November 14 '98
Knife And Battery Interesting Counter Encounter
iphoid may well be as foreign to your vocabulary as it is to mine, but I really needed an "x" word that had something to do with knives. Since xiph·oid (z¹f"oid") means shaped like a sword, it may be a bit of a stretch to make the knife connection, but xiphoid will have to suffice.
In the past ten years I have lost three knives none of which is characterized by the word "xiphoid". Two knives were small, lock-blade, pocket knives. One was a Gerber and the other was a Buck. Neither knife was worth more than twenty dollars. The most valuable knife was a Buck Folding Hunter, a lock-blade with leather case that Barbara had given me back in the days when I hunted deer. It was a versatile knife that I used more for cleaning fish than dressing deer. One year it was in the utility room in Pontotoc, the next year it was not. I suspected Jason of misplacing it. Last Christmas, Jason gave me a new Buck hunting knife to replace the one I had accused him of losing. The smaller Buck pocket knife that I lost, had a plastic-type handle which made it lightweight, and I believe the lack of weight made it easy for me to losethe Buck as well as the similarly sized Gerber.
On a day to day basis, I tend to use a pocket knife infrequently, but it comes in handy as a letter opener or a staple puller or a tape-cutter/ carton-ripper to aid in opening an occasional package. Therefore, while a pocket knife is not in demand every day, it is used often enough to be missed whenever I am without one.
My dad and my granddad, both owned pocket knives, but theirs were multi-bladed, the type one would use to play mumbly-peg (mumble-the-peg is found in the dictionary). Nowadays, I can't remember how to play mumbly-peg, but I remember playing it as a young boy. The knives of my youth did not have locking blades and could easily fold and catch a finger if used improperly, and improperly is how most boys use a pocket knife.
I looked in a couple of Wal-Mart stores, Kosciusko and maybe Indianola, for a small knife to replace the one recently lost, but failed to find one that suited me until the day of Halloween when I shopped the Wal-Mart in Pontotoc and found a Buck exactly like the one I was looking for (yeah, I know I am supposed to write, "...the one for which I was looking").
While waiting in line at the sportsmen's counter, I was entertained by a man who wanted to trade-in his dead battery for a new one. The young man behind the counter had decided he needed the help of an assistant manager by the time I started listening to the conversation.
"I bought this battery 'bout six months ago. I got it off the shelf ov'air. It was about the same time I broke my laig (really Southern for 'leg')," stated the man dressed in khakis and balanced on a pair of wooden crutches.
The customer stood behind a shopping cart that held a new battery and an old one. He was accompanied by a couple of women, one of which I presumed to be a daughter. There is no great significance in the fact the younger woman was noticeably overweight and sported a South Pontotoc tee shirt, except that the tee shirt would identify her as a probable "county" dweller and not a resident of the city of Pontotoc.
The assistant manager, a woman, examined the battery and noted the date of purchase was punched out of the plastic section atop the battery that identifies the month and year the battery was bought.
"This one was bought in '95," she stated. "It's a Champion battery. We haven't sold that brand in a year and a half to two years. There should be a receipt in this pouch."
The assistant manager had leaned across the cart and was attempting to determine if a register receipt was inside a plastic pouch glued to the side of the battery.
"It had one in it, but 'e tore it up," stated the customer, as he pointed to the young clerk.
The clerk explained that the paper was so brittle that it came all to pieces when he tried to get it out of the pouch. He could not piece together enough of it to determine where and when it had been purchased. I am not the best judge of character, but it was evident to me the customer was lying like a dog. In a court of law, it might take a expert to testify as to whether or not a register receipt would crumble after a mere six months, but in my book, it could not happen that quickly, and if landfills are a measuring rod for paper decomposition, then it might take sixty months or sixty years to decimate a single piece of paper inside a plastic pouch. I had studied the exterior condition of the used battery long enough to ascertain it most unlikely that the battery, especially when viewed alongside a new battery, could have faded as much as it had in a mere six months, even if it had been sitting in the sun every day. Yep, as I saw it, the customer was trying to run a scam on Wal-Mart. Still, he stuck to his story and refused to back down.
"Sir, you don't have a receipt, and the punched date on this battery is '95," reiterated the assistant manager.
"I had one, but they made me put it in the pouch. I'd have put it with my receipts in my lock box, if they hadn't a made me stick it on the battery." he stated, then reaffirmed that the clerk destroyed it taking it out of the pouch.
Not to let him off easily the assistant manager explained, "You get a receipt to keep as well as one to go in the pouch."
"I ain't had this battery more'n six months," insisted the customer.
"I'm not disputing your word, sir, but without a receipt, the best I can do is prorate your battery for 36 months," the assistant stated, showing a willingness to negotiate.
"How much 'ud that be?" questioned the customer.
"I'll have to look it up, but it won't be much at all." she replied.
By this time, the customer, who had played his best cards, was still losing, and decided to fold his hand. He realized he couldn't force Wal-Mart into replacing his old battery with a new one at practically no cost to him, so he left without buying a new battery. As I watched the family walk away, I began to doubt some of my earlier convictions. Afterall, maybe the guy had just thought he bought the battery from Wal-Mart, maybe he was off a few months on remembering when the battery was purchased. I know I have trouble remembering lengths of time relating certain events. Why, it was just last Sunday (10/25) that I told a couple who sat near us in Church, that they should be in the choir and was informed they had not sung in the church choir for two years. I would have sworn I had seen them in the choir during the summer.
As the customer retreated, the young clerk glanced in my direction.
The expression on his face was one that seemed to say, "Can you believe that guy?"
I smiled and shook my head. There was one other person ahead of me in line.
When it came my turn to be helped I spoke to the clerk, "There's no way that battery is only six months old."
He seemed reassured by my assessment. As I paid for my purchase and walked away, the young clerk and an associate were busy rehashing the recently transpired "battery event."
Blizzard's Birthday Childhood Remembrance
November 6th, was my granddaughter's eleventh birthday. It is one thing to see your children grow up so rapidly, but when it comes to "growing like weeds," grandchildren seem to outpace our own children. I haven't talked to Anna about how long her years seem, or concerning how becoming a teenager, graduating from school and college, and marriage are events that loom deep in a future time, but if the length of years in my childhood is a measure of child-years today, then Christmas is still months away and next summer seems infinitely farther removed.
Right now, I cannot recall what occurred to remind me of an unusual event in my childhood. It could have been that I knew I would soon be traveling to Okolona, MS for a business project, but it may just as easily have been my wife telling me about "yet another" way to prepare chicken. I am certain, God will not exact judgment upon persons who dream up new ways to serve up a standard menu item, chicken. However, such would not be the case, if I were doing the judging. Most likely, I would banish them into eternal damnation for corrupting the most sacred entree of the South, FRIED CHICKEN. Furthermore, these evildoers have led astray untold millions of women cooks and thousands of men, persons duped by the promise of a better method to prepare and serve chicken.
Physicians would not escape my wrath, especially Internists and the General Practitioners to whom they dictate healthy dietary standards, for these individuals have convinced throngs to bake, broil, boil, skin, debone, marinate, chop, shred, grind, or otherwise deviate from the "best ever" method of cooking chicken. Yet, great would be the reward of those like Colonel Harlan Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame, of Church's Fried Chicken, of Popeye's, of New Orleans' Fried Chicken, of... I think you get the idea. As I was saying earlier, I do not remember what triggered the recollection, but what I am about to describe is the most unusual birthday party, I have ever attended.
I was somewhere near the age of my granddaughter, Anna, ten or eleven. My family lived in Okolona. I attended the public school and would have been in either grade four or five. I tend to think I was a fifth-grader. Our family had moved to Okolona the summer prior to my starting the third grade. The happiest years of my childhood were spent in Okolona. Among my peers, I was well liked and popular with both boys and girls. I had my first sweetheart while we lived in Okolona. I was friends with classmates ranging from a poor farm boy to a Senator's son. The years of childhood bliss ended when our family returned to Pontotoc, the city of my birth, but that story will wait for telling at another time.
Dwight Blizzard and I were classmates. We were both town-boys. Our fathers were both businessmen. My dad was the manager of the local Kroger store, his family owned the popular, local theater. Dwight was a friend, but not my best friend. My best friend was Tommy Moore who lived on the same city block as I did. Tommy and I played together after school every afternoon our parents would allow. Tommy was a grade ahead of me in school.
Dwight was a rich kid by my standards of measurement. He was the only child in the family and seemed to have everything he had ever wanted. I had not even scratched the surface of having all the games, guns, toys, sidewalk skates, clothes, shoes, and such as I might have wanted and wished. Of course, Mama explained his folks only had one child to provide for and could afford to spend more on one child than they could if they had three or four.
I don't remember if I received a formal, mailed invitation to Dwight's birthday party or if his mother called my mother to invite me over. While some of my memory has grown dim, I think I was invited to sleep-over the night before the party. There is something buried so deep in my memories of breakfast at Dwight's house that I can't quite pull it together. I can see an egg in the picture, but I don't know if it was poached or sunny side up, but it was not like what I was used to having for breakfast. I don't even recall at what point I learned I was the only guest invited to the birthday party, but I felt both honored and a little confused. The confused part related to why anyone would have a birthday party and invite only one person because it sort of limited the gifts received.
As the morning wore on, I smelled a strange odor wafting from the kitchen. Dwight said we were going to have chicken for lunch. At my house, chicken was about the only meat we ate for lunch or supper, and that was most likely to occur on Sunday. I was not old enough to know the smell of ruined meat, since it never stayed around our house long enough to ruin, but I did not care for the peculiar smell coming from the Blizzard's kitchen. Shortly before lunch, I learned our main course would be "boiled" chicken. Boiled chicken was something I had never eaten, at least not in the fashion it was served. Among the foods offered for lunch, was a plate piled high with pieces of chicken, but it did not look like any of the pieces of chicken I had eaten. I don't recall eating much lunch that day, but I did not refuse the boiled chicken. It tasted okay, and it did not make me sick or cause me any ill effects. After lunch, we enjoyed normal food, birthday cake and ice cream. Dwight opened his gifts, and we played some board games that afternoon before I had to go home.
At some point during the day, Dwight's mom told me that Dwight could have had other party guests, but he only wanted to invite me. I made no comment, but thought it odd that he had made such a choice.
In all the years I have attended birthday parties, the oddest of them all was the year I was the only guest at Dwight Blizzard's party.
Christmas Reminder Contributions Encouraged
A number of readers missed the opportunity to contribute a Christmas memory last year. Of this number, some are new subscribers, others simply did not respond to the invitation. The staff of RRN encourages everyone, who would like to share a favorite or special Christmas memory with others, to submit their articles prior to Thanksgiving Day. Even if you sent a memory last year, you may want to submit a different one this year.
Christmas memories are not limited to pleasant, happy times. Any memory that is important to you, the reader, may be submitted. Readers "from California to the New York Island, from the redwood forests to the gulf stream waters," have memories just "made for you and me" (Thank you, Woodie Guthrie). No excuses are acceptable. We cannot believe you folks do not have multiple memories relating to Christmas. What did you do, as kids?
We received a lot of positive feedback from folks sharing how much they appreciated and enjoyed the stories you shared. Please share your memories and help make Christmas brighter for another reader.
Bodock Beau Do You Know A Good Lawyer
Beau receives the Old Tuscaloosa Magazine from Richard Pennington of Greensboro, AL. It is a pleasant, entertaining bit of reading. Much of the magazine is devoted to historical information dating to the pre-Civil War period of the city then named Tuskaloosa, AL, and surrounding area The reader gets a real sense of everyday life not only in the writings, but in the reproductions of old advertisements.
A recent issue contained the following word for word account of things actually said in court.
Q: Doctor, how many autopsies have you performed on dead people?
A: All of my autopsies were performed on dead people.
Q: How was your first marriage terminated?
A: By death.
Q: And by whose death was it terminated?
Q: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?
A: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.
Q: You say the stairs went down to the basement?
Q: And these stairs, did they go up also?
Q: All your responses must be oral, okay? What school did you go to?
Q: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
Q: Did you check for blood pressure?
Q: Did you check for breathing?
Q: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
Q: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
A: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
Q: But could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
A: It is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law somewhere.