Thursday, May 29, 2014

The back way....

Den of the Beastly Bear

Hi Folks!

Whenever I start feeling too full of myself, just say one word to me.....Rochester!

The other day, Memorial Day in fact....Mama Bear and I were out at the cemetery placing a Marine Corps. flag on my fathers grave.

After some time of quiet contemplation, and cleaning off of the headstone we left.

Now Mama Bear had bought a dress online for a friends wedding in August, but when she tried it on it laid funny and fit her oddly so she decided to return it. 

It came from the "Gap", and could be returned to any Gap brick and mortar store according to the receipt.
But when she attempted to return it to the Gap store at Great Lakes Crossing (our local mall) they refused saying "We're an 'Outlet' store, we can't do that!"

So then, the nearest store is in Rochester, MI.
We still had it in the car, so why not?

The cemetery my Dad is in, is in Lake Orion.
There is a back way to Rochester, from Lake Orion....
But not being my stomping grounds I had no idea how to do it. The way I KNEW to get there would require much back tracking, and about 40 mins.

I had an "Ah ha" moment! 

My wife and I had both gotten new phones, Samsung Note 3's. Being the big techno geek that I am...I use many more of the phones features than Mama Bear, even bought a Samsung Gear 2 smartwatch to pair with my phone!(a blog for another day)

So I whipped out my new Super Phone, hit my S-Voice
button (think Siri, without the Birkenstocks and snotty, know it all attitude) and said:

"Navigate me to "The Gap" in Rochester..."

I watched as the screen briefly flashed our end destination as Meadowbrook "something" mall, which sounded right as the mall with the Gap store is near Meadowbrook Music Theater.

"NAVIGATING YOU TO THE GAP"

"TURN RIGHT ON LAKE OH-RI-ON ROAD..."

We laughed, around here the town AND the road are both pronounced Lake "Ore-ian".

So I turned right on Lake Orion rd. and started on our way...heading East.

God I love Technology!

As we went, hop-scotching through back roads that I was sure would take us on the most direct...if not the fastest way there.

We eventually came to Rochester rd. and the Navigation told me to turn left....Hmmm.

Pretty sure I should be turning right, Mama Bear agreed. I said:

"Well maybe there is a shortcut that will take us left first..." Mama Bear looked skeptical.

So...I turned left.

Surely my technology won't let me down....right?

So when it had me turn right a couple miles up the road, I looked at Mama Bear with that smile that said
"Told ya so..."

But at the next turning it wanted me to turn left again...now I KNOW that's not right! This keeps routing me North East, when we should have been going East by South/East almost as if....

No. It couldn't be doing THAT! Could it???

So I pulled over and stopped. Hit the "time remaining" button...5hrs. 49mins. 347 miles!

What?!?

So I hit the "show entire route" button.

It was taking me to "The Gap" store in Rochester alright. The one in Rochester, NY!!!!! It was...

The damn thing was taking me the back way to Port Huron, to cross the bridge into CANADA, only to re-enter the U.S. at Buffalo, NY. then on to Rochester!
I thought I'd said Michigan...I guess not!

WELL SHIT!!!

"What's wrong?!?" Asked Mama Bear...knowing that look on my face.

"Uhhhhh, slight recalculation is in order" I said, hitting the S-Voice button again "Navigate me to "The Gap" in Rochester, MICHIGAN!"

"HEAD WEST ON 32 MILE ROAD FOR 3.2 MILES"

As I pulled a U-Turn at the corner of "the middle of nowhere" & "Bumfuck Egypt" I looked over at Mama Bear who was now looking like the cat that ate the canary:

"Soooooo, there was no shortcut?" She asked innocently.

"No"

"TURN RIGHT ON ROMEO ROAD AND CONTINUE ON FOR 2.8 MILES TO ROCHESTER ROAD"

"Hmmm I think we passed this gas station before...I recognize the sign." She offered "helpfully".

"Yeah"

"TURN LEFT ON ROCHESTER ROAD FOR 9 MILES"

"Hey, isn't that the road where I said 'We should turn right on Rochester rd.'?" She was enjoying this way too much! Breaking into intermittent giggles like a schoolgirl!!!

When finally we reached our destination, it was one of those "open air" malls. I DETEST open air malls!

Let me tell you why.

Most enclosed malls are built on the same premise.
A large open area with multiple access points with stores arranged around the perimeter. A lot of wasted space? Sure. But if you know the layout of the mall you can pick your point of ingress as close to the store you need as possible. In and out, shop like a man!

Open air malls, and this one in particular are the opposite. 

Some inbred, self important, degenerate architect got it in his head to make this mall like a miniature "downtown" European city! Replete with one way drives, curving roads with minimal sightlines, and stores back to back. So even if you KNOW where you're going, there is no easy way to get from here to there!!! You have to walk around "the block" if the store is not on your "street". 

Then there are the dead end parking areas! Once you get your shit and want to get out, you have to navigate a rabbit warren of traffic islands, barricades, and one way drives!!! You can see the way out, you just can't get there from here! 

All designed to force you by every damn store in the place! If I wanted to stroll through a downtown area to shop...I'D GO DOWNTOWN!!!

An obnoxious, pretentious place...we finally found the Gap store and made our "return", then got the hell out of there.

We grabbed some lunch and were about to head home when Mama Bear asked:

"Gonna use your phone to find a shortcut?" Breaking again into schoolgirl giggles...

Did I mention she's considering a new career in comedy!

Be Well Folks!

Beastly Bear






Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Road trip...

Den of the Beastly Bear

Hi Folks!

ROAD TRIP!!!!!

This Saturday Mama Bear and I have a planned road trip to Cincinnati.

Our destination? The Joseph Best Booksellers store there.

Why?
A favorite author of ours, one Mr. Craig Johnson will be doing a book signing there.

If you are unfamiliar with Johnson's work, he is the New York Times bestselling author of the "Longmire" novels. Some ten novels, a novella or two and a handful of short stories long! 

I recommend the first in the series,
"The Cold Dish" to everyone I can!


Longmire...
Perhaps you've heard that name before...


A&E has a cable series based off the characters in the book, titled "Longmire" it's third season starts Monday June 2nd. Hailed by critics and fans alike, as one of the best shows on TV!!!

The books and series revolve around the adventures of modern day County Sheriff Walt Longmire, Sheriff of the mythical Absaroka County, Wyoming. (The least populated county, in the least populated state in the country)
A widower that lost his wife to cancer, Walt is an old school Sheriff stuck in a modern day world...

His "from childhood" best friend Henry Standing Bear, a member of the Northern Cheyenne nation and owner of The Red Pony bar and grill.

His Undersheriff Victoria "Vic" Moretti, a Philadelphia transplant whose big city sensibilities (and vocabulary) don't necessarily jibe with small town Wyoming life.

His daughter Katie, a big time Philadelphia lawyer makes most of her appearances in the books via telephone. In the A&E show she is a full time resident of Durant, the Absaroka county seat and Walt's hometown.

The books have a bit more humor than the TV series, and there are big differences between them but we enjoy both. Having read all his works we have fun picking out plot lines or characters from the books in the show, not always where you'd expect them!

While you do not need to read the books in order, as each is a stand alone work. I recommend it.
Half the fun is seeing how the characters and relationships evolve over time. In later books there are some "call back" characters and it helps the reader to know their back story.

Johnson bases the stories in his books off real world news stories, plucked from the high country newspapers from around his home in Ucross, WY. (population: 25)

His latest book "Any Other Name" was released earlier this month, hence the book signing tour. 

Cincinnati is the closest he'll be to Michigan and when Mama Bear found out, excitedly asked "Can we go?"

This will be her first book signing...being an old pro I'll be showing her the ropes so to speak! Lol.

Is an 11 hour round trip a long way to go when you can order a book pre signed? Sure...

But then we'd miss out on the chance to meet and thank the man that has given us so much pleasure...

Hopefully I'll be able to drag Mama Bear back home!
He is married after all!!!

I'll keep you updated!
(read about my trip and meeting Craig here)

Be Well Folks!

Beastly Bear

Monday, May 26, 2014

Those that volunteer...

Den of the Beastly Bear

Happy Memorial Day Folks!

Let's all remember that today is set aside to honor and remember all who have volunteered to serve our nation through their military service, and those drafted into service. Especially those that gave their all, in that service.

One of the greatest regrets of my life is that I was never able to serve...though it was not for lack of trying.

As previously related in my "Consequences" trilogy of posts, my life plan was thus: high school- Marine Corp. MP- College while serving- apply to FBI or Marshal service.

To this end, in High school I took the ASVAB Military Aptitude test, and scored in the 98th. percentile.

With said score in hand I went down to the local recruitment center, where an affable Sergeant from East Texas was MORE than happy to start my paperwork.

"Ewww Weee" he said "We don't see many fellas with a score like that in here...so what is it you want to do son? With a score like that you can pretty much write your own ticket!"

"I want to be an MP sir."

"Well by God you'd make a good'n!!! We'll put you on the "Fatboy squad", it's an extended basic training, feed ya nothing but lettuce and cottage cheese.... Produces some of the meanest fightin' men on the planet!"

Now when I graduated High school I was 255lbs., wore 36" pants and XXL shirts and while I still had a few extra pounds I didn't really consider myself "fat"... But from a military perspective I was.

"You up for that son?!?"

"Yes sir!" 
If that's what it took, by God that's what I'd do!

"Well alright then, let's get ta fillin' out some paperwork!" He said with a smile...and for the next half hour that's what we did.

We were just about finished, had my appointment the next day for my physical, when he said:

"Before we finish up here, I have a set of 8 questions I need to ask you...alright?"

"Sure..."

"OK then, here goes...Are you a citizen of the United States?" 

"Yes"

"Ok, Having been a citizen of the United States...have you ever renounced that citizenship?"

"No"

"Alright...I apologize for this next one: Are you now, or have you ever been sexually attracted to your same sex...in this case men?"

"No sir."

"Good...Are you currently taking any prescription medications, and if so for what?"

Well, there he had me...I had to relate the medications I was taking to stave off my migraine headaches, and the one I kept with me in case of the onset of one.

He set back in his chair....picked up my paperwork, and slowly ripped it in two...then ripped those in two and threw them over his shoulder.

"Son, there is no way...NO WAY they are going to let you in with a problem like that! What if you're on extended deployment and you can't get that medication?!? We can't very well have you getting a migraine headache in the field and shooting your commanding officer cause he pisses you off!"

"Sir it doesn't work that way..."

He held up his hand to stop me.

"I'm sorry son..."

Angry and dejected I left. Had to tell my Ex-Marine Dad that they wouldn't let me in...
So I tried the Army, same answer.

About two months later, having gone full time at the Sporting Goods store one of the cashiers said I had a phone call. This wasn't that unusual as repeat customers would often ask for a specific salesman by name.

"Hello, this is Joe how can I help you today?"

"Joe, this is Colonel "Muckety Muck" and I run the Navy's "Nuclear Power/Weapons recruitment" program...I see here you scored in the 98th. percentile on your ASVAB test. Have you chosen a branch of service yet? If not, I'd like to talk to you about some opportunities available to you in the Navy."

How in the hell did he know where I worked?!?
Oh, it's the Federal Government... Duh!

I again related my medications, why I needed them and that I had already been rejected by both the Marines and Army.

"If you're interested, we can get you a Congressional waiver..."

With the arrogance and stupidity that only a teenage boy can manifest I told him I wasn't interested!!!

I was too big for submarine service, recognized that radiation is "bad", and surely didn't want to be the guy responsible for pushing "THAT" button...the cold war still being in full force.

Three days later I got a registered letter from the Dept. Of the Navy, from the same Colonel asking if I'd thought about his proposal. It went in the trash.

Two weeks later he called me at work again, asking if I'd gotten his letter...he knew I did, I had to sign for the damn thing after all.

I again, reiterated my complete lack of enthusiasm for the Nuclear power/weapons program...
He listened patiently, used to listening to stupid young men I'm sure. He gave me his direct number, and told me to call him if I changed my mind, and I allowed that I would.

Had I known then, what I know now I'd have leapt at the opportunity! Careered out, and gone into the private sector with a military pension, all the schooling they could provide, and a built in high paying job.

But I didn't....stupid!

I'd also like to include here a brief story my Dad told me, in honor of him and his military service.

During Boot Camp at Parris Island, SC my Dad's Drill Sergeant addressed his assembled platoon:

"ALRIGHT MAGGOTS LISTEN UP! I NEED VOLUNTEERS FOR A SPECIAL ASSIGNMENT, ANY OF YOU LADIES INTERESTED???"

Dad said that knowing their DS as they did, no one was eager...
Seeing no takers, he continued:

"DID I MENTION I NEED MAGGOTS WITH A CHAUFFEURS LICENSE THAT CAN DRIVE A TRUCK???"

Now we're talking Dad thought, a day off basic training for the relative ease of driving a truck! Dad, being a farm boy of course had a Chauffeurs license and grew UP driving trucks. His hand was up in an instant, along with a half dozen other guys.

"SEVEN HUH? ALRIGHT YOU LADIES FALL IN LINE ON MY LEFT, THE REST OF YOU PUSSIES WILL GO ON A 5 MILE RUN FOR NOT VOLUNTEERING FOR MY BELOVED MARINE CORP." 

An evil smile split his face, as he turned to the seven volunteers.

"AS FOR YOU MAGGOTS THAT ONLY VOLUNTEERED BECAUSE YOU THOUGHT YOU'D HAVE IT EASY!!!
YOU LAZY PUKES WILL REPORT FOR LATRINE DUTY, DIGGING LATRINE TRENCHES!!! ENJOY LADIES!!!
AND LET THAT BE A LESSON TO YOU: NEVER VOLUNTEER UNTIL YOU KNOW THE PARTICULARS OF THE ASSIGNMENT!!!

Dad said that cured him....he never volunteered again! Lol

Enjoy your holiday, and remember those that DID volunteer!

Be Well Folks!

Beastly Bear


Saturday, May 24, 2014

I've had it...

Den of the Beastly Bear


Hi Folks!

OK, I've officially had it!!! This shit can stop anytime now....today I attended my third funeral in less than two weeks!

I found out on Thursday that one of my buddies at work passed away on Tuesday of an apparent brain aneurysm.

Last Thursday he had a terrific headache at work, called off Friday and went to the doctor. The doctor did an ultrasound of his carotid arteries, all clear.

He was on vacation this past week.

On Monday he went to the chiropractor, had an adjustment done to his neck and was assured he would feel better in the morning.

On Tuesday not having heard from him, his parents went to check on him and found him apparently peacefully asleep on the couch. When he did not respond...

This one hit a little close to home...as Mike was my age.

He too was a team leader, on the production side and I worked closely with him every day. I'll miss my daily fist bump and "Thank ya Joe!" when we solved a problem together.

A laid back fella with a heart of gold...never saw him lose his temper.

A classy guy who's gonna be missed.

Safe travels my friend!

Really...I've had enough!

Be Well Folks!

Beastly Bear



Thursday, May 22, 2014

It's all in the timing...

Den of the Beastly Bear


Hi Folks!

Timing...the world revolves around it! Much as we'd like to ignore it...it's true. Seconds change the course of human events!!!

I was talking to a old friend on the phone today, he's been my buddy for 30 years...and I couldn't help but think, but for timing it may have never been!

When first I started at Perry Drugs...I made one friend early, Ricky Johnson.

Rick was closer to my age than the rest of the drivers, shared my love of hunting, fishing, and all things that shoot. 

We became close enough to plan tons of hunting trips together, he was even one of my groomsmen when I married Mama Bear!

I had worked there no more than a week, Rick and I had shared quite a few conversations when he asked me after work: 

"Wanna come over for a beer?"

Well, those that know me will tell you...I rarely turn down a beer! Lol.

So I followed him to the little house he was renting on Pontiac lake.

He gave me the nickel tour, we walked out to the lake to admire the view before settling in to the family room to enjoy our beers. We sat and talked as a fledgling M-TV played low in the background.

As he had walked me through his home, it didn't appear the typical bachelor pad...I noticed a distinct feminine touch and assumed there was a woman in Rick's life.

We talked about a little of everything, just two guys getting to know one another.

When a Pat Benatar video came on and I made mention that I certainly thought she was very hot, Rick asked me if I was seeing anyone.

I allowed that currently I was experiencing a bit of a "dry spell"... but I did have some likely prospects.

Where we worked was out of a distribution warehouse, that also housed the corporate offices.
So there was no shortage of women working there, not only girls working as pickers in the warehouse itself, but in the shipping/receiving offices, and women that worked in the front offices commonly cut through the warehouse...

Rick told me it was a great place to meet women as most of the women working there were our age, in fact that's where he met his girlfriend Arlene.

He asked if I had my eye on any of the girls working there...

Oh, I did!!!

I didn't yet know her name...but I sure had designs on one girl in particular.

She worked in the corporate offices and would walk through the warehouse taking paperwork to the different offices...I didn't know what she did exactly, but I didn't care either!!!

She was stunning...

About 5'6", slim of waist and ample of blossom she was always dressed to the 9's! She often wore skirts, I think I may have mentioned how I LOVE skirts and dresses on women!!! Long legs in high heels completed the ensemble.

Her shoulder length hair was red, not the brassy bright orange red...so deep a red it was almost brown, and she wore it big and feathered as only 80's ladies could! Usually on redheads I prefer green or gray eyes, but hers were brown, almost black...and somehow just "fit" her. She was also not as pale as most redheads, telling me she loved the outdoors...a small spray of freckles across her nose gave her a cute "little girl" look that was at complete odds with her very womanly body!!!

But all that just made her pretty...
What made her ATTRACTIVE was her personality!
We've all known that woman that was above average in looks...and by her attitude told the whole world she knew it and expected to be treated as such!!!
We usually call them "Snooty Bitches"!!!

This girl was the exact opposite, a beautiful woman who acted for all the world as if she had no idea of that fact!!!

Every single time I saw her she wore a perpetual smile on her face, as though she were as happy and contented as she could possibly be. She talked freely to everyone she saw...the kind of girl that spread good feelings where ever she went.

The few times I had actually said "Hi" as she passed along her way, she graced me with a brilliant smile and "Hello" in a tone that made me think I might have a chance...

I was just about to tell Ricky all this, and ask if he knew her name when we heard keys in the front door...

"That'll be Arlene," Rick said "she works up front so she doesn't get off until 4."

"I'm home..." She called as we heard her place her purse and keys on the table.

"In here babe..." Rick called back

High heels clacked on the tile, and around the corner came....my Redhead!!!!

"Ummmm, hi..." I stammered, stunned.

SHIT!!! Well, check that one off the list...

"Babe, this is Joe the new driver...Joe this is my girlfriend Arlene." Rick introduced us.

I stood "Pleased to meet you...I think I've seen you around"

She graced me with another of those smiles, perhaps a "knowing" smile as she stepped forward and took my hand:

"Yes, I believe you have..." She said, releasing my hand and turning for the bedroom...already starting to remove her earrings. 

"Hon, I'm gonna change...why don't you ask Joe if he'd like to stay for dinner?" She called over her shoulder as she went.

Timing...
Two minutes.
Just two minutes later and I'd have told Ricky how I had the hots for his girlfriend...and that would've been the LAST beer we'd ever shared!!!

Rick was the jealous type, and Hell....I'd have been too!

Rick and Arlene went on to get married...they were the power couple at Perry's, setting up the company picnics and canoe trips down northern rivers!

Arlene hunted too, I think more because Rick did than because she liked it so much. But she accompanied us on every trip, even heading up to Lake Goegebic bear hunting with us...

They were our best "couple" friends!
They didn't last, and it broke our hearts to see them split up.

Speaking of timing...Friday is my last day of work before a much needed weeks vacation, and I woke up sick!!!! Aaaaaarrrrggghhh!!!!

Here's hoping you all have exquisite timing!!! Lol.

Be Well Folks!

Beastly Bear






Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Safe travels...

Den of the Beastly Bear

Hi Folks!

Been away a few days...sorry about that.
Between work, family and social obligations I just either haven't had the time, or when I had the time the inclination to write! 

One of my friends at work lost his Mother last week, so took a day to attend her funeral and lend my support to him.

Then the sudden, unexpected passing of my Father-in-law's best friend, Neil McCormack. This was just a devastating loss to all that knew him!

This necessitated a trip up to the Traverse City area over the last couple days. What a fantastic tribute they had for this wonderful man. There were as many laughs as tears, just the way Neil would have wanted it!!!

Neil was a big time jokester...and nothing and no one was safe from his wit.

You could tell how much Neil liked you by how much crap he gave you!!! If he wasn't busting your chops, he didn't like you enough to make the effort!

The upcoming holiday weekend reminds me of the year Kathy and I got engaged. It was Labor Day weekend.

Her Dad had an old farmhouse on forty acres just South of Clare, MI. and we were all going up there for the holiday weekend.

Kathy's Aunts and Uncles would be there...along with her Dad's girlfriend Marion and her kids (that would soon become Kathy's step sisters and brother), her sister Kim and Kim's daughter Tricia, and Brother Kurt and his girlfriend...in short, the whole damn family!!! Lol

Last but not least, The McCormacks!
Neil and his wife Jan, and their blended family.

Neil was still working for Pontiac Police Dept. at the time, he eventually was there 28 years before retiring, and it was a welcome chance to relax and destress!

We had a great weekend of bonfires, and hay rides, river walks and incredible food!

Kathy and I, her Dad and Neil, and a few others were walking down by the river...laughing and talking, Neil cutting us up as always.

When he started ribbing Kathy, I don't even remember what about...and Kathy turned to her Dad and said:

"Dad, you gonna let him give me a hard time like that?"

"Hey, that's my little girl there Paco...better be careful."
Her Dad laughed

"What you gonna do about it old man?!?" Neil said.
Though he was just 3 years younger.

"Joseph," he said to me, indicating Neil with a thumb
"Take care of my light work!"

Now Neil was about 5'8" and a solid 170 lbs., but I had three inches and a 105 lbs. of muscle on him.

Just playing around I stepped in, grabbed Neil's right wrist and raised his arm. Dropped my shoulder, bent my knees and put my left shoulder into his gut. Grabbed his left knee and stood up, easily hoisting Neil off his feet and over my shoulder in a modified fireman's carry. It takes MUCH longer to explain it than it did to execute...

"JESUS CHRIST!!!" Neil squealed, shocked as much as anything.

"Have ya met my future son-in-law???" Kathy's Dad asked with sadistic glee.

"Whatcha want I should do with'em Pa? Want I should toss'em in the river??? Huhuhuhuh" I said in my best big and dumb hillbilly impersonation.

"Hmmmm, I don't rightly know..." her Dad said, rubbing his chin in thought, playing along.

"I can bounce'em" I said hopping up and down...

"Umpfff..." said Neil

"Or stretch'em..." I said, pulling forward on his arm and leg.

"Oh my God...." Neil wheezed.

"Awww, I think he's learned his lesson...best you put him down a'fore you break'im...he's turnin' funny colors."

So I gently set Neil back on his feet, making sure he was steady before letting go completely.

"Holy shit," Neil said, patting me on the shoulder, "I'm glad you weren't serious...."

"Who says I wasn't serious..." I said stone faced, but I could only hold it a second before cracking up.

"Well I want you on my team..." Neil said, Smiling.

I only knew Neil for the past 27 years, my wife and her family much longer...he will be sore missed.

Cherish those in your life, you never know how long you'll have them.

Safe travels my friend, God bless!

Be Well Folks!!!

Beastly Bear






Thursday, May 15, 2014

Expectations...

Den of the Beastly Bear

Hi Folks!

Have you ever noticed just how much expectations color our lives?

When those expectations are not met, well the results can be "unexpected"! Lol.

When I was in High school I had a part time job after school at a local Sporting Goods store. On Saturdays I worked a 12 hour day, 9-9!

Minimum wage being about $2.75 back then, and paying my own car note, gas and insurance...money was ALWAYS tight. Being a young man that enjoyed the company of young women, that was where most of my money went.

So I often packed a lunch from home.

One Saturday I was up before the rest of the house, rooting around in the fridge for something for lunch.
In the meat tray I found something wrapped in Butcher's paper. Mom frequently stopped at Bazely's Meats, (one of the last Butcher shops in our area) for " special" treats.

Unwrapping the paper I discovered some natural casing, linked hotdogs, YUM!!! So I cut a couple free, grabbed a couple buns and diced up a half onion I'd also found in the fridge. Put some chips in a baggie, and it was off to work.

Never one to eat breakfast...I know, I know the most important meal of the day and all, I just never seemed to have the time! So by lunch I was starving!!!

We had a refrigerator at work to store our lunches, and we kept it stocked with condiments...mustard, ketchup, mayo...even dill pickle chips and sweet relish.

A microwave was provided for heating meals, so I got my hotdogs out and placed them on a paper plate and heated them up. Next, on went the onions and ketchup & mustard. Placed my chips next to my hotdogs, and admired my handiwork.

With great expectations, I grabbed the first hotdog and took a bite!

The next few seconds events are burned into my brain and will never be forgotten.

As my teeth severed the natural casing of the hotdog, hot SOUR juices squirted down my throat!!! This was unexpected for two reasons...1) hotdogs don't "squirt"!
and 2) nothing should have been sour!!!

My mind whirled with possibilities, were they spoiled?
I didn't think that possible as they must have been purchased the day before...
Were the condiments bad? 

But my rational brain was not in charge at the moment!!!

My stomach heaved, gag reflex kicked in as my brain screamed "GET IT OUT!!!"

Luckily there was a garbage can nearby and I spit the mouthful of offending crap into it and dry heaved over it...when finally my body quit trying to hack up my shoes, I rinsed my mouth with some good old fashioned coca-cola to get that taste out of my mouth!

I picked up both dogs to toss them out, and as I was putting them in the trash I caught a whiff of pickles....
I didn't have pickles on my dogs! I brought the bitten dog tentatively to my nose and gently sniffed...not really wanting to smell rancid meat, but confused...that was definitely dill pickle smell!!!

Realization struck me like a hammer!!!

Pickled bologna!!! Instead of a ring, the butcher had made them into links....links that looked EXACTLY like hotdogs!!!!  I'll be damned...

Busted expectations!

We had a family get together one summer, somebodies birthday or maybe just a family cookout at my sister Anna's house. Her husband Pat was at the grill, and everyone brought a dish to pass...to avoid duplication, we all told everyone what we were bringing.

My sister Brenda and her new husband Tom arrived with a big plate of Deviled Eggs. I LOVE deviled eggs!!!
Ask anyone that knows me...I'll tear me up some deviled eggs!!! Hahaha.

Burgers and dogs were not quite done, but soon, so we started opening things up so everyone could come through the line buffet style...

Not being able to help myself in such close proximity to the deviled eggs, I swiped one and popped it into my mouth.

And things went horribly wrong!!! I had expected deviled eggs...you know, very simple...egg yolk, mayo, yellow mustard garnished with a little paprika.

That was NOT what was in my mouth...again reptile brain kicked in "Get it out!". No waste receptacle handy I spit it out into my hand....yuck!!!

I spun on Brenda "What the HELL did you do to those deviled eggs?!?"

"Oh, Tom likes them with Dijon mustard and sweet relish...I thought I'd mix things up a little".

"Well," I said cleaning my hand off with a napkin, "I hope Tom's hungry, cause nobody else is going to eat that shit..."

And they didn't...their expectations were busted as well.

Yes, I reacted badly and behaved poorly. I'm not proud.

As humans we can set our selves up for this, so easily.
We preconceive what will happen, what something will taste like, how someone will react...and when those expectations are not met we are confused...and often angry. Because it challenges our worldview, our knowledge of how the world is!

Had I known ahead of time that they had not been made to the traditional recipe, I'd certainly have been open to trying them. But the difference between what I expected and the reality set me up to instantly hate them!

Here's hoping all your expectations are cheerfully met!

Be Well Folks!

Beastly Bear






Monday, May 12, 2014

The Viking...

Den of the Beastly Bear

Hi Folks!

Who else has that "Rainy day feeling again"?

It's pouring here in the Southeastern Mitten, it's a "blah", miserable kind of day that just has me waiting for the other shoe to drop, if you know what I mean.

As previously mentioned, these kind of days remind me of my time spent in a patrol car during optional semester of my senior year. More about that, here.

There were certain days where there was just a palpable feeling of waiting for something to happen.
Contrary to what most people think, that is not "typical". As Officer George told me..."Complacency kills more Cops than bullets!" Most of what you do all day is routine, even mundane...but there are those days!!!

One such day started boring enough, but there was something in the air...that sense of impending doom. 

It was raining steadily and that was keeping most folks indoors....even criminals don't like being cold and wet!

At lunchtime we drove to the Wendy's at Telegraph and Dixie, where Officer George got a salad and I got a burger and a lecture about what I was putting into my body for fuel! Lol.

Officer George, being an Ex-Olympian still took his diet and workouts seriously!

We were almost done when we heard an "All units" call of 10-78 (Officer needs assistance) at the Social Services building. 

The Social Services building was disjointed from the rest of the County complex, and as a "Duty Station" had one Officer dedicated per shift.

We were close, as Dixie Hwy. turns into Oakland Ave. just up the road from us, and the Social Services Building sat near the Oakland Ave./Widetrack Dr. intersection.

We hastily cleared the detritus of our meal and were out the door and on our way in under a minute.
As we acknowledged the call, we heard other cars following suit.

We hit the road, gravel flying and rubber squealing...lights and sirens! The normal 10 min. trip took us less than 5, "officer needs assistance" translates to "officer in trouble"!

As we slid to a stop in the parking/service area under the building, 2 other units rolled in with us. 

Not waiting for the elevators we took the stairs, two at a time and burst onto the main level in time for a loud shattering of glass.

The Social Services Building had, in a previous life been a school building...now re-purposed into cubicles and small offices. Tasteful "L" shaped aluminum and glass corner pieces attempted to give the whole thing a more modern appearance.

It was one of these that produced that crash of glass that greeted us as we came onto the floor, as the Duty Officer was flung bodily through it!!! 

The "Fling-er" looked like and extra from any Viking movie you've ever seen. About 6'5" tall and easily 350 lbs., broad of shoulder, barrel chested and thick necked! Bald on top, his sky blue eyes a sharp contrast to his long red hair, which was well past his shoulders and blended perfectly with enough red beard for 3 normal men! All he was missing was the horned helmet, shield and short sword!

And he was PISSED!!!

"WHERE'S MY WIFE???" he bellowed, spit flying...at the social worker cowering behind his desk.

"I told you.....I can't tell you..." he whimpered at the Viking.

"AAAAAARRRRGGGGHHHHH" he roared as he grabbed the desk and flung IT across the small space to smash against the wall. Face on fire, veins bulging, in full berserker mode!!!

This all happened in the seconds it took us to reach the combatants.

"Stay out of the way and do what I tell you" Officer George told me as they joined the fray...by this time the Duty Officer had regained his feet, the right sleeve of his uniform shirt in tatters and leaking blood at a prodigious rate, he jumped back in too.

With four seasoned cops on him it was only a matter of time before they'd be able to wrestle the cuffs on him, though just barely...

"Bring him in here..." suggested one of the workers, indicating a windowless office with a steel door with but a small pane of wire reinforced glass in it.

"Get'em in there" grunted Officer George to the rest of the group...as they inched in that direction, barely controlling him as he fought like a madman.

I held open the door as they struggled by me into the sparse room, which contained a few filing cabinets but nothing else.

"I almost got the cuffs on" said one of the other officers.
"Owww, Jesus Christ he's biting me!" yelled another.
"Joe, lock the door once we're inside." Officer George said to me.

When finally they had bulled the Viking inside, I stepped in and pulled the door closed behind me and flipped the lever for the lock.

"I got it!" I heard before I could turn around "He's cuffed"

"AAAARRRRGGGHHH" the Viking renewed his efforts, and as I turned around I was shocked to discover not a single Cop on their feet!!! 

But the Viking was!!!

"I'LL...KILL...YOU..." He roared at me, murder in his eyes and "Launched" himself in my direction. I say launch, because he gathered his feet under him, crouched and sprang at me head first...like a battering ram!!!

With all the Cops on the ground and a giant Red headed Viking looking to separate me from my own sweet life, I did what anyone would do...I moved!!!

With no way to alter course, and no way to stop himself with his hands cuffed behind his back, the Viking drove himself head first into the cinder-block wall of the office! Actually BREAKING one of the blocks with the force of the collision!!! Senseless, he fell in a heap at my feet...this allowed the Cops to all regain their feet. A hog tie strap was produced and used to full effect, while he was insensate and easy to control.

With a Cop on each arm, and one on each leg they carried him down to one of the squad cars and loaded him in back. It was off to Emergency and then the Hospital Psych. ward for our irate Viking, and just Emergency for the injured Officer.

Officer George and I were involved in taking witness statements, and finding out just what the Hell started this rampage.

Seems our intrepid Viking had just been released from Jackson State prison...where he had been serving time for...surprise, surprise... Assault, Spousal abuse, and Strong arm robbery.

While he was doing his 7-10 years...surprise, surprise his wife decided she'd rather NOT be married to him after all, and divorced his ass while he was in prison, taking their 3 kids with her.

This angered said Viking....who, upon his release attempted to find them. Not having any luck, but hearing that the Ex was receiving state assistance he figured social services ought to tell him where to find her. When they resisted, well..you know what happened then.

About 4 days later, Officer George and I were dispatched to one of the local hospitals for a prisoner transport for a court appearance.

Low and behold, who should they wheel out in the wheelchair but our mad Viking. He was much the worse for wear, his collision with the wall having broken his nose and blackened his eyes to where he looked for all the world like a red headed raccoon. A neck brace kept his head still, and he moved with a slow deliberateness that indicated he felt like he'd been hit by a bus. The releasing nurse assured us he was heavily medicated, both because of his inherent mood disorder and the pain meds for his busted face. They had kept him for observation due to the severe concussion he'd given himself.

For whatever reason, the drugs or the pain...he was meek as a lamb.

As we drove him to the court house, Officer George called behind him. "How ya feeling there big guy?"

"Not so hot" his voice soft and his words slurred slightly.

"Do you remember us?" George asked. I turned to face him through the partition.

"Oh, yeah...Hey guys...sorry about the other day, I...I wasn't thinkin' right." he mumbled. 

"Probably gonna send ya back...you know that, right?"

"I know....stupid. Just wanted to see my kids..." with that he closed his eyes and drifted off for the rest of the ride in.

Officer George looked at him in the rearview for a minute, then back at me and gave a shrug.

"Love makes some people crazy..."

Be Well Folks!

Beastly Bear





Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mothers go where angels fear to tread...

Den of the Beastly Bear

Hi Folks!

Happy Mothers Day!!!

Sorry I was off a couple days...places to go, people to see and all that! Plus my lovely wife turned 21 AGAIN on the 9th. and I thought it safest to spend my time with her rather than writing! I mean if my writing generated George R.R. Martin money, I'm sure she'd be fine with it! Lol...

So today we honor Mothers...new mothers, young mothers, old mothers, Grandmothers...this is their day.

Should we not honor them all year round?
Oh sure they make us crazy at times...lord knows my Mother has me, perhaps more commonly than most.

Yet always, her heart has been in the right place.

I could bore you all with the myriad kind and wonderful things my mother has done for me over the years...but where would be the fun in that?

Instead, I'll relate a time when my mother embarrassed me....almost unto death!!!

I had been dating a girl a few years my elder, and we did those things young people in love are prone to doing.

My mother, always being a practicable woman admonished me from the time such thoughts bestirred my mind, that gentlemen ALWAYS wear condoms!

Wanting to be a gentleman, I took these words to heart.

Of course, keeping them where they would be most at hand I kept them under the seat of my truck.

Things ran their course, as young love often does...and soon I was single again.

For months they remained under my seat, out of sight and ostensibly out of mind.

I graduated from High School and started working full time, with little time for chasing skirts.

Eventually, I met another girl, this one a couple years my junior. This made her a young lady of 16 years to my 18.

We had gone out, but a couple of times, when a trip to Michigan's Upper Peninsula bear hunt briefly derailed our romance.

My best friend Bradley and his Father drove their motor home up for us to stay in and thus my truck was left parked at home. You can read a little of our misadventures there, here.

For ten days, I walked and stalked the woods of Northern Michigan with naught on my mind but shooting a bear! But upon my return, my thoughts returned to that sunny-haired girl and the way she looked at me! *sigh*

Returning on a Sunday, I found myself home alone.
Mom and Jerry were out with their friends in the Goldwing Roadriders motorcycle club, enjoying the beautiful day.

My sisters out and about with their boyfriends.

So I called my girl and jumped in the shower.

Clean and shaved, hair done and cologne added, I hopped in my truck and went to get her.

We grabbed a bite of dinner, and then decided we'd head back to my house to hang out and relax.

As we pulled into the driveway, I could see that Mom and Jerry had returned...the garage door was up, lawn chairs arranged around 6 full dress Goldwings.
The ladies occupied the chairs, as the men folk busied themselves wiping off dirt and polishing chrome!

My mother got up and went into the house as we exited the vehicle and walked up to the group, probably getting refreshments.

I recognized them all, as they had all been to the house numerous times before...I considered them my friends as well, as I had been allowed to join the group riding on several occasions though not a member nor a Goldwing owner.

I made the introductions, and God love him...Jerry tried to warn me!!!

But I was too pleased showing off my new girlfriend (with but few exceptions, I've always dated above my station)!!! 

His subtle gestures and eye movements should clearly have screamed "RUN!" had I noticed, all went unheeded.

Mom came "stomping" out of the house...that's the best way to describe it...no refreshments in sight...marched into the circle of her friends, raised her arm and holding something above her head said:

"What the FUCK IS THIS?!?!?" As she hurled to the ground, my open box of Trojan™ ribbed condoms!!!

As the box hit the ground...
Hurled with sufficient force to split open upon contact with the pavement and scattering condoms across the driveway! My new girlfriend's face froze in horror!

Birds stopped singing, cars screeched to a halt, even the clouds in the sky arrested their trek to oblivion... the silence was deafening!!!

"I.....we...I mean, we never.....I SWEAR!!! I've never seen those before!" She stammered and turned on me... "Where did those come from???"

Feeling every once of blood in my body rush to my face, I tried to deflect... "Mom, can we talk about this later?"

But she was having none of it, fully into one of those piques of anger I've previously mentioned...my mother was having a full blown conniption fit!

"We're gonna talk about it right FUCKING NOW!!!"

"Well, can we at least discuss it in the house???" I said, scooping up the condoms and leading my girlfriend through the garage and into the kitchen. Mom, hot on our heels!

I asked my gal to wait in the kitchen as I kept walking, upstairs to my Mother's room. When she came in, I closed the door.

I had started out mortified but was getting madder the longer I thought about the situation...

"First of all," I asked, "what were you doing snooping in my truck???"

Side note: this has never been adequately explained, Mom tried to throw my sisters under the bus by saying they had found them after she had sent them to see if I had any clothes in my truck that needed to be washed, and brought them in to her...right. My sisters maintain... it was solely my mother that went snooping in my truck just to see what she could see, with me gone for 10 days and no chance of catching her.

"That's not important!" She said, "What are you doing with those?!?"

"Mom, you always told me, if ever I was to be sexually active to always wear a condom...I'm doing what you told me...why are you freaking out?!?"

"Joseph Robert!!!! She's sixteen years old!!! What the fuck are you thinking???"

"Mom, please keep your voice down...I didn't buy them for her...remember the last girl I was dating??? The OLDER girl??? We had been discussing it, and I thought I would buy a box just in case. You know, be prepared...like you told me. We didn't even use them..." I lied.

"Then WHY IS ONE MISSING????" she countered.

"OH MY GOD MOM, YOU COUNTED THEM?!?"

I dug out my wallet and pulled out the one stored there, and held it up for her to see. Thank God for brand loyalty!!! Not the time to tell her we were on our third box...

"Oh...." Mom said....all the steam running out of her.
"Well, I guess...I just never thought...I was just surprised is all..."

"I was doing what you asked..." I said.

"I know...I know...but I still don't have to like it.."

"I've got some major explaining to do downstairs now...I won't be surprised if this is the very last time you'll be seeing her..."

"Sorry about that...but I was mad!"

"Yeah, I got that..."

So...Mom went back to her friends and I went down to face my new girlfriend and do some very fast talking!!!

I gave her the selfsame explanation as what I gave my mother and to her credit she accepted it and we moved on.

Despite the mortifying start to our relationship, she went on to be the most serious relationship I had until I met my wife! We were together for five years off and on.

So there you have it...the most embarrassing thing my mother ever did to me!!! Hope it gave you a laugh or at least made you cringe...
And keep in mind...this was the MOST embarrassing, certainly not the ONLY embarrassing thing!!! Lol

Be Well Folks!

Beastly Bear