Life at Home (Haiku Series #164)

Dad’s Cooking

Friday night dinner

Mom’s day off in the kitchen—

Bucket of chicken

Courtesy of Pinterest.

Trial Run

Teenager’s first drive

Seatbelt fastened and secure—

Still parked in driveway

Photo by Kindel Media on

Around the Clock

Open for business

Fridge full of tasty morsels—

Door always unlocked

Photo by Cleyder Duque on

Hottest News

When one stops at this small town’s Conoco station, the news is the hottest brand going! (courtesy of Pinterest)

The fabric of a small town in strengthened by how people stay connected with one another.  Long before the Internet and cable, people actually talked face-to-face.

Billy owns and operates a small service station on the corner of Main Street and the highway which passes through town.  Years ago, he took over the operation from his father.  Assisting him a few hours each day is Duane, a retired highway patrol trooper.

Billy and Duane run a station without too many frills.  They stick pretty much to selling gas, changing worn-out batteries, rotating and balancing tires, and light service and maintenance of cars and trucks.

Anyone who just happens to drop in can usually find a seat on the generous and wide window ledge inside as well as a comfortable bench outside.

The “Conoco” station has been here for many years so everyone knows about Billy and his business.  People depend on him for many of their automotive needs, but the special folks drop in for an even more important reason.

Many people think the original CNN (Cable News Network) was founded in 1980 by media mogul Ted Turner.  Billy likes to think otherwise.

A small sign on the bulletin board identifies this station as a site for CNN.  For the “hottest brand going” in local news, one needs to stop by CNN (Conoco News Network), which is years older than the other CNN.       

Locals stop in to catch up on the latest news and more.  Sometimes a visitor just might hear a bit of innocent gossip or the sharing of a story or two (but watch out for the really “tall” tales).

On the busiest of days, Billy and Duane always have a free minute to share and gather news.  The day always goes faster with conversation while a car or truck goes up on the hoist every half hour.

Joe stops by this morning.  He is a colorful cowboy-type who worked on the big dam construction project back in the 1930s.  His stories are legendary.  But be warned, he just might take one on a hunt for pocket gophers.

Another regular happens to be Pete, a retired teacher.  Later in the morning, he stops by on his way to the post office.  In a small town, everything is within a short distance.

In the early afternoon, Flint rides up on his fine-looking quarter horse.  The duo has been out for a ride, and both need a quick water break.  Even at CNN, news can be delivered by “Pony Express.”

Flint and his horse rest a spell after their ride. (courtesy of Pinterest)

Go Long!

The Ohio State University Buckeyes’ official mascot is waiting for the “Big Game.” Say hello to Brutus Buckeye. (courtesy of Pinterest)

Mema scurries around the house.  She’s looking for something very important on this Game Day.  Her beloved Ohio State Buckeyes are facing that team up north (aka Michigan Wolverines) in the “Big Game.”

Kick-off is about 20 minutes away, and she needs to be holding on to her lucky pigskin.  She calls out, “Has anyone seen my football?”

No one responds.  Her husband is in the kitchen cooking up some game time snacks, and her two young grandchildren are playing in the backyard.

Hearing a commotion coming from the yard, Mema looks out to see a quick improvisation of the “Big Game.”  Some of the neighborhood kids are dressed in the Buckeyes’ scarlet and gray.  A few others are decked out in their Wolverines’ blue and maize. 

As her eyes scan the game field, she notices her beloved pigskin.  For right now, it is “the” game ball for this sandlot contest. 

Kick-off for the real “Big Game” is just minutes away, and this backyard, gridiron classic needs to wrap up its final play . . . pronto!

With time running out, Mema steps out into the yard.  She huddles up with her tandem of receivers (grandson and granddaughter).  Few know that she possesses a pretty darn good arm herself. 

In the huddle, Mema is holding her precious football.  She diagrams the final play with two simple, dynamic words . . . “Go Long!”

Here is the real Mema’s game ball. When she isn’t seated in front of the television to watch her Buckeyes, the ball also doubles as a flashy purse.

Autumn’s Imagination

Photo by Tomas Anunziata on

Taking a peek from the kitchen window, an eager three-year old girl watches her Dad and older brother working in the backyard.  With the final, late autumn rush of fallen leaves completed, they are raking up the annual harvest.

Bursting with excitement, Lydia enjoys the pile of colorful leaves growing wider and deeper.  She asks her Mom, “May I go out in the backyard to play?”

In the meantime, Dad and brother have moved to the front yard to clean up the few remaining leaves hiding under some bushes.  The enormous leaf pile is waiting for a little princess to share her imagination. 

With permission granted, Mom makes sure her precious daughter is wearing a jacket.  There is a subtle crispness to the autumn afternoon’s air.  The jacket’s collage of color will make a pretty complement to the orange, red, yellow, and rust colors of the leaves.

Dashing out the back door, Lydia sprints as fast as her three-year old legs will allow.  Upon reaching the mountain of leaves, she dives right into the middle.  Quickly, she begins swimming, and her helicopter arms swish the leaves away. 

Sitting in her newly formed crater, she feels like a captain of a ship.  Surrounded by a protective ring of color, she looks to be quite in charge.

Suddenly, she is joined by her older sister.  Now Lydia can enjoy her autumn paradise even more.  The two girls, several years apart in age, create their own universe in the backyard.

Swimming and thrashing about, the leaves begin to scatter.  What could make this even more fun?

Mom arrives with her answer, as she jumps right into the middle of the playful scene.  Now the trio of ladies has fully taken over the once mountainous pile of leaves. With each animated action, the depth of the pile shrinks as it scatters wider and wider. 

Eventually the laughter and fun invite Dad and brother.  As they approach the backyard to see what’s up, they stop and smile.  True, their hard work has been strewn about, but family fun like this only comes along once a year.

They both join in with the others.  Leaves are being thrown in the air, and bits and pieces cling to hair and clothes.  In the middle of it all, smiles an innocent-looking three-year old.  Her precious expression says it all, “Can we do this tomorrow?”

Here’s the star of the show!

Monday Memories: Hubby’s Toolbox


combination wrench screw bolt and pointed top hammer

Photo by Inactive. on

Hello Big Sky Buckeye readers!  I am a housewife who has a story to share with you.  My dear husband is a great guy and a loving spouse, but I do have issues with his home maintenance skills.

I guess it is okay to tell you more here.  Just don’t tell my husband . . . okay?

My hubby’s toolbox is home for his most precious tools.  Fortunately, one particular tool is no longer found in his toolbox.  Please allow me to tell you why.

Every home has a bathroom commode (or as we Americans say, a toilet).  I think commode sounds much more elegant, and my home is definitely a beautiful place.

The commode “always” needs to be in perfect working order, and routine maintenance is sometimes required.  This aging commode needs a facelift as its seat is cracked.  Hubby says he can buy a new one and install it in a flash.  I remember him telling me, “No problem.”

Wives, have you ever heard your husband say the same thing?  Sometimes a “simple” job turns into a nightmare.

The rest of what I tell you comes directly from my dear hubby’s mouth (after he confessed to me all of the dreary facts).

A commode seat is attached to the porcelain bowl with a pair of bolts and nuts.  Seeing that this commode is an older model, the metal bolts and nuts have rusted together because of the passage of time and bathroom moisture.

My poor hubby strains and works to free up the nut on each bolt, but he is experiencing extra frustration.  He tries a couple of different wrenches, but the bolt and nut remain sealed for eternity (or so it seems to him).

But ah!  My hubby’s toolbox contains other usual devices.  He comes back to the bathroom with a hammer and a chisel.  (I kid you not!)  He plans to be careful, and a gentle nudge from the chisel will break off the rusted nut from each bolt.  I can just hear him saying, “This chisel will do the trick.”

Lying back under the commode to insure he has a proper angle, hubby positions the chisel carefully against the nut.  With a graceful swing of the hammer, everything will be okay.


Oh, so wrong!

The chisel slips off the nut, and the hammer busts out a small hole in the porcelain bowl.  Now, you know what husbands do when disaster hits.  They run out to the garage for a “deep thinking” session.

You know ladies; it is good to give your husband some space when he is working on a home maintenance project.  However, I become curious and wander into the bathroom to check on hubby’s progress.

Thinking he is finished, I decide to help him clean up.  (He has thoughtfully taken the hammer and chisel with him.)  There are some shavings of some kind in the bowl so I decide to flush them down and away.

Oh my!  I flush the commode, and the mother of all floods rushes onto my pristine bathroom floor.  With water everywhere, I sprint to the garage to locate my “deep thinking” hubby, who is in deep water now.

Well, let’s wrap up this story before I become aggravated again, and you all enjoy more laughs at my poor hubby’s expense.  We now have a three-color commode with slightly differing shades of color for the seat, the bowl, and the original tank.

Yes, my husband manages to replace the seat, but he needs to return to Home Depot to purchase a new porcelain bowl.  We won’t even go into the rest of the mess he makes in replacing the bowl . . . oh my goodness!

Hubby’s chisel now hangs in the garage since it has been banished from sitting in his toolbox ever again.  Next to the chisel, rests a note (from yours truly).  The note states, “Remember to Always Think.”

Wives (and husbands), can I let you in on a quick tip?  Always call a professional!

You Don’t Say!

Few people have heard of the famous naturalist and wildlife photographer William Xavier Knox.  His life has been one amazing adventure of finding the unexplored, the unexplained, and the unusual.  Billy’s dreams have become quite legendary.

A few winters ago, Billy survived a scrap with a polar snake up in the Great White North.  He had been hoping to finally capture a picture of the elusive Arctic snake crossing the frozen tundra.  Instead, he nearly fell to his death in a large crevice in the ice.  Fortunately for Billy, his pick axe held firmly while he pulled himself up to safety.

Emulating some of his shutterbug heroes, Billy harbors hopes of becoming a revered wildlife photographer.  With his treasured camera, he is still waiting to capture that “once in a lifetime” shot.

None of Billy’s photography has been published yet.  He relies on “word of mouth” to carry the message of his work.  After all, he figures this is the best approach because he doesn’t want people stampeding into nature’s quiet landscapes.

Unfortunately, few people have met up with Billy.  Even fewer people have ever heard of this almost forgotten wildlife photographer.  Nonetheless, he has huge plans for the future of his work.

A determined Billy is currently traveling across the eastern third of the “Cowboy State” of Wyoming.  The upper plateau and plains are home to many exotic animals. 

A freak of nature, this fearsome critter has never been captured on film.  A cross between a jack rabbit and an antelope has produced a mysterious creature called a Jackalope.  Unfortunately for Billy, someone else has successfully photographed this Jackalope a few days ago.  All Billy can say is, “Geez, another one got away!”

Billy’s next appointment takes him to the Pacific Northwest.  He plans to search the thick rainforests of the mountains for the elusive Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus.

As Billy arrives in the area, he is informed that a website already features his prized target.  When interviewed, Billy disappointedly explains, “Why am I always coming in second when trying to capture these prizes of nature?”

A young girl shows Billy the link to the website:

Winking at him and smiling, she smartly asks Billy, “Do you really believe in these odd species of nature?”

Billy pauses and thinks for a second or two before smiling back, “Well, if I didn’t, there goes my photography career.  Right down into my musty basement, filled with old photographs.”

Billy’s mind is beginning to stir to semi-consciousness.  A gloomy vision clouds his mind, and he begins to wrestle with it.

He is busy photographing school children across the country for those dreaded school portraits.  Someone adds, “You’ll know when he has reached your school.  Just look for his personalized license plate:  CRZYPCS.”

Waking up from his long, overnight nap, a sleepy-eyed Billy wanders out into the kitchen of his family’s Wyoming ranch house.  His grandfather is browsing a book, and he welcomes Billy to their usual morning time together. 

Grandfather asks, “How did you sleep young man?” 

“Just terrible!” replies Billy as he rubs his ten-year old eyes.  “I had a horrible dream about being a school photographer.  You know . . . the one who takes those awful photos for school yearbooks and student portrait packets to send home.”

His grandfather pauses and places the book on the table, “You don’t say!” 

Billy glances at the book, and he smiles up at the author of the book, William Xavier Knox.  His grandfather is a world-renowned wildlife photographer.

Cold Cash

Photo by John Guccione on

A bewildered and frustrated Sgt. Joe Friday has been working on a cold case for several weeks. 

Despite his best efforts, the renowned detective can’t pin the rap on Willy Martin, a notorious bank robber.  A cool $100,000 has been snatched away from the First National Bank, all in large bills (aka “Benjamin Franklin’s $100).  

Sitting at his desk and checking his notes, Friday’s thoughts keep coming back to the same pattern of thinking.  Since the money remains hot, it is very doubtful that Willy Martin has put any of the money back into circulation.  He’s been under surveillance for weeks, but he hasn’t made any suspicious moves.

Every Saturday morning, Friday meets up with his retired partner, Bill Gannon.  They hang out at their favorite coffee shop and trade war stories from their past cases.

Bill is telling a story about a funny situation which recently took place in Ohio.  He recalls the situation, “A grandmother’s $25,000 went missing from her home.  It was her life savings.”

Friday continues listening, but he is just about filled up with coffee and conversation.  His mind keeps working overtime on the cold case.

Bill’s version of the story begins to become more interesting to his former partner, “No one knew where the money went.  Her grandchildren helped clean her house one day.  They were very thorough, even emptying out the old, spoiled food from her refrigerator and freezer.”

Friday eagerly waits for the story’s finale, as Bill wraps it up, “Her money was stored in the freezer in an envelope, and it was accidentally thrown away.  Fortunately, the trash truck operator found the cold cash before it ended up at the landfill.”

“Bingo!  Cold cash!”  Friday jumps up and thanks Bill for the hot tip.  As his good friend hustles out the door, Bill wonders what is really up. 

On Monday, he heads across town to ask a judge for another search warrant.  The warrant is for Willy Martin’s grandma’s house, more specifically her freezer.  There is a large chest freezer submerged in the depths of her basement.

When Friday shows up at grandma’s door, she seems a bit shocked to see him again.  After all, he searched the entire house several days ago, and nothing was found.  Except, this time the determined Sgt. Friday remembers the freezer in the basement.

With the efficiency of a well-seasoned detective, Friday quickly removes the contents from the overflowing freezer.  Hiding at the bottom of the freezer is a false floor.  He tears open the heavy cardboard to find several envelopes hiding out down below.

As he checks the contents of several sealed envelopes, he discovers the missing loot.  All $100,000 of it!  Even Benjamin Franklin is winking back at the detective, “Honesty is the best policy.”

The detective reads grandma her rights.  Then she suddenly begins singing like a parakeet, “I never knew what Willy put in my freezer.  Honest Sgt. Friday.  He promised me everything was okay while he stayed hidden from the heat, who was checking on his every move.”

Sgt. Friday replies back, “Well, crime doesn’t pay when you are asked to take the heat for hiding someone else’s cold cash.”

While the storied detective calls to make arrangements for officers to pick up Willy Martin, he finally begins to relax.  This challenging cold case has been solved.


Photo by Alex Barnes on

Washington Irving Quotes

I consider a story merely as a frame on which to stretch my materials.

Honest good humor is the oil and wine of a merry meeting, and there is no jovial companionship equal to that where the jokes are rather small and laughter abundant.