Are you getting any older? Do you often go into a room and forget what it was that called your name? How about sports? Do you still get as much out of running as you once did? I don’t mean playing a game, where there are rules and things that happen that make me wonder what it was that even made me go outside.
The reason I ask is that there are many things happening to me these days that I have a hard time figuring if a second afternoon nap is out of the question. There are so many things that happen in a day that I am confused on a regular basis.
I still wash my own car, but not near as often as I used to. Mowing the lawn? Forget it. If my boys come over for some of my bride’s world-famous broccoli chicken casserole, then I can get just about anything, but they are getting smarter.
Just the other day I asked one of my sons to help me chop down a weeping willow tree in my backyard. He pulled out a doctor’s excuse as to why he wasn’t allowed to lift heavy things or stand on his feet for more than 10 minutes. Of course, it was a fake and it hurt more that he tried to get out of a little work.
When I questioned him about where he ever got the idea that a note like that would get him out of a little work, he sort of bent over and said, “Daddy, you told me that you did that all the time to get out of school when you were young.” Smart aleck, little brat. It’s a good thing he has a good job, as I would hesitate to feed him if he didn’t have his own money.
His mother is probably the one who gave him that idea. I cannot recall ever telling him of my wayward youth. She, of course, was one of those students who got good grades and never had to call mother or father to come down to the school house and straighten out a little thing like missing assembly that morning. My boys seem to have discovered a way to copy my signature on things that matter.
They love to point out that my activities are getting slower and that I need to be pretty close to a public restroom if we go out to eat. Would you believe that one time he told me my zipper was down as I walked over, stopping a couple of times to say “Hi” to a friend. I sat him down and told him in no uncertain terms that any man may occasionally walk out of a restroom with his zipper flying at half mast. It’s pretty obvious when that happens. It’s when you go into the restroom and forget to zip your pants up.
I have heard that’s a real problem with older people. Never happened to me of course, but I have heard of it. When you forget to zip your pants down, problems can occur. I don’t think I broke through to him. Of course, that is when I remind him I have two sons and I could afford to send one to the nearest Army Recruiting station and wouldn’t even notice. That’s when he starts whining and asking his mother to interfere. If you have male heirs and this happens to you with any regularity, you know of what I speak.
I would like to tell you that I wouldn’t trade any of my children for anything else… well, I did notice that there was a motorcycle for sale over in Monterey, but on second thought, it probably wouldn’t be a fair trade.
Now, if you want to talk about daughters, I’m your man. They are surely God’s gift to a good man. Ahem! I’m referring to myself. My beautiful daughter was 4 years old when her mother decided to try and recapture her youth. I don’t know if she ever did, but it didn’t matter because I now had a buddy to hang around with me. I was older than 4, but you wouldn’t have noticed. I taught her how to shoot a .45 cal, pistol and how to hold the broom when I asked her to sweep out the store.
When business was slow, I would send her down to Sang’s Cafe to get an order of fried rice. When Sang made fried rice, he did it by frying an egg and chopping you some ham and onions. Excuse me, I have to quit describing how it was cooked because my mouth is truly watering as I think back to those innocent days. That rice was a little greasy, but it was so good. Up until my bride made fried rice for me, it was the best I had ever tasted.
In those days, the 100 block of Salinas was a hangout for some of the less prosperous citizens of Salinas. For some reason, I didn’t worry about sending her there. It could have been that I carried a Colt pistol or because the taxi drivers or the tow truck driver or the ladies that worked the late shift and hung out there would not allow anyone else to even talk to her. Now if I were to ask my wonderful sons to sweep out anything, they would quickly point out that they are college graduates and above that menial work.
I don’t mention it very often, but I do have an occasion to remind them that their sister had given me two grandkids, a really cool son-in-law and a great-grandson. While I love my boys with all my heart, I think I must have been in a hurry for them to grow up. They never call me for advice, or when they do, they point out that I kept telling them they had to leave home to begin life as men. Now they don’t come over as much as their mother would wish.
I might as well tell you that I met my bride on the corner of Gabilan and Main streets in Salinas. She was working in a little bistro that stood on the corner. The first time I saw her she was up in this guy’s face telling him to get out. This guy was a real skitzo and I don’t mind telling you that I was going to get him out of the Bistro without a fight, but I didn’t have to. Lorraine let him have it and he decided he would try another venue for his begging ways.
I cornered Lorraine and asked her not to do that again, as I wouldn’t be there all the time. She pointed out that she could handle it. I sheepishly walked back to my gun shop; I knew how to deal with those customers. To be honest, she scared me a little. And that was the day I fell in love with my little Swiss Miss. And I still am surprised by her every day. She doesn’t scare me anymore, but I pay a lot of attention to her words.