True stories with a twist!

 

Where are you, my creative blogger friends, when I need you? Please put on your thinking caps and come up with some great answers to my problematic question.

Here’s the situation:

A few blogs ago I wrote about my broken ankle. It’s still broken, still imprisoned in the hard boot, on crutches and still keeping me from driving, hiking or decorating for Halloween.

But when I do get out, due to the kindness of my driving friends, I am besieged with questions like:

“How did you do it? What happened? Did you have surgery?” And other obvious, curious and nosy ones.

I feel as if I owe these intrusive curiosity seekers an answer. But not just an ordinary answer: the truth would be too boring. Why bother to intrude on someone’s privacy unless you can get an interesting response? Here are a few I came up with; can you give me any other ideas?

Question: How did I do it?

Answers:

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“I think it must have been something I ate.”

“It was during a sky diving accident.”

“I got thrown from a wild stallion when I tried to help a friend break him.”

Please don’t let all the pain and inconvenience of this unfortunate accident be for nothing. Let’s give them something to talk about!

ISH KABBIBLE

ISH KABIBBLE Back in the day, I heard the expression, “ Oh, Ish Kabibble.” It’s a silly phrase, and one that nudges a smile to delight your lips. It was used as a way of saying, “Oh, C’mon.“ as in Oh, C’mon; you don’t expect me to believe that, do you?”

Or if someone were to prepare for a trip and was stumped as to what else to add to the suitcase, they might say in frustration, “Oh, Ish Kabibble!”

Those were the “go to” words to denote something absurd, something confusing, or something considered plain old nonsense.

Uttering the words, “Ish Kabibble” was frequently the term used. Everyone seemed to understand the phrase by context and by battering of the eardrums interpreting this silly term.

UnknownSo imagine my shock one day at the hairdresser’s, hearing one of the clients say, “Ish Kabibble was a real person: did you know that?” I had to know what she was talking about as she became beautiful-ized at Salon D’Karant.

On her way out I stopped her. “Excuse me, but would you mind telling me about Ish Kabibble? I’m sorry for eavesdropping, but I heard you mention it a few minutes ago.” She was more than pleased to enlighten me.

“There was an orchestra leader named Kaye Kyser 220px-KayKeyserStageDoorCanteen    back in the 40’s who had a comedian appearing with him named Ish Kabibble. How do you suppose his friends referred to him? if a lull in the conversation forms Ish, or Mr. Kabbible, played the coronet with the orchestra but mainly told jokes. The audiences loved him. He was a funny looking gentleman, like Moe of the Three Stooges; the one with the hair cut into bangs, hanging over his forehead.”   Unknown-1

The memory of him must have been pleasant, because describing him brought such an animated expression to her face.

So now if a lull in the conversation forms I have some new small talk to make with any AARP ( American Association of Retired people) member I may run across. To a person above a certain age I ask, “Did you ever hear of “Ish Kabibble?”

And that starts a whole new dialogue.

MY RUST TREE

Everyone knows what color a tree is; ask any nursery school child and you’ll hear the answer: “green.”

That’s what I used to think, but it’s not that simple. Green is not only green. It shares its color with other shades, tones and hues. Now when I look out at the garden I see a rainbow of yellow-green, blue-green, and lime-green. The maple trees are red and golden yellow. I see a beautiful collage of colors although flowers are no longer blooming.

The most glorious tree in the garden, reigning high above the others on top of the hill is the Cryptomeria. This conifer soars above the other trees in it’s size and majesty. It’s not only the height of the tree that is so striking: it’s the color. This rare version is known as “The Rust Tree.” Nothing else in our garden or any other one in the neighborhood flaunts this unusual shade. It’s not brown, not red, not orange and not yellow. Rust comes the closest to describing it.

Here is its picture:

 

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But the joke is on me, and perhaps on you also, if you believed in my “rust tree” because there is no such thing as a rust tree. But there is such a thing as Death, and this cryptomeria is dead! It got browner and browner and then lost its needles. Sadly, the tree had to be taken down. And that’s the story of how I, the eternal optimist, sees a dying tree and thinks it is a rare new species, alive and thriving.

Reality can be so disappointing.

On a beautiful summer day we took an hour drive to Hamilton Township, New Jersey, to a fantastical park called “Grounds For Sculpture.’ The artist, Seward Johnson, a member of the Johnson & Johnson family, founded this park and contributed the sculptures for the public to enjoy.

 

Some of his sculptures are whimsical.

 

IMG_1551 Harvey will try a hot dog anywhere!IMG_1552

 

…and some use impressionist paintings as a format to place sculptures of famous artworks  around the park in unexpected places. You may be walking around, enjoying the scenery, when there’s a break in the foliage. You peek in and see a famous Monet painting of a picnic scene.

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IMG_1539Further ahead is the graceful form of a seventeenth century woman by a refreshing stream.

 

A group of Monet friends gathered at a table for dinner. They graciously invited me to join them.

 

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You can imagine my joy to be reunited with my friend, Mona.IMG_1580

 

 

…and happy to visit old buddies from Grant Wood’s “American Gothic.”

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Harvey didn’t think “The Scream” was anything to get too frightened about!

 

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But it’s not all about art: don’t they realize that Grounds For Sculpture is a family park?

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People show personal feelings among the shrubbery:IMG_1560

 

Grounds for Sculpture is a treasure. It’s one of the most unusual parks I’ve seen. Theres a wonderful restaurant on the property called “Rats.” The name is from the classic book, “The Wind in the Willows.” Worth a trip!

BROKEN ANKLE

It’s all my yoga teacher’s fault. She told our class that a good way to prevent and treat leg cramps was to drink cocoanut water. So when I woke up in the middle of the night I drowsily ambled into the kitchen to get a glass of the brew.

Suddenly, when I opened the refrigerator door a wave of dizziness overtook me and I fell to the floor. And that’s without storing Limburger cheese in the cheese drawer. Who wouldn’t swoon after a whiff of that stuff?

The next morning I was greeted with a swollen foot the size of a NY Knicks basketball.

An emergency visit to our friendly local orthopedic surgeon became a necessity, even though when he x-rayed the ankle and proclaimed it broken. Who needs news like that on a Friday morning before a beautiful weekend? His diagnosis ruled out a hike at the Delaware River Water Gap, a hot air balloon ride in Peapack/Gladstone and battling through end of summer sale at Fox’s. Since none of these activities were on our agenda anyway it wasn’t such a loss. But mobility was.

Crutches hurt, walkers require hopping on one foot (preferably the good one), and rickshaw rides are not available in our neighborhood.

On to the internet, where I learned of the wondrous device called a “knee scooter.” This gadget allows mobility, carries your stuff in a basket on front and was fun. I could just picture my grandchildren fighting over who will play with my new toy first.

So I leave you with this famous quote:

photo 1        “Bones, shmones. As long as you’ve got your health!”

 

 

SALES RESISTANCE

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We were having a beautiful experience traveling through Spain; getting a sense of its history, enjoying exquisite scenery, and living the lives of jet-setters. Everyone we met was friendly, welcoming and pleasant.

Until we came upon her: an elderly local woman with a basket full of crocheted shawls. All I had to do was make initial eye contact and “my goose was cooked.” She earmarked me as a prospective customer, and nothing I could do could save me from those persistent eyes. She started to follow me across the church patio, holding up a shawl with a pleading expression on her face.

“Twenty five dollars,” she begged.

No, I said, walking away. But she persisted, following me across the plaza.

“Look. Beautiful,” she said, as she wrapped the shawl around my shoulders. “$25.00.”

Bargain with her, my inner voice coaxed. Don’t agree to the first price she offers.

Is it hand made? I asked. She held up her hands and pointed to her arthritic old fingers, signaling that she crocheted every stitch by hand. Along with the hand-showing she put on a pathetically sad, overworked, exhausted expression.

Poor old thing, I commiserated. She looks at my life, a traveling tourist able to afford the luxury of leaving my country to explore hers, while she labors away stitching these shawls. She probably sews in a room with poor light and uncomfortable back-breaking chairs. I’ll bet she lives with her family, including a bunch of small children whom she helps support. How can I haggle with her for a miserable few dollars?

I could always use a hand crocheted black shawl, I reasoned convincingly. So I gave in and paid her the full price she asked. I tucked my new purchase into my traveling bag and joined my husband and friends for a tour of the church. On the way back to the hotel, we passed a shop in town filled with local souvenirs.

There on display was a counter filled with identical shawls to the one I had just bought. Each shawl was enclosed in an individual plastic bag, indicating that it was factory made, not home sewn. On closer inspection I saw a small tag saying, “Made in China.”

They were selling for $15.00 apiece.

MY SENIOR PROM

I didn’t have a boyfriend.

It was senior year. I had written SENIOR PROM in large capital red letters on our wall calendar

in the kitchen the moment the date was announced.

What could I do? Stay home? Admit I had nobody to ask? Confess to the world or ever worse, to the

popular clique that no boy had asked me to go? Not a chance. No way would I admit that to anyone.

The humiliation would be too great to bear! I’d have to think of something drastic.

Who could I invite? My mind turned over its Rolodex for names from every walk of my seventeen year

old life. Distant cousins, brothers of friends, the delivery guy from the drug store. Nobody seemed

right.

At the time my family belonged to a swim club, staffed mainly by a group of college students. One

particularly handsome lifeguard was Mike, a blonde, muscular He-Man type that every girl at the

club had a crush on. Could I dare ask him?

“You have nothing to lose. All he could do is say No,” advised my mother.

If he refuses nobody has to know I ever invited him. So, I reasoned, I would not lose face or be

mortified. But if he said “Yes,” I’d be the envy of every girl in the senior class. Imagine walking

into the prom with Mike, the dreamboat lifeguard.

I became my own best friend and gave myself a pep-talk, mustered up my courage and approached Mike

one afternoon during his break. “Hi, Mike. Um, I was just wondering: like would you maybe sort of

like to come to my senior prom with me?”  

“Sure. That sounds like fun.”

Wait a minute. Did he actually agree to be my date for the senior prom? As if it was

no big deal? As if it didn’t matter who took me to the senior prom? That was way too easy! I was

incredulous and excited beyond belief; it took total control to keep from screeching and jumping up

and down.

I primped, I fussed, I did everything I could do to look grown up and sophisticated. After all, my

date was a college man, not some sniveling babyish high school kid.

With great expectations I opened the door the second the doorbell rang that night. But something

had changed. Mike no longer had that wind-blown casual, blonde sexy hair he did at the swim club.

Someone had chopped his hair and cut it way too short. And it wasn’t the summer blonde I

remembered. He didn’t look cool any more. He didn’t look hip. He didn’t even look handsome. And

worst of all he looked old. He must have been at least nineteen, and looked over twenty. Mike would

be out of place at a high school dance; he’d never fit in. And I’d be the laughing stock of the

class.

I never found out what my classmates said about Mike and nobody said anything about him to me. My

memories about that night are vague and totally forgettable. But never again did I invite a date

for the shallow reasons I invited Mike to the Senior Prom.

He never called me after the dance. I never saw him again.

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