The Real(ish) Story of St. Patrick

Of course everyone knows that St. Patrick is the patron saint of four-leaf clovers because he was partial to the color green.  But there are other little known facts about St. Patrick that the average person might not know.

For instance, back in the days when St. Patrick was alive, they had a lot of snakes slithering around Ireland.  It was really gross.  The whole place just gave you the heebie-jeebies.  As a matter of fact, that is why the Irish Jig was invented – to keep from stepping on them. But that’s another story I haven’t made up yet.

Irish Jig Dancers performing the “Get a load of the size of that one!” twirling leap
Anyway, St. Patrick, who happened to not like snakes very well, decided to take it upon himself to rid the entire island of them. He set about doing this by writing down some goals and sticking them up on the village mirror and by repeating them over and over whenever he had some spare time.

“Six slippery snakes slid slowly seawards . . . six slippery snakes slid slowly seawards . . . “

It must have worked because St. Patrick is credited, history-wise, with getting the entire population of Ireland totally onboard with Christianity, foods that are magically delicious, and snake ridding.

But it was the snake ridding that really got his name in print. The story goes somewhat but not very much like this:

You see, St. Patrick was nothing if not charming. He had it all, looks, a winning personality and a flashy carriage to cruise around in.  This is a guy who had powers of persuasion in spades.

So St. Patrick, being a man of the cloth, (he had a huge and impressive cloth collection) decided that everyone hopping around all the time trying to side step snakes was depleting the citizenry of their usual vim.  (Vigor hadn’t been invented yet.)

It was obvious something needed to be done, post-haste.  And so he decided to “charm” the snakes out of Ireland. 

He started by inviting all the snakes over to his house, under the guise of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day and began charming the pants off them (In those days Irish snakes wore plaid pants with little matching berets.)  He did this by slathering the blarney on pretty thick and following up with a plethora of pandering and topped off with a prodigious pitcher of empty promises.  Pat was pretty proud.

Then, when he realized he was running low on straws for the rum and cokes, he quickly herded his limbless revelers outside and managed to lure them over the White Cliffs of Dover where they toppled, snake-like, into the sea where they became dead as doornails (Albeit very large doornails).

And of course, we all know what happened next. St. Patrick painted the White Cliffs of Dover green to commemorate the occasion.

So next time you have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day, you’ll know why.

Until next time . . . I love you

What Really Happened When George Cut Down the Cherry Tree

Setting: George Washington’s Sixth Birthday. 

Happy Birthday Hatchet Pie!

Our story opens when George Washington’s father comes outside and finds that the cherry tree has been chopped down:

What the?  George Washington come here right NOW!

Yes father?

Something tells me you cut down this cherry tree with the hatchet I got you for your birthday today!  I knew you were too young for a hatchet!  I knew I should have gone with your mother’s suggestion and gotten you a guillotine instead.

Father, please . . . I’m six!  All the other children in the township got hatchets when they turned three!  I mean, it’s downright embarrassing how long I had to wait to finally get a hatchet of my very own!  And, besides, everybody knows guillotines are for babies.

Well look what happens.  I finally get you a hatchet, and you haven’t even had it more than an hour and what’s the first thing you do? Cut down my prized cherry tree!

Well, I cannot tell a lie, Father.  It’s not exactly the first thing I cut down.

What?!?

Well now that you’ve brought it up, and since I cannot tell a lie, this might be as good a time as any to mention that first I cut down the apple tree, then I cut down the apricot tree and, lastly, I cut down the cherry tree — in addition to hacking up a couple of rose bushes.

That does it George, march yourself to the woodshed, I’m giving you a sound whipping’!

Father, as you know, I cannot tell a lie, so this might be as good a time as any to also mention that the woodshed isn’t as much of a woodshed as it used to be . . .

 On no!  Not another “I cannot tell a lie!”

In fact, it would be more accurate, Dear Father, if we were to start thinking of the woodshed in terms of a rather large pile of kindling rather than an  actual building in and of itself.

Nothing like the thrill of killing and eating fruit!

Oh for crying out loud!  Well, I hope you at least saved the fruit so that your mother can bake us some pies . . . George?  You did save the fruit from the trees didn’t you?

Oh that . . . well . . .  I can cannot tell a lie, Father, for I surely would if it would spare you the heartache of telling you that I but finished off the last of fruit only seconds ago.

Ha ha! Well,  you might be the naughtiest boy in the world but at least you’re honest George, my boy!   I have a feeling you are going to grow up to be the very first President of the United States of America!  Now off with you!  Oh . . . and for godsakes don’t forget to brush your teeth again!

Happy Birthday George Washington!  Wherever you are!

Until next time . . . I love you

Oh Valentine! You had me at Dear Occupant:

Valentine's Day

Dear Readers!  I rushed breathlessly to my mailbox this morning, and discovered I had a new suitor and just in time for Valentine’s Day!

It seems Xfinity is now in crazy, passionate occupant love with little ol’ moi! 

Ah!  Be still my beating letter opener!

First off, no matter what I decide about whether I’m going to allow myself to be “wooed” by Xfinity, they want me to know that this plastic card that was attached to the occupant love letter is mine to keep!

When it comes to occupant love, a plastic card is the equivalent of a diamond engagement ring except it’s not as sparkly, it can’t cut glass . . . but still . . . 

Then there’s this:

Don’t worry, you don’t need to read it, it’s way too boring, (sigh) however I did read it and here’s what it more or less says:

If you pay Xfinity $30 every month, they’ll put security cameras all over your house so that if you decide to go to Hawaii, you’ll be able to sit on the beach and stare at your house on your smart phone to make sure everything is still not stolen every minute of every day until it’s time to come home.

Or it means you’ll be able to actually watch live on your smart phone as a burglar breaks into your house and steals all your stuff!

And Xfinity is also offering the handy feature of being able to control the lights in your home remotely so that while you are sitting on the beach in Hawaii you can turn the lights on in your house in order to better see the burglar who is stealing all your stuff.

Jeepers!  That’s a pretty good proposal Xfinity is offering little ol’ moi!  Let’s see what other occupant tokens of love Xfinity is throwing at me to win my affections:

Oh Goody!  A touch screen controller . . .So when my grandson touches all the buttons trying to access Elmo, it will accidentally trigger the swat team to be dispatched to my house. Well, okay, that’s pretty cool.

And, with this 3 window/door sensors Xfinity is offering to provide me with much needed help when it comes to sensing which is a door and which is a window.  Well that’s over-the-top thoughtful!  I’m really liking the direction Xfinity is taking me in with this one.

Oh wow!  Every time we move, an alarm will go off at the police department!  Well, I’m all for that.  Who wouldn’t be?

Woo-hoo!  A keypad!  Xfinity doesn’t say what this if for but I think we all know by now, don’t we?

It’s the Xfinity Wireless Keypad to my heart! 

Because Xfinity has finally managed to woo me with their tokens of occupant affection.

It seems now all I have left to say to Xfinity is

 “you had me at  “Dear Linda Vernon and/or Occupant” 

I don’t know about you, Dear Readers, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to have a heck of a happy Valentine’s day this year!

If you need me I’ll be on hold with my new beloved XOXOXfinity!”

Until next time . . . I still love you but not quite as much as I do you know who

My Brain Peanuts Remembers: Santa Claus

Welcome Dear Readers to this edition of My Brain, Peanuts, remembers.

Today’s Topic:  Santa Claus

The first memory of Santa I have takes place in 1954, when I was three, and Santa Claus was making a live appearance in the basement of the Presbyterian church.  On the big day, everyone filed down the stairs to the chilly  church basement and eagerly awaited the arrival of The Man in Red. (Back then church-goers didn’t really worry about anyone forgetting that Jesus was the reason for the season because 1) there was plenty of room in church for both Santa and the baby Jesus and 2) nobody had thought of that catchy phrase yet.)

Ice-Cold Church Basement Sunday School Clay

Anyway, we all stood around watching our breaths and breathing in the aroma of Sunday School Clay.  That’s because our church basement always smelled like Sunday school clay. Sunday school clay is different from ordinary clay by virtue of the fact that it is kept in the cold church basement.  So Sunday school clay was always somewhat frozen and by the time you got it warmed up enough to roll it into something as simple as a snake, Sunday school was over.

I never understood why they even bothered with having clay unless it was just something to keep us occupied while the Sunday School teacher was earnestly trying to impart some useful biblical wisdom into our somewhat disengaged little minds.

A Communistic Christmas?

Anyway, we all stood around waiting for Santa and shivering beneath the glare of church basement’s fluorescent lights that cast a Russian-esque-like hue over the scene — probably not unlike the same scene that was transpiring on in the opposite side of our cold-war globe in the basement of the Kremlin while communist children waited for Soviet Santa to make his appearance –i.e. Khrushchev in a fuzzy hat.

Santa Khrushchev
I will bury you! No wait . . . have yourself a very merry Christmas . . . and then I will bury you!

 Anyway, when our Santa Claus finally appeared, he was wearing a rubber Santa Claus mask.  The weird thing is, I was the only one that seemed to notice.

Santa Mask
Mask? What mask?

All the kids ran up to him as he handed out candy.  I thought this was extremely alarming. So I began shouting at the top of my lungs, “Thanta Clauth ith wearing a Mathk!”   (I had a slight lisp at the time.)

But no one seemed to care.  Everyone was on board with this rubber-masked imposter. They were taking candy from him like it was candy.  What was wrong with everyone?  I screamed!  I shouted!  I was a three-year-old Paul Revere trying to warn my fellow pint-sized citizens not be taken in by this Santa Claus Charlton!  But nobody listened.

Not the Real Santa

On the way home, my mother tried to tell me that that wasn’t the real Santa wearing the rubber mask in the church basement.  The real Santa was busy at the north pole making presents, and he couldn’t take the time off to come all the way to our town to hand out candy (Plus it was probably too cold in that church basement even for him!)

I do believe in Santa . . . I do . . . I do . . . I do!

I wanted to believe her story.  I really did.  I looked up at the stars and tried to imagine Santa flying through the air.  I strained to hear the sound of Santa’s sleigh bells.  I neither saw nor heard a thing.  Try as I might, the integrity of the Santa story was beginning to form some big, gaping holes.

The Jack Hubbard Incident

When I was five years old, the subject of Santa came up, and I cruelly broke the news to dear, sweet, innocent, Santa-believing, Jack Hubbard that there was no Santa Claus.  I explained that he was merely a figment of the imagination, a tale told by an idiot, full of thound and fury thignifying nothing.(I still had my lisp).

A traumatized Jack Hubbard ran home, broken-hearted and told his mother what I had said.  Mrs. Hubbard called my mother.

My Mother:  Hello

Mrs. Hubbard:  Jack said Linda told him there was no Santa Claus. Did she tell Jack that?

My Mother:  Oh gosh I don’t know.  Let me ask her (my mother put the phone to her chest).  Linda, did you tell Jack there is no Santa Claus?

Me:  Yes.

My Mother:  Yes apparently she did tell Jack there wasn’t any Santa Claus.

Mrs. Hubbard: Why did she do that?

My Mother:  Oh gosh. Let me ask her.  (My mother put the phone to her chest again) Linda, why did you tell Jack there wasn’t any Santa Claus?

Me:  Because there isn’t any Santa Claus.

My Mother:  Oh.

I don’t remember what my mother said after that, but I do remember that neither my mother nor Mrs. Hubbard were none to happy with me and, frankly, I’ve been feeling guilty about it ever since.

This year my five-year-old grandson asked me if Santa Claus really existed.  I told him that believing in Santa Claus is a personal decision that he would have to make for himself. This seemed to placate him since he didn’t exactly understand what I was saying.

If only I had thought of this answer when I broke the news to Jack Hubbard.

Until next time . . . I love you

 

 

 

Mummy Tell Me Again About Labor Day

Welcome Dear Readers!  Well it’s Labor Day here in the United States of America!  Which means a lot of people get the day off.  Nobody knows why and nobody cares why.

Well, Dear Readers, I for one, feel that Labor Day is getting the shaft, and that’s why I have taken the liberty of writing an educational story about Labor Day to create awareness for Labor Day appreciation.

Mummy, Tell Me Again About Labor Day

“Mummy, tell me again about Labor Day,” little Tommy Sweatington begged his mother one fine Labor Day morn. “For as you know mummy,” little Tommy continued, “tis my favorite American Federal holiday of all!”

Mummy Sweatington looked up from her task of scrubbing the floors of City Hall with a toothbrush and replied, “Tommy!  How many times have I told you never to come to City Hall wearing your pajamas!”

Mummy’s harsh words made Tommy’s heart sink and push down on his kidneys in such a way as to make the tears in Tommy’s eyes shoot out at odd trajectories.  But then he remembered it was Labor Day, his favorite American Federal holiday, and his heart floated back up to its proper position and his tears reversed their trajectory and went back into his eyes.

Once his vision cleared, Tommy noticed something very strange.  His mother was workingMummy was working on Labor Day! 

“Mummy!” screamed Tommy, “don’t you know that in 1882 Matthew MacGuire proposed Labor Day after witnessing a labor festival held in  Toronto Canada which eventually led to the observance of my most beloved American Federal Holiday  — Labor Day?  Mummy, I implore you to tell me why you are working on Labor Day?”

At this, Tommy became agitated and then Tommy became appalled and finally Tommy became apoplectic — which didn’t last very long — because right after that Tommy went back to being appalled and then merely agitated and by the time his mother looked up to answer his question, Tommy was pretty much back to normal.

“But Tommy Dear,” Mummy Sweatington replied, “I’m not working.  Scrubbing the floors of the City Hall is my hobby, silly!”

“But Mummy!” Tommy protested.  “Why would you want to have a hobby that requires you to scrub the floors of City Hall with your toothbrush?”

“Tommy darling, you don’t understand.  I’m not using my toothbrush to scrub the floors of City Hall, I’m using your toothbrush!”

And a good Labor Day laugh was had by all!

“That Mummy’s a riot!”

***

Happy Labor Day!

Until next time . . . I love you

Take the Christmas Litmus Test

Merry Christmas Dear Readers!  Are you having a fun Christmas so far?  What?  You’re not sure?  Well, take the Christmas Litmus test and find out!

You are having a fun Christmas so far if Santa didn’t bring you a:

You are having a fun Christmas so far if Christmas dinner doesn’t smell like:

You are having a fun Christmas so far if when your children opened the Christmas gifts you gave them they didn’t:

You are having a fun Christmas so far if the guests at your Christmas dinner didn’t consist of just you and:

 And there you have it, Dear Readers.  I hope this clears up any confusion you were having about whether or not you are having a fun Christmas!

Christmas dinner sure smells good!
Hey whatcha cookin’ for Christmas dinner?  It smells kinda familiar?

Until next time . . . I love you

A Visit from the Kind of Crazy Crabby Christmas Lady

Welcome Dear Readers!  Well we almost did it.  We almost got through Christmas without a visit from the Kind of Crazy Crabby Christmas Lady.  Unfortunately when I opened up the blog today she was camped outside waiting for us with her cats,  17 fruit cakes and a stick of dynamite.   I think we better humor her, don’t you?  Oh here she comes now . . . act natural . . . 

The Kind of Crazy Crabby Christmas Lady
The Kind of Crazy Crabby Christmas Lady

“Merry Christmas Crabby Christmas Lady! What a surprise!  Fancy meeting you here!”

Listen Toots.   I’m not a big fan of Christmas.  Okay? Got that?  First of all, Christmas comes every single year. That’s way too often, Toots.  Waaay too often!  Christmas should come every  five years. That way everybody wouldn’t be so sick of it.   And Jesus would be much younger too.  It’s called a win/win, Toots! Okay? Got that?

“Well Christmas Lady, that’s an interesting idea but—“

Toots I’m not done talking yet.  If Christmas only came once every five years, the Christmas songs wouldn’t be so annoying and repetitive!

“Well, I suppose if—“

Toots!  Stop talking and get some saucers of milk for my cats.  Okay?  Got that?

“Uh I don’t think I have that many saucers, Christmas Lady . . .”

Toots I’m not done talking yet!  The Christmas songs are annoying because of all the bells jing-jing-jingling!   And all the hark hark harking as in hark how the bells, sweet silver bells, all seem to say, throw cares away — what does that mean exactly, Toots? The bells are ringing and ringing and ringing so loud you can’t even hear yourself think, Toots!  You just can’t!  And they are telling you to “throw cares away and buy whatever you want . .  whatever you want, Toots!   Aluminun foil. The bells don’t care that you already have 14,000 boxes of Aluminum foil in your storage unit.  It doesn’t matter if you can’t afford it because the bells told me to do it, Toots!  Toots are you listening? What are you opening the door and handing me my coat, Toots?

“Listen I hate to cut our visit short but—“

Which brings us to the Christmas sugar, Toots! A hahahaha!  I’m dreaming of a white C & H  pure cane sugar from Hawaii Christmas, Toots!  What with all the sugar cookies and the sugar candy and the sugar plums and the sugar houses and the sugar nativity scenes. Have you ever tried to eat a tree ornament, Toots? They are edible you know. They are made of sugar plastic . . . mmm. . . sugar plastic!

And do you know what sugar plastic does Toots?  Well do you?

“Uh  I’m not really listening anymore, Christmas Lady, I— “

Listen and listen good, Toots!  Sugar plastic causes your little fat cells to sit up straight and pay attention all innocent-like at their little fat cell card tables covered with the tiny candy cane plastic table cloths wearing their teensy Santa bibs and Santa hats each holding miniscule red and green plastic forks which they will devour when they are done because they are made out of sugar plastic too.  Okay? Got that?

“Yes Christmas Lady.  By the way, I’m going to be out of town next year at Christmas so there’s no need to be dropping by again.”

Fine.  Good I’m leaving now, Toots. Okay?  Got that?  Here kitty kitty kitty . . 

“Bye Kind of Crazy Crabby Christmas Lady.  Merry Christmas!”

Phew!  I didn’t think we were every going to get rid of her did you, Dear Readers?  Oh look she left us a present under the tree.  Let’s open it early shall we?  Why it’s a stick of dynamite.  Well bless her Kind of Crazy Crabby Christmas heart!

Until next time . . . I love you!