Category Archives: Whimsical

A Springdale Morning’s Anecdotes

With the lengthening days, my inability to sleep soundly in the mornings once again dragged me from the bed and out into the morning. I chose to walk a byzantine and unplanned path through the bowels of Springdale’s downtown.

The brightest and most vivid storefront at 4 this morning was that of “Mr. Taco Laco.” I pitied those who would work there later today as the throngs of goofy Americans crowd in, each trying to eat their weight in appreciation of Cinco de Mayo, a dubious excuse to imbibe.

I stopped and admired the neon promise of salvation at the next corner. I was about to snap a photo of it but the inclination passed as I remembered that the worst logo in modern American history was just across the street. As I walked past it, I considered buying a large black sheet to hang over it, one to conceal its hideousness. The Chamber of Commerce is the furthest thing from a comedy club, though, so perhaps I’ll continue to just imagine doing so.

The store near the corner barbershop on Blair Street caught my attention. Despite the hour, its lights were blazing. The mannequins all seemed trapped in mid-step, waiting for me to pass and begin their secret dance. The store was strangely lit, like an aquarium.

As the theme song from “Stranger Things” started, an image of “The Langoliers” came to me. Though I was the sole owner of the morning, I knew that soon the streets would begin to hum with people as they began their days. I think the feeling was amplified by the empty and newly-renovated Tyson hatchery building. Its front was dark and I could see empty tables and chairs awaiting their occupants, each one preoccupied with whatever business they might be engaged in.

As I turned on to Grove Street, I surprised a man standing on the landing of his upper story converted apartment. He was smoking. The converted house he lived at was one I had lived in almost 30 years ago. Knowing the people who would need to live in such a place, I knew that his day was probably not going to be filled with pleasurable pursuits. When I lived on the lower floor of that place, the upstairs neighbor loved blaring “Opposites Attract” by Paula Abdul. He played it a dozen times in a row, day after day. He was one of the meanest and ugliest people I’d met and he certainly didn’t look like a person who would listen to Paula Abdul; his preference, based solely on his looks and personality, should have been a drum track against the backdrop of people screaming. (Not Top 40 material, I would imagine.)

When I passed the creekside behind the Montessori School, the one which began as First Baptist Church and then served as a drug rehab facility for years, the thickening mist on the creek rose to about shoulder height. As I passed the curve behind the fire station, I didn’t see the opossum until my foot was next to him. I did a stupid dance backward and the possum scrambled away. Unfortunately for him, he chose to run forward and was trapped against the black wire fence as it ran up to the underpass of the railroad trestle above it.  I stood for a moment under the train tracks, unable to see where my new friend had hidden.

About 100 feet further along, a skunk was hunkered down on the rise to my left. He didn’t pay me any attention as I whispered, “Here, kitty kitty” to amuse myself. I survived another day without being sprayed by a startled skunk. I’ll tell my wife later that it’s a certainty that I’m going to get sprayed at some point. Walking in the deep dark has its benefits and dangers.

Crossing Johnson Street, I remembered a rainy Friday afternoon long ago when I was driving too fast and failed to stop soon enough at a stop sign. I hit the driver door of a souped-up Honda. The driver had borrowed his roommate’s car without permission and I had rewarded his bravery by hitting him. The owner never filed a claim. The policeman who came to the scene was a little irritated at me. Not because of my excessive speed, but rather due to his dashed hopes. He had spotted what he thought were empty beer cans in the back floorboard. He had excitedly reached for one with an “Aha!” expression about to pass his lips. The cans were non-alcoholic beer cans. I couldn’t help but laugh. And laugh some more. He ticketed me and I didn’t complain because I deserved it. The officer should have received a commendation for not screaming at me as I smiled at his diminished glee of catching me in the act of driving while drinking non-alcoholic beer.

The aura of older homes in the dark streets always appeals to me. The defects are hidden, the owners tucked away in slumber. I pass the houses, seeing only the splendor of the intricate woodwork, covered porches, and elaborate trim inside the living rooms.

Another Beautiful Wood Panel from Snapfish

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My latest 11×14 wood panel/picture, which Snapfish custom-made for me. Just in time for Season 2 of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” this picture will remind me of not only the perils of an authoritarian government but also the dangers of letting me have photo editing tools at my disposal. I must admit that I totally rock the dystopian red outfit, though.

When asked how my wife Dawn sees the future with me in it, she replies, “…with eyes closed.”

 

#handmaidstale  @handmaidsonhulu

Random

It is with a heavy heart that I report the passing of a beautiful, short life. Weekend was born on April 20th, 2018 at 5 p.m. It departed this world at midnight on Sunday, April 22nd, 2018.

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These disgraced actors have to take work wherever they can get it. I saw a trailer for the former “House of Cards” star. He’s in an endoscopic medical malpractice documentary titled “Lost in Spacey.”

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You’re right – I never mince words. Chopped usually works nicely.

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I’m not making a point, but I noticed I’ve never seen a sign indicating “Ninja Breakroom.”

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As far as good concerts go, the Cleveland Cannabis Chamber Orchestra always ends its performances on a high note.

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I taught my cat to speak English. But also to never want to.

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I’m not saying that Drew Barrymore is a has-been; on the other hand, her first name is literally past tense.

P.S. This is supposed to be amusing, unlike the train-wreck known as “Santa Clarita Diet.”

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“…I hit him so hard with a clever comeback that he looked like he had just gargled a package of tic-tacs.”

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seeds of doubt

Cliché vs Patents: I sowed the seeds of doubt and Monsanto sued me.

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It must be time for Spring because I felt the gentle, cool Febreze on my face.

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Did you know that if you put an onion in a sock to cure a common cold that you’ll end up with an onion that’s probably not worth eating? #medicaladvice

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“Sir, I see here you’ve written ‘Bob’ as your first name. Your license clearly indicates that ‘Robert’ is your first name.” He handed Bob back his license with a smug and condescending look, one which he had practiced for a couple of years.

“Well, Richard, I guess you have the same problem because I’m pretty sure your license doesn’t have the name that best describes you, either.”

Game, point, match.

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The great trash wars of 2018 have begun, at least on my street.

I hope that my browser search didn’t get flagged when I googled “Weaponized Trash Can” today.

P.S. I won’t target the participants in said excursions.

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You wouldn’t know it, but East Springdale is built on a massive and ancient burial ground. At least, I presume so, given the sheer level of weird around here.
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The road to hell may be paved with good intentions, but the sidewalk to hell is paved with the frustration of people who take 10 minutes to order their food.
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They told me to always watch out for number one. Paranoia, however, told me to keep a close on two, three, four, and five as well.
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I fell off my high horse yesterday. I’m not sure how it happened, but I’d like to talk to the person who taught him how to vape.
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In a magnificent world, we would play Twister to the death.
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This is to honor our domestic cat Güino, one skilled in the lost art of hiding in plain sight. As we neared slumber last night, my wife Dawn made the mistake of asking, “Where’s the cat?” Ten minutes later, after looking in the literal last place we’d expect two dozen times, the cat defied Schrödinger and mysteriously appeared, apparently reading his comment card of complaints to us.
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Quips and Quandaries

 

I was certain I won the game of charades until someone pointed to the notice behind me: “Beginner’s Sign Language Class Today at 6 p.m.”

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Looking back, it’s difficult for me to believe I thought that “On Top Of Old Smokey” was a romantic love song geared toward senior citizens…

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I decided recently to change careers. When I applied to Yoga Certification School, my application was denied.

Turns out, my birth certificate was stamped “Do not bend or fold.”

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In the last two days, zero out of 23 people I’ve asked failed to accurately recite or sing the first 7 words to the “Mister Rogers” theme. I’m not counting those who were less familiar with it -just those who were ‘sure.’

Most of you will Google it and among those several still won’t believe that they too have a false memory of the actual words.

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I am trying to find the original fool who said, “You can’t run from your problems.” Since most of us would agree that many of our problems are in fact people, it is very logical to run from your problems. Early and often.

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I guess it’s one thing to holler “Recess!” at work – but another to stand by the door with chocolate, regular, & strawberry milk cartons and encourage everyone to take one as they exit the work area to go play outside.

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I sold the mineral rights to my land. Texas Oil Company and Johnson & Johnson are partnering to drill for baby.oil.

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I sold the mineral rights to my land. Texas Oil Company and Johnson & Johnson are partnering to drill for baby oil.

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“It’s a sure sign that dance has evolved too far into the realm of the esoteric when a dance trend is done so well that it is indistinguishable from electrocution.” – X

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That guy had so little creativity that when he joined the church they accused him of having unoriginal sin.

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I ain’t saying the fog is thick this morning but two boats have passed me already.

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Due to my lack of controversial behavior I have been down-graded to the “Do Not Watch List.” #aarp

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To the residents of Springdale, my apologies. I misunderstood what my boss was asking for when he asked for a flash drive on my way to work. I know it can’t be unseen.

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To the residents of Springdale, my apologies. I misunderstood what my boss was asking for when he asked for a flash drive on my way to work. I know it can’t be unseen.

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The doctor told me to serve more veggies but I gotta say that broccoli and tennis rackets don’t mix.

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Sir, you can’t stand here,” the Walmart manager told me.”You’re loitering.”

I pointed to the sign above me, the one which indicated ‘Fruit’ and asked her why they put my nickname there.

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It is situationally ironic to hear hospital employees say that “they are sick of the place.”

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Normally, I follow the admonition of “never negotiate with terrorists.” My mother-in-law is the one exception.

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Odd 80s Music Fact: The 80s anthem “Broken Wings” by Mr. Mister, is actually a customer service complaint about defective chicken.

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Normal eaters say, “I’ve got to get something to eat,” whereas cannibals say, “I’ve got to get someone to eat.”

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So that people will be reminded to do them correctly, Congress has renamed the act of “The Splits” to now be known as a ” Lunar Landing. ”

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Did y’all hear about the guy the police brought in for questioning due to possible cannibalism? They grilled him for an hour.

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My first startup failed: Scratch-And-Sniff Résumés.

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To say that you want a bowl of cereal is accepted as normal, whereas if you say you want a plate of cereal you sound crazy. Ergo, insufficient concavity is bad.

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It occurred to me that the song, “Don’t let the sun catch you crying” is basically a PSA for sad vampires.

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The Hogeye Marathon is passing in close proximity to my house again this year. I think they put up the mile markers on the route so early only to tempt me to finally succumb and pull shenanigans. It’s getting more difficult to resist the wild call of my inner prankster.

Because life is short, I’m hereby letting everyone know that if the Hogeye foolishly passes near my house next year, the game is ON.

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Among my laundry list of highly desirable Christmas/Birthday gifts for my wife Dawn last December: this beautiful custom metal door sign for her office. I waited for her to remind me to install it. Shockingly, this reminder never materialized.

Nevertheless, I took the initiative this afternoon to put it up.

It reads: Dawn C. Teri CEO, CFO, CIA, FBI

The original template had Voodoo Mojo Conjurer, but wouldn’t quite fit on the door plate.
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Flimsy Whimsy

 

“Nothing is as useless as a rebuke from an unadmired source. ” -x

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It ain’t Hallmark, but I don’t care what anyone says. “Word to your mother” is a great way to say both “See ya later” AND “Regards to your mom, dude.”

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Management foolishly asked us for ideas about where to hold the budget meeting. I, of course, recommended the garden area, for purposes of fertilization.

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The Ruler Hypothesis: the closer one nears the administration building, the less likely it is that the snack and soda machines will be out of order or product.

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Did you know that cremation is now more common than burial? Many people don’t. I’ve been an advocate for most of my adult life. I still think it’s a better idea if we wait until after they’ve passed to do either, at least for most people

I only mention the last part because many people seem to want to try it out on me while I’m still alive.

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Very unpopular observation: When I see the older generation mocking kids for eating Tide Pods, I wonder if they realize their own bias. Most of them used a product that was very clearly marked: “Poison: using this product will lead to your death and harm those around you.” Yet, they smoked like there was no tomorrow, convincing themselves that scientific evidence didn’t relate to them. With the Tide Pod fiasco, those doing it are young and immature – and hurt only themselves. Both smoking and consuming Tide Pods are idiotic, but it’s hard not to laugh at the hypocrisy of the older folks who enjoy pointing their smoke-stained fingers at the younger generation, whose sin is that of being young and stupid.

P.S. I don’t know about y’all, but I was a bona fide moron when I was younger.

P.P.S. Given the insistence of people to convolute any point made, I’d like to point out that I am not saying that the youth of today is dumber than we are; quite the opposite. It’s glib and easy to laugh at those will be in charge soon enough for the idiocy of a very few, while overlooking the fact that the world as we now know it is the way it is because of both our actions and inaction.

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It’s one thing for someone to run up to me, hug me, and yell, “I love you, man.” It’s another when they tell their friends that they met Danny Devito.

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I am so bad at emergency resuscitation that I accidentally killed the CPR dummy.

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I sat at the window for 10 minutes listening to jazz wafting on the wind until I realized someone was using a broken accordion as a chair.

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Things I’ve Learned Watching “This Is Us” — If anyone brings you a Crock Pot, kick him or her in the teeth.

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I think that the Housekeeping Department really missed the boat when it named it’s new men’s softball team: Dukes of BioHazzard.

Everything Is Free If You Run Fast Enough

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From my upcoming autobiography, “Onions & Cigarettes.”

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My new book, “Stem First: How To Lose Weight by Eating Gross Stuff” is about to be published in paperback.

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My new book, “Stem First: How To Lose Weight by Eating Gross Stuff” is about to be published in paperback.

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“The tables have turned,” he shouted triumphantly.

“But the chairs remain upright,” I retorted.

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I wish that the sequel to “Mad Max” would have been titled “Mad Max: Beyond Palindrome,” because then I could watch the movie from the end or beginning and it would end the same.

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Cupid shot me with a rubber arrow. I shot him with a rubber bullet. Love is a dangerous game.

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Cupid shot me with a rubber arrow. I shot him with a rubber bullet. Love is a dangerous game.

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“Time flies, and usually in the middle seat.” -x

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a poem -and movie plot

we met by the water, in silence
his head underwater, defiance
hello detective

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May This Be Enough, Always

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Though the photo might have been a bit blurry and taken with the most inexpert of hands, it perennially resided in Henry’s pocket, decades later, his own private Mona Lisa. In quiet moments, he studiously uprooted the snapshot from its cocoon, fingering the edges of the one true memory of his life. He saw the haunting beauty of the faintest smile in the picture in his hand and knew that the universe, though for a fleeting moment, had chosen to give him a precious and transitory gift.

His friend Joseph had come by to pick him up before the train came to gather young men. Joseph had a camera and seldom needed an excuse to use it. Henry and Joesph laughed as they drove, wondering at the uncertain adventure of their long lives stretched before them. They stopped near the house Henry lived in with his grandmother for 8 years. The love of Henry’s life wiped away the tears gathering in her hazel eyes and stood lonesomely by the roadside, her presence unexpected and a steely finger into his heart. Even though they spoke their goodbyes the night before, Sally was there, waiting, her hands restless and her eyes reddened from the shock of impending separation. Surprised by the sudden shift from jovial to melancholy, Joseph fumbled and took the cherished picture before Henry could join Sally for the picture. Instead of joining her for another snapshot, Henry embraced her as she leaned toward him, sobbing. They drove as slowly as the car would allow, marking the sun’s arc across the afternoon sky, telling shared stories of their times together. They all felt their childhoods melt away as they drove toward the station.

This picture, it was enough to replenish him, always, no matter how difficult the day. Jacob sent it soon after Henry entered boot camp. Attached was a note: “We’re waiting.” That day at Salerno, screaming and deafened by the inhumanity of his surroundings, the foggy minute early in November, decades ago, when the word “cancer” pierced his heart, even the afternoon 17 years ago, when the last connection to his biological family passed away – all of these were momentarily forgotten with a glance at his most prized possession.

Henry barely survived the river at Salerno, his vision of Italy scarred by war. He came home, hobbling and injured, to find his Sally waiting for him. They were married the day he arrived. Joseph stood by him and held him upright as the Presbyterian minister shouted his invocations. Henry and Sally loved like no other existed. Sally died in her sleep in early 1944 of an infection, one which came suddenly and with finality. They had shared only 122 days together as man and wife. No matter how sweet the days would be ahead of him, Henry knew that his life would be a black-and-white rainbow without her.

He returned to the war, voluntarily, and went back into the world to find something to stuff inside the void of his heart. Henry lived to be 96 years old, each day in recognition that he had already experienced the best of life. He laughed easily, cried deeply, and hugged with the ferocity of those accustomed to loss.  Henry taught me all the important lessons in life, each lesson ribboned with the reminder that pain comes to those who have chosen to live a full life.

Pressed inside his favorite book of hand-written words of wisdom, Henry’s treasured picture came to me,  its edges defying time and submission to decay. I wept, knowing that Henry’s fingers had caressed this last reminder of his sweet Sally countless times, each a silent prayer of thanks and loss.

When I decided to copy it and frame it for my own wall, I turned it over and found these words inscribed by Henry:

“May this be enough, always,” he had written.

May you find your ‘enough,’ and may it be sufficient for you, always.

 

Love, X

 

May Your Days and Nights Be Filled With Karls and Ninnys

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At the intersection of worlds: “Fried Green Tomatoes” and “Sling Blade.” I awoke, staring at 3:33 on the clock, hearing the resonant voices of Karl Childers and Ninny Threadgoode fading from my mind. I could feel their enchanting universes slipping away from me, foggy nostalgia as real and certain as the bed in which I found myself. The quote in the picture popped into my imagination. I don’t remember the dream which seemed to have spanned an entire life while I slept, but what a great place to live, one in which both fictional and real people would come to life and interact. It was a testament to the power and appeal of both stories, with characters so rich that it would be impossible to resist an invitation to live in their worlds.

I would reverently walk those sparse roads and listen, sit on the porch and hear the whispers through time and share a thousand laughs. Yes, even dreams would come to an end, no different than our waking life, a finite loop of possibilities. When I awoke, though, the fading resonance of a rocking chair moving against loosely-nailed boards still filled my ears – and I felt an acute loss fill my heart, the one beating between the twilights, one waking, one still in the other world.

People often connect with us in ways that can’t be easily defined. Sometimes, they do so across years, generations, and in spite of all our differences. If we are lucky enough and allow our imaginations to flourish, sometimes those characters created by others come to visit us on either side of the drowsy line. Lifetimes can be lived between these spaces. For those truly blessed, the people within the boundaries of their lives experience this daily.

I hope your day has a few Karls and Ninnys, people who light your life with interest and spark.
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(The picture is of ‘the’ house from “Fried Green Tomatoes.” You can see Ninny in the upstairs window, watching Karl and Frank below…)
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