Does Santa Bring Dog Gifts?

dixie christmas
Dear Santa,

I know you are in business to deliver toys to kids, not dogs. However, maybe you do not deliver to dogs because they do not write and ask. I am sure with all the reindeer that you have, you must be an animal lover. So I thought I would let you know that I am here.

I am writing you to let you know that I have been a very good dog this year. I have not done much in the way of getting things done, but I am not a work dog. I am a pet. I take my job very seriously, and I do the best job possible of taking care of my humans need for unconditional love and affection.

I suppose you may be wondering why I was barking out the window the other day and woke my human mommy up. I saw the garbage truck outside. It was my duty to protect our turf from the garbage truck. Just because human mommy was grouchy about me waking her up early is not my fault. I’m sure you understand.

It’s true spend a lot of time sleeping in case you don’t know already, but I have to rest up so I will be ready when it is time for my daily walks. I always take my human daddy for a walk when he gets home from work. He has been cooped up in an office all day and it is the least I can do regardless of whether it is cold, hot, or raining. If it wasn’t for me hopping up and down, he would probably never get any exercise.

I am such a good dog that sometimes he lets me walk without my leash on. I always walk along right beside him, at least most of the time. I ran across the street once or twice when I saw my dog friend across the street. But the car stopped in plenty of time, so what’s the big deal? Besides, a dog has to have a social life.

Now, I am going to get down to the real purpose of my letter. You know why everyone writes to you, of course, to tell you what they want for Christmas. In a word: TREATS. I really like those rawhide-free chewing bones. Peanut butter is my favorite, but if you run out, I will take chicken.

My humans give me a treat once in a while, but I would like to have a stash of my own. I am not asking for anything else at all: no silly dog sweaters, no new collar, no leash (please, no leash) and no gift cards for vet visits. My needs are very simple — treats.

When you visit on Christmas, I promise not to bark at you or eat your cookies, not even the peanut butter ones. I will just give you some warm doggy kisses and sniff your bag for treats. Remember, peanut butter, available at pet stores everywhere.

Thanks for letting me make a picture with you the other day. I didn’t have a chance to tell you what I wanted for Christmas, so I had to be sure you know. The picture was my gift to my humans. Got to keep them happy, you know. That’s my job.

You should probably get a dog of your own to help you with deliveries. Sorry, I’m already taken, but there are many dogs at the local shelters looking for homes. Maybe you could drop by and give them a few treats also.

I will look forward to seeing you at Christmas. I don’t bite, so don’t worry about that. You can scratch me behind my ears if you want, or give me a belly rub. I will be sleeping under the Christmas tree dreaming about peanut butter bones. See you on Christmas Eve.

Dixie Dog

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The Green Stuff


Holidays are a time steeped in tradition and a time when families gather together and enjoy favorite foods. For some families the traditional food may be turkey with special stuffing, ham with a secret glaze, or pumpkin pie. Our family too has a special food that we enjoy only at holidays. It’s called “green stuff.”

Yes, you heard me right. I said “green stuff.” It surely must have had a finer name at some point in time, but it has been so long ago that the name has been lost to posterity and only the ingredients remain. Even the recipe has grown a bit vague, at least as far as exact amounts.

I can tell you what green stuff is made from, but only a taste can really do it justice. Mix a bag of melted marshmallows, two packages of cream cheese, two packages of dry green jello, a can of crushed pineapple, and a pint of whipped cream. Presuming you didn’t blow up the microwave melting the marshmallows, you have made green stuff!

Even though the name faded into oblivion, the green stuff continues to be served at Thanksgiving and Christmas year after year. There are other similar recipes, but this one is especially rich and sweet. Our family cannot be fooled by imitations. We eat a small amount of it along with the meal, just like cranberry sauce.

The tradition started with my mother-in-law who always used to make the dish on holidays. Of course, my husband wanted “green stuff” when we began to prepare our own holiday meals. And so the recipe was passed along with verbal instructions on how to prepare it so that it comes out light and fluffy — not that anyone could make it like she did.

At one time we made both “green stuff” and “pink stuff.” The pink stuff was exactly like green stuff except it was made with strawberry jello and nuts were added. Eventually, though, the green became such a favorite and the pink was so neglected that we dropped it completely so we didn’t have to feel guilty for not eating it.

We have begun to think that perhaps “green stuff ” is actually the correct name. People seem to instinctively call it that. Whenever I prepare the dish for guests or for a potluck dinner, someone will invariable ask, “What’s the green stuff?” Imagine their surprise when I reply, “That’s it. It’s called ‘green stuff’.”

For our family a holiday isn’t a holiday without it. Whenever my son calls to wrangle a dinner invitation for the holidays, he always asks, “Are you making the green stuff?” Naturally, I am. We can change almost any other part of the meal, but we have to have the green stuff.

The tradition has passed on to the next generation. My daughters always say no one can make it as good as I can. Of course, that is just a ploy because it is a pain to make. It seems impossible to prepare without making a sticky mess and dirtying up half the bowls in the kitchen.

This year when we planned the holiday menu, green stuff was not mentioned. I
thought maybe everyone was tired of it and we would just skip it this year. Then I received a panic call work from my daughter. “We forgot about the green stuff! What do I need to buy to make it?” And so it continues.

While I was up to my elbows wrestling melted marshmallow and whipping cream
in my kitchen the other day, my grandson walked into the kitchen. He looked at what I was doing and asked, “Hey, grandma, what’s the green stuff?”

Copyright 2003 Sheila Moss
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Toys for Grown Ups

christmasHere it is time for the holidays again, and we are deciding what to buy for our significant others. Manufactures, sensing our indecision and ability to be readily influenced, have honed their marketing proficiency and offer us a wide variety of senseless gift selections.

Number one on the “wish list” this year will be the iPhone 11 digital camera phone, another cell phone that takes pictures and video. No electronic gadget can possibly
be expected to do only one thing anymore. Conveniently becoming available only a few months before Christmas, these cell phones will undoubtedly be a hot seller, in spite of their high-end price tag.

If you couldn’t wait for Christmas or already have a digital camera phone that is “good enough,” there are many other ridiculous items to choose from. For instance, we have the two-wheel electric, personal transporter with a $5,000 price tag. You
can stand on it and zip along for up to 10 miles, saving your energy for more important tasks. No wonder we don’t get enough exercise. The only thing we exercise is the brain while thinking of new ways to get in worse physical shape than we are already.

If a personal transporter doesn’t float your boat, how about getting a hovering saucer to ride? It floats on air just above the ground and is guided by holding on to handle bars and shifting the weight of the body. It costs as much as a car and only works well over solid surfaces, such as concrete or asphalt, but if you are a “wanna be” space cadet, it’s as close to having a private flying saucer as you can get.

Still thinking? You are aware of the Global Positioning System for cars that uses
satellite signals for navigation and emergency assistance? Now you can get a GPS to keep up with your child. I’m not kidding! The child wears it like a wristwatch and can be located anywhere at any time. Of course, manufacturers don’t realize that once we get them out of the house, we would probably be better off not knowing.

Maybe you could use an air purification system for your home or a desktop model for the office. Not only does it filter the air; it has a special ultraviolet light to kill any germs, mold spores or bacteria in the air. We already disinfect and deodorize our homes, breath, and underarms to the point of absurdity; we now must disinfect the air we breathe.

Still leaning toward electronics, are we? How about a combination game deck, music player, wireless browser and cellular phone. We’ve previously established that nothing can do only one thing these days. Electronic gadgets are the ultimate multi-taskers, and most all of them incorporate some combination of new technologies. Funny how we suddenly have a “need” for these things, in spite of the fact that we have lived without them for all these years.

Remember the tiny wireless cameras that were marketed all over the Internet
whether we wanted one or not? Well, now they are selling a tiny gadget to detect hidden mini cameras. That figures! One manufactured need creates the market for another. And so it goes.

My favorite, most favorite, gift of all, however, is the voice-activated gadget
that can change TV channels and make television adjustments on voice commands. It has finally happened. We have grown too lazy to even push buttons on a remote control!

Next year’s hot item should be an electronic, multi-tasking, garbage can to throw away all the senseless and useless junk we bought this year.

Copyright 2003 Sheila Moss – All Rights Reserved
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Christmas Spirit

toystoreI was overcome with Christmas Spirit last weekend; and wouldn’t you just know that it would happen in a toy store? I went in to find a small toy of some kind for my granddaughter. I was think of buying some little outfits, but kids don’t want clothes for Christmas, they want toys.

I was having fun checking out all the toys. I had already gone through this once at the neighborhood discount store, and couldn’t find a thing that really grabbed my attention. But, I rounded a corner and there they were, a whole shelf of oversized stuffed dolls, dolls that didn’t talk, cry, wet or do anything except be a doll.

Zing, Christmas Spirit hit!

I fell in love with them! I grabbed one up and headed for the front of the store to check out. That’s what I intended to do, but then I saw that child-size set of pink luggage. Pink luggage with ballerina slippers on it! It would be perfect for her to pack doll clothes, take to dancing classes, or pack away whatever other secret items a little girl has to pack.

Zing, Christmas Spirit again!

Before I made it quite to the register, I remembered that I had intended to get blocks at the discount store, but couldn’t find any. How could they not have blocks? Every child needs blocks. I found Lego’s, Lincoln Logs, Tinker Toys, all the other building stuff, but where are the blocks? Then I found them.

Zing, Christmas Spirit! Only two boxes left. Better get them before they are
sold out.

I didn’t get a shopping basket when I came in because I was only buying one small
toy. The blocks were so heavy that I could barely carry them. I had to get help to get the all the stuff to the cash register. Okay, I know I’m spoiling her, but what are grandparents for anyhow if not to spoil grandchildren?

Now I’m just trying to figure out now how to explain to my son and daughter-in-law why I bought these toys when she already has too many. But they are really practical toys and durable. . . except for the plastic luggage, which was so cute!

Three toys aren’t really that many. Of course, when you add it to what her other grandparents bring and what Santa brings, it might seem like too many. She really is good, so Santa needs to reward her. That’s it! I’ll sneak the stuff in and pretend Santa left it. They will never know it was me. Maybe. And if they happen to figure it out, I’ll just say:

Zing, Christmas Spirit! I couldn’t help myself!

Then, there is also the matter of my other grandchildren.

Fortunately, Santa sent me a letter through Amazon telling me exactly which DVD was on my other granddaughter’s wish list. That Santa is a pretty smart fellow. A good thing I didn’t have to look around with that Christmas Spirit running wild in the toy store. No, the little outfit I got her wasn’t on the list. But, I was right there at the Children’s Shop anyhow, so I just had to take a quick look.

Zing, Christmas Spirit! It sure gets around.

Now I have only my grandson left and he has made out his own list, so that completes my children’s shopping for this year. Everyone should be required to spend time in a toy store at Christmas. . . just to get in the mood. Also, with enough people pushing and shoving, maybe the Christmas Spirit will be too busy to bother me.

Oh, heck, I enjoy giving gifts to the kids more than they enjoy receiving them. I might as well admit it.

Zing, Christmas spirit!

Copyright 2006 Sheila Moss
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Oh Christmas Tree

pink trees

It used to be that Christmas trees were real trees brought at a lot on the corner. I could hardly wait until we could drag out the boxes of shinny glass ornaments from the dime store to decorate it. It was covered with tinfoil tinsel and brought the piney smell of the forest inside.

The lights seldom worked. If one went out, the whole string did. We spent most of Christmas trying to find and replace the burned out bulbs. The tree usually had a crooked trunk, and just getting the thing to stand up in the flimsy tree stand was a challenge.

Then real trees fell from favor and were replaced by aluminum trees with blue ornaments and wheels of color that changed constantly. These silver rainbow trees were about the ultimate in beauty, we thought.

But artificial aluminum tackiness didn’t last long and plastic tackiness set in with trees that looked real, but were not. These trees had about a million limbs to assemble every year with directions that always became lost after the first time.
Monstrous plastic trees with miniature lights that would not melt the phony needles took over the living rooms of America. But now it seems that even a monster tree is not enough.

“I have three trees,” said a girlfriend at work, “One for the living room, one for the den, and one in the bedroom. It’s white with red, white and blue ornaments,” she said, “for election year.”

Theme trees are all the rage. Old fashioned trees with a hodge-podge of ornaments are out. Now trees must be color-coordinated, have a theme, and match the decor of the home. Sort of takes all the fun out of it when home decorators take over the tree. “We have seven trees,” said one of the managers. “My favorite is the Titan football  tree.” He then elaborated on the other tree themes as well.

The latest trend, though, is “pencil” trees, not because of the ornaments (thank goodness), but because the trees are tall and skinny to work in smaller size modern homes and apartments.

Trees now come not only in traditional green colors and white, but in blue, pink, purple, peppermint stripes and even rainbow. I can’t believe my eyes. “I used to have a pink tree in the bathroom,” said my spirit-filled friend at work. A tree in the bathroom? I don’t think so. Enough is enough! And one tree is enough for me.

I down-sized this year to a table-top tree. Yes, bah, humbug. No more monster tree. Sorry, but I’m tired of a Christmas jungle. Actually, it is rather cute, even if it is pre-lit. It has all my old wooden ornaments and is quaint, even if it is small. We decorate it every morning and the cat undecorates it every night. Maybe she prefers a catnip theme.

As far as I’ve heard, seven trees in one house is a record. That’s probably more than Walmart has in the Christmas department. With seven trees, Santa wouldn’t even know where to leave the presents.

Sometimes I miss the old days of live trees, but I don’t miss cleaning needles out of the carpet for months afterwards. I think I have two or three old trees somewhere in the attic. If I start now, I might be able to put them all up before Christmas. Want to help? I didn’t think so. Now I remember another reason why I have only one tree.

Copyright 2008 Sheila Moss


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Hello Santa

christmasmailbox.jpgDear Santa,

I’m just writing to say hello. In case you are wondering, I’ve been good, but I don’t want anything at all this year. I have everything that I want.

This should be a pretty easy year for you — at least at my house. I received a new computer from my honey, so you can scratch that off your list. Actually, you probably didn’t have it on your list, since I’ve asked you for one for the past five years without results.

My old computer finally died. The monitor quit working. What can you do without a monitor? The fact is that I was still using the computer I bought during the Y2K panic in 2000. That makes it a dinosaur in the electronic world. It’s a wonder it worked this long.

My grandson cannot think of anything he wants this year either. . . other than a puppy. Don’t you dare! I picked up some age appropriate toys and games for him at Wal-Mart, so just skip our house. I don’t want to have to worry about a gift that chews up the other gifts, wets on the rug, and tries to eat the glass ornaments off the Christmas tree.

We don’t want any of the hot new electronic toys either. Electronic toys have gotten out of hand. The toys do all the playing and the children just watch. Your elves really need to stop with all the upgraded technology and get back to basics. These teaching toys are starting to get on my last nerve. I don’t think most kids learn anything from intelligent toys except how to take the batteries out.

Don’t bother bringing any new clothes for my grandkids. When they open a package with clothes, the clothes are thrown straight up and they grab for the next package. Christmas is not a time to try to sneak in clothes or anything else practical that a child might actually need. Kids know the difference between needs and wants and needs are not on the list.

I bought one item online that was already becoming sold out at the stores. I was afraid that you might run out of it before Christmas, as usual. Hope you don’t mind me taking matters into my own hands, but I didn’t want anyone to think that Santa forgot them. It’s one more thing that you don’t have to worry about in case you are counting.

For the first time in recorded history, I finished my shopping early thanks to the Internet. I don’t do malls at Christmas any more, unless it is just to look at the decorations. Actually, most people these days would just as soon have a gift card instead of a gift. They don’t like getting stuff to return because it doesn’t fit or isn’t what they want. Standing in a return line after Christmas is the pits!

That should make it easy for you. You won’t even have to bother with coming down the chimney. Just drop the gift card in the mail.

I suppose you are having a rough time this year with all the toys that were made by Chinese elves, which have been recalled. The recall list seems to be longer than the wish list. I’ve now heard that there are a lot of counterfeit toys on the market. Next thing you know, they will be blaming all the toy problems on illegal immigrant elves.

Parents are almost afraid to buy toys anymore and are pretty selective about what their kids receive. I hope you will be more careful about the lead paint, magnets, and other things in the toys you bring.

My decorations are done and my tree is up. As I said, I don’t want anything this year. Why don’t you try thinking of yourself for a change? Maybe get some new red insulated underwear or some crossword puzzle books to pass the time after Christmas is over.

Merry Christmas and please say hello to Mrs. Claus and the reindeer.

Copyright Sheila Moss
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A Dog With No Name


We went to a breeder and picked her out even before she was old enough to come home. She was cute, I must admit, really cute.

Before you ask, she is a Shih Tzu, a small frou-frou dog from a breed originating in China.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a puppy at my house. I’m just not quite sure what to do with her — housebreaking, chewing, and all those horrible things that puppies do. But she is really cute.

“What’s her name?” everyone asks.

She doesn’t have a name yet. We need to think of a name.

“How about Molly?” I ask.

My honey doesn’t like that one, but he can’t think of anything else. The entire family gets in on the act, but nothing seems to fit.

I wasn’t really in favor of another dog. Honey wanted a dog, and I finally caved in. His brother has a Shih Tzu. I blame him for this.

The dog needed to go to the vet for a checkup, so the appointment was made under “female puppy”. We can’t call her “female puppy” forever. She needs a name.

I look on the internet: “Daisy, Lulu, Missy?” I suggest.

Lulu? “Like the cartoon?” he asks sarcastically.

“Daisy is cute. I like that.” But he shakes his head.

“Muffin, Buttons, Skittles, Dixie, Bubbles?”

We still can’t decide. Nothing seems right — or good enough.

We go to the pet store to get a bed and a collar. We tell the pet store lady about the new puppy and that she doesn’t yet have a name. “Just wait,” suggests the lady at the pet store. “She will name herself.”

I don’t think so. I don’t want her to end up with a handle like Trouble, Puddles, or Boo-Boo. No, we need to think of something.

“A lady at work says she gives her pets people names,” suggests honey. That’s the new trend. Pets are just like members of the family, so people name them just like a person.

“People names like Molly?” I ask?

“No, names like Sam, Alex, or Cooper,” he replies.

“Well, those are names for a boy dog. What about Bonnie?” But he doesn’t like that either.

To make it even worse, his brother’s dog has a really cute name — Harley. We have to think of something at least as cute as Harley.

What about a Jewish name? I suggest, even though she is Chinese. We looked on the internet for Hebrew dog names: Hannah, Delilah, Naomi, Rebecca, Mollie?

“Mollie is on the list,” I say.

But he doesn’t like the meaning, “bitter.”

“She’s a dog! What does it matter what it means?”

Everything else is too grand for a puppy or unpronounceable. We want something people can pronounce.

Days go by. Poor nameless puppy, I am beginning to think her name will be “The Dog.”

“I need to name her before going to the veterinarian,” says honey. “What do you want to name her?”

“What do ‘I’ want to name her?” I’ve been making suggestions for two weeks — now he wants ME to name her?

“She’s YOUR DOG!” You decide!

Finally, on the morning of the doctor appointment, he puts her in the pet carrier and gets ready to go.

“What’s her name?” I dare to ask.


We have a new dog at my house, a Shih Tzu. She is really, really cute. Just in case anybody wants to know, her name is Dixie.

Copyright 2008 Sheila Moss
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I Love a Parade

NOLA stompers

I love a parade! Who doesn’t?  There are homecoming parades, Thanksgiving parades, and parades for the Fourth of July. But the parade I participating in was a jazz band parade in New Orleans.

New Orleans is known as the “birthplace of jazz” and jazz has become a traditional music suitable for almost every occasion there. There are jazz bands at weddings, conventions, parties, celebrations of all kinds — even funeral processions.

The Storyville Stompers are a brass band that plays traditional New Orleans music, the kind that jazz and Dixieland are based on. They are known for their performances at Mardi Gras, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, The French Quarter Festival and numerous other national and international celebrations.

When they are around, everything else stops.

The band parades on foot through the streets of the city with a drum-major leading as only a New Orleans drum-major can, with a lively step and a waving parasol that has become a legendry part of the New Orleans tradition.

When bands paraded in early times, children often followed behind imitating the high-stepping, umbrella-twirling drum major. Soon a second line of paraders formed, a line following after the band and a tradition known as “second lining” was born.

Attendees at a conference I attended in New Orleans had to walk several blocks from the hotel to a meeting at the Aquarium. Why walk when you can dance? And so the conference planners hired a traditional jazz band and before we knew it, we were high stepping and second lining as if we had been doing it for a lifetime.

It is hard to stand still when the Stompers play. No one can avoid dancing along. When a band plays jazz New Orleans style, the only thing that matters is having a good time.

We prepared. We bought kazoos to play and umbrellas to twirl. Here we were, a group of writers, nerds, and old folks, dancing through the streets of a city like a bunch of giddy kids.

Traffic stopped for us, tourists stopped for us, cameras flashed, and we boogied on. In New Orleans they have grown accustomed to street performances and only smile, wave and applaud, wishing they could join in or maybe even dancing right along.

I twirled my umbrella and danced just like everyone else. After all, what good is life if you can’t have fun? We marched into the aquarium, past the fish and aquatic animals and into the room where our event was being held.

I don’t know if the creatures were accustomed to such festivities or not, but they seemed not to mind. It was hard to play my kazoo and twirl my umbrella at the same time. Maybe I’m one of those people who can’t walk and chew gum without forgetting to do one of them.

We all made it in spite of traffic, rough sidewalks, gawking tourists, flashing cameras, heat and humidity, and hysterical laughter. Now, if anyone should ever ask, I can say that I’ve been second lining in New Orleans .

I really doubt that it will ever come up, though. It never has before.

Life is short and the world is a small place. Someday I can say, “And then there was a time in New Orleans when I went second lining with the Storyville Stompers Brass Band.”

I’m sure when I tell about it, the grandkids will simply say, ‘We’ve heard that story before, grandma. Tell us another one.”

Copyright 2008 Sheila Moss
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Beowulf Was Here

BeowulfOnce again I received a reminder that I’m not as young as I used to be. This time it’s bursitis. It’s pitiful when you get so old that all you have to talk about is your aches and pains. So, I tried to ignore it.  Mind over matter — if I don’t acknowledge it, maybe it will go away.

Unfortunately, this ache was in my right shoulder and I’m right-handed. It was starting to affect my computer arm. As much time as I spend clicking a computer mouse, it was starting to get down-right aggravating.

You can only ignore pain for so long. My mind over matter theory was melting quickly. I tried warm showers, long soaks in the tub, ice packs, and the old stand-by favorite, menthol rubs. Have you tried those new stick-on patches with icy-hot menthol built in? As good as they are, it was obvious that I needed something more than a stick-on patch.

“I feel like the monster in Beowulf!” I told my honey. Most people have studied the ancient epic poem called Beowulf, probably in a high school literature. To refresh your memory, Beowulf was the young hero of the story. To make a long classic short, Beowulf saved the mead (beer) hall when he killed a beast named Grendel by pulling it’s arm out of the socket. [Maybe that was how arm wrestling was invented?]

Regardless, it was time for me to see a doctor.  I couldn’t wait for an appointment by now. I was in too much pain. I considered an emergency room, but I was rather embarrassed to go to an ER for something that had had been hurting for two weeks. Why do we do things like this?

I went to the local urgent care clinic, sometimes called a “doc-in-the-box.”  Doc was sympatric and gave me a shot of cortisone and prescription for muscle relaxers.

Ah, sweet relief!

I quickly forgot that I was as ancient as the Beowulf epic and went right back to my regular routine. As you have probably guessed, as soon as the cortisone shot wore off, my pain came back. By this time the bursitis was a raging monster, threaten to devour my entire arm.

“Down beast!”

I’d better go to an orthopedic doctor. But I couldn’t wait. I had let it get out of control again. So, it was back to the old urgent care clinic. I knew the routine by now. But this time the doctor was a different one, a female. She was not as understanding.

“You’ve been here for this before?” she asked. I nodded in the affirmative. Old grouch, I thought. “You need to see your primary care doctor,” she said.

The doctor is telling me to see a doctor? What is she? Anyhow, she did give me another short of cortisone.  Funny thing about cortisone, it can makes things hurt much worse before it starts feeling better. Now I know why Grendel died of a displaced arm. I thought I was going to die too.

I finally called my primary doctor and made an appointment. Dr. Grouch at the clinic mentioned that I might need physical therapy. But, my arm is starting to feel much better today. I don’t know why I’m going to the doctor Monday when I feel fine on drugs.

As I said, it’s pitiful when you get so old you have nothing to talk about but your aches and pains. If my arm comes out of the socket, though, I won’t be able to type; so I figured I’d better get my column written while I still can.

If there is no column next week, you will know I have died of Beowulf syndrome.

Copyright 2008 Sheila Moss


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Hot Wings from Hell


“How about some hot wings from the new carry-out place?” my honey asked.

“I don’t remember a hot wings carry-out place. What’s the name of it?”

“Wing City or something like that… I can’t remember.”

“Okay, sounds good — as long as they are not too hot.”

I checked with my daughter.

Yes, she wanted some hot wings too — as long as they were not too hot.

We had a bad experience previously with wings from the pizza place. Somehow they got the hot sauce mixed up with the mild sauce. That little fiasco turned me against hot wings for a while. I don’t mind spicy food, but food so hot you can’t eat it is another matter.

We finally decided on bone vs. boneless, mild vs. hot, and regular Buffalo wings vs. other varieties. We were not sure what they had, but Honey was off to the new wing place to give it a try.

The food smelled delicious when he returned and the sticker on the box said MILD. I made sure of that. We were ready to chomp down.

I bit into the first wing. Something was wrong. “My mouth! My mouth! They are too hot!”

“But it says ‘mild’!”

Flames were shooting out of my mouth and I couldn’t reply. If this was mild I could not imagine hot. No celery to cool down with, nothing, I thought, as I fanned my flaming tongue with my hand.

I must be a fluke — I’ll try a different one. But it was hotter than the first. I tried to chew with my teeth and not let the food touch my tongue. Tears rolled from my eyes as molten lava filled my mouth. I quenched the inferno with half a diet coke while steam spewed from my nostrils.

I was going to kill my honey. He better prepare to die.

“Are yours too hot?” I asked my honey.

“Mine are the ‘medium’ flavor,” he said munching happily.

They couldn’t be any hotter. The man has no taste buds. His tongue must be made of asbestos. These wings were so hot the box was charred. These hot wings were from hell.

My daughter, who, also had the “mild” wings agreed.

Maybe if I wash off some of the sauce, I thought. I held one under the faucet and then tried one more time.

My mouth exploded like I had eaten a hand grenade. As rockets flared and fireworks lit the kitchen ceiling, I wiped the sweat from my face and visualized my death by cremation.

There was no use. I could not eat these wings. It could not possibly be that a different place had also mixed up the sauces? I couldn’t even throw them away in the trash can. They needed to go to the toxic waste dump with other hazardous materials.

I staggered into the kitchen for an ice cube to cool my blistered tongue and promised God that I would never eat another hot wing from hell as long as I live, regardless of how mild they are supposed to be.

Some people are flame-eaters and some are not.

Copyright 2008 Sheila Moss


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