everythingyoualwayswantedtosaybutwereafraid

Things you always wanted to say but were afraid

Archive for the month “March, 2012”

Easter in an Islamic country

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Many years ago, I went to Iran with my then 3-year-old first-born son.  I went to work for Bell International, but ended up working for the military because of the benefits.

When Easter came, the NCO club dyed 60 dozen (yes 60) hard-boiled eggs for an Easter egg hunt.  First off, let me forewarn you that I am not a holiday person.  I really don’t care for any of them.  They have become just too commercialized for me, plus they always involve a family crisis.  I think I might have liked them when I was young, but all the good feelings have long been shadowed by feelings of dread and forced smiles and relief when they are over.

Back then, however, I had a small child that was still excitable about those things, and I was a long way from home so I tried to compensate.  (I should have just quit all together when I had the opportunity.)  (O.K. maybe not. Maybe it’s just been a cynical day.)  Enough parenthesis.

We went to the egg hunt and of course my little darling found 63 eggs.  Now, that sounds like a lot, but when you think about 60 dozen…  Image Detail

Of course the question immediately comes to mind, what do we do with 63 eggs?  Well, for those of you that don’t know, Iranians eat a lot of boiled eggs.  We like boiled eggs, but they eat A LOT of boiled eggs.  Most eat one or two for breakfast every day.  Knowing that, I thought it would be a good idea to give away as many of our boiled eggs as quickly as possible so they would not go to waste.  My son and I proudly carried a basket of several different colored boiled eggs downstairs to our landlord’s house.  They invited us in, and as I told the story of the Easter egg hunts (remember Islamic country; does not practice Jesus resurrection), I noticed they began looking toward the basket.  It was hard enough for them to understand how a rabbit brings boiled eggs for kids to hunt as some sort of significance to resurrection and Jesus, but when I handed them the basket their faces were shocked.  I couldn’t understand what that look was about until Mr. Shab asked me quite seriously, “How many different colors of chickens do you have?”

They would not eat the eggs, and he politely declined both my eggs and my explanation of egg hunting.

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Another helping hand

 

Isn’t it amazing what little ones can do for your mood?  The baby girl came for an unexpected visit this evening.  Baby, her hubby and two girls.  Hubby mowed like a crazed goat while the girls proceed to vastly improve the Mr. and my attitude.  They are so loving, and I hope they keep that caring personality forever.  When I asked K (the oldest girl) how her week at school was she told me she got another free homework pass.  That’s not unusual for her, but what made the story was she was so excited to tell me that G (the worst boy in her class) was able to get one too.  She said the whole class was so happy for him.  It was his first all year.  She said he did have a little trouble, “cause he kicked another boy, but he was just playing and no one got hurt.”  I guess since it’s getting close to the end of school the teacher is getting desperate to give G some kind of good behaviour award.  Sometimes you have to look hard for it.

Anyway, we enjoyed the visit and the Mr. had his mind relieved from his pain for a while.  He must have told me 50 times  how sweet they were, and I know I heard stories about baby girl for an hour.  He is crazy about his baby girl, but what good daddy isn’t?

On Monday, we saw the doctor who told us he would arrange the appointment with the person at the hospital for him to get the injections in his back.  Today, after lunch, I called since I hadn’t heard anything, and they said they would find out and call me back.  Guess what??  How long does it take to call and make an appointment?  Surely not a week.  I would be happy to do the calling for them if they want me too, and on Monday the first call I make is to the doctor’s office.  I don’t suffer fools lightly when I am watching the Mr. suffer unnecessarily. 

Sexual Peak

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This is the parental control warning:  If you do not wish to read about sex, or lack thereof, or stupid ideas that teenagers have about sex, then this post is not for you.  I know this will embarrass my first-born.  Maybe he is either too old to be truly scarred or his anonymity is still mostly intact.

Our first-born son was a beautiful baby.  People called him a girl all the time.  He has beautiful dark brown eyes that the pupils get lost in and the best head of hair on any male in the world.  When we were leaving the hospital, and he was all decked out in blue, a lady stopped me and told me how pretty that little girl was.  Seriously, who takes their newborn baby girl home in blue?  Later on, we were at a restaurant having dinner, and he had on his cowboy hat, boots, jeans, and belt with his name on it, and still an older couple came and told us how pretty that little girl was.

Anyway, as he became a teen, the girls liked him.  He was preppy in a small town with mostly cowboys.  I guess it was something different, because they just loved him, and he tried to love all of them back.

One homecoming when he was a freshman in high school,  a girl older than he (I believe she was a junior so we were looking at 14-year-old and 17-year-old.) asked him to homecoming.  They were to double date with another couple since he couldn’t even drive.  He was very excited, but I’m telling you the girl looked 25 years old.

Of course, the Mr. was secretly proud while I said absolutely not gonna happen.  He begged and pleaded until finally the Mr. decided to take up his cause.  I finally agreed with the condition we sit down and have a “talk” with him before he went.

I hope you are ready for this.  Stop reading here if you are of the faint of heart.  We told him that he must sit down with us and “talk” before he could go.  He reluctantly agreed, but was willing to sacrifice an appendage to go.

We began to have a pleasant conversation about how to treat your date and what we expected of him as a grown man around women.  We finally got to some very deep discussions that began with me asking, “What are you going to do if you two are in the backseat, and she says yes?”  He replied in a very serious tone, “Mom, I’m going to say yes.”  Trying not to panic and wanting to handle this in my most sophisticated manner, I quizzed him further.  “What will you use for protection if that happens?”  And then the answer that would make any mother secure in letting her child go out into the world.  “I”ll take a towel.”  “A towel?” I asked.  “What the hell will a towel do?”  I just couldn’t make the connection.  After looking at me like I was so stupid he answered, “A towel so I can pull it out early.”  I turned to the Mr. and said, “Lock the door;  this boy is not going anywhere.”

This was a smart, mature kid and yet this is the kind of misinformation that he had been fed.  Of course, I gave him my best horror stories about disease, etc. and the Mr. helped with a story that involved swelling and a rubber mallet in the doctor’s office to put the final touch on our informational sex education talk.  Image Detail

He went.  I don’t know what happened, but he lived to grow up and have a nice wife and three kids, so I guess he wasn’t scarred too bad.

Sorry, first-born.  It was just too good a story not to tell.Image Detail

Harry’s Law, Law and Order, Perry Mason or The Three Stooges

 

After listening to the Supreme Court transcriptImage Detail thank God for Justice Kagen and Justice Ginsberg.  It take a woman to get the argument won. They were better than the attorney for the United States, General Verrilli.  He stuttered and uh and ahed and coughed and sputtered until I thought he was in his first elementary school play.  Yea to the women who kept making his points for him.  Isn’t that just like a woman??

Actually, they should hire Kathy Bates!Image Detail

A new man

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After the doctor’s visit yesterday and a change of medication, the Mr. is revived.  Much less pain.  Now, he is telling me that he is going out to the garden and sitting in a chair to dig ground up to plant some melons.  Can you imagine?  Sitting in a chair, swinging a pick ax.  If he does it, I’ll have to get a picture if I can.  You really have to sneak around to get pictures of him.  I hope this keeps up.  Next is the shot in the back.  Oh boy.  I had one of those and it brought my heels up off the table.  He’s tough though, and I doubt he moves at all.

As a young man, in his 20s, he was working for H.B. Zachary.  There was a man working the backhoe, and he hit a line of some kind.  The Mr. went down into the hole to see what was hit, and while he was down there the guy dropped the bucket on him.  The Mr. suspects he was drunk.  Whatever the case, it crushed his entire right side.  He was drug out of the ditch for dead, spent several days in the hospital unconscious.  When he awoke, he had to have surgery to put is ankle back together.  He was back at work in a few weeks with a walking cast on his leg.  No settlement, no suing, none of that.  The company paid his medical bills and kept his job for him.  He went back to work that soon because they needed the money.  The guy was just gone when the Mr.returned.  It’s no wonder he has arthritis, but I guess you could say he won the battle with the backhoe, although it was a high price to pay.

He still talks highly of H.B. Zachary, who he calls Pat.  I guess that was a nickname.  He remembers Pat’s son Bartel coming out on the job sites.  I guess they were a much smaller company then.

I believe they crippled him for life by hiring an inept employee that put people at risk.  He lives the results of that error.

I don’t like H.B. Zachary or the company to this day, but the Mr. thinks it was a great time.

People, hunting eggs is not a sport

 

It’s bad enough that we actually color eggs to hunt.  That tradition was bad, but it has led way to a much worse activity of hunting eggs that have money and other valuables.  Kids are actually disappointed to get “regular” eggs.

I knew the tradition was in trouble when my daughter took her first-born out in the front yard the day before the pre-school egg hunt to “practice.  This was a 2 and 1/2 year old and granted she would have had no clue what to do, but to practice seemed a bit much to me.  There was the little one outside at nearly dark, with her mom behind her saying, “Go, go, hurry, hurry.”  When she sent me pictures, I told her I didn’t think egg hunting had become a major sport.  She replied, “Well, I don’t want her to be the one that gets the least eggs.”  Heaven forbid, that could scar her forever!!

Of course, to reinforce her “practice” theory, K found the most eggs the next day.  Poor baby, she couldn’t even drag the basket.  Later, daughter griped about all the junk that K got and finally had to throw out most of it.  Starving people in Africa, and that’s no joke.

http://news.yahoo.com/video/us-15749625/easter-egg-hunt-scrapped-due-to-aggressive-parents-28733225.html#crsl=%252Fvideo%252Fus-15749625%252Feaster-egg-hunt-scrapped-due-to-aggressive-parents-28733225.html

Now, I have read of an egg hunt that had to be cancelled (link above)  because of over aggressive parents.  Figures.  Leave it to parents to ruin a perfectly sane activity of running around looking for the butt fruit of an extremely stupid bird.

Who ever decided to eat what came out of a chicken’s butt anyway???

 

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I’m not thinking about dying, I’m thinking about living

It’s not dying I’m talking about, it’s living.    —–  Gus McCrae from Lonesome Dove

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For those of you that have followed the blog, you know that the Mr. has had his struggles lately, and let me add he doesn’t do well as a patient.  He has been unable to walk without the aid of a walker for over a week. and has been forced to take a lot of pain medication just to get around with the walker.  He is not sleeping well and in general is sick and tired of being sick and tired.

One week ago on Friday (that’s 10 days ago), we went for a MRI.  On the next Monday, I called the radiology department and asked them if the results had been sent to the doctor.  They told me the results had been sent to the clinc across the street from them.  Now, here is where it gets tricky.  The doctor practices in two places – a clinic across from the hospital and one about 20 miles away.  We use the farther one, which I will call clinic B, because it is closer for us.  The doctor is only at clinic B on Thursday and Friday and on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday he is at clinic A.  I called clinic A and asked if they had the MRI results.  They did, however his doctor was out until Friday when he would not be there but would be at clinic B.  They assured me that another doctor had faxed the results to clinic B so that the Mr.’s doctor would have it availble on Friday.  They assured me that the doctor would call as soon as he read over the results.

We waited from Monday until Friday.  At 2:00 pm, I called and got the message with options.  Choosing the options for the doctor’s nurse gave me an answering machine.  I left the message.  At 3:45 the nurse returned the phone call and said of course the MRI was there and the doctor wanted to see him and not discuss it on the phone.  She suggested I make an appointment.

I called the front desk and chose the make an appointment option.  The receptionist told me it was impossible to get in that afternoon.  After all, it was 3:45 +.  She offered me an appointment for the next Thursday.  I made the appointment, but asked her if I could call clinic A and make an appointment for him there.  Since the doctor would be there on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday chances are we would get in earlier.  I asked if the MRI would be available for the doctor back at clinic A since it had been faxed to clinic B.  She assured me that all they had to do was to pull it up on the computer.  I didn’t know if they were even aware that it was a possibility to do that.  It is about 1950 here.  I called clinic A and they had a Monday appointment!  I gave them the entire story.  Needed MRI read, already had doctor just hadn’t ever seen him at clinic A.

“Oh my, ” said the receptionist at clinic A.  “We can’t possibly see you all next week because he will be a new patient.”  I tried to explain he really wasn’t a new patient.  It was his doctor after all.  He had been seeing him for years, just not at clinc A.  She decided that she could make it work if we would agree to be there 45 minutes early to fill out the paperwork.

He suffered through the weekend.  Our middle son came and mowed and saved our lives.  He’s the one that the teachers never cared for.  See earlier blog about middle child if you get interested in him.  He came even after having a birthday party for his son and with his wife leaving for a business trip for the next week.  He would have the three kids all week and that included another birthday party he had to take the kids to.  He’s a great guy.  He’s just like his dad.

Monday morning we made it 45 minutes early for me to fill out the paperwork that took me 10 minutes, but they were fairly Image Detailpunctual for a doctor’s office.  I like his doctor.  He is very reasonable, but he is not used to dealing with the John Wayne, Gary Cooper, Roy Rogers combination that is my Mr.  The doctor told him that the arthritis was so severe in his back and hip that it was restricting his spinal cord.  He said that if he were 10 years younger, surgery would be an option, but the mortality rate on the operating table was high for people his age.

My question:  How many people at 87 have blood pressure of 110/60 with oxygen levels of 97.  He has the heart, lungs, kidneys, etc of a much younger person.  The only thing old on the man is his joints.  What if he lives a few more years?  Does he want him to be an invalid for those years.  I know the Mr.  He would rather die on the operating table trying to get better than to be an invalid.

He decided to go with the steriod shots in the back first and surgery if that doesn’t work.

We are waiting for the appointment for the shots.

We’re not thinking about dying;  we’re thinking aobut living.Image Detail

Gardening is hard work

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Having never been a gardner since I was raised in Dallas, I have always marveled at those that were made it look so easy.  I have tried several times to garden, and my grandfather was the gardner for the city of Highland Park (which is the very rich part of Dallas).  He could grow dead sticks.  I, however, did not get that quality, and I know it was because I just did not realize the time and effort that it takes to be a good gardener.  On that note, here is a story from the Mr. about gardening.Image Detail

An elderly couple were in bed one night, and the man was getting a bit frisky.  His wife kept putting him off, saying how much work they had to do tomorrow.  He kept on until she began to list all the things they had to do the following day.  “We have to get up early and work in the garden, blah, blah, blah,  etc. ” That’s o.k. honey,” the man replied with a wink, “If we’re not finished we’ll just quit when it’s time to get up.”

Love at first hug

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I had lived in the small town for 2 years when my partner decided never to come home again.  He worked offshore and decided to go to Belize to sell auto parts.  I don’t really think it was just auto parts, but I had 3 small kids and could have cared less what he did.  He was a raging alcoholic.  Still being young at the age of 28, I was alone on 15 acres with 2 pigs (Buck and Loretta), 2 wild crazy horses (Waylon and Willie), a bunch of chickens laying 17 eggs a day, a garden that I had planted and had no idea what to do next, my horse (Pepper) and a pony(Coco) for the first-born.  My water came from the windmill, and there were rattlesnakes.  After 6 months of struggle, I decided to look for someone to hang out with.  I actually took the phone book, which had 3 pages for my town in a book that had 7 small towns in it.  It was still a very small phone book, nothing like the city phone book of Dallas/Fort Worth.

It was really a joke.  My girlfriend and I, drinking wine, going through each name.  Are they married?  How old do you think they are?  Do they work?  We laughed and carried on, but the hard cold fact was there were no noticeable bachelors around my age in the small town in which I found myself.

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My grandmother had moved down to the small town with me.  She didn’t like me to be alone, or she didn’t think I knew how to properly take care of kids.  My grandfather was so attached to my first-born that he jumped at the chance to move closer.  They bought the only little cafe in town.  The word little really doesn’t do the cafe justice.  Six tables and a small kitchen.  My grandmother kept the place full with her cooking, and it gave me a place to work and bring two babies.  The first-born was in 2nd grade.

It was an enjoyable workplace.  Everyday the clients were mostly small town and rural folks.  Men that had been working would come in as groups, visit, laugh, and we would just generally shoot the shit all during the lunch shift.  I was the only worker and my grandmother was the only cook.  We would serve a special, which most people would eat.  If they didn’t eat the plate lunch, it would be a hamburger/cheeseburger.

And here it comes.  There was one particular farmer/rancher that came in every day.  He was a bachelor.  I couldn’t figure his age, but I knew it was 40+.  He was quiet, and people in town called him “Grouch.”  We decided to open the cafe on Friday and Saturday nights just for a couple of hours to serve hamburgers and other short order items.  Grouch came in every Friday and Saturday night.  Our business was mostly take out during this time, so often he was the only one that ate in the cafe itself.  That would leave he and I alone in the small building while I cooked his meal, and he ate it.

It was during this time that we began to chat, and the only reason was that I was unable to be in a room with another person and not try to carry on a conversation.  I learned some small things; he was a lifelong democrat, the youngest of 9 children, with two loving parents, but very poor growing up.  He had never been married, but would not discuss his age.  I began to become extremely curious.  He lived in a new house in town that he had just built.  Nothing fancy.  He worked very hard and often came in and you could tell he had been working his butt off.  He never went without his hat, and I suspected he was bald, but all the guys work hats or caps.  He was tall and really reminded me of a big ole Scotsman.  I became more and more curious and began to want to know more.  I don’t know if he caused that purposefully or by accident.  (He now says on purpose, that he was just waiting for that hook to get good and deep before reeling me in.)Image Detail

Homecoming was approaching, and in small town America it is a really big deal.  It’s not just for the school, but the entire town participates in a bonfire, parade, decorating, a lunch and then a dinner at the school with the culminating football game on Saturday night. Many people who had previously lived here came back and all day long everyone milled around and visited.  The week of homecoming Grouch asked me if I would like to sit with him at the football game.

Now, this is a unique ritual.  The people who liked to drink park their trucks at the end of the football field, let down the tailgates and partied through the game.  He intended me to meet him there, come down to his truck and have a drink.  I could figure it out.  I was excited about it, but did not know why. I talked to a long time friend on the phone and just kept saying, “I know he’s too old for me, but I don’t know how old he is.”

I anxiously awaited the weekend as the days passed slowly by, and even though Grouch came into the cafe, he didn’t say anything else about us meeting.  On the night in question, I dressed, got the kids to my grandmothers, and headed to the football game.  I parked, paid to go in and walked to the stands.  Sitting in the stands, I could see the end zone with all the pickup trucks, but I could not spot his truck.  I walked down and looked several times during the game, but he never showed.  Now the bad part is that he was bringing the bottle, so I had nothing to drink.  I was “stood up” and without alcohol.  Not a good night for my first night out.  I got my nerve up and drove by his house.  No lights were on and his truck was in the front of the house.  I couldn’t get the courage to go to the door.  I decided he must have changed his mind, or that maybe I had misunderstood what he had asked.

I went home after a miserable night and vowed that I was through with Grouch #1.    More to come…………………………

The next week at the cafe Grouch came in just like nothing had happened.  I waited until an opportunity arose and asked him what happened.  He said he had gotten sick.  I thought that was a likely excuse.  He waited until Friday evening and asked me to again go out for a drink.  Now, where you would go for a drink in a dry county in a town of 300 people is beyond me, and I later learned that, for the locals, it meant riding around in the truck and drinking beer (or something more fancy like wine coolers).

I had been invited to a Halloween party on Saturday night with friends and was driving to the metroplex on Saturday to stay the night with those friends.  I was to help them with the party they were having and part of that included a trip to the liquor store.  Now, when you live in a dry county and you drink, you take every opportunity for people to pick up something for you if they are making the trip.  On Saturday morning Grouch was in the cafe when I came by to let my grandmother know I was leaving.  He followed me to the car asking me where I was going.  I told him to a party.  He asked me if I would be going to a liquor store.  I said yes, and he asked me if I would pick “us” up a bottle of whiskey.  I asked him what he liked, and he replied (as he handed me a $20 bill), “I don’t really care, but times are hard so see if you can make this stretch for two.”  I took the money and left.  Everyone in the cafe was standing at the window watching this take place in the parking lot.Image Detail

I had a great time at the party.  We stayed up all night, ate breakfast, and I headed for home because we were having my baby girl’s first birthday party later that afternoon.  Needless to say, by the time that was over and the kids were in bed, I was exhausted.  It was Sunday night, and I remembered that I had his bottle of whiskey.  I had bought Wild Turkey and a bottle of Blue Nun wine.  Usually when you pick up something for a person, they are expecting to get it back pretty quickly, so I looked up his number in the 3 pages of phone numbers and called.  He answered with his very slow drawl, “Uh, hello.”  I told him I had his bottle, and he abruptly said, “I am busy.  I have to go.”  I was a bit bewildered, but too tired to think about it much.

Next day, business as usual.  Monday was busy and by the time kids were in bed that evening, and I sat down to watch some TV, it dawned on me that I still had Grouch’s liquor.  It was sitting in the paper sack on my TV, the bottle of Wild Turkey, the bottle of Blue Nun, and the change.  I decided to try it again.  I called and once again he answered and put me off with a, “I have company;  I have to go.”  O.K. I was a little mad, a little tired, a little confused.  Had I read the signals wrong.  Did I hear him wrong.  I thought he said “us”.  I thought he had been coming to the cafe for more than just the meals, but it wouldn’t be the first time I misinterpreted someone’s actions.

Next day I thought all day about what to say and do.  I could barely wait until evening to try again.  I called and said, “I have your bottle here, and if you don’t come get it then it will be sitting on your porch in the morning.”  His reply?  “I’ll be right there.”

Now, I was freakin’ out.  I didn’t really know this guy too well, and he was coming to my house where my babies were sleeping.  I watched out the back porch where I could see about a mile down the road and before long I saw truck lights headed my way.  I was spooked, but managed to hang on to my sanity.  He pulled into the circle drive out front, and I opened the front door.  When he didn’t move to come up to the house, I went out to the truck.  “Come on in,” I said.  “What about your kids?” he answered.  They won’t mind I told him, and after considerable coaxing he came up to the door.  I went in and turned around just in time to see him come through the front door.  He had to duck to get in.  This was a real cowboy, the real deal.  I was impressed.  I told you earlier that I had seen too many westerns.  He was John Wayne, Roy Rogers, and Gary Cooper all rolled into one.  He stopped immediately inside the door and asked me quite seriously, “Do you mind if I hug you?”  I had never heard that line.  I told him no I didn’t mind, and when he wrapped those long, strong arms around me I was a goner.  I had not felt that safe in a long time, maybe never before.  I was weak kneed, and my heart was pounding.  We had a great time, drank a lot, laughed a lot, told each other way more than we should have, and he left at sunrise with my heart.

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The budweiser dog Weego

Bud Light Here Weego

The guy on the commercial says, “Here Weego.” Then, the dog fetches beer.  Get it – Here we go.  O.K. maybe I didn’t have to explain.

Watching that commercial made me remember a character in my small town.  He was an old bachelor by the time I met him.  He always wore the striped overalls.  He walked with a limp from diabetes complications.  He was quite a character.  When the Mr. was still single he would come quite often to the house and sit around.  Now, my Mr. is not one for a lot of visitors.  At that time he was farming lots of acres and had about 300 head of cattle to see after.  When he came home he wasn’t in for visiting with people that didn’t work.  Red would sit across the road and wait for the Mr. to arrive at home, no matter how late it might be.  One night the Mr. (who was and is always up for a good joke) was working on the hot shot.  For those of you that don’t know, the hot shot is a battery powered prod to poke cattle with to get them to move where you want them to move.  It shocks.  I think it hurts, but that’s just me.  Anyway, the Mr. had removed the batteries while working on it, but Red had arrived after that.  The Mr. calmly put the hot shot back together (without the batteries) and said, “Let’s see if this works,” as he stuck it to Red’s chest.  Red yelled, thinking he had been shot (he hadn’t) and realizing when everyone started laughing that he hadn’t got up and left mad.  He got over it of course.

The Mr. finally had a sign made that was on his front door when I met him that said, “If you were here last night, wait a few nights to come back.”  I love him.

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But, I digress.  Red owned a little terrier dog that he called “Comeear”.  Say that aloud.  Come Here.  Comeear was running loose one day when a one of our really crabby female citizens was driving down his road.  Red, innocently went out and yelled for Comeear to come here.  She thought he was yelling at here and she did come here and gave him a good cussing.  She never did believe the dog was named Comeear. Image Detail

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