The new menu

The menu at the diner had been revised. New management had taken over. The ribs were gone. There were more appetizers and burgers offered, and lots of chicken dishes.

I looked at the pictures that were next to each selection, and everything looked very appealing. I took my time deciding. I figured once I saw what the waitress was serving to the other people in the room, I could order what really looked good.

The table next to me ordered burgers, fries and onion rings. I sipped a glass of wine, and waited for the order to come out. The burgers were served on a gigantic role, with lettuce, tomato and onions. I couldn’t really see the burger. Immediately, that old TV commercial came to mind: Where’s the Beef? And the fries were heaped on the plate. They appeared to be very white. And plump. Plump and white? Hmmm. Sounds like someone I know. I like my fries lean and mean. And the onion rings were all stuck together in a heap. I wondered if they were loaded with crazy glue. Comparing those dishes to the pictures, I knew those photos must have been taken somewhere else.

Then another table ordered chicken. Apricot chicken, chicken stir fry and chicken parm. Same thing. The chicken looked scrawny. The apricot was thrown on the plate, and the stir fry had lots of rice, but very little chicken. I looked for feathers, to see if the damn things had been plucked. The parm was a mess of melted cheese that looked like the cheese had come from a jar. Gee Whiz, Cheese Whiz.

I am in trouble, I thought. I wonder if the appetizers would be the way to go. That’s when the waitress brought out the crab dip and the nachos. I think the dip was really a modified version of thousand island dressing and the nachos were loaded with beans and black olives. I don’t like beans and black olives, so if I ordered those and said, “Hold the beans and olives,” I would have a plate of dry tortilla chips.

I ordered another glass of wine. The waitress said, “Do you need more time?”

I said, “No, I think I will just have dessert. What do you have?”

“We have chocolate pudding, jello or ice cream. Only vanilla tonight.”

What a choice. No way would I want any of that.

I asked the waitress, “If you were going to order something for dinner, what would you have?”

She replied, “Well, to tell you the truth, I would stick with the wine.”

Since she was more sober than I was, at that point, I said, “Good idea. Bring me another glass.”

I grabbed my cell phone and ordered a pizza, and asked that it be delivered to me, at the diner. Amazingly, the pizza was delivered to me at my table. I noticed the people looking at me and my pizza, and they tried to order it from the waitress. I butted in, of course, and told them that I had called the Pizza Palace and had it delivered.

By the time I had finished eating, the Pizza Palace had delivered 9 more pizzas to the diner. The diner blackballed me after that night. I was no longer a welcome guest. Thank goodness for small favors.



Ghost Stories

“I see where American Idol is back. Let’s watch it, Minnie.”

“No. I am tired of it. I mean even Paula left. And now I hear Simon is leaving. It is the same old thing every year.”

“Come on. The first few weeks are pretty amusing. All those goofs who can’t sing a lick.”

“Nope. I want to do something more exciting than that.”

“Like what? What can we do here that is exciting?”

“Let’s tell ghost stories.”

“The only way to do that is to go outside and light a bonfire. Ghost stories are only scary out by a fire.”

“Well, what are you waiting for? Let’s go.”

Wolf and Minnie gathered firewood from the fire place and lit a bonfire in the back yard of the Autumn Hills Rest Home. It was 19 degrees and very windy. Somehow, the girls managed to get the fire roaring. They sat in lawn chairs, telling ghost stories.

“Here comes Frank. The nosy old geezer.”

“Hey, what the heck are you two doing? Everyone in the Home is looking out the window at you. Have you lost your minds or what?”

“No, Frank. We have not lost our minds. We are doing exactly what we want to do. So either grab a chair and join us or butt out, Buddy.”

“It is freezing out here. You are really whacked, both of you.”

“No, it is nice and toasty by the fire. And even if it wasn’t, we have decided to follow our dreams. You know, do what we want to do, before we go to the big house.”

“So, after this stint, what is your next dream?”

“We are getting tattoos tomorrow. That’s what.”

“What kind of tattoo?”

“Well, Minnie has decided to get a serpent with an apple tattooed on her butt, and I am getting a knuckle sandwich.”


“Ya, I am getting F R A N K tattooed on my knuckles.”

“Oh no you don’t. You better not. That is not funny, Wolf. Everyone will think you and I have something going. And you will spoil my image as a skirt chaser.”

“And after we get our tattoos, we are taking pole dancing lessons.”

“You two are ridiculous. Who would want to see two old tattooed bags dancing? I am going back in. And you know what? I am going to tell everyone what you two are up to.”

“Hey, Minnie, you shameless future pole dancer, don’t you just love it when people talk about us? Look at all them, staring out the window at us. I say, eat your hearts out, folks. The two crazy bitches are living their dreams.”



The whole country was in the deep freeze. But none more than the good folks at the Autumn Years Rest Home.

“Good afternoon, everyone. As the director of the Home, I regret to inform you that the furnace stopped working. Yes, I know, it is 12 degrees outside. Please go to your rooms, and dress as warmly as you possibly can. We expect to have the furnace repaired sometime later today.”

“Minnie? Can you believe this? I wonder if they forgot to pay the heating bill.”

“I think they are trying to freeze us out. Get rid of the dead weight.”

“Hey, wait a minute. If I might interject. I know a lot about furnaces and this one has blown a gasket.”

“Give us a break Gordon. You are thinking about a car, not a furnace.”

“No, I used to be in charge of the furnaces at Duke University, and then, of course, when my reputation got around, I was asked to supervise the furnaces at the White House.”

“Gordon, don’t give us your BS today. We are cold, and trying to keep warm.”

“No, wait, one day, it was below zero in DC, and the president and his family were shivering. They called me to investigate. And yes, I found the problem and fixed it immediately.”

“Wait a minute. Who was president then?”

“Oh I don’t really remember that. I was too involved in getting the furnace fixed.”

“So what was the problem?”

“They ran out of heating oil.”

“Keep talking Gordon. That smoke you’re blowing should warm us up in no time.”

“Hey here comes Mary Cat, with snuggies.”

“Come on everyone. I have 14 snuggies. All Christmas presents. Let’s put them on and huddle around one another and pretend we are at a football game.”

“Great idea. Turn on the tube. The Cowboys are playing the Eagles. Get the chips and dip, Minnie.”

“Wait a minute. The heat is back on. I can smell it.”

“That isn’t the furnace, you goof. It’s Gordon, with gas again.”

“Gordon, go check the furnace. You are ruining our tail gate party.”

“Tail gate? Funny you should mention that. I was driving down to Tampa one day and looked in my mirror and someone was tailgating me. And come to find out it was OJ Simpson.”

“Ya, and then what?”

“I stopped the car and asked him what his problem was. And you know what? The SOB said he was sorry, but was so busy looking for his wife’s killer, that he didn’t realize he was tailgating.”

“Ok Gordon. Whatever. We are trying to watch the game.”

“Game? Did you say game? Strange, but true…. When I was in Africa with Willie Nelson……”

“Minnie, now you know why I will never get married again.”


Are you awake?

It was late, on a Saturday night. The Home was quiet. Everyone had retired to bed. Until …..

Knock Knock.

“Now what? Who is it?”

“It’s me, Minnie. Wolf. Are you sleeping?”

“Not now, you goof. What are you up to now?”

“I heard a noise. It sounded like a gun shot. I don’t want to go alone to investigate. Want to check it out?”

“Not really. Go back to bed. Who cares if there is a noise? It isn’t bothering you or me.”

“Oh yes it is. I can’t sleep. Come on. Humor me.”

“Oh brother. Now I am awake. Wait. I will grab my robe.”

“OK. Quiet now. We don’t want to be conspicuous.”

“Where are we going, anyway? And what can we do about it?”

“Quiet. Let’s go outside and see what is going on.”

“Wolf, you are insane. There is nothing happening out here.”

“Well, I just wanted to be sure.”

“Do you have your key to get back in?”

“Uhmmm, no, do you?”

“You idiot. Now we are locked out.”

“Oh no. Let’s knock on George’s window. He will let us in.”

“He isn’t responding. Now what?”

“How about Frank? Throw a snow ball at his window.”

“Nope. Nothing. And it is freezing out here.”

“Who else will let us in at 2am? I am so sorry Minnie. I guess I screwed up.”

“Now what do we do? Here we are, out in the cold, in our pajamas, and all because you heard a noise. You know what Wolf? You are a complete idiot.”

“Wait. I have an idea. Let’s walk over to the service station. They have a phone. We could call the Home, and the answering service will get someone to let us in.”

“No. I am not walking a mile to a service station in my pajamas. You are out of your mind.”

“Ok, I have an idea. Let’s break in.”


“Let’s break the window and the alarm will go off and we can go to our rooms like nothing happened.”

On the news the following morning: A break in was detected at the Autumn Years Rest Home. The police responded to the alarm at 228am. One of the residents reported that he heard a noise, that sounded like a snowball thrown at his window at 2am. He reportedly said that 2 elderly women were roaming the grounds in their pajamas. The police have dismissed the case, as the 2 suspects are known to be loose cannons. The Home has refused to comment.


What’s for lunch?

They say truth is wilder than fiction. After today, I believe it.

My friend and co-worker, Carmella was at it again. Her refrigerator was shot, so she ordered a new one. She frantically cleaned out her old refrig, and had more left over food than she could handle.

First of all, there were the half used bottles of salad dressing. Not just a couple, but 14 of them. She decided to throw the unused contents down the hopper, and flushed them. Unfortunately, the oily ingredients were too much for her toilet. It plugged. She spent the day, cleaning out the rest of the refrig, transferring the food from one place to another, and alternated by plunging her toilet.

She was exhausted, but her new refrigerator was beautiful. She told me it was great to have ice in just a few minutes. She was so happy with her new appliance.

But the nagging problem of the plugged toilet continued to plague her. She finally had to call a plumber. She said the expenses of buying the refrigerator were now expanding to include plumbing costs. She could not imagine why salad dressing would not flush. The toilet was finally unclogged, and Carm was happy.

Or so she thought. Later in the day, the toilet stopped flushing. Her attempts to plunge just didn’t work. So she called her plumber once again. He got to work and pulled out two pork chops. Yes, pork chops, out of the toilet. He asked Carm, “How did these get in here?”

Carm pleaded the fifth. She didn’t know. Once the chops were removed, everything flushed again, and Carm handed over another $250.

I asked her, “How did they get in there?”

She replied, “I put them in there.”

I laughed, and said, “What the hell?”

“Yes, I was in such a tizzy, cleaning out the old refrigerator, that I flushed all kinds of stuff down there. I had to get rid of it.”

Can you imagine? Pork chops in the toilet? I laughed so hard. I couldn’t stop.

Later when I talked to her on the phone, I couldn’t resist:

“Hey Carm, what did you have for lunch? Pork chops?”


I know when dogs smile

Consider this: Your dog has to go outside. It is snowing and the wind is howling. He wants to go, he really does. You know this, because you have a bond with your dog. You know what he is thinking. He gives you the look that says, “Make it stop snowing and blowing.”

He stands at the door, and the heat escapes. You gently tell him, “It’s all right. Go ahead.” He doesn’t move. “OK then, I am closing the door. See?”

He goes to the back door. I guess he thinks it is summer at that door. You give it another try. Same thing, open door, heat escapes, dog won’t budge. His look says, “I want you to go out with me.”

“No way. I am not going out there.” He stares a hole through me. He whimpers. He finds his leash and carries it around in his mouth. He really wants to go out.

I say, “Ok, you win. Wait til I get my coat and gloves and hat.” He jumps around like a jack rabbit. His tail is wagging wildly. I tease him a little and say, “Wanna go for a walk?” He knows human talk.

I open the door and the howling wind takes my breath away. I can’t see. The snow is blinding me. I tell myself that it won’t take long. He really has to go.

He is sniffing and hopping around in the snow, and then sniffs some more. He sees something move. He chases it. It was a leaf. He is disappointed. I can tell. I know dog disappointment. He continues to sniff and jumps in the snow bank. He tunnels through the snow. You know what? That little goof is enjoying this!

I say, “Come on now. I am freezing. What the heck are you doing anyway?” He pretends he doesn’t hear me. I am shivering. It is brutal.

Just then the neighbor’s dog comes pouncing through the yard. He looks like the abominable snowman. Icicles are hanging from his sides. The two dogs take time to sniff one another. They romp through the snow. They have a show down, growling and barking at each other. They both smile. I recognize it when dogs smile.

I finally have had it with these 2. I say, “Ok, I am going in now. Bye.”
I walk inside, take off my coat and look outside. They are still hamming it up in the snow. I am so cold, that I make a cup of tea. I hear the dog at the door.

He races in and shakes his icy cold wet body all over me. Just when I was warming up, too. He jumps on my bed and rolls around like a wild idiot, attempting to dry off. And then he falls asleep.

I change into my robe and take a nap with him. 2 hours later, he wakes me up. He has the leash in his mouth. Guess what? He wants to go out. I can’t believe this dog. He loves to torture me.

I try to be very stern, “No. No. No.”

He gives me that look, the unconditional love look. I fall for it. “OK, wait til I get my coat, and hat.”


A slightly neurotic dog

I love dogs. Even the slightly neurotic ones. I had one like that. His name was Charles Barkley. No, he didn’t play basketball. He just barked a lot.

He hated kids. I remember my friend, Helen, who brought her grandson over to my house. Barkley chased the poor kid up on the couch, and kept barking at him, so that the kids was afraid to move. When they left, I remember the grandson telling Helen: “I don’t like that dog.” How could anyone not like Barkley?

Charlie hated it when I would go out, without him, that is. He knew when I was getting ready to leave, and would stare at me with those black eyes, pleading with me, to please take him with me. I would try to appease him, telling him that I would be back soon. And please, please, try to be a good boy.

He wasn’t. As soon as I would leave, the beast would pee. Anywhere. Just to spite me. One day, I sneaked back in to the house, and caught him with his leg up, on a rubber tree. I looked at him and said, “Hey you little bugger, what are you doing?” He continued to pee. And then skulked around, and went to his crate.

No one wanted to visit me. Not with the beast around. My sister in law lives in Virginia, and stopped by on her way to visit her mom. She was not aware of the Beast’s bad habits. We sat down at the dining room table for a cup of coffee, and Barkley bit her. On her leg. She said, “What the hell? What brought that on?”

I told her that Barkley must have thought her leg was a bone. She left in a huff.

I brought Charles to work many times. If I had to work late, I would pick him up and take him into the office with me. He loved it. He would run around the office and sniff all the chairs, and terrorize the cleaning people. I figured it was all harmless fun. Then one morning, I got a call from my co-worker. She said Barkley had left a “calling card” in the office, but not to worry, she had cleaned it up after the boss found it in his office.

Barkley loved to go camping. I had a very old camper, circa 1978. A real beaut. I would take Barkley with me to the campgrounds. He was in his glory. But heaven forbid if I tried to leave the camper without him. He would not put up with that. The two of us usually ended the day by the bonfire, Barkley in my arms, sound asleep, happy as a clam.

Sometimes, I had to leave Charlie alone. I mean, you can’t take a dog to bingo, can you? I came home one night, about 10 pm, and parked the car in the driveway. I noticed something moving. Was it a tail wagging? Barkley?? How did you get out?

He was out all right. He had opened the latch on the cat door, and clawed his way out of the basement. His tail was a mess. It looked like it had been caught in an electric fence, and he was chasing the neighbor’s cat.

I think Charlie should have been named Houdini. He was an escape artist, for sure. He would sneak out during the day, while I was working and visit the horse barn up the street. My neighbor would find him barking at the horses, and rolling around in their stalls. She thought I knew he was loose. I didn’t. And never knew it until she told me long after he had died.

I miss that goof. I really do. I loved the way he would snuggle up with me at night. I miss the way he would try to sing, when I did. And the way he protected me, especially from little kids.

Charles Barkley, a slightly neurotic dog. But the best dog in the world.


The new year’s resolution

Being the new year, it’s resolution time. I thought I would begin the year right, and only buy low fat food. At the local market, I made my first stop at the seafood counter.

“What do you have that is fresh?”

“Excuse me…… everything we have is fresh.”

“How can it be? We don’t live near an ocean. And who goes clamming in the winter? Are they previously frozen or what?”

“All our seafood is fresh.”

“What? Do you have a person who goes to Maine every day and brings back the lobster?”

“I said everything is fresh.”

“Yea, I guess so. Including you.”

“Did you want something or what?”

“Yes, I want whatever is fresh. What is the catch of the day?”


“Where did you catch that?”

“I didn’t. I just sell it.”

“Can you ask someone? Where’s the manager? I would like to know where you caught the catfish.”

“He says he doesn’t know. Did you want some?”

“No, I don’t like catfish. What else do you have, that’s fresh?”

“Walleye Pike.”

“Well, I got you there. There are no fresh water lakes that aren’t frozen over in January. Liar liar pants on fire.”

“We do have lobster tails.”

“Great. I will take 2 of those.”

“They are in the frozen section.”

“What do you not understand about my request? I said I want FRESH seafood.”

“Like I said, all our seafood is fresh, here at the counter. This fish has been sitting here since before Christmas, and has never been frozen. How much fresher can you get?”

“You know what? Just forget about it. To hell with the fish and this low fat crap. I am going to the frozen section.”

“The lobsters are on the right hand side.”

“Lobsters? No way sister, I have a date with Ben and Jerry.”


To Serve Man

The Sci Fi channel has a marathon of Twilight Zone episodes today. If you are a fan of this series you have your favorites. At the Home, we can’t wait for ours.

“Minnie? What’s your favorite?”

“I like the one with the guy who loves to read, and the world blows up, but he is left, alone, to read all his books, and then his glasses get broken.”

“Yeah, that was a good one. Don’t you think so Pat?”

“No way. That was cruel. You know how I love my books. I think that was just awful. I preferred the one where the weather got real warm and then changed to freezing cold.”

“What’s so special about that? Same thing happens here in Pennsylvania every year.”

“I love the one where Anthony puts everyone in the corn field.”

“Yeah, and everyone had to kiss his ass. And pretend they like cartoons on TV.”

“Kinda reminds me of you George. You and those Simpsons and that screwy Family Guy.”

“My favorite was the ugly woman, who had plastic surgery, and come to find out she was gorgeous, and the rest of the world was ugly.”

“I wonder if Michael Jackson ever watched that one?”

“Big. That was my favorite. Mickey Rooney. He wanted to be big.”

“I don’t blame him. He was a spooky little toad, most of his life.”

“Do you all remember the cook book?”

“Oh yes, To Serve Man. That was a winner.”

“Not really. I mean the alien’s voice was so familiar, that I could not focus on that show. Then when I watched 60 minutes, I knew it was Ted Coppell.”

“You idiot. It was Mike Wallace.”


“There is no such word as irregardless. It is regardless.”

“So? Why do you have to be such a know it all and correct me all the time?”

“Because you are a moron, at times.”

“ A moron, eh? Of all the nerve. Listen to this, head: My name is Talking Tina, and I’m gonna kill you.”


Chuckles the Clown

I missed the dropping of the ball again this year. I fell asleep at 9pm. Old age, I guess. But I did wake up at 2am. And decided to have some chocolate candy with sprinkles and watch TV. On the Biography channel, the Mary Tyler Moore show was featured. They said the funniest TV show ever was the one where Chuckles the clown died. I remember that show. Again, old age.

I forget how Chuckles died, but I have my own theories, based on more current events.

Obituary: Chuckles (Chucky) the Clown passed away in Washington DC this morning. It was reported that he was attempting to enter an inauguration party, dressed as Bill O’Reilly. The White House reports it acted in self defense against an act of terrorism.

Obituary: Mr Chucky (Chuckles) the Clown, dressed as a deer, was shot and killed today by a serial killer in Texas. The accused man is an unemployed ex vice president.

Death Notice: The frozen body of Chuckles the Clown was discovered today waiting in line for a free sandwich, at Chick Filet. It was noted that the temperature was below zero. Several other people in line had also frozen to death. A witness reportedly said, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”

Obit: Dressed as Tiger Woods, Chuckles the Clown was found dead in Sweden. He was allegedly clubbed to death.

Deceased: World renowned clown, Chuckles, dies in Detroit. No one seems to know why he was in Detroit. The Governor of Michigan was quoted as saying: “Hey, you come to Detroit, what do you expect?” Funeral arrangements are pending.

News release: Body of man in drag found: Police are attempting to discover the identify of a man dressed as Hillary Clinton. The husband of Mrs Clinton has been identified as the main person of interest.

Obituary: Charles, Chucky, Chuckles the clown blows up. The stupid jerk apparently borrowed a pair of underpants from some guy from Nigeria, and lit a match.