A True Jerseyan

New-JerseyI am from New Jersey. I sometimes punctuate my sentences with certain words that outsiders may find offensive. I say, “Yo!” and “Youz”… often. I never had school on Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur. I don’t pump my own gas, I know what real pizza tastes like and I understand that a bagel is much more than a roll with a hole in the middle.

I judge people by what exit they get off the Parkway and navigate a traffic circle or jughandle with attitude. All good nights must end at a diner … preferably with cheese fries and a shake. That long sandwich is called a sub not a hoagie or, worse yet, a hero and I wash it down with soda, not pop.

I don’t go to the beach, I go down the shore … and boardwalk brawls or getting hit in the head with a stray football are just part of the atmosphere. I drink lots of cawfee. I know that 65mph actually means 80. Most of my life, I’ve lived within ten minutes of a mall. “Reaction time” is how long it takes to hit the horn after the traffic light turns green. When someone cuts me off they get “the finger” AND the horn … and they expect it. I am from New Jersey and guess I always will be, no matter where I live.

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The House On Harrison Street

Haunted-House---McNaughtonIt was a time when ghosts and goblins were real, penny candy was still just a penny and holidays like Halloween were an entire season, not just a single day.  Any kid who didn’t have a haunted house in his neighborhood probably also missed out on Three Musketeers candy bars, wax lips, chewy little Coke bottles filled with sugary syrup and those tooth-snapping colored dots on skinny strips of paper.  The wide-eyed trio toeing the edge of the curb, anxiously searching every window of the creaky old house across the street, had missed none of these things.

JoJo had a problem saying his “L’s” so lemon would come out “yemon” and his treatment of yellow was a thing of beauty!  Lenny had a limp, since he’d been born with one leg slightly shorter than the other, and was a frequent recipient of the sort of kindness often bestowed upon any eight year old perceived as being different by his peers. He sort of tagged along with the other two because they didn’t seem to notice … at least they never said anything.

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I Wish You Enough

goodbyesWhile I try to maintain BC Nuts as original writing, once in a while something catches my eye that cries out to be shared.  This description of a brief encounter by Robert Perks is one of those somethings that touched me:

Recently, I overheard a mother and daughter in their last moments together at the airport as the daughter’s departure had been announced.  Standing near the security gate, they hugged and the mother said, “I love you and I wish you enough.”  The daughter replied, “Mom, our life together has been more than enough.  Your love is all I ever needed.  I wish you enough, too, Mom.”  They kissed and the daughter left.  The mother walked over to the window where I sat.  Standing there, I could see she wanted and needed to cry.

I tried not to intrude on her privacy but she welcomed me in by asking, “Did you ever say good-bye to someone knowing it would be forever?”  “Yes, I have,” I replied.  “Forgive me for asking but why is this a forever good-bye?”  “I am old and she lives so far away.  I have challenges ahead and the reality is the next trip back will be for my funeral,” she said.  “When you were saying good-bye, I heard you say, ‘I wish you enough.’ May I ask what that means?”  She began to smile.  “That’s a wish that has been handed down from other generations.  My parents used to say it to everyone.” Read the rest of this entry

That Squirrely Feeling

Flying-SquirrelThe exterminator just left.  So did several hundred of my hard earned dollars.  It turns out that, for the past 3 or 4 months, I’ve been sharing my studio with a flying squirreltwo such creatures, actually!  I’d been hearing the padding of paws and general rattling around inside an enclosed space between my dormer and the roof, especially in the wee small hours of the morning.  With this winter’s generous helping of ice and snow, there was no way to get a ladder up to look for an entry point outside and I wasn’t excited about tearing down pieces of wooden tongue-in-groove material looking for livestock from the inside, so I waited.

Not knowing what we were dealing with, but with a strong consensus of the ‘experts’ toward squirrels, today the entry points were discovered and equipped with one-way doors … once out, Bonnie and Clyde can’t get back in.  After some vigorous thumping and bumping on ‘their’ walls by our human assault team, one quickly exited behind the other, sat on the roof for a few seconds giving us scornful squirrel looks … then, with a running start, glided gracefully together to a nearby tree where they Read the rest of this entry

All In The Touch

GirlDown-DrainAlong with all the other attributes that make them so desirable, persons of the feminine persuasion possess a very special touch, whether soothing the cheek of a crying infant or wiggling the stubborn lid off a jar of applesauce.  It’s a genetic gift that guys just don’t get …  one that’s involved with thinking and reasoning rather than with simply grunting and pulling things apart.

This gift is most likely related to the same gene that enables a woman to find the keys, glasses, pens and other objects a guy doesn’t see when he’s staring straight at them, because of the ‘kill and fetch’ bone that God stuck into his head instead … back in the apple and snake days of the original garden.  While the female of the species has evolved through many centuries, men have managed to maintain pretty much the same hammer and chisel mentality.

Take, for example, our chronically clogged sink drain that continually threatened to swamp the bathroom and drown its inhabitants during a simple tooth brushing.  I poured about every drain cleaner known to man down there, including a few not commercially available.  Read the rest of this entry

The Christmas Sandwich

SubwaySandwichThe first major snowfall of the season was expected within the next twelve hours and the temperature would soon be dropping into the single digits. It was getting dark and I had just finished my last in a long line of errands … buying a box of religious cards for Mom.  Even with her failing eyesight, she never misses an occasion and, of course, Christmas is extra special.  My marching orders were clear:  They had to say both Christmas and God or Jesus in the text and must have an angel, the wise men, or the Holy Family pictured on the face. I had met all criteria for the cards but, as luck would have it, not for my lunch; I had missed that altogether.  No wonder my stomach was snarling at me in some foreign tongue!

Fortunately, right next to the card store was one of those cookie-cutter submarine sandwich shops … you know, the one where the guy on TV ate nothing but subs for six months and became an individual instead of a group? It was either that or the Italian sausage place with grease-frosted plate glass windows; I opted for cold cuts.  There were Read the rest of this entry

A Turkey’s Tale

ThomasTurkey200Thomas was a handful from the very beginning.  The day he was hatched, he went around pecking open the other turkey’s eggs … and as he got older, he took great delight in pulling pranks on the other barnyard creatures.  Thomas would sneak up on the hens and tug their tail feathers while they were trying to lay eggs.  Another favorite was climbing up on the old tree stump and suddenly leaping into the middle of a brood of small chicks, scattering the little peepers in all directions.

He would strut around the barnyard like he owned the place, puffing out his chest and poofing up his feathers to make himself look larger than he really was.  The older turkeys tried to warn Thomas about his outrageous behavior, especially about doing things that would cause the farmer to notice him … but he only laughed and called them a flock of old fuddy-duddies.  After all, he was the farmer’s favorite.  Sometimes, the farmer would even come over to the pat the cocky rascal’s belly and rub his head!  That made both man and bird smile.  The farmer would say friendly things like, “You’re plumping up very nicely Thomas.  I think you’re going to be ready real soon.” Read the rest of this entry