Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Top 5 Signs You've Been Stuck on a Plane Too Long

5. You've forgotten the location of your final destination.

4. You've memorized the safety booklet and have presented it to the passengers.

3. You've watched the in-flight Rocky movies....Rocky I - V and Rocky Balboa.

2. When you entered the plane you were greeted by a "Stewardess." She's now demanding you call her a "Flight Attendant."

1. The freshness date on your bag of peanuts has expired.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Valentine's Eve

The world is showered with hearts and flowers as we all prepare to love on our sweet baboos tomorrow. (Pardon me while I shoot myself with insulin to get over the sugary shock of that last sentence) I am not an anti-Valentiner as some may be, even though I've had more Valentine Days without that special someone than I've had with one.

Valentine's Day brings back sweet memories of elementary school, where my longing for a Valentine began. My Mom would take me to the local Walgreens to pick out my favorite box of valentine cards that I could prepare to take the next day. My teachers would have us spend time preparing our "Valentine mailbox" that consisted of some white lunch bag decorated with stickers and Picasso-like artwork, or more advanced receptacles made with red and white construction paper. My Mom would usually send cupcakes or some other delectable red treat to share with all my little friends. And, she would make my favorite cake for dessert that evening - a heart-shaped red velvet cake. Dad always got a box of candy for his girls. Talk about your sugar shock.

I loved bringing my valentine mailbox home and reading all my valentines over and over. And, those special Valentines from those special guys I'd hoped I'd receive. I'd flip over the "Be Mine" card to see if he signed something more than just "John" or "Greg" and my heart would flutter if there was more to the Valentine than just a signature. It never failed, I'd always get one from Kelly...the guy who gave me a ring in second grade and wanted to marry me. He was an amateur magician and I was his assistant. He didn't do a thing for me in elementary school and I have no idea where he is today, but as one of my elementary school teachers told me after high school graduation, "You should have hung on to those boys from elementary school...they've grown up to be quite nice young men." Let that be a lesson, young ladies. Icky boys do turn out to be much better all grown up...I know "John" and "Greg" did.

But even though I'll not have a Valentine mailbox hanging on the door of my office, or maybe even receive any in my real mailbox, a timeless part of Valentine's Day lives on - the Necco Conversation Hearts. I love these things! Sugar seems to be a theme of Valentine's Day....a term of endearment and a way to overdose on this celebration of sweeties. The messages on these have evolved through the years, including "E-mail me" and "Fax Me." As a little girl, you'd save those "Lover Boy" hearts for that cute guy that would ask you to share your box.

This year, the Necco company is partnering with the Massachusetss Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and introducing heart messages like "Top Dog", "Love Bird, "My Pet", "Puppy Love", "Cool Cat", and "Go Fish." These candies have been produced since 1866 and are definitely a mainstay of Valentine's Day as much as those heart-shaped chocolate boxes.

Hmm, I wonder if there will be a heart that says "I heart Barbaro"......

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

21st Century General Store

When my Granddaddy was alive, he lived in a little town called Salvisa, Kentucky. It was positioned about half way between Lawrenceburg and Harrodsburg, Kentucky. If you are a native Kentuckian, you might have heard of those places. If not, let's just say it was somewhere in the vicinity of Lexington.

I miss my Granddaddy. He was the gene source for my writing abilities and he could strike up a conversation with anybody. When he'd visit, we'd always do the crossword puzzle together and take a walk around the block before supper talking about life and laughing. He also never minced words. I heard my parents tell the story one time that when a pastor he knew decided to run for Senate in Kentucky, my Granddaddy said, "If you run for public office, let your beliefs define you, but lay your Bible down and don't use God's pulpit to promote yourself...that's to promote the gospel." He wasn't afraid to tell anyone whatever he thought.

Each day, he'd walk down to the local general store and hang out with the owner and the people that came in and out of the store. There was a table with checkers and he'd play a game with anyone who was willing and pontificate about the world's comings and goings. And, I'm certain, tell a few people how he felt about whatever they were discussing. I never spent much time in general stores in small towns, but I think they'd be a fun place to pop open a Coke and shoot the breeze for a few hours.

Last Saturday morning, I headed to Starbucks to meet one of my college girls for coffee. As I warmed up with my cup of java and a yummy cinnamon doughnut, I watched as the people just poured in. I saw a group come in very aerodynamically dressed, most likely just completing a brisk morning run. I saw an older couple all bundled up and settled in a corner of the shop. And, I saw a younger couple come in with books and Bibles for a time of study.

It dawned on me what an interesting gathering place Starbucks has become. We've not had them in Louisville for very long, but now, you can't swing a dead cat without hitting one. I was amazed at how people gravitate there with groups to hang out. And, sometimes even worlds collide as I rarely go to a Starbucks when I don't see someone I know or someone I haven't seen in a while. In a world of technology and faceless communication, it's nice to know we still retain a little human contact at Starbucks.

...I wonder how my Granddaddy would have loved hanging out at a Starbucks...