We Love Our Four Legged Friends

Working boomers reminds us how we love our dogs, from Lassie to Rin Tin Tin and Ole Yellow. But Working Boomer tells a scary story about encountering a security dog at work.

Since I don’t have a two legged Lover for Valentines Day, I thought I might just write a little about my four legged dog friends.  Now I am not Paris Hilton with her chihuahua, Tinkerbell, with all the fancy clothes and stuff.  Neither am I the Dog Whisperer, Casar Millan, that can train a dog with a gentle word.   Therefore I would like to share a little short story about one dog that I met and mention a few that you might remember.

Do you remember Lassie?  What a beautiful dog.  I just loved to watch the Lassie episodes.  Then there was Rin Tin Tin.  He was a brave soul.  Do you remember Ole Yellow?  I think I cried for a week after that sad movie.  Then there were the Dalmatians.  What a bunch they were.  Yes, it is just amazing how many popular dog stories that there are that have been dear to some of our hearts.  In today’s society dogs are used as therapy for the elderly.  Dogs  work in police departments and are used to help solve crimes.  Dog stories always seem to make the news.  Now I don’t think any of my dog stories have made the newspapers or magazines.  Therefore I would like to share one of my dog stories.         .

The Security Guard Meets Up With The Guard Dog

As a security officer one has to always be prepared for the unexpected but some times the unexpected may catch an officer off guard as it did me one night.  I entered a building from the front entrance to do a few checks and wanted to vary my routine.  It was around 1a.m. in the morning.  After completing my checks I decided to go out the back door to do an exterior check.  As I rounded the corner the unexpected happened.  There stood a huge dog barking loudly at me with big teeth showing.  Each step that I took brought the dog closer to me.  The dog was doing a great job of guarding the building even though it was suppose to be my job. Now I was in a fix.  The dog had me cornered.  Slowly I edged my way along the building wall as I tried to stay calm.  Sweat was rolling down my neck.   My heart was pumping fast. It seemed like hours but was only a few seconds and I felt a door handle.  I slipped my master key in the lock.  The door opened!  Swiftly I jumped inside. With the door slightly cracked I peeped out.  Mr. Big Dog looked so proud.  He stood at attention. He had caught what he thought was an intruder. I was trapped like a rat but the building was safe.  Needless to say, I was in a storage closet.  Much to my embarrassment, I had to call another officer and the police so that I could get out.  The moral of this story is:  If you work security then be careful.  There is always a four legged Dog critter just waiting to take your job and get on the payroll.  I really could have used the Dog Whisperer that night!

Now this encounter did not take away my love for my dog friends.  This boomer loves dog gone dogs and my stories are many.  My Valentine Sweetheart is my little West Highland terrier named Sweetie.  She is my love!  We want to share our love with you and wish you a wonderful Valentine Day!

Originally posted 2011-02-13 19:48:17.

Grandchildren and Grandparents

The other day, I found myself thinking back to the days when I visited my grandparent’s house. I lived in a very small town and they lived just a couple of blocks away. I would grab my rope and skip down to their house as I sang a happy song along the way. I was just doing what most kids did at six years old in a small town. Their house had two bedrooms. One of the bedrooms, if I remember correctly, was connected to the dining room. The larger bedroom had a feather bed. Now if you do not know what a feather bed is, then I will describe it. A feather bed is made of goose feathers. Most folks made their own feather beds. When you laid on it, you sank. There was no way of turning over. One thing for sure, they were warm and a lot of fun. The bed was always covered in homemade quilts. A quilt box was in the room with more quilts for those cold winter nights. On the dresser was a shoe box filled with black and white family pictures.

The living room was small. In the winter the room was heated by a coal stove which was very messy. Grandpa was always up by 4am in the morning to get the stove fired up. He and grandma backed up to it and warmed their behinds. Grandpa always sat in a rocking chair right by his cuckoo clock. The clock totally amazed me. I loved watching the little bird pop our and cuckoo. By the clock sat an old radio. Of course it only had an AM station. FM had not come into to play yet in those years. Over by the other chair was the old rotary type telephone. It was used for emergencies only. Sometimes when they were not in the room, I would pick up the receiver and listen in on the town folk’s gossip. I sure miss those party lines. Back in those days that could be very informative and entertaining for a seven year old mischievous kid like me. It was kind of like a community family telephone because some of us didn’t have a telephone in our houses.

My favorite room was the kitchen. Grandma was always cooking something that aroused your taste buds. The wonderful aroma from her kitchen still sticks with me today. Home made pies cooked in the oven and were set on the window sills to cool. Grandma boiled her potatoes and chopped them up with a potato masher. No, there were no mixers in those days. A woman in the kitchen had to have strong hands. Grandma would always let me lick the cake batter off of the spoon when she baked a cake. I would watch, sit real still, and wait for that special moment when I was allowed to grab that spoon and bowl. Then I would lick to my hearts content, wrapping my tongue up and down that big wooden spoon. What a delight! Those were some good times! There were lots of wooden pine shelves on the wall. The shelves contained rows of mason jars. The jars were of all sizes. They were filled with corn, jams, jellies, and any kind of beans that you could imagine. There were jars of relishes, potatoes, soup, dill pickles and almost anything that you can find in today’s grocery store. This was real down home cooking. A fly swatter hung on the wall by the door. That was a job assigned to me. If a fly found its way into Grandma’s kitchen I would give it a good swat.

From the kitchen you could go outside through the old back door. It was always especially important to remember to close the screen door or I would be batting flies again.

The yard had flowers of all kind. The roses and snow balls were the prettiest. I always had an urge to pick a few but I didn’t want a paddling. Now a paddling was a good swat on the bottom side of ones lower part. A huge tree stood with its branches swaying in the wind. The tree provided shade during hot summer days. There was no such thing as air conditioning in that house. My grandparents would have said even a fan would give you a cold.

Further to the back of the yard was a chicken coop where Grandma fed the chicken’s everyday. Sometimes I helped gather the eggs. Some of the eggs were brown and some white. That always amazed me too. I could not understand how white chickens laid brown eggs. I was told that the brown eggs tasted better but I am not quite sure of that. Beyond that point was the vegetable garden. The rows were always straight and kept clean of weeds. Grandpa had a man plow the dirt some time in late February or early March. Each year the man came down the streets of the town with his mule and plow to do up the town folk’s gardens.

Even today, I can remember Grandma in her long apron that she wore to keep her dress clean. Now back in those days, it was important to keep ones clothes from getting dirty because washing was a real chore. Do you remember the old ringer type washer? Grandma filled it up with water from a garden hose. After that she put the clothes in it. Each piece of clothing was hand fed through a ringer to get the soapy water partly out. Then they were rinsed in a wash tub and hung on a clothes line to dry. I can still remember the old clothes pen bag. Those sheets would just be flapping in the wind as the strong sun shine beat down on them. After they were dry, I can’t say they were soft but oh did they ever smell good. Even until today clean fresh sheets are my favorite smell.

My Grandpa dressed in his bib overalls and had whiskers. I remember his shaving mug, brush and long blade straight razor that he used when shaving. Maybe this sticks out in my mind about him more than anything else because he had trick he used to play on me. It gave him a good chuckle but I just got a red cheek from it. He always wanted his grandpa hug and then he would allow those whiskers to touch my face. Grandpa called that whiskering. As I remember it, I called it uncomfortable. Now you know I was always grateful when I met up with Grandpa on a Sunday morning when he had just shaved.

Yes, being Grandparents and grandchildren back in those days was quite different than it is today. Today I am the Grandmother. My house is an apartment. There is no Grandpa with me. My groceries come from the grocery store. My laundry is done in an automatic washer and dryer. When I make a cake, it comes from a box. I mix the cake with an electric mixer. My flowers are indoors and made of silk. I buy my pies already baked. My grandkids don’t skip a rope to Grandma’s house. My granddaughter drives her own car. My grandson has his skate board. They both text . I have my I phone to watch videos of them. I see their faces on Facebook.

Just like most of you that may still have grandparents or even are grandparents yourself, there is ONE thing still the same. That one thing is the Love that is there between Grandparents and Grandchildren! I just hope that someday, my grandchildren will be able to remember something special about me.

Originally posted 2011-03-13 17:04:05.

The Boomers Dysfunction Junction Family

When I was a younger person, I remember watching the television show, “Leave It To Beaver.” Everyone was so proper and perfect. It represented the all American family back in the day. Needless to say, I was nothing like Mrs. Clever. My clothes were not perfect, my house was disorganized, and as as a single Mom I guess you might say we were a bit dysfunctional. In other words we did not set the standards for normal but what is normal but a setting on a washing machine.

When I was a younger person, I remember watching the television show, “Leave It To Beaver.”  Everyone was so proper and perfect.  It represented the all American family back in the day.  Needless to say, I was nothing like Mrs. Clever.  My clothes were not perfect, my house was disorganized, and as as a single Mom I guess you might say we were a bit dysfunctional.  In other words we did not set the standards for normal but what is normal but a setting on a washing machine.  There were many self help programs and books for this condition back then.  One thing for sure by attending these programs, I met others that were just like me.   Some even appeared in more abnormal situations than my family.  Instead of judging the situation, I will just say dysfunction or not, it was what it was.  Who cares about titles anyway.   If the truth be known, I am sure most folks have a few skeletons in their closets.

The qualifications for dysfunction could be doing a lot of things such as drinking, drugging, care taking, sex, over eating, under eating, or anything that is connected with an addiction.  Then there is the term, “being politically correct.”  Whatever, I say!  From articles that I have been reading lately it appears boomers have been saddled with the blame for a lot of this.  Again, I say,”Whatever.”  Give us a break already!  The last time I was in a bar, it was unbelievable to me watching some of our younger generation put down a few cold beers.  As fast as they were going down who would have had time to taste the cold part anyway.  It has been a while since I have seen any 70 year old folks chugging that fast but I know they can.  Really who cares about the age thing as long as they are legal age to drink.  Oh right, make sure it is not obsessive or it will be dysfunctional.

I am waiting for the statistics to come out on today’s day and age families regarding computer age dysfunction.  So far from what I have observed is that members of a family sit in the same room.  Each person has a cell phone in their hand.  Constantly they are texting away on the phone.  Then there is a giggle from a person on the opposite of the room.  Instead of talking, these two folks are texting each other. That is the way they share a laugh.  Give me a break!  Pretty soon one will have to have a cell phone to ask for the butter to be passed at the dinner table.  Speaking of the the dinner table, that brings me to something else.  I have seen many families that all just grab their food and head to the family room or living room.  There everyone sits around, eats and watches the biggest loser.  To me this appears to be dysfunctional but who am I make that call.

Then I keep reading about families where the parents, grandparents and kids all live under the same roof.  My, My, I do hope these dwelling are structurally safe if there is any dysfunction going on in these families.  Actually, before the next sixty years has come and gone, we boomers may know the family unit as more than it was in days gone by.  Did I say 60 years?  No way, I don’t plan on being around to experience any more new terms associated with family dysfunction junction!  There are so many different surveys going on, I am sure someone will get on this important topic soon of the future of family dysfunction junction.  Only time will tell folks, only time will tell!

Originally posted 2011-06-23 20:29:00.

Follow Your Dream

Working Boomer remembers turning age 50 in and I wanting to give herself a gift which would be a cruise.

At times we all have a dream and sometimes those dreams come true.  My dream was to take a cruise.  I  worked in an Oncology office with cancer patients.  There you see and experience many things.  My daughters were raised and were beginning their own lives.  I was single and turning the age of 50. Finances were short but I had a dream.

Many of the people in the office were in support groups and one of them was me.  While attending a group session a pamphlet came across the table advertising a cruise to the Caribbean which would be leaving the next year in January.  It was then July.  I would be turning age 50 in December and I wanted to give myself a gift which would be a cruise.   I lived pay check to pay check but in July we were allowed to sell some of our vacation time back for cash so I did that.  There were those in the office that thought I would never make this dream but it did not matter to me.  I used the $600 and made my first down payment with the remaining money to be paid the following October.

I filled out the papers and made my deposit.  I was to be assigned a roommate.  This was a group from all over the world.  I would know no one but knew we all shared a common interest.  When over time came available I worked and put that money away.  When the summer sales hit at the clothing stores, I was the first one there.  I purchased $200 outfits for as low as $20.  I bought outfits for each theme night on the cruise plus discounted summer wear.

When October came I was able to pay the final payment.  My clothes were bought and packed.  I was good to go.  My dream was on the way.  My supervisor said to me, “Annie, I knew you could do this.” Life does throw us curves.  In November my sister passed away around Thanksgiving which was very traumatic to me.  I thought that it just was not time for me to go off and have fun.  I called the person that co- ordinated the cruise and will never forget his words.  He said, “Ann, I have never met you.  I will refund your money but before doing that do me a favor.  Ask yourself what your sister would have wanted you to do and then call me back.”  I did this.  I knew my sister would want me to continue to live and enjoy life.  So the call was made and my cruise was a go.

The day came.  I left St. Louis in the snow to arrive in Miami, Florida by air.  This was all new to me and another adventure.  I was so excited.  There were so many people at the port.  Nothing was familiar.  It was a bit scary being alone at the time.    The Norwegian ship, the Norway, was huge.  I finally arrived at my cabin and met my room mate.

I was assigned an early dining time with a beautiful family from Iowa.  I bonded quickly with the lady as if she were my sister.  We laughed, shared stories, and many woman to woman secrets.  Then I met others that came with our group.  The group totaled about 400 people.  It was just like having a new family consisting of people of all ages and backgrounds but we shared a common bond.  No one was ever left friendless.

I ate things that I had never even seen before.  I was introduced to Reggae music which I love.  I won money on the boat slots which allowed me to go to a beautiful spa on the boat each day for pampering.  I enjoyed dancing in the night air.  I saw the beautiful sunset across the ocean.  I experienced the beautiful waters at St. Martin.  I visited St. Thomas.  I learned about the Dutch and French cultures. I viewed a nudist beach from a distance.  I had the pleasure of a massage outside under a Palm tree with the ocean wind blowing on my body.  I fellowship ed with people on Cayman Island.  I had my bed sheets turned back each night with a mint laying on my pillow.  For seven days I felt I lived the life of Cinderella.

Then the last day of the trip came.  Some of us hugged and cried while saying our good byes.  We exchanged phone numbers to stay in contact.  We didn’t want to leave each other and the paradise that we had experienced.  We reached port..  We left the ship.  We got to the airport.  We were all taking flights back to our homes from all over the world.  We hugged and then  waved good bye as we boarded our planes.

The trip will never leave my mind.  The beauty of the islands and the water will always be clear and never forgotten.    But more importantly what I will always remember is the beauty of how strangers from all walks of life came together as one big family.  The way we expressed our love for each other and the way we left a mark in each others HEART.  I hope by writing this story as a Working Boomer that I have left a mark in your heart.  Always follow your DREAM.

Originally posted 2010-12-08 15:30:38.

Boomer Childhood Memories

If you are a boomer reading this I hope it took you to a place of importance in your life. I hope you will share your story with others that will listen. Most of all, I hope that it has instilled in you the memory of what is really important. Simple can sometimes be the most priceless of things that we have! Ask yourself, is it too late? Maybe your family can still have some of this on a beautiful week end coming up soon.

As I awaken from a short nap today and sat enjoying a cup of cappuccino, my mind went back in time to my childhood.  I thought of the big city of St. Louis, Missouri where I was born.  It was a city not suburbs as some of us call city today.  I remember the two and four family flats around the neighborhood.  Most families rented.  The flats were not air conditioned.  Instead, a fan was placed in the window for cooling.  Neighbors sat on the front porch steps to cool in the evening.  Those buildings were very hot in the summer time.  Children played on the sidewalks such games as hop scotch and jacks.  Some kids were lucky enough to own a bicycle.  Our treat consisted of getting a nice cold snow cone from the snow cone man when we heard the musical sound of his truck coming. Our parents were blue collar workers. They were proud to have jobs in factories near by.  After a hard day of work some listened to the Cardinal baseball game on the AM station of their radio.  You could smell the aroma of home cooking coming the apartments. Dinner time was called super time and lunch was dinner.  A hearty lunch consisted of half a bologna sandwich and a can of Campbell’s chicken and noodle soup.  Super usually included some form of potatoes, a meat and gravy, peas or beans.  Children did not complain about their meals and Mom’s enjoyed cooking them.

Week ends came and some Dads might have a beer or two.  Mothers did the weekly grocery shopping at an outside fruit and vegetable market.  Meat was purchased from a butcher at the meat store.  The butcher was a friendly sort of chap with meat blood stains on his apron.  He always cut and wrapped a generous good portion in white freezer paper. The butcher knew all his customers by a first name basis.

Some times families enjoyed the parks on Sunday.  I remember the bright colored plastic table clothes spread out on picnic benches.  Huge bowls of potato salad, slaw and all the fixings were there for a wonderful picnic meal.  Adults and children played softball, badminton and shared a lot of laughter and fun.  At the end of the day we were relaxed, a little tired, sometimes sun burned, but happy. That was life in the big city.

Later I remember the move to a small town.  It was a much slower pace.  The town has one grocery store not a butchers shop.  There was a town square that sat right in the middle of the town with the stores around it.  You could see the old cotton gin where farmers brought their cotton in wagons to be ginned and bailed.  Sometimes there was country music players in the square for the town folks entertainment.  It was very important to get to town at the right time on Saturday evening for the town drawing.  I remember waiting anxiously to hear who would win the prize for the week.

On Sunday most folks put on their go to meeting clothes and attended church.  Everyone’s shoes were shined and dressed in their best clothes.  You could see men’s faces freshly shaved.  Women looked as though they just walked out of a country fashion magazine.   Hats were properly taken off prior to entering the building except for the ladies.  Of course they displayed their hats proudly on their heads clipped on with hat pins.

Sunday dinner was a big thing in the small town.  Tables were prepared with the best dishes.  The windows of the houses were open.  Curtains were swinging back and forth in the windows.  You could smell chicken and okra frying.  Potatoes were being mashed with real butter.  The gravy was simmering in the skillet. Fresh pies were coming out of the ovens.  Beautiful red tomatoes were sliced from the garden.  The families gathered around at the table and enjoyed a feast.  After dinner some nodded off for a nap while others just relaxed as if there was not a care in the world.

If you are a boomer reading this I hope it took you to a place of importance in your life.  I hope you will share your story with others that will listen.  Most of all, I hope that it has instilled in you the memory of what is really important.  Simple can sometimes be the most priceless of things that we have!  Ask yourself, is it too late?  Maybe your family can still have some of this on a beautiful week end coming up soon.

Originally posted 2011-08-09 20:39:20.

A Little Music and A lot of Dancing

I came from a small town where dancing and what they called wild music was just not allowed. But music and dancing became of important part of Boomers lives.

I came from a small town where dancing and what they called wild music was just not allowed.   I mentioned before though that this Boomer is a free spirit.  Remember those little transistor radios back in the day.  Well you could see me at any time with one in my hip pocket.  Of course the hip had to be turned just the right way to get the music to come in clear from the radio station.  Oh and dancing in the small town was just a big no but I had the beat.

On a hot summer day you could catch me listening to some great hits.  I would sing “I’m Sorry” by Brenda Lee at the top on my lungs and couldn’t sing a lick as the old country saying goes.  Then there was Wild Thing, When A Man Loves a Women, and Papa’s Gotta Brand New Bag.  Yes, and don’t get me started on Heat Wave, Sugar, Sugar and Save The Last Dance for Me.

Little did I know that my all time favorite “Harper Vally P.T.A by Jeanne C. Riley would become my early wild boomer life.  Those hot pants and Go Go boots were my thing.  I worked hard and played hard and oh did I love to dance.  I would dance with my broom while cleaning house or dance the night away when out on the town or by then it was the city.

Then along came the song Ride the White Pony and my disco dancing could clear a dance floor any time.  If possible I would stay on a dance floor and close the place down.  They talk about running for exercise in today’s world but I am here to tell you back in the day, I danced for exercise!

Years were passing so I had to change my style.  I met up with a band leader and turned COUNTRY.   Now can you believe those apples.   I have sat with Chuck Berry at one of the places he owned and listened to him get a crowd roaring.  I was on a roll now and switched again.  This time it was Two stepping, country waltz, the 10 step and Cotton eyed Joe just to mention a few country dances.  Don’t let me get started on dancing to that all time great hit, Ride Sally Ride.  OH my, Oh my those were the days of music and dancing.

Then that thing called middle age started to creep up on me and I found my self sitting on a bar stool listening to “The Queen of the Silver Dollar by Dayle Holly.”  That did it!  I had to grow up.  Now that does not mean that I stopped listening to music nor did I stop dancing.  It just means I changed my way of life.  Maybe you could say maturity hit me or maybe I just needed to try something else like meditation music, easy listening,Christian rock, blues and jazz.    I even listened to a little Opera but that night will not be repeated.  It is great music but just not my THANG!

So here I sit today remembering back to Chicago, Three Dog Night, The Beatles and the list goes on and on.  Those tunes will never leave my head and I can still pat my foot any old time.  Yes sirree, those Boomer days were some great times.  Let’s keep on rocking and rolling because the Band Stand Group is not over yet!

Originally posted 2010-12-13 20:40:07.