Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Sometimes you hook a lunker...sometimes you're the bait

     "Adventure of a lifetime in the jungle," my husband read the travel brochure aloud as we planned a vacaction with our best friends at an all inclusive resort in Mexico.  
   Upon arrival, we signed up for an all day adventure with three historic stops. Our first stop in the ninety-eight degree heat, was a visit to the Mayan Ruins in Tulum high atop a mound overlooking the turquoise sea. That tour was akin to a religious experience for me. We were inspired as we perspired and listened to the native tour guide who sounded like a preacher backslapping congregants and prefacing every sentence with, "my friend."

If visiting the ruins was an epiphany for me, then our next stop, swimming in a cenote` felt like being baptized in holy water. Cenotes are a phenomena our guide informed us, natural fresh water wells considered to be gifts from the ancient Gods. The Yucatan Peninsula, the only area of Mexico where cenote`s exist, is composed of limestone rock which has eroded over time creating numerous caves and cenote`s as big as ponds. These natural wells were the  only potable water source for the early inhabitants, thus they were considered holy grounds. Holy or not, there was no way I was going to sacrifice my dignity and take the plunge off a cliff fifteen up. I did not join the line of people atop the ridge waiting to dive. I did dog paddle.

Our next stop was at a banana plantation where we swam in a blue lagoon that rivaled the one in the movie by the same name. I floated in the salt water, completely relaxed until my husband shouted, "Here I come!" I watched in horror as he and his buddy rescued a woman who had swum beyond the boundary and was being slammed against a wall of coral and tugged by the current out to sea. They encouraged her to kick her feet and SWIM! But they did most of the work. When they arrived on shore exhausted, she laughed and said, "I can't wait to tell my husband about my wonderful adventure." The guys were not the least bit amused. She didn't even thank them.

Our adventure continued the next day at a national park. We spent a handful of quarters in the gumball machines which dispensed a fistful of fish food. We tossed pellets to the turtles and to colorful tropical fish. When it was time for the snorkel trip, we were issued life vests. My friend and I wanted the orange heavy duty, I-don't-care-if-I-do-look-like-a-dork vests, while our husbands opted for the lightweight, barely-there life saving devices. We were handed snorkel masks and instructed to spit into and smear our saliva on the glass. Ewww! My nerves were on edge. Being on a small watercraft in the middle of the deep ocean wasn't my idea of fun and relaxation.
      Somewhere between spitting into our masks and practicing breathing through our snorkel tube, we lost sight of our husbands. When we finally saw them, they were at the dock being shuffled onto a boat with thirty other people. As we made our way to them, the captain slammed the loading gate and roared off with our guys on board. Despite our protests, the next boat captain assured us we would meet up with the other boat. My best friend and I plopped down on a wet seat, snugged our poufy vests and held on for dear life. I breathed a sigh of relief when I spotted the other boat up ahead, but passengers were all in the water, and we couldn't tell one persons' swim-suited hiney from the other. 
       We couldn't see our guys, but we saw a pipe fish and gave each other a thumbs up. When we saw the barracuda we kicked our flippers and beat a path back to the boat. We baked in the sun, crusting with brine, inventing fantastic adventure fables to tell our husbands.    
      Back on shore, our husband's jabbered at warp speed about their own excitement. My friend and I winked at one another and began our schpeel. "We were dumped, alone in the middle of the sea..."  Our make believe story didn't compare to their real adventure.
         "We swam away from the group, and in a flash we were surrounded by an entire school of fish," my husband reported.

        "Aww, that's nothing, we swam with a barracuda!" I bragged.
     "Yeah, well these fish kept getting closer and closer; we were eye to eye with them. They were as big as us. Tuna-sized. They nudged us. We swam like hell back to the boat."
      Back at the shower house, the guys discovered why the fish were nudging them. They were LIVE BAIT. Their pockets were stuffed with mushy fish food pellets."
A fishy story from the tuna-size guys, if you ask me.
Oh, how I am yearning for a beach.



Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Hugs to you, too

The weather in St. Louis (middle of US) has been so bizzare. Yesterday it was mid 70s and today we are under a tornado watch and expecting snow tomorrow. Unreal!

Hubby likes watching storms brew over the ocean. I like being inside when the lightning shatters the sky. Speaking of ocean, thanks Kim for sending me the FB message: My body may be here, but my mind is at the beach. SO TRUE!

I love it when I find a treasure on the beach as I'm walking in the sea foam. It's the same way when I latch on to the perfect word or phrase when my fingers are heating up the keyboard. I am so busy trying to keep up with blogs, Facebook, Twitter and the book I am co creating. PLUS teaching my little darlings.

I am not neglecting you, and I will get back to regularly blogging, soon. Hugs to all my readers. Thank you for standing by me during this busy time.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Huh-uh, not your mama's books

Click HERE to read the inside scoop on Publishing Syndicate's development and upcoming production schedule for Not You Mother's Books...On ( a variety of topics). These are anthologies with a dash of spice.

There are plenty of submission opportunities and calls for upcoming titles. Kudos to Ken and Dahlynn McKowen and the rest of the team who have worked diligently to release the first three books.

I am busy co creating Not Your Mother's Book...On Family. Permissions will be sent in the near future if your story has been selected for first round consideration. That is not a guarantee that your story will be published. The final selection is made by the publisher, and often times when stories are cut, it has little to do with your writing ability, and more to do with layout and other technicalities.

Will you please pass this information on to others who may be interested in submitting to the other titles in development?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Childhood can be so confusing

These are my babies, Jason, 39, and Tracey, 42. Hubby hates posed pictures; he prefers candid shots, but each Christmas I insist. We're really not snooty. Those noses are up in the air in an effort to hide double chins, and we were holding our breath trying to suck in our guts.

Gazing into the faces of my adult children in this picture takes me back to their early childhoods. I loved being a mommy. Jason had enough energy for a small army, and Tracey had a mouth that would outlast the Energizer Bunny, but they brought such joy to my life. That's not to say there weren't battles.

So often (like most adults) I reasoned on an adult level instead of simpling acknowledging their desires and feelings. I sent mixed messages, said one thing and did another which confused them. It is difficult to be consistent with daily routines and discipline. Discipline is not synonymous with punishment; discipline should be helpful and not harmful. Sometimes the consequences of a child's actions is the best teaching tool. I could go on and on about the things I have learned over the years that I know now and wish I had been able to apply then.

This evening at the grocery store I watched a sweet, calm little boy about four years old standing alongside his mom's grocery cart. His face lit up when she opened the ice cream freezer and peered inside. He said, "Oh boy! Are we getting ice cream?"

She closed the freezer door and said, "No, not today."

He walked ahead of her and I heard what he muttered: "There's another reason why I'm always confused."

I had to laugh. Not many preschoolers could sum it up so succinctly.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Hollywood Debut

I am not going to admit to anything, but I'm not going to deny it, because I realize those bubble cameras capture images in the public areas, but not the public restrooms. It may have been me, or it may have been my Hollywood stunt double (in case they rewind the film for viewing.)

It had been a long time since we'd been to Harrah's Casino, way out yonder, almost at the shrinking, river's edge. But when we received notice that along with a name change to Hollywood Casino, they were offering an evening buffet for $7.77 on Monday, we decided to take twenty recreational bucks a piece and take advantage of Hollywood before Hollywood took advantage of us.

"Better leave early," he-who-lies-about-how-much-he-spends said, exercising his pointer finger which depresses the thirty cent buttons on the so-called penny machines.

I was all for waiting another hour before leaving, because I knew after fifteen minutes, my twenty would be history and where to sit and wait would be a mystery. As it turned out, I sat at one machine for an hour and tripled my twenty, and you-know-who had his chin on his chest and his mouth salivating for dinner when he found me.

At 4:00 the buffet line started swelling like my bladder. The bathroom was waaaay down the hall and I knew I could hold it until we got upstairs to the restaurant/bathroom.

So, we joined the throng, and oh my, there are some colorful characters who wait in line for an hour for food. The babe in front of us had bleach blonde long hair, and she wore a fake fur coat, knee high boots and a thigh-high dress. I could hear her conversation as she spoke to the young man in front of her.

"I earn more out here in the hall than inside the casino." I leaned in to listen. "My husband also won a thousand out here playing the life-size Monopoly game. And my name was chosen as a winner of a thousand another time. Oh! Here he comes now."

This cute strut-his-stuff cowboy about thirty years old, walked towards us with his father. The old dude slipped under the velvet rope and snuggled up to the other $1,000 winner. The dude kept walking. When the $1,000 couple decided to sit down on a bench to the right of us, rather than stand for another twenty-five minutes, I nearly swallowed my tongue. This babe, with bright red painted Mick Jagger-like lips (Carol Channing for the older readers) was no babe. She was at least seventy. And when she sat down, she exposed a little more thigh than is needed for the younger guys' eyes. She was the talk of the line...until I had to go to the bathroom.

I KNOW absolutely for a fact that the ladies john has always been on the left side, and the mens room to the right. I clomped right in and wondered why there was a man standing at a URINAL???  Thank God he had his back to me. He cast a wary eye over his shoulder and I bolted back down that long hall, head down, to the food line and shifted foot-to-foot. Exercising, that's what I was doing. Yeah, exercising. Worked up a little blush/flush.

Now that I think about it, maybe it's Lumiere Casino where the ladies room is on the left and the mens room on the right. Oh gee whiz!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Do you smell that?

You know how aromas can transport you back to childhood? I'm not talking cookies from the oven or bacon sizzling in a pan. I'm talking non-food related smells that evoke early memories.

I loved the smell of my grandma's damp basement. It was not musty-smelling. It was more like fresh laundry. I can envision her cranking the handle of her wringer washing machine as she fed soapy clothes through the rollers and deposited them into a long-legged wash tub filled with clean rinse water. The clothing was sent back through the rollers again, placed in a woven wooden basket and hung on a clothes line with wooden clothespins. She held  clothespins in her fist and mouth. The cotton clothesline became so heavy, she used a seven foot wooden prop to raise the line so the clothes didn't drag the ground. My! We've come a long way since washboards, wringer washers and clothes props.

At five years old, I tagged along with my mom to the S.S. Kresgee or Woolworth's dime stores to purchase oil cloth. A rack held dozens of horizontal rolls of colorful, patterned material (cotton, canvas, duck or linen) treated with a coating of linseed oil to make it waterproof.  Oilcloth was a practical way to cover kitchen tables. Unlike the plastic-feeling, flannel-backed tablecloths of today, which are made of fabric and coated with poly-vinyl chloride, oil cloth was biodegradable.

I can still remember that distinct linseed oil aroma. Oh the excitement I felt in helping to decide on a new pattern or design, and then watching as the sales lady removed the  forty-eight inch wide roll of material from the rack, laid it on the counter and used her large scissor to cut off a yard or two. That smell lingered in our kitchen, the vibrant colors as exciting as a new box of crayons.

When you write a story, whether for publication or your own personal memoir, be sure to include aromas that transport your reader to a place and time. They don't have to be delightful smells, either. While some people like the smell of  gasoline, I can't stand it. I used to ride a public bus to school, and the exhaust fumes were headache inducing.

Care to share an aroma memory?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

His compassion cracked me up

My adult stepdaughter is a special education teacher. It takes a special person, believe me. She is so enthusiastic. Last year as a new grad, she was a paraprofessional or teacher's assistant. This year she has what she's always wanted, her own class of nine or ten students, first grade through upper elementary grades. She's a dedicated, wonderful, caring teacher who always goes the extra step for her students.

She was reading a story to the class. They were seated on the floor, each in his or her own space. Then, with each turn of the page, they inched closer and closer into her space until they were crowding her. I know that feeling and I can't take it either.

I tell my preschool students in a cartoonish silly voice, "You are too close to me, please scoooooooot back."

She told them in her normal voice, "I need you to scoot back." THEY TOOK ONE SCOOT
Still too close, she said, "I am feeling too closed in." ANOTHER SCOOT, but not enough.

Claustrophobia setting in, she wiped her brow and said, "I am feeling sick."

The kids scooted far enough back (who wants to be vomited on?).  One boy got up, presumably to get a tissue from the shelf behind her. He reached around her midsection and gave her the Heimlich Maneuver.

I can't stop laughing. This will be one of those teacher stories that she will share with her future grandchildren.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Poof...and I'm not talking my hair!

In the shower, on the beach, floating in a pool, words wash over me; ideas float in every drop. Some roll off, some disappear down the drain, some adhere. Water inspires me, and my creativity flows.

Once in a while, but not often, that happens when I am sleep. I woke up one time with a complete poem in my head and I went right to the computer and wrote it. Or I should say, it wrote itself.

This morning as I was waking, I had the perfect title in my head. I remember being in that half awake state a few times, dozing off and waking, clinging to that remarkable title, aware that I had no story or  poem idea, just a two word title that I absolutely KNEW was perfect.

It was like a whisper in my ear that these two words held my writing future. I was euphoric. I opened my eyes and poof! Couldn't even get it down on a pad of paper at the bedside.

I'm hoping those two words will resurface sometime today. Like all of the words I've known for half a century that occasionally escape me, and then, suddenly without warning, exit my mouth at the most inopportune times. I'd welcome that today.

Two lousy words. Frustrating. Did this ever happen to you?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Tab on the tab

At fifteen, I had the run of the neighborhood which consisted of one long, city, square block; actually it was more in the shape of a rectangle. Two blocks (one long and one short) were strictly residential with brick, mostly two and four family flats. The block behind ours was on a very busy main street. There were a few residences on that block, but also commercial properties: a post office, Hill Brothers shoe store (Two for Five, Man Alive!) and a bank on the corner with a large lot where kids played ball at night. There was a Hodge's Chili plant or warehouse on the short street at the top of our block. All I can remember is the creepy black water bugs skittering about on hot summer nights. Next to Hodges was a confectionary which sold everything imaginable. Pickle jars held giant sour pickles. The freezer case displayed my favorite, Cho-Chos, (chocolate push up ice cream). The giant Butterfingers and Mr. Goodbars in the candy case called my name. A shapely eight ounce green glass  bottle of Coke sufficed. I couldn't drink an entire bottle of the new sixteen ounce Tab, no matter how I tried. These are the things I craved and sneaked on the family "tab" which was paid each Friday. Every family ran a bill at the store. Not every kid was convincing enough to be able to purchase these items "on the bill" and get away with it.

This tiny little store also carried suntan shade (seams up the back) nylons that I wore with garter belts. They sold hair bows in every color which I clipped in my big-hair bangs or on the side of my hair. Such was the fashion statement in the mid-sixties.

I always liked to see what new trinket the store was selling. One day I walked in and they were displaying doll-sized sheer tights. I was way beyond playing with dolls, but I wondered why they had this ten inch pair displayed. Who would buy such a thing?

The store owner said, "You won't be buying nylons anymore. You'll want a pair of these. No more garter belts. These are one size fits all."

Then, she stretched those pantyhose thirty six inches long. It was an amazing sight to behold. Since then, panty hose have come in plastic eggs, boxes, bags and in every size, hue and control top constriction. But lately I have noticed how few women wear pantyhose with skirts or dresses. Bare legs in summer, I understand.

Hmmm, have pantyhose gone by the wayside?


Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Word Chaser  by Linda O'Connell

I pace when I am seated.
Suspended in mid-thought,
I stir syllables with my foot
as I write, delve, absorb, create.

I roam from page to page, blog to blog
seeking social media cerebral stimulation,
wandering back to the past, into the future,
before a minute has elapsed.

Kinetic energy bursts from my mind, my fingers; my pen.  
Intuition massages my temples, I am keenly aware of nuance.
Even when I am relaxed, my words race maniacally,
sometimes leaving me, a word  chaser, in the dust.
Are you a word weaver, a word chaser and wordsmith?  Are you grandiloguent?
Grandiloquent combines the word grand with the suffix -iloquent, which comes from the Latin -loqui, which means to speak. By definition then, it means speaking in a grand manner. I like discovering new words, but I prefer plain spoken writing. A few fifty-centers in a paragraph are okay, but don't make me decipher the whole story. What about you?


Saturday, January 12, 2013

In our own fog

Sometimes it's best to just stay home. Friday evening during the news, hubby woke me from a brief ten minute nap on the couch. "Why are you talking so softly?" I asked thinking he was pranking me as I sometimes do him when he asks if his hearing aide batteries are working. It wasn't him. I was surfacing through muddy sleep and even when he suggested dinner out, I didn't completely wake from my fog. As we drove to the fish restaurant he asked how my day was.

"Busy. I'm exhausted. I had visitors in class today. I'm just worn out." I closed my eyes to rest.

The restaurant was packed and we had to park a good distance away. You'd think a walk in the cold air would bring me to my senses. We frequent this place regularly. At the front of the building there's a side entrance door that opens into an enclosed vestibule, and then there's an interior door which opens into the restaurant. Bill walked in ahead of me. I opened the first door and knowing there was another one, I opened the second door... and I found myself outside. You talk about confusion. That woke me up. I looked around and found myself on the other side of the parking lot. I made my way right back in and through the restaurant door where I found my ever loving husband doubled over laughing his socks off.

I am now aware that there are two entrance doors into the vestibule, one on either side.

Today, we were dashing through the rain into a building. Bill was huddled head down, hood up when he bounced off a small tree limb, BOING! He turned around to see what hit him, and I couldn't stop laughing.   

Friday, January 11, 2013


The great escape happened yesterday.

This week high school students are doing their service hours at our school. One year we had six boys, and oh boy! That turned into utter chaos. They bounced balls to the ceiling, leap frogged over children and worst of all, on Bike Day, they went outside to prepare the playground and line up the kids' bikes. They hitched our wagon to the bumper of one of their cars and were doing donuts on the parking lot, giving each other the ride of their lives. Just so happened that one of their teachers was the mother of one of our students. I'm sure they still remember the tongue lashing and punishment.

Yesterday two senior girls were assisting in my class after lunch. One simply disappeared. we checked the bathrooms, hall, closets. We figured she skipped out. Someone discovered her snoring in the doll house. A teacher asked, "Should we wake her?"
I was all for letting her sleep.

She came stumbling into the room rubbing her eyes as though she had just woke up. Come to think of it, she had.

There are days after lunch that I could take a snooze too, but in the real world...

Thursday, January 10, 2013


A third of the month is gone, like my mind. My link didn't work and then my post disapppeared, so let me try again.

Click HERE to see how you can contribute your story about mothers for possible acceptance. Winners will read their  work aloud. This is an opportunity for local writers. So write the nitty-gritty and submit soon. I'm on this one!

Here is a great free newsletter you should sign up for:Writing

My complaint today: Hollywood Casinos sent me an email thanking me for moving up to a MUCH higher level. Seeing as I spend twenty bucks there occasionally, I couldn't believe it. Seems I was awarded all sorts of gifts, a cool shirt and other incentives. I called Bill to come see. He read it over and said, "Hmmm, when did you change your name to Dean?" Obviously these computers are messing with me today.

Monday, January 7, 2013

How about YOU?

Hop on over to my friend, Tammy's blog. She can really tell it like it is, no matter how improper, especially if she's close to you.

Her post got me to thinking about my epidermis and the epidemic of  wrinkles and changes taking place, not deep inside where my cerebral self resides. I'm talking the surface me. The me who I present to the kid with zits behind the fast food counter, who sees no end in sight for his skin condition; or the teenage girl with peaches and cream complexion who has deluded herself into thinking she will always be this firm and falwless. I grin at both of them knowingly. The smile tugs at my cheek muscles and momentarily makes me look younger, but eventually sets another wrinkle for the day when my facial epidermis refuses to snap back.

Everything is heading south, except me. Things that were always there are nowhere to be found, and things that should not be there have sprouted like eyes on a potato. What's up?

I went to the doctor for a check-up a while back. Geeze, I am overdue, now that I think about it. We are in a new year. Anyway, I showed her a penny-size patch of dry skin and asked her how long I had to live. She laughed and said one thing didn't relate to the other, and what I am harboring is a benign barnacle. A barnacle!? When we reach a certain age, we get these minor skin cling ons. CLING ONS? For goodness sakes.

You know, I wouldn't mind if the reason for my maladies were because I was beached in the sand and soaking in salt water for too long. But as it is I'm in dry dock. That reminds me, I have to go moisturize.

Anything you want to get off your chest, back, or other part of your epidermis? Tag! You're it.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Dressed inappropriately

I don't quite understand what's going on in our town. I know that at the slightest rise in temperature  many females drop their socks and slip into flip flops. But, it's not the girls this time. They're still wearing proper foot wear.

Ever since New Year's Day it seems everywhere we go we see males in shorts. The meterologist predicted that it was going to be near forty degrees, but it isn't, and hasn't been. It's been freezing and BELOW. No, these guys are not wearing Speedos. They're baggy shorts that reach the knee or below. But it boggles my mind. Are they acclimated to warmer winters? This is crazy.

I know it would behoove a teenager to wear a coat. We saw three shivering teens wearing hoodies as outerwear trying to cross a street. They were shaking. Absolutley no coats for this generation.

Now, I could understand if it were a generational statement these fellows were making, but these guys are from multi-generations. I've seen guys as old as grandpas gimping around in shorts.

Then, I got to thinking, how is their wearing shorts any different from my having to wear a skirt in high school because females were not allowed to wear pants, let alone jeans? Sure, our legs were often red and chapped, but we survived. I'm no longer feeling sorry for these numb nutty guys.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

I don't care for reruns, however...

New Year Musings and Meanderings  (a repost)

I attended a family gathering with my aunts and cousins. One of my cousins had me laughing so hard, my sides still hurt today. She said that years ago she worked at a large corporation. It is so big that they have a bus to shuttle the employees from the parking lot to the door. She walked into the office one morning and everyone was gathered around the television with concerned looks on their faces. She asked, "What's wrong?"

A supervisor replied, "The shuttle blew up."

She shouted, "Oh my God, I just got off of it!"

They all turned simultaneously and looked at her like she was a space cadet. I laugh, because that could have been me. I am forever inserting foot in mouth.

She said, "As soon as I realized they meant the Space Shuttle, I chuckled and said, 'Well there goes any hope I ever had of a promotion.'" Sometimes all you can do is laugh at yourself.

As a new year begins there are some things I ponder. I get annoyed with Reality TV. There are harsh realities across the globe that deserve our attention. I want to shout at the boob tube, "So, you think you can dance? Write? Run for political office? Find the man or woman of your dreams, one who will tolerate your screams? You think you can affiliate with freaks and not have a bit of their stink rub off on you?"

Life can be such a mystery. I know that in order to make it in this world, you must believe in yourself, but some people are totally delusional. I am not implying any of the following are delusional. Just making some observations and expressing my personal opinion.

I have a friend who worked really hard to earn a Masters Degree in Psychology, then, she took a job as a master gardener. I wonder if she coaxes the greens out of the ground with gobbly de gook? “Oh pretty blossom, do you feel like unfolding today? Did that bee sit on your stamen wrong? Poke your pistil too hard?” PUHLEASE! The woman is a shingle away from being a shrink, sitting comfortably on a plush couch. Instead, she’s out there squatting all day, dabbling in the other kind of dirt.

Our adult kids cried poor mouth all year, and then at Christmas our young grandchildren came over with their heads down and their fingers and thumbs flying on electronic hand held devices. I Tunes, I Pad, I Pod, I Touch ... I DON’T KNOW the difference and I don’t CARE. What I do know is that I cannot afford a $250 poke it, scroll it, play it, sing along with it gadget. I can barely text and figure out a cell phone. By the way, whatever happened to hand held transistor radios? Paying to hear music? Mindboggling to me.

Those screaming mimis on reality shows, dance shows, and political talk shows make me crazy. I don’t care which stick thin woman is the next top model or which crazed chef makes the cook cry. I think most politicians are liars, not leaders and most Americans are followers not independent thinkers. I don't give a hoot whose hooting about what Ellen is giving away to guests. I think Judge Judy lets her mouth overrule her rulings, and I think Judge Joe Brown should be in every high school telling it like it is.

Whew! I am out of breath, but here are a few final thoughts on what I really think: My weight has increased, my memory is shot, my publications are fewer and my husband’s still hot. The weather is crazy, the world’s in a mess, Happy New Year to you all, and may you all be blessed.


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

I kid you not!

Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill, Billie, my Sweet William

New Year's Eve was one we'll talk about for a long time. My honey and I were to meet another couple at a banquet hall. We walked in to meet our friends and saw another couple seated at our table for ten. The woman and Bill screeched, laughed, hugged. Everyone looked on bewildered. I imagined it was an old girlfriend as she giggled and shouted, "NO! Not you! At OUR table?" Turns out she was one of his team members from volleyball from two years ago. They were old buddies.

The three of us couples all got along very well and wondered aloud about the other couples who would soon be seated at our table. In walks a young, thin woman, perhaps thirty years old, standing six feet two, wearing a glitzy formal and goofy grin, towering a full twelve inches over a thin, bearded man, perhaps 70 years old (Willy Nelson without the pony tail). We all smiled and greeted them. So nice of her to bring her father for New Year's.

He reached into his pocket and retrieved a fat, bullet-shaped, palm-sized, two piece, wooden object and twanged, "Watch this! You all look like idiots, so you can all try this." He proceeded to hook the rocket shaped top to the bottom half with a rubber band and snapped it. Then he pulled it apart and said, "I want you all to try it." I whispered to Bill's volley ball friend, "That play toy looks like something I don't ever want to touch." She snorted.

Bill tried, and of course it wouldn't work. Her father cackled and said, "It's an idiot's toy. It's a trick, see? Here-here, ladies, you try."

NO freaking way.

I smiled at the poor old soul and thought, How nice of this young lady to bring her dad out of THE HOME for New Year's Eve.

He picked up his daughter's hand, introduced her and kissed the top of her hand. She returned the gesture, slobbering and licking all over his hand. He looked at my Bill and said, "We may have a big age difference between us, but I love my wife."

She flashed her bejeweled wet, left hand, puckered up and said, "And baby, I love you, too." They swapped spit like teenagers in heat.

Sometimes smiling and nodding is all you can do. He looked at all of us seated around the table.
"My name's Walter, what's yours?" he asked.
 Bill stated his name. Our friend (also Bill) stated his name, and the old guy looked suspiciously around the table at us. I pointed to my girlfriend to my left and said, "This is my friend, Bill, and my name is Bill."  
Bill's volleyball  friend, Peggy said, "And my name is Billie, and this is my date, Bill."

That'll teach the old buzzard to call our table a bunch of idiots.

Turns out he was rolling in dough $$ and they were both liquored up before they even arrived. He stated that he was still working as a utility line man. I whispered cattily to the female "Bill's" on either side of me that she probably was a pole climber too and I'd bet a week's pay that they met in a bar where her dance alias was Billie Jean.

I know, I wasn't nice, but oh boy did we "idiots" have fun laughing.

The May-December couple continued to get blitzed-er. None of the rest of us at the table drank alcohol. At the stroke of midnight, the odd couple stood up to stagger around the table and hug each of us. I slid down in my chair and hid under the long white linen table cloth. One of the "idiots" pulled the table cloth back and revealed my whereabouts. This sent the odd couple into swaying, hysterical laughter. She bellowed, "Ha-ha-ha-ha, and I thought I was drunk! She's way drunker than me. I haven't even thrown up yet, and she's already under the table."

I should have stayed there. She leaned WAYYY down to hug me and he reached over and patted me on the head. Then, they shouted, "Happy New Year!" and weaved their way to the foyer and out to their car. "God help all of us!" I said aloud.

 I also said a silent prayer that they'd arrive home safely.

This was one of the most memorable New Year's Eves we've ever had.

And how does yours compare? None of this is even slightly embellished. Ask, Bill...any of them.
P.S. The fifth couple never showed up. Thank goodness.