Fridays With Dale: Pea Patch Peer Pressure

Title with image of author

Dale Angel

 


Pea Patch Peer Pressure

By Dale Angel

 

I pick up the basket and sit it up on my shoulder and place my hand under the bottom. It topples off. Why am I standing in an auction barn trying to balance a pea hamper?

As a child of the Depression Generation, we did pick the crops, and peas were included. Were the rows really a quarter mile long?

Pea vines grew on elevated mounds so irrigation water could flow in the low places. Placing your knees into the soft dirt mound and pulling the crisp sweet smelling, squeaky vines over your lap, the mature peas fell uniformly. Holding the vines in one hand, you grabbed handful after handful and threw them in the bottom of the basket. In a few moves along the row, the basket filled up quickly. When it was full, you were ready to lift up the basket, sit it on your shoulder with your hand under the flat bottom to balance, and start for the scales.

Many children worked in the fields, and all eyes scanned who was going in full and who carried their load with precision and balance. It was a test against ourselves among the kids.

Pea patch peer pressure?

This stance didn’t allow you to bring up your arm over your head and adjust for balance. You walked swaying with and against your load. It was a personal triumph to make it all the way to get you basket weighed without adjusting. When you arrived, you then brought your arm over your head to help swing the full basket on to the scales. It must weigh thirty two pounds. Placed in your hand was a fifty cent piece and a dime and another hamper–either a short fat one, or a tall narrow-bottomed one that was wide at the top. Walking back to the line you had drawn in the dirt where you had left off, you set down the basket step across the rows and handed the coins to your mom, who dropped them in a sock with a tinkling sound as they found their place. It never occurred to us it was our money. Kneeling again, you scan who is going in balancing without adjusting, with eyes of approval, and begin to strip large sweet peas and continue your day dream…

The auction is about to start.

 

Dale Angel


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Fridays With Dale: It’s My Job

Title with image of author

Dale Angel

 


It’s My Job

By Dale Angel

 

‘Grandmother’ is a titled position. Their duties are varied and executive in nature. You can’t run a company without experts, and Grandmothers are…especially at such things as the irrelevancy of what matters.

Think how deprived you’d be without parental re-enforcements, or as the case may be, undermining the house rules. If youths are to be individuals, they have not been educated unless the Grandmother has…re-evaluated situations…asking old outdated questions like “Who’s going to pay the freight?”

She is at liberty to ask questions no one else will touch, and when it comes across as ‘personal’, it can with confidence be laid to the dotty old grandmother who has not learned to text. What does she know?

Only, the blood lines during your life time all the family secrets and situations no one else will go near, like if it was a power struggle to wash the graffiti off the walls at three, why at fifteen it’s called ‘art’, and it’s ok to mark up your body with it?

Then, there’s the sweet question—do you believe that? It’s a snow job. This is where reverse challenging is often useful to weak kneed parents to help them cope with that infectious disease common to most youths…hearing loss. Parents need comforting and reassurance it will return in a few years….Reminding them… theirs did.

How privileged to have a Grand Dame in the family. As a practicing Grandmother, it’s my job to undermine and dismantle some present day errors, like if I’m paying, I get to dictate and say “No, I don’t buy sweetened sodas. You may have milk or juice.”  If the princesses and princes have no concept of what no means, the whining follows with threatening intent. These darlings are skilled negotiators… I yield… and offer choices …’’ lake water, spring water, mountain water, or…. river or stream water?…. the most popular.

 By the time we have gained Professional Status, this power diminishes. The texting thing does damage and out date ones credibility.

 Like all CEO’s… Part of the perks is, I get the credit for all successes and none of the mess’s left behind for the next in line for this job. …  

Dale Angel


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Fridays With Dale: Precious Time

Title with image of author

Dale Angel

We ring in the New Year with a new story from Dale Angel.


Precious Time Eating Up Life

By Dale Angel

 

It was a small place in need of repairs, sitting near the road. Scattered across the yard were unfinished projects, small endeavors that could be done with little strength: landscaping out of control, small piles of leaves and twigs raked into mounds, little stacked rocks waiting to be the next project.

 

The empty porch furniture, comforting only to the neighbors cats. Few come to sit there. Propped up awnings and taped, improvised temporary make do’s…. years past remembering what needed to be fixed.

 

The family’s bloodlines could fill a village,

 

The news, of the many trips across distant parts of the earth, miles traveled to beaches and mountains and vacations and their lives busy to visit others.

 

Only a few miles away sat the little house ….unvisited.

 

Weak hands trying to open jars, frustrated tears. It makes happiness to be remembered   personal interest. Where are you?

 

Decades are passing in 24 hour increments. Precious time is eating up life spent in activities of detachment from the frail breaths, whether living under the bridge, or dark rooms with little recognition of their existence, maybe a perfunctory ‘hi’ from acquaintances.

 

A whole village size of humanity is asleep as invisible life breathes and feels the…isolation. A third and fourth generation grow, unacquainted with their heritage.

 

A world in turmoil are passing laws to force, under penalty, acts of kindness toward family throw-aways. Can love be legislated? We cry out at the cruelty of others we see on TV, yet practice it ourselves with self-soothing reasoning. “Someone else is there to care.”

 

The mornings come with acceptance. Today will be better. Maybe someone will bring the most expensive gift: time.

 

Waiting on a park bench, or someone waiting in the house along the road with repetition of old rusty mind sets and outdated information, that’s as new as yesterday to them, Will you tolerate it? Or…

 

Look in their eyes, you may see flames waiting to catch fire with experiences you never knew existed. There is a heart living nearby.


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Fridays With Dale: How to Make the Corporate Black List

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Dale Angel

Today’s story from Dale is a sequel to an earlier piece, Revenge Cup, which posted last July 24. Click on the link if you would like to reread that story.

How to Make the Corporate Black List

By Dale Angel

 

It’s such a big organization. Thirty-eight thousand franchises. I never expected a personal reply. I wrote to share a good experience built on a bad one.  The Beings there took issue with a little humor.

I offended them. They misread my short note and assumed I had used their coffee pot for thirty-eight years. (Their count; not mine)

An executive with a quick draw is going to right a wrong? I won’t use her name because she probably has enough problems trying to crack the glass ceiling.

They have a computer Web Site called ‘Feedback’. I used it. I wrote to commend the gracious morning manager, who serves me coffee in my revenge cup. He knows its history.

My falling from grace may have been when I used the name of my cup. I thanked them, told them I had used their cafe for many years as a local meeting place, and enjoyed their food products.

They fired back to stop my free coffee, which they assumed I had been getting for thirty-eight years. Free.  

Here’s what happened…

While de-cluttering, I found the cup in my cupboard where things multiply. I pulled it out to try for the promised free coffee. I remembered. Be careful about your memory. It can be off, and you certainly don’t want a misunderstanding with corporate. It was a couple of free cups of coffee, not thirty-eight years of free coffee! I used the incidents to write my story about my revenge cup.

I tried to defend the misinformation but found I can no longer use their advertised feedback site.  Have I been placed on terrorist list?   It took away the sunshine from my office meeting place and coffee lost its flavor.  The owner of the local establishment went to my defense.

After all, he poured my free coffee

I would recommend executives take off the corporate mantle and replace it with personal interest and humor. The first bad experience and this second one tells me to put away my pencil…but the thought of a pencil in my hand overcomes sensibleness.

The next sequel could be entitled ‘Old Woman with Cane Climbs Corporate Ladder and Gets on the Black List.’ Or ‘Terrorist List.’ That’s what Homeland Security calls it.

PS: A day later, my email sprouts a lovely note written in corporate-ese ‘sort of sorry,  admitting nothing’ form letter. And the executive referred to above owns the glass ceiling.

I may take up knitting.

 


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Fridays With Dale: Unresolved Issues

Title with image of author

Dale Angel

 

Unresolved Issues

By Dale Angel

 

 It says in my book that for one to be happy, and emotionally and mentally stable, you must tend to your unresolved issues. It advises me to empty out the clutter that is in the far corners of my person and bring them out in the open. It helps all to come to peace.

 

I’m therefore attending to my economic issues beginning with the sons and daughters who sit at my table.

 

I can branch out from there.

 

Papers were sent from school warning of an epidemic outbreak of ringworm of the scalp. There were irregular patches all over your head. The doctor was confused but prescribed the ringworm medicine, anyway. I followed the instructions with confidence. You got worse. The next day your eyebrows and neck area were hair free. Passing the bathroom door, I watched as you stood on a chair and used your father’s razor dragging it around your ears. I want my money back for the cost of the medicine.

 

And You. Remember the time when that beautiful young girl followed you back to our seats at the stadium? You were addled and useless the rest of the trip. The mailbox was weakened with letters all winter.  I gave you money for stamps.  I told you to be careful what you put in those letters. The next spring you came running across the football field and swung under the seats and said “She’s here! She’s here! She’s big as a Mack truck’’ I watched as she clung to her mother and cried “He’s a little twerp!” You were a late bloomer; nevertheless, that’s money you still owe me. It was your bad investment.

 

Probably You won’t remember the time the ironing board was propped against the closet and someone had hung their rain hat on it. You were paralyzed all night that someone was there. You finally got the courage to fling the radio at it. It was almost new.  I won’t charge interest, but you owe me. That radio is a collectors dream today.  Remember…there was also the time you got to sleep on the top bunk and look out at the stars after the roof fire.

 

I haven’t forgotten that bill for Your sister’s soda bottles you took in retaliation when she hid your drum sticks. The neighbor lady took the bottles in down payment for those drums from her kids. I had to pay off your debt to your sister to keep the peace. There was no peace after those drums moved in. The truth is, I admired her courage for hiding them. I’m not charging for the aspirins. This account is past due.

 

I didn’t take it personally when I bragged about my kids and my neighbor bet me she knew something I didn’t. The neighbors that moved gave you all those junky parts that you dragged home. I felt confident. I knew where my kids were, in the garage. When I heard that motor start and watched as those assorted parts went whizzing out of the driveway in the form of a motorcycle of sorts I almost fainted. I lost all my strength as you rolled down the street with your hair flying in the wind. I had to pay my bet. I never charged for the valium. I needed them for when it got worse and you traded up for a car. This bill is past due.

 

It comforted me to put up signs in the bathroom for You to read every day. My favorite was “Foolish Pleasure is tied up in the heart of a boy.’’ I didn’t pay attention to the bill for school shop class supplies. When that hydroplane came skimming across the lake and swung around with “Foolish Pleasure” written in large letters across the back, I dropped the knife. The cut needed stitches. Kindly remit some funds to my purse.

 

It still disturbs me how unfair it was of you all ganging up on me when I removed the tubes from the old television and hid them in the baking powder can so I could get some sleep. That television worked anyway. It took years to find out you had removed the tubes from the radio and used them. There’s compensation here somewhere; I just haven’t figured it out yet.

 

I feel empowered now that I have tended to some of my unresolved issues. I feel mentally and emotionally healthier. I may get to suffer empty nest syndrome, in this lifetime. These are some of my unresolves…

There’s more…

 


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