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The Idle American
Uncle Mort Roars with Lions...
Wednesday, June 8, 2011 • Posted June 8, 2011

When he’s invited to be a guest at the Lions Club, Mort eagerly accepts. “Free meal” registers as ear music to my uncle, who has shied away from numerous invitations to join the civic organization.He always gives it some thought, and sometimes fills out application forms. The last page, though, does him in. That’s where mention of “monthly dues” comes in, and thought of such financial disbursement a dozen times each year causes a smothering spell. So, he’s remained a “virtual member” for many decades….* * * * *Mort was particularly happy to attend the club’s latest meeting. He had much “fat to chew” with the members, some of whom are neighbors down in the thicket. He arrived early, working all the tables to cover assorted topics of conversation. (Drifting between tables also made it possible for him to scarf down two desserts.)Pre-luncheon conversations ranged from “raptures to ruptures.” At one table, my almost 99-year-old uncle proposed the organization of an “RFD Club.”One of the Lions made sport of such a proposal, indicating his pleasure with Rural Free Delivery of mail the way it’s run now…* * * * *“I’m not talking about mail delivery,” Mort responded. “I’m talkin’ “Rooters For Dirk.” My uncle is eager to organize some serious “East Texas Whoop-It-Up” for the Dallas Mavericks’ star hoopster as the team battles for the NBA championship.He suggested “first-name” cheers for Dirk, since his last name is “pronounced a half-dozen different ways.”“I think he ought to change his last name to ‘No-QUIT-ski’,” Mort said, “Because he doesn’t quit.”…* * * * *My uncle admitted the disappointment he experienced more than 80 years ago, during his senior year at a small rural school in East Texas. “I so wanted to play basketball,” he said, “But we had too many boys in high school—we had six.”He “rode the bench” all four years, but in the last game before graduation, became excited about the prospect of a cameo appearance in the final minute. Fans started chanting, “We want Mort! We want Mort!” His heart was warmed by the chant from all 35 boosters in the stands.With mere seconds remaining, the coach yelled, “Mort, go see what they want!”….* * * * *At another table, a member bragged about having signed off on “every detail” of his funeral. Then, all eyes shifted toward Mort, as if he might be the person most likely to soon need such a plan. Easily the oldest attendee, he claimed ambivalence about one directive in such pre-planning.“I’ve always figured on leaving my body to science,” he said. “Here lately, though, I’ve decided to leave it to ‘fiction’ instead.”…* * * * *At the head table, someone mentioned that Oklahoma’s Chickasaw Indian Tribe headed a group that purchased Grand Prairie’s Lone Star Horse Race Track in record time.The “boss Lion” claimed to know how they turned the transaction with such ease.“Those Chickasaws know how to cut right through white tape,” he joked….* * * * *Talk about the recent push to legalize Chihuahua dog-racing came up.“Now that’s about the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard,” Mort challenged.He claimed that this will never work. “The horses will win every time,” he argued. “Their legs are much longer.”…* * * * *One Lion told about his wife coming home in a huff after visiting family out of state.“At breakfast one morning, our five-year-old grandson asked, “Grandma, how long do you plan to stay?” She asked him how long he’d like her to stay. “At least a week, ‘cause I want to see Daddy do his trick.”Puzzled, she asked him more about the trick. “I heard Dad tell Mom that if you stayed all week, he’d climb the wall,” the youngster related….* * * * *Mort complimented the soloist for being a consummate professional. Noting that several of the attendees received “Old Spouse” lotion for Christmas and that most of them were either gray-headed or bald, she modified the words of her rendition.Instead of singing Climb Every Mountain, she changed the words to Climb Every OTHER Mountain....* * * * *The phone company speaker asked how many folks remembered their first cell phone call.Only Uncle Mort extended his arm skyward.“It was about 60 years ago,” he claimed. “And I remember it mostly because it was an appeal for bail money.”…* * * * *

Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Metroplex. Send inquiries/comments to: Phone: 817-447-3872. Web site:

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