Schultz ready for Halloween.
Schultz ready for Halloween.
My septuagenarian friend and I were sitting under a massive live oak during the hottest Floridian August on record. We were into our second six pack from the olde Coca Cola ice chest when he finishes his fourth or fifth beer, leans forward on his over tanned knees and whispers, “Do you believe in God?”
I sat back in my camp chair and took a nice slow draw on my long neck Bud while I decided whether to answer his rather rude question or tell him to “fuck off!” I don’t know whether it was the heat or the beer, but I decided to answer him and tell him the truth.
It was quite a few years ago; about the time I went from knowing everything to realizing I knew nothing. I decided that it was time God and I had a sit down, a meeting of the minds, a discussion.
My friend looked at me hard, grabbed another Corona from the cooler and sat back in his lawn chair. I grabbed myself another beer and continued:
“God,” I said, “I am well aware of all you have to deal with. You’re dealing with wars, famine, genocide and all. In addition, I cannot even imagine what is like having all those people whining, and begging and praying to you for favors. I’d have blown somebody’s head off by now.
I don’t know if you exist or not. I don’t think what I believes matters. It seems to me that what matters is whether you believe in me. Here’s what i suggest. I’m not going to bother you with prayers or adoration. Your psyche is certainly not so fragile that you need my or anyone’s adoration or sniveling prayers. You, for your part do your thing; and I won’t complain and will try to do what is right.
Do I believe in God? I never decided. He did what he thought was best; I did my best. He never asked if I believed in Him, and I never asked if He believed in me.”
My septuagenarian friend looked at the untouched sweating beer in his hand, looked me hard in the eye, chugged his beer and said, “Bullshit!”
I chugged my beer, looked him straight in the eye and said, “Well, maybe it was more of a soliloquy.”
A native of northern Ohio now living in Florida, I am enjoying freshly grown tomatoes now. I have already eaten this guy’s ripe brother. This tomato, a Brandywine, is a heritage variety which means it has NOT been hybridized to be picked early, stand up to machine picking, and long storage times. I grow it because I can remember what a tomato tastes like. I also know that it’s flavor contributes more than a red color to a salad, a burger or a BLT.
Every time I bite into the Brandywine tomato I am transferred back to the time in which I learned to appreciate the taste of a freshly picked, ripe tomato.
I had lived in northern Ohio where tomatoes were grown for processing and canning. Baskets of these bright red tomatoes were loaded and stacked five baskets high on trailers hauled by tractors from the fields where they had been picked by hand and driven through town to the canning factory.
When the first tractor, pulling the first trailer, loaded with those ripe tomatoes entered town, word spread like wildfire through the town’s kids. Any child tall enough to reach a tomato basket on the trailer headed for Patterson Street where the tractor driver would have to slow to a craw so as to and not lose his load of tomatoes while making the turn headed to Stevenson Street.
Here the game, a tradition for decades, began.
The object was simple: the children were to grab a tomato to eat; the tractor driver was to make them pay a price two fold. Unbeknownst to the rookie children in this game, the tractor driver had a basket of rotting tomatoes hidden between his legs on the tractor. As the children attacked, he threw these tomatoes at them with incredible accuracy. If you were hit, the rotting tomato would smush all over you and your clothes. If he missed, you’d grab your tomato, retreat to the shade of a tree and devour its deliciousness. The proper technique was to gently pierce the skin with your teeth and suck the juice out of it. In that way you could enjoy the fruits of your victory without leaving telltale tomato juice on your clothes.
Remember that I said the tractor driver would make them pay two fold? Yes, if you got hit it would be embarrassing, but it also would be very messy. You would be literally be covered in smushed tomato and tomato juice. And your parents would notice and demand an explanation of how this happened. I have never heard of a satisfactory explanation that would be accepted. I have heard “the tomato fell on me from the trailer, I fell on the tomatoe, I was carrying groceries for a little old lady and the tomatoes mushed”. And yet, I cannot remember a single incidence of a child being punished for this pilfering tomatoes. I have heard of them being punished for lying about how they got covered in tomato juice, but not for participating in what had become a tradition.
In today’s world, there would be police, investigations into whether the child stole the tomato, investigations into whether the tractor driver had committed a crime by throwing a rotting tomato at a child, investigations into whether the canning company and/or the farmer was liable for the stained clothes. There would be crime scene tape around the tractor and the tomato laden trailer. There would be media coverage including interviews with anyone who needed their time in the spotlight. There would be police chiefs, mayors, governors, state and federal legislators from both parties, religious leaders, non religious leaders, shopkeepers, psychologists and neighbors. While all this is going on, the tomatoes would rot in the sun. And, no one would have the taste of a real tomato to remember.
So, here I sit under the shade of a palm tree with my bright red heritage tomato in my hand, the juice sucked out, preparing to take a delicious bite having my heritage thoughts.
It seems to me that if we trust in God, we wouldn’t need or want the police to intervene in our lives.
Which brings up another question. Does God have a bumper sticker that says, “IN PEOPLE I TRUST.”?
And, if God did have that bumper sticker, would you trust Him?
There will come a time in your life when your significant other will ask you to go shopping with her. Do not bring up the game you wanted to watch or mowing the lawn. You are not being offered a choice.
You will eventually end up in the woman’s section of a department store. Once there a clerk will kindly offer a chair to enjoy while your partner shops. Quietly, but firmly decline because if you sit, you will be in the department for hours on end while the clerk helps the shopper.
Instead, ask your significant other what she is looking for, size, color, etc. she will look at you with new respect and love for being so interested and helpful. Once she has selected something she will want to take it to the changing room to try it on.
Once she is in the fitting room, go to the clothing racks and select three other items in her size. When she comes out to show you how the article looks on her, she will ask your opinion. say something safe like “it’s a nice color for you.” or “it looks good on you.” Then say “I thought you might like to try on these three.”
Repeat until she is so tired from trying on clothes that she offers to take you for a drink. There is also a chance that it will be the last time you are invited to go shopping.
In an attempt to extend an olive branch to the Democrats in a biparisan move, President Trump wants to nominate Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. Trump is said to have quoted himself as saying “better late than never”, a saying he just made up.
A furious Mitch McConnel has been quoted as saying that no such thing will happen in HIS Senate. He and the Republican majority has been bought and paid for by Mr. Putin, and they will not go back on their word.
Democrats are suspicious and therefore are taking no action to move the nomination forward.
FOX pundits are reviewing their scripts from Sinclair Broadcasting to determine if last minute changes have been made.
NPR is reporting that the President will be making a nomination for the Supreme Court.
Trumpsters are jubilant with the news that President Trump will be able to hold up yet another piece of paper which he has signed with his crayon/marker thereby proving that he is doing something.
WallStreet is looking to make even more money in the whipsaw climate of the Trump Administration.
Evangelicals are chanting AMEN from the pulpet and on television but declining to say what they are amening about. However, they are sure that God will forgive the President for his repeated unchristian acts. Mass burnings of the heretical WWJD posters, bracelets, pins and hats are being planed. In heaven, God hides his head in shame.
The 98% are quietly sewing patches on their clothes and planning tasty meals around Ramen Noodles.
If you drink, don’t drive.
If you drive, take alternative transportation or stay home instead.
If alternative transportation or staying home is not an option, drive with caution like your life depended on it; because it does.
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day.
I hope this guide, althoug not complete, helps you survive initially in Florida.
Driving laws are considered recommendations.
Traffic in Florida is the perfect storm.
We have retired drivers who can’t see and are confused.
We have teenagers who think they are racing or stunt drivers.
We have tourists who are lost.
Our highways have multiple names: Route 192, Irlo Bronson Highway, 13th Street are all the same road. Each has its own east and west.
When a traffic light turns green, count to five before proceeding. This allows time for the sod trucks and others who are running the red light.
The guidelines for appropriate clothes are:
casual – dirty t-shirt with holes,
dress -clean t-shirt with holes,
formal – clean t-shirt without holes.
The same guidelines apply to shorts, slacks, shoes and sandals. Dresses and suites are for bankers, tv personalities and the girls who work on South OBT. Oh, OBT is Orange Blossom Trail. (FYI you can tell when a person moved to Florida by the style of coat they wear during a cold snap.)
East coast is primarily Jewish. West coast is primarily Protestant. Central Florida is primarily those who cannot afford to live on the coasts or are theme park employees.
Theme parks are for those from out of state. Currently the legislative body is working on a way for visitors to toss all their money from their plane, be given a theme park t-shirt, a stuffed animal and then flown back from whence they came. This would be called a Florida round trip ticket.
Alligators abound in Florida. If you see one, run away in a zig zag pattern. They are faster than you in a straight line race. If you see one on the golf course, Florida etiquette says you should let him play through.
We have lots of snakes. We have rattle snakes, but they are pygmies. More dangerous are copper head, water moccasins and coral snakes. General rule, when in Florida, don’t stick around to figure which one might kill you. Oh, most important, before you sit on the commode, check inside and under the seat for snakes. Every year a tourist gets bit in the derrière.
Insects love Florida. Don’t worry about the mosquitos. They are huge but slow.
We don’t have cockroaches; that would scare away tourists. We call them mahogany bugs.
Don’t worry about the scorpions; they are too small to kill you with their sting. Still it’s best to shake out your shoes and clothes before you put them on.
Bed bugs. Check out your room before you pay. Then, here’s what you need to do. Get a flash light. Without turning on the lights, enter your room quickly and close the door. Yank back the sheets on the bed and turn on the flashlight. If you see a bunch of bugs running for cover, get a different room. Better yet, get a different motel.
Florida is a “stand your ground” state. This means that if someone feels threatened, they can use deadly force against you.
True cases, motorist gets out of his car to help driver at toll booth ahead of him recover dropped change. Driver at toll booth sees him coming, feels threatened and shoots him.
Man in movie theater is talking on cell phone. Man behind him tells him to stop. Cell phone man throws popcorn at man behind him. Man feels threatened and shoots and kills cellphone man and wounds his girlfriend.
If you are a person of color or a teenager,you are by definition threatening.
Why do Floridians put up with all the craziness.
IT’S THE WEATHER!
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