Friday, November 30, 2018

Christmas Music

I have been listening to Christmas music. I have favorites just as I am sure you do. I like traditional carols. Jingle Bells and Silent Night are my favorites from school days. Not terribly imaginative I agree but there you are. O Holy Night as sung by the Vienna Boys Choir is about as pretty a song as you will ever hear. The Little Drummer Boy by Bob Seger is another classic.

The thing is I have an affinity for silly songs. Some are not necessarily meant to be silly but if they make me so much as chuckle they qualify. Sometimes they have to be sung by a particular artist to be a favorite. Others seem to pale by comparison.

So I am going to make a list for you. It might be boring to you but at least take a glance. You can always go to YouTube and see if you find them as entertaining as I do. If I mention the singer then try to get that one. It does make a difference.

Santa Baby and Santa Baby (This Year) by Eartha Kitt. Who else has that deliciously suggestive voice? Others sing this song but it belongs to her.

All of the (Someone) Got Runned Over By A (Something) songs:
                  Grandma                                          Reindeer
                  Grandpa                                           Beer Truck
                  Grandpa                                           John Deere
There are others but you get the idea.

Santa's Coming In A Whirlybird by Gene Autry. I have loved this since I was a child. There are other ways he will come too. Of course Rudolph (Gene Autry also sang the original of Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer) leads the sleigh reindeer. But Santa has a pick-up truck and a semi truck. There is a stagecoach too. They are all in songs.

Yogi Yorgesson was actually a comedian named Harry Stewart. Yogi had some especially funny Christmas songs. My favorites are The Hat I Got For Christmas Is Too Big, I Yust Go Nuts At Christmas, Yingle Bells, I Was Santa At The Schoolhouse, and The Christmas Party.

I Am Santa Clause by Bob Rivers is a parody of Iron Man by Black Sabbath. Nuff said.

Run, Run Rudolph by Chuck Berry is just fun old rock and roll for Christmas.

The Irish Rovers sing Merry Bloody Xmas (too funny) and Rock Along Christmas is another rock and roller. My favorite by The Irish Rovers is Mrs Fogarty's Christmas Cake.

The Chimney Song by Bob Rivers tells of something that has been stuck in the chimney since Christmas.

I Feel Like Christmas from Santa Clause 2. It is the movie in which Santa must get married or not be Santa anymore. It is a take-off of Shania Twain's Man! I Feel Like A Woman!

Gayla Peavy sings I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas and Angel In The Christmas Play.

I Farted On Santa's Lap by The Little Stinkers is just one of the many views of Christmas through a child's eyes.

The Man With All The Toys and Little St Nick are surfer Christmas songs by the Beach Boys.

I'm Gettin Nuttin For Christmas by Spike Jones and Bad Little Boy by Ray Stevens are about mischievous little boys who can expect Santa to leave them nothing. All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth again by Spike Jones tells about a poor child who just wants his teeth to grow in again so he can express himself.

Santa Bring Me A Dinosaur by Bob Brown is another child's Christmas wish.

Feliz Navidad by Jose Feliciano just makes me feel good.

The Marvelous Toy tells of a mysterious toy that brings joy. It is sung wonderfully by the Irish Rovers but I like it better by the Chad Mitchell Trio.

Blue Christmas is Porky Pig's version of the Elvis classic.

Snoopy's Christmas by The Royal Guardsmen is based on a true story from World War I when soldiers from both sides put aside their weapons and celebrated Christmas together before they resumed killing each other.

Santa Claus Is Watching You by Bruce Springsteen is fun just because he is having so much fun.

And Alice Cooper reminds us that Santa Claws Is Coming To Town. It's gruesome.

Rockin Around The Christmas Tree by Brenda Lee Is just a song reminding us to have a good time.

Santa Claus Is Watching You by Ray Stevens is a warning. Santa; He's everywhere, He's everywhere!

Yellin' At The Christmas Tree by Billy Idol tells of a rather disfunctional time at Christmas.

Santa Got Lost In Texas by Michael Landon makes me think of my younger days.

The Hula Hoop Song is also known as The Chipmunk Song. It is sung by Alvin and the Chipmunks who were the alter-egos of Ross Bagdasarian.

Any of the Christmas songs sung with animal sounds. A lot of people do not like them but I love them. I play them for the dog at Christmas. She likes them too.

I know I have forgotten so many but these are the ones that came to mind. I am always listening for new ones too.

To finish Christmas songs I need to hear War Is Over by John Lennon (okay, yes, Yoko too). There is nothing funny about this song but it means a lot.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Need A Break

It may be after-Thanksgiving-letdown. It may be that I have not taken any time off in a while. I feel a bit lethargic right now.

I have several Christmas posts already written. I will fill in with some older posts so I can take break. I will come back after the new year has begun.

I will still be reading your posts. However I may not leave a comment every time. I hope you understand and will continue to read Leaves On My Tree until I return to my writing.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving

I have told you about our rides in the country on Sunday afternoons. Most cars had bench seats at that time. Room for the driver, his wife who would hold the baby, and whichever child was lucky enough to sit in the middle. The rest of us crowded into the back seat. If we had our friends with us as we usually did there were children all over. We sat on top of the convertible top which had been lowered into the recessed area. We stood on the floor. We sat on the sides of the car and the back. No one ever fell out or was injured in any way.

Cars had no seat belts or air bags. Only race cars had safety features like that. Often just to have a bit of room we rode standing on the floor. We only had one casualty that I can remember.

We were on our way to my grandparent's farm for Thanksgiving. There were going to be a lot of people there because it is a big family. Mom said she would bring the pies.

She made pumpkin of course and mince meat pies. I do not remember if there were any fruit pies. But there were a lot of them.

The pies were placed on the shelf of the back window which was large but could not hold them all. So the rest were put on the back seat.

Of course there was no room for us to sit but that did not matter because we liked to stand up and see things anyway.

We were a little over a mile from the farm. Suddenly Daddy slammed on the brakes to keep from hitting something in the road. We flew forward into the back of the front seat.

I was the one who then bounced off the front seat and sat down onto the back seat. Not too bad, you say?

That seat was covered with pumpkin pies. I sat directly into one and my hands managed to find a couple more. What a mess.

So there was a dead pie and a couple of pies that needed surgery before we could eat them. My fingers tasted pretty good for a couple of minutes though.

Friday, November 16, 2018

The Runaway Wagon

In my family stories sometimes my mother comes off as a bit of a flake. She was actually the most intelligent person I have ever known. By the same token my mother-in-law was the wisest.

As with many extremely intelligent people my mother did not always exercise her wisdom. Now my mother-in-law was also very intelligent but she had been pretty much on her own since she was a small child. She learned to rely on her wits and she was good at it.

She could size up a person immediately upon meeting them. She was always dead-on accurate in her assessments. This story is about my mother-in-law.

Mom knew exactly the right way to handle a situation. Instinctively she did what needed to be done with no muss, no fuss. I admire that so much.

Mom did not have an easy life. Her parents died when she was too small to really understand what death meant. Add to that the fact that nobody ever told her that they had died and she was a hurt little girl.

But she learned to not only fend for herself she took care of her older brothers and sisters as well. She and my mother were both remarkable women.

But she did have moments of flakiness just like the rest of us.

Mom's older children were going to school before most people had cars. They usually walked to school or someone would hook up a team of horses and drive them or pick them up. When that happened they took or picked up every child and delivered them to where they were going.

After Mom died we discovered a lot of history books. The family is actually mentioned in at least two of the books that recorded local history.

One day Mom had been running errands and decided to pick the kids up after school. It was a nice crisp fall day.

After dropping off all the children who were not hers at their homes she headed for her home with my oldest brother-in-law riding with her.

Somehow the horse got away from her. She and my brother-in-law were in a runaway wagon!

I have a picture in my mind of the ordeal. Mom would have been ordering my brother-in-law to lie flat on the bed of the wagon as she frantically tried to figure out how to stop the horse.

The horse was running as fast as it could finally leaving the road. It ran on and on as runaway horses will do.

Mom finally laid down flat too. The horse was running straight toward the trees. The wagon could hit one and she and her son could be seriously injured if not killed.

There was a huge jerk as the wagon came to a sudden stop.

The horse had run between two trees. They were not far enough apart for the wagon to go between them.

It did go part way. Then the wagon was stuck tight, really tight. But it did stop.

Both my mother-in-law and my brother-in-law escaped with no serious injuries. They were mightily shaken though.

And they now have their names in history books.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

My Granddaughter's Job

My second granddaughter is in her second year of college. She also just started a new job.

The place she is working is the first of a chain of restaurants. These places honor veterans and first responders.

The first week they were open they had theme days. One day they gave free meals to firefighters. Another gave free meals to the police. Active armed forces are always welcome.

There is a box for donations for people who wish to do so. The money will go to veterans groups.

One day my granddaughter was helpful to a young family. They were so grateful that they sought out the manager. They handed him $20 and told him it was for my granddaughter. They explained how cheerful and helpful she had been. She took the money and put it in the collection box.

Management held a meeting for all employees. They explained that they planned on placing pictures of actual service members on the walls.

My granddaughter began to tell them of some of the members of her family who had served our country. Management told her if she could provide pictures they would dedicate one booth to her family. The service members would be on the wall by the booth.

My granddaughter is proud of her family who have served.  I am proud of my granddaughter.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018


Of course I am talking about Bohemian Rhapsody. It is the newly released movie about Queen. Actually it seems to be more about Freddie Mercury than the entire band.

I will say that I found the movie to be incomplete. However time constraints would be the reason. Two hours does not allow for delving into things in depth.

A lot of events were shown out of sequence. That also happens in a lot of movies.

Bohemian Rhapsody is about Freddie's personal life and how it affected the whole of Queen. The group comes together and begins to make that wonderful music they are known for. We even see the inspiration for some of the songs.

There are quarrels and camaraderie. Queen separates and comes back together. As they say several times they are a family.

The love story of Freddie and Mary Austin is one of the great love stories. A lot of time is spent on that. Mary was the one person Freddie trusted totally. She received the bulk of his estate when he died. He instructed her before his death to spread his ashes in a secret place and to tell no one where it was.

 The final concert they showed was Live Aid at Wembley Stadium. The movie implied that it was the last performance for Queen with all members but it was not. The movie made it seem as if Freddie died soon aftere which was also not the case.

I would have liked for them to touch on his friendship with the opera singer Montserrat Caballe who recently died. They made beautiful music together. Again we are dealing with the constraints of time.

I really enjoyed Bohemian Rhapsody. Just to hear that marvelous music made it worth the price of admission. Even if sequences were not correct watching them compose and perfect their music was an education.

The actors who played the members of Queen were so good. Some of the resemblances are uncanny. The young man who played Brian May could have been a younger Brian May. Each of them had his character's mannerisms perfected.

There were several places in the movie that made me cry. But then I cried when Darth Vader died so I am not a good measure of that sort of thing.

Bohemian Rhapsody is a movie definitely worth seeing for any fan of Queen and their music.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Work, Work, Work

I have had a huge variety of jobs over the years. I wish I would have planned better for my old age but I am rather childlike in that my interests change and I move on. When I am doing something I become obsessive about it. Then my interest wanes and I move on. It is a character flaw.

I began as a child. I had lemonade stands. I do not remember selling any but it tasted good. I weeded gardens, both flower and vegetable. I shoveled snow. I even sold imprinted greeting cards.

The first job that I paid income tax and had social security taxes withheld was as a pinsetter in the bowling alley. I was 11 years old. We actually had four whole lanes in the bowling alley. However we did not have automatic pinsetters that are common now. But we were semi-automatic.

The pinsetter would sit on a perch between the alleys and up out of the pit where the pins and ball would fall after the bowler let loose. Then we would pull a rope to put the barrier down so no one would accidentally bowl and hit us as we did our work.

We jumped into the pit and gathered the pins and replaced them in the rack that would eventually deposit them in that triangular formation when we told them to. We picked up the ball and sent it rolling on the track back to the bowler.

On league night we were really busy. I always managed to get the lane where the chiropractor's wife was bowling. She was a "pleasingly plump" little ball herself. She wore heavy make-up and a tight corset. Her eyebrows were obviously applied using a stencil and solidly colored in. Yikes.

Because of her corset she could not move easily. Bending to release her ball was impossible. She would waddle up to the line then set the ball on the lane. Only the slope of the lane made it move towards the pins. I cannot tell you how many times it did not have the velocity to knock the pins over. It would just stop when the pins blocked its path.

Then I would have to crawl out through the gutter, ease the ball so it would not knock any pins over, and get back to the pit to send the ball back to her.

That woman ordered herself a personal bowling ball. I do not know what it was made of but it stunk so bad. We all hated to handle that thing.

Occasionally one or more of the pins would be slightly off center and it would jam the rack. The rack would not go back up until it had gone all the way down. So we had to find the faulty pin and dislodge it.

It was dirty and greasy back there. In the summer it was so hot. Sometimes we were allowed to prop the back door open to move a little air through. We made one penny per line. A line is one game per person. So if ten people each bowled two lines we made twenty cents. It was decent money.

Two of my brothers and I delivered newspapers. Practically everyone in town got the paper because that was our major news source then. We were kept busy.

On Sundays the papers were not dropped off in town. We had to drive about fifteen miles to the next town to get them. On the way back we delivered to subscribers who normally got them in the mail. With no Sunday mail we left them in the mail box.

We then went through our town to the next little town where we left a stack of papers for people to buy there. Then back to our town to fold the papers and deliver them.

Christmas mornings were like Sundays. We did all the Sunday things. Then we could go home and open our presents.

As I got older I baby sat. Twenty-five cents per hour was the going rate. I had regular customers who would leave right before supper and return early the next morning. For 12 hours I would make $4.00. It was good money then.

I also did some volunteer work. I worked as a candy striper in a nursing home. One day while I was walking to the nursing home I got caught in a downpour. I was totally saoked from the top of my head to the insides of my shoes. After clucking fo a while about how wet I was the nurses just put me to work answering phones.

I did some volunteer work at the local museum. It was in a small house and everything was piled on top of other things and dusty. We were trying to organize and catalog the historical items. The museum has moved to larger quarters twice since then. I still recognize some of the things from the first museum.

When I was in high school I worked at Christmas time ringing bells for the Salvation Army. I was one of those people you see on street corners ringing a bell and standing in front of the pots where you can drop in money to help the less fortunate. It was really good money. Minimum wage was seventy five cents an hour. That is what they paid us.

One night I was at my assigned corner. It was bitterly cold and the wind was blowing hard. Luckily I had on my winter apparel plus the cape the Salvation Army supplies. Those capes are super warm.

I was standing on a flattened cardboard box to help keep my feet warm by not touching the cement of the sidewalk. A big gust of wind came and caught the little sign on the stand that the pot hung from. It fell right over. No money fell out but I took the sign off so it would not happen again. Soon they came and collected me, my pot of money, and my lovely warm cape.

Fresh out of high school I had a job in the dietary department of the hospital. We made the food for all the patients according to dietary needs. It was all made from scratch. We also supplied the cafeteria so hospital employess and visitors could eat.

I worked the early morning shift. There were two older women who had been there since the hospital opened and each of them thought they owned the place. And they were so jealous of each other and expected people to take sides. I am not good at taking sides but I am good at agreeing to whatever they said then doing things the way I intended to do them from the beginning. I actually got along well with both of them.

I was assigned to serve pediatrics on the first floor and then go up to obstetrics on the fourth floor. We had heavy steam carts to keep the food warm and we pushed those to the floors we served. The individual trays had been sent ahead with name cards on each one so we knew what type of diet to serve.

For breakfast I went first to pediatrics to serve the children. There were toasters in each little kitchen on the floor. So I made toast and served the food onto plates. The nurses and aids took the food to the rooms. Then I would go to obstetrics and repeat. I made $240 per month. It was good money.

I have been a waitress both in restaurants and bars where I also tended bar. I managed a band. I was the assistant manager of a body shop where we repaired cars that needed body work. I did telemarketing (I know I hate them too) selling long lasting light bulbs.

I was a cashier in a major department store chain in the state. I was promoted to cashier in charge meaning that I was in charge of the other cashiers during that shift. Then I made it to the cash office where we counted down all of the cashiers' drawers to make sure they balanced and kept all of the financial records for the store.

I was secretary/bookkeeper for a man who conducted liquidation sales for stores that were going out of business. I worked in a fast food restaurant. I absolutely hated that job. It was the people I worked with not the job but it left a real bad taste in my mouth.

I worked in a factory making industrial shocks. We made shocks for rides in amusement parks like Disney World. We made the shocks that made Batman's cape turn into wings in the Batman movies. Eventually I was assigned to laser print the company logo and part number onto the shocks. Because of the laser I was in a little room that n o one could enter unless I let them in. I loved that job.

I ran junkyards. We took junk cars and scrapped them. That is another story altogether.

And I drove a truck. What kind? Any truck. If a vehicle has a steering wheel and gas pedal I can drive it. Eighteen wheelers, delivery trucks, cars, hi-los, construction equipment... I can drive them all. Again this is another story.

Now I am retired. I worked most of my life. I paid taxes for more than 50 years. I think no one should be expected to work that long.

Like I said I did not plan well for my old age but I am doing better than just getting by so I guess things worked out okay. I do however get really angry at those politicians who begrudge me my government payment every month. They call it an entitlement. Entitlement my Aunt Fanny. I paid into that for more than 50 years. The money is mine, mine, mine. I earned it.

Other than that life is good.