Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Stranger in this land -- I feel like a number

was part of yesterday's topic on my blog.

And tonight, had a thought from a different angle -- don't know if it was an epiphany, or simply another perspective.

Two thoughts.
A thought and a sub-thought.

In a conversation with a law enforcement person, he said, "All I know is [a human resources person in our company] says anytime we have any [paraphrasing] kind of complaint, or papers to give anybody, just come on out and they'll call them off the line and you can give them the papers."

First, a concept flashed across my mind, "Are you telling me he asks for this??!!" Like -- a guy at our company requests this endless parade of what are possibly mostly Nuisance Complaints, allowing -- indeed, inviting -- miscellaneous idiots to pester our employees, and interrupt our production??

The dissonance of logic was staggering: I almost wanted to hold onto my chair to avoid falling down. And then the New Thought kind of appeared --

maybe the point of allowing sheriff-folks to serve papers to people at work is --
not to intimidate the workers
but rather to
placate hostile forces in the community.
That was my light bulb moment (light bulb going on over my head).

When people with different ethnic backgrounds, some of whom speak different languages besides English, move into a community there are some locals who are going to be hostile. Would be nice if it weren't that way, but it is, and I'm thinking now that our Person, with many years' experience in this type of business possibly cultivates this sort of "safety valve" for those local people who have prejudice problems, hostility issues, and general, free-floating random hatreds: taking the stance -- "Hey, you have a problem with anyone? You feel someone has done you wrong? Let the sheriff come on out with the papers. He'll serve 'em!"

And that way the people who are hostile -- the "haters" as the kids say -- have an avenue, a channel where they can vent, and then sit back, satisfied, that they have "sent the sheriff" after somebody. It's like -- channeling, directing, managing the emotions and behavior of angry, difficult people.

This way, they are fee-fie-fo-fumming into the courthouse, airing complaints and waving papers around, instead of -- making crank phone calls, throwing a rock with a threatening letter attached through somebody's window, or, Heaven forbid, gathering a mob outside some newcomer's home, in the middle of the night.

Let 'em send the sheriff with the "papers"
and then gradually that segment of the populace begins to relax, stops taking its "Stupid pills" every morning, and people manage to find a way to live together.

And I think, in my natural habitat of caring about people and wanting the best for people -- wanting things to go well --... I may have over-estimated how scared people are of law enforcement people bearing "papers." Yesterday I typed "terrified immigrants" -- that's not right, I was carried away in the moment. They're not terrified -- more like, shy and polite and very eager to get things right. They are actually some of the most courageous people I've ever seen, one reason I admire them.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Just show me a sign -- I can't break it down

came into workplace yesterday and said he needed to see a particular employee for a minute, to give him a piece of paper.
I called the employee up to the front.
The Sheriff gave him the paper and left.
The guy looked at his piece of paper, read a little, then handed it to me and, stressed, asked "What does this mean?"

I read it -- gist was landlord wanted him to leave the house he was renting from her by midnight Thursday. It began with three -- sort of -- accusations: You did --
and this,
and this.
So I want you out by Thur. night.

The stuff she listed was, (if you will pardon use of local vernacular), "a load of crap." It was obvious that the landlord just wanted the guy to move out and was sort of "trumping up" allegations -- such as, You didn't mow the lawn often enough.

I asked him point-blank, "Do you have loud parties?" Because he's in that age group. He said No, he doesn't. And there was nothing on the piece of paper about loud parties. And nothing about him not paying the rent. So it appeared that the basics of being a desirable tenant were intact.

The more I think about it, the more disgusted I feel.
And come to find out, today, as this guy is OUT of work, probably losing pay if he's on the clock (I don't know), running around making arrangements to move on short notice, during the work-week when he hasn't got the time, calling up to get the income verification for the new rental situation, and with his department inconvenienced because he's not here to help with production -- I call up a local lawyer, a former State's Attorney, and guess what? The landlord can GIVE a person the three day get-out notice or whatever it is, but you can IGNORE IT. (?!) It's one of those. You can ignore it and stay 30 days.

So it was all basically just an Exercise In Intimidation 101.

Bottom line for my co-worker: he's moving, and that's good because that landlord doesn't deserve any more of his money.

this incident has caused me to look askance at the Whole Scene where sheriff deputies come into a private company and "serve papers" to workers, many of whom are terrified immigrants. It has crossed my mind before that it's just a lot of sadistic bullying (not by the law enforcement guys -- they're just doing what their boss says they're supposed to) -- but by local "businesses" and miscellaneous what-have-you's who grasp desperately at any slim opportunity to feel superior to somebody.

Most of the time these yahoos do not feel superior to anyone, and with good reason.

I wondered, is there an epidemic in our Society of Picking On The Poor? When I asked the attorney that, she said, with sardonic "Friends"-style 'spin' in her tone, "Ya think?" And she followed that with, "Try driving-while-brown."

Huh. D-W-B.

Then I think about the national scene, and I think, It isn't just Picking On The Poor. It's PICKING ON PEOPLE, and maybe the poor absorb more of the abuse because they're not as lawyered-up as the wealthy.

There is something about Appearing Vulnerable, these days, which seems to draw fire.

And whereas before, I assumed if a sheriff's deputy walked in here with "papers" (oooh, papers!) that it was about some legitimate unpaid bill; this goes to show where "assuming" stuff gets you... now, after reading that silly Get out of the house you're paying rent on because I say so ("fee-fi-fo-fum!") sheet of paper, I find myself questioning the whole picture.

Like -- what percentage of the papers brought in here by sheriff's office people over the past three years have been silly, gratuitous displays of smug contempt and mindless bullying, and nothing legitimate at all?

And meanwhile -- this is the best part, a front-page story in our paper warns people to lock garages, cars, and "sheds" because -- there's been people calling in about theft, burglary, and vandalism.

No kidding -- that's because The Law is out here interrupting the Work to intimidate the powerless on behalf of local bullies and busybodies, instead of protecting the community.

Eeerrrrmmmmhh ... need pillow, book, cat.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Rock. And. Roll. !

a terrific song
by two guys at my workplace
you won't believe how good it is

On You Tube:
type in
break it down cmd

it's the top video

Listen to the whole song, and then watch the credits roll, it only takes a minute, and there's something funny at the end that you don't want to miss.

I got on there and I couldn't believe it, because I see these guys daily at work, totally serious and all-business -- it is like, another Reality.

Fascinating. And a really good song -- they wrote it!


Friday, September 24, 2010

Kids Say The Darndest Things

"Kids Say The Darndest Things" --
researched that and found out "Kids Say..." was not the name of a TV show from the 1950s, as I had thought, but the name of a segment of a show called "Art Linkletter's House Party" which started on the radio in the 1940s and then for a while was on TV and radio, and remained on TV, 1952 to 1969 -- quite a run!

This week has been like that show, for me.
First, I get asked by a pre-school girl, "You were a little girl, before?"
So sweet.

And then yesterday a third-grade boy was looking at the camera-views from around our large work-place. His first and primary question was, "Where does my dad work?" (I answered that to the best of ability -- "he walks around in several different rooms, and makes sure everything is going OK." [hoping I was close]).
We spotted one guy we know: I said his name, and the boy stated with calm authority, "I know him. He has the office next to my mom."

Now, his mother has a desk with cubicle wall / dividers, in an arrangement with other desks and cubicle - wall - dividers. The man we were observing has the corner office. The point of that office, to the people who planned and designed it, is that it is the Corner Office. It is a good-sized office, with plentiful window-square-footage on two walls, and a conference-room table w/ chairs.

It's pretty likely they did not design that office with the specific direction that it be "next to Mom" - !

However, from a kid's-eye-view, the most important thing about the Manager's office, the defining description of it, is -- that it is next to his mom's desk.

The Manager may be of central importance to employees who work here, and to the Board Of Directors, but -- to Mr. Third Grade, Mom and Dad are of Central Importance and that's "all she wrote," -- have a Nice Day.

The key to why children's observations are funny is simply their Different Perspective. First, you are Surprised by what they say, because it isn't your perspective. Then, your mind has to make a "leap," to "quick-catch-up" and see it from their perspective, so you can figure out what they mean -- where they're coming from.

I think feeling empathy makes people feel better -- enhances your sense of well-being.
That's why we laugh, I guess -- because we are delighted, and at that moment we feel really good, to figure out what -- and how -- another person is thinking.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010


The Power Of Positive Thinking,
a book by Norman Vincent Peale -- published in 1952.
Yesterday I had it with me at work, and I described the book's philosophy to a guy who was not familiar with it.

He said, "They should pass that out at the door!
Especially in my department."

In the book's introduction, Dr. Peale writes,
"The purpose of this book is a very direct and simple one. It makes no pretense to literary excellence nor does it seek to demonstrate any unusual scholarship on my part. This is simply a practical, direct-action, personal-improvement manual. It is written with the sole objective of helping the reader achieve a happy, satisfying, and worthwhile life."
--------------------[end quote]
A nice mission.

A pretty pre-schooler greeted me and showed me her pink dress, this evening. She twirled, triumphantly. Someone admonished her "show-boating" -- I said, "Hey, that's what you do when you are wearing a pretty dress like that -- you twirl."
When I said I could remember twirling when I was her age, when wearing a special dress,
the child asked, incredulous,
"You were a little girl before?"


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Talking rock music blues


Johnny's in the basement
mixin' up the medicine
I'm on the pavement
Thinkin' 'bout the
Yesterday, was posting a "poem"-thing wrote Sat. night when I thought of Mel Aronson, this stockbroker who used to talk to me a long time ago. He only liked one song from the "modern" Rock Era -- "When I'm Sixty-four," by The Beatles.
I agreed with him, that it was a great song, and did not try to "sell" him on any Dylan or Stones....
I know
it's only rock and roll,
But I like it

Monday, September 20, 2010

every once in a while

a poem from the weekend:

"stock market"
in Boston's financial district
-- State Street
an office building
with fifty floors
glass and steel.
Out the window,
blue sky and
the tops of other
desk after desk,
by the window
& up on the second level
all in rows
wearing similar clothes
like the little girls
in hats
in the Madeline books.
- - - - - - -
Sometimes in the office and in the elevator
Mel Aronson and I
would talk;
(he was "old"
and I wanted to
learn from him).
"I wonder if I should
take the test and
be a broker.
It seems like
an interesting business."
He answered me,
very seriously,
"It's a greedy business."
- - - - - - -
In the years since
As work
changed, evolved --
I've recalled
that sentence,
every once in a while.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

am I an idiot?

Fleetwood Mac, Greatest Hits:
a sort of green cover on the little booklet that comes in the CD.
I love to do two things, when I play this on my stereo:
1. There are five small levers, or switches, on the front of the receiver -- you start playing the CD and you move the little levers up to the top or all the way down to the bottom of the space available to move them in, and each of the five levers changes the sound, some. Different CDs sound better with different settings of each of the five levers. Bass, and -- the other one. You move it one way and you get a fuller sound, move it the other direction, you get thinner, sharper, clearer sound.

Adjusting the sound takes five steps, five different ones to set.

And then,
2. My stereo allows me to program a line-up of songs --I don't have to just press "play" and let them play in order -- I can go,
"Over My Head"
"Say You Love Me"
"You Make Loving Fun"
"Go Your Own Way"
"Don't Stop"
"Say You Love Me"
"Over My Head"
"Go your Own Way"
"You Make Loving Fun"
"Don't Stop"
The first sequence is -- start & end with "Gypsy" and in between start at end of album and play each song I particularly like, working end to beginning.
The second sequence is -- start & end with "Gypsy" and in between program each song I like in order according to flow of sound and attitude.
I am amazed -- dazzled at the technology that allows me to
adjust the sound so it's as good as possible
to arrange my own line-up of songs.
(This is why, maybe, so much New Technology crashing onto us provokes mixed feelings, to me -- I'm still dazzled by the old technology, and I feel privileged and so lucky to be able to have it and enjoy it.)
And -- (I've had this stereo for 20 years)
I should be blasé and detached. I should be used to it.
But I'm amazed.
Am I a person who's just easily amused?
Am I a person who has the ability to enjoy life with enthusiasm?
Am I an idiot?
I don't know.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Take a walk

Man, I am too bummed out to blog.

Going to listen to "Heaven's Just A Sin Away,"
on You Tube.

And maybe "Walk This Way."


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Make it a great day

What a terrific idea!

"Have a great day" is sort of ubiquitous (although I've discovered there are lots of people who do NOT use that, also ...) --
but received an e-mail yesterday that signed off with
"Make it a great day"
Thought that was kind of "genius."
The phrase "have a great day"
when used on somebody who wants to be negative,
can invite a list of reasons as to
why in the hell
the recipient is not only
NOT having a friggin' "great day" -- they're actually havin'
a damn lousy day and do you wanna hear about that??!!
Saying, instead,
"Make it a great day"
expresses the feeling you wanted to express with "HAVE a great day"
yet at the same time
challenges the person -- "MAKE IT -- a great day."
Not -- how many things do you have to complain about?, but rather
what're YOU doing to make things better,
on this planet.
(Or, for that matter, on any other planet...?)
"Make it a great day."
Good one.
Wish I'd thought of it.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Believe and succeed

Read this passage from The Power Of Positive Thinking, by Norman Vincent Peale:

Conditions are created by thoughts far more powerfully than conditions create thoughts.

Think positively, for example, and you set in motion positive forces which bring positive results to pass. Positive thoughts create around yourself an atmosphere propitious to the development of positive outcomes. On the contrary, think negative thoughts and you create around yourself an atmosphere propitious to the development of negative results.

To change your circumstances, first start thinking differently. Do not passively accept unsatisfactory circumstances, but form a picture in your mind of circumstances as they should be. Hold that picture, develop it firmly in all details, believe in it, pray about it, work at it, and you can actualize it according to that mental image emphasized in your positive thinking.

This is one of the greatest laws in the universe. Fervently do I wish I had discovered it as a very young man. It dawned upon me much later in life and I have found it to be one of the greatest if not my greatest discovery, outside of my relationship to God....

This great law briefly and simply stated is that if you think in negative terms you will get negative results. If you think in positive terms you will achieve positive results. That is the simple fact which is at the basis of an astonishing law of prosperity and success. In three words: Believe and succeed.
[end quote]
[from The Power Of
Positive Thinking, by Norman
Vincent Peale. 1952.
Prentice-Hall, Inc. New
York, New York.]
There's a lot of literature of this type, most of it inspired by, or copied from, this book. If you don't read any other book this year, only one, read this one.
I don't read it often enough; it's time to work my way through it, again.
The problem with having such a powerful, and well-thought-through philosophy, as Peale did, is that it draws many imitators, so many in fact, that I wonder if all the hucksters who just try to make money off the idea, set to their own "spin" -- selling a billion books, tapes, infomercials, seminars, blah blah blah sort of cheapen the whole idea and make it seem less plausible. That would be unfortunate, because it's a hell of a good idea.
(There's actually a scene in the book Bridget Jones's Diary -- and it's in the movie, too -- where Bridget gets fed up with all the positive, focus, be your most enhanced self, blah blah blah -- it all starts to seem like bullshit, so she goes out to the garbage receptacle outside of her condo building and is tossing all of her "personal growth" etc. books out. Just as she's mashing them all down in the garbage container, the guy who likes her happens to come by, and she tries to seem all cool and casual, like she's not having a "meltdown" - !)
However, leaving Bridget Jones, happy and neurotically "busy" in her fictional British world, in all seriousness, The Power Of Positive Thinking is so helpful -- and accessible, entertaining -- brilliant, really, in a straightforward, down-to-earth way. It's like the Bible in that you can open it anywhere and just read some, and get something out of it that you can use.

Friday, September 10, 2010

categories chasing you

In last Sunday's "New York Times Review of Books" they tell us there's a new book out called

Bob Dylan In America


I can't wait.
It says, "The historian Sean Wilentz situates Bob Dylan in a long continuum of American music, literature, religion and politics."

I cannot help but worry, a little, that Bob Dylan himself may not appreciate this -- the word "situates" is bothering me. Artists never want to be stereotyped, limited, labeled, or categorized. (Dylan even had a song that says, "I don't wanna ....[something], categorize you...") And I'm thinking, they may not enjoy being "situated" either.

In the 60s, protesters and various leaders and pundits -- and many fans -- wanted to place Bob Dylan in a category of being "a protest singer" and he objected to being identified with one thing.

Now -- some historian has "situated" him.
Well -- ya know what? I think Dylan will live through it.
He may not need this book, but those of us who do not get to
be Dylan,
or date him,
want the book.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

let's do it

Yesterday's New York Times had an op.-ed. column titled "The Gospel Of Wealth." It discussed the recommendation of a minister from a "mega-church" who has written a book:

"Platt calls on readers to cap their lifestyle. Live as if you made $50,000 a year, he suggests, and give everything else away."
OK, so it's like --
Live within the first fifty-thousand a year that I make.
Keep my "lifestyle" within that first fifty-thousand dollars.
Per year.

I'll get right on that.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010


And -- flicked around Google, trying to find out who WROTE the song
"I'm Gonna Hire a Wino to Decorate our Home"
and couldn't get an answer.
Who's the songwriter?


interior decorating with an edge

As long as I'm "feeling" the topic of Country music,
a song that's in the same "family" with the
practical, literal
songwriting styles of
Loretta Lynn
Chuck Berry
is one that was a hit in the early 80s
called "I'm Gonna Hire A Wino to Decorate Our Home."

That one's a little different, though, because it has the twist of nuance -- the whole song is sort of sarcasm which has grown out of frustration:
"I'm gonna hire a wino,
to decorate our home.
So you'll feel more at ease here,
and you won't need to roam.
We'll take out the dining-room table,
put a bar along that wall --
and a neon sign will point the way
to our bathroom down the hall."

That's songwriting you can't beat with a stick.
David Frizzell had a big hit with that. His delivery was so perfect -- if you sang those lyrics too "hard," too forcefully it'd come across almost, like, too angry, because the whole song is that sarcasm thing. So he sang it soft and gentle -- with a wistful and kind of guilty tone, like he was wishing he was the kind of man who didn't give his wife a reason to have these sentiments -- like he sees her point.

"I came crawlin' home late last night,
like many nights before.
She (something - something)
when she opened up the door.
She said, "You're not gonna
do this anymore."
She said -- "I'm gonna hire a wino,
to decorate our home..."

I first heard that song on an AOR (album-oriented rock) station in Boston, believe it or not. It's pure country, doesn't fit the "AOR" format, but the morning D.J. on WBCN thought the song was so hilarious and pertinent, and he loved the title -- he'd say it a couple of times, while introducing the song, sort of for the pleasure of saying, "I'm gonng hire a wino to decorate our home" -- I think he featured it every morning for a month!

...that's when I first started appreciating country music, I think.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Love on your mind

Watched some scenes from "Coal Miner's Daughter":
now, cannot get the song "Don't Come Home A-Drinkin' with Lovin' on your Mind"
out of my head.

Loretta Lynn had her own thing going on, as a songwriter.
She tells it like it is.
Calls 'em as she sees 'em.

"You Ain't Woman Enough to Take my Man"
and --
"Fist City" -- what a concept.
It's apparently a variation on the old expression, How would you like a "knuckle sandwich"?
(Of course, if one goes to "Fist City" for dinner, surely a "knuckle sandwich" would be the thing to order...)

Her songs were straight-ahead, practical, literal snapshots of real life in a certain culture, and feelings and thoughts on how things could possibly be a little better.
------------------Made me think about --
Chuck Berry.
He was quoted about his songwriting -- he said, (something like) -- "Most of the people have cars, so I wrote about cars. Most people have been to school; I wrote about school. And most people have been, or soon will be, in love -- so I wrote about love."


Monday, September 6, 2010

no puppy left behind

Remember Pres. Bush's education initiative, "No Child Left Behind"? I was reminded of that recently, only it was "no puppy left behind"...

Last Friday at work someone brought her son, who brought his new puppy. In the ten minutes or so that they spent here, I noticed how the boy took care of his dog. (Think he's 4th, 5th, or 6th grade, not sure -- he's tall -- the boy, that is, not the dog...)

He held the puppy very carefully, with both hands, close to his body (no dog-dangling). Outside, the dog got set down on the pavement, and that child never took his attention away from it. He ran -- slowly, more like, trotted, or jogged, from end of sidewalk, up to the building, looking over his shoulder to see that the puppy was following. Arriving at the door, the little dog caught up, and then the kid repeated the routine, back out to the end of the sidewalk where his mom was waiting. The boy ran carefully, looking back over his shoulder, looking after the puppy as it zoomed full-speed on its short little legs.

Some children that age can't apply that kind of sustained attention, and caring, to something -- I was charmed, and impressed.
Later on that evening, I missed the opportunity to get something right, at work -- could have been a small success -- but no, I was not thinking "outside the box." Somebody asked me to find the paychecks for their department -- in the office next to mine, paychecks are always in the bottom drawer of a particular file cabinet: for a while last year, I think, the Paycheck Location was changed, to the bottom drawer of a desk.

In the three years I've worked here, I've only ever found paychecks in those two places -- bottom drawer, desk; bottom drawer, file cabinet.
Couldn't find the checks for that dept., Fri., so radioed the guy -- he came up and got the checks off the top of a desk six feet away from where I was looking.

Asked myself later, "Why didn't I just look all over the office, and at least check tops of the other two desks?"
Thinking about it, realized I've sort of programmed myself to try not to be "snoopy," or "nosy" -- those funny old-fashioned terms.

I think you hardly hear those words anymore because the whole world is unbelievably "Snoopy" and "Nosy" -- it's like there's no privacy. (Cameras everywhere...) I somehow don't want to be a person who snoops, peeks, listens in, or gossips. (Those all seem to have a bad connotation, to me....) And sometimes you have to work at that, because most of us are naturally curious, about one another.

Going into that office next door, I feel right to look for paychecks in the usual place, their official location where I've been shown and told that I may look there. But I held back on thinking creatively and looking around other places, in the office, because of a resistance to looking at people's stuff -- being in their space. I don't know.

(Next time I get asked to look in there for a department's paychecks, I may "toss" the place! -- not really....)


Friday, September 3, 2010

tiptoe out

Gratified, and grateful.

Feeling of accomplishment, or just -- something Good.
Feels great!

At work, they had a safety meeting that I suggested, to cut down on speeding in the parking lot, and can SEE the results! People are driving more slowly and responsibly in the tightly packed parking lot. I know, because I watch them! I stand outside, and can see the results.

Plus I think if managers / leaders in a company can communicate to employees that they shouldn't drive like maniacs in a parking lot, it has EXTRA benefits.
Besides lack of dead bodies in parking lot, you also have improved morale (I believe) because people who work at your company realize "Ding! My bosses care if I live or die. My foreman / supervisor/ etc. want me and my family to be OK."

You know, saying to employees, "We Don't want you to wind up dead in the parking lot" is one way of saying you care.
I think messages like that -- when people express caring, and encouragement -- have cumulative benefits. Like earning high interest on stocks you purchased.

I think.

AND -- the co-worker who received the letter back from Pres. Obama, after I encouraged her to send her good idea to our congressional delegation: couple nights ago, this person who -- isn't registered to vote (like so MANY people, as I've discovered to my dismay) and doesn't basically "believe in" politicians, couple nights ago, she --
sat down
and watched the president
give his speech about
getting out of Iraq.

When I run into difficult, or disappointing times in life I've learned to work hard to be happy and not let bad stuff get me down, or create a sad or bad attitude.
But this week, I felt happy, and pleased, and psyched, because of Real Things outside of myself instead of having to WORK to Create it inside of my mind.

You can't always get that, so that's why have to create the Inside Happiness (I think), but when you DO get it, it's very Encouraging.

Now I feel like I should "tiptoe out of the room," figuratively speaking, while [in a whisper] Some Things Are Good.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

first live band

The first time I ever saw a "live band" perform was an adventurous day that I will never forget.

Had not thought about it in a long time -- lately have been listening to so much music, at home & other, maybe that's why the memory came back.

Where my family lived in Ohio, when I was in fifth or sixth grade, a new family started coming to church -- a husband & wife (we'll call them Mr. & Mrs. CX), and their daughter. They were new members, and looking back and trying to figure it out, I'm thinking they probably started attending church because my father invited them.

I was taken along a couple of times when my dad "called on" them -- ministers used to do that, don't think they probably do anymore; people are too busy & don't want company, a lot of times -- plus, I think today's Protestant pastors (and others too maybe) do not want to come across as "crusading," or as "knockin'-on-your-door-Jehovah-Witness-types" (no disrespect, but you know...that's the way people are -- they're picky about how they're perceived)....

[Thinking about ministers "calling on" parishioners (sp?) makes me think, God, if someone who is 19 or something was reading my blog they would probably think I'm from the Stone Age.

I may be from the Rolling Stone age, but not the Stone Age.]

Mr. & Mrs. CX were just a little different from most people I knew (and I didn't know many -- so maybe they weren't so different). Don't even know if I can specify, or express it.
I didn't think this at the time, but looking back I'm imagining that Mr. & Mrs. CX were -- possibly folks whom previous ministers and Ladies' Auxiliary types had -- shall we say -- not remembered to invite.

The CXes lived out in the country. Their daughter had a pony (!) -- there were a few dogs and cats, a large garden, I think. The house was -- now, I was not like a real estate child prodigy or anything -- what did I know? But I just had this impression, that -- the house was more like something you would have "up at the lake" and call it your Lake Cabin, or your Summer Cottage. But that was Their House. That was it.

The mom was very caring, wanted to please you and give you food and wanted you to have fun. She MADE donuts, at home.
The father seemed a little gruff and distant, to me. Once he was wearing a tee-shirt with no shirt over it. Just the tee-shirt, with his slacks. (It was like sitting around with Stanley Kowalski. ["Stella! Stell--aahhh!"])

My family was invited to the CXes' house for their anniversary celebration. We went during the day -- think it was Sunday afternoon.

A minister's family gets invited to some occasions that other people wouldn't -- like weddings of people you don't know, because your father is performing the ceremony. Cake and those funny little mints which I thought you could only get at weddings.
And you don't get invited to some occasions where other people would get invited -- if it is going to be cocktail-y, the hosts fear the minister wouldn't "approve."

But the thing at the CXes house that Sunday afternoon was a party. I didn't "get" that, going in: expected it to be one of the many boring things I was brought to throughout childhood. I don't recall that there were any other people there, that we knew. First, think I was outside playing with other children, but at some point I discovered "live music" in these people's living room.

That was a completely new experience for me.
A band.
In the living room.
And it wasn't a real big room, so the band was -- RIGHT THERE.
I was -- like -- practically on top of the band. Maybe five feet away.
Loud. Electric. Three men, (I think), and a woman. The woman's hair was a teased bouffant; the men's hair was slicked back, looked like it was wet. Yes, that look.
The name of the band was printed on the drum.
They played country music.
I didn't know any of the songs, but I was thrilled.
To be right there -- in the same room -- where a band was playing.
We had band in school; I was IN it; but that wasn't anything like this.

Some of the adults DANCED. The two-step, probably. Even though there was something vaguely tough, and rough-edged about these people -- as if they had seen hard times, or something -- when I discovered the band playing and saw people get up and dance, it became the hottest "scene" I had ever seen.

I thought it was so exciting and amazing. I was inspired. I couldn't participate in any way -- but to watch -- which I did -- and then when the band took a break, I got this idea -- went up to them with paper and a pen and asked for their autographs.

(They seemed a little surprised by that -- think they were bemused.)
We left while it was still light out. As we drove away my father said, "There is going to be a fight there, before the night's over."

(I didn't see why. -- They had a BAND!)