Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Thump!

"What's your name?" I asked my new neighbor as we shoveled snow from our respective sidewalks.
He replied, "Ernest J. Pegram," dressed in a pair of think overalls, wool hat and gloves.
"Okay. My name is Charles."
"Good to meet you. I have problems with my back, sometimes. This snow is heavy. Want me to finish shoveling the snow for you - for a small fee?"
After a quick thought, I replied, "No, I think I can mange it. Thanks anyway."

Later that morning, after I had shoveled the driveway, front porch and steps and part of the sidewalk; I returned indoors to fix myself a glass of Jim Beam bourbon - to warm my bones from the harsh winter storm - of course. The ringing of the door bell interrupted my private time with my favorite drink and television show. Peeping out of the window, I noticed Ernest J. Pegram standing on my front porch still dressed in overalls with a wool cap and gloves. I opened the front door with glass in hand and gave him a warm greeting.

"Hey! I noticed that you didn't finish shoveling the snow from the sidewalk. I can still do it for a small fee so I can buy some food," Ernest J. Pegram offered.
Now, standing on the porch and feeling my pant pockets with my free hand and sipping my bourbon with the other hand, I retrieved a few bills and handed them to my next door neighbor. I said, "Here, take this and don't worry about the rest of the sidewalk. The sun will melt it."

Turning to enter the house, I suddenly heard a loud, "Thump!" Shocked, I noticed that  Ernest J. Pegram had fallen off of my front porch - face down into a foot of snow - with shovel in hand. I tried not to laugh.

"Oops! Are you okay?" I asked, taking another gulp of bourbon.
Bringing himself to his knees and then to his boot covered feet, my neighbor replied, "Yeah, I'm okay, Charles."
"This is the first time someone has fallen off of my front porch," I offered.

So, Ernest J. Pegram stumbled to his house never to be seen again until months later. Rising early one Saturday morning, I opened the living room draperies for the day and saw several cars parked in front of my house. I said aloud, "I haven't seen this many cars in front of the house since Daddy died." Moments later, Ernest J. Pegram was escorted to one of the unmarked police cars with head hung low.

"I wonder what happened?" I asked myself. "He may have tried to press charges against me and the cops came and found drugs in his house - or he didn't pay his child support," I mumbled toward the picture window. Well anyway....

Until next week. Keep praising His name.
Much love,
Sir Charles

P.S. I now have a photo blog at http://www.ccl3.blogspot.com. Check it out and let me know your thoughts. And, as always - my books are available at www.xlibris.com.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

It Must Be Planting Season

 I usually have some things that I like to do on Saturday mornings. After I wake up and eat a light breakfast, I leave home for a strength conditioning workout at the American Family Fitness Center. Then, I travel around the corner for iced coffee at Starbucks. The barista's usually fix my coffee when they see me walking across the parking lot. Sometimes, I can hear them yell, "It's a grande iced Charles!" - much to my amusement. After drinking my a "grande iced Charles" and reading the local newspaper; I mentally make a grocery list as my most important errand comes to mind. The liquor store. Some people call it the "licka sto."

Sometimes, things can hinder you from accomplishing your tasks. Personally, it's always a funeral processional on an early Saturday afternoon. While traveling to the liquor store, I began to wonder if everyone had died on the same day and if their survivors had decided to hold the funeral service on Saturday. However, I guess it is a popular day for weddings and funerals. "Every Saturday, there is a funeral. It must be planting season," I said aloud.

Over the next few Saturdays, I repeated my weekly routine complete with waiting patiently as all of the cars creeped passed me at the traffic light or stop sign. There are at least two funeral processionals that interrupt my trip to the "licka sto" each week - well almost.

One early Saturday afternoon after experiencing a long and draining week at work and ready to finish my final errand for the day; a 75 car processional interrupted my travel route - yet again. So, as the old saying goes, "If you can't beat them join them." Trying to think on my feet, I decided to turn on my vehicle headlights; turned off the noisy radio; reached for my handkerchief to wipe my fake tears; and then I eased behind the last car in the processional.

It was refreshing and exhilarating. I had the experience of running all of the traffic lights (somewhat legally) until I reached my final destination. I hadn't been in a funeral processional since Daddy died months ago. Plus, a bottle of Jim Beam bourbon was waiting for me in the far left corner of the "licka sto."

Now, I make sure my headlights are in good working order, and I always keep a handkerchief in the front seat - just in case. As I told my Facebook friends, I may purchase two funeral flags and a yellow flashing light for my vehicle. I will just use them on Saturday afternoons - of course.

Until next week, much love and keep praising His name,
Sir Charles

(My novels and ebooks can be found at http://www.xlibris.com/)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

"I'm finished!"

(Disclaimer: The following is a true story. The names have been changed to protect the innocent and the guilty. The first time this story was told to me; I giggled all day long. I hope you do as well.)



"I'm finished!" Liv's six-year-old daughter, Angelica, yelled as she turned off the shower.
"No, you are not! You just turned on the shower two seconds ago! You can't be finished! Turn that water back on and wash your hind parts, girl!" Liv retorted.
Hearing her cell phone ring on the downstairs coffee table, Liv traveled down the steps and grunted as she studied the caller ID.
Sighing, Liv said, "Hello, Gloria."
"Do you know what your sister-in-law, Althea, just did to me? Huh?" Gloria shouted.
"Lower your voice. No, I don't," replied Liv.
"She called the police on me!"
Hating herself for asking the question, "For what?" Liv asked.
"Stealing her cheap jewelry. The police detective just left my house and asked if I had stolen her diamond cocktail ring. He said that Althea thought I went to her house to steal from her. I told him that I was over Althea's to help her clean that nasty ol' house of hers. I then told him to go back to her house and look at her left ring finger. That ring was on her finger when I left her house."
Trying to contain her laughter, Liv asked, "Then what happened?"
"The police went back to her house; looked at Althea's finger and asked her what was on it. That ditsy broad said, 'Oh, I meant to call and tell you that I found it.' I get so tired of her sometimes," Gloria stated. "She's been a dingbat since she was five-years-old. I wish Mom and Dad had brought home another baby, instead," she continued.

Yelling from the upstairs shower, Angelica asked, "Ma, am I finished, yet?"
"No!" Liv, yelled in returned. "I need a few minutes to myself," she mumbled.

Ending her conversation with her husband's sister, Liv reflected on one of Althea Mavis Brooks' escapades.

"I'm filing a class action lawsuit, and I should have my claim money within a few days," Althea told the car salesman, Steve Luckett.
"Well, Mrs. Brooks, why don't you drive this 2012 Cadillac XTS home. Keep it and then bring us the money after you get your claim," Steve offered.

A week later, the claim money still had not arrived. Althea was totally oblivious to calling the car salesman, and she had been driving the luxury vehicle to church, on out-of-town trips, to the doctor's office; the grocery store; to breakfast, lunch and dinner and to the movies. So, Steve decided to take the initiative.

"Mrs. Brooks, how are you enjoying the car?"
"Oh, I just love it. The check still hasn't arrived, yet. It should be here on tomorrow."
"Okay, just come on in and let's settle everything then."
"Will do," Althea replied.

Realizing that it's time to check the mail, Althea opened the front door; waved at her neighbors and slid her hand into the mailbox. Retrieving the single piece of mail, Althea studied the small envelope; ripped it opened at the perforations and noticed that her check had finally arrived. She rushed to the phone to redial Steve Luckett.

"Hello, Mr. Luckett. This is Althea Mavis Brooks, and my check has arrived!"
"Oh, that's great! What time can I expect to see you?" Steve replied.
"Well, there is just one thing. My class action lawsuit check is in the amount of $6.48. So, what I'm willing to do is to pay you $25.00 per month from my retirement check until the car is paid for. That is all I can afford."
"What I suggest is that you bring that 2012 Cadillac back to the dealership before I call the cops on you," Steve offered.

Liv thought aloud, "I guess Althea Mavis Brooks will have to continue driving her 1992 Buick." Her thoughts and laughter was interrupted by, "Ma! I'm really finished - this time! I'm turning into a prune!"

Now, that really is a true story. Althea Mavis Brooks has a few other escapades under her sleeve. Next week, I may share those in a post or some interesting quips on Virginia's recent earthquake and hurricane. Make sure you notice the new buttons at the bottom of this page and the graphic at the top of the page. I'm trying to get high-tech.


Much love until next week and keep praising His name!
Sir Charles

(My novels and ebooks are available on http://www.xlibris.com/ - Charles Carroll Lee)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Jello and Fried Fish with Eyes

Thinking back on my previous post, "This is good eating!" and the toast concoction Daddy used to make me eat on Saturday mornings; I quickly thought of my maternal and paternal grandmothers. They were both interesting church ladies who seem to have some sort of fondness for making me eat their latest masterpiece at their kitchen tables. On hindsight, perhaps I should have reported them to social services for some type of child endangerment or traumatizing a young child with food. This post probably has more of a "Wow" or "Ewww" factor than humor.

Mother Gertrude

Looking in my grandmother's refrigerator, I asked, "What's this pink stuff in this container, Ma Gertrude?"
"Oh, that's brains. I can scramble them up with some eggs. Want some?" she asked.
"Good God no!" I thought to myself. I continued, "No, thank you."
"Want some grape jello? It should be ready," she offered.
"Yeah, that would be great," I replied with glee.

Taking a seat at her kitchen table, Mother Gertrude placed two spoonfuls of jello in a bowl and placed it in front of me. Excited, I reached for the spoon that was beside the bowl and took aim and the shaky dessert in front of me. My grandmother quickly interrupted me. "Wait a minute. I got something else for you," she said.

Appearing out of no where, my mother's mother stood over me with a pot and a heavy spoon. She then drowned my jello with what seemed like a ton of a white, creamy sauce until the jello was buried deep within the bowl.

With eyes wide open and mouth agape, I stuttered, "What is this?"
"Custard. You like custard," Mother Gertrude replied.
"Like hell I do. I never had this crap before," I thought to myself. I continued, "No, I haven't."
"Well, eat it. It's good," she said, walking toward her bedroom to watch her stories.

Years had passed; and I was still sitting at her kitchen table. Actually, it was probably more like a few minutes. But, looking at a bowl of custard with small peaks of grape jello made my young life seem like it would last forever. So, the french poodle, Zsa Zsa, walked into the kitchen to check on me. I lifted the bowl from the table and placed it in front of her on the floor. The poodle looked at the bowl, then at me and returned to her hiding place.

Papa arrived moments later from the outdoors. I was sure my grandfather would help me. "I can't help you with this one," he said. My Aunt Ellen and Cousin Tommy both delivered the same response. Then, my teenage cousin, Tee Tee, arrived.

"Please, help me," I pleaded.
"Ugh, what's that?" she asked.
"Custard with jello. I don't want it," I replied.
"Let's dump it in the trash and cover it over," she offered.
"Really? That's all?" I asked.
"Yep."

Later, Mother Gertrude asked, "Did you enjoy the custard and jello?"
"I sure did!"

Crisis averted!

Mother Sadie

(Setting: Friday night dinner at her house)

Menu: Fried fish with the head and tail attached. Canned spaghetti. Hash browns and corn bread.

There is nothing more unsettling than trying to eat a piece of hot, fried fish while it is watching you.

Noticing that I wasn't interested in eating the fish, Daddy said, "This is good eating!"
"Not that again! This is worst than that toast stuff you made me eat last Saturday!" I thought to myself. "You really think so?" I finally asked.
"Yeah, it sure is. You don't want it?"
"Heck no! I'll suffer through this yukky canned spaghetti, first. Jesus, help me," I thought. "No, I'll eat the spaghetti. You want my fish?" I asked him.
"Give it here," Daddy commanded.

So, Daddy ate the fish along with the head and all that it contained - much to my amazement. Mother Sadie must have noticed the exchanged between her son and me and decided to fix fried chicken the following Friday. "Thank God!" I mumbled at her kitchen table. I'm sure she thought I was saying my grace.

Until next week...

Much love to each of you and keep praising His name,
Sir Charles

(My novels and ebooks are available on http://www.xlibris.com/ - Charles Carroll Lee)

It Will Last Forever - The Conclusion

Last week, I shared with you in my post entitled, "It Will Last Forever" some birthday gift ideas for my sister, Mrs. Dyson. After much thought, I decided to purchase a brand new Verizon android cell phone. I had imagined that this would put me in the running for the "Brother of the Year" award. However, I am Mrs. Dyson's only brother. So, I win by default.

Selecting a new cell phone for my sister was no easy task. The local Verizon store was extremely busy, and I didn't receive any help from any of the sales associates. Later that day, I called the 1-800 customer service number and asked the brazen sales associate about how to purchase a phone. She promptly informed me that I was not authorized to view her account - which I understood.

My next question was, "What is the best way to purchase a phone for her birthday?"
"You can purchase a Verizon gift card, and she can go to a Verizon store and purchase her own phone. That is only because you are not authorized to view her account, and I can't let you do that."
Agitated, I replied, "You told me that already. Do you think I'm a freaking idiot? Huh?"
"No, sir. Just get her a gift card....because I really cannot open her account to be viewed," the sales associate replied.
"If you say that one more time...I swear....I will....", I said, stopping mid-sentence. Continuing, "Thanks for nothing," I finally offered.
"Is there anything else I can do for you, sir?"
"Hell no!" I replied, pushing the "end call" button on the phone.

After all of that anguish, I purchased a Verizon gift card and presented it to Mrs. Dyson on this past Sunday, which was her birthday.

My sister took one look at the gift card with a note that read, "For a brand new cell phone"; placed both of her manicured hands on her cheeks and released a loud pitch wail as tears streamed down her face. If I didn't know any better; I would have thought that she had won the Miss America Pageant complete with a crown, sash, roses and cape along with $75,000.00 in scholarships, cash and prizes. I could almost hear Bert Parks singing, "Here She Is, Miss America...." Okay, she didn't do all that stuff. I just took a little creative license with her reaction to the present. Actually, Mrs. Dyson was very thankful, gracious and surprised.

As I type this post, Mrs. Dyson and my niece are selecting a new phone at the Verizon store. Mrs. Dyson mentioned that she likes my iPhone and is leaning toward getting one just like it.

My work is done and my weary mind is rested - until it's time to buy her a Christmas present.

Much love to each of you and keep praising His name,
Sir Charles

Peach/Apple Cobbler

As I promised last week, here is the recipe for Peach/Apple Cobbler. I have received lots of compliments on this recipe. It's really easy to fix. Just make sure you use the Lucky Leaf brand pie filling.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
3 or 4 cans of Lucky Leaf Peach and/or Apple Pie Filling
1-2 packages of Pillsbury rolled pie crust from the grocer's refrigerated section
Sugar
Cinnamon
Butter or margarine
Vanilla Extract
Allspice
Lemon juice

In a round, greased (Pam Cooking Spray) casserole dish, place half of the rolled pie crust on the bottom of the dish, poke all over with fork and bake until brown. (Make sure the entire dish is covered. You may need to use part of the other pie crust roll.) When done, rub some butter or margarine over crust.

Add peach and/or apple filling over top of cooked pie crust.

Generously sprinkle cinnamon, sugar, allspice and a capful of vanilla extract and lemon juice to the filling.

Stir with wooden spoon until well blended.

Add pats of butter or margarine on top of the filling.

Add the other pie crust (and part of the other rolled pie crust, if necessary) and cut about four slits with a  knife.

Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees (approximately 1/2 hour bottom shelf - 1/2 hour top shelf)

Rub butter or margarine over the crust and generously sprinkle with cinnamon and a little sugar when cooking time is almost complete.

Enjoy,
Sir Charles