and Frowning as I Celebrate Another Birthday
birthday to me and all of you born in April! I won’t
divulge my age, but I will give you a clue by sharing
part of a tribute my son wrote a few birthdays ago, and
I quote, “How could anyone have predicted that
the birth of the beloved Hostess Twinkie would be overshadowed
by a greater delivery only three days later? Yes, that
was the day my mother made her entrance into the world.”
It’s true, and we’ve both been around for many years. I’m
not as sweet as Twinkie or as loved by so many, but then Twinkie can’t
talk or write or think of things to fill this space. I admit that sometimes
that’s even hard for me to do, but after watching the news today
I decided to write about those little things in life that make me frown
These things won’t make the history books on great events of the
past, but for a moment they will keep me from thinking about the dire shape
the world is in and just maybe they might do the same for you.
FROWN: Containers of liquids or pills with lids that say “push down
and turn” or “squeeze sides together and turn slowly.” After
pushing down or squeezing several times without success, the lid surprises
me and pops off, sending the contents rolling or running across the counter,
onto the floor and often down the drain. Just give me the old-fashioned
screw top lids and I’ll promise to keep them out of my grandchildren’s
SMILE: Being in a hurry and rushing up to the check-out stand in a store
and there’s no one ahead of me.
FROWN: People who park their cars so close to mine in a parking lot that
even if I’m able to get to the door, I have to be a contortionist
to get in.
SMILE: Arriving at a doctor’s office at the appointed time and hearing
my name called just as I start to sit down.
FROWN: Boxes of cold cereal in sizes large enough to feed a family of four
for several weeks. I’m a family of me and I seldom eat cold cereal,
but because some recipes call for a small amount of one kind or another,
my cupboards are crammed with almost-full boxes of stale cereal because
I feel guilty when I throw them out.
SMILE: When a whole day goes by without one call from a solicitor.
FROWN: Making a call to a business and hearing an automated voice tell
me “your call is important to us, please stay on the line and we’ll
be right with you.” After that being repeated over and over again
for the next 20 minutes or more I’m ready to hang up, but I feel
trapped. If I hang up I’ll only have to call later and start playing
the waiting game all over again. It makes me wonder how long a person making
an “unimportant” call has to wait.
SMILE: Calling a business and having a living, breathing person answer
after the second ring. That makes me so happy I want to call them again
and again just for the thrill of it.
FROWN: All dressed up and ready to head out to my car to go to an appointment
when it suddenly starts pouring down rain — when rain wasn’t
even predicted! — and I remember I left my umbrella in the car.
SMILE: Big white fluffy clouds against a backdrop of beautiful blue sky
or a rainbow after a soft spring shower.
FROWN: Waking up earlier than usual and having some extra time to peruse
my morning paper and then work the crossword puzzles before a busy day
begins, and that’s the day the paper comes two hours later than it
normally does. I’m left with barely enough time to look at the headlines,
which are so negative they leave me wishing I had stayed in bed.
SMILE: Waking up to the aroma of fresh brewed coffee because I remembered
to get it ready and set the timer on the coffee pot the night before.
FROWN: This tops them all. Buying an item that’s vacuum-sealed in
a form-fitting coat of plastic! After breaking a fingernail or two, stabbing
it with a knife before turning to heavy duty scissors, I find I’ve
cut my finger on the sharp edge of the plastic. When I get the plastic
off, I find that the item is held tight to a cardboard backing with industrial-strength
staples! When finally I’ve freed the item with my weakened hands,
I’ve either forgotten what I was going to use it for or I just don’t
give a darn anymore. Technology is great, but so are common sense and forethought.
SMILE: Finding an item I need just hanging on the display rack, bare naked
except for the brand name and a price tag.
FROWN: Having plans to go out with friends for dinner and then coming down
with a raging headache, which I rarely ever have.
SMILE: Celebrating birthdays with other April-born friends and feeling
great! That’s the plan for tonight, so I’ll bring this to an
end and start getting ready, for I don’t want to put a frown on my
friend’s faces by showing up late.
Oh, yes. Happy birthday, Twinkie! May we celebrate many more!
resident Joey Franklin, retired from more than three decades
of full-time work in the newspaper business, now writes
a monthly column for Spectrum.
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