Saturday, October 23, 2010


David's gone to L.A. again. Every time I say that, I think of an old Oak Ridge Boys tune that starts out "She's gone to L.A. again, That's Lost Angel to me." When I was growing up, we heard a lot of Oak Ridge Boys gospel-turned-country music in our house, and as a matter of fact the first CD our family ever owned was an Oak Ridge Boys album. This meant it was also the first ever CD in our house to develop a scratch and I remember the panicky fear I felt the first time when the stereo started making unfamiliar wuh-wuh-wuh-WUH sounds as a result of the CD skipping. I was alone at home with my brother, and not having any idea what was wrong, we devised a plan whereby I put a shoe on my hand and then hit the off button in a way that we hoped that the rubber sole would insulate me from the stray electricity that was causing the machine to malfunction so strangely. I survived, so it must have worked.

Can you believe our family used
to debate which one was the cutest?
I'd love to say I stopped paying attention to the Oak Ridge Boys after their song Elvira topped the charts and their music got too accessible and wasn't hip enough for early Oak Ridge Boys fans like myself, but in fact the reason my attention strayed elsewhere is that Alabama was looking smokin' hot in 1986. So I had to go to the web site of the Oak Ridge Boys to see if they are still around, which they are indeed, and performing regularly at the Oak Ridge Boys Theater in Branson. Also -- and maybe this is so obvious I don't need to say it -- they now have their own Twitter account. From looking at their website, I see that several Boys have expanded their artistic repertoire beyond singing really really high and really really low to writing books. The book by Joe Bonsall, the guy that sings high, even has an endorsement from George Bush on the cover: "From My Perspective is filled with wit, heart, and charm, and written by one of God's special people." I take it that means Joe is Jewish.

David is in LA, although I can't say he's a lost angel. More like an agnostic with GPS. While he's been gone Stella and I have been working on canning, and have put up several quarts of applesauce. I like to say "put up" because it sounds like something a pioneer woman and her trusty four year old helpmeet would do in the early morn hours, before the pioneer woman had to go and harvest spreadsheets at the office. (I need to get those worksheets covered before the first frost.) I also like to use the construction "put up" when referring to canning because while I thought canning would be a fun and educational way for Stella and I to spend time together, and while she was indeed fairly interested for the first ten or fifteen minutes, "put up" is an appropriate way to describe Stella's attitude towards the canning experience as a whole.

We're also preparing for Halloween here. My mother sent Stella this year's costume, which is a green M&M. The costume consists of a green fabric shell and white rubbery gloves and shoe coverings that smell like somehow the manufacturer managed to distill the essence of every toxic material known to human kind into a single fragrance and pour it into the mold with the plastic.

Last year's costume
Stella actually goes trick-or-treating three or four times -- at school, in the neighborhood, on State Street -- and the amount of candy she amasses is staggering, and to my mind mostly unnecessary. To help cut down the stash to a manageable amount, we use some of the candy she has accumulated to give out to trick-or-treaters who come to our door. I suspect that those kids return home with their loot and their parents raid their bags to give candy to my kid, thereby creating an infinite loop whereby the same piece of candy is cycled through various residences and purposes until someone riding in a 2013 Labor Day Parade on a float advertising Yamke's Lawn Service tosses the piece of candy out with a handful of other candies and instead of being caught by a little kid it gets crushed to dust by the heel of a heavyset bagpiper.

I like it when adults dress up in costumes of their own when accompanying their kids on trick-or-treating missions. So I've decided that this year I'm going to wear a really scary costume, and go as some type of living dead creature with a head full of matted fur, and a snarling, drooling mouth. I bet you can see where I'm headed with this. This year, I'm going as an Oak Ridge Boy.

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