Friday, February 26, 2021

The Original Tik-Tok

 Daddy Steve:  Lately I seem to be consumed with trying to recapture my childhood.  I think one retreats to the past when the present seems unmanageable.  Of course, the past was far from perfect, but time has a way of smoothing out the rough edges of our memories.

When I was a kid, no summer vacation was complete without the family pilgrimage to Minnesota's north shore along Lake Superior (I expect this was true for a lot of Minnesota families).  The north shore offers spectacular scenery; and to me always seemed a bit exotic -- the closest place one can get to the ocean in landlocked Minnesota.  The annual excursions with my parents and grandparents always begun in Duluth, the 'Zenith City of the great unsalted seas', then up Highway 61 to Split Rock Lighthouse, just south of Silver Bay.

Just before reaching the lighthouse, there was a place my family referred to as a 'tourist trap'.  Known as Split Rock Trading Post, it was basically a gift shop packed with a variety of kitschy souvenirs, along with just enough 'attractions' (a lookout tower! real deer to feed!) that it could be regarded as a legitimate destination.  It was the type of place that attracted kids like moths to a flame, and we never made a trip without stopping there.

Inside, some of the most popular items for sale were clocks; an entire wall of inexpensive, brightly painted, German-made clocks.  As soon as you opened the door, you were struck by the sound of dozens of clocks all tick-tocking to their own beats.

During those childhood summers, my parents bought me two: an orange one that hung in my room at home and a green one that hung in my room at my grandparents' house.  God only knows what happened to those clocks; they're long gone.

Fortunately, eBay is the ultimate way-back machine where you can recover just about anything from your childhood.  Thus, I was able to find this clock and request it as a Christmas present (and Santa Daddy John came through!).

It even came in its original box!

The kids all like the new clock.  They often lament that most things in the world are far too large from them.  Not my beloved clock!

Marco: It's my turn to wind the clock today.
Blake: And I'm up tomorrow.

Sasha, my childhood Gregor doll, actually remembers the original!

Sasha: Oh yes, it's just like the one at Grandma and Grandpa's house in the country.  
The tick-tocking kept the bears away, so it always made me feel safe!
Frederick: Wow, cool!

As it comes from their native land, the Gotz kids are especially fond of the new clock.  Although, they have varied opinions as to its usefulness...

Uli: It's so nice to haff a good German clock in the house.
Kurt: Ja, wunderbar!
Barbara: Well, it is very pretty, but who cares what time it is?
Beatrix: Exactly!  Time is for grownups to worry about.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Cowboy Pete in the Wild West

 It's a quiet afternoon in Gregoropolis (Daddies Steve and John would think suspiciously quiet), so Pete Dakota has decided to sprawl on the couch with a good book...

Pete Dakota: What sounds good today?

Pete: Hmmm, I haven't noticed this one before.

Pete: The Lost Mine of Big Bug Mesa by Randolph L. Tumbleweed.  
Oooh, a western!  Just the thing...

Pete: "The first in a series about cowboy-detective Monterey Jack and his faithful steed, Midnight Beauty.  Their adventures in the untamed west of the 1880s will thrill readers of all ages."

Pete: Chapter One: "The Mystery of the Mine.  Cowboy-detective Monterey Jack had been on the trail east of Tombstone for three hours when he heard gunshots..."  Okay, I'm hooked.

Lost in the novel's rootin'-tootin' tale, Pete soon daydreams that he is the hero of the book...

Pete: Time to saddle up!

Pete: Ride, Beauty!  We've got to find the lost mine before those claim jumpers!

Pete, as Monterey Jack: "Those owl-hoots are hiding out at the BAR 5-Aces Ranch!  

Monterey Jack: "Quiet now, Beauty.  We'll sneak up on 'em and catch 'em
 like rattlers outta their skins."

Oh, no!  The varmints have ambushed Jack!  It's a gunfight between Jack, the no good Cerulean Twins, and Yellabelly Carter!

Monterey Jack: Yore lives ain't worth plugged nickels, boys.  Give up now!

Our heroic reader races to the end to find that of course, Monterey Jack has saved the day.  
The claim-jumpers are sent to the hoosegow and the lost mine remains hidden and safe.

Monterey Jack: "Boy howdy, muh dogs are plumb tuckered out. 
Mebbe a little shut-eye fer a spell."

Pete: Yippe-Ki-Yay, m--- <snore>
BR: I almost hate to wake him up.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Kiss, Kiss

 Daddy Steve: The kids are busy decorating for the annual Gregoropolis Valentine's Day party.  Naturally, Holly Belle has taken charge.

Wesley: Is this where you want it?
Holly Belle: A little lower...lower...lower.  Not that low!
Wesley: Oh good grief!

James: You think old Wes regrets volunteering for that job?
Rhoda: Big time!

Ezra: What's that stuff you're hanging up?
Holly Belle: If you must know, it's the kisstletoe.
Ezra and Oliver: Kisstle-what?
Holly Belle: At Christmas we have mistletoe; so on Valentine's Day we have kisstletoe.

Oliver: There ain't no such thing as kisseltoe!
Meghan: There ain't no such thing as 'ain't', but here we are.
Ezra: That's just silly.
Holly Belle: No, it's not.  There is Christmas cactus and Easter cactus.  
Why should mistletoe be any different?
Oliver and Ezra: Well,

Ezra: Is there really such a thing as kisstletoe?
Patrick: Regretfully, we are unable to answer your question at this time.
Luke: Aw, come on.  We came to you guys 'cause you're smart!
Ravi: Which is precisely why we are not getting involved.

And soon enough, the party begins...

Meghan: All right, gentlemen, it's smooch time!
Holly Belle:  🎶...Oh, John Martin...🎶...wouldn't you like to give me a kiss?

John Martin: Er, ah, you know I think I may be getting a cold sore.
Nathan: I'll give you a kiss, Holly Belle.
Holly Belle: Well, Nathan!  >tee-hee<  Aren't you the dark horse Romeo!

Nathan: Now close your eyes, pucker up, and get ready for the biggest kiss you've ever had.
Holly Belle: I'm ready!

Holly Belle: Hey, this isn't what I had in mind!
Frank: I'll take it if you don't want it!


Saturday, February 6, 2021

Cabin Fever?

 Daddy John: Oh dear, it seems that Nicholas Sahara has gone a little lockdown loco...

Scot-Michael Nickles, you get back inside right now!  It's freezing out here!

Nicholas Sahara: I don't bloody care!  The sun's out; I'm out!