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Sunday, March 28, 2021

"I'm A Big Boy, Now... I Can Do It Myself!"

Outdoor well light springs...

 Good "I'm a big boy and..." Monday morning, all bodies.

A couple of weeks ago when the weather was once again warming up, I decided to take my shirt off and catch some Vitamin D. Who knows when the sun will ever come out again.
But while doing that I noticed some wasps checking out the patio well light. With a shirtless sigh, I went over to check the situation out and with a shirtless sigh, I walked into the kitchen to grab some sort of defense...
Just in case, ya know!
After carefully perusing the area, I unscrewed the light bulb to find a huge wasp's nest that was destroyed last year with a can of Raid. When I managed to pull out the nest, I snapped one of the springs that held the well light cover in place. It was fairly obvious that this was a job for Superman and not me. At least, not right now.
Although it ate at me to just walk away from another project, I was determined to get some sun. With a sigh, I managed to do so.
Last Sunday, while running other errands, I remembered that I needed to replace those corroded well light springs, so I dropped on by the local Home Depot. I usually support local hardware stores for such simple things, but it was a day that I planned for getting simple things done.
It seems really ridiculous to walk into a big box store to purchase something so small. With a huge sigh, I entered the lighting department and walked up and down three isles of dainty light fixtures, honking yard flood light systems and LED bulbs. I circled twice searching for my springs.
"Can I help you find something, sir? a sales person politely inquired.
"No... thanks, I said, Just looking!"
Circling like a shark around the isles I was somewhere between admitting that the part no longer exists and I'd have to purchase an entirely new system and...
"I'm a big boy, now... I can do it myself!"
Well, try as I did, I could not find the damn thing until a rather nerdy young salesperson sporting thick black rimmed glasses took me to an isle where, there, two shelves from the bottom jammed between outdoor lighting options, was a small box full of packaged springs.
I couldn't believe how quickly he took me to the place.
I thanked him profusely and promised to comment about him on the link that comes with the receipt though I haven't done that yet. Nor, have I put the new springs to good use....
Sigh.
Second cup!
Copyright 2021/Ben Bensen III

Monday, March 15, 2021

"I Thought You Were Some Kind Of Weirdo!"

 




Giddy Up regular...


Good "Lecherous" Monday morning, all bodies.
With a first cup here at Giddy Up, I started one of my "Matchbox Hole" posts when I came upon Larry who was sitting alone chewing the fat on his cellphone.
Having done a sketch of him from a photo I took a few weeks ago, it seemed we were doomed to never coordinate my gift to him. I wasn't really sure it was something he'd even want being the lecherous "badass" some women labeled him as. A sign of the times, I guess.
This time the stars were aligned.
I intercepted him as he hung up his phone and moseyed pass me to the back door.
"Larry, Larry, I yelled, I got something I want you to see."
"Well, hey there, youngster... How ya doing?
"Doing great", I said as I showed him the sketchbook drawing I created.
"You did this? Of me? Aw, this is great... Looks just like me and you even got me with my blue mask!"
I didn't want to assume that he liked it enough to ask for it, so I didn't offer it to him.
"Wait till me wife sees this," he says. "Can I take a picture of this?"
From that point on he tells me why he can only come over to GiddyUp on the days that a nurse comes to sit with his wife. Apparently, she's been suffering with Parkinson's Disease for quite some time.
He told me how abusive she becomes when the sun goes down.
"The things she says, she really doesn't mean, ya know?
"It's the Parkinson's Disease," he says.
"Aw, Larry, I'm sorry 'bout all that," I said, thinking of a way to offer the sketch to him.
"Larry, you don't have to take a photo of it for your wife," I said as I ripped the portrait from the sketchbook.
" I drew it for you, anyway, man!"
"Maybe, showing it to your wife during one of her rants will help change the subject," I laughed.
After expressing his gratitude and elation at receiving the gift, he leaned over close to me and said, "When you first asked me to pose for a picture or two, I wasn't too sure!"
"I thought you were some kind of weirdo!"
Second cup, now!

Copyright 2021/Ben Bensen III


Thursday, March 11, 2021

"Please Leave A Message"...


 

Good Morning Thursday, y’all.

I can’t believe it is already Thursday. About a week ago, after a couple of months with my new iPhone, I realized that I was not getting any voicemails. After further investigation, I was told that AT&T locks you out after a certain amount of time of not setting the parameters for one’s voicemail.


So, after being shuffled from one tech nerd to another, I landed on one that was willing to tackle the problem. Earlier, I was asked to, time after time, record a new message to see if the voicemail would work. I was running out of serious messages to try.


After AT&T technoid named Mike requested for the umpteenth time to say something worthwhile to record, I sang, “Round, round, get around, I get around, yeh…” Nothing happened. After pushing more buttons on his side, he asked again to say something. 


“Okay,” I said. “I’m getting bugged driving up and down this iPhone town… I need some better reception for me to “Get Around!”


Mike laughed. And, after he requested another try, I sang,” Help Rhonda, help, help me Rhonda… Help me Rhonda, girl, get my voicemail to work!”


“Have you ever sang any karaoke,” Mike asked. 


“Actually, I laughed, I’ve never tried to!”


“You’d be great at it. I’m amazed!”


“Well thanks, man. If I have another life, I’ll give it a go!”


“I’m kinda old for that stuff, ya know?”


“Old? You sound great even over the phone,” he replied. How old ARE you?


“Uh, I’m 71”.


“You don’t sound that old at all,” he said in a meaningful and complimentary way!”


“Thanks, man,” I said. “How are we doing with the voicemail?”


“I think we’ve got it solved!”


“Well, if we need to test it from your side, you have to karaoke me a message!”


A few more buttons pushed, he suggested we give it a go. So, I hung up the phone and waited for Mike to call and leave me a voicemail.


And, he did, in his best falsetto… “In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight!” A weema wop, a weema wop, a weema wop, a weema wop!


BUT WAIT… that’s not all.


The next morning my friend, Carol, tried to leave a message only to hear on the voicemail… 

A weema wop, a weema wop, a weema wop, a weema wop!


First cup!


Copyright 2021/Ben Bensen III

 






Monday, March 1, 2021

"Weekend Trash Troopers!"

Trash Trooper...

Many thanks to St. Tammany Parish's "Keep St.Tammany Beautiful", all the great folks at Giddy Up Folsom https://www.giddyupfolsom.com/, David Campbell, and Little River Bluffs for presenting the opportunity to clean up the country side yesterday.

Jose and I teamed up to cruise and cleanup Hwy.#40 South from Gene's Tire Center all the way up to the Donut Stop. (I was tempted by the fragrance of apple fritters, but I was strong! I had a job to do!)
Jose and I started small with cigarette filters but quickly went into the heavier stuff. Although some of it was paper, the majority of what I picked up was plastic... Plastic bottles, bags and containers. So sad.
I'm not sure any environment can continue handling plastic!
Jose found a gold mine inside a roadside storm drain. That kept him busy for awhile while I went sifting through the shrubbery around the local bank. Talk about an identity theft motherload of bank and ATM receipts, it sure was there and available amongst the Gatorade, Pepsi and Sprite debris. Also, someone had to pixilate himself to check on his balance. Fifths of vodka, Jack and Scotch, were extricated from the thorny shrubs along the drive-in. I didn't take me long to learn how to enter the bushes with the tongs closed in order to avoid the briar patches.
Heading south it didn't take me and Jose long to drop off the first bags and start anew. There's was plenty of time to think.
Attempting to have faith in my fellow man, I wondered how many people actually just throw trash out of their car windows. One of the big culprits is truck beds. Somehow, folks seem to think trash thats thrown there won't go anywhere. But, then, there's those like the small pickup I found in the Main's parking lot with two half drunken sodas just discarded outside the passenger side door. Makes little sense when the grocery store has two plastic containers for trash as your approach the door.
Besides being careless and inconsiderate of others, those actions indirectly steal a part of one's own soul... piece by piece.
I picked up a Slim Jim wrapper and it immediately took me back to a discussion I had with my son. For a while, I'd take Brian to college in Hammond on Monday mornings. He was having a nutritious start of the week gnawing at a Slim Jim.
When he finished it, he opened the window and threw the wrapper out of it...
"What was that?" I asked.
"What!" he replied.
"Since when have we started to trash the highways, man?"
"I'm sorry, he said. You wanna turn back and I'll pick it up?"
"No Brian." I want you to remember how you not only disrespect nature, but everyone living in it." I want you to THINK about it how you got to this point."
"Telling me that you're sorry means very little to me, man!"
"You've never ever done that in SoCal and you know what you'd get if you did... Right?"
"So why do that here in Louisiana, man!"
"Besides, it ain't about the punishment, Brian... It's about one's personal integrity. Like trust, once you lose it, it becomes harder and harder to get it back and to love oneself."
"A hundred ground balls, Brian... One hundred ground balls, man!"
"I know. I wasn't thinking... I'm sorry!"
Silence reigned the rest of the ride to school.
Hanging around after about two hours on the road adding to a second bag, I was glad the weather was conducive to such an event.
Standing in the hamburger line, one guy mentioned the small amount of surgical gloves and masks. I said that I was surprised to not find any condoms. As we all chuckled about it, one guy yells from back of the line...
"I found one... just one!

Copyright 2021/Ben Bensen III

Sunday, February 28, 2021

"You Know, I Usually Charge Large Fees For The Use Of This Face!"

 

Larry preferred his badass look...

Good Thursday Morning, all bodies.

Over the past year or so, there's a rather elderly and verbose man who, sits by himself with his iPhone and a cup of coffee. At times, when there doesn't seem to be many folks his age to converse with, he comes to sit across the coffee table from me at GiddyUp.
His name is Larry. He's 77 years old and when he softly speaks one can notice that he has a slight lisp. I believe he may be missing his upper teeth but that surely doesn't impede his gregariousness.
Larry has spent quite some time in the Dakotas which is where he started collecting cowboy hats, but he was actually born in Madisonville in what is now the police station. The building which was many things over time from a bank, and a barroom to a hotel to a hospital, of sorts, was built in 1906.
"I don't know why I was born there. I suppose my mother didn't have enough time to get to a regular hospital," he smiled and said.
I had surreptitiously attempted to sketch him from time to time, but just the other day I caught him adjusting cargo in the bed of his truck. So, I asked him if I could take a picture to sketch him by. I didn't mention my many attempts.
"Sure... what'chu want it for?"
"No particular reason, man. I like your hats," I said.
That set off a fifteen minute discussion about his younger days in the Dakotas. And then...
"You know my momma had a restaurant right there across from the..." He referenced a place that I was not familiar with, but played along.
... "She wanted me to take over the business, but the thought of getting up at 4:30 every morning to make biscuits was something I did not want to do!"
"Of course, he continued, I took a job with this oil company and had to get up at 3:30 every morning to get to work. I did that for thirty-five years!"
"Go figure!"
After taking two pics to draw from and heading for the car, he asks, "Am I gonna get to see this portrait?"
He seemed to prefer the "badass" pose I shot of him, and if he wants to keep it when I finish the drawing, I will give it to him. But actually, the one sketch I did of him a while back, though not a great likeness of him, does better capture his personality.
"You know, I usually charge large fees for the use of this face," he chuckled.
First cup!

Copyright 2021/ Ben Bensen III


Monday, February 8, 2021

"Just Checkin' On Ya!"

Thumbs Up!

 Good "aftermath" Monday Morning, y'all.

Congrats to Tom Terrific and gang... no sour grapes!

Well, I didn't think I left that late for a meeting at Oshcner's yesterday, but I mustah. In order to get out of the house and for believing that I could still make it on time, I decided to forego the phone call until I got on the road.

Well, that was a big mistake because I never got a red stop light to pull out the iPhone to make a call. I don't like using the phone on the road anyway, but by the time I got halfway on the Causeway, I was already late.

So, I pulled over into one of the turnarounds to find a Causeway cruiser sitting over on the far side of the turnaround. I guess the patrolman in the car noticed me fumbling around my briefcase rather nervously. I was looking for the phone number I was sure I entered into the iPhone directory, but could not find.

He started up the patrol car and drove over to my driver's side window. Frustrated and feeling a bit perturbed, I was in no mood to appease or assuage a cop. But, without saying a word or even rolling down the window to speak, he just signaled a thumbs up sign with a questioning smile.

With a sigh I responded without rolling down my window to flash the "O.K." sign. He nodded in affirmation and returned to his original parking spot to continue monitoring traffic flow going in the opposite direction.

To protect and serve... I like it.

Copyright 2021/Ben Bensen III

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

"Passing A Good Covid Time Sketching!"

Sketching Away the Boredom...

 Spending a bit more time than I expected here at Honda of Covington. 100,000 mile service on Tee’s Honda Fit. It’s the longest two hour stint I can ever remember.

Glad I brought my sketchbook. With a styrofoam cup of coffee, a Covid mask, and a Pilot Razor Point pen, I decided to sketch a $40,000.00 Civic Type R.

Really? A spiff it up, version of the ubiquitous Honda Civic!

I lost track of time except for the timely visit of, what looked like, a car mechanic in a full white jumpsuit. Every time he'd drop by, I had added some more lines to the piece, and every time he dropped by he'd half to compliment me on my progress.

"Damn, that looks great," he quipped once.

Later, he'd pass by to say, "I wish I could draw like that!" I'm lucky I know how to even use a pencil like that!"

Well naturally, the car took longer to finish than just two hours and after about two or three more visits to comment, he brought with him three other "mechanics?" to approve of my last few lines.

One guy asked me, "how long did it take you to do that?"

With a smile, I replied as I was being summoned to pick up my car and pay the bill, "Oh, about forty years!"

Copyright 2021/ Ben Bensen III