Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Where's The Fire?

Bob held some sort of office in the local lumberman’s union. It was one of those offices where your fellow workers vote you in to air all their grievances, which they do not want to do themselves. Anyway it made him feel good to be the one chosen. It was not an office for the union itself. Still, it was important, as he got to sit in on all the meetings and speak for his guys. This one time there was to be a meeting held in the state capital of Sacramento, California. Wives were also invited and all their expenses paid. Also an overnight stay in a very nice hotel and a dinner for all those invited. We also got to glimpse a couple of celebrities walking through the lobby. Marsha Wallace is one name that comes to mind. She was on the Bob Newhart show. All in all it was a very nice hotel where one should behave themselves and act like any human being would be expected to act. Well, my Bob was certainly a human being and most of the time he acted like he was supposed to do, but he had an awful curiosity wanting to know just how things worked, or if signs he saw, really meant what they said. He therefore had an uncontrollable urge to test them out. You know the kind of people I am talking about. They are the ones that have to touch something that says, “Wet paint. Do not touch!” or a sign that says, “Closed for the day.” That person has to try the doorknob. Things like that. Well here we are in this nice hotel, and after checking into our room, we were ready to go down to the lobby. Waiting for the elevator to come and take us down, Bob spots the little glass enclosed handle that says, “Pull only in case of fire!” He says, “I wonder what would happen if I pulled that?” I tell him, “DON”T YOU DARE! Everyone would think there was a fire and panic would reign. Behave yourself and curb your curiosity.” That was it for a while. Everything was fine until the next day when I opted to stay in the room, while Bob was to attend a meeting. I had forgotten about his questioning me the day before so I was not expecting what happened next. Suddenly, I heard the fire alarm go off and warnings being announced over a loud speaker. I opened the door to see Bob running down the hall towards our room, looking like a scared little boy child, running to the safety of mama! I grabbed him by the front of his shirt and pulled him inside. “What have you done?” I asked him. He sheepishly said, “I wanted to see what would happen, but did not expect this.” “What in the world DID you expect?” I questioned. I got a shrug. There was a lot of commotion outside in the hall, but we waited quietly until all the sound was gone and then I escorted him down to the lobby and pointed him toward his meeting place. People were talking about someone having set off the alarm, but we acted innocent as we possibly could. He always arrived early to appointments, so he was not late for his meeting. I do not think this experience stopped his curiosity, but it slowed it down for a while. My Bob was a sweet, gentle, loving person, but had a flaw in this one part of his personality. Curiosity just got the better of him. However it had one good thing about it. It kept me on my toes!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Up On The Roof Top

Christmas 2009 is over, but I have a Christmas story that is lingering in my mind. It is a memory that makes me smile, and I would like to think you are going to enjoy it also. I am not exactly sure what year it was, but it seems to me that it was in 1959. It really is not that important to the story except for the age of my son who was a major player in the story. I believe he was thirteen years old at the time. He was (and still is) a creator of things. His imagination always works over time to create great pieces of art. This thirteen-year-old boy had decided he wanted to put a rocket on the roof with Santa riding it skyward. That period of time was rocket and space oriented, and what better way to send Santa off on his trip than by the way of a flying rocket ship? First off he had to make a rocket, and his mind was working hard on that image. The body he found in the garage in the form of an old garbage can. There was a hole in the bottom, which two pieces of stove pipe that he found, fit perfectly after some shoving and pushing. These became the exhausts. He now needed a nose cone. My husband worked in a lumberyard and we had a fireplace so it was easy to find lumber lying around in the garage. Three pieces of plywood worked fine when made into a triangle and nailed together, they formed a nose cone. From the back of the exhaust there had to be some fire to get it up into the air. That took a bit of thinking. However it was Christmas time and there were all sorts of things to hang for decorations, so these little pieces of wire covered with red paper and glittery stuff were just the right thing to work on a rocket. Actually they were for making Christmas arrangements for your holiday table. Wow! They really worked well on a rocket also. Paintbrushes came out to make it look more authentic and real. The next step was to get it up on the roof. With a little team effort from all of us, up it went. My husband became as enthused with the project as our son and so wires and rope and whatever was needed, put the rocket in place. Next the main character, which was Santa, had to be created and put into place. Everyone’s closet was raided and clothes were borrowed for good old Saint Nick to be created. A red pair of my slacks, a hooded sweat shirt from someone else, and a lot of old clothes and whatever we could find to stuff into the pants and sweat shirt to give Santa a shape. Voila! Santa came to life. A molded plastic Santa facemask went into the hood to complete the jolly old fellow. Now he had to be mounted on the rocket. Once there and positioned, he was supposed to be upright and ready to take off, but NO! The nice old guy just slumped down like a stack of old clothes in a laundry basket. This was not working at all. Someone had to go down off the roof and find Santa a backbone. A nice long stick and some twine worked well and he finally was sitting up straight. All that was left to do was to put a spotlight on him so he could be seen ready for his takeoff. That being done, everyone was delighted with the efforts and the neighbors were even agreeable that Santa looked pretty good. There he sat “up on the house top,” for a few days anyway, until one day came when the wind decided he should take a tumble. A girlfriend was visiting me at the time and we were the only ones available to get Santa back up where he belonged. No problem! We were very capable women and what could be so hard about doing that? Out came the ladder, on went our jackets, and up we went to rescue the old boy! It actually was not that hard although it took us a while, but much to our dismay, it started to rain. Not to be deterred we continued our rescue attempt until we were satisfied he would remain upright from now on. Finished, we were ready to descend to safer ground. One big problem arose which we had not anticipated. Going up the ladder was easy. Going down the ladder, not so easy. Neither she nor I felt safe enough to turn ourselves around, make our feet find the rungs, and back down the ladder. We were both scared to death. These two brave women who knew no fear, and felt confident in fixing the problem, were stuck on the roof with the rain pouring down. Hours later, we were still sitting there, drenched to the skin, when my husband came home from his work place, to see two women sitting on the roof top in the rain. It was not easy explaining it to him, but what a sweetheart he was to climb up, give encouragement and direction, to help us down. Still scared, we put our trust in him, and one foot at a time he directed our feet to the first rung and then the next. Feeling solid and firm footing after the second foot went onto a rung, the rest was a snap and the trip down the ladder was fast. A big hug to our savior was natural and tears came easy after our rescue. Tired and cold we quickly went into the house for comfort and repairs to ourselves. Our son was discouraged from getting any more great ideas for rooftops, and we have since encouraged him to give his ideas to a strong firm footing on the ground. That he has done and even got a mention in our local newspaper when he covered our entire house with Santa’s palace. To this day, he is still creating things, but it has been directed now to the creation of miniatures, and he holds an office in the National Association Of Miniature Enthusiasts.