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Member since: Sun Feb 18, 2018, 11:32 AM
Number of posts: 6,851

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Saturday night, time for one of my free associations.... so let me tell you about Bob Slater.

There used to be a section in the Reader's Digest about people you met. I was going to write about Bob but never got around to do it.

Bob was in his late 40's when I met him. He was a practicing psychological consultant. No degree in counseling but it didn't matter. He was good at counseling. He was white and most of his clients were Black. He identified with black people and Blacks were the majority of his friends. And this is where it gets more interesting.

You see, he was somewheres around 5'3 and probably didn't weigh more than 110 pounds. He also had a severe case of spina bifida so he was nearly crippled.

He frequented Black bars in Newark (NJ). Everyone knew Bob and everyone liked Bob. On rare occasion, arguments would get heated, or were looking like they were going to lead to fights. There were times I heard about that someone would stop the argument and get Bob out of the bar and onto the sidewalk until the dispute was resolved. Then Bob would be escorted back in.

Why the fuss about Bob? One of his most interesting contributions was night camp. White kids got to go to day camp or sleep away camp. Bob started Night Camp for disadvantaged kids in Orange and East Orange. It began with basketball and a couple of checker sets and so forth. After a couple of months, he recruited people to volunteer to tutor dropouts or close to being dropouts. The goal was to get G.E.D.'s for some and keep others in school.

At Bob's 50th birthday party, there were several people who stood up and credited Bob with their getting college degrees.

Then there was the time he was mugged and put in hospital. Cops took a statement and Bob said he couldn't idescribe the person who mugged him at the Orange train station. In hospital, Bob sent word that he wanted his assailant brought to his hospital bed. When the kid was brought into Bob's room, Bob said he could point him out to the cops but what good would come of that. He made the kid promise to finish high school or the cops would be notified.

The kid finished high school. He didn't attend the above mentioned birthday party but he sent a letter by way of another attendee to be read at the party. The letter described what he did and Bob's response and thanked Bob.

Then Bob came down with terminal cancer. He didn't have relatives to attend to him at bedside but he had friends.... many friends. We divided the days into shifts of 3 hours each. 24 hours a day, day and night someone was at the room with him until he died. He was never alone.

The funeral parlor was packed to the point that people were on the sidewalk outside to wait to go in to say farewell.

I only knew Bob for four or five years but his memory remains with me.

Thirty years gone and I still miss him.

Thinking about my grandmother... gone in '57. September was the time of year for canning tomatoes.

he was of Irish and Italian ancestry (Guess, me too.)

She had a couple of acres in her back yard..... tomatoes, corn, some beans. September would see her tomatoes and bushels of tomatoes she bought and they would be lined up in the kitchen. They would be washed, heated and put through a calendar and then boiled with added oregano and basil.

The finished product would be put into Ball jar and stored for winter.

Then there was my grandfather. Born in Italy. He had a spaghetti machine. They are common now.

Sunday mornings, he would take out a large board. He would start with flour and water and then add eggs. After mixing with his hands, the dough would go through the machine and then placed on a rack to dry for a couple of hours.

The closest to the spaghetti he made is Mullers egg noodles.

Then, out would come a jar of tomato sauce to be heated up. Meatballs to follow.

After making the spaghetti, he would drive to Natale's bakery to pick up fresh Italian style bread.

Sundays ---- spaghetti heaven.

"Lie flat." What would my life have been like?

---- another of my Sunday night musings.

I guess it was in the N.Y. Times, an article about some young adult, somewhere in China. He was advising his peers not to enter the workforce. Instead, lie flat. (Stay home in bed.). It is now illegal to tell people in China to lie flat.... Seems if it catches on, it will ruin the Chinese economy which depends on people willing to work long hours for low wages.

So I got to thinking about my job. I've been retired for 16 years. House is paid for, Hyundai also. And there's some money left over at the end of the month. But was it all worth it? Looking back, what did I accomplish?

I wasn't too good at it. But at first, I used to care about the job... until I didn't. Then I just did it because I thought I needed money to be a part of society and do what everybody else is doing.

I used to spend time at work thinking about how much better my life would be, spending summers in fields, watching butterflies. Or fall, winter and springs, just hiking trails in the New Jersey hills. That's what I do now.

Some of the lower paid kids today are lying flat. A post today on D.U. tells about employees in a chain, Hot Topic, walked off their jobs for low pay. Good on them.

My granddaughter is lying flat. She is 23 and never held a job. Never earned a penny. Her parents support her. I worry about her. But maybe she worries about me.

Better than defunding the police.

Get rid of qualified immunity.

My two dumbass cousins.......

One has solved the Covid problem with Ivamectin.

Then yesterday, I'm on the phone with another one...

"I got two shots of Moderna but I'm not getting another one. I'm not letting the gub'mint tell me what to put in my body."

Me: "Then who will you let tell you what to put in your body?"

Her: " >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> crickets

Fraud, need advice.

Cousin re-applied for food (formerly stamps) card. She was told that she earned $12k at a business that is about an hour's drive from her apartment. She never worked there. The "business" Trinidad, L.L.P. is in an address at a residential house.

She was approved for the benefits but what should she do to protect her assets/credit and such?

She locked her credit report. Should she close her bank account and open a new one? File a police report?

Then the question, what benefit would someone get from using her data? I-9 immigration/Homeland Security form should have been filled out by this employer. She has an unusual name and surname. Unlikely there are two people with that same name.

My cousin, Jim died yesterday. I posted stories about him on D.U. Age 73.

The way he lived his life was the closest to Hunter S. Thompson than anyone I know. Drugs, not much into alcohol... and the wild craziness and love of life.

Whether it was camping in forests, road trips and so forth, he was there.

Who else do you know that during a road trip to Maine, on the 4th. of July, would take you on a detour to Marblehead to see the painting, "The Spirit of '76" as it is hanging on the wall in the Marblehead town hall?

And beautiful women were attracted to him. Damn, I was jealous. But he and his wife stayed together for 48 years. She was at his bedside when he passed.

He died of lung disease.... caused by 60 years of daily smoking of marijuana.

But the thing of it is, last week, he said he knew he was dying and his lifestyle was the cause of it. But he said he wouldn't change a bit of it.

Rock on, Jim. And I hope there's a couple of good buds waiting for you.

iPhone 11 ...... Kid set up an alarm that turns off incoming texts and phone calls. Then starts a

musical alarm at 8 a.m. every fuckin' morning.

Now she doesn't remember how she set it up to turn it off.

Step-daughter is a pediatric nurse practitioner, practicing in a red county.

August, mom came in with two elementary school tykes. She asks for mask medical exemptions -- one kid gets headaches from masking and the other has difficulty breathing.

"Well, if 'Suzie' has headaches, we better have a referral to a neurologist to find the cause of the headaches. If J'ohnny' is having difficulty breathing, I am writing a referral to a pulmonologist to make sure there are no serious problems. If the specialists indicate exemptions are warranted, I will write them."

So far, the specialists have not reported back to the pediatric office.

Wha'd'a make of all that?

How do I "do" a date? Years ago, when I was a 'ute, "Wanna go to a movie? club? Whatever?"

I'm goddam 79 years old. I like her and I have the feeling she likes me. I don't drink much. Supper, and then what? Its getting darker earlier so a walk in the park ain't gonna work.

What are some choices for asking her out for a date?

I've got my head tied up in a knot about the stuff I have been puzzling about over the past couple of weeks. Maybe better to just let the whole thing go -- forget about it.
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