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THE IDLE AMERICAN " Don't Forget Your Toothbrush..."
Wednesday, January 21, 2009 • Posted January 21, 2009

Reader alert: Be advised that this is a “Mother Hubbard” treatise. These random thoughts offered periodically are comparable to preachers’ “Mother Hubbard” sermons.

They, in turn, are like “Mother Hubbard” dresses—the ones that “cover everything but touch nothing.”

Let the far-afield ramblings begin….

  • * * * *

Parents and grandparents agree that children’s “terrible two’s” now greatly exceed 12 months.

This is a “guesstimate” at best. Maybe it’s just a pipedream moms have, that their “chillun” will somehow become magically obedient and more pleasant when they hit the three-year mark on life’s yellow brick road.

To which I say, “Dream on.” There are, however, flickers of hope in the late three’s or early four’s, when the youngsters “want to help.”…

  • * * * *

Our grandson Jonah, nearing the four-and-a-half year milestone, is racking up good conduct stars, suddenly wanting to “help out.”

He thought he’d spotted a way to help when he and his mom left the optometrist’s office.

As they walked toward the car, he blurted, “Wait, Mom, you forgot to get your new toothbrush!”…

  • * * * *

In homes across the land, folks are putting away the last holiday turkey in as many “make-do” recipes as Bubba recited for shrimp in the Forrest Gump movie.

Most people are “turkeyed-out.”

Likewise, most of us have had a full complement of TV clips showing charitable meals being served, often to hundreds of hungry, disadvantaged, homeless, elderly and/or lonely. Usually, of course, turkey was the main course….

  • * * * *

For the past 25 years, they’ve hosted Thanksgiving luncheons in Brownwood. My friend Bill Fishback has been in charge for the past 16 years, and he says this “do unto others” project helps him and his cohorts embrace the holiday spirit.

More than 100 volunteers, including food service personnel at Howard Payne University where the meal is served, look forward to the event. They typically serve, or deliver, upwards of 2,000 meals annually.

Sometimes, Bill and his gang encounter unexpected situations….

  • * * * *

Last year, delivery folks came upon an unlikely scenario.

As they approached one home, they saw a note on the front door. “If we’re not at home, leave our meals in the pick-up truck in the driveway, and flip the lock.”

No one answered the door, so that’s what they did….

  • * * * *

At a recent clean-up session, a pair of false teeth was found, wrapped in a napkin.

“They’ll be claimed,” Fishback said as he pocketed the chompers.

Sure enough, a few minutes later, a woman returned to see if they had been found, laughing that she’d need them for upcoming meals….

  • * * * *

Thus a segue is provided for one of my favorite stories.

An older man penned a letter to Ann Landers.

He wrote: “Dear Ann: I have a jealous wife. Every evening after dinner, I go out for a walk. Afraid that I’m going out to meet other women, she hides my dentures. What should I do?” He signed it, “Gumming in Alabama.”…

  • * * * *

The columnist offered a grand suggestion.

“Dear Gumming:” she wrote.

“Be thankful that you’ve got the kind of wife that you do, she’s trying to keep you from biting off more than you can chew.”…

  • * * * *

Let the bugles blow for Tony Dungy, the first African-American head coach in the National Football League, and the first one to win a Super Bowl.

I was saddened to learn of his retirement. He’s as “good as it gets.” Now, he’s leaving the Indianapolis Colts to spend time with several humanitarian projects beyond football.

Quiet Strength, his best-selling book, now has a million copies in print. It’s a marvelous book filled with important life lessons. Even readers whose interest in football is nominal love it.

A powerful Christian, he credits many others who uplifted him along the way. One was his high school coach, Dave Driscoll, who provided many admonitions, including: “Talent is God-given, be thankful; Praise is man-given, be humble. Conceit is self-given, be careful.”…

  • * * * *

I’m always amused by classified ads that request “serious calls only.”

One in the Stephenville Empire-Tribune caught my eye the other day. Under the “FOR SALE” column, “steak cows” were offered.

“Steak cows?” Not sure I’d ever heard of such, I called friends at the paper. They explained that the ad was taken over the phone, and the corrected version made more sense—”steak house” rather than “steak cows.”…

  • * * * *

Dr. Newbury is a speaker and writer in the Metroplex. He welcomes inquiries and comments. Email: newbury@speakerdoc.com. Phone: 817-447-3872. Website: www.speakerdoc.com.

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