No Ice

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My refrigerator is ancient relic from pre historic times, but it works just fine. The icemaker, however, has been on the blink for quite some time now. Oh, it makes ice just fine: the water kicks on with a little whirring sound; the purr of the ice maker motor is heard, and the crash of ice cubes being dumped into the bin echoes in the freezer compartment.

Yes, it makes ice just fine, but it also leaks. Water runs down into the bin where the ice cubes are and freezes. Soon, instead of individual ice cubes, I have one large block of ice. I have become accustomed to not having any ice except maybe a few cubes that have not yet frozen together. It is annoying, but why have it fixed? How much longer can the old refrigerator last?

I have already been scoping out the new ones, the stainless steel models at over a thousand bucks, the phony stainless steel ones, and the black ones that match the dishwasher that I bought a few years ago. The prices make me dizzy.

I periodically remove the block of ice and put it into the sink to melt while the old icemaker tries to make new ice faster than the leak can freeze cubes together.

A person can only go without ice for so long. Oh, sure, I could buy ice or make it in ice trays, but I’ve been spoiled like the rest of the world. I want an icemaker! I finally become disgusted with the whole mess. “I’m getting that thing fixed regardless of how old the fridge is,” I decide. I check the yellow pages. “We fix all makes and models,” the ad says. So, I call. He will come tomorrow.

I need a new icemaker the repairman determines the next day. What a surprise. However, it seems that nothing can be fixed in one trip these days. He makes an appointment to come back next Monday. I won’t be here, but my daughter will — I believe.

When I get home from work on Monday, the repairman’s card is in the door. My daughter had car trouble, and wasn’t here when he came. No icemaker. I call and apologize and ask him to come back on Friday. He agrees. Friday comes and I wait and wait, but no repairman. “He is getting even with me for not being here when he came before,” I think to myself.

I call, but get no answer, so I leave a message and continue waiting. I wait until noon and call again. The line is busy. I wait another 10 minutes and call again. This time he answers. “Ah, ha! I’ve got him now!”

“This is Ms. Moss,” I explain. “It is after noon and you said you would be here in the morning.”

“Oh, yeah, I forgot about you. I’ll be there in about 30 minutes.”

He forgot? What a professional! I am beginning to wonder if he even knows how to fix refrigerators.

An hour later he finally shows up at the door with a new icemaker. He tracks some kind of black stuff all over the kitchen floor and tells me about his problems with online banking while working. He finally finishes, charges me an arm and a leg, and leaves.

At least the icemaker is finally fixed. The refrigerator is still as ugly as ever, but it runs like new. I have more ice than I know what to do with. The ice bin is full and overflowing. I practically own a glacier.

I’ve been thinking that I could get the fridge sprayed black and it would look brand new. But, why bother? I don’t know how, but I know — I just know — that since I’ve spent all that money to fix the icemaker, the refrigerator is bound to conk out any day now.

Copyright 2006 Sheila Mos
Posted in Food, Humor, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

I’ve Been Bitten by “Crocs”

crocs

Now that warm weather is upon us, they have come out of winter hiding and are here again. I’m talking about that most ugly of ugly, hideous, mud-flap of a shoe called Crocs. If you don’t know what Crocs are, obviously you really need to get out more.

Crocs were the latest thing in shoe fashion fads, even more popular among those “in the know” than tennis shoes with wheels. Crocs are perfect for man, woman, child and beast. Well, maybe not beast — at least not yet — however, everyone else is wearing them. Crocs, in case you are among the unenlightened minority, are plastic shoes with holes in them.

Actually, Crocs are soft, rubbery clogs that mold to fit your foot when they become warm from being worn. They were originally designed as boating and outdoor shoes because they have non-slip bottoms. Their cheese-like holes allow for air circulation. A strap around the heel holds keeps them on or can be worn on top for flip-flopping.

After Crocs escaped from boat decks and slithered to dry land, they first became popular with those who must be on their feet a lot, like nurses. Gardeners and food workers were also early adopters. There are claims that the shoes are actually good for your feet due to their lightweight comfort. Doctors may not recommend them as orthopedic shoes, and if look down, they are probably wearing them.

Those old enough to remember are somewhat reminded of “earth shoes.” It is rumored that those were very comfortable and good for your back and feet. Naturally, being good for your feet caused them to go out of fashion in a short period of time in favor of something less comfortable with high heels, pointy toes, and a greater probability of foot deformity or injury.

I’ve had my Crocs for over a year now. I found them by accident one day and snapped up a pair. I’ve not taken them off since. They are like wearing marshmallows. I even wore them through the winter with socks. I thought I was an innovator of the latest reptilian fashion trend until I found out the shoes have been around since 2003.

Speaking of fashion, Crocs are available in a wide assortment of colors. Theoretically, you could have a pair to match every outfit. However, even though the colors are fashionable, nothing can be done to prevent Crocs from being ugly. Strangely, people who wear them don’t seem to care that they look like duck feet.

There are many cheap imitations, equally ugly but not genuine Crocs. Knockoffs are common in the fashion industry. But, if I’m going to be taken in by a fashion fad, I figure that it might as well be the real thing. Last weekend I found a store that has to be the granddaddy of all Croc stores. I’ve never seen so many Crocs outside of the Everglades. The shoes covered one entire wall, front to back, floor to ceiling. The shoes had to number in the hundreds, every size, every color, every style. Naturally, the Crocs shoe manufacturer couldn’t leave success alone and is now coming out with more styles: slides, thongs, and sandals. My newest addition to my personal reptile collection is a pair of sandals.

If you think all the hype about Crocs is a crock, you are probably right. This fad is probably an endangered species that will go the way of the dinosaur after a while, just like earth shoes, platform shoes, and go-go boots. Now that I think of it, I should probably go back to that store and get another pair or two while I still can.

If you’ll pardon the expression, see ya later, alligator.

Copyright 2007 Sheila Moss

The Croc Nation recently panicked due to multiple media reports that Crocs was closing down production — interpreted to mean that Crocs will no longer be making and selling shoes. On the contrary, they are only shifting production to third parties and production and marketing will continue.

So, what about you? Do you wear Crocs?

Posted in Fashion, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Old Sol Interview

sun

With the recent heat wave and all the concern about beating the heat, we decided to go to the source and interview the deity in charge of heat – Old Sol himself.

1. What sort of job do you have, Sol?

Well, I’m busy all the time. People depend on the sun to give warmth and light to the world. If it were not for me, there would not be any life on your planet, you know. I really do not get the credit I deserve, which is why I get a little hot once in a while to remind people who is in charge.

2. Do you try to keep a positive attitude?

Yes, but it gets a bit hard at times with people calling me lazy and saying all I do is roll around in space. They seem to think it’s easy being in charge of an entire solar system. Good thing I have such a sunny disposition.

3. Do you have any time for fun?

It isn’t like the good old days when the Greeks and Romans were around. Back then I had a lot of fun, driving across the sky with flaming horses in a golden chariot. I even had a day of the week named after me. These days people do not even treat me like royalty.

4. What do you think about humans?

They have a lot to learn about respect. Everyone from Egyptians to Aztecs worshiped me. Nowadays, the only ones who worship me are beach bunnies and a few jocks that think a suntan is good for them

5. Do you ever think you would like to give up?

No, I’ll stay on the job for the rest of eternity or until I’m burned out. People have created so much pollution and dust, though, that it is reflecting my rays. My job gets harder and harder. Don’t know what’s going to happen to the world if they don’t wise up.

6. Speaking of pollution, what about global warming?

It really isn’t my fault. I’m just doing what I’ve always done, but the world keeps getting hotter all the time, the polar ice caps are melting, and the ocean is rising. Unfortunately, there is no way for me to cut back my on my energy.

7. Do you like being the center of the universe?

It’s sort of nice having people depend on me. I wish they would use my solar energy more as a source of power. It’s clean and it’s free. It would also be nice if people could sweat it out, and quit complaining so much about my heat.

8. You must get a warm feeling from being needed?

Warm? I’m burning up! But, the sun shines on everyone, regardless of whether they appreciate it or not. They try to keep me away with suntan lotion, hats, umbrellas, all sorts of stuff. But, shade is only temporary.

9. Do you always make a good impression?

No, sometimes I cause blisters, or worse, on those too stupid to protect themselves from the intensity of my rays. I don’t do it on purpose, but a lot of people get burned trying to be my friend.

10. Do you ever feel a bit useless, or do you always try to shine?

Useless? I’ll tell you what’s useless. This stupid interview is what’s useless. You’re starting to give me a solar flare! Get out of my face and quit trying to eclipse me. I have important work to do and the entire universe is waiting.

Well, maybe we better call it a day — if you’ll pardon the expression. I’m starting to get a bit sunburned from being so close to you anyhow.

So… that’s it from your suntanned reporter, folks. Thanks for the interview, Old Sol. Good luck, and I’ll see you later out at the pool!

– 0 –

Copyright 2006 Sheila Moss
Posted in Environment, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Tips to Beat the Heat

SUNSET

Tip 1 – Be sure to drink plenty of water. – This one is logical; except I don’t have any bottled water and plain old water out of the faucet isn’t chic any more. Will I have to go to the store and buy a case of bottled water to put it in the fridge just to keep them happy?

Tip 2 – Do not drink beverages other than water, especially alcoholic beverages. – In spite of the fact that it seems cold, alcohol actually dehydrates you. Fortunately, I don’t like beer anyhow; however, I am rather fond of those lemon-berry slushes from the local drive-in.

Tip 3 – Dress light – You mean we are expected to “dress” as hot as it is? Shorts and T-shirts are practically a summer uniform. What do they think, that we will wear fur coats in July? Good grief! What happened to common sense?

Tip 4 – Wear a hat. – I don’t like hats but I can go to Wal-Mart and check out the selection. Hats do not flatter me, and most of the sun hats at Wal-Mart are red with purple trim. Obviously, whoever wrote these tips has never shopped at Wal-Mart.

Tip 5 – Take it easy. – That’s a “no brainer.” Now I actually have a valid reason to avoid doing yard work. Of course, the flowers will all die soon if I don’t water them. But the neighbors will die if I do yard work in my new red hat.

Tip 6 – Stay inside.– Why would anyone go outside in the heat if there were a choice? I suppose those who want to get tan might hang out in the sun, but I doubt that they are reading tips on beating the heat anyhow.

Tip 7 – Use air conditioning. – Good grief, of course, use air conditioning. There’s a heat wave going on. What idiot wrote this? And the hotter it gets,the more they crank up the air most places. I’ve started taking a sweater to the movies or restaurants. At work I nearly freeze to death most of the summer. At least we have a choice – heatstroke or hypothermia.

Tip 8 – Avoid strenuous exercise during the heat of the day. – Fortunately, I don’t work outside, so I don’t need to rearrange my schedule. I’m sorry for those who work on construction or other outside jobs, though, and wonder how understanding their foreman would be about this one. The idiot across the street, who mows his lawn during the mid-day sun, is another matter.

Tip 9 – Take showers or baths. – That’s a good idea, especially if you have been hot and sweaty and people are starting to avoid being downwind from you. Water is cooling. Swimming might be a good idea too if you happen to have access to a pool. Guess I’ll have to stick to sweating.

Tip 10 – Eat light – well that’s not a problem since I can’t eat much when it’s hot anyhow. Wish I had thought to pick up a watermelon while I was at the store, but I don’t want to go back now. It’s too hot to get out. – except to go out to eat, of course, since it’s too hot to cook.

So, that’s it on tips to beat the heat. I believe this heat is getting to me. Think I’ll just turn on the ceiling fan, and hope that water I put in the fridge is cool now.

Copyright 2006 Sheila Moss
Posted in Health, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Pigging Out

Barbecue

Pork barbecue, or “pulled pork,” as we call it, is a southern delicacy.
Recipes are closely guarded secrets. You might as well ask for a Texas chili
cook-off recipe, the ingredients of a gourmet coffee blend in Seattle, or
how to make that green stuff that your mother-in-law brings to family
reunions.

It is the way the pork is barbecued that gives it the delicious taste. You
can slow cook a pork loin roast in a crock-pot until it so tender that it
falls apart when pulled with a fork, but it won’t fool anyone except the
family dog. To make real pulled pork, it is necessary to slow roast pork
over an open pit using wood so that the hickory, wood-smoked taste is cooked
through the meat.

In spite of “Eat More Pork” advertising campaigns, you usually don’t find
pulled-pork except in the South. When I lived in St. Louis, barbecue always
had a heavy, sweet tomato-based sauce, probably due to the proximity of
Kansas City and the beef market. Beef seems to demand a heavy sauce.
Southern barbecue, on the other hand, is usually cooked without any sauce,
and a light sauce is added just before eating it on cornbread. Most places
have hot or mild sauce, just like they have sweet or un-sweet tea.

Around these parts, barbecue is often Memphis style, cooked using a dry rub.
Other types of recipes center around other regions of the South, such as a
famous vinegar-based sauce in the Carolinas, good only if you like vinegar
any place other than in coleslaw. Some restaurants make their own secret
sauce and may even sell it. Actually, there are a million different sauces
on the market and you will probably never find the perfect sauce — unless
you are a celebrity with a marketing pitch.

There are a now a lot of slick barbecue restaurants that are franchised
chains and some of them are actually trying to do it right. Often, however,
the small independent places are better than large chains. You can easily
spot a good barbecue place because the worse the restaurant looks, the
better the barbecue.

Pork is a traditional food in the south as pigs are easy to raise and also
because southerners like everything greasy, even vegetables. In some places,
such as Texas, beef is used instead of pork due to the abundance of cattle.
Most southerners do not consider beef “real” barbecue, though, regardless of
how much Texans brag.

If you really want to try a home recipe and have a smoker grill, you may be
able to come fairly close to the real thing. Buy a high quality pork roast.
Order a sauce off the net that sounds like what you want, or do the best you
can at the grocery store. Keep changing methods until you get the taste you
want — or want the taste you get — depending on what your patience will
allow.

As for me, I don’t even try to barbecue when so many others do it so well. I
just run down to the drive-thru and order up a pint to go, much to the
relief of the local fire department who voted my home most likely to burn
down from a cookout disaster.

Not everyone agrees on a definition for barbecue, even in the South, and
there are numerous variations. It is generally agreed that barbecue is
slow-cooked, while the rapid cooking of meat over open flame or charcoal is
considered grilling. That is, unless the slow cooking method is called
“smoking” and grilling is called “barbecuing,” just to keep things as
confusing as possible. The really strange thing about cooking pulled pork is
that nobody at all calls it frying, in spite of the fact that the pork is
saturated in its own lard.

There is not only no agreement on the definition of barbecue, there is not
even any agreement on the spelling. Some call it barbecue. Some call it
barbeque. Sometimes it’s Bar-B-Q, or even BBQ if they don’t have enough
letters to spell the entire word.

Regardless, the one thing everyone agrees on is that it’s not the spelling
that’s important anyhow, it’s the cooking and the eating.

Copyright 2006 Sheila Moss
Posted in Food, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

On Writing Humor

writing

Recently I’ve received a number of requests from high school students about how to write humor. I only seem to receive such fan mail when it is time for term papers. I’ve concluded that a high school teacher somewhere is way too busy grading papers or is insane, letting students write a humor columnist for advice.

Since no teenager would be caught dead reading the newspaper and “Dear Abby” gets too much mail anyhow, the kids probably Googled “humor columnist” and I had the good fortune, or misfortune, to come up first on the list, making me their automatic favorite. The other way to become a favorite with teenagers is to loan them your car keys.

The most important thing for teens to remember about writing is that you have to know how to read first. Fortunately, libraries are becoming obsolete and teens have computer labs where they can pretend to be doing research while actually browsing hot pictures of other teens on Instagram. If they find an interesting picture, they can then practice reading by browsing posts, which will say something like, “What R U doing? OMG, R U 2 bored 2?”

The second thing to remember is that to be a writer you have to write. While this seems obvious, it is amazing how many people don’t get it. Write every day about something, about anything. Don’t worry about whether you can write well; just write. Blogging has become popular on the net, so there are many places to practice not being able to write. Numerous examples of writers who can’t write can be found on websites like Blogger and WordPress.

The next thing is to learn how to spell and use punctuation. Nothing is as distracting to a reader as grammatical errors, poor spelling, and lack of punctuation. Fortunately for the average teen, word processing programs have an amazing feature called “spell check.” which has improved term paper grades by at least one letter and decreased the market value of red pencils. Unfortunately, computers are stupid when it comes to things like word play and literary devices; therefore, students will still be unable to sleep in class.

While we are on the topic, there is another wonderful feature on most word processing programs called a “thesaurus”. The thesaurus used to be a top-secret reference manual known only to creative writing teachers and the CIA, but now that they are on computers, everyone can use them. If you find yourself using the same adjectives over and over, such as, “I met a cool guy at a cool party,” try replacing some of your cool adjectives with other cool words.

Tone, unlike a ringtone, is not something to download on your cell phone. The language of a piece conveys the tone or attitude of the narrator. I am sometimes asked, “What makes you funny?” Or alternately, “What makes you think you are funny?” When you write frequently and creatively, you develop a style of your own that is an extension of your individual personality. You can read other writers for inspiration, or just drink beer, but don’t try to write just like someone else.

There are many literary devices that writers use. Humor writers often use “hyperbole” or exaggeration to create effect. Humor writers are given more “creative license” with truth than other journalists. Exaggerations in journalistic writing should always be obvious and not an attempt to fool the reader.

If the dog hasn’t eaten your English book, study similes, metaphors, personification and those other repugnant literary devices that your teacher probably went over the day you cut class. Conclusions are especially important in humor writing. An unexpected ending can be just like the punch line is to a comedian and leave your reader with a smile.

Keep your articles short and concise. Editors often believe that if you can’t say it in 650 words, it doesn’t need to be said. With that advice in mind, the rest of this article doesn’t need to be said.

Copyright 2006 Sheila Moss
Posted in Crafts/Hobbies, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

My Weed Garden

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Some days I love to garden. Other days, not so much. I had my backyard flower garden looking terrific, weeds under control, flowers blooming. My green thumb was vibrating with joy. But weeds, being weeds, are never truly under control. They grow again from invisible seeds dropped by the plant you thought you pulled up last week. Sigh. Another day of weed pulling is on the horizon.

From what I read in gardening articles, weeds are simply plants that are not growing where you want them. In my opinion, however, some flowering plants are always weeds. I have friends who disagree. They are kind-hearted and would not harm anything, even a dandelion. But weeds are plants great at math. They multiply, divide, and reproducing themselves quickly. They subtract nutrients from the soil and crowd out desirable plants that are not as prolific.

For example, Queen Ann’s Lace is a white, flowering weed that seems to grow from most anything, root, seed, or evil thought. I suppose they are attractive as they do resemble other desirable plants. But who in their right mind would encourage a devil flower that can choke the life out of a field or pasture and continue to look innocent while doing it. If I have an urge to see these flowers, I can find all I want in vacant lots and along roadsides. I doubt I could enjoy them, however, as I know them for the wolf in sheep’s clothing that they are — or should I say weed in a flower’s clothing?

Black Eyed Susans are almost as bad. They are yellow daisy-like and attractive, but can quickly take over a flower bed. They reseed themselves or grow from roots. Most prolific plants can reproduce in more than one way. Last year, I decided to pull up all my Susans and get rid of them. I later missed their sunny faces in my garden. I need not have worried. Two or three roots escaped eradication and they soon were taking over again. I seem to always grow flowers that are bullies.

Primrose is a pink wildflower that blooms early then turns into unattractive foliage. I do well, too well, with wildflowers. My zinnias, which are tame but supposedly easy to grow, were a massive crop failure. Last year I grew dozens, but this year I have one. Yes, ONE zinnia out of the many seeds that I planted.

In my sorrow, I decided to plant Morning Glories. They are climbing the fence right now, putting out foot-long sprouts overnight. I’m still waiting for the gorgeous blue flowers that were shown on the seed package. I have a feeling I am going to hate myself for planting them. Already they are going wild, and you know what happens after that.

The sunflowers that I thought were growing from spilled seed at the bird feeder turned out to be mystery weeds. They are six feet tall and have tiny yellow blooms instead of the giant flowers I expected. And to think, I’ve watered them and even staked up one that fell over. Now I have to pull them up.

A recent success is Four O’clock flowers. I picked up a package of tubers at the hardware store and they have grown like — well — weeds forming bush-like shrubs. They are covered with flowers of all colors, sometimes several colors on the same bush. Unfortunately, they only bloom in late evening. I read that they readily reseed themselves as well as growing from tubers. That figures.

So, if you know of an attractive “wildflower,” I’m taking suggestions. I need something to replace the mystery weeds that were pretending to be sunflowers. Maybe I could plant some coneflowers, field daisies, or wild lilies?

Oh, what the heck, I might as well plant Queen Ann’s Lace and forget it.

Copyright 2018 Sheila Moss
Posted in Humor, Plants/Gardening | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hometown

smyrna

Lowery Street, Smyrna

I always say that I’m from Nashville, home of the Titans, country music, Al Gore, and big hair. There’s a lot to write about when you’re from Nashville. However, I’m actually from a small satellite community called Smyrna, where column material is pretty thin.

The first problem is that no one can pronounce it. People always stumble over the name when reading it. “Smear-na?” They ask. “No, S-M-Y-R-N-A, Smur-na.” “It’s a town in the Bible,” I explain, hoping they have heard of the Bible. “Oh, I thought it was in Georgia,” they usually reply. I give up.

Smyrna is one of those small communities that people drive through as fast as possible on the way to someplace else. For a long time, this rush enabled Smyrna to become known far and wide for the radar speed traps that enriched the local economy. But the Interstate by-passed Smyrna and local cops were not allowed to trap cars on the Interstate, or so the story goes. So, the speed trap image sort of fizzled, but you still have to be careful about driving fast in Smyrna – just in case..

Smyrna has other ways of raising revenue now — taxes. Some years ago the Japanese automotive industry took a liking to the area and located a large plant in Smyrna. Strangers moved in and darn near took over the place. The economy boomed and the city and was never quite the same after that. The automobile plant pretty much dominates the city now. What’s good for Nissan USA is what’s good for Smyrna too.

Back in the good old days, Smyrna didn’t allow sinful influences like selling liquor in city limits. But the first thing you know, all those wicked new people voted it in. After that, it wasn’t long until the restaurant industry noticed how conveniently close to the Interstate Smyrna was, and chain restaurants with liquor licenses started springing up like mushrooms.

Grocery stores and banks moved away from the old business district in town to be closer to the Interstate, and other businesses followed. People didn’t have to drive all the way to Nashville to buy hardware or to have their prescription filled any more. Traffic on Sam Ridley Parkway became worse than Nashville during rush hour. And, whatever you do, don’t ever be near the plant when the shifts change unless you like stampedes.

These days, everywhere you look there is a bulldozer digging red clay to make room for new construction. We are looking at a new shopping center, a movie, a strip mall, another big hardware store, and, of course, more restaurants. I don’t know where everyone ate before we had all those restaurants.

But in spite of all the growth, there is still a small-town mentality. The major place to see and be seen, other than our new and improved First Baptist Church, is at the Wal-Mart Super Center. On Saturday, you can hardly find a parking spot.

There are attempts to bring back Smyrna’s old business district, a small area of tired storefronts with no place to park. The railroad tracks run through the center of town, but the trains haven’t stopped in years. They want to turn the old train depot into something, but nobody seems sure of exactly what. There is a new hospital, a YMCA and a Junior College. People like the new image and don’t seem to care much about history, especially history without convenient parking and history that will require more taxes to fund.

I first moved to Smyrna to get out of the city, to find a home with a big lot where we could have a garden. Homes were cheaper outside the city and you could get more for your money in Rutherford County. A lot of other people figured the same way making us one of the fastest growing counties in Tennessee. I might as well have stayed in Nashville.

So, I’m out of the closet now. If anyone asks what part of Nashville I’m from, it’s Smyrna, home of Nissan USA, a new industrial park, a Wal-Mart Super Store, red dirt, and a whole bunch of traffic.

It’s Smyrna, S-M-Y-R-N-A. I know, you’ve never heard of it. I think I’ll just continue to say I’m from Nashville and let it go at that.

Copyright 2006 Sheila Moss
Posted in Humor, Southern Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Incredible Growing Spaghetti

spaghettiI was out of town attending a festival in East Tennessee. Even though we made reservations months in advance, that was not soon enough. We ended up staying away from the center of activity in a tiny town in a middle-class motel. It was actually okay as all we needed was a bed for the night and a place to eat.

“Is there a good restaurant around here?” we inquired of the desk clerk. “There’s an Italian place right across the street, and…” He covered his mouth and whispered, “They serve alcohol.”

Apparently, a restaurant that serves alcohol is a rare commodity in a small East Tennessee town. We really were not looking for a night out on the town, if you could call it a town. We just wanted food. But we decided to give it a try.

The restaurant was less than impressive, to put it kindly, but the smell of yeasty bread baking drifted out of the kitchen and by now we were starving.

“Booth or table?”

“Oh, a booth would be nice.”

“You’ll have to wait while I clean one off then.”

Dozens of empty tables and we had to ask for a booth, we thought, as the host/waiter/cashier/busboy cleaned dishes off one conveniently located next to the kitchen door.

Finally, seated, we looked at the menu. I decided to play it safe and order spaghetti. Surely I couldn’t go wrong with spaghetti at an Italian restaurant.

Honey asked what kind of wine they had, as if this step-child of a truck stop had a wine cellar.

“We don’t have wine – just beer. You are welcome to bring your own, though.”

BYOB?

Unfortunately, we were already there. I guess they meant next time — as if there would be a next time. I sort of wondered if they served Pabst Blue Ribbon in a can, but I figured I’d better just go with iced tea and leave redneck tradition alone. Such jokes might not be appreciated in this environment.

While we waited for the food, we were treated to the conversation of the cooks in the kitchen as they yelled back and forth, discussed the trials and tribulations of a mutual friend, and banged dishes. I won’t repeat the conversation, as you would not want to hear it. Besides, Mary Lou is over her surgery and doing just fine now.

The salad arrived. It was crisp and the bread was crusty and hot. I was beginning to feel more optimistic.

Finally, the food arrived. It was a bowl of spaghetti large enough to feed an entire family. The waiter sat it in front of me. It had one of those round spaghetti spoons that you use to help wind spaghetti on your fork. I was impressed. At least they knew how to serve spaghetti.

The spaghetti was good and I ate and ate. But the more I ate, the more spaghetti there seemed to be. I ate and it grew. I ate more and it grew more. I ate more and more and it grew more and more. Finally, I could eat spaghetti no longer. I could not even miss what I had eaten. In fact, I’m certain there was more now than at the beginning.

I asked the waiter to take it away before it outgrew the dish. “It was really good,” I apologized. “I just can’t eat that much.”

“It soaks up the sauce,” he mumbled.

Honey’s fettuccini grew too, but he managed to stay ahead of it somehow.

He got out his American Express card to pay. I nudged him, and frowned. He got my drift, and put it away and got out cash.

We paid and escaped quickly before the spaghetti could grow out the kitchen door and follow us home.

I’m still afraid that I will pick up the paper one day and read about a small Italian restaurant somewhere in East Tennessee where the spaghetti grew so incredibly large that it pushed off the roof and nearly killed several customers.

Copyright 2006 Sheila Moss
Posted in Food, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Gambler

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Photo by dylan nolte on Unsplash

Someone won the lottery again, and again it wasn’t me. To win the lottery, you have to buy a ticket. And since I didn’t have a ticket, that’s probably a big part of why I didn’t win — that and the odds of losing vs. the odds of winning.

Some people play the lottery every week. “Somebody is going to win,” they say, “It might as well be me.” Yes, that way of thinking must be what keeps them coming back week after week after week in spite of losing.

I’ve never understood the allure of gambling. Obviously, I’m just not a risk taker. It just seems silly to continue making contributions to a vice on the outside chance that you might win. . . possibly. . . one day. . . maybe. . .

People who go to Vegas, Tunica, and Atlantic City love to gamble. “It’s just a sort of entertainment,” they say. “It’s fun to try to win!” They recommend setting aside the amount you can afford to lose and when you lose it all, it’s time to quit. You just chalk it up to entertainment expense and move on.

Then a guy who won the lottery is on TV. He tells about how he plays every week, but can’t believe that he actually won. He says he is going to pay off his debt, quit his job, buy a new house, and travel the world.

“Gee, I’d sure like to be able to do that!”

I don’t even know anyone that ever won any big money. I can’t even name drop or say I knew someone before the big windfall that changed his or her life forever. I can’t even hope their luck will rub off on me just by knowing them.

Some people have lucky numbers that they play every week. Of course, if the numbers are so lucky, why don’t they win? I suppose that choosing your own numbers is a way of having control over something you actually have no control over at all.

My friend says that a quick pick is just as good as choosing your own numbers. I don’t think so. But it really doesn’t matter who is right. We both lose. That’s the problem with gambling, the probability that you are going to lose.

I don’t even want to get into the moral dilemma of whether gambling is right or wrong as everyone has his or her own opinion about it. Those who are morally opposed usually say it isn’t so much the gambling itself, but the fact that it can take away necessities, become an addiction, and cause you to spend money that you don’t have. These are arguments that are pretty hard to disagree with.

Of course, those who like to gamble can always justify the lottery expenditure. Here in Tennessee they say it’s a contribution to education since all the lottery money in this state is spent to fund education. Soon we will have the best-educated children in the country at the rate we are going.

So, the lottery is 15 million this week. My friend says that means someone won. Some lucky person is a multi-millionaire and here I am without a dog in the race, dragging myself through the same old routine again.

Guess that’s the lure of it all: the hope, the chance, and the belief that someone has to be the next one to hit it lucky. Maybe I should “contribute to education” this week. Maybe I’ll buy a couple of lottery tickets. Who knows? This might be my week.

Let me see, what is my lucky number anyhow? If you don’t see this column next week, you’ll know what happened. I’m in Hawaii enjoying the good life. There’s only one thing standing in the way of me winning – the laws of probability.

On second thought, maybe I’ll wait until the jackpot gets bigger. If I’m going to throw my money away, I might as well wait for a super jackpot when my chances of losing are worth more.

Copyright 2006 Sheila Moss
Posted in Entertainment, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments