What would Mom, Aunt Helen and Aunt Ruthie do?

My son, Timmy, will be six on Friday and Emily, Cathy’s girl, will be eight on Saturday.  So many kids in the family and that means way too many birthday parties and that means my wife and her sisters are doing the same thing that my mom and aunts used to do with all the kids’ birthdays: they group the birthday parties. It’s easier for the family and a whole lot cheaper, too.

Cleveland is having a good year.  The Cavaliers are in the playoffs and if you’re in the playoffs you have a shot at making the finals and the championship.  The Indians are also playing pretty well so far and staying healthy. With a better start than last year they might make the playoffs this year and again, if you’re in the playoffs you’ve got a chance to play in the World Series and win the championship.

Two contending sports teams and the city is also hosting the Republican National Convention  this summer so Republican delegates and Black Lives Matter and Occupy youngsters will be coming in from out of town.  Possibly two sports championships and a national convention and that means three potential riots.

I’ve sent a letter to the mayor about how my mom, Aunt Helen and Aunt Ruthie consolidated birthday parties and have asked him what he thinks about waiting until after we know if the Indians make the playoffs to plan a big riot/looting extravaganza for Cleveland.  You know, thinking about it if the Indians do get into the World Series and win that will be close to the Presidential election in November and that means another riot if Donald Trump wins. Four possible riots in one year, wow.  Help, Aunt Ruthie.

I know what mom, Aunt Helen and Aunt Ruthie would do, they’d plan one big event and that could be what the mayor might want to explore.  Fewer riots and less mounted police overtime cost for the city and a chance for Black Lives Matter and Occupy to tear up Cleveland and then go home with a big screen TV.  Seems like a sensible idea to me.

The only down side is if the Black Lives Matter and Occupy kids come in for the convention in July and then postpone their rioting and looting until later in the year, possibly in November, will they be able to get off work in order to come back for the riot and looting activities?

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A bright future

I ran into Kenny McMillan Saturday afternoon. He and I were best friends in high school and it was really good to see him. Kenny’s family is one of the most prominent in town (the Parkers—Parker Ford and Parker Real Estate, the Williams—Williams Furniture and Clover Hill Dairy and the McMillans—McMillan’s Country Basket Supermarket and McMillan Bros. Funeral Home) and being Kenny’s friend got me my first job as a bagger at Country Basket.

We talked for awhile and he told me that the family had decided to shut the business down in a couple of months because of changes taking place which do not make the future look good. He said that people are really starting to follow the government guidelines for healthy living and are eating foods that you would not even have known existed ten or even five years ago.

I guess I can understand that. It takes a lot of money to carry inventory and now there are expanded items and brands in almost all food categories—low fat, no fat, low sugar, no sugar, low salt, no salt, low carb, no GMO, lactose-free, gluten-free, organic, no wheat, free-range poultry, grass fed beef. Not only does it cost a great deal for the inventory it also is expensive to expand shelf space to hold the new products.

I told Kenny that working at the Country Basket was an important start for me and that I was sorry to hear about the closing especially since Jeannie and I never liked shopping at Mayer’s Market. Kenny stopped me and said that Country Basket isn’t closing; Country Basket is doing very well. The family had decided to close McMillan Bros. Funeral Home because with the government endorsed and mandated life style and dietary changes people are never going to die.

What’ll you have?

When I was in college the choice of beer was mostly determined by the price of a pitcher, the beer on tap, the ambiance of the tavern and the price of a pitcher.  Before the arrival of micro-brewed beers that are hoppy or flavored with blueberries or rhubarb or beer served with a fruit or vegetable stuffed into the bottle we drank Pabst Blue Ribbon and Blatz and Stroh’s and Black Label because those brands were priced as local beers and I as I recall, in college, price was a determining factor in beer selection (Budweiser was a premium beer, meaning it was more expensive because it came all the way from St. Louis).  I liked Pabst Blue Ribbon as in, “What’ll you have? Pabst Blue Ribbon” and my roommate, who was a bartender, would keep my glass half full all night (in case the owner came in)—“Thanks, Rick.” 

The years slipped by and I continued to enjoy Pabst just like Clint Eastwood did in “Gran Torino” although in that case the movie’s main character would probably have been drinking “Fire-brewed” Stroh’s because the story took place in Detroit. Then with the arrival of beer snobbery we learned that we can’t like what we like and that we have to check with the snobs before ordering a beer.  I drink and enjoy Pabst Blue Ribbon, Blue Ribbon, PBR.  Ridicule, for choosing Pabst Blue Ribbon?  Doesn’t bother me. 

And now I find out that PBR is the official beer of hipsters, Pabst Blue Ribbon.  Isn’t that something?  I drink Pabst Blue Ribbon so I guess all I have to do is wear skinny or slim fitting pants or a hoodie and go vegan and I get to be a hipster (I’ll probably have to choose the hoodie option unless I can find a pair of 44 skinnies).  That’s it. What could be simpler?  Me, a hipster.  Who would have thought? Wow.

“What’ll you have?”

“Pabst Blue Ribbon, of course, and a beet sandwich.”