Mr. Uhles’ Store

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bazooka-bubble-gum-box

I honestly don’t know how Mr. Uhles put up with us.

He ran the neighborhood store that was exactly 79 steps from my best friend Steve Madden’s house on Nebraska Street.

We went there so often we wore a trail along Berry Road.

We loved his store, but we hated his asphalt parking lot. It would heat up to about a billion degrees during the Oklahoma summer.

Since we were always barefoot, we’d have to hot-foot it across the “lava”, trying not to get a stubbed toe or cut on the glass from broken pop bottles.

We’d usually go to the store after we’d been playing football or baseball or basketball or kill ball in the brutal Oklahoma sun for a few hours. So we were sweaty, stinky and loud.

Mr. Uhles didn’t seem to mind. But Mrs. Uhles was a different story. And she had “the look” that said straighten up or get out.

So we had to scrape the small stones and tar and glass and goatheads from our bare feet, and restrain ourselves from storming into the store like the  Marines.

At least 900 times every single summer day. 

I’m pretty sure that Bazooka bubblegum, Sour Grapes and the long, thin Tootsie-Rolls were just a penny.

Tootsie Roll Pops were two cents.

tootsie roll pops

Pixie Stix (straws filled with fruit-flavored sugar) were maybe two cents.

Baseball cards, packed with bad bubble gum, and the big Tootsie Rolls were a whole  nickel.

tootsie

We had to be rolling in the dough to afford banana popsicles, 7 cents, and Cokes, a whole dime! 

Steve and I made our summer money by collecting Coke bottles that had been chucked out of cars driving down Berry Road.

coke_21

I think Mr. Uhles gave us two cents credit per bottle!

We found a LOT of bottles, so it wasn’t that hard to keep a good sugar high going most of the summer.

Another revenue stream presented itself when my big sister was in high school.

Her boyfriend was absolutely thrilled to give me a quarter if I’d get out of the house and let them study.

Man, armed with a quarter, Steve and I would blast up to Uhles on our bikes, throw them down in the parking lot, and battle each other to be first in the door.

And then we’d be marched right back out if Mrs. Uhles was there.

We’d only be allowed back in when the bikes had been parked over by the ice machine and we behaved like actual human beings.

Having 25 cents meant Steve and I could really get all sugared up on Sweat Tarts and Sugar Babies and Dr Peppers and Fudgecycles and Pixie Sticks and Salt Water Taffy and big ol’ Bubble Gum ceegars and Candy Cigarettes.

bubblegum cigars

It’s a wonder we didn’t come down with juvenile diabetes. 

Those were the days.

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The Missus and Her Ducks

duck sihn

The  Missus was going to name her boy ducks Donald and Daffy, until I explained that high-priced Disney lawyers would cover her with so many writs she’d never be able to feed her ducks again.

Hence she named them Dicky and Dashing Duck.

Dicky’s wife’s is Dancy.

This is because the Blog’s Missus likes alliteration, and this lady duck likes to wiggle her bootie a LOT. (“Like they do in Grease”, the Missus says).

Dashing Duck does not have a Missus, but, without wanting to start rumors, he appears to be crushing on Dancy.  In fact, he played an active role in the, uhm, “loud and quacky courtship” of Dicky and Dancy, if you get our drift, which prompted Dashing’s Duck’s then girlfriend to fly the coop.

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‘FIGHTBALL: DYING OF SUCK’ — All the Funny in the Universe Smashed into One HILARIOUS Book

‘FIGHTBALL: DYING OF SUCK’ — All the Funny in the Universe Smashed into One HILARIOUS Book

(Editor’s Note:  Book giveaway completed!  Thanks to everyone!)

 

Fightball

 

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Writers are supposed to write 1,000 words a day.

Rain or shine.

Summer and winter.

In sickness and in health.

Or something like that.

But this blog has been on something of a hiatas  hiatias hieties break of late, especially from funny.  We have none.

We did manage to blog about Great Grandma Ashley, who was a pistol, and Millennial Douches, but we have no funny.

We blame it on Kris Wehrmeister, my butthead writer friend in Oregon.

Her insanely funny new book, Fightball: Dying of Suck, which YOU CAN BUY RIGHT NOW ON AMAZON!, has pretty much sucked all the available humor molecules right out of the whole entire universe.

 

Fightball

 

So the only practical thing for this blog to do is strumpet for Kris.

What  follows is just one tiny sisterly exchange between Maj, 10, and Kallan, 8, who live with their parents at PrettyAllTrue.com when not staring in Fightball: Dying of Suck.

FYI, Maj is super smart, somewhat tightly wound, and usually SPEAKS IN BOLDFACE CAPITAL LETTERS.  Kallan will one day be President of these United States and almost certainly under indictment.  These sisters?  They are hysterical. And relentless.

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Maj:

“SOMEONE HAS TO PARENT THAT GIRL! SHE HAS JUMPED INTO THE CHAOS CHASM! THERE ARE RULES! THERE ARE RULES BY WHICH PEOPLE ABIDE. SHE NEEDS TO ABIDE OR DIE… KALLAN CRASHED INTO ME AND THEN HURLED ME INTO THE BUSHES AND THE PRICKERS. YES MOTHER, SHE HURLED ME.  I AM PROBABLY COVERED IN POISON OAK AND YOU DON’T EVEN CARE. I. COULD. HAVE. BEEN. KILLED. PUNISH HER!”

Kallan:

“It’s a small path, Mom… It’s skinny… There’s not much room for passing… And then she was calling me a baby on a baby bike… And so I passed her and she fell… Maybe I called her shortie. Maybe I called her a midget on a clown bike… OK.  I pushed her over. It was a tiny push, and she was all slowed down to name-call at that moment, so she only crashed and stomped around dragging her bicycle in the weeds and screaming about poison…”

Mark takes my hand. “Our children are insane.”

“Seriously,” says Kris.

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While HogsAteMySister is NOT paid to write *Amazon review, if we were, we might write something like:

“Five stars, Kris! The brilliance of your writing, to me, has always been that you have perfect pitch when it comes to dialogue. That is the rarest of gifts. The flow and word play and insanity of your brilliant children, and you being you, and Mark being him, are so very unique and wonderful. Making it look so easy is the hardest thing in the world to do.  And you really piss me off being so good at it, you big ol’ butthead.”

Okay, we might leave out the last sentence because of etiquette and libel laws.

Truly, this book is good for whatever ails you, regardless of your age, and there is something magical about that.

HINT: You can order the Kindle version or a REAL BOOK from today.  Amazingly, miraculously, this is the only Christmas shopping you will need to do because Kris’ book is perfect for everyone on your list including:

  • difficult children
  • mothers of difficult children
  • mothers of really difficult children
  • mothers of insanely difficult children
  • mothers who drink craft beer because of their insanely difficult children
  • those of us who enjoy laughing at the pain of others
  • anyone who loves the idea of a series of books (yes, more FIGHTBALL will follow!) that are just perfect for reading on a plane, at the park, or while waiting to see your therapist.

Honestly. Go read Fightball: Dying of Suck right now.  Your laughter will be thanks enough for me.

You could also give me a million dollars if you wanted. But it’s not necessary.

I will just stay here, living under a bridge, with the wolves, starving to death because of humor writer’s block. Ironically, I will be laughing like a crazy person as I read and reread Fightball: Dying of Suck, especially the bits I have highlighted for emergency use.

P.S. If you know Oprah, get her to read this book!  And do what you can to strumpet for Kris, my butthead friend who really is an amazing writer.

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* I actually did write a hyperbolically blovated review on Amazon (scroll down on the book page).  You’d think I get paid by the word…

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Fightball

ALERT ALERT ALERT ALERT ALERT ALERT ALERT ALERT ALERT ALERT 

Leave a comment below and, really, no fooling, you could be one of three winners of your own copy! Judge’s decision (moi) is final.  You have to live in the U.S. to be eligible for this giveaway because Kris is really bossy.)

Whipped With a Hankie

?

Grandma Ashley’s Mom and Dad.

My Great Grandma Ashley wasn’t big as a minute.

So when she threatened to whip me, I wasn’t scared, even at age three or four.

Besides, when she threatened to swat me, she was smiling that sweet old lady smile, and brandishing her embroidered hankie — that’s what she was going to whip me with.

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My Miracles 2 — ‘It Wasn’t Long Before the Church Began to Resemble a Battlefield, with Bodies Literally Strewn Everywhere’

(Not your normal bill of fare, this)

miracles happen part 2 version one fr rookey and our lade

Back in August, I wrote about the many miracles that surrounded my Mother’s death in 1996.  But, I never mentioned the related miracles that occurred in New Zealand … until now.

In 1994 or 1995, Mom was on oxygen 24/7 and had wasted away to 75 pounds. An undiagnosed spore had destroyed her lungs and was killing her. We were all praying for a miracle.

So when I was asked to organize a “healing Mass” in Auckland, New Zealand, by a miracle-worker named Father Peter Mary Rookey, I said ‘yes’! But only after I’d done a fair bit of homework to ensure his bonafides, as old reporters are wont to do.

My research included reading Man of Miracles, the book respected British journalist Heather Parsons wrote about “the famous healing priest from Chicago”, who himself had miraculously regained his sight as a young child.

Fr Peter Rookey

Heather had “embedded” herself in Fr Rookey’s healing ministry, following him across Ireland, and chronicling what she called “miracles of biblical proportion”.

“From the altar, the church is a sea of humanity.  The sick – in wheelchairs, on stretchers, carried or supported by others – push forward in their thousands to reach the silver-haired priest.  Arms held out, Father Peter Mary Rookey OSM (Order of Servants of Mary) stops and blesses each one, laying his hands on their heads, calling on the power of Jesus to heal all their ills.  And as he prays, miracles happen. The blind see, the deaf hear, the dumb say the name of Jesus and those in wheelchairs stand and walk.”   

Obviously, a secular journalist writing about miracles impressed me. But what impressed me most was the old Servite priest’s humility, a quality always tied to holiness, and something that I hadn’t seen much of in my newspaper career.

As a journalist in Texas, Singapore and Washington, D.C. (1980-1988), I’d interviewed my share of big shots – senators, rock stars, sports legends, and even a billionaire.  To a man, they had Frank Sinatra-sized egos and let you know they had done it “their way”.

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Thy Blog Be Done

 

let go and let God

Many 12-step programs tell you to “Let Go and Let God”.

But, as my big sister often reminds me, even when we do so, we frequently freak out and claw stuff right back.

Case in point…

I recently took a deep breath, said some prayers, and moved the HOGS Blog to a cheaper New Zealand server and domain registrar.

I was advised this process would be simple and seamless.

What could possibly go wrong?

So, to prepare, I had this kind of conversation with the Lord.

Me: “Lord, after five years and almost 400 posts, HogsAteMySister has not made me rich or famous, as I thought we had planned, and the future is not looking so crash hot.  I no longer have the energy to repurpose the content into Amazon ebooks, like my butthead writer friend in Oregon. Not that I begrudge her success, because she deserves it.  She is amazing. The big, fat, talented cow.  Sorry, Lord.  Anyway, I decided to once again put this blog in Your hands.  So, if during the change of hosting companies, you allow the blog to plummet into the internet abyss, I will take that as a sign that You think the blog sucks canal water, okay? 

God:

Me: On the other hand, Lord, if the transfer goes well, and there were to be a few positive signs like, say, bales of money falling from the sky, or maybe a few parades in front of my house, that could be seen as a sign of Your approval, to carry on, You know?

God:

Me:  “Okay, then.”

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So Many Miracles Surrounding My Mom’s Death

miracles happen

 

(Editor’s Note: After the previous post on abortion, I’m not sure how to get back to funny.  So I decided to publish this piece about “my miracles”.  I wrote this and three other stories as part of what I’d hoped would be a book on miracles. That did not happen, so this will.)

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One of the hardest things I ever did was emigrate to New Zealand in 1993, but that’s what was required by my young family.

My Mom had a chronic, debilitating lung disease that not even the Centers for Disease Control could diagnose.  I knew she was not going to get better.  So moving halfway around the world was really hard.

Thankfully, we got to stay with Mom and my step-dad C.B. for about a month while waiting for NZ Immigration to give us the go-ahead.

The delays and red tape about drove my Missus crazy.  But I saw it as a time of grace that gave me precious extra time to spend with Mom.  This was enormously important to me, because I didn’t know if I’d ever see her again.

We made the most of our time, cherishing the simple things.  Mom and I would take short walks, talk, eat, play with my 4-year-old son, Eli, and laugh a lot.  Then at night, I would beat Mom.

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