my flavored pasta sauce because she’d heard (info gets spread quickly here in Clever.) about the delicious aroma wafting through the air, emanating from this place.

She came to the front door even though the garage door was opened wide, being polite I guess. The young lady (well young to me) in her late thirties – early forties introduced herself and pointed to where she lived. Just two doors up and on the other side of the street.

“It’s good to see you guys are doing great! Hi,” she said to Steph through the screen. Stephanie feigned interest as she replied with a “Hello” and headed to her room and more drawing.

Donna continued, “Wow you are such a great cook! Neighbors talk about the wonderful scent, maybe you can teach me? Last night i cooked sauce with diced chicken. Also, I included onions and peppers with some really twirly pasta.”

“Probably Rotini Pasta” I replied. “Sounds great! Maybe you better give me lessons.”

“Tomorrow morning,” she said, “I’m cooking Quiche, bacon Quiche, with a Raspberry Truffle for dessert. I enjoy cooking and have a passion for cooking so I experiment at times.”

“That is the best thing to do,” I said, “I would be glad to be your taste-tester and especially tomorrow because I love Quiche and all kinds. I’ve never had a bad one!”

“l have to leave for work now. They’ve got me on the graveyard shift over at the recycling place in Republic. I just wanted to welcome you to the neighborhood. Please give my regards to Stephanie.”

“Well it’s sure been nice talking to you. Let’s get together soon…maybe for that Quiche, give me a call. And it was sure nice meeting you also. Don’t work too hard, bye.

 

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Happy Birthday, Dad!

Dad died on my birthday in 2014.  Was there any significance in that? Was it a warning of some sort? A weird coincidence? Those thoughts have been among the many as I wish Dad a happy birthday, in Heaven. I know Dad is in heaven because he was saved through the grace of God, because his wife was”Born Again.”

1 Corinthians 7:14 English Standard Version (ESV) 14 For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.

Dad was not unbelieving but he was not pure either.  See, I know without a doubt of his happiness with Mom as they rise each morning in each other’s arms.  They had a strong love for one another while here on earth. They imparted knowledge and goodness in the hearts of their children. They now care for each other the day long while they go about their tasks.

HPIM0221
Always happy Dad with little Steph whom he teased, “You’re pretty, almost pretty as me.”

Dad was also taught the crudeness of this world at a young age (thirteen) and worked nearly everyday until his death at age eighty-four.  He loved work and that’s what he did his whole life…Saturday, Sunday, it made no difference to him and as a matter-of-fact seven days a week were best. He had to quit school and get a job after his parochial days had come to an end.  An eighth grade education. No high school.

Dad couldn’t understand people retiring, “What the hell do they do all day?”

He passed life-lessons on to those who would listen and did so in in a lighthearted way.  Dad had a grand understanding of the way of the world. That understanding left his heart stained and blocked God from working real blessings in his life.  He was a good man. Dad’s integrity was unshakable, fair and just.

He made many happy customers from all walks of life – and through each business he owned.  He was never a pretentious man. He made many friends and associates through his, home decorating services, and carpet store. Long after most of his colleagues and friends had either retired or died – our dad bought and turned a doomed restaurant into a success, his age, eighty-one.

fredpizza250
Dad’s Pizza pie at his Romolo’s restaurant, love you, Dad.

Dad possessed the Midas touch and was successful with his decorating business – his carpet store – and his restaurant.  The latter was his ruin; in part for wanting to care for everybody.  Bothered greatly that he was unable to assuage everybody’s problems, he went to be with Dorothy in Heaven.

Though raised a Catholic (was even an altar boy at Saint Pat’s) he turned on the Catholic faith because of what he and his eventual wife (Dorothy) were told by the priest before marrying.  When the priest told Dad that he had to sign a paper pledging to raise their children in that faith…Dad would not do it.  He wouldn’t allow anybody to tell him how to raise his kids, not yet here.

Christmas, 1968, Peggy, me, Dad, Linda and David
Dad standing behind me and my siblings…Christmas long ago

Me and my siblings knew of the parent’s sincerity to each other.  They were just two young kids starting out.  Doing the best they knew how and even with their foibles they were exceptional parents, always setting a good example.  When Mom or Dad had a hard time with anything at all, it was each other they looked to, and received their comfort from.

Happy Birthday, Dad!

 

Autumn 1947 - 18 years
1948 – My handsome father

 

1948 - 17 years

My beautiful mother –
1948

 

 

’37 Chev Master Deluxe

“Steve – get up!”  Mom didn’t have to say anything to wake me because I was already up and ready for school.  I was a junior in high school in 1971 but had gotten my driver’s license a year earlier on my sixteenth birthday.  I was already on my third car.

37 chev 3_4 view front and back

My love of cars continues to this day. I used to change them – sometimes two in the same year, and, I imagine each one was beautiful for some untold reason.  Nowadays I get five years out of a car before getting the itch to buy a new one.  I always bought in extremes, you know, from an older one to a newer one – from a big one to a small one – a foreign one to bigger and more comfortable domestic model – from a luxury, large “vette-looking” ’66 Olds Toronado to a tiny, but brand new Datsun B210.

Somewhere along the line a group of us thrill-seeking kids began playing chicken with our cars.  You know how the game is played? Two people in two different cars aim them at each other and floor it…the first one to veer off is a chicken. We played a different version.  We drove through the five car wash bays – in different directions and as fast as the cars would allow.  The first to back speedily away was chicken.  I had more guts with the older cars, but this new one didn’t have a scratch or dent on it.  I was chicken, but not for myself.  I wanted to protect the new car.  Nobody was afraid of that lightweight thing.  I earned my quick reactionary defensive driving skills from that time.

My next venture was naturally the other extreme though I hung onto the new car and bought a beat up ’57 Chevy pickup with a half-inch steel plate for the front bumper with three rubber tires wrapped vertically on it.  I riveted window-wells for fenders in the back and spray-painted it all a cloud grey. Now who wants to play chicken? Nobody did.

I sold the pick-up and bought the 1937 Chev Master Deluxe four-door with the gangster (real gangster) running boards.  The suicide-doors were a real touch of class. style. The car was, as far as I could tell, all original except that it was painted with a  flat grey primer just waiting for the lustrous paint job.

A small hump ran the width of the trunk and down to the bumper. The windshield wipers were vacuum powered and worked ridiculously. I mean, if you gave the car gas they would swish furiously, but otherwise there was a long pause in between swipes.

No, Mom didn’t need to wake me that morning all those years ago.  That was the first day Dad allowed me to drive that car to school so I was readily excited.  I went to pick up my friend, Jerry. Just as I pulled into his long driveway the gangster car killed.   Jerry had been my friend since we were in diapers. His mom used to change them while we were in the nursery at Hayden Height’s Baptist Church.

“Hey Legs…” my nickname when driving this car.  Legs in actuality was a nickname for  Jack Diamond.   “Legs Diamond” was one of the celebrated gangsters from that era.  Diamond was known for leading a flamboyant lifestyle, and he enjoyed being seen at nightclubs. He was a womanizer, and his best known mistress was showgirl and dancer Marion “Kiki” Roberts. The public loved Diamond, and for a time he was a media darling.  Legs Diamond

It’s unclear how he obtained the nickname “Legs,” but it’s generally believed it was derived either from his being a good dancer or from his uncanny ability to escape his enemies. I liked a photo of him wearing a suit with a diamond stick pin in his tie. I wanted the whole 30’s gangster look while driving the car.  I even wore a white fedora to keep up appearances.

I told Jerry how the car had killed when I pulled in his driveway and that I couldn’t get it started again.  We, or I got out and stood next to Jerry looking at the antique engine.

He said, “You get back in and when I tell you to turn it over go ahead and try it.”

His dad sauntered out of the one-car tiny garage and came over to see what was going on then told me, “I used to have one of these back in ’39.  What seems to be the problem?”

He probably did have one back then.  Jerry’s dad, John, was seventy years old. Heck Jerry’s oldest brother was my dad’s age (about 40). Dad was often looked upon as my  brother and when customers said that aloud he would always quip, “Yeah and I’m the youngest!”

Jerry’s dad was calm about the situation. If it were my dad, hands would have been flying to accompany his swearing tongue and no doubt the car would have been punched many times. My dad was a helluva guy but he didn’t have patience nor did he desire to do so much as change the oil on a car.  Dad paid to have all automobile work done and he liked it that way.  He commanded good fees for his services and never complained about what another charged.  He was a true-blue capitalist.

John asked me if I still had the crank for it?

“Really? It’s got a crank? I didn’t think they made them for a car this new.”

“Aaah, I used one many times on this model.”    We rummaged through the trunk and sure enough, he found one.

John had me and Jerry try it per his instructions, but we couldn’t do it.

Then I noticed him smelling the air and he matter-of-factly said, “It’s flooded. Let it sit for about five minutes and then try it again.”

He cranked it after positioning it just right and a couple cranks later – vroom, vroom. I was excited and thanked him.

John said, “I better follow you boys to school in case it breaks down again.”

He had just given it a fast, temporary fix but it held to get us to school and to make some rounds through the parking lot with kids jumping on the running boards and jumping off at the door to school.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Corner Cafe”

My daughter and I just moved to Clever from Nixa and we attend Riverdale Baptist Church. Our pastor (Jamie Bilyeu) recommended this place as he has eaten here a number of times. Last Sunday morning we decided to give the, “Corner Cafe” a try before heading onto morning worship service.

We are so glad we made the stop. The little cafe was filled and as soon as one got up from the table, there was another to take their place (the sign of a good restaurant). We only had to wait a couple minutes – it was worth the short wait!

However, I am a slow eater and so only ordered their raisin toast which came already buttered (fantastic), and was a perfect compliment to their coffee.

My daughter on the other hand really enjoyed their cheese omelette and that omelette included tasty hash-browns as well. Stephanie said, “That was really good Dad. How many eggs did they use?” Apparently, theirs was better-tasting than my three egg omelette, oh well.

We completed our meals at the same time and we had to hurry off to church. We will be returning maybe for a dinner but breakfast for sure.

Leong’s Asian Diner

I mentioned the other day about visiting, Leong’s Asian Diner, in Springfield, MO. Well this is a brief follow-up on that restaurant…This may have been said before but the the ambiance of the place contributed to the tastiness of their food, I’m sure. http://www.leongsasiandiner.com/  Their relaxing atmosphere reminded me of my favorite seaside restaurant in the Philippines.

Without knowing the history of, or the owner of Leong’s, I can only tell of our experience. I appreciated being offered our choice of teas to drink instead of of bombardment of alcoholic beverages, which they also had. I ordered the sweetened tea while Stephanie ordered a raspberry iced tea. She told me it didn’t taste any different than a sweet tea and yet we were charged a dollar more for it? That was the only negative of the experience.

Stephanie had a cup of Egg Drop Soup that she said was, “Yummy,” even with vegetables. “You might even like this soup Dad.” It was a chicken and egg soup simmered in a velvety soy chicken broth.

But, I had a large dinner salad with cherry-like tomatoes and my favored Bleu-Cheese Dressing. The salad was scrumptious! After that we were served our main entrees’.

Stephanie’s, Sweet & Sour Chicken topped with a tangy sauce that was sprinkled with shaved carrots and pineapples. That meal included rice and was served first and it looked delicious, Steph, said that it was.

Next, i was served my entree’ of Cashew Chicken with rice. It was fantastic! The perfect amount of thicker, delectable sauce and Cashews. Stephanie of course finished before me…everybody does. I was filling up, but it was so tasty, that I ate every morsel.

Then the dessert arrived, a decadent, strawberry cheesecake that Stephanie was unable to finish…so not wanting to send anything back…I made myself eat that remaining delectable dessert.

We will be back because in part of Jonathan, our server who was but one of the busy wait people.🙂🙂🙂🙂🙂🙂

Home of the Original Springfield Style Cashew Chicken!
leongsasiandiner.com

Boho Love

“Boho Love” is the love of boho fashions.  I am not a gypsy, nor a hippie, nor a Bohemian but I did have romances with all three. Those love-ins qualify me as an expert, right?

In those days – the 1960’s & 70’s nobody was out to set fashion statements.  One just purchased what the department stores and shops were selling.  Who knew that 30-40 years later those bell-bottom jeans 8c0d6e693830c205c8291bce77c39588would become the epitome of a generation of kids?

Some of the styles hint at eroticism without going there.  These lady models have nice figures – no bulbous butts here. It is a fashion sense that seems to have been born of the Internet.

The Gypsy:  The original gypsy came from Northern India but are now on all continents. Traditionally, gypsies lived by doing seasonal work and…fortune-telling.  They wandered from place to place and had their own style, though, Gypsies of yore never thougHippie girlht about being stylish; they wore what they had.  Now their dress has been glorified and modified to sell.

Hippy: Someone who rejects the established culture.  Their attire has been glorified in recent years and has become an integral part of the BOHO look.Bohemian, hippie, gypsy style.

Bohemian:  A vagabond, wanderer or gypsy, a person (such as a writer or an artist) living an unconventional life usually in a colony with others. Well you get the idea and the feel and can certainly see the similarities…..

 

 

 

Dizzy Time

Another wonderful Wednesday evening.  We will be returning our books to the library in Ozark tonight at their convenient library drop box, after our Wednesday evening Bible teaching.  And after all the years that have passed (well over fifty) I began recalling library thoughts of some of my youngest years.

I spent hours at the Hayden Heights Public Library on the East Side of St. Paul while in grade school. I read many classics (they were classics to me) like, “The GashouseGang:   How Dizzy Dean, Leo Durocher, Branch Rickey,  Pepper Martin, and

Image result for gashouse gang's uniform in world series season

Their Colorful, Come-from-Behind Ball Club Won the World Series—and America’s Heart—During the Great Depression.”  Yeah, that was a real classic to a ten year old boy who loved playing ball!

In those days, (late fifties and early sixties) we played the game on the street in front of the house.  We could do that because there were few cars parked there.  Not everybody owned a car, most did, but they usually parked them behind the homes in the alleyway, in or near their garage.

The only thing we had to worry about was the occasional ball going over the fence and into, “Old man Crabby’s” yard.  If he were feeling good he’d toss the ball back – right away – into the game, but there were a couple o’ times, we never saw them again. Or, if one of us smacked a grounder and a fielder couldn’t get to the ball before it rolled into the sewer, but we’d always get those back.  One of us younger kids always had to lift the heavy steel plate covering the top and jump in to retrieve the ball.  Those sewers were dry and surprisingly clean. When one of us retrieved the ball and hoisted ourselves back to the top a lot of cheering and teasing would ensue. It was a sewer, but a storm sewer to catch excess water runoff during bad weather.

Those were simpler times…duck and cover drills in hallways and under desks at school….sure, that would save us!  At times we were marched out onto the playground where we stood grouped together. At lunch we had to time how long it took us to reach our homes and safety. We kids were of the notion that whenever the warning sirens went off that they were air raids. Drills or not, I watched the sky.

Anyway Dizzy, I’ll bet if I tried I could be just like you and strike everybody out!  Well it wasn’t in the Card’s  – get the pun?  I joined a little league team called the Kansas City Athletics – remember that team?  It was after their move from Philadelphia but before their move to Oakland.  We had their colors (green with gold outlines) on a kelly-green t-shirt and emblem on the ball cap.

Other books read about him made Dizzy my idol.  He and his teammates pulled many shenanigans which made them fun to read about and I bet even more fun to watch. I felt like turning into a him when I pitched for the 1st Electric Little League team in Perryville, Arkansas.  Little league teams here in the south have a following with many people coming out to watch the games.

Dizzy also grew up in Arkansas, partly in Yell County (a neat name for a county) my daughter says, “Yeah that’s my county; I like that.”.  We had a professional-looking uniform – socks, pants, jersey, cap and I had a real pitcher’s mitt (at least that’s what I’d been told. In actuality, it was a right-handed first baseman’s glove.  I was proud of it and oiled the sweet spot with spit.  I rubbed it over and over into the leather glove!  I pitched a couple summer months for them.

I was told I looked good during my wind-up and that was great because there was a girl I wanted to impress…Regina, my southern belle.

That book led me to other sports minded reading and I was into the boxing world for a while. My interest in pugilism came about because of, Gillette’s Friday Night Fights.

.I remember watching those matches on our little, but beautiful, Philco cabinet T V.  Gillette would be advertising their foamy shave cream as the glamour girls paraded the numbers of each successive round.

Those televised fights kept Dad around a while longer on Friday nights so that encouraged me to read of the champions through the years…John L Sullivan,  (Gentleman) Jim Corbett, Jack Johnson (the Galveston Giant) 6’1″ I believe, Gene Tunney (The Fighting Marine), Jack Dempsey (Kid Blackie & The Manassa Mauler), Joe Louis ( The Brown Bomber) and undefeated – Rocky Marciano (The Brockton Blockbuster – The Rock from Brockton)! That is only a short list of some who stood out in my mind.

My brother and I could never get through an episode without fighting each other.  Then, when it was nearly over, Dad would join in and playfully thump us over and over before heading out the door to his card game.  Mom worried that my brother Fred and I would hurt each other but Dad told her, “They’re not old enough to hurt each other,” and away he’d go.

Nonetheless, Dad sat us doImage result for rocky-marciano picwn to impart words of wisdom – “You guys better not ever get into a fight with someone. But if you do – you better not lose or you’ll get it worse when you get home.   And don’t worry I‘ll find out!”

This kid was now in the seventh grade. My older brother, Fred was in ninth and Dad and I were driving down the alley behind our home searching for my brother who had run away, I mentioned to Dad, “I’m thinking of joining the Golden Gloves.”

I think he was in a heavy-hearted mood because he quietly said, “Ahh Steve, you don’t wanna do that.  You’re a good-looking kid.  You’ll wind up getting a broken nose and cauliflower ears.  You’ve seen Tommie’s flattened nose and ears haven’t ya’? He used to box while in the Navy.  Naa, you don’t wanna do that… We didn’t find Fred Jr. that night but soon thereafter he was home again.

Wednesday evenings while sitting in the pew thoughts and remembrances begin zipping through my head.  Not important or even interesting thoughts, but maybe good enough…for Facebook, maybe?