The Paper Boy!

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I grew up in a medium-sized San Joaquin Valley city in California about 200 miles north of Los Angeles. Life was seemingly safer and kids free to roam the neighborhoods in search of friends, fun, and hideouts. The house we lived in when this story took place was on a gravel road, across from the train tracks.

          Our house actually did have a white picket fence and there were lots of vacant lots nearby (where we dug monstrous caves and tunnels). There were four of us at home, Mom and Dad, me, and Carole, my older sister. We were three years apart. Carole was 11 and I was 8 when my parents bought her a German Shepherd named Lobo. Although he put up with all of us, Lobo was definitely Carole’s dog.

          Once, when we were swimming at a lake, Lobo sat on shore, never taking his eyes off Carole. Just to test him, she began waving her arms, yelling “Help!” Immediately, he sprang into action dashing into the water, grabbing her arm and taking her ashore. It was amazing to see. She never pretended to be in trouble again.

          We had a paper boy who thought it was funny to throw the daily paper at Lobo if he happened to be in the front yard. To this day I have to wonder at his I.Q. One day, just as the paper left his hand, flying at Lobo, my Dad came out the door.

          “Hey!” he said to the boy, causing him to stop his bike. “You better stop throwing papers at our dog. If you don’t he’s going to leap over this fence one day and make you wish you had.”

          The boy said he would stop and pedalled away. I saw the look on his face as he glanced over his shoulder at my Dad. He would have to learn the hard way. And it didn’t take long.

          A few days later, as I rounded the corner of the yard, I saw our paper boy headed our way. I stopped just out of his view to watch what I guessed would be an exciting event. Sure enough, he reached inside his canvas paper bag and pulled out our paper, eyes fixed on Lobo. Just opposite the gate, he hurled his projectile at Lobo with a glee…which was very short-lived because Lobo decided it was time to teach this boy a lesson.

          I’ll never forget how it played out. Lobo was standing about twenty feet from the fence, watching the paper boy pedal our way. He seemed to know what he would do. As soon as their eyes met and the boy hurled the paper, Lobo came alive, heading for the fence. He passed the paper on the way to leaping over the fence with ease. It was beautiful to see. I thought I was watching Rin Tin Tin in action.

          The boy screamed, hunched over his handle bars and pedalled for life. It was no contest. Rocks flew from his tires as he wailed and pedalled for all he was worth. Within 30 feet Lobo was alongside him and grabbed his pants cuff with his teeth. Then he planted his feet and sat on his haunches, sliding a bit in the gravel. All was lost as the boy fell off the bike, now crying in terror, expecting the worst from this huge dog. Instead, Lobo slowly and methodically drug him a few feet down the road, released him and trotted back home, leaping our fence with ease.

          When I told my Dad the story that afternoon, he grinned and said, “Well, I warned him.” and reached down for the paper held in Lobo’s mouth.

Las Vegas

 

ATT11

Do Las Vegas Churches accept gambling chips?
This may come as a surprise to those of you not living in #LasVegas but there are more catholic churches than #casinos.
Not surprisingly, some worshipers at Sunday services will give casino chips rather than cash when the basket is passed.
Since they get chips from many different casinos, the churches have devised a method to collect the offerings.
The churches send all their collected chips to a nearby Franciscan monastery for sorting and then the chips are taken to the casinos of origin and cashed in.
This is done by the chip monks.

A Package of Hamburger

 

At eleven years old, David had a great imagination. He often played by himself, becoming the hero and his arch enemy. Most of his games were daring and adventuresome like climbing to the tops of  the tall eucalyptus trees, swaying in the breeze as he pretended to scout the horizon for enemy ships.

 

His favorite games involved fist-fights and gun or knife battles with himself (sometimes the bad guy won to be fought another day). After wrestling his dangerous foes, either he or they would tumble down the stairs, sprawling out onto the TV-room floor. This brought a scowl and warning from his mother.

 

“David, stop that, we’re trying to watch TV!”

 

Like any secret agent or daring cowboy, he paid no mind to the voice. After all, what could she know about his dangerous missions? Besides, she seldom punished him on the first warning.

 

His biggest challenge had been to find a way to use knives that looked as though they were sticking in him. As he pondered the idea he knew he needed some sort of padding hidden beneath his T-shirt that he could stab. That way the knife would be stuck into his shirt, as though he was stabbed. But what could he use? And then it became crystal clear; a package of hamburger!

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His mother always bought her meats at the country market and they packaged them in butcher paper. He got a paring knife from the drawer and opened the fridge and scoured through the hamburger packages, measuring each one with the knife blade, looking for the perfect depth that would take the knife but not stick his body. In a few seconds he found the one. To make sure, he cautiously tested by putting the package beneath his shirt and slowly inserting the knife. It worked!

 

Now armed with a new weapon he could fight for his life until the final moment either he or his enemy lost the battle as the knife was pushed into his special-effects padding beneath his shirt. The final moment was always gritty and vein popping as one of his hands held the other wrist that held the knife. Ohh, he would exhale, reeling backwards with shock and pending doom, seeing the knife protruding from his chest.

 

Over and over he fought his imaginary enemies, each time ending the duel with a plunge of the paring knife into the package of meat. He was thrilled at his cleverness and realistic results. But, as all boys do, he tired at last of this game. He tossed the knife into the sink, the hamburger into the fridge and his soiled shirt into the dirty clothes. And thought no more about it. Until later.

 

“DAVID!” his mother called from the kitchen. He paused to reflect on what he’d done that day and could not think of anything worthy of trouble so he light-heartedly dashed into the kitchen.

 

“What is this?” she said, holding the package of hamburger with multiple stab wounds.

 

He told her his story hoping she would show mercy. She had to look away so he wouldn’t see her smiling. She composed herself. “And what did you do with your T-shirt?”

 

“Oh,” he was concerned now, “I put it in the dirty clothes.”

 

“Don’t ever do this again,” she said. “I’ll probably never get that shirt clean. And what about the holes? Go outside and play.”

 

As the back door closed behind him, he thought he heard his mother laughing like she’d just heard a great joke.

A Package of Hamburger

A Package of Hamburger

At eleven years old, David had a great imagination. He often played by himself, becoming the hero and his arch enemy. Most of his games were daring and adventuresome like climbing to the tops of the tall eucalyptus trees, swaying in the breeze as he pretended to scout the horizon for enemy ships.

His favorite games involved fist-fights and gun or knife battles with himself (sometimes the bad guy won to be fought another day). After wrestling his dangerous foes, either he or they would tumble down the stairs, sprawling out onto the TV-room floor. This brought a scowl and warning from his mother.

“David, stop that, we’re trying to watch TV!”

Like any secret agent or daring cowboy, he paid no mind to the voice. After all, what could she know about his dangerous missions? Besides, she seldom punished him on the first warning.

His biggest challenge had been to find a way to use knives that looked as though they were sticking in him. As he pondered the idea he knew he needed some sort of padding hidden beneath his T-shirt that he could stab. That way the knife would be stuck into his shirt, as though he was stabbed. But what could he use? And then it became crystal clear; a package of hamburger!

His mother always bought her meats at the country market and they packaged them in butcher paper. He got a paring knife from the drawer and opened the fridge and scoured through the hamburger packages, measuring each one with the knife blade, looking for the perfect depth that would take the knife but not stick his body. In a few seconds he found the one. To make sure, he cautiously tested by putting the package beneath his shirt and slowly inserting the knife. It worked!

Now armed with a new weapon he could fight for his life until the final moment either he or his enemy lost the battle as the knife was pushed into his special-effects padding beneath his shirt. The final moment was always gritty and vein popping as one of his hands held the other wrist that held the knife. Ohh, he would exhale, reeling backwards with shock and pending doom, seeing the knife protruding from his chest.

Over and over he fought his imaginary enemies, each time ending the duel with a plunge of the paring knife into the package of meat. He was thrilled at his cleverness and realistic results. But, as all boys do, he tired at last of this game. He tossed the knife into the sink, the hamburger into the fridge and his soiled shirt into the dirty clothes. And thought no more about it. Until later.

“DAVID!” his mother called from the kitchen. He paused to reflect on what he’d done that day and could not think of anything worthy of trouble so he light-heartedly dashed into the kitchen.

“What is this?” she said, holding the package of hamburger with multiple stab wounds.

He told her his story hoping she would show mercy. She had to look away so he wouldn’t see her smiling. She composed herself. “And what did you do with your T-shirt?”

“Oh,” he was concerned now, “I put it in the dirty clothes.”

“Don’t ever do this again,” she said. “I’ll probably never get that shirt clean. And what about the holes? Go outside and play.”

As the back door closed behind him, he thought he heard his mother laughing like she’d just heard a great joke.

© David Nelson

All In A Day’s Work

One of my father-in-law’s favorite stories took place on a cattle ranch in West Texas.  It seems the cook wanted to quit because the men complained so much about the quality of cooking.  After much persuasion, “cookie” agreed to stay on with the following condition:  “The first man to complain about my cooking will be the cook!”  Everyone readily agreed, not wanting the job themselves.

The very next meal was bread and beans.  As the men sat down to eat, one of the cowpunchers said, “Boy, howdy, these beans are salty.”

Absolute silence as the cook reached for his apron strings.

“But that’s just the way I like ’em,” the cowpuncher quickly added.

©David Nelson