Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I Finally Joined A.A. .....

Den of the Beastly Bear
Hi Folks!
Yes, it's true...I've finally joined A.A., but it's not what you think...

The first step, they say...is to admit that you have a problem.

So here goes:
"Hi everybody, my name's Joe....and I'm an Ass!"

I know I'm breaking one of the major tenants of Assholes Anonymous mainly the anonymous part...but I figure most of you know me anyway, so you're not surprised.

My wife has pointed out for years that I've had a "problem", but I always assumed it was simply a lack of humor on her part.

The defining moment came Sunday. We'd gone shopping and had stopped at Tony's for lunch, a restaurant famous for giant portions...I got a BLT.

A Pound of bacon between two 1"+ slices of bread, I skipped the whole sliced tomato and just went with lettuce and mayo.

The place was packed, and patrons were lined out the door waiting to be seated. As Momma Bear and I neared the doors to enter (after having patiently waited in line), Momma Bear looked in and said:

"Oh my God how cute! Look at those twins bouncing together in that booth!!! It's like they're synchronized."

I followed her line of sight to see these adorable little rapscallions...and what I saw made me laugh.

"What?" she demanded.

"Ummm Babe, that's a mirror!"

"Huh?" she asked and looked again.

The one end of the restaurant was totally mirrored to make the space appear larger than it was, the toddler was in a booth next to the mirrored wall...looking at his reflection and bouncing.

I laughed again as I watched realization strike and her face color a bit. 

"You're an Ass!" she said softly, as we were near other people.

This, you understand is far from the first time that particular appellation has been applied...

Like the time we were painting the house.

When we bought our first place there was an 8'X8' wooden deck 4 foot tall leading up to our front door. It had a 3 foot railing built around three sides with an opening for the stairs. Built on a concrete slab it was not attached to the home, just butted up against it. We painted around the house. When we got to the deck it was decided the best course of action would be to move the deck away from the building proper, to paint unobstructed, then move it back.

Never having moved this deck, I had no idea how heavy it might be. Our neighbor Debbie was helping us paint. I told the girls it may take all three of us to slide it out. As we stood surveying the situation, Kathy asked Debbie if she'd like a Pepsi, and went inside to procure said sodas.

Being the "man of action" type (HEY! I HEAR YOU LAUGHING!!!), I decided to test its weight AND my ability to move it.
So I grabbed it in the center of one side, planted my feet, and gave a mighty heave!!!

To my surprise it moved...almost easily. 
I took a side step and then another....
So thrilled with my success I moved to the other side and repeated the process. 

I stepped back to admire my handy work, pleased with myself. I had single handedly moved the deck 24" away from the house, won't Kathy be pleased with m...Kathy....KATHY? OH SHIT!!!

Before I could raise my voice to shout a warning, the screen door popped open and Kathy stepped out...into nothingness!!!

Like Wile E. Coyote stepping off a cliff, she hung there a moment before crashing down between the house and deck with a squeal...drinks still tight in her fists!

As Debbie and I rushed to help her extricate herself from the cramped space I was hurrying an apology...

"Oh, Babe I'm sooooo sorry...I was just trying to see if I could move it without help...and it just moved so easy...I was gonna tell you, but you came out too fast...are you ok?!?"

The fact she was chuckling to herself in between the moans and groans was a good sign... "You're such an Ass" she got out finally.

We finished painting behind the deck and left it out so the paint wouldn't stick to it. Later that evening Tasha the wonder dog needed to go out, without thinking I just opened the screen door...and *bloop* there went the dog down between. As she came in I swear even the dog looked at me and thought "You're an Ass!"

Or there was the time we were going to the store, alongside the road near the State Park we saw one of these in the grass...

Now depending on where you're from you either call them Woodchucks, Groundhogs or Whistle Pigs...here in Michigan Woodchuck and Groundhog are used interchangeably.

Momma Bear points out the window and hurriedly says:
"Look at the Ground Chuck!!!" Inadvertently combining the terms.... 

"Where?" I asked. "Was it in a bun? Were the onions grilled or raw? Were there pickles???"

She gave me "The Look".

Fella's, you know the one...

"You're an Ass!"

From then on, every time we drove by there I'd ask:
"See any Ground chuck out today?"

The reply:
"You're such an Ass!"

Or the lovely summer evening we were on a drive, windows down...when a car pulled up next to us at a stoplight. A Convertible, I could hear music playing from the other car.

Momma Bear looks out her window (the car was on her side) and leans over conspiratorially and whispers(?):
"I think the guy next to us is Deaf..."

"Deaf? Why do you think that?" I asked.

"Well because he's "signing" along with the music on the radio!!!"

"Then why are you whispering?"

"I don't know...habit I guess!" she answered.

"Unh Huh..." I said. "Let me ask you this...if he's Deaf how does he know what the words are? Or what song's on???"

She just stared at me a second..."Oh, my God!" she said putting her head in her hands.

"Now he may be mute, but I doubt he's Deaf..."

"I'm going back to my blonde highlights I think..." She said.

(Running joke. First time she came home from getting blonde highlights in her naturally brown hair I asked her if it hurt.
"Did what hurt?" she asked.

"When they sucked out half your brains..."

"You're an Ass!"

The REASON I'm an ass...well one reason, is that I remember...and don't let it die....and when I remind her...Well, I'm an ass.
That, and I think I'm way funnier than she does...

So...as we were leaving Tony's after finishing our lunch, waiting to pay...
I looked across the restaurant and leaned in to Momma Bear.

"Look at that old couple sitting in that booth over there..."
I whispered in her ear...
(They were sitting in the same booth by the mirror the toddler was in.)

"What about them?" She asked looking...I'm sure thinking I was going to say something romantic about that being us one day.

"Isn't that sweet?" I said "Twin Brothers married Twin Sisters!!!...AND they still dress alike!"

She turned around to grace me with a "full on" version of
"The Look" and said "You. Are. SUCH an ASS!!!" 

Hence the joining of Assholes Anonymous.
So "bear" with me folks...

It's a process!

Be Well!!!

Beastly Bear

Friday, July 25, 2014

What a small world...

Den of the Beastly Bear
Hi Folks!
Way, way back some 45 years ago my family lived in Auburn Heights, Mi.
I went to Will Rodgers Elementary from Kindergarten through 5th. grade.
I was one of the "early bloomers" as my first grade teacher Mrs. Clarke (a survivor of the Titanic) told my mother. Mostly because of my infatuation with one Miss Theresa Tenuta.
Our families were friends, though the exact connection is lost to me through the mists of time. Though I know for a fact that they went to the same church we did, St. Michaels.
How do I know this? Because Theresa and I did our first Holy Communion together. Me in my suit and her in her little white dress...we looked like we a miniature bride and groom.
It seemed I'd known Theresa forever, she was in my Kindergarten class...but we'd decided we were boyfriend/girlfriend in Mrs. Clarke's class.
Our families socialized together quite a bit. The Tenuta's had a swimming pool (the first family we ever knew that did) and in the summer pool parties were common. In the winter my Mother would take us with her when she would go over to visit Theresa's Mom.
The summer between 1st. and 2nd. grade there was one particular pool party I will never forget...because I got my first kiss.
We'd been swimming all day, and we were sitting out for a while at our Mother's insistence...lest we "Shrivel up to a prune!"
The Parents were enjoying a little peace and quiet in the pool with no kids, enjoying a cocktail (very 60's) as the kids had Kool-Aid at the picnic table.
A game of tag was quickly organized and the running began with a "You're it!"
There was a woodpile stacked between two trees that offered a natural barrier for the game of keep away. As the game ebbed and flowed around the yard, Theresa and I both found ourselves behind the wood pile (yes it's a cliché, but it's a cliché for a reason). ;-)
As we hid there crouching, hidden from both parents and siblings...I looked at her, and she at me.
Without a word we both leaned in and kissed! Just a peck, but the first girl other than family I'd ever kissed! We immediately laughed, both a little embarrassed and we were off again! 
Second grade found us in different classes so we only saw each other at recess and at lunch. We liked to swing together, sometimes holding hands.
Third grade...devastation hit, mandatory bussing!
Theresa's parents sent her to a private Catholic school to avoid it. We couldn't afford that and I ended up at Robert Frost Elementary in a less than savory part of Pontiac.
As my parents marriage started to unravel, we socialized less and less, and I lost track of Theresa and what she was doing. By the time my parents divorced and we moved to Waterford for 6th. grade, I hadn't seen her for a couple years.
Time passes and we live our lives...new friends are made and old ones fall to the wayside.
I dated my share of girls through school, a few after but never forgot that first kiss.
Eventually I married and had a daughter of my own, moved out of Waterford to Clarkston.
As Princess Bear grew and spread her wings, social butterfly that she was....she was always going somewhere, doing something, with her friends.
There was an old grocery store near us, that had been closed for years. A local church leased the space and turned it into a youth center. Katie and her friends loved it there.
It was a very safe environment, the children checked in and were issued a bracelet and their names were taken. When they wanted to leave they would only be released to an adult on the approved pick up list the parents had to complete for the kids to participate. They kept these on file.
One day Mamma Bear went and picked up Katie and her friends to take them home. When Katie got home she ran up and gave me a hug and a kiss.
"Did you have a good time?" I asked
"Sure did!" she replied "Guess what Daddy?"
"What?" I asked with a certain amount of trepidation. As this question usually ended with "I met a boy..." My daughter was an early bloomer too!
"I met one of your old girlfriends today..."
"You did? Which one?" Trying to think just how bad this was going to be...as she now had Mamma Bears full attention as well.
"Her name is Mrs. XXX, when she saw my name she asked me 'Is your Dad's name Joe?', when I told her it was she said she was an old girlfriend of yours, she asked me to ask you if you remember her, her name is Theresa."
There was only ever one Theresa!
"Next time you see her, you tell her of course I remember her...you never forget your first kiss!"
Katie giggled at that with an "Ewwww!"
I filled Mamma Bear in, and she suggested I go pick the kids up next time and say hello.
I did, and it was her...funny how after 30 some odd years I could still see the little girl in the woman before me.
She's married, got a few kids of her own...the youth center was her pet project for the church. We chatted for ten minutes or so, until the kids started getting restless and I had to leave.
Amazing what a small world it is! That through all the years and miles, she would end up meeting my daughter at a youth center she ran, less than a mile from my house.
It truly is a small world...
That was 10 years ago, the youth center's gone now...bulldozed for another strip mall.
Haven't seen her since....
But I hope she's doing well!
Be Well Folks!
Beastly Bear

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A storm blows out...

Den of the Beastly Bear
Hi Folks!
I used to work with a guy when I worked the line in Pontiac at the Truck plant there. Let's call  him "James".
James was a good 10 years older than me...which would have made him about 45 at the time.
Five foot eight and about 225 lbs., pudgy and blonde with a full blonde beard. He was one of those guys that worked into every other conversation what a good, Christian man he was.
How he was an Elder, and Youth Pastor at his church.
On the flip side James had had an affair with his kid's babysitter, divorced his wife and then married said babysitter. He was also one of the biggest racists and bigots you'd ever have the displeasure to meet.
James worked the next job up from mine.
Across from me worked "Jill" (names have been altered to protect their anonymity).
Jill was a blonde haired, blue eyed, married mother of three.
She was genuinely one of the nicest people I have ever met.
She was friendly with and to everyone she met, slightly hard of hearing and the plant being noisy she'd stand maybe a little closer than normal, and cock her head to hear you.
She also had the endearing habit of placing a hand on your arm as she leaned in to hear you...this led some to believe she was being flirtatious.
James took quite a shine to Jill, and flirted with her relentlessly...until one day she rebuffed his advances.
Guess I missed that part in church where it's ok to hit on married women if you're a good Christian...
He then took it upon himself to pick at her, and make comments...
Like the time a youngish black foreman was talking to her, and she laughed at a joke he had made...suddenly James was beside me and said low "Guess she likes the dark meat now..."
I turned and gave this "Good Christian" a look and said:
"Or perhaps he said something funny James, or maybe she's just being polite."
At least once a day he'd come stomping up to our work area and start bitching at her about something....which was never work related as she worked on the opposite side of the line from him.
Too nice a person to defend herself, she'd listen to whatever the day's diatribe was in silence, until he left and then tell me "What a jerk!".
I asked if she'd like me to intervene on her behalf, she always said "No, no like a storm...he'll blow himself out."  
Well he didn't...
So this particular day, James was in a foul mood and came again stomping up to where I worked next to Jill.
I'd had just about enough...
Before he could open his mouth I turned on him:
"Jesus Christ James! What the Hell's your problem today??"

Caught off guard by my sudden intervention he immediately went on the attack, puffing himself up with indignation...
"My problem is you using the Lord's name in vain!" He pronounced with pomp and bluster...
Well Thank you James for handing me a big stick to poke you with!
"Well Jesus Christ James, did I do that?" I said slapping my forehead.
"Oops! God Dammit I did it again...."
"Whoops! Oh Jesus!!!"
He glared at me, I just smiled...you know, the F.U. smile.
"You are NOT funny!" he said and stomped off the way he'd come.
"You did it now," Jill said next to me "now he's gonna be after you too."
"Bah! He's about as worrisome to me as a cloudy day..."
I told her as we returned to work.
He left us both alone the rest of the day.
The next day when I came in, James walked down to see me.
"Morning James." I said
"I brought you something..." He said and offered me a paper lunch sack.
"James, you shouldn't have..." I said taking the package.
I looked inside and slid out a VHS tape of....
"The Life and Times of Jesus Christ"
"I thought after yesterday you could use it..." He said
"Well Jim," I said dropping the tape back in the sack and handing it back to him "why don't you take that, and shove it up your ass sideways!!!"
He just blinked at me...
"Just who the fuck do you think you are??? You don't know a damn thing about me do you? Do you know I was raised in the house of a Baptist minister? Do you know I've probably forgotten more bible passages than you'll ever know? Frankly I've had religion and religious hypocrites like YOU up to here!" I told him holding my hand a foot above my head.
"And just who YOU think appointed you the authority on who Jill talks to or what she does, I don't know....but you come up here bothering her or me, just one. more. time....and you'll leave wearing your ass as a hat....do you understand me?!?" 
He just nodded, as I took a step towards him and lowered my voice menacingly.
"Now get the Hell out of my work area..."
Now folks, I'm normally a live and let live kinda guy. If you want to dance naked around a hamster head on a popsicle stick in the pale moonlight, and call that a religion...more power to ya!
I don't care...
But come around trying to cram your crap down my throat, that I'll have a problem with.
You look to your soul, let me look to mine...
Tail between his legs, James left, carrying his tape.
Jill came in a few minutes later, oblivious to what had just transpired. I smiled and waved just like any other day.
She smiled and waved back.
After a few days of no James she said:
"See....blew himself out."
"Yep, must have..." I replied.
James never troubled Jill again...and the skies were not cloudy all day.   ;-)
Be Well Folks!
Beastly Bear

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Things you can't unsee...

Den of the Beastly Bear

Hi Folks!

It's been warm and muggy here the last week or so, the kind where even fans seem to have no effect.

Momma Bear and I had some shopping to do for a nephew's birthday, and even the a/c in the stores seemed to offer little relief.

As we were heading home, I noticed that a bar/restaurant we used to frequent had been turned into a Fireworks store. Not really all that surprising as it had been sitting vacant for a year or more...
Fireworks stores are all the rage here in Michigan as of late...the state has recently lifted it's near-ban on anything and everything fireworks related that was any fun at all!

Oh sure we were allowed sparklers, and smoke bombs, and those stupid little ash "snakes". But anything else that: 
1) moved 
2) exploded 
3) left the ground 
was forbidden.

This is not to say we didn't have them, just that they were illegal as Hell!

Inevitably there would be some characters that made the pilgrimage South every year, loaded up their pick-up or hoopty or whatever else would roll and load up. Come back to Michigan and resell them at a huge profit. Such is the way of the Black Market.

One such purveyor of illicit fireworks was a guy named "Sam".
Sam was a regular customer at Gell's, the sporting goods store I worked at all through High School and beyond.

Of middling years, Sam was a swarthy fellow of Russian/Ukrainian decent. Salt had started to leak into his dark hair. A large, balding yet hairy guy of about six feet. He weighed in the neighborhood of 350 lbs. if he weighed an ounce. He was not large "all over" as some big men (like myself) are. No, Sam looked like a normal person you stuck an enormous belly on! He wore what hair he had left slicked down, and every time I saw him he had a red bandanna rolled up and tied around his neck, knot to the side...which always made me think "Gypsy". That, and he always had the stub of a fat cigar in the corner of his mouth, never lit.

Sam had a live-in girlfriend named "Christi"...and a couple kids between them.

Christi's hair was blonde, which she wore long with squared off bangs. Where Sam was swarthy, she was pale as meringue, blue veins visible beneath the skin...
A turned up nose and tiny deep-set eyes lent her face a certain "porcine" appearance. In fact, some of the cruder guys used to call her "Miss Piggy".

She was of a height with Sam, and truthfully looked like she could take him in a fair fight. Christi was a big woman...everywhere.
She had enormous breasts that never sagged. Why? There was nowhere for them to go!!! Like Sam, she had an extremely large, protuberant belly that left them nowhere to go.

One day Sam and Christi sauntered in... 
I say sauntered, because wherever he went...when Sam walked in a place, he walked in like he owned it! 

"Hey Kid!" he called in greeting though he was still halfway across the store. He knew my name, but only resorted to using it in the direst of circumstances.

"Hey Sam!" I called back...

"I gots a question for you and da guyz...you like fireworks?"

"Hell yeah!" I replied with youthful enthusiasm.

"Haz I got a deal for you guyz!" Sam stopped and looked over both shoulders to make sure he wouldn't be overheard. This always made me laugh. For even whispering, Sam was about as quiet as a freight train.

Satisfied he wasn't under any unwanted scrutiny, he continued.

"Had a guy, put in an order for a ton a shit. I go gets it all, and when I get back he starts the "I didn't know it'd be so much" and "I ain't got that kind o'money" so I tells him to piss off....Mother Scratcher!"
("Mother Scratcher" being Sam's coined, personal phrase....never heard it before or since.) 

"How much did he order?" I asked.

"Three bills worth! Now I ain't got time to sell it proper, get all my money out of it. But you guyz wants it, I'll let ya have it for $150 which is what I got into it." Sam said.

Well for guys that were making $65 a week part time...that was a lot of scratch.

"I'll talk to the guys Sam, see what they say...when do you need to know by?"

"You ask around, give me a call at this number..." He picked up one of the many notepads lying around, produced a pen and wrote down his number. "Let me know by Friday, or I'll have to make other arrangements."

So, I talked with the guys...my Assistant Manager Bruce was throwing a 4th. of July party and said he'd go in half if we could come up with the rest. I was able to, so I called Sam.

Sam gave me directions to his house, and a time to meet him...I got volunteered to make the "buy", as I was still a minor. I know, for a guy that planned to go into Law Enforcement this was not necessarily moral high ground....but it wasn't smuggling heroin either! Lol

I found the house easy enough, it was in a slightly less than middle-class neighborhood. Two stories of brick with white siding and black trim and faux shutters. It was HOT that day, and I was thankful I'd had the a/c recharged on my car.

The heat and humidity were like a slap in the face as I opened my door and made my way up the walk, and I felt a bead of sweat roll down between my shoulder blades.  A screen door was all that barred my entrance and I rapped loudly, as I could hear a television on in the back of the house.

My mind and eyesight wandered as I waited...watching the heat mirage boil up off the street.

"Hi Joe," a female voice said.

I turned back to the door and almost fell off the stoop in shock.
There stood Christi in nothing but a matching set of nude silk bra and panties!!! The largest of which I'd ever seen!

Her hair was matted to her head with sweat, and her face glistened with perspiration. The bottom of the bra was discolored with wetness, and salt stains showed it had at least retreated somewhat.
Sweat had also leaked from between her ample cleavage and down her belly to dampen the top of the panties just below her exposed belly button.

I averted my eyes immediately...blushing.

"I'll let Sam know you're here, come on in..." she said holding the door for me. As soon as I was inside she started for the back of the house, and I could see that dampness had also darkened the back of the panties around the waistline...and they were a little "low" if you catch my drift.

"SAM!!! JOE'S HERE!!! GET HIM HIS STUFF!!!" she bellowed as she went. 


Sam appeared from a hallway off to the left and I was again taken aback. For there stood Sam in nothing but a pair of dingy, once white "tightie whities", bandanna and slippers. Holding a bottle of beer, cigar stub stuck in his mouth.

He was undoubtedly the hairiest man I had ever seen! The hair stood 3" above his shoulders and across his chest. Slicked down the center of his chest and wet from his man boobs to his belly button with sweat. He moved his beer to his left hand, wiped his right on his underwear and stuck it out for me to shake.

"Hey Kid, how ya doin'? Hotter'n a Mother Scratcher ain't it?"

Not wanting to give offense to a man in his own home, I shook the proffered hand.

"Sure as Hell is!" I replied, trying to look anywhere but at Sam.

I wiped my own hand on my pants discretely after the shake. 

"I got most of it in two grocery bags, the rest is in dis box," He said, kicking a box next to the couch with one slippered foot. "You got my money, yeah?"

"Sure do..." I took it out and counted it, giving me somewhere else to look. Sam took the cash and tucked it into the waistband of his underwear.

Christi came in with two, handled paper grocery bags and handed them to me.
"I told you to get his stuff..." She admonished Sam.

"I had a beer..." He told her, to me Sam said.

"You take the bags, and I'll carry the box for you..." 

"Ummmm I can come back up for it Sam, you don't have to come out..." I said.

"Nonsense," He replied "you guyz really helped me out taking all this off my hands...least I can do is help ya carry it."

With that he set down his beer, and squatted down to pick up the box.

"You're coming out like that?" I asked.

"Yeah, why?"

"Uhhh, never mind"

We walked out to my car, I opened the trunk and set the bags inside.
Then I turned to Sam, took the box and placed it in the trunk. I slammed the lid closed and turned back to Sam...and got another shock!

When Sam had squatted, the fabric of the underwear already straining at it's load...had gaped open to allow Mr. Winky to make a run for it!!!!

Sam, of course was oblivious...hanging out for God and all the world to see!

"Hey, Um...Ah, Sam..." I stammered, pointing towards his crotch.

He looked puzzled for a moment then looked down.

"Oh, Jesus Christ!!!" He exclaimed, tucking himself back in with his right hand.

"Sorry bout that..." He said

"Well, I best get going..." I said.

"Sure, sure..." Sam said. "And thank the guyz for me again."
He stuck out his hand again...I just looked at it for a second.

"Not this time..."

"Oh, yeah....right!!!" He laughed uproariously, and gave me a pat on the shoulder that rocked me. "Enjoy!"

With that he made his way back inside, his slippers slapping as he went.

He and Christi waved from the door as I backed out the drive.

I drove over to the store to divvy up the fireworks, feeling guilty and more than a little unclean...

When I got to the store, the guys wanted a full rundown on where Sam lived, what the house was like...everything.

I started the story with this:
"You know, there are just some things you can't unsee..."

Hope you Mother Scratchers are having a great Weekend!!!

Keep cool!

Be Well Folks!!!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

What's this crap...?

Den of the Beastly Bear

Hi Folks!

The other night I got out of work and made my way to my car. I work for GM in Flint, Mi. My plant at one time had almost 5,000 employees a shift, so as you can imagine the park lot is substantial.

Today only about 1,700 people share 2nd. shift with me, so there are still a lot of cars out there. Just not like before.

I had a fairly good parking spot, within 50 yds. of the door. I say "fairly good" because the parking lot is some 200 yds. wide and over half a mile long.

I got in the car and fired her up, turned on the a/c and adjusted the radio. As I put it in drive and began to pull out, I noticed something on the passenger side of my windshield. An oblong blob of white with black flecks...damn seagulls!!! They are a real problem around our plant, and they crap on EVERYTHING!

I knew better than to hit the wipers or washers I'd just smear it all over....well I'd wait until I got to a gas station and clean it off then.

I headed up the isle to head home, and the blob moved!!! Not downward, as gravity would dictate but laterally. What the hell?

What's this crap? Crap doesn't move...

I pulled over to take a look and this is what I found...
A tree frog! Where in the hell did a tree frog come from in the center of all this concrete?!?

He must have hitched a ride in on someone else's vehicle, then switched to mine...

Well, now what to do with him?
Put him on someone else's car?
Put him on the pavement? 
Let him take his chances on the ride home?

So being the big softie I am towards animals, I gently scooped him up and put him in my lunch box and brought him home!

So the city frog comes to the suburbs...
I gave him a nice home, next to one of the house lights so he can eat his fill at night...a nice bush to hide in during the day, what more could a frog want?!?

I wonder if he'll be popular with all the female frogs?
You know, new frog in town...
Will the country frogs swoon at this city frogs sophistication?
Will the male frogs be jealous of his "Too cool for the tree" ways?
We'll see...

Be Well Folks!

Beastly Bear

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Da Mouche...

Den of the Beastly Bear

Hi Folks!

We all know one...usually at work. Sometimes sadly you call them a friend...

It's the mouche...

The guy that always needs a hand. Maybe it's money, maybe a favor, but he always needs something!!!

When I worked at Perry Drugs we had a famous one, his name was "Chet". Not his name, but what we all called him.

Chet was legend for his mouching abilities.

Once my buddy Greg asked me to join him and a friend on a St. Clair river fishing trip. While we were discussing and finalizing plans, Chet overheard our conversation.

"I'd love to go on something like that..." He said.

"You wanna come?" Greg asked.
I shot him a look, but his good nature won out and Chet was added to our day trip.

I won't bore you with the whole fishing story, but middle of the day we pulled the boat into a shoreline market, for gas and beer.

We had a cooler on the boat, stocked with soda, beer and water. The fellow whose boat we were on filled up with gas as Greg, Chet and I went into the store.

We grabbed some snacks and a case of beer. The bill came to $28 and some change, I handed Greg a $10 bill and he turned to Chet.

"What?" Chet asked

"We're kicking in for beer and snacks Chet..." I told him.

"I don't really care for beer," Chet said "so I shouldn't have to kick in for that!"

We just stared at him...as Chet had downed at least 6 beers while we were out on the water.

"Well you enjoyed the shit out of it when it was free!!!"
Greg said, a Southern boy that didn't mince words!

Another time, a group of us were out at a bar after work. Chet came in with his girlfriend. We hollered a greeting! 

We were sitting at a table, with a couple pitchers...
Chet and his girl went to the bar and bought bottles.
They went and set at a table by themselves...after a while they wandered over to chat.

As they stood there talking, Chet finished his beer (which he doesn't really care for). When he did, he picked up one of the pitchers and started trying to fill his bottle from it!!!

"Hey!!!" We cried.

"What???" Chet asked, like we were the ones defying social convention, not him!!! At least his girlfriend managed to look embarrassed for him!

I was headed to Lansing on a run one cold January day when Chet stopped me.
"Hey Joe, you delivering to the Saginaw street store today?"

"Yeah Chet why?"

"There's this sub shop at the end of the plaza, would you get me a 12" cut ham and swiss sub with just lettuce and mayo? I'm headed to Chicago tomorrow morning and I want to take it with me."

"Sure Chet, you got the cash?"

"Pick it up for me and I'll pay you tomorrow out of my overnight money."

"I don't start till 6 tomorrow Chet, you start at 5am."

"Just come in a little early, by the time I pre-trip my truck and get everything ready I won't be leaving until 5:30 or so..."

I should have known better...I really should have.

Got Chet's sub...$17 worth!!!! Took it home and put it in the refrigerator. Up early the next day I was in at 5:15....and Chet was gone!!!! Security told me Chet left them a message for me that he "couldn't wait"!
I was actually EARLIER than the agreed upon time.

So I took the sub back out to my car, it was January with High's predicted at 28° or so...it would be fine.
That night it went back in the fridge.

Chicago was a two day trip, so it would be three days before I saw Chet again.

On the third day I brought Chet his sub.
"What am I supposed to do with this?" He asked.

"I don't care what you do with it Chet, you ordered it, I got it for you...you owe me $17!"

"You weren't here on time, so I left...I couldn't wait around all day...I'm not paying for it!!!"

"Chet, what you don't know is that I WAS here...at 5:15 so I wouldn't miss you. Ask security (we were having this discussion in from of the security office)."

"Yep, he was..." Security chimed in.

"So I don't know what you're trying to pull, but I got you this sub and I want my money."

"It's four days old, it's no good..." He countered.

"It's been kept cold Chet, I'd eat it myself if it was mustard not mayo and it was mine...but it's not, I didn't order it...YOU DID!"

"Well I'm not paying for it.." Chet said.

"Chet, you pay me for this fucking sub or I swear to God I'll take it out of your stinking hide...your choice!"

He stared at me for a few heartbeats, judging the level of my commitment to moping the floor with him should he decline.

"Fine" he said taking a $20 out of his wallet and throwing it on the ground between us, I had $3 ready and held it out to him along with his sub.
"Keep it!" he said and stomped off...well as much as a 5' 6" 150 lb. guy can.

As he left, I bent and picked up my money...

"What an asshole!" the security guard exclaimed.

"That's our Chet! Hey, wanna sub???"


Needless to say that was the last time I ever did a favor for Chet.

Then there was the Rifle River fiasco...
In which the whole warehouse went canoeing down the Rifle River in Northern Michigan.

Through circumstance I ended up in the same canoe with Chet...neither having a partner that could attend.

Chet also had nowhere to stay, so I let him bunk in my 5 man tent with me. We arrived Friday night, spent all Saturday negotiating the river. There was a big bonfire/party that ended the evening.

Come Sunday morning most slept late, as large quantities of beer were consumed the night before...

Not Chet....

Chet was up with the Sun...sneaking from campsite to campsite helping himself to everyone's empty cans and loading them by the garbage bagful into the bed of his S10 pick-up!
(For those of you that do not live in a bottle/can deposit state, Michigan has a 10¢ deposit on all cans and bottles)
I awoke to an altercation outside my tent as one of the revelers was confronting Chet about his theft of said cans.

Chet's defense? "I didn't think anybody wanted them..."

It seems that Chet needed gas money home, and rather than ask just helped himself!

Of course the raised voices awakened others. Before long there was a regular mob, all wanting a piece of Chet's anatomy!

It was finally decided that, because Chet couldn't remember whose campsites he had gotten them all from. That he should take what he had, and hit the bricks or suffer an ass whipping like he'd never had before!

Oh, and it was politely recommended he not come on any more company outings...

Let's hope you don't have a "Chet" in your life...

Be Well Folks!

Beastly Bear

Friday, July 4, 2014

Something special for the 4th.......

Den of the Beastly Bear

Hi Folks, Happy 4th. of July!!!

Hope you all are enjoying your holiday, a little fun in the sun...a little swimming, lots of good food and of course fireworks!

We had few traditions surrounding the 4th. in my family growing up. We had a pool and a grill, so cook outs and swimming were practically a daily occurrence for us...
Sure we'd all pile in Step-Dads Caddy and go watch the fireworks...stop for an ice cream on the way home, that was it.

I wanted something a little more special for Princess Bear to remember of her formative years...

One year we had gone to Alabama for a friends wedding, Mamma Bear had made mention that she'd like some beach time for the remainder of our vacation...

So a call was made to the "Travel Gnomes" at Travelocity and I booked us four days at the St. Clements hotel at The Caravelle Resort in Myrtle Beach, SC.

This would be Princess Bears first time to the ocean, and she was excited...and a little nervous.

Her trepidation? Sharks...
She was 13, and too much "Shark Week" on The Discovery channel had worked its magic...

Time for a white lie or two to relieve the anxiety so she could enjoy herself....

So, I allowed that while of course there ARE sharks in the ocean...Myrtle Beach was virtually shark free!

That and the waters around the beaches were much too warm for sharks, and that they preferred the colder, deep waters farther out to sea.

This was all discussed in great detail as we took I-65 South from Athens to Huntsville where we caught I-20 East. This seems like a rather straightforward drive...but it's all of a 10-hour drive!

By the time we got checked into our room, it was getting late in the day...almost sundown. We decided that we'd all take a walk along the beach before dinner, get up early the next morning and spend the day at the beach.

The beach was almost empty, the sun worshipers having left hours ago...
There were couples strolling arm in arm across the white sands, waves gently lapping at their ankles.
The clean fresh tang of salt water filled our lungs as we walked...a few kids hadn't given up on the day yet and tossed a Frisbee amongst themselves.
We passed a fisherman, surf casting into the waves...

The tide was rolling in, each successive wave crawling a little farther up the sands...
When suddenly before us the surf washed a fish up onto the sand, riding in on the wave. But as it retreated the fish got sideways as the wave receded...rolling it across the sand.
Before the next wave smashed into it rolling it back up the beach away from the water...
It was rolling so fast you couldn't even tell what type of fish it was, but it was in trouble so I reached down and snatched it out of the roiling surf.
It was about 12 inches long, so I held it with two hands so I wouldn't hurt it...

"What is it Dad? Let me see..." 
Kaitlin said running up to see what I'd just caught.

Too late...I had to show it to her...a little 12" grey shark!
About the size of the one we caught.

Well SHIT!!!

I got THE look...you parents know the look...

"I thought you said there weren't any sharks in Myrtle Beach?!?" she glared at me, hands on hips.

"Ummmmm, well....this is just a baby....he's probably a little lost, I'm sure if we put him back into the water he'll swim right back out to deep water..."

"Where there's babies...there are mamas!!! No way I'm going in there!!!" She countered.

"Fine, I'll do it myself..." So I waded out to mid thigh depth, made sure he was ready, then released him.
With a couple flicks of his tail, he was gone...

It was only after the fact we realized we didn't get a picture...the camera was still packed, and Kathy had only just gotten a phone with a camera, so had forgotten...they were not as ubiquitous as the are today!

Katie overcame her fear of sharks the next day, and it was hard to keep her OUT of the water! Lol

We talked to a friendly family the next day and they told us they always come over the 4th. of July Holiday and stay at the St. Clements. The reason?
The St. Clements is situated almost exactly between Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach, and both municipalities do a fireworks display off their docks.
So from your balcony you can watch both!!!

Before we left, reservations were made for the next year...for the week of the fourth!

This became our little tradition...every year during shutdown we'd head to Myrtle Beach for the fourth!!!
No only did you get fireworks displays both North and South but because all types of fireworks are legal in South Carolina, civilians put on one Hell of a show along the beach well into the night! Finally winding down after midnight!

We haven't been back since Katie graduated in '09...
Well, maybe next year...

Be Well Folks!!!

Beastly Bear