August 14 '99
In The Money Rich Man's Circle
Each community has its choice suburban property, namely those areas where most anyone would love to live, be it the perfect location or just a convenient location, the mirror of one's economic status, or other desirable characteristic such as having great neighbors. Pontotoc is a small city that is fortunate to have several such residential sectors that satisfy one or more of the preceding "desirables."
Barbara and I purchased a home in Hillcrest subdivision in 1975. Up until that time, we had lived in a 12 X 60 mobile home, first in Ripley then later next to my mom and dad on Woodland Street in Pontotoc. I believe all the original lots of the subdivision were occupied when we moved into our home on Eighth Street, but the subdivision has since spilled over and run down the hillsides. When we made the choice to move from a mobile home into a fixed home, we were not so much concerned with desirable characteristics of the neighborhood as we were with what we could afford. We knew some of the families in the subdivision and felt our choice of a location to be satisfactory. I can well remember wondering how we would be able to meet our monthly mortgage of $175.00.
We missed the chance to buy a slightly larger home in a different part of town just a few weeks earlier. A developer/ builder was popping up homes in rapid succession, one of which sat on a corner lot and seemed to have our name on it. When we told the developer we wanted to buy the house had we had the good sense to flash some earnest money, we probably would have lived at a different address for the past twenty-five years. We learned that business lesson the hard way, and we also learned, in the case of the developer/ builder that there are exceptions to, "a man's word is his bond." Though we had a verbal agreement with the builder, he allowed the hard cash offered by another interested buyer to override our agreement. In retrospect, the $200.00 per month mortgage would have been tough, at least in the early years of our homeownership.
Our Eighth Street home has served us well and has expanded to fit our changing needs. To accommodate the needs of our present extended family, Barbara and I enjoined an architect to develop our ideas for further expansion. What we ended up developing was a great looking set of blueprints. As we began a search for a general contractor to do the work, our expectations of remodeling began to evaporate. Few contractors were interested, and, of those who were interested, most stated they could not begin the work until late fall or next spring. We did receive a firm bid, but it was almost double what we had hoped to invest. We were to the point of exasperation when we learned that a home in "Rich Man's Circle" was for sale.
The area I have described as "Rich Man's Circle" is my connotation for a housing development at the end of Highland Street. The same area is one of those areas I earlier described as a "mirror of one's economic status." Highland Street is also my description for what is usually listed as simply Highland. My sister lives on Highland, adjacent to the "Circle." The Circle is actually a loop, and, if viewed from a helicopter, is more of a 'd' shape. (Yes, it could be a 'p' if viewed from the opposite direction.) The perimeter of the 'd' is lined with houses, but the inside of the circle is a large treeless lawn. The large open area adds to the appeal of the neighborhood.
The house in which we expressed an interest in buying lay approximately halfway around the left side of the 'd.' It was first occupied by the Wyliss Kemp family, roughly twelve years ago. Because the Kemps anticipated moving a 'mom' to Pontotoc, they elected to build a separate and smaller house on their lot. The mom-move never materialized so Wyliss used the smaller house as an office until this past year. The small house is generally referred to as a guesthouse, but some think of it as a mother-in-law house.
I knew the Kemps had bought the George Jacob place, just outside of town, and were remodeling the house. Sometime last winter, I even entertained the notion of buying the Kemp house, but believed it to be outside my price range, in that it was in "Rich Man's Circle." It was during a business trip to the Sunflower Food Store in Pontotoc that I learned from Brenda Kemp that their home was on the market. Previously, I had wondered if the home had sold and had also thought that one of Mr. Kemp's children might be planning to move into the house. I had also heard a rumor that Mrs. Kemp wasn't going to leave the neighborhood until her country home had a paved road in front of it, which, as far as I know is yet unpaved. So, I was a little surprised to learn the house was up for sale. As I updated Brenda on our desire to remodel our house on Eighth Street, she encouraged me to look at her house and promised the asking price was negotiable.
It only took one look for Barbara to decide she liked the Kemp house. I had seen it before and figured I could get by with it. We then began our negotiations for the house, wherein we sought a lower price than was being asked. While Brenda's statement that the price was negotiable was true, there was not as much room for negotiating as I had hoped. Yet, with Barbara and me being "in the money" what with two other homes, we finally reached a price agreement with the Kemps. It is our hope that by selling our Eighth Street house and applying the sale amount against the mortgage and at a later time selling the house in Greenville and likewise applying the sale against the mortgage we will reduce our indebtedness to a point, where, when we reach retirement age, we will also be able to retire our home mortgage.
The guesthouse had a special appeal as I considered it a perfect place for me to live apart from the rest of the family. (Think of all the quiet writing time I could find there on the weekends. There are plenty of built-in desks and bookshelves for a computer and computer stuff.) The small house has one bedroom, a full bath, a combination living room/ dining room, and a kitchen complete with built-in microwave. However, from a more practical standpoint, and setting aside my personal desires, we have decided it best to rent the guesthouse to Jason. He has a tendency toward clutter, and the master bedroom of the big house is the only bedroom large enough to hold both him and his musical equipment. Therefore, Jason's spatial requirements will be better satisfied in the guesthouse. Yes, we gave consideration to housing Lillie Belle, my mother-in-law, in the small house but felt such might exacerbate a feeling of isolation and/or depression on her part.
You are certain to be exposed to more news on the relocation of the Carter family to 218 Dogwood Circle. The transfer of ownership will have taken place by the time you read this newsletter (or so we hope), however, the moving will likely be incomplete. In the event you have some free time Saturday, August 14, and wish to contribute to a worthwhile cause, feel free to check at either the Eighth Street or Dogwood Circle address of the Carters and learn how to best use your free time.
Perhaps, this is a good time to mention that I no longer think of the area surrounding Dogwood Circle as Rich Man's Circle. Neither do I consider it a mirror of one's economic status, at least not in the case of this writer. If it mirrors anything of mine, I imagine it best reflects my credit rating.
Cascade Caper Substitutes And Suds
How often have you needed something from the pantry or spice rack only to discover the particular item(s) missing? Did you have a substitute? Over the years, cooks have developed a list of substitutes that will serve quite well in a pinch. I won't attempt to list them except by way of example.
When sugar was rationed during the war years, persons substituted molasses as a sweetener in many recipes. Entire manufacturing firms have evolved as a result of someone seeking a substitute for a particular ingredient or product. Vegetable based shortenings such as Crisco control a market that once demanded lard produced from the fat of swine. Margarines, once called oleomargarines or oleo for short, dominate the dairy cases, serving as a desirable substitute for "cow salve" butter. Tide and Cheer are brand name washing powder detergents. Detergents were developed (I suppose) to free housewives from a dependency upon lye soaps and to lessen the chore of washday.
On a recent Sunday evening in Greenville, Barbara reached for our Tide box and found it empty. She made the discovery as she loaded the washer with dark clothes, some of which I would need for my trip to Atlanta the next day. We had just driven in from Pontotoc, and although the evening was still early, rather than expend the time and energy to drive to Wal Mart, she asked me if I knew of a laundry powder substitute. Since it seems to have befallen my lot in life to "know everything," I decided to answer her question.
"Use some dishwashing detergent," I replied.
"Liquid?" she questioned.
"No, use some of that we put in the dishwasher," I responded as I struggled to think of the name of the cleanser, while taking my mind off the task of finishing up an article for RRN.
My concentration on revising the newsletter was intense for I needed to have the newsletter printed and stuffed into envelopes before leaving Monday morning. Barbara would handle the chore of getting it mailed, since I would still be in Atlanta on Thursday, my normal day to mail the weekly newsletter.
"Cascade?" she asked, and I could tell from the tone of her voice, that she did not think it a good idea.
As is often the case, I felt I had to justify my answer.
"Yeah, if it cleans dishes, it'll clean clothes. Just don't put but about half the amount of it as you'd use of Tide," I awkwardly stated, prior to resuming my newsletter task. "When it goes into the rinse cycle, check to see if it has too many suds. If so, you can run it through another rinse cycle."
I did not think anymore about the laundry powder substitute until Barbara had the second load in the washer and had taken the "darks" out of the dryer.
"Wayne, come here!" was soon heard.
In some marriages, when a wife calls her husband by his given name, it signals trouble. In my case, since I havent been called Hon or Honey in so long, if I had heard it, I would have thought one of us was in the wrong house. Therefore, I was not expecting trouble when I responded to the call.
"Look at this shirt," Barbara exclaimed, as she held my navy blue pullover Supervalu shirt before me.
The front of the shirt looked as though a chicken with muddy feet had pranced across it. Small splotches of brown now "stood out" on the field of navy blue. I did not know what to make of the discoloration, since the shirt was not soiled when I last wore it, but wondered if something in the wash, like a ballpoint pen, might have been the culprit.
I did not have long to consider the possibilities before my wife responded with, "Do you think, it might have been the Cascade?" and then offered, "I just dumped it in on top of the clothes, like I always do with Tide."
I believe that was the first time I had thought of Cascade since recommending it earlier that evening, but suddenly the picture began to clear.
"A blue shirt exposed to a bleaching agent would probably turn brown," I reasoned to myself, before affirming my wife's suspicions, with a concise, "probably!"
Hurriedly we searched the rest of the wash for signs of bleaching and found one of Barbara's tops ruined, ruined unless splotched patterns come back in style. Fortunately the rest of the laundry made it unscathed.
Ladies, there are lessons to be learned in all of this. First and foremost, don't trust a man to give you a correct answer to a home laundry question.
Secondly, if you're out of Tide, go to the store and buy a box.
Thirdly, if you're out of both Tide and money, but Cascade is available, then dissolve the Cascade prior to adding the clothes to the wash water.
Bodock Beau Male Bashing
Beau tells me that the Bodock Festival, Pontotoc's county-wide celebration including crafts, musical entertainment, and other festival events is just around the corner, August 20-21.
Beau also believes the female gender is not the only gender that is the subject of sexist jokes and offers the following as proof.
Why do little boys whine?
Because they are practicing to be men.
Why do only 10% of men make it to heaven?
Because if they all went, it would be Hell.
Why do men like smart women?
How are husbands like lawn mowers?
They're hard to get started, they emit noxious odors, and only work half the time.
How does a man show he's planning for the future?
He buys two cases of beer instead of one.
How is Colonel Sanders like the typical male?
All he's concerned with is legs, breasts, and thighs.
How many men does it take to open a beer?
None. (It is opened by the time she brings it to the couch.)
How many men does it take to screw in a light bulb?
ONE. (He just holds it up there, and waits for the world to revolve around him.)
What did God say after creating man?
I can do better than that!
What do most men consider to be a gourmet restaurant?
Any place without a drive-up window.
What do you call a man with half a brain?
What do you do with a bachelor who thinks he's God's gift to women?
What should you give a man who has everything?
A woman to show him how to use it.
What's a man's idea of honesty in a relationship?
Telling you his real name.
What's the best way to force a man to do sit-ups?
Put the remote control between his toes.
What's the difference between Big Foot and an intelligent man?
Big Foot's been spotted several times.
What's the smartest thing a man can say?
"My wife says..."
Why are all dumb blonde jokes one-liners?
So men can understand them.
Why did God create man before woman?
Because you're always supposed to have a rough draft, before creating your masterpiece.
Why do female black widow spiders kill the males after mating?
To stop the snoring before it starts.
Why do jocks play on artificial turf?
To keep them from grazing.
Why do men need instant replay on TV sports?
Because after 30 seconds, they forget what happened.
Why does it take 100 million sperm to fertilize one egg?
Because not one will stop, and ask for directions .
Why is it difficult to find men who are sensitive, caring, and good-looking?
They all already have boyfriends.
Why is it good that there are female astronauts?
When the crew gets lost in space, at least the woman will ask for directions.
Why is psychoanalysis a lot quicker for men than for women?
When it's time to go back to his childhood, he's already there.
Beau thanks Lisa B. Rolik for contributing the preceding article.
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