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Assembly Required

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

YUCAIPA, CA – I’m a sucker for yard sales. So as I drove down California Street last Saturday and saw the sign, “school yard sale today only,” at Yucaipa Elementary School, I pulled over.

Right away I spotted the large unopened Office Depot boxes leaning against the school wall. Five brand spanking new computer desks for $25 each. What a deal.

And my timing was right. The yard sale was winding down and the folks in charge didn’t want to reload the heavy boxes that weighed about 100 pounds each and cart them off to store in someone’s garage until the next sale.

“Make me an offer,” said the man

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My galloping fear

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

YUCAIPA, CA – Fear whispered in my ear. “If she gallops, you’re going to fall off.”

For months after I first crawled on top of Mary’s broad, white back, the ground seemed miles away. A long way for a little boy to fall. So whenever Mary grabbed the bridle bit between her clinched jaws and shook her head up and down, telling me, “let’s run,” I pulled back on the reins.

Afraid I would go tumbling off if I let her gallop. Trotting was fine. That I could handle.

I was about nine or 10 at the time, and we lived on the Marshall Ronnigen farm near Zumbrota in the mid 1950s where my dad worked as a hired hand. For me it was if I had floated blissfully into horse heaven.

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I pray the Lord my soul to take

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

YUCAIPA, CA – I remember back when I was a little boy, my mother pulling the covers up tight all around me and clasping my hands together in prayer like all good Catholic mothers did with their children at bedtime.

And then we would recite the bedtime prayer that she insisted I repeat over and over until the words were forever locked in my memory.

“Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray to the Lord my soul to keep…”

Looking back and seeing myself lying as an innocent little cherub in bed, I can’t imagine the Lord not wanting to keep my soul. But that was then.

He might not be so willing today.

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Our Birthday boy turns 16

Friday, July 31st, 2009

A look back in time and sharing memories of Cameron Gilmore and the people who love him.

YUCAIPA, CA – He’s tall, he’s handsome, he’s smart, he’s athletic, and he’s got a wonderful personality.

And he just happens to be my grandson. And today is his birthday. So happy birthday Cameron Gilmore from your dear old granddad!

But beware fathers of teenage daughters as Cameron celebrates his 16th birthday. A time in a young man’s life when his thoughts are centered on three things: Girls, driving a car, and more girls.

And least you not take heed, read the first sentence above about tall, handsome, smart…

Of course it’s time for me to shop for a present for the birthday boy. But then I got to thinking after I came across this poem that makes a lot of good (and economical) sense – at least to me.

Happy Birthday Cameron
You’ve got a great life
You look wonderful and your health is good too
So how could a measly present from me compete with that?

But most of all…

“A world of wishes grandson, meant especially for you,
May all the nicest things be yours today
And all year through
Happy Birthday buddy!”

From Grandpa Bob
And Grandma Nan

And here’s a special birthday tune from Sheriff John’s Birthday Cake song.
Click Here To Hear Birthday Song

Pat, welcome to Club 60

Sunday, July 26th, 2009

YUCAIPA, CA – My son-in-law’s mother Pat officially joined Club 60 yesterday with a birthday party. The joyous occasion was filled with tender hugs and touching birthday cards, and a bon voyage from the youngsters in the family wishing Pat well as she hobbles off to the old folks home.

They showered her with gifts such as senior diapers, a gift card for a hearing aid, and a walking cane. And they gathered around as Pat blew out dozens upon dozens of candles on her birthday cake. It was all part of the ritual that advances one into the youngest of the old folks clubs – Club 60.

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When the muse speaks, I listen

Friday, July 24th, 2009

YUCAIPA, CA – I rolled over to peek at the clock on my bed stand. 4 a.m. Not the most ideal time he has awakened me from a sound sleep. But I’ve learned that when he speaks, I should listen.

He’s my muse. I picture him as this friendly, diminutive little fellow about four inches tall, wearing wire-rimmed glasses, with a receding hairline. And he has a bit of a paunch. I’ve named him Fred. When Fred appears, he hops up on my right shoulder and whispers in my ear.

“I’ve got this great idea. Let’s write about this…”

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Murky creek leads to higher education

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

WANAMINGO, MN – I stood in the creek up to my waist. A murky, smelly, mosquito infested creek that cattle urinated in. My blue jeans were caked with black, gooey mud. The hot July sun bore down, its blistering rays burning my bare back to a bright red.

What in the hell am I doing? Why am I working such a crappy job? I asked myself.

“Push it (culvert) to your right!” yelled Wagner Swee. The construction boss was upset that I wasn’t moving fast enough, or following his orders well enough to suite him.

“I’m trying!” I yelled back, wanting to drag his butt into the creek with me.

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Hand over the ladle and step out of the kitchen

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

YUCAIPA, CA – For the 34 years of our marriage, I’ve never wrinkled my nose at any meal my wife has set down before me at the dinner table.

Be it pork spareribs, steak, Lasagna, turkey with all the trimmings, glazed ham with Au gratin potatoes, or for desert, a golden-crusted apple pie freshly baked from the oven.

Hmm, all good stuff.

But when it comes to spaghetti sauce, sorry honey but you need to hand over the ladle to your daughter and graciously step out of the kitchen.

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All’s well with Tassie girl

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

YUCAIPA, CA – For those who have read the story about the Otto family’s recent adoption of Tassie, the news is still good. Tassie had a visit with the vet yesterday, and although she didn’t like having her temperature taken (at the other end), she passed her exam with flying colors.

And the doc said that she guessed Tassie to be five or six years old, not nine as the Ramona Humane Society had estimated. While we waited for the doc’s visit, one lady came up patted Tassie’s head and asked if she good give her a treat.

I just hope that all this publicity and adoration doesn’t swell Tassie’s ego and she starts making demands like morning AND evening walks; visits to the beauty parlor for Saturday morning styles and pedicures; and trips to Starbucks for…well, you get the picture.

On the home front, Tassie has adjusted well. She’s our constant companion and lays or sits either at mine or Nanette’s side. In fact the matron, who isn’t particularly fond of canines, admits that I (yes I!) made a wise choice in adopting Tassie.

“She’s a mellow dog and I like her,” Nanette said. “Bob made a good choice.” (I had to prod the last part out of her.)

On Sunday, Brian our son brought his three dogs, Bella, Millie, and Sebastian over for a play date with Tassie. The one thing that had bothered me was that Tassie hadn’t barked in the five days since I had brought her home. But playing with Brian and Jen’s clan loosened up her vocal chords and she let out a couple of “woofs.” Not very loud, but still very dog like.

Unlike Cassie, who loved being outdoors, Tassie prefers lounging around indoors. But that’s OK. It’s kind of neat having my new friend lying at my feet as I type this story.

“Wanna go for a walk girl?”

“OK, let’s go.”

Internet search leads to blond, beautiful Tassie

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

YUCAIPA, CA – I was on the Internet yesterday searching for female companionship.

I wanted someone close to my age, someone with an attractive physique, someone of a gentle and kind nature, someone who likes to relax in the evening lying close by my side, and someone who likes early morning walks in the park.

And did I ever luck out and find a beauty. Her name is Tassie and she comes from San Jacinto. She’s blond, rather tall and long-legged, with big brown eyes that melt your heart.

And she only cost me $48.75 and she came with a leash and collar.

By now my ruse should be up and my wife Nanette can relax. (Up to this point, she probably was steaming and muttering under her breath, “I always suspected the S.O.B. would someday cheat on me!”)

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