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Ruhig: Can We Expect a Second New Deal?
on Aging: How Well Are You Prepared for an Emergency?
the Rails From Reno to Sacramento
Corner: Therapeutic Benefits of Writing in Retirement
Endless Barrage of Campaign Slogans Is Over
Dennis "Dutch" Packard
The election is finally
over … hurray!
No more political
television ads and
no more politicians’ recorded
me over the telephone.
And apparently we
made history around
the world by electing
Barack Obama as our
We were forced to listen to the promises spilling from the mouths of anyone running
for anything — both Democrats and Republicans. Reminds me of President
Hoover’s slogan back in 1928, guaranteeing all American families “a
chicken in every pot.”
And Hoover’s promise was a solid one — I must admit that today I
have a chicken pot pie in the refrigerator, chicken soup in the cabinet and chicken
breasts in the freezer. I guess it’s evident that we love our chickens.
It’s easy to dismiss these political slogans as empty, interchangeable
hyperboles. They do, after all, seem stocked with an endless mixture of the same
few terms: strength, courage, new, tomorrow, united, leadership, future, integrity,
family, America, prosperity and people.
How many of the slogans at the bottom of this page can you match up with the
politicians on the right?
• • •
all of the Sunday school lessons I attended as a boy, I can’t
recall a single tale about Adam or Eve going crazy scratching off a “FORBIDDEN” sticker
cemented to the side of that fabled apple. Perhaps I don’t have
to go back that far — we didn’t have stickers on our fruit
in the 1950s, either.
Working for a large family grocery store during my teen years, I didn’t
have to contend with the identification tags. As a food checker — now known
as a “courtesy clerk,” I was required to arrive 15 minutes before
my shift to memorize the prices of all fruits and vegetables, since they changed
daily. I was forced to use my brain and punch numbers on a giant cash register,
then count out the change manually.
In defense of today’s clerks, we only had a small family of apples some
60 years ago: Delicious, Jonathans, Roman Beauties and Pippins. Today’s
assortment has tripled.
Last week, I stood in the produce department at a local supermarket and looked
suspiciously at a display of fruit I wasn’t familiar with. It was something
between an apple and a pear. Cautiously, I picked up the oddly-shaped fruit and
wondered what kind of mad scientist genetically cloned two families of fruit
to come up with this strange creation. It felt firm and cold, so I made the decision
to purchase one.
I walked over to the roll of plastic bags to carry whatever it was I had in my
hand. My luck, it was a new roll that hadn’t been started yet. How do I
find the beginning? Spinning the roll around again and again, with one hand searching
for the beginning, was futile. Then I placed the mystery fruit back on its pyramid
display in order to have both hands free. In doing so, six pieces of fruit dropped
to the floor and headed in six different directions.
After five minutes, I was able to free one plastic bag from the roll without
taking my shoes off. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the bag open. I pinched
the bag and wet my fingertips to no avail. Taking my glasses off, I was convinced
that it was sealed at both ends.
Frustrated, I threw the bag in the air, and it went airborne. Floating around
the produce section like a kite without a string, it glided off the grapefruit
and landed across the room near some onions.
Driving home, I was anxious to try my new piece of fruit. As a last ditch effort
to clean it, I rubbed it back and forth across the dirty t-shirt I was wearing.
I took a big bite. It tasted wonderful, and I grabbed a napkin from the glove
compartment to catch the sweet juices running down my cheeks.
Suddenly I thought about the sticker. Twirling the fruit around, I discovered
that I had eaten it!
• • •
silver-haired sweet rolls” were sisters. They were somewhere
in their 70s. Sweet, like the rolls they munched on, the little
ladies traveled up and down the aisles of the grocery store where I
gracefully taking turns hanging onto the cart.
They proceeded slowly as they shifted their feet, wearing identical, low-heeled
flat shoes that were beginning to drift and sag. A little timid, they would nod
if you walked passed them.
They were always eating while they shopped. It was breakfast time.
I eventually put the puzzle together. After they left, I found an open package
of sweet rolls between the Lux Laundry bars of Naptha soap — the same Danish
I saw dripping from their mouths.
I grabbed the rolls and placed the package next to my register. When they came
through my check stand, I pulled the rolls out and said, “Van de Camps
Danish — $1.19” and rang it up.
Neither one said a word, nor did we see them again.
for the Day: The
trouble with the future — it keeps getting closer.
with me any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dennis “Dutch” Packard
is an artist (oil, ink
drawings, cartoons), author (two books) and columnist who was born
in 1935 in Racine,
was raised in Chicago and
spent most of his youth
involved in the grocery business. He opened
and managed restaurants in
Los Angeles, Carmel, Los
Gatos and Santa
Cruz. Dutch has been married
to Stacey for 31 years, and they have
two daughters, Cara and Maree.
The couple has resided in Citrus Heights
the last 25
years. You may visit him online at www.dutchtreatwebsite.com.
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