Before social media radio programs filled the gapPublished 10:56am Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting
“I’ll bet nothing surprises you anymore.”
“Everything surprises me.”
“Really? I thought you’d seen it all.”
“I have, but I’ve forgotten most of it.”
Driving by the Bruces
I have two wonderful neighbors —both named Bruce — who live across the road from each other. Whenever I pass their driveways, thoughts occur to me, such as: no matter how loud car alarms are, cars don’t wake up.
1. To stay away from breakfast cereals that change the color of milk.
2. That I can always find an expert to support my beliefs.
3. Men say things without thinking and think things without saying.
There are ghosts. I walk about a cemetery — St. Peter’s. There is a crowd. My parents, in-laws, friends, and neighbors are buried there. I see ghosts. My memory riles them up. I place a stone on the tombstone of my parents — a sign that I had visited and remembered. I remember mother asking me what kind of birthday cake I wanted. I wanted a birthday pie. I remember telling father, a lover of Allis-Chalmers tractors, that the school had changed its colors so boys could wear John Deere caps to graduation. Memories are ghosts that I’m pleased to contemplate.
There is a dreamcatcher on the wall near our bed. It resembles a miniature basketball net. According to legend, good dreams pass through the net to comfort a sleeping person. Bad dreams become tangled in the net and remain trapped until dawn, when they perish.
I thought the dreamcatcher had slipped up. It was the middle of the night. I was sleeping the sleep of the innocent and uninformed. Suddenly, something howling like a bad transmission interrupted my sleep. Someone had summoned the flying monkeys. It was no dream. It was the loud meowing of a cat
“Shut your kibble-hole!” I said in a kind and caring manner. I had run to the end of my chain and barked.
Back to sleep I went. I knew the path.
Once again, my sleep ended in noise. This time, it was that “hoopa” sound cats make before they cough up a hairball. I jumped from bed and searched for the feline. After stubbing a toe only once, I found the cat napping as if nothing had happened. That “hoopa” would make the perfect sound for an alarm clock. No one ever owned by a cat would be able to sleep through it.
Old time radio
A friend maintains we share too much, thanks to cell phones, email, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. We’ve always shared a great deal. When I was a boy, there were only three TV channels. You couldn’t tape a program to watch later or zap the commercials. There weren’t many varieties of breakfast cereals, so we shared TV channels and cereals. We shared plenty. Radio offered more choices. I missed the golden age of radio, but I’ve listened to replays. TV had taken most of the programs but I could listen to the old radio shows in reruns. I enjoyed listening to Fibber McGee and Molly, Jack Benny, Fred Allen, Lum & Abner, The Great Gildersleeve, Pat Novak For Hire, Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy, Red Skelton, Bob Hope, Stan Freberg, etc.
I listened less intently to The Green Hornet, Suspense, The Shadow, Gunsmoke, Boston Blackie, Inner Sanctum, and The Lone Ranger. My mother spoke fondly of listening to Art Linkletter’s House Party where Art asked kids from Los Angeles grammar schools questions like, “What does your Mommy do?” and to Arthur Godfrey who strummed the ukulele, whose theme song was “Seems Like Old Times,” and was sponsored by Lipton Tea. Mom told of marching around the breakfast table on orders from Don McNeil’s Breakfast Club.
No investment pays higher returns than a kind word.