Posts

Squirrelly Business!

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As we were pulling out of the garage this week, I looked straight out to the street area and saw a captivating sight. One, from our family of gray squirrels, was perched and relaxing upon the fire hydrant that sits between our property and that of a neighbor’s who just happens to be a firefighter! I loved the humor in this and wanted to send him the picture that I took with a caption regarding the legality of what I was seeing. Is this legal? Illinois law is specific about fire plugs and parking. You cannot block a hydrant or park a vehicle any closer than fifteen feet in any direction. This is for obvious safety reasons. Firefighters must have access to these “Johnny Pumps” during emergencies. (If you doubt the use of this Yankee synonym for hydrant, just look it up!). I wanted to ask my firefighter neighbor about the squirrel, “Is this legal?” I’m always curious about why the neighborhood squirrels like to get up a little higher while they’re nibbling on the acorns from my oak tree

Where's Your Team?

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I am back to mowing my lawn all on my own! My team has left town for the beautiful high desert of Albuquerque, New Mexico! I was so gratified this spring to enlist my thirteen-year-old grandson, Danny, (and his very capable lawn specialist mother, too!) to help with the weekly chore of mowing .55 acres of Keppler real estate. Danny’s departure this week has left me with a little uncertainty about whether I am still up to the job. I’m happy to report that I was able to edge, mow, weed wack, and blow all the debris away as always! A "One-Man Show" This Week! 😀 But, I do miss my “Number One!” Especially because his partnership allowed me to catch up on other chores, like keeping on top of the stick detailing, flower bed weeding, and shrub trimming touch-up. It was fun to see Danny at work. Even his mother was amazed at the skill he showed in leaving straight mow lines as if he were grooming a professional baseball outfield! He took to the task (and the humble remuneration!) l

The Class of '69!

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Have you ever said, “I don’t feel that old?” and then looked into the nearest mirror and thought differently! Allow me to briefly do my life by the numbers: 73 years of age, 52 years of marriage, and now, 55 years since my high school graduation. By any modest evaluation, I am older than I feel! Last Saturday evening’s class reunion was just another reminder that I am not alone! As I entered the Country Club’s great room, I looked up and could have declared, “Who are all of these old people?” But I quickly checked myself and acknowledged instead, “These are my classmates and peers! Let the stories begin!”😆 Just a few of us! Regrettably, due to living out-of-state and some conflicts with our schedules, I have only been able to attend a half dozen or so of all the reunions. It’s a shame that some of our number bid farewell to Vandalia Community High School after graduation and have never returned for a single class reunion! Our planning team knows how difficult it has been to keep up

It's Not Just a Cap!

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On this past Father’s Day weekend, I treated myself to a new St. Louis Cardinals baseball cap. While celebrating with our son and his family, we went over to the nearby West County Mall. At Matt’s suggestion we dropped into the Rally House store to check out the gear. He was looking for a trendy t-shirt with the City Connect script-style logo. I was looking for a black cap with a red visor and traditional StL logo in contrasting red stitching. We were both happy with our purchases! After getting back to the house, Monique reminded me that I haven’t worn my other Card caps much this season. I reminded her that the Redbirds have been in the basement of  their division standings much of the time. She drove home her point with a concluding dig as I tried on the new cap, “I thought you were mad at them!” It’s true that I am tired of their underperforming! While I haven’t completely given up on them, I am weary with making excuses and complaining! I've got fan fatigue! I shouldn’t have t

Middle Child Surprise!

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We’re a little blurry-eyed today coming off three days and two nights of sitting our four local grands! Don’t misunderstand me. They are great kids between sixteen and eight years old! We love each of them dearly. But, like many their age, the youthful energy levels and summer schedules don’t match the more laidback and senior adult lifestyle of their grandparents! 😊 Charlie on the job! What's that in your jaw?😂 One of the things I enjoyed most about having them under my roof for a few days is that I got that informal one-on-one time with each of them. I am amazed at how quickly they are growing up and how much more mature and perceptive they are becoming. These past brief days have flown by and once again, have left us with many cherished memories. We ate at the same table, went to ballgames and the park, watched television, visited the coffee shop and snow cone stand, and just enjoyed hanging out together! Fun! As you already know, I am a shamelessly doting grandfather! I pray

A Swarming Invasion!

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Months ago, we received news predicting that May through mid-June 2024 would be the optimum time for the thirteen to seventeen-year cycle of Cicadas. After making their appearance, we were told to brace for the invasion and especially the deafening noise that their mating calls would evoke. Experts said that if we could ignore them during the height of the season, it would soon be all over. Once their mating ends and the females lay their eggs…mission accomplished! "What you looking at, Willis?" Last Saturday, we took a short, forty-five-minute road trip east to a Decatur-area Walmart. It would be in this setting that we would have our first encounter with the annoying, buzzing, and even frightening Cicada invasion. After we had just parked in front of the store, and opened our car doors, we heard   blood curdling screams from three little girls approximately 3 or 4 years old. We presumed they were siblings and could see that their mother was trying to quickly get them into t

Dill Pickles and Dr Pepper?

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I have often written about the impact of ideation on one of my favorite beverages – Dr Pepper! It wasn’t too long ago that I was snookered into buying Dr Pepper: Dark Berry Zero Sugar! I hated it and couldn’t give it away! This new attempt at ideation is another one I will be quickly sending off to the idea-garbage heap! This latest one was inspired by a TikTok campaign aided by the likes of Sonic Drive-In’s who are adding dill pickles to the sacred Dr Pepper formula! This is just wrong! What is this world coming to?? Static Media: shutterstock.getty.com The slogan “new and improved” may be the motto for product ideation, but I vigorously resist any attempts to cater to a sour-pickle-cult-following of social media “noodle heads” who want to mess with my Dr Pepper! Surely there are better ways to generate new ideas and at the same time protect the integrity of a product without going crazy! Now, I have no problem with ideation when it comes to Blue Bell Ice Cream choosing to add a new