Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Let's Drain Out All The Oil...

My husband's youngest sister was married with three children when I met her. She was a few years older than we were.

She is not teeny-tiny but she is not a tall woman. She is however extremely capable and as hard a worker as all the rest of the family. As a matter of fact she went to work at a local college once her children were grown. She finally retired last year because she was having a hard time fitting it into her busy schedule.

My mother-in-law admired her. She often said that she liked the way my sisiter-in-law made sure her children had jobs once they were old enough. The jobs may have been as simple as shoveling snow, mowing lawns, or babysitting but they were expected to know how to work.

My sister-in-law was proud of her home. It was a two story house and neat as a pin at all times. Many neat-as-a-pin homes are often not comfortable to be in. You feel as if you will make something or everything dirty just by being there. But my sister-in-law's house was warm and inviting.

She also likes to cook. Often we were invited for "just a simple" little dinner. Delicious.

She does not entertain at home quite so much now. She has one big meal each year in the fall. She invites practically everyone. She helps at a local food kitchen for the holidays so this is her holiday celebration with family and friends.

After my brother-in-law died (the same year as both of her sisters) she sold her lovely home and bought a beautiful home that is all on the same floor. It is still neat-as-a-pin and still so homey.

My sister-in-law would decide she wanted a new look for her home every once in a while. Her kitchen was not real big but instead of a table she had a little nook where she installed a booth much like some diners have.

One time she redid the kitchen. It was all pink and white. The walls were pink and white. The curtains were pink and white checked. Everything matched. It looked like it belonged in a doll house.

Often my husband and I would go to her house to play cards. We sat in that same little booth and had a good time.

One time as we were going home my husband told me I should not stare at my brother-in-law's hand. I always look at the cards the next player is holding to try to get an idea of how their hand is. (I can be a bit of a shark with cards.) I did not understand the problem.

That was when my husband pointed out that the fingers (except for thumb and pinkie) on one hand did not exist. I had never noticed. Apparently the umbilical cord was wrapped around his hand as he was developing and the fingers could not grow.

It did not inhibit him in any way. He worked with his hands and could do anything anyone else could do.

So one night we were playing cards. The talk at the table came around to cars. My husband had a Ford. My brother-in-law liked General Motors cars. I think he had a Chevrolet at the time. Naturally "mine is better than yours" was the gist of the conversation.

My brother-in-law was a quiet man. But he would hold his ground at the same time. Then my husband got totally ridiculous. I would like to say it was because we were so very young but he was always like that.

My husband decided they should go out and drain all the oil out of their cars and try to drive to the next town. My husband believed my brother-in-law's car would blow up first. Of course my sensible brother-in-law declined.

That only made my husband more certain he was right. "C'mon. Just drain all the oil and we'll drive. You'll see."

I decided it was time for us to go home. My sister-in-law walked us out.

As she opened the door we all smelled smoke. "John, your car is on fire," my sister-in-law joked. We had a good laugh.

We went to the car. It was on fire. The front seat was in flames.

We have never been sure what happened to start the fire. Perhaps a stray cigarette coal. By the time the fire was out there was nothing but springs left of the seat. We were fortunate that there was no further damage. And it sure did smell bad. It took longer to get the smell out than it did to replace the seat.

My sister-in-law has dealt with a lot in her life. She is one of the only three siblings of nine still alive. She is there for each and every one of us if we need someone. And she donates so much time to charity. She has her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She has a woman friend for whom she shops and helps with cleaning because the woman is unable because of illness.

She also loves to travel so she takes tours several times a year. She is so busy. But she is one of the truly happy and content people I know.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Castle On The Hill

Have you ever felt like you belonged to a building or that it belonged to you? It sounds strange maybe. I have two such buildings.

The first is the house my family built. We built it from the first to the last bit. We chose colors and decorated the inside. We put something of ourselves into it. It instilled something of itself into us. I still drive by once in a while just to look and make sure everything is good with it.

My second building is a castle. Actually it is my high school. The Castle On The Hill.

Long before I was dreamed of (even before my parents were dreamed of) the city recognized the need for a new and larger school. Plans were drawn up and construction began.

The very best materials available were used. Marble floors and stairways. The finest of sandstone for the outside. Classrooms were extremely large. There would be no crowding. Students would have enough room to work in comfort.

The Castle was furnished with the most up-to-date features. Thermostatically controlled heating meant no more feeding a wood stove or coal stove by the boys who were students. Electrical bells to mark the beginning of school, the beginning and end of classes, and the end of the school day.

It was built to look like a castle. It was beautiful. But as the city grew so did the number of students. The school was too small.

At great cost an addition was built. The reason for the cost was that they wanted it to blend with the original building. You cannot tell where the original was as opposed to the addition. Still the number of students grew. A fourth floor was added and blended to keep the look of a castle.

The picture above is the way the building looks today. It is so majestic, so royal looking. Just looking at it brings so many feelings. I feel pride, honor, love, and belonging just to name a few.

The basement of the building was the original gymnasium. It was called (naturally) The Dungeon. By the time I attended The Castle it was considered too dangerous to hold sporting events there. An annex was built across the parking lot.

The annex contained several gyms, the swimming pool, band and choir rooms, auto shop facilities, and a few odd classrooms. Besides crossing the parking lot there was a tunnel we could walk through so we would not have to wear coats in the winter. It helped to stay warm after swimming classes too.

The annex was a modern looking building and does not look like it belongs to The Castle at all. But it was useful to handle all the athletic features needed. Gymnastics classes could be held at the same time as basketball practice, volleyball, modern dance, swimming, and other gym classes. There were enough gyms to handle them all.

The year I was a senior they reopened The Dungeon to allow us to have a place to relax after we ate lunch. There was even a jukebox for dancing. Of course there was no touching allowed and all music had been deemed acceptable.

We were not required to stay at school for lunch and often went a block away for fast food. But the cafeteria served delicious food. There were choices. You could have a salad, hot or cold sandwiches, soups, stews, hot meals of your choice from the meals offered that day, choice of desserts. Each had its price and you simply paid the cashier when you had made your selections.

There was a giant auditorium. We gathered there for Christmas programs, student council meetings, and other things where the entire school was expected to attend. Occasionally there would be speakers who would give inspirational talks. We had some really big names. For instance Dear Abby and Ann Landers were alumni of the school. They spoke often to the assembly.

There were some outstanding teachers there as well. Math teachers strictly taught math classes and nothing else. I remember two quite well. The geometry teacher taught what I thought was a totally useless subject but he taught it very well. Second year algebra was taught by an older woman who needed to retire. I am afraid that what little we learned from her I forgot until college.

The chemistry teacher was from Greece. I loved to hear him talk. With his accent he said kostyens instead of questions. It was cute and he looked good too for an old guy.

My homeroom teacher was the biology instructor. Homeroom was where we reported at the beginning of the day. Attendance was taken and any announcements were dispersed. Then the bell would ring and we were off to classes.

Anyway the biology instructor was brilliant. He really knew his subject. He also expected a lot from his students and it was a difficult class. I feel better (and smarter) for having taken it.

Besides giving us the opportunity for an excellent education we had our sports teams as well. Our teams were the Little Maroons. We had good seasons and not so good seasons but we cheered them on just the same.

As students at the castle we were expected to act with the honor and dignity befitting us. We were after all the Knights and Ladies of the school.

Each graduating class made a gift to the school. During World War II The Castle donated two cannons to the war effort. My graduating class replaced them. After more than 20 years the cannons were back to protect The Castle.

Eventually as the city grew so did the student population. Talk began of building a new school. The Castle On The Hill was old. The beautiful stairs were worn and shiny with age. Some were deemed so dangerous that we were not allowed to use them.

The city decided that three new high schools would be erected to take the place of The Castle. The Castle would be closed and probably eventually demolished.

Luckily The Castle On The Hill is now a National Historic Site. It cannot be demolished. It has not been a school for more than 40 years. It has gone through a lot of changes as far as what goes on inside. There have been Indian Affairs offices and various business concerns. The mural that graced the wall across from the principal's office has been restored.

There is a small area set aside for a gift shop selling items that commemorate the school. And now it provides apartments for low income housing.

I must admit that I have mixed feelings about that. I miss seeing the hustle and bustle of students at the school. That is why it was built. The Castle On The Hill was meant to have students learning and enjoying being young.

At the same time the apartments mean that the building does not just sit there deteriorating. People who might otherwise have trouble finding a place to live can live in this magnificent castle.

The annex has been sold. I have no idea what it will be used for. It was not the school to me anyway.

So I feel that pull of belonging every time I drive by The Castle On The Hill. It sounds strange to love a building but I love that building. And I show it to anyone I can hold hostage long enough to drive by. I do it with pride.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

My Mom, The Carpenter

My mother was so creative. She could do just about anything she set her mind to do.

My grandmother played the piano but Mom never learned how. One day she decided that she wanted to be able to play. She got some instructional books from the library and got to work. She was not a concert pianist or anything but she could play. I can play with one finger but she uses both hands. She was so talented.

Mom, my youngest sister, and I had talked about someday moving back to the part of the country I am living in now. We would open a little shop selling souvenirs and fun little trinkets. We would call it The Tourist Trap. Of course we never got beyond the talking stage but it was a fun idea.

Eventually Mom decided that she had enough of the cold winters she had experienced her whole life. She tried Florida and did not like it there.

My youngest sister was living in Kentucky. Kentucky had a more moderate climate. They do have a bit of snow now and then and the temperature gets cool. But as a rule they do not have the bitter cold weather of the midwest and plains states. Mom was going to live in Kentucky.

Mom and I had taken a nice vacation together driving through New England. We stopped and saw what we wanted to. We slept when we wanted to. It was a great vacation and we ended it in Kentucky at my sister's house.

Mom went out one afternoon and rented a place. We were surprised because she had said nothing before she left.

It was a nice little mobile home set on a piece of property between a highway and a drop-off that ended with a stream below. There were a lot of trees. It was small but she was alone and needed nothing larger.

The problem was that there was no furniture. Mom had kept nothing of her old furniture because she had been staying in Florida with our other sister and had no need for it.

She had limited funds. She would not starve or anything but she did have to pay attention. And she liked to stay busy and creative.

So she needed furniture. Mom decided to make her own. She went out and purchased a power saw, a hammer, nails, screws, and a screwdriver. She had to buy other tools but those were the main ones. Then she bought two-by-fours and one-by-fours.

Mom designed everything herself. She took measurements and made the furniture to her own specifications. The first was her bed.

She had to make it to accommodate a regular mattress and box springs. She did not feel like she wanted to be quite that creative to make a mattress. The bed was basic. She made a headboard and footboard and side board with edges at the bottom to hold the slats that the box springs would sit on. How she fastened the legs on I cannot tell you. I am not the creative one.

She sanded all the wood to smooth it. Then she lacquered it to give it a nice sheen. She wanted no artificial color. She wanted the wood to have the color it came with. She had a nice sturdy bed.

Living room furniture was next. She started with the couch. She made a bench style piece. The seat is slanted slightly to allow for comfort. The arms are wide and comfortable. They are wide enough to place a drink safely. She made it the size she wanted it to be. It need not be a conventional size.

Again she sanded and lacquered. The wood was a nice and clean looking.

A comfy chair was next. The same process was used. It is a sturdy chair. Mom liked to read and do her handicrafts while sitting in a big comfortable chair. Now she would have one.

You might think that all that wood would not be terribly comfortable. You are right. Not to worry. Mom had it well in hand.

She bought some strong but attractive material. It felt good to touch. She made the coverings for big, firm, comfortable cushions. Then she filled them with whatever big, firm, comfortable cushions are filled with.

She did not make kitchen furniture. My youngest brother had all of Daddy's woodworking tools. That included the ones that would turn legs for chairs and a table. Mom did want to invest that much money into tools she might never use again so she bought something that she liked.

Mom never ceased to amaze me. She was so capable. I really wish I was more like her that way.

Because of circumstances I will tell at another time, Mom moved back in with my sister. She took her furniture with her. My sister has it now. It is still just as strong as it was when it was built. I am hoping that it will be passed down through my sister's family and the story of its origin will be passed along with it.

Friday, July 18, 2014

My Second Granddaughter.

Everyone in the family says that my second granddaughter has the biggest heart they have ever seen. She is the one who is ready to take care of anyone who needs something. She finds satisfaction in assisting.

One day my daughter-in-law had stopped by for a visit. My granddaughter offered to make her a submarine sandwich. She asked which kind of meats she preferred, did she want lettuce and tomato, a little mayonnaise? Something to drink? My daughter-in-law ordered water. With or without ice? With? Would you prefer cubes or crushed ice? What a character.

My granddaughter had a problem with her stomach when she was a baby. A lot of what she took in came back up. It was determined that she has a problem with milk and other dairy products. It is extremely difficult to feed a child who cannot have milk. She has become a little less sensitive as she grows up but, like her mother, she still does not drink milk.

One day I had my granddaughter and her brother. We had been exploring parks in the neighborhood. We tried to use every one we could find at one time or another. The children were hungry and so was Grandma. We stopped by a fast food place and I ordered kids meals for each of them. To drink I asked for a milkshake for each.

My granddaughter usually had a soft drink because of her dairy problem. When she got her shake she was amazed. She had "ice cream pop!" She thoroughly enjoyed it and promptly threw it all up when we got home.

Also like her mother, my granddaughter loves animals... any and all animals. If those two had their way their house would be filled with every imaginable kind of pet. As it is they have had birds, dogs, fish, gerbils hamsters, hermit crabs, turtles... well you get the idea. She would dearly love a cat but her father hates cats and will not allow it.

One of my sons likes to hike and take pictures. For a long time my granddaughter would go with him. She had her own camera so she could take her own pictures. Off they would go and when they came back often they would have some fantastic pictures of animals.

Once when they were out my son came back laughing. They had spotted a rabbit. As they were focusing to get pictures it began to hop away. My granddaughter gave chase in a stealthy way. Every time she would get close off the rabbit would go.

My son had a fun time just watching. Then the rabbit hopped into tall grass. My granddaughter was right on its tail, so to speak. But my son stopped her. She kept trying to assure him that she could catch it... she knew how... she promised... she could do it.

He did stop her. He was laughing because all he could picture in his mind that she would chase that rabbit and fall down a hole into Wonderland. Stories of Little Alice were born because of her exploits on those hikes.

Like all of my grandchildren my granddaughter was encouraged to take up some sort of sporting activity. She loved soccer. Unfortunately she is just not athletically inclined.

Just watching her run is a joy. Somehow she sort of propels her stomach forward and follows it. I do not know how else to describe it.

But she tried her best and became moderately proficient. She really liked playing goalie. She excelled there. But goalie was a position that the coaches liked to rotate even though most of the players did not want to be goalie.

The first year she played I was at a game. She had been called off the field and replaced by another player. She stood on the sidelines next to her coach. As the coach was issuing instructions to the field my granddaughter was right there issuing the same instructions. Perhaps her forte is coaching.

My daughter's children rode the school bus to school. Their district was on a strict budget and apparently decided that the buses were a good place to cut costs. They were not allowing for enough seats to accommodate the number of children riding. Often my granddaughter would get on the bus and there was no place for her to sit.

The driver was unsympathetic. She did not care that 1) each child should have a place to sit to be safe, 2) my granddaughter had her arms full of books, lunch and her musical instrument, or 3) that it was always the children at the last stops that had no seats. She was paid to drive and that was it.

My granddaughter's parents went to work. They called the school but it did no good. Finally they had to go to the school and speak to the principal. The principal agreed that no child should be standing in the bus as it is moving and he would speak to the bus driver. Whew!

The bus driver had a solution. She would not move until each child was seated. Some would have to sit in the floor. Again a trip to the school. The new solution was that the driver threw a tantrum and reserved a seat for my granddaughter. (That'll fix her!) What other parents did I do not know but eventually there were more buses used in the district so that each child could sit safely on a seat.

One of the things they were advocating at school was to help those less fortunate. To that end my granddaughter's class spent time with children in another class. One little girl in that class was autistic. She took a real liking to my granddaughter and my granddaughter liked her back.

The little girl explained many things about how she was treated by other children and how she felt about it. They remained friendly even after the class for understanding was finished.

I ran into a woman I worked with one day when my granddaughter and I were out shopping. The woman had her son with her and I introduced them both to my granddaughter. The son was about 16 years old then and my granddaughter was 10 or 11. He was so proud of the airplane he was going to buy.

My granddaughter told me later that she recognized that he was autistic because he had many of the same mannerisms as her friend. I was so pleased that she was so kind to him and my friend.

Another class at school required them to learn a musical instrument. The first semester she played the clarinet. She really enjoyed it. Then the next semester she played the violin. They told her that if she wanted to pursue the clarinet she could go back to that when the semester was over.

She actually liked the violin better so she kept taking lessons at school. When it became obvious that she was going to continue to play her other grandmother bought her a violin for Christmas. It was beautiful and they are so expensive.

Playing began in grade school. Now that she is in high school she needed not only a bigger violin but one of better quality than her grandmother bought. She got it for Christmas last year.

This summer she finally got to go to the camp for children interested in music. She has been wanting to go for a long time. There are instructors there who can teach her techniques that she does not know. They also spend a portion of each day playing music together.

The year my granddaughter was born I saw that one of the schools was offering an outing to go see the Irish Rovers. I wanted to go because I had never seen them perform. The problem was that my daughter was due to have her baby about that time and I needed to be there to care for my grandson. No Irish Rovers that year.

Then when my granddaughter was about 5 years old I saw an advertisement in the news that the Irish Rovers were performing. My grandchildren were spending the weekend with me. I was complaining to my son how much I would like to go see them.

He saw no problem. I explained that I would not have any fun by myself. None of my friends wanted to go with me and none of my children wanted to go with me. Poor me.

My sweet granddaughter looked up and said, "I will go with you, Grandma." I asked her if she was sure she wanted to go. she said she was. So I checked to make sure her parents did not mind and I bought the tickets.

We made a night of it. My grandson spent the evening with my son and they had a good time. My granddaughter and I went out to dinner and then to the concert.

Our seats were not great because I did not know about the concert soon enough to get good ones but we could see and hear everything. She just sat and glowed throughout the performance.

The Irish Rovers sing and tell jokes. My granddaughter (like all the rest of the females in the family) loves someone who makes her laugh. And she was in love. The man sitting on the other side of her had as much fun watching her as I did.

At intermission the group said that when the concert was over they would "have a bit of tea" with anyone who wanted to remain. Of course she wanted to stay. I explained that they were simply going to sign autographs but that was good enough for her.

After that year we went every year. It was a special outing for the two of us. Last year was the last year of touring for the Irish Rovers. I have moved too far away from my granddaughter to be able to go with her but her mother took her... twice.

They have always been so nice to her, commenting on her Irish attire, "squiggling" the top of her head as they walked by, and talking to her just like everyone else. This year they did not allow people to take pictures because they had a professional photographer to record their final performances.

The photographer noticed my granddaughter in all her greenery and asked if he could take a few pictures. The answer was of course. Then he found out that they were returning the following night. And my granddaughter was bringing her violin for the group to autograph as they had requested she do.

So the next night he asked if my granddaughter and her mother could wait until everyone else had their autographs so he could take pictures of them with the autographed violin. They did and he did and their photos were published on the Irish Rovers Facebook page. What a marvelous experience for a little girl (who is not so little any more).

My granddaughter has a couple more years of high school. Then on to college. I am not sure she has decided what to do with her life but I am sure she will do it with love from that big heart of hers.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Miss Hayhurst

Mrs Cittercup was my teacher for kindergarten and first grade. Isn't Mrs Cittercup a great name? I do not remember her much. I do remember that we learned to read, print, add and subtract in kindergarten. In first grade we learned cursive writing, multiplication and division, and we were reading out of the same reader that I read after we moved and I was in the third grade.

I would love to say that it was just because I was so intelligent that they had to teach me all those things at such a young age. The thing is that every child in my grade learned the same things I did. And that was every child in town and from the farms around the town.

I really believe that most children learn if they are expected to learn. Those little minds are just waiting to be filled with knowledge.

Toward the end of the first grade we moved to another town. As it was before, there were three grades to a room... kindergarten, first grade, and second grade. The same teacher taught all three grades, including music and recess.

The teacher here was Miss Hayhurst. I remember that she drove a Pontiac. Is it not strange that I remember that?

Miss Hayhurst was a middle-aged woman. As far as I know she never married. She had no children. But she was so loving and caring. Not the mushy kind of stuff like hugging and kissing. It's just that every single one of her students knew they were special. You never saw so many teacher's pets.

Miss Hayhurst was always in our classroom before the school day started. She welcomed us to come in early and visit with her. After school she remained to grade papers and do whatever it was she did. We often went home to change to play clothes and have a snack then we would go back up to the school to hang out in our room. It was encouraged by Miss Hayhurst. We loved spending time with her.

In the early 1950's they were experimenting with Salk vaccine for polio. We were bussed to the nearest "big" town to join the children from all over the area to be vaccinated. The boys from our room rode the school bus with the other children. Miss Hayhurst did not want to ride the bus so the girls from my grade (all three of us) rode with her in her Pontiac. How exciting. We felt terribly adult.

Miss Hayhurst appreciated our differences. She got to know each one of us and took a genuine interest in our little personalities. She was the teacher who recognized that I could memorize fairly long poems and recite them. She also recognized that I am a real "ham" (my term not hers). I loved performing in front of audiences. Hence the recital of poems by me at the programs the school periodically held for parents.

She suggested to my mother that she expose me to the classics such as Shakespeare and other classical writers and poets as soon as I was old enough. She did that sort of thing for all the students. And I know that part of the reason I was open to those suggestions was to please Miss Hay

A very pretty little girl moved to town. She was in the same grade as one of my brothers. They also were in Miss Hayhurst's room. Anyway this little girl also had the prettiest clothes. She had cute little outfits with can-cans (crinoline petticoats heavily starched) that made her full skirts stand out so fully. And there were so many of them. Most of us had just a few dresses and to be honest they were rather shapeless and drab. Ugly plaids (which I still hate) were the norm for most of us.

Miss Hayhurst was looking for creative suggestions for a project for us all to work on. I came up with the bright idea of making a book about her clothes.

Each day we would spend a little time on our books. Each of us wrote our own. During art class we would draw and color her clothes of that day. Then in writing class we would write a description of the dress. We kept each page in order. When we had seen all of her pretty dresses we made book covers out of construction paper and crayons. Then pieces of yarn tied everything into a book. It was fun.

I have always been a very competitive person. I am a good winner because I do not lord it over someone else when I win. I also do not get angry if I do not win. If I have done my best then I am happy. Plus I can enjoy someone else's talent.

So I was that nasty kid in school who always had to be done first and have the best grade. If we had a test I attacked it with gusto. Then I would happily march to the teacher's desk to hand it in before anyone else was done. Learning comes easily to me so I almost always had the best grade possible.

Often when we arrived in the morning I would notice something different about Miss Hayhurst. Maybe she was combing her hair differently or she had on an especially attractive sweater. I would write a quick note to her before handing in a paper. When I would receive the graded paper back Miss Hayhurst would answer my note with a polite thank you.

Miss Hayhurst had a lovely singing voice. In the morning before we started classes we would say the pledge of allegiance and a prayer. We still prayed in school those days. And it was before the "under God" was added to the pledge of allegiance. Then we would sing a good morning song to Miss Hayhurst who would answer by singing the same song back to us.

Our classroom had everything that was available in those days. There were books to read. There were toys to play with. There was even a table similar to a pool table except that it was deep and filled with sand for us to play creatively. Besides our desks there were little tables placed strategically around the room to encourage us to break into smaller groups sometimes to learn to socialize.

We would have a snack of milk and perhaps cookies mid-morning. Then we would pull out the small rugs we had all brought to leave at school. Those are what we laid on for our rest period. My favorite place to put my rug was under the sand table.

After our rest we would have some sort of activity that allowed us to move about. Our favorite was when we could get out the little instruments and march around the room as we played our instruments and Miss Hayhurst played the piano. Some of the instruments were triangles, cymbals, blocks of wood hit with a stick, washboards, cowbells, kazoos, slide whistles, and tambourines.

However the ones we all raced for were the birds. When the birds were filled with water they made the best sound when we hummed into them. There were only three of them so you can imagine the rush.

Can you see what made Miss Hayhurst so special and loved? I have had many teachers but she is the only one I loved. And I was not alone. Every child should have a teacher like Miss Hayhurst to nurture things that parents might miss and to build the confidence that each child must have to be a complete person.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Upon Waking

One of my favorite things happens when I first wake up in the morning. I no longer have a job that requires me to jump up and rush off. I have no small children to care for. I have no one to answer to but myself. I have no need to hurry.

I enjoy lying in bed propped up by pillows and looking out the window. It may not sound like much but read on.

My bed is across the room from the window. I can only see the trees and the sky from there. It is surprising what I can see in that little box.

There are a variety of trees. Some are deciduous, others are evergreens. The leaves and needles are all different shades of color.

Birds fly by and sometimes stop on the branches of the trees. Cardinals, robins, mourning doves, chickadees wrens, thrushes; there are so many. It simply depends on which ones are out that day.

Occasionally I see a squirrel running through the trees. It does not happen often. They seem to prefer the trees in my front yard. I wonder why.

In the spring I watch the snow melt from the branches. The evergreens seem to stand a little taller. The other trees start to show tiny buds on their branches. Soon there are tiny leaves that become bigger leaves.

Flowers appear on the branches. Some are not flowers like we normally think of flowers. Those are the fun ones to spot. One tree outside my window has the most beautiful blooms. They last for about two weeks.

Summer brings more changes. The fruits of the trees are beginning to grow. Even the evergreens have cones or whatever else they produce to re-produce. The birds are plentiful and sometimes very noisy. I have trouble picking out the individual calls on days like that.

A nice summer rain is a real treat. I like rain. Watching the drops fall is hypnotic. The sound on the roof is soothing. And I believe I can actually see everything outside is cleaner because of nature's shower.

Late spring and early summer is when the sun shines brightly in my window. It makes it hard for me to look out until the sun rises a little higher in the sky. But it plays among the small openings between leaves and needles creating a light show just for me.

Late summer and early fall is when the moon takes over at night. Of course I do not see it in the morning but it is just as spectacular as the sun. It makes a soothing night light.

In the fall the leaves begin to turn colors. I get greens, yellows, and reds again in varying shades. They look a little dryer. Then they begin to fall from the trees. Watching them float to the ground as they catch little eddies of breeze on the way makes me wonder what it would feel like to be able to float on the breezes.

Of course there are leaves that fall on my roof and stay there. Most of those are from the trees in the front yard. On a nice windy autumn day they blow off in bunches when the wind blows. Then there are hundreds of leaves soaring in the air.

Even the evergreen trees begin to lose a little of the vibrant green coloring. They may retain their needles but they are definitely going to relax during the winter.

In the winter the trees show a character that you cannot see the rest of the year. Bare branches seem to show the souls of the trees. Even as they sleep they lift their limbs toward the nourishment of the sun. A few small pieces of fruit cling to one of the trees stubbornly refusing to fall until they are ready.

When it starts to snow the darkness of the trees allows me to see the flakes as they drift toward the ground. The first flakes are small and very sparse. Later on when heavy snows fall I might not even be able to see the trees because of the snow.

Then some of the snow will nestle in the trees. The contrast of the white against the bare branches and the dull green needles is magnificent. I might even get lucky enough to see a heavy mass of wet snow become too heavy for the tree and fall with a plop toward the ground.

Sometimes it will be warm enough that the precipitation is rain. Because it is so cold the rain will cling to the trees and freeze there. The branches and needles will shine with the ice coating. A few will have little icicles dripping from them.

If we are really lucky I will wake up to a hoar frost. That is dew that freezes to a fluffy looking white that completely covers the trees. It is one of the most beautiful things a person can see.

The birds are easier to see in the winter because they cannot hide in the leaves. There can also be different birds than I might see in the summer.

As I make my seasonal observations I lie relaxing in my bed as cozy as a person can possibly be. It is a good time for reflection and meditation. I can ponder things as trivial as what I will do that day. Or maybe I will try to solve all the ills of the world.

I will think of my loved ones. It might be loved ones who are no longer here and I can smile at a memory and miss them for a moment. I might think of loved ones who are still in this world and look forward to seeing them. Or maybe I remember something from the past with them that makes me smile.

When I finally make myself re-enter the world that takes me away from my window I feel totally refreshed. I feel happy and I can begin my day happy and alert. And I will look forward to what the world of the window will bring tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Silly Songs

I love all music but my passion is silly songs. The sillier the better. Some of the songs I consider silly may not strike the funny bone of others because sometimes the humor is dark. But most of them just make me happy. If you do not know them or just would like to hear them again most are available on UTUBE. Some even have videos.

It Came Out Of The Sky by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Seven Little Girls Sittin In The Backseat by Paul Evans and the Curls

The Mississippi Squirrel Revival by Ray Stevens

Frog Kissin' by Ray Stevens

It's Me Again Margaret by Ray Stevens (I guess you should just listen to Ray Stevens. He has a lot of good ones.)

The Ballad of Irving by Frank Gallop ( The Son Of Irving followed and was close to being as funny)

Chug-A-Lug by Roger Miller

Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh by Alan Sherman (There was also a sequel about the second year at camp but it was not as good)

La Dee Dah by Billie and Lillie

Happy Go Lucky Me by Paul Evans

Time Warp from The Rocky Horror Picture Show (I also like it by Alvin and the Chipmunks)

I'm In Love With A Big Blue Frog by Peter, Paul, and Mary

I Wanna Be Like You and also Bare Necessities from the Disney cartoon Jungle Book

I Know An Old Lady which is a very old song Burl Ives does it best

The Marvelous Toy written by Tom Paxton My favorite version of it is sung by the Chad Mitchell Trio but the Irish Rovers also have a good version

The Battle of Kookamonga (as well as almost any thing else) by Homer and Jethro

Mahna Mahna by the Muppets

The Witch Doctor by David Seville

At The Codfish Ball and Singin' In The Bathtub by John Lithgow

High Hopes by Frank Sinatra

The Motorcycle Song by Arlo Guthrie ( Alice's Restaurant Massacree is a good one too)

Lollipop by The Chordettes

Mika also did a different song named Lollipop which is excellent. But Billy Brown was the best of his songs

The Jolly Green Giant by the Kingsmen

Splish Splash by Bobby Darin

Billie and Lillie are back with Lucky Lady Bug

Dead Skunk In The Middle Of The Road by Loudon Wainwright III

Purple Poeple Eater by Sheb Wooley

Rolf Harris sang Tie Me Kangaroo Down and My Boomerang Won't Come Back

Beans In My Ears by The Serendipity Singers

My Old Man's A Dustman has been done by so many. I like Lonnie Donegan and the Irish Rovers versions the best

Speaking of Lonnie Donegan I like Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor ( I have heard him do three different versions... all good)

Rainbow by Russ Hamilton ( not really silly but I do love this song)

Lily The Pink by either The Scaffold or the Irish Rovers

Little Bitty by Ala Jackson

Snoopy and the Red Baron by The Royal Guardsmen (They actually have a whole album of the exploits of Snoopy and the Red Baron)

The Pheasant Plucker's Son I like the versions sung by both the Smothers Brothers and The Irish Rovers (There are several others who sing it)

Tippy Toeing by the Harden Trio

Miller's Cave by Bobby Bare

Iko Iko by the Dixie Cups

Johnny Cash had several... Dirty Old Egg Suckin' Dog, Joe Bean, The Boa Constrictor, Everybody Loves A Nut, and The One On The Right just to name a few. He had a marvelous sense of humor

Ugly Bug Ball by Burl Ives

The Witch Doctor by David Seville (the mastermind of the Chipmunks)

Spiders And Snakes by Jim Stafford

Marie Laveau by Bobby Bare

Crabs Walk Sideways by the Smothers Brothers

Beep Beep by The Playmates

Poor Jenny by the Everly Brothers

Please Mr Custer by Larry Verne

Speedy Gonzales by Pat Boone (believe it or not)

Put The Lime In The Coconut by Harry Nilsson

Pata Pata by Miriam Makeba

Who Put The Bomp by Barry Mann

Gonna Hire A Wino by David Frizzell

Girl On The Billboard by Del Reeves

Daffy Duck's Rhapsody by Mel Blanc

This House Is Haunted by Alice Cooper

I'll Stay In The House by Little Jimmy Boyd

There are a lot of serious songs that can be done in a funny way that I did not include. Most songs by Victor Borge were done in such a way as to make classical music fun, for instance.

This is only a partial list. I tried to stay away from holiday songs but I see a couple slipped in. There are also a lot of "off-color" songs that I did not include. I know that a bunch will pop into my head as soon as my head hits the pillow tonight. I hope you will listen to some of them at least and smile. It is good for you.

Friday, July 4, 2014


I have just been watching an episode of Gene Simmons Family Jewels. Yes I am a fan of KISS. And I like waching this reality show even though in most cases it is obvious that it is heavily scripted,

This particular episode evoked some strong emotions and rather surprised me. I am a patriot. Isn't that interesting?

I was hit by the fact that I love my country. I live in a great country that is part of a great world.

I so often complain about the stupidity and pettiness of politicians that I lose sight of that fact. Politicians seem to be constantly trying to further their own agendas. If that comes at the expense of other agendas or the expense of us "little people", so what? Do they care?

But for today I am going to put politicians and politics out of my mind. I am going to enjoy my country. I am going to be thankful for all the people who have worked to make my country a great one.

I am going to try to put aside my bitterness and pain that is caused because of all the people who have had their lives taken because they loved people like me enough to try to make my country better and safer. Today at least I will try to celebrate their lives and honor their deaths.

Tomorrow I will feel free to criticize those who try their best to ruin my world. I will keep working to make my part of the world better.

But today I will have selective amnesia. Thank you to all those past and present who have given me the freedom to live the way I live. Sorrow and gratitude for those who lost their lives doing so. Today I am nothing but a patriot.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

At The Movies

I love movies. I have favorites that I can watch over and over and over again. My children do not really understand how I can see the same movie so many times and still enjoy it. I put it down to the fact that I must have a child-like mind.

I like either funny movies or musicals the most. Most of the time when I watch a movie I simply want to be entertained. I am not searching for a deeper meaning to life or the secret to anything. Mindless joy is perhaps a good way to put it. There are a few dramas that I like. Fewer still westerns. I prefer the old cowboy programs from television. I very seldom watch war movies or action thrillers... too much violence for me. Old scary movies are fun but the newer movies are too much blood and gore. I do not watch icky movies.

I will share a few of my favorites with you.

Grease. This is a fun movie. It deals with teenage angst. The music is great. The time it is set in is so familiar to me.

The Sound Of Music. Outstanding music. Beautiful scenes of the Austrian countryside. Even though the movie is not factual it is based on a true family which makes it more enjoyable.

Jungle Book. I love children's cartoon musicals. Jungle Book is my favorite of all of them. The songs are fun, the characters are memorable, and it has a good story.

Star Wars. All six movies and I am anxiously awaiting the seventh. Star Wars are like cowboy movies with the shoot-em ups and the clear definition between bad guys and good guys. The science fiction of the future releases all limits to the types of worlds and characters available. I did not want to go see a science fiction movie but my mother gave me tickets for myself and my children for Christmas and forced me to go. Thanks, Mom.

Indiana Jones. While I am at it these are adventure stories that are well written. They deal with historical politics and religious theories without being offensive. Not easy to do. And they are full of humor that most adventure movies do not have.

Jackie Chan movies. Jackie Chan is a martial arts expert. His movies are written to highlight his prowess. But the humor makes the violence bearable.

Phenomenon. On his birthday a man sees a flash of light in the sky and is knocked down by some force. After that he gains amazing abilities to learn and experiment. He no longer sleeps. The government wants to know why and tries to experiment on him. I like this movie because the star, John Travolta, underplays the character making him just an ordinary person which makes him so much more than that. He does not understand why he was chosen to have these abilities because he was not of more than average intelligence before.

Pirates Of The Caribbean. Old fashioned pirates and their adventures. There are plenty of exciting situations. The humor is laced all the way throughout. When I watched the first of the series of movies I kept saying, "I know that guy!" about Jack Sparrow. The way he moved and the way he talked was somebody I recognized but could not figure out who it was. Later I read that Johnny Depp interpreted the character's personality as being like Kieth Richards of the Rolling Stones. "That's it." It was clear to me.

The Egg And I. When they marry a man decides to surprise his wife with a farm. He has always wanted to be a farmer. Neither of them knows anything about farming. Their mishaps and misunderstandings make for great fun. It is the first movie that Ma and Pa Kettle appear in.

Arsenic And Old Lace. Cary Grant is a comedy genius. In this movie he comes from a strange family. One brother is in prison for cruel murders, an uncle thinks he is Teddy Roosevelt and charges San Juan Hill every time he goes up the stairs. Then there are the lovable old aunts who lovingly raised him. Turns out they are putting lonely old men out of their misery.

First Wives Club. Three women who attended college together become re-acquainted at the funeral of their fourth friend who committed suicide when her wealthy husband left her for a younger woman. They discover that each of them is in similar circumstances. While extracting revenge they realize that they have the opportunity to turn something bad into something worthwhile.

Beaches. Two little girls meet on the beach in Atlantic City. They continue a long distance friendship through letters. When they are grown the poor little rich girl runs from home to stay with her aspiring actress friend. They see each other through trials, tribulations, and even have a serious estrangement for a time. This is a good movie to watch to release all those things that you need to cry about.

Pollyanna. A little girl who is recently orphaned moves in with her wealthy aunt. The aunt is cold and seems to be totally devoid of feeling. She rules the whole town with her iron fist. Little Pollyanna in her innocence goes about melting the coldest of hearts. One of many movies starring Hayley Mills who I adore.

Auntie Mame. Rosalind Russell was at her eccentric best playing Mame. Her young nephew is sent to live with her because she is his only living relative. She falls in love and vows to educate him in every way possible. Her "Bohemian" ways do not always sit well with the staid banker in charge of the estate of the boy. Then there is the running story of Agnes Gooch (played by Peggy Cass) running through the whole movie. All the strange characters that have been "adopted" by Auntie Mame add to the chaos of a little boy's life in which he feels very loved by all of them as he grows to be a man.

West Side Story. An adaptation of Romeo and Juliet set in New York City in the 1950's or very early 60's. The Jets were the gang of white boys who disliked the Puerto Rican gang of the Sharks. Each gang wanted to rule the streets. As expected violence erupts and deaths occur. Natalie Wood plays Maria (Juliet) and Tony (Romeo) is played by Richard Beymer. My favorite song of many favorites from the movie is "Dear Officer Krupke".

The Parent Trap. Hayley Mills plays two young girls who meet at summer camp. Everyone comments on how much they look like each other but they take an instant dislike to one another. Of course they are forced to spend time alone together and they come to the realization that they are twin sisters. They immediately set about plotting to re-unite their divorced parents. Lindsay also made a slightly more modern version with the same name of the movie and it is also excellent.

Alice. Because I love so many children's feature length cartoons I am not listing most of them. It just goes unsaid. Naturally I was excited when Johnny Depp starred as the Mad Hatter in a new version of Alice In Wonderland. As a confused young woman Alice falls again chasing the White Rabbit and finds herself in Underland. she is the only champion who can save Underland from the evil Red Queen and her Jabberwock.

Batman. I am referring to the trilogy starring Christian Bale. I felt they explained the origins and mindset of Batman better than any of the others. I also felt that it was more than possible that his gadgets might work. As a side note the company i worked for made shocks that made Batman's cape look like it could really stiffen and soar.

Darby O'Gill And The Little People. Acute little movie that at least mentions most of the strange creatures that are commonly referred to as Irish. Darby has captured a leprechaun and no one believes him. Darby is a good-hearted man but some think he stretches the truth a wee bit. In the end the Leprechaun helps Darby spare the life of his beloved daughter from the Banshee. Sean Connery (James Bond himself) sang a song ("Pretty Irish Girl") that I sing to all my little girls.

The Wizard Of Oz. Dorothy is being raised by her aunt and uncle in Kansas. She gets caught up in a tornado and she and her dog Toto plump down in Oz, a magically colorful land with a lot of weird happenings. Yet all she wants to do is go home to Kansas.

Miss Congeniality. Both I and II. An FBI agent is a reluctant entrant in the Miss United States contest to investigate a bomb threat. She has never been particularly feminine so it takes a major make-over to make her presentable and try to keep her that way. Some false leads and humorous situations later she gets her bomber. In the sequel she has become too famous to work in the field so she becomes "The Face Of The FBI". But the winner of the Miss United States contest is kidnapped and she partners with an antagonistic FBI partner to try to rescue her.

The Blind Side. The true story of a southern family who adopt a homeless young man who goes on to become a football player for the NFL. It is a very moving story.

Seven Brides For Seven Brothers. Taken from the ancient Roman legend of the Rape Of The Sabine Women. The oldest of seven brothers goes to town to get a wife to take care of household duties for himself and his brothers. When he finds a willing woman and brings her home the brothers decide to go to town and kidnap brides for themselves. A lot of singing and dancing are in order while the girls wait to be rescued.

Hamlet. Starring Mel Gibson. Who knew he could do that? The classic Shakespeare Hamlet and it is wonderful.

Singin' In The Rain.This musical attempts to show us what it was like when silent movies became talkies. The story itself is a little lame but the actors bring their characters to life in such a way that you forget it's a silly story. Some great musical numbers that are classics.

Mermaids. A fluffy little movie about a confused teenager who has to deal with her mother who moves a lot to shelter herself from infidelities. In the process she has a fling of her own and almost causes her little sister's death.

Mamma Mia. This movie is an excuse to listen ABBA's music. A 20 year old woman being raised by her single mother is planning her wedding. She comes across her mother's old diary and discovers that she may be the the daughter of one of three men. She invites them all to the wedding thinking that she will know which one is her father. But she does not tell her mother they are coming.

Rio Bravo. Dean Martin, John Wayne, and RICKY NELSON all in on movie. Oh yes Angie Dickenson was there too. It is a western with all that westerns have. One of my favorite songs is from this movie. My Rifle, My Pony, and Me

McClintock. John Wayne plays the owner of the biggest ranch in the area. His daughter is coming home from school "back East". His estranged wife comes too because she wants the daughter to live with her. It is the movie where his quote "But I won't, I won't The hell I won't" before he slugs a man who falls into the muddy sluice.

Fort Apache and She Wore A Yellow Ribbon. Two more John Wayne Movies. In the first Henry Fonda is the star playing a rigid commanding officer type who cannot allow himself to bend at all. His daughter is played by Shirley Temple all grown up who falls in love with the son of a lowly Sergeant. In the second movie John Wayne's character is ready to retire when the Indians stage an uprisiing.

Mr Roberts. Here is Henry Fonda again. He plays the Moral Officer of a supply ship at the end of World War II. He longs to be on a battleship where he feels he will be more of a contributor to the war effort. In the meantime the dictatorial captain of the ship seems to have no feelings for anything except discipline and a palm tree he is growing on deck. The sequel Ensign Pulver deserves honorable mention.

White Christmas. Two war buddies follow two sisters they have taken a liking to up to a New England hotel for Christmas vacation. They are surprised to find no snow and their former commanding officer running the place. They decide to help him out. Romance and misunderstandings are mixed in with the musical numbers.

Some Like It Hot. Musicians witness a massacre at a meeting of mobsters. They manage to escape but the mob is hunting them. They go into hiding by masquerading as female musicians in an all-girl band.

Father Of The Bride. I like the original starring Spencer Tracy. The remake is just not as good. Spencer Tracy plays the father of the beautiful Elizabeth Taylor who is being married. He does not want to lose his little girl to anyone. Then he gets lost in all the chaos of planning the wedding.

Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. Written by Tennessee Williams it is the story of a most dysfunctional southern family. The failed football hero is married to Maggie "the Cat" who is a beautiful but unfulfilled wife. The domineering father is dying and family members are combating to see who will inherit his estate. This is a powerful movie.

Gypsy. Based on the life story of Stripper Gypsy Rose Lee. Her mother is a pushy stage mother trying to live through her daughter June who has some talent. But June runs off to get married and she is left with other daughter Louise who has less talent and less interest in becoming a "star". As a last resort to make money Louise agrees to do a strip act and becomes Gypsy Rose Lee.

How The West Was Won. An epic tale of a family through the homesteading days through the Civil War and on until everyone has sort of settled down. Just the list of famous movie stars who appear is enough to make you want to watch but it is a compelling story too.

The Silence Of The Lambs. I read this book when it first came out. It is one of my favorites because there is not a wasted word in the whole book. I knew they could not do justice to the story if they made a movie of it but they proved me wrong. The movie follows the book perfectly. A young FBI agent is sent to interview a notorious killer about solving a string of murders to see if he has insight into who they might look for.

Willy Wonka and Charlie And The Chocolate Factory. Both are based on the same story. Willy Wonka is a musical made to draw in a children's audience. There are weird spots but most are merely humorous. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is darker but I think children still like it. The owner of a candy factory that has been closed to the public decides to issue 5 tickets to choose a person to take over when he can no longer run the factory.

Born Yesterday. There are two versions and they are almost identical. A young woman endures all sorts of indignities from her boyfriend who has illegally become wealthy. He is exerting pressure on his politicians to make sure that his wealth could expand. While they are in Washington DC the boyfriend hires a newspaperman to educate her enough that she would not embarrass him at meetings. Guess what happens then.

No Time For Sergeants. A naive backwoods boy is drafted into the army. He has been so isolated that he does not realize that he is being belittled. He takes all his punishments as chores he must do to the best of his ability.

The Music Man. A con man rolls into River City to sell musical instruments, uniforms, and instruction to the boys of the town. There is a lot of great music. And a love story. And the ending of the movie where the drab looking uniforms and a few children trying to play their instruments turns into a huge marching band with 76 trombones and so forth.

Guarding Tess. A former first lady of the Untied States is guarded by a loyal contingent of Secret Servicemen. The leader of the group had also been one of the president's security team when the president died in office. She is a demanding person who consistently irritates everyone. Then she is kidnapped and the whole nation is searching for her.

Nanny McPhee And Nanny McPhee Returns. Nanny McPhee appears as an ugly woman to people who need help with unruly children. She simply appears at the door and tells them she is there to teach five lessons (different in each movie). As each lesson is accomplished she loses an ugly part until she becomes a lovely young woman when the lessons are complete. In the meantime a lot of magical things happen.

The Mating Game.A big rambunctious rural family lives a carefree life. Their neighbor is a wealthy man who wants more, more, more. Because the rambunctious family lives for today the wealthy neighbor decodes to call the IRS to have their taxes audited. The representative who arrives is attracted to the oldest daughter  and away we go with hilarity.

The Quiet Man. A man returns to Ireland where he was born. His mother had taken him to the United States after his father was sent to a penal colony. When his mother died he decided to go back to where he came from. He falls instantly in love with a beautiful woman from the village whose brother does not want her to marry him. It is a small glimpse of the old Irish way of life.

The Philadelphia Story. This is not the story starring Tom Hanks about AIDS. That is an extremely good movie too. This Philadelphia story is a comedy. A young woman is getting married but her first husband shows up. Sparks fly and laughs are plentiful.

It Happened One Night. An heiress runs away from home. There is a national manhunt for her and a huge reward is offered. A newspaperman stumbles upon her and decides to not only collect the reward but get an exclusive story while he's at it. He doesn't count on falling in love with her.

It Could Happen To You. A policeman is god, and honest, and true. He and his partner stop at a diner for lunch where they get an emergency call and have to leave quickly. As he goes to pay for the lunch he discovers that he has no money for a tip. He tells the waitress that he has a lottery ticket and he will give her the choice; either she can split the lottery ticket with him or he will return the next day with the tip. She chooses the ticket feeling that she will never see him again either way. The ticket is worth millions and the waitress is shocked when he returns to tell her she is also a millionaire as is his wife. His wife becomes more and more greedy. He and the waitress set out having fun by doing good deeds. The marriage falls apart and the cop and the waitress are in love. The ending is one of justice.

Peggy Sue Got Married. Peggy Sue of the famous Buddy Holly song has not only gotten married but she is now divorced. At a high school reunion she loses consciousness and travels back to her high school days. This is where she tries to change her life so the bad things will not happen.

Cheaper by the Dozen. Written by two of the 12 children of the Gilbreth family. The parents were efficiency experts who taught and lectured about the most efficient ways to almost everything. They decided to have 12 children because most things were cheaper if you purchased a dozen. The father is a strict disciplinarian but his children know how much he loves them. There are a lot of funny moments in this cumbersome family.

Calamity Jane. Calamity Jane is a heroine of the old west. She was a real person who rode and performed with the Wild Bill Hickok Wild West Show. In this movie Calamity Jane is a wild woman who is considered more male than female. Until a lovely dancehall singer arrives and all the men in town drool after her, including Sheriff Wild Bill. Calmity realizes that she loves him. This is the movie that featured the song "Secret Love."

Pillow Talk. Doris Day and Rock Hudson at their best. Doris Day is an uptight interior decorator. Rock Hudson is a freewheeling musician/playboy. The problem is that they share a party line. You will have to watch the movie to find out the rest.

Cat Ballou. After going to finishing school "back east" a young woman travels home to her father and his ranch. There she finds that a big mining company wants the ranch and will stop at nothing to get it. She hires a famous gunman but he turns out to be a hopeless drunk. Her father is drunk and she and her gang work to gain revenge. Lee Marvin won an academy award for this one.

Fargo. I have not seen the full length movie...yet. I have been watching a mini-series on television. It is the creepiest thing I have ever seen. A lot of murder and mayhem are in order. Just remember it's creepy.

This has turned into something very long.  I apologize. You would not believe how many movies I deleted and how many did not quite make the list. There were a lot. But I highly recommend each of these if you want a good movie.