Friday, June 24, 2011

More New England jokes

I believe these classics were told to me by old friend Steve Thompson. I connected two jokes into one narrative. They show the unique view of life on old planet New England.

A traveling salesman was enjoying a drive through the Vermont countryside on a sunny but brisk cold fall morning when he stopped to admire a postcard view of an apple orchard. He spotted a farmer gathering apples from a tree and felt compelled to ask the man why he was also carrying a pig under one arm. First, he quietly observed the farmer picking apples and putting them in a bushel basket. Then to his surprise, he would take a break and let the pig eat some apples right off a low hanging limb. The big city time conscious salesman just had to ask, "Why don't you let the pig roam around and eat the drops on the ground?"
The man- of- few- words farmer replied, "Pig don't like drops" without altering his routine.
The frustrated salesman answered, "But look at all the time being wasted!"
The farmer turned to the salesman and replied--mildly annoyed that he had to explain something so obvious, "Mister, what's time to a pig?"
In my fantasy world the salesman shakes his head and asks if he could use a bathroom. The farmer takes a break because he also needs one also. They walk over to a two- seater outhouse and proceed to do their business. The farmer finishes first but when he stands up a quarter falls from the pocket of his bib overalls right into the hole. The farmer looks for a minute at his lost coin and then, much to the amazement of the salesman, takes out his wallet, crumples up a ten dollar bill and lets it drop into the hole. The salesman couldn't contain his shock. "Why in the world would you do something like that?"
The farmer quietly replied, "You don't think I'm going to put my hand down that hole for a quarter, do you?"

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

New England Jokes

I was recording last night with Larry. He wanted a sound check so I began telling him my favorite New England. They are about the fabled distorted view of life that results from having your brain frozen in the brutal winters and the shock of brief thawing period.

Two friends--Jim and Ollie were true Mainers. Men of few words do their penurious nature. Neither one had family or friends left in their declining years. Even between themselves they weren't that social, except for some fishing trips on the ocean--and fishing meant fishing, not talking about fishing. One day the end came for Ollie and Jim wondered what he should do. He went to the newspaper office and was directed to the obituary editor. "I want to put something in the paper about the passing of friend Ollie."
Pen in hand, the editor asked what he wanted to say. After some thought Jim said, "Put in 'Ollie died'"
The puzzled editor just looked at Jim. "That's all. There is a five word minimum. It's going to cost you the same amount of money for two words or five words."
Jim scratched his head searching for inspiration. " Add 'car for sale'"
I need to go to work. Will tell you some more tomorrow. I figure I have told you more than enough sad stories.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

old towns in New England

I was traveling through Dover, New Hampshire a few days ago trying to connect with an old friend visiting the area. Sometimes I forget how old the earth is--especially New England earth. A lot of towns like Dover, Exeter, and Portsmouth are graciously borrowed (I would like to think) from their namesakes England. I work in Exeter on the weekends and Phillips Exeter Academy had banners up proclaiming their 231 st graduating class. The son of Abraham Lincoln went to this school and George Washington stayed in one of the old houses. Down the street is a Dunkin Donuts.I can imagine Lincoln's son and George Washington musing about life over a cup of coffee. That's my wonderful problem--imagining a whole bunch of absurd meetings and wild tales. Almost every day a story idea presents itself and finite fingers can't keep up the pace like traveling through Dover. Meandering down Main St. trying to locate where my friend was staying I glanced right for an instant and saw a building aching to tell me its story. I thought about this building over the weekend. It was a well preserved three story brick building with black shutters around white trimmed windows. Over time some of the white painted windows had bled down on the brick leaving faded pale streaks. The process has been going on for decades maybe a hundred years. I want to go back and lean against the bricks and gently suggest that enough tears have fallen. The drying sun is shining, I would whisper. Let it dry your tears. Love to all my brick building friends out there.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

nest , not quite empty

A few days ago my youngest daughter at a moment when the eye of the marriage hurricane was directly overhead and we could hear ourselves think said,"Dad, can you be the master of ceremonies and make a speech at my wedding?" It brought back memories but everything brings back memories these days. When my oldest daughter was planning her wedding in Israel, I did not--could not contemplate flying half way around the planet. I would have had to ask the airline to build a plane around my 420lb. body and switching my shoes for tires. There probably is a surcharge for that. I thought of the letter that I wrote for the occasion and actually heard Karen read in front of hundreds of people. It was rolled up and placed in an Ethiopian prayer cylinder because my son-in-law is from Ethiopia. Here is what I wrote for their wedding.

A Letter To My Children

This scroll wound up tightly, unfolds its mysterious secrets just like your marriage will reveal its hidden treasures which are given to you both by the Hidden Treasure, Baha'u'llah. He is the first among your wedding guests to arrive and His gift was given to both of you long before your entrance into this world. The mingling of the graceful nobility of Sisay with the dancing compassionate mind of Laurel form overlapping hearts. Pay close attention to this shared area. It is a new land formed like a volcanic island in the middle of the ocean. Don't be afraid of the volcano. From time to time it will erupt with fury, with raging heated winds and a deafening sound. Know that the embers will cool. The hazy mist will dissipate. The roar will fade away leaving only the sound of gentile waves caressing a lush green Island. It is on this island that you, Sisay, and you, Laurel will live forever.