Sunday, October 31, 2010


"They lie not easy in a grave
Who once have known the sea.

Countee Cullen

It was the early eighties, before my sister's breast cancer diagnosis.  She became my silent partner in the purchase of a large, old Victorian on the northern coast of Maine.  It was to have been our family get-away, but a whole lot less expensive than the place our family had on Cape Cod when we were children.  My sister still had the faded, gray piece of driftwood on which hung the boathouse key, strung with an old slice of rawhide.   Our grandfather's brother had spent one whole afternoon carving  BOATHOUSE into the driftwood, trying to instruct my mother in the art of whittling.  This may have been when my mother's aversion to sharp objects began to take shape.  Well anyway, the compound on the cape was sold when my grandfather became ill in his old age.  The money went into a fund for he and my grandmother, and we were sentenced to state beaches for the remainder of our childhood.  Hence, the Maine Getaway.

Stamped on bottom OCCUPIED JAPAN

It was a huge house and would take a lot of work as it had been abandoned for quite a while before I spotted the faded FORECLOSURE sign boarded over the fence guarding the driveway, which was off the main road.  There were three floors, an attic the size of Alaska, turrets, and of course, a wrought iron widow's walk on the roof overlooking the North Atlantic.  The widow's walk was our first priority, and after the wrought iron railings were re-secured, my sister and I spent hours up there. Just watching and listening to the ocean.  On a clear day one could see the huge, arc shaped antennas the military used for all  North Atlantic underwater communications, jutting out into deep water.   On foggy days they took on an eerie value, looking like the sections of a large snake, here and there partially out of the water. Perhaps an American version of the Lockness Monster.  At night we watched the waves crashing onto the beach, lit by phospherescent plankton, creating a magical effect in the darkness.  And life was interesting and good.

Found hanging in that bedroom over the bureau

There were old, mold covered books, as well as vintage clothes stacked in the attic, along with the usual trappings of rusted bed frames, piles of old newspapers and magazines, even a pair of large ice tongs, intended to lift the huge ice blocks used in the original refrigerators. 

Cut crystal vase found in the cold cellar, of all places.

My brother-in-law, who was the assigned  handyman  renovation supervisor, advised my sister and I, we had far too much stuff of our own we were planning on permanently leaving in the house.  If we continued going from room to room squealing with delight and screaming, "Oh, come here and just look at what I found in this old bureau drawer,"   there would never be enough room for our own stuff,  the stuff of two over-compensating pack-rats raised by a minimalist.   We changed direction midstream, deciding to do a huge donate pile.  We arranged for a Salvation Army truck to be there in four days, theory being the deadline would keep us moving quickly past our discoveries. 

The old vanity set, with the scrimshaw necklace in the talc container.

My brother-in-law, sage that he was, noticed the decreasing level of joy in our discoveries, so he surprised us with a new rule.    My sister and I had to 'call it' and flip a coin.  My sister won the toss and was told by her husband to pick a number from one to ten.  She picked five, middle-of-the-road, she was.  Fair Boss that he was,  my brother-in-law promptly changed the number to six, explaining we each could pick three items from the house we would keep.  My sister's eyes narrowed to those evil looking slits I was so familiar with as a child, and I sensed trouble.  So did my brother-in-law. He raised one eyebrow, and murmured,  "I smell a sidebar."   My sister replied, "Paper items do not count."  Fair enough, we had a deal.

Since I had to work, I would spend only my days off there, while my sister stayed for the summer cleaning, and I would return for a week in August.  Not only is the weather a dream up there at that time of year, but we wanted to watch the whale migration from the Widow's Walk together.

August arrived and I left for my scheduled vacation.  My sister had been working her tail off, the house was beginning to resemble something lived in and live-able.  When I drove in my sister ran out to meet me and said, "Come up to the Walk, I have something really neat to tell you."

After making tea and  getting cozy in the old Adirondack chairs we had found and my brother-in-law lugged placed up on the Widow's Walk, she began.

Special effects courtesy of my Dad.
The USS Barque Eagle at sea, 1950's.

"I've been hearing noises, and seeing things at night."    "Oh great, do we need a priest?"   "No silly, I think its a real widow.  It must be a noise that initially awakens me, then I see a white cloudy thing that disappears before I can make out what it is.  Soooooo, I went to the town hall and did a title search.  There was a whaling captain that originally built this place, which explains the scrimshaw we found in the old bureau set. I wrote down the dates and then went to the library.  They have the original newspapers from the area archived in binders.  Apparently his ship went down in a terrible Nor' Easter that hit the North Atlantic.  Nothing was ever found, no wreckage ever washed up on shore. His widow was described as devastated. The woman at town hall said it was a really old lady that had owned the house forever, after she died in it, here, she died in this house, it was said to be haunted, and has been empty ever since."

What North Atlantic waves are like...

"So, ahhh, what are ya try'n to say?  Maybe I should phrase it, What's your plan, cause I can tell you have one."   That all knowing smile spread across her face as she went on, "I had Mother and Dad bring up my old Ouija board when they came to visit.

"We're going to have a seance and see if the widow will communicate with us."  My sister had a creepy way of forcing the dead to reveal themselves. She had been doing the seance thing since we were kids, nothing ever verbally spoke to us, but really cool things tended to occur.  " I researched how to calm the desperate spirit, so we have to gather all the items we found in that bedroom."

She was talking about the bedroom that appeared to be untouched since the widow. Even the old hay-filled mattress had an unnerving indentation in it resembling a human form.

Late that evening, near to the witching hour, we were ready. We used old crystal candle holders, found in a closet,  positioned on an antique hand crocheted dining room table cloth, that was placed on the pine floor, at the foot of what we assumed had been  the Widow's bed.  It was a still August evening, just the slightest breeze off the ocean, just enough to rustle the cutains a bit through the open windows.  My sister set up the Ouija board, lit the candles, and we proceeded to concentrate.

The old gold ring, missing it's stone, and the teeny locket, found in an old child's christening ringbox were placed in the center of the Ouija board, as pictured here.   As we sunk deeper into concentration, willing the widow to show herself, my sister began her routine.  She would ask questions like, "Are you unhappy?   Is someone tormenting you?" etc.   Suddenly she started with the really personal stuff.  She went through a few scenarios until she finally got to the meat of the matter and said, "Are you still waiting for your husband?"

That did it. Though we had our eyes closed the entire time, and never would know if the widow had shown herself to us, a sudden, strong gust of wind blew through the house, strong enough to dislodge the small locket on the ringbox, knocking it to the Ouija board with a slight thump. It was over in less than ten seconds, we opened our eyes to near complete darkness, the candles had been blown out, only the moonlight from the window lit the room in an eerie glow. 

So that was it. The widow was hangin' out waiting for her husband to return from sea.  When recounting the story for our parents,  Dad said that many widows wander the coast, and even he - the non-believer - admitted to seeing cloudy shapes fleeting past on beaches all over the world.  Our mother said she knew the feeling of what seemed an eternity when she would recieve a call from a ship our Dad was on notifying her there was a man overboard, unknown who, and she would wait. The all consuming energy itself keeping her still, focused, while she waited for a ship-to-shore call from our Dad.

And just because it was our most fun Holiday, I get out my sister's Ouija board every Halloween.  I put things she loved on the board, light the candles, turn out the lights, and concentrate.  Waiting for the witching hour.  She doesn't disappoint, my sister, never did.  Something incredibly creepy never fails to occur. And sooooo, as she used to say, with the wind really howling past the house making spooky Halloween noises - What LUCK! -  I must go and get our HEAD to sit next to my son and his skeleton, as he hands out body parts, then gather together the things for our seance later.

No eyeballs this year, what a wrench. But you can go htttp://
for really cool HEADS.


And please share your scary stories!


In case you missed it, check out this chapel made entirely of human bones...

The Seance Result
All was quiet while we concentrated on calling the ones we missed to let us know they were still with us.
We sat with candles glowing , hoping the cats kept their noses out of the open flames surrounding us as we kept out eyes closed and willed those we love to come forward.  At twenty minutes after twelve our self-imposed silence was interrupted by a loud crash.  We knew one of the cats had knocked something over; its a usual occurence around here when they are feeling ignored.  When we finally ended the session with not one sign, shadow, nor voice making itself known to us, we went to investigate the source of the crash.  I found the aftermath in my bedroom.  It was what I found that made us both just say, "Awww." and sigh.

My sisters jewelry box, given to her by my brother-in-law, the Grandmother's book that my kids had given my mother, and my Dad's photo I always keep on my bureau, next to the other things, is all the cat knocked over. At least we think it was the cat...

Saturday, October 30, 2010


Its time I got this off my chest, publicly.  I always wanted a chest.  I prayed to the Large-Boob-Fairy when I was a teenager, but she went to my sister's room instead.  Maybe if I had all that extra fat and tissue in my upper body I wouldn't be so darn cold now.  But hey, I'm sort of way off the track here, so allow me to get down to the facts.  Just the facts Ma'am.

Back in the late eighties, in a state far north of here, there resided in the small town I lived in, a retired engineer, with his wife.  It had been their dream to move to that state upon retirement, spending the rest of their days enjoying four seasons, along with all the sports they loved in each of those seasons.  They bought a piece of property directly across the road from my mother-in-law's house and country store.

They were an extremely active couple, always staying busy when not enjoying the great outdoors.  While she was catching up on all the needlework and reading she had never had time for while managing her career, he built a large out building, next to the small house they had built, for his indoor projects. 

At first he set about building the wood-working shop he had always dreamed of, then let everyone in town know that if they needed a particular piece of furniture, he could build it for them.  I had him build a bureau with a hutch top for me. He carved a heart in the top trim, it was adorable, but he never graduated to the antique replicas he had always imagined himself making.

Gradually his wood-working tools began to be replaced by engineering tools, the tools of his career.  My kids and I would go visit, and he always had several interesting projects going on at once.  Definitely Type-A.

But to their dismay, the couple were getting older. Despite their chronic sports activities, and an entirely healthy eating regime in attempts to stave off the inevitable, they both developed a variety of aged-related illnesses that kept them indoors more and more.  This began to enable the cold of the brutal winters to start sinking into their bones.  And they were uncomfortable in their dream home.  They began to think Snow Birds were not quite so wimpy after all.

One gorgeous summer day, when the sun beat down so heavily the furthest thing from any one's mind was the damp, bone-chilling freeze of winter, I took my kids for a visit to the engineer's shop to see what he was up to.   That was the fun of it. You just never knew.

What he showed us was THE SECRET.  Only it wasn't really a SECRET then.  It was just that no one cared enough to go see what he was doing except the insanely curious.  That was basically my kids and me.   And a few of the couple's closest friends who would visit from New York City and Dallas.

We walked into his work building that day, after not having been there for a few months, and were surprised to see a shiny steel cylinder sitting in the middle of the cement floor.  Along side it was some sort of electrical stuff that appeared to be attached.   His eyes lit up when he saw the three of us.

"It's taken me  years to design this, a month to put the parts I ordered together, I have finally figured out a way to stay in this state, without having our joints screaming at us during the winters."   Yes, you could say he was nearly feverish in his excitement.

He went on to try to explain to us plebes, that the large steel cylinder, about the size of a Volkswagen, had inside it, a just as perfectly round, ever so slightly smaller cylinder with a ridiculously teeny clearance between the two. They were moored in the center by an axle of sorts, attached to the cylinders at the bottom by weighted spokes.   The whole, shiny contraption took up no more space than a normal size boiler in a house.  I know this because we all had boilers in the basement back them. It was the only way to keep the cruel winter out of large New England farmhouses.

Continuing, in words I wish I had transcribed, he described how the clearance was so fine between the inner and outer cylinders, a minimal amount of electricity was needed for force to start the inner cylinder spinning,
and about a half a cup of lubricant in between to keep them spinning to produce heat once he had turned the whole contraption on.  He lost me on the centrifugal force thing, and how it was actually circulating heat.  I can't for the life of me recall, but he said he was ready to test the thing during the up-coming winter.  We said we couldn't wait to see if it worked, as the materials had only cost him something short of nine hundred dollars back then. 

Needless to say, the next winter, while driving past his work building I noticed the, usually ice-covered, windows were fogged with moisture.  I also noticed the foot of snow that, by now, the rest of us had  on our roofs was conspicuously missing.

I took the kids down to visit when they arrived home from school.   On snowshoes.   He came to the door, ushered us all in, said, "Leave your coats to dry, won't take them a moment."    Had to be ninety degrees in there, compared to twenty below with the windchill we had just escaped from outside.

"It WORKS!" he beamed, as he pointed to the contraption we had seen the previous summer.  One could hardly tell it was in operation. A slight hum was all one heard.   "Gosh, are ya gonna sell these, cause I sure want one," I said.   He was beside himself and said of course, as soon as his patent application was approved.

The following summer I stopped in to see him again.  The conversation we had was not one I expected.  He seemed sort of sad when he told me that some of his friends from New York City had spoken to others in the 'energy field' who of course had been extremely interested in his invention.  One thing led to another, and he was offered a enormous pile of money by a huge oil concern to sell the patent rights, or whatever they do in such cases.   The sum of money had been so phenomenal he and his wife could not say no. 

Toward the end of the summer, while eating breakfast in my mother-in-law's store, I saw an unmarked tractor-trailer across the street at the man's work building. A man operating a small fork-lift was loading the  contraption (like, ah, hide the evidence, and give no one a clue who has the perfect heating machine) into the truck.  It didn't take long, and before I knew it the man was shaking hands with the truck driver, and it was over.

After finishing my breakfast, I walked across the road.  "Well,'  I said, at least tell me how much it cost you to heat the building last winter."    He smiled.  It had been an unusually cruel winter.  "Under thirty dollars for the lubricating oil, less than ten dollars for electricity."     "What are ya gonna do now?" I asked.  

"Go to Florida.  Can't even use the prototype. It's in the agreement, they won't let me.  Couldn't say no to the money, and what I thought would be fame.  Yah know, the hero who created an invention to keep everyone warm in the winter, no matter how little money they had. I sold out to the almighty dollar, and I have a funny feeling they will bury it and never use it.  Too much money in oil."

He was right. To this day, when hard frost predictions are broadcast, I remember that machine, what I saw it do, and the fact that not one has ever been made by whomever purchased the rights.   And I marvel at how secret it was kept for so long.    More secret than government secrets, or FBI files even.

And sooooo, as I sit here turning into a human cold pack, having to wait until Monday for the furnace man to clean the clogged jets on the furnace, while the temperature outside continues to drop, the temperature inside dropping as well, I seem to recall...

No one ever told me I had to keep the contraption I saw a secret.

So now, as I pray to the fairy God-Mother of Old People...

I have to wonder if I would have allowed greed to overpower a moral responsibility.  As the temperature continues to drop and I yearn for Bonaire, it still seems like a pretty hard decision.

Sunday, October 24, 2010



Written as a memoir, and entirely, believably creepy-scary.

Stay under the covers with a book light, and away from the closet...

And if you're not scared of your own shadow yet, this will do it.

Keep these handy for reference!

Saturday, October 23, 2010


For scary, silent movies on the big screen, under a full moon.


While waiting one is able to witness Dracula's escape (double click to enlarge, his bloody hand is in front of the gravestone).

A warning for the faint at heart.

The Gate Keeper.


Once inside the totally dark dungeon, one is lead by a tall, silent figure, clad in black robes, carrying a lantern, to this nice gentleman who introduces himself and welcomes you.

One at a time, a window is lit on the journey through the dungeon, each with authentic memorabilia from the movie it represents, collected by the owner of the museum, who actually knew Lon Chaney.

Duck, he's looking at YOU.

Dr. Phibes

The Owner of the Museum has the original Dracula ring he wears all the time, which makes one wonder...

Vincent Price narrates this scene.

It just wouldn't be October without my favorite leg-dragging Mummy.

Monday, October 18, 2010


I Keep Seeing Gorgeous Outdoor Decor

LOVING the HUGE Grim Reaper

The HEAD Goes With Us Every Where

All Hallows Eve.  For me, it began with  my father.  The strong, silent type with more one liners than Henny Youngman.  The week before Halloween, the house would be decorated inside and out. The years my father was fortunate enough to be home on leave for our favorite holiday were the best, especially when my sister and I  were old enough to appreciate our parent's antics. 

Antics, in this case does not necessarily denote actual physical movement in Dad's case.  First thing in the morning he would be setting up the stereo speakers in the windows of the front porch, already draped with cobwebs and black netting.  Early in the afternoon, he would lock himself in the bathroom with my mother's cosmetics. 
As darkness approached, he put on a record of spooky sounds and headed for the porch, the large bowl of little baggies filled with pencils, erasers, pencil boxes, and as added treats, to-scale rubber eyeballs you would swear were the real thing, spider rings, rubber fingers with bloody stumps, and rubber ears with molded spiders in the canals from JACK'S JOKE SHOP in Boston, left for my mother on the hall table.

Just as his first victims little trick-or-treaters were filtering out onto the sidewalks, Dad would put on his white shirt with fake blood positioned just over his heart, long black trousers,  black shoes, and a long black wool coat.  He would casually position himself in the Kennedy rocker on the porch, his face white with dark circles under his eyes and red lips,  looking, well, really dead, not moving an eyelash. Meanwhile my mother, draped in the black of her favorite Morticia Adams outfit, would be lurking in the darkened front hall with the bowl of treats, just beyond the screen door.

The little munchkins in their assorted costumes would stop just short of the steps when they saw Dad.  The parents escorting them would wait in anticipation, as much to see what their kids would do, as to see what Dad was going to do. Not move yet is what he did.

Some would march right up the steps declaring, "Aw, it's  just a trick."  Which usually served to embolden the timid to start up the steps as well. This is when my mother would slime out the screen door in her green lipstick and ask the kids who wanted to be  lunch.  If that didn't do it, my father would suddenly come alive coughing and choking, croaking for someone to help him.  The kids would all go screaming back down the steps to their parents.   Then my parents would both go down to the children, convince them this was what All Hallows Eve was all about, and put a little bag of surprises in each of their pillowcases.

When my son was beyond trick-or-treating age, he began to carry on his grandfathers tradition, with more elaborate trappings.  The kid had smoke machines, motion detecting spiders that came down from our porch roof, and a life-sized fake mummy to keep him company in between groups of kids.  He would get all decked out in spooky make-up and wait.

One year a group of kids approached, creepy music blaring, as my son sat on the porch, not moving, the bowl of treats in his lap. One kid walked straight up to my son saying, "I remember you from last year, you don't scare me."  Which is when my daughter, hiding behind the mummy, started pushing it forward, saying in her best scary voice, "You don't remember me do you?" That did it.

I probably should mention, as my parents before us, we never let any kids leave totally traumatized, or without treats. 

One year I found the HEAD in a Halloween shop.  It has motion detection, his eyes roll, and he screams a variety of nifty things such as, "HELP ME,"    "GET ME OUT OF HERE,"  and "I'M HUNGRY, HAND ME THAT RAT WILL YA?"

A good time is always had by all, and so I am searching frantically for our Halloween stuff in the basement. The HEAD is different.  Somehow we can't bear the thought of putting him in a box....

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


with us, in our hearts and minds, that which forces emotional reactions at the gut level, are truly powerful indications of who and what we are, once one is past the skin, muscle, and long bones of the body.  Oft times the daily grind is so 'there and now' that we forget what really makes us tick if you will, and it's not  simply blood surging through the arteries.  It's the drive to live for our  loved ones, beliefs, animals, or just simply the joy of living.

While reading the latest post on an incredible blog this morning ( ),
I was touched so deeply I was comforted, while reading the comments,  to learn I had not been the only one to 'well up.'   

I remembered a comment left on one of my posts - Thank You Robert, for the connecting synapse in my brain this morning -  concerning an old, silver-plated coffee table cigarette lighter that had belonged to my Grandparents.   It had been around a long time before I was born, but seeing it brings me back, if not to a simpler time (which is way too corny, even for me...), but to the time when I was young, with all my days ahead of me. Though always in the memory of the mind, there seems to be comfort in holding the concrete object that brings the memory to life, as if the object is an affirmation of  fact that cannot be disputed.

There is something to be said for the music that brings memories to the frontal lobe, as well as things we carry with us, the physical things that are somehow able to define us.  I daresay each of us could, from a small box of things (we have dragged with us for gaud knows how many years), actually define our souls, tell the story of our lives if you will, with music and objects. 

Each time I move and 'hoe out,' finding things in each box I no longer want to bring with me, I realize now, most of the things remaining are the story of my life, without words. Just artifacts.  Things my mother, and her mother before her, carried with them, passing on the storied memories so that the treasure would never be lost. Origins of the fabric of personalities that make us all what we are now, remain.

Things such as my great-grandmother's death pin.  While one of the women in attendance intrically braided a lock of her hair harvested after her death  to place in the pin, other's scurried around the dining room where she would be laid out, debating what dress she would wear in that final dance of calling hours, and then forever more.  When my mother passed it on, she said, "Important source of mitachondrial DNA should any of us go missing..."  She cared for the pin about as much as she cared for donating blood, which is to say, zilch. But the pin, with it's history of frantic women searching for a dress, profoundly affected the women who would follow, in so far as clothing and shopping would go. The women finally decided a shopping trip was in order to buy Nana a new black dress, and of course they would need one as well...  Things like my great-grandmother's necklace which she wore to the theatre, one of her hat pins.   My mother's cigarette holder. She could look like a movie star, or a character from The Spy Who Came In From The Cold when she sat on the Chesterfield sofa smoking with a snifter of brandy on the side table.

My grandfather's glasses, which I had my perscription put in and still wear, because they remind me of the many nights we played checkers into the wee hours of the morning.

A pin my mother picked up in Austria during one of her disappearing acts.  It brings back memories far from the obvious one would assume, like visions of my mother swooshing down foreign slopes. It reminded her of the many interesting people she met on that trip, and more she would meet in the future. It reminds me that my mother alone, taught us all, including my father, how to shop, and she did it well. She always spent good money on just one thing that would stand the ravages of time.  Or

The note my father kept in his wallet, written in his elderly hand, of books I was missing in my collection, the note he put with his good watch.  My parents watches, which they only wore on special occasions. Or when they danced in the living room at midnight, candle glowing while a Cole Porter 78 RPM played softly in the background. To this day, hearing the music they loved to dance to has the ability to conjure images of their dancing again. I can still hear my sister, later in life, ribbing our parents about secret, sinister backgrounds because no-where in the world would you find a sailor and a nurse that could dance quite so elegantly.

Or even more recently

The earrings my son gave me for Christmas in 1995, four days before my first 9 hour long cancer surgery.  It was his way of telling me I needed to survive so that I could wear the earrings. He, like his grandfather before him, adding tangible objects to the memories. Proof of his faith in me to survive.

And so it was the music today, Jimmy Durante singing 'I'll Be Seeing You."  The words to a song I learned as a child floated past, memories collected and faded as the song played on, and with each memory I had a particular physical object to relate to, objects which have kept the stories and memories alive for my children and me. 

I called my daughter, and asked her, "If you had to tell your life story with objects, as opposed to words, and you only had one box to put those objects in, what would you put in the box?"

"How big is the box?" 

"Um, a U-Haul book box."

"Can it be something from your house?"

"Of course, it'll all be yours anyway in the end."

"The only thing I can think of at the moment is the crystal bowl with shells.  Can I get back to you on the rest?" 

With that I knew I have done my job. A dear friend of my mother's had given her the lead crystal bowl, which my mother unloaded on me about twenty years after her friend had died.  It lived on a bookcase but did not remain empty long. My son and daughter got into the habit of dropping their most treasured shells from trips to the beach into it.   Thirty-two years I have had this bowl with the shells.  Each time I move, I rinse off the dust, wash the bowl and pack the lot for my new home.  Yet I think this will be going to my daughters with my next load for her.   It's time. 

A short time later the phone rang.

"The jewelry, I want the jewelry in the box."

She knows that even stories concerning my father involve jewelry.

She gets it.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Today we ran out of cat food.  I had not noticed the level of the 16 pound bag getting quite so low, which in no way excuses this...

Um, Hullo? You're going to be in trouble Precious...

Critical Mass had been reached.  The cats hovered over the empty bowls (emptied over the course of the past evening when they should be sleeping).  Glaring.  At me.  My half-Catholic upbringing kicked in. I was swimming in my own guilt.  Ah, guilt, the gift that keeps on giving.

I had already been out on a two mile walk, but not wanting to deviate from my exercise regime - which includes walking whenever possible -  I told my son I would be traipsing out again.  To buy cat food. Lest we have a mutiny on our hands.

I was going to the local chain drugstore which issues coupons for money off every time you shop there and use their courtesy card.  I am still not over drugstores carrying everything from "Mother's Little Helper' to Halloween decor.

My son started digging out coupon rewards from this particular drug store. "Use them before they expire," he said, then added,  "They have my name on them so take my courtesy card."  I dug out a few manufacturer's coupons for cat food in case the courtesy card police realized I wasn't William, and I found a couple more store reward coupons of my own that were close to expiring, so I threw those in my pocket as well.

My mistake was standing for a moment in front of our herd to let them have their moment.  It was so positively unnerving I raced out the door before they became Stepford Cats and began advancing toward me.

I arrived at the drug store a few minutes later.  An advantage of living in the hood I will cherish this coming winter.  My car was not made for snow.  Even with two seventy pound tubes of sand over the back axle it will simply not do anything but slide.

Case In Point.
(After I had gotten it out of the spot it was parked in, it proceeded to slide down hill, to within a foot of the old oak tree. In two inches of snow.)

I raced to the back of the store to find the cat food I had the manufacturer's coupon for was buy one 3.5 lb. bag, get one free. Yay, especially since I do not resemble William. But when I got to the cashier I realized I had all the store coupons, and had forgotten the courtesy card.   The young kid behind the register said I could not use the store coupons without a card, he could try looking it up by my phone number.  "Ah, I have had this card for almost twenty years, I have no idea what phone number is on it, and I really don't want to walk allllllll the way home to get it."   "Well," he said I suppose I could risk getting in trouble and just do it."   I gave him my best You can trust me look and said,  "Well I certainly won't say anything." 
He even took the manufacturer's coupon.  I ended up paying fifty-two cents for seven pounds of cat food.

                                                     Pardon me while I gloat unbearably....

Somehow the walk  seemed ever so much shorter, while I whizzed home with a grin on my face wide enough for passers-by to easily mistake me for the village idiot.

While my finding humor in nearly every situation is my mother's doing, that irrepressible grin is my fathers fault.

And sooo, as the sun set prettily over the Hood this evening...

The crew all settled down with full stomachs to hold them over until the all night binging begins.