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Darrell Bain

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You are invited to have your fancy tickled at least once a month when you join LAUGHING ALL THE WAY--The View From Santa Claus Lane, my FREE personal newsletter. Receive at least one wacky story a month plus other exciting and interesting information from Darrell Bain, some of which may even make sense. Your newsletter will always have at least one really funny story which sometimes is even true (more or less), and the newsletter lets you know of forthcoming books, includes an occasional article and contains other news, stories and tidbits as it happens or occurs to me, and which I think might be interresting to you. My writing career is expanding and I will have lots to offer besides my already published works. e-mail me any time at dbain(at)lcc.net Thanks. Enter your email address and click 'sign me up!'







Newsletter Dated: 3/28/2002 1:20:47 PM

Subject: LAUGHING ALL THE WAY--feature story: How To Eat Ice Cream

LAUGHING ALL THE WAY--The View from Santa Claus Lane, Volume II, Issue 4, April 2002. Copyright April 2002 By Darrell Bain

GREETINGS
Thank you for subscribing. Thank you for reading. And thank you for forwarding this newsletter to everyone you can think of, especially grouches. Cheer them up and they won’t cause so much trouble.

INDEX (In order, mostly).

Title, Greetings, Subscribe, My Web Site,
Rating, Submission Guidelines, Advertising, Other News,
**! Feature Story!** HOW TO EAT ICE CREAM
Mailbox, Links of Interest, Authors and Book Favorites,
Author’s Den News,
!Serial--The Saga Of Big Mama!!
Books Available Directly From Me,
Tidbits,
Don’t ask news
Suggestions
**!!Other Family Members!!** A howler! Don’t miss!
Last Notes, Blurbs For My Books, The Absolute End,
Surprise!!
Old Time Stories

SUBSCRIBE

You or anyone else may Subscribe to LAUGHING ALL THE WAY at http://www.authorsden.com/darrellbain or simply mail dbain@lcc.net with Subscribe in subject heading. You are also allowed to tell friends about this fantastic newsletter, or better yet just forward it to them.

MY WEB SITE AND ADDRESS

www.santa-claus-lane.com is my original web site, still in use.
www.santaclauslane.biz is my new web site. It looks exactly like the other one, so it doesn‘t matter which one you use.
In both of them you can read reviews of my books, read sample chapters, see all the book covers, use a printable form for ordering, and in general navigate around a whole lot better than before. Try it and see!

RATING

Thanks to all of you who responded to my desperate plea to rate this newsletter. I truly appreciate it--even the two grouches who only gave it a 9 instead of a 10. That will help keep me on my toes.

Please rate this Ezine at the Cumuli Ezine Finder.
http://www.cumuli.com/ezines/ra20739.rate

SUBMISSIONS & GUIDELINES

Your musings can appear in this newsletter if they are judged worthy and don’t overshadow my musings. Submissions should be less than 1,000 words (leaving more room for my own stuff), funny (but not as funny as my stuff) and contain no mention of elves.
Payment: one free advertisement, 100 words.
Submit in the body of an e-mail to dbain@lcc.net with SUBMISSION in title, along with your prospective ad.

This month’s submission is from Dr. Bob Rich, who lives in the outback of Australia. You may ask him why if you dare.

Dr Bob Rich is the author of ten books. One of them won the EPPIE 2001 Award for SF. Another has been in print since 1987, a period that spans two centuries. He is a highly respected freelance editor, whose approach is to praise everything that deserves praise in a manuscript, and ruthlessly point out every fault from a misplaced comma to a subtle hole in the plot. Even highly experienced writers have been enthusiastic about his contribution to their projects.
Bob has many interests, so needs to run three web sites. It is untrue that he is the webmaster: webservant is a better description. Visit him at "http://bobswriting.com/", "http://anxietyanddepression-help.com/" and "http://mudsmith.net/"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Bob’s contribution: THE PERILS OF TRAVELING.

Retrospect Let me give you an awful warning. Travel if you must, but chances are, the only enjoyment will be when you laugh… at yourself… afterwards. A few examples should drive my point home. Actually, the topic occurred to me because of the disasters that have befallen my nephew Jim from New Zealand. He'd organized that he would ring one of his Aunties upon arrival at Tullamarine, then hop on the Airport bus to Ringwood. Unfortunately, the plane was delayed, and all he could manage was to collect his great heap of luggage, then race to the bus just as it was leaving. "No worries, matey," the bus driver said, "I'll drop you at the public phones in Ringwood, that's at the taxi stand, a couple of hundred meters from the bus stop. You can ring your Auntie from there."
And so it befell. However, Auntie got worried when no phone call came at the appointed time, and decided to go to Ringwood anyway, just in case. So, there they sat for a couple of hours, a bare 200 meters apart. Jim was anchored to the taxi stand by his luggage, and had half-hourly desperate chats with Auntie's answering machine. For her part, Auntie stuck it out until the next Airport bus arrived, then, full of foreboding and despair, she drove home.
The phone was ringing as she opened the door. "Hi, this is Jim," a pathetic voice said. "I'm at the bank, I was just withdrawing some money so I could rent a motel room, these nice people allowed to make just one last call.
Not to worry, Auntie rang me at work, and got me to meet the young fellow at Lilydale Railway Station. It was dark when I got there, but I conscientiously checked every hidey hole, even the rarely-used Platform 1. No Jim. Train after train came, each bearing hundreds of passengers, but not him. Eventually, the announcement blared, "This train is not taking passengers," and an extra train pulled in to Platform 1. And when the crowd cleared, there he was: cabin luggage, huge backpack and two bulging suitcases surrounding a tall, blond heap of misery. He'd been there for hours, except for one short episode, when he lugged his gear along in order to see if I was on Platform 2. And of course this was exactly when I was checking out Platform 1!
Well, anyone can have bad luck. But what about Harry? He was an Air Traffic Controller for 30 years until his retirement. Last week, he and his wife left for a trip to Europe. The time on the ticket was "0115 hours". They turned up at noon, thinking they'd have an hour and a quarter to spare. Of course, on the 24 hour clock, 1 PM is 13 hundred hours. 0115 is the middle of the night. By 1 PM, their plane was somewhere over the Himalayas.
These were conventional trips. An Adventure Holiday is something else again. My friend Anne is, luckily for her, a doctor. As a young woman, she went for a walk ¾ right down the western coastline of South America. No, she didn't meet any brigands or drug barons, she wasn't robbed or raped. But one day in Chile, a sharp stick went right through her boot. In through the sole, and out the top. Her foot was still in it. The nearest nurse was a hundred miles away. The nearest doctor was fortunately right there: Anne herself. So, the local policeman performed the operation, guided a step at a time by Anne. Then there is my sister-in-law Elise. When she went to see the world, she stumbled on student riots in Rome, a military coup in Athens, and the 7-day war in Lebanon! We figured, Governments should pay her to stay away!
I've had my share too. At 21, I went on a trip to Europe, by ship. All the guys told me, "Bob, you've got it made! When they smell the sea, all the girls drop their knickers! I think every passenger of either gender was given the same message by their friends. What happened was that all the guys acted like randy billy goats, while all the girls walked around with their noses in the air and their legs crossed.
That was the loneliest six weeks in my life. Only the ship's officers got anywhere near a look-in. And on my return, the ship was delayed. I had to stay in Piraeus for an indefinite time. I couldn't speak the language or even read the street signs, and had no money left. I rented a room in the cheapest hotel. Something was strange: most of the other residents were young women. And each time they came home, they were accompanied by a different man. If I had the time, I could give you dozens more examples, of the ways that travel can entertain you long after you have survived it. Don't say I haven't warned you!

** I agree, Bob. I still laugh about the time Betty and I got stranded in Bahrain with a ton of luggage, no money and neither of us able to speak Arabic. It sure wasn’t funny then, though!! DB

ADVERTISING RATES

Ten dollars per ad, less if funny. Hundreds of idio--I mean fine affluent shoppers will see your ad here. One hundred words plus url. e-mail me for payment details at dbain@lcc.net Or just send a check for ten bucks and the wording of your ad to 251 Santa Claus Lane, Shepherd, TX 77371 and yes, that is a real address.
You may also use paypal, giving my address dbain@lcc.net and sending me the ad.
25% discount for funny ads.

FEATURE STORY

And now, let’s have the customary drumroll. In fact, let’s have a double drumroll because I always enjoy telling my readers something they may not have known before. Read on.

The Proper Way To Eat Ice Cream, Copyright 1999, 2002 by Darrell Bain.

HOW TO SERVE YOURSELF ICE CREAM AND EAT IT AND OTHER IMPORTANT FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE MOST IMPORTANT FOOD GROUP OF THEM ALL.

The first and most important rule for serving yourself ice cream is to never worry about leaving any in the carton for the next person. If they want ice cream, let them go get their own. If you feel generous, I suppose it’s okay to let them lick the bowl when you’re finished. And speaking of bowls, don’t get led astray by those little bitsy bowls women like to keep in the kitchen cabinets. They don’t hold enough ice cream to feed a mouse. You may as well eat from the scoop. Search around the kitchen and you’ll find something bigger that the little woman keeps hidden for some useless purposes like salads or flower bouquets. Get the biggest bowl you can find, except there’s no need to use a container bigger than a gallon because that’s all the biggest ice cream containers hold. Now you can either use a big spoon or a regular ice cream scoop to dip the ice cream. I personally prefer a big spoon because you can go ahead and eat with it while you’re dipping and also when you’re finished dipping and not waste any time discarding the scoop and looking for a spoon since you will already have one in your hand.
Once you begin dipping ice cream it is very important that you position the dips or scoops of ice cream so as to leave the smallest air spaces in the bowl as possible. Always remember, ice cream tastes much better than air spaces. In fact, you should try to arrange the scoops of ice cream so that you can smush them down and not leave any air pockets at all. Remember, chances are you have a container holding less than a gallon and you want to put all the ice cream it will hold into it.
Once the container is filled to the brim, you can begin heaping it into a pile, the higher the better, again trying to avoid air spaces and being careful not to let any ice cream fall off the heap until one finally does. You can then eat that stray bit of ice cream and figure you now have all the ice cream the container will hold. If you have run out of ice cream during these proceedings, its a pretty safe bet that you have been alternating dips between your bowl and your mouth. This is perfectly understandable and should cause no upset to anyone. Just take another container of ice cream out of the freezer and continue about your business until your bowl is full.
You have now properly served yourself a regular helping of ice cream. I don’t think there’s any need to tell you how to eat it, but I would be glad to demonstrate. We’ll have to use your ice cream, though. I’ve eaten all of mine. However, there are a few little pointers I’ll pass on.
One: An hour or two before you intend to eat your ice cream, place your bowl in the freezer and take it out only when you’re ready to begin dipping The cold bowl will keep the ice cream firm while you are eating it and also prolong your pleasure since firmer ice cream takes longer to eat.
Two: Eat the ice cream in bed with a good pocket book. Do not take a hard cover book to bed with your ice cream as it is difficult to hold with one hand and you must never release your grip on your ice cream spoon lest someone, not mentioning names but my wife Betty comes to mind, grabs the spoon and steals some of your ice cream.
Three: Do not eat just plain vanilla ice cream. Always buy French Vanilla. French Vanilla ice cream contains 20% more butterfat than regular vanilla and is smoother and richer and pleasanter on the palate. If you’re gong to eat ice cream, don’t settle for half measures.
Four: If your doggie has succumbed to a craving for ice cream, for example like our dachshund Biscuit, train him to always beg for his ice cream from your wife. Women are more apt to worry about calories and will probably part with some of theirs, thereby leaving more for you. It is permissible to let your doggie lick the bowl when you’re finished so long as you leave a film of melted ice cream no thicker than 0.002 inches thick.
Five: The only variety of ice cream other than French Vanilla worthy of serving in the fashion described above is Cherry Vanilla. Anyone who eats any other flavors is not a real ice cream connoisseur. Note: other flavors may reluctantly be consumed only when the two primary flavors are totally unavailable, which should never happen. The only time wife-beating is ever appropriate is when said wife allows the freezer to run out of the only two real flavors of ice cream.
Six: Never pay attention to what the bathroom scales may read after you become an ice cream aficionado. They have been rigged by your spouse in the hopes that you will quit eating all the ice cream in the house and leave some for her. Just continue about your regular ice cream-eating routine and make her buy her own--plus yours, of course.
Seven: There are ice creams and ice creams. Bluebell is the only real ice cream. Accept no substitutes. If it is unavailable in your area, charter a plane to fly it in for you. Ignore your spouse if she complains about the expense. Ice cream is one of the major food groups and is absolutely essential for your continued good health.
Eight: Seasons have nothing to do with when you should eat ice cream. You should eat it every day, year round. As noted, it is essential to good health and strong bodies.
Nine: It is all right to mix cake and ice cream at birthday parties but that is the only occasion. Ice cream is too good as it is for the flavor to be diluted with other sweets. Besides, if you mix it, that leaves less room inside you for a full serving of ice cream.
Ten: Anyone who does not agree with everything in this ice cream dissertation is a skinny no-good low IQ idiot who probably spends all his time worrying about cholesterol, body fat and other unimportant things instead of concentrating on how to prevent terrorists from blowing up all the Bluebell Ice Cream factories in America and thus sealing our doom as a nation.
The End

OTHER NEWS

This newsletter will also begin appearing on my web site each month. www.santa-claus-lane.com

Betty and I went to a used book store for my birthday. About half the books we bought turned out to be ones we had read previously. One thing about getting old, though: neither of us remember how most of them ended so it was pretty close to getting new books anyway.

MAILBOX

No letters this month.

LINKS OF INTEREST

www.videoexplorers.com (For video, movie-making and adventure enthusiasts)

www.thevolares.com (For music enthusiasts)

http://members.aol.com/Meredlune/Jeanineberry.html (This is the web site of Jeanine Berry, my co-author of The Sex Gates. She has a real interesting site, especially for readers and aspiring authors.)

http://www.amazingauthorsshowcase.com/authors/BillRiepe/index.html
(This is the web site of Bill Riepe, a WWII and Korean War vet and a retired Firefighter. He has a very interesting web site, well worth visiting. Give him a salute while you‘re there. He deserves it.)

OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS

As mentioned previously, I like to tell stories about other members of my family.
The other day I was telling my brother Gary how much fun he ought to be having now that he has his dream place, a big house on forty acres out in the country with a small lake. His answer:

You're right, or learn maintenance on stupid tractor, or hunt for worms to
fish(there ain't a gd worm on this 40 acres), or chase Great Pyrennes around
the country, or desert survival or how not to grow plants, or sub-zero
survival or how not to grow plants, or how to grow bermuda at 3 trillion
dollars an acre to feed a 20 dollar horse, or how to clear land so you work
the land so you can do more futile work, etc., etc. Yeah, you're right ,
this has been too much fun!!

And then: (the howler)

I'm just having fun this morning. After yesterday I decided to relax today. What happened was that I started the day off, (Barb at horse seminar) by doing my first honey-do. Barb had asked me to fill the bird feeders with sunflower seeds. No problem I thought as I dutifully picked up 50# bag and carried it from garage to front porch, transiting the entire length of our house as I accomplished this herculean task. I thought the bag wasn't as heavy when I got there as when I first picked it up or that , boy, I was getting strong in my old age. Then I looked behind me, seeds from one end of the house to the other, Barb had opened the bag and neatly stuffed it back together and as I walked was feeding birds throughout the house!! Next project, fix birdhouse horses had destroyed when venturing into yard. Horses love birdseed and especially those black sunflower seeds that are full of oil so naturally seek those out first when intruding on our space in yard. At any rate, there I was in my workshop with birdfeeder, still full of seeds. So I dump them into this container in one fell swoop. Only problem is , wooden container has less than structurally sound bottom. Opps!! Seeds throughout shop floor. Now mice really , really like seeds and naturally gravitate to my shop anyway. So, I might start raising mice and feeding them weeds when I run short of seeds. Then on to maintenance on tractor, a quick oil change and it would be ready. Not to belabor the issue, tractor still needs oil change. It's still in the barn with big puddle of oil underneath on the concrete where I told Barb I would never so much as drop a drop of oil on her concrete barn floor. I figure if the tractor doesn't move from that position, she won't notice, I don't have to work and everybody is happy. So I decided to water horse in stall. I very expertly put hose in bucket, turned water on and then saw the puppies go scooting by chasing something into the woods so I haul ass after them. Caught them about a mile into the woods and staggered back with a hunnerd pounds of pyrennes (one under each arm) and decided to go inside and eat some brownies, and I did, and then to brush my teeth of course. I noticed we didn't have much water pressure, Oh hell!! Run out to flooded stall, shut water off and decided to do something really constructive so pulled my martin house down to get it ready for the sparrows, starlings and every other bird in the nation 'cause martins hate my martin house. Hmmm. Wonder how these caliber twenty-two holes appeared in the house. Somebody must be hunting martins around here cause the only thing I shoot are starlings and sparrows and I'm an expert marksman. Oh well, I needed a new martin house anyway. Well, Barb gets home and I tell her my tales of woe but she's not interested and only wants to talk about the exciting day she had at the horse seminar where one learns how to spend money training horses to eat sunflower seeds and other such antics. Oh well, she fixed a gourmet chicken dinner and with more brownies for dessert all is well on the farm. Oh, we got a big storm last night that dumped about three inches in a few minutes and I'm certain I can blame that flooded stall on the downpour. Probably a leak or something!!
The End

And y’all think I’m funny? DB

FEATURE BOOK

***!! SPECIAL NOTICE !!**
My newest book, and my magnum opus of science fiction, The Sex Gates, in collaboration with Jeanine Berry, has been sold in both print and e-book versions.
The e-book version is on sale now at http://double-dragon-ebooks.com/ in the science fiction section. Go look.
The first few reviewers/readers think we’ve crafted a masterpiece. In the words of one, “...the book Robert A.Heinlein should have written after Stranger In A strange Land. ...simply put, the best science fiction offering to come along in years.”
The print version is at the printers, but can already be ordered at Barnes & Noble, either on line or at a store.

RECOMMENDED AUTHORS AND BOOK FAVORITES

This month I recommend J.F. Freedman for those who like mysteries tied in with courtroom drama. He is better than Grisham (in my opinion, Grisham’s best book was his first, A Time To Kill). Some of Freedman’s books in the order I like them are Against The Wind and Key Witness.

AUTHOR’S DEN NEWS

http://www.authorsden.com/darrellbain

Another author, veteran and retired firefighter posted a couple of reviews for Medics Wild and the sequels. You can read the reviews on my new web site, www.santaclauslane.biz or my original one, www.santa-claus-lane.com
You can buy my books at the authorsden url as easily as falling off a log.
And you can read a couple of my short stories there for free.
Also, you can get previous editions of this fabulous newsletter from the newsletter archives there.
.
SERIAL--THE SAGA OF BIG MAMA

(Previous episodes can be found in the newsletter archives at http://www.authorsden.com/darrellbain)

The absolutely true story to date: Our Daughter Pat and son-in-law Rob who live right behind us on ten acres we gave them, buy a huge new mobile home after Rob, who manages mobile home lots for a living, began making lots of money. Betty and I dubbed the prospective new home “Big Mama”. Rob has used an old extra mobile home on their property as a down payment so they could keep their good one they are presently living in for a spare. They want to put Big Mama where the old trade in lives. Rob believes he knows all about moving and installing mobile homes.
Rob tries to save money by hiring one of his “friends” to help move the old extra trailer out of the way so Big Mama can go in its spot. Rob and his friend get the trailer stuck in a maze of pine trees while trying to move it and tear it open in three spots and bend the frame and it is still stuck there while Rob and Pat, not speaking to each other because Rob has ruined the trade-in and now they have to use their good home for a trade, leave to go on a previously planned vacation. And here we are at this segment of the saga.
Rob hires another “friend” to cut the damaged trailer out of the trees where it is wedged, in particular a huge pine named the Joshua Tree for its three-pronged trunk. You guessed it. The first trunk landed directly on the trailer, smashing in the roof. Then when the friend tried to cut it loose it rolled and demolished half the rest of the trailer. It was a huge trunk. Needless to say, the trailer no longer has any potential as living quarters. Now the problem is what to do with it before Big Mama arrives.
The Bulldozer doesn’t arrive on time nor does the stump grinder (well, he does arrive but his rig breaks down), and Big Mama is on the way!
Big Mama arrives at the farm entrance, only a quarter mile from home! The wrecked trailer is still occupying its spot but it has to come in anyway. It partially destroys my new culvert I had just spent two thousand dollars on. Pat watches in horror as Big Mama moves up the narrow lane. A pine tree rips off part of the roof on one section. She turns her back as another tree rips off some facing. Big Mama comes to rest in a hayfield, because of course there is no where to put her. Another tree rips off the facing on the other section. Rob gets the movers to drag the old wreck across the road and Pat overhears him calling me and asking for waterproof tarps after he just assured her the roof damage was “minor”. Betty had a root canal that day. I won a hundred bucks on the lottery and spent the day trying not to grin in the sight of Pat or Rob or Betty.
The next day Rob borrowed tools to fix our tractor he used to fix our culvert. The stump grinder fooled around all day with one stump and broke down. The tree people came back after a week’s hiatus and began trying to roll logs from the trees downhill. The Bulldozer showed up and the three men with it announced they had to go round up some cattle and haven’t been seen again so far.
When the bulldozer came back, it cut the waterline and phone line and dug up the septic tank and line as well. Pat came over to our house to wash clothes, get some drinking water, use the bathroom and call the telephone company and a divorce lawyer.
The bulldozer came back the next day and cut the power lines. Rob spent lots of money on a borrowed tractor trying to save money but only succeeded in tipping over the power pole so it has to be reset. After that he began moving dirt to make a level spot for the runners of Big Mama. He did a terrific job except the movers told him he had used the wrong kind of dirt and he had to buy the right kind from them. The concrete guys showed up and cut the septic line again in five places. The bulldozer moved back in and buried the electrical conduit lines which are destined to go from the power pole to Big Mama. Rob spent the night digging them back up.
Rob didn’t notice that the concrete guys had left the water running for some reason and woke the next morning to see the base where Big Mama was supposed to be placed flooded, turning the newly purchased special dirt into jello. Rob begins praying for lots of sun before the forms are laid for the runners. God was listening and the dirt dried soon enough to get the forms poured. While at it the boss of the crew tries to buy an old truck of Rob’s. Rob opens the door to show him the motor and a swarm of angry bees flies out and the whole crew runs for cover. Later, after killing the bees, rob opens the hood and a white rat a foot long stares up at them. Trying to kill it arouses the bees and the rat attacks. Rob orders it killed and the crew destroy the truck in an attempt with steel rebars. The rat gets away.
We all leave for the beach after the runners are poured. They have to sit. For a week. Uh, all of us except Rob left. he had to work. He met us at the beach a few nights later, looking grim. The mover arrived and told Rob that he couldn’t move Big Mama onto the runners sideways. She was too heavy. rob had to take off from work to build a ramp to get her up there. And of course he had to order more dirt to build the ramp. Rob tried to get Pat to join him. “No way,” Pat said. I’m on vacation.”

To be continued. And I swear, all this is true.

The Saga Of Big Mama, continued.

TRAILER VII

Rob left to build his ramp and Pat decided to follow--or rather go to work in his place. We heard the rest of the story from Rob Sunday night after we got home--and of course couldn’t bear the suspense so ran and looked first thing. Big Mama was gone from the field and in place on the runners. Well, sort of in place. The two sections weren’t married yet. In fact it didn’t look as if they were even courting. But let’s let Rob tell the story, shall we?
“I ordered four truckloads of dirt,” Rob said, “then started building my ramp on Wednesday. In the rain. I built Thursday. In the rain. And used all my dirt but got that blasted ramp done. And I started thinking: it’s not a total loss; I can use the dirt from the ramp after Big Momma is in place to landscape our future yard.
“The mover showed up Friday right on time. And by golly, my ramp worked. Big Mamma went on up it and onto the rollers. Sorta. Each section was pretty well separated and looked like they didn’t want to get married, but for now I was satisfied to just have them make out a little. Now for--
“Whoops! I felt a drop of rain. And more rain. And much more rain. I called for help. Pat came out and helped. In the rain. Why? Because the blasted sections of Big Mama weren’t mated yet and this rainstorm would get water inside on our new carpets.
“We foraged for tarps (now I know why the light was on in my storeroom at the shop--Rob had borrowed all my tarps). We put up tarps. Tarps got blown away. We put up tarps. They--never mind. We finally got Big Mamma sealed and ran for cover. We got seven inches of rain in three hours before dark.
“The next morning. I don’t really want to talk about it, but you would notice anyway. All that dirt I used building the ramp and intended to use for landscaping washed downhill. The only good thing there is that it filled up the huge holes made by the bulldozer operating on wet ground.
“Anyway, Big Mama is on her rollers and the rest should go easy. All I have to do is mate the sections and block them.”
That’s what Rob told us.
And early Monday morning Rob called and asked where I usually got my Mexican day laborers. I told him, hesitantly. With all that had gone wrong so far I wondered what was going to happen with Rob working men who can’t even speak English!
All day, Betty and I heard banging and yelling and hollering and motors running and we thought we heard some cussing but probably not since Rob doesn’t cuss.
Monday evening Betty and I wandered over to see what progress had been made. No one was in sight except someone running some kind of motor from a pickup truck and a Mexican wandering around as if he was looking for the way back to the Rio Grande. The two sections of Big Mama were closer but still not mated. There were blocks under the sections, sitting atop the concrete runners but many of them weren’t meeting what they were supposed to be supporting. And then we heard a noise. Rob’s borrowed tractor that he had rebuilt after breaking on one or two of Big Mama’s requirements came from behind their old home which is pledged as down payment since they buried the oldest one.
Rob jumped off the tractor. He didn’t say hi or how are you or anything like that. He said, “I have never been so PO’s in my whole life! None of these guys know what the heck they are doing! And that includes the Mexicans!” We could practically see smoke streaming out his ears.
Betty and I made a discrete withdrawal.
Betty crept back this morning, walking softly so as not to arouse anyone who might be sleeping or perchance not to vibrate the ground and cause the whole shebang to slip downhill like the ramp had. Pat came out and told her Rob had finally gotten the sections of Big Mama married and almost blocked. Robyn had seen her new room.
The end is in sight.
Too bad.
A few more episodes and I could head to Hollywood and sell my script.

To be continued. Only one more chapter. Will Big Mama finally become a home?


BOOKS AVAILABLE DIRECTLY FROM ME (cheaper than bookstores)

You can use the printable order form at either of my web sites, www.santaclauslane.biz or www.santa-claus-lane.com to order, or follow instructions below.

Medics Wild $7.00, postage included. Paperback. Vietnam humor.

Hotline To heaven, $15.00, postage included. Trade Paperback. Romantic comedy.

Tales From A Texas Christmas Tree Farm, $12.00, postage included. Trade Paperback. Humor and an attempt to prove how stupid I am for becoming a Christmas tree farmer. A successful attempt, I might add.

Life On Santa Claus Lane, $13.00, postage included. Trade Paperback.
Special Note!! Refund if this last book does not make you laugh out loud at least once!!

Mail checks or money order, etc. to 251 Santa Claus Lane, Shepherd, TX 77371

TIDBITS

Old timey shortberry strawcake is one of the best desserts in the Universe. I mention this because we are doing our best to use up the fresh strawberries we sliced, sugared and froze in April of last year in order to make room for this year‘s crop. You may have the recipe for five bucks, cash or check or paypal. It is too good to give away!

DON’T ASK NEWS

Don’t ask how our trip to Mexico to buy medicine went. It went just about the same way it did the time I wrote about it in LIFE ON SANTA CLAUS LANE. It you think this is a subtle hint to buy the book, you’re probably right, but even authors have to make a living.

LAST NOTES

No last notes this month.

BLURBS FOR MY BOOKS

For all of you who read Medics Wild, I am pleased to announce that a new trade paperback print version will shortly be available at Double Dragon e-books. Watch this space for news of it and the sequels. Makes a great gift for veterans!

SUGGESTIONS

This feature is open for comment. Suggest anything you like. Send in the body of an e-mail with SUGGESTIONS in subject line.
Example: Is this newsletter too long? Too short? Too many sections? What do you like? dislike? e-mail dbain@lcc.net with SUGGESTIONS in subject line.

OLD TIME STORIES

Contributions solicited and welcome. Must be story about “The Olden Days”, 1,000 words or less and must be humorous. Pay: One free ad, 100 words.

This month’s contribution:

The Saga of Big Jim
By Michael LaRocca

James Nathan Drake was five feet tall and weighed maybe ninety pounds.
Either his mother or his grandmother was a Cherokee Indian, depending on who
you ask. James Nathan also meaner than a snake, a moonshiner and ridge
runner in the mountains of North Carolina. Everyone called him Big Jim.

James Nathan Drake had a son, James Franklin Drake. Everyone called him
Little Jimmy. This is my daddy.

Daddy grew up to be 6'4" tall, but everyone still called him Little Jim. A
longshoreman for twenty years, he was solid and muscular. Throw in a bit of
beer, and he grew to 280 pounds. But still, he was Little Jim because Big
Jim said so. Daddy didn't become Big Jim until his father, the original Big
Jim, died.

Daddy walked to school every day. The earliest childhood memory he's told
me about comes from elementary school. The teacher told the class that
everyone needed to learn a poem and recite it before the class.

On the appointed day, the teacher dreaded what Little Jimmy would come up
with. But finally she had to give him his chance. This is what Little
Jimmy, maybe age 6 or 8, said:

In days of old
When knights were bold
And toilets were not yet invented,
They dropped their load
In the middle of the road
And went on their way contented.

This would be the first of many visits to the principal's office by Little
Jimmy.

When Little Jim got a bit older and larger, Big Jim took him to pool halls
and bars. Big Jim (5' tall and 90 pounds) would find the biggest fellow in
the bar and say something very mean to him. The fellow would threaten to
kick Big Jim's butt.

"I don't think you can do that," Big Jim would reply. "My son won't let
you."

Yep, he taught Little Jim to be a barroom brawler. Oh, the stories I've
heard about Daddy's adventures could probably fill a book. But we'll skip
those.

Daddy is an avid deer hunter. He's told me that he used to go hunting with
a bunch of dogs in the back of his DeSoto. That tells you how long he's
been hunting.

On the first day of deer hunting season, it was common for Daddy to skip
school to go hunting. One year he did this, then went to school the
following day. The teacher asked him why he wasn't in school, and he told
the truth. "I was deer hunting." The teacher hit him. So Daddy hit the
teacher back, and knocked him out.

The school sent Daddy home. Grandpa asked why he was home early. Daddy
told him. So Grandpa went into Daddy's classroom, told the teacher "Nobody
hits my son," and punched him out again.

The teacher never hit Daddy after that.

The End

Michael LaRocca writes Mad About Books, a free monthly email newsletter to
help you find free and low-cost high-quality reads, and to help you with
your own writing. It'll also tell you about his experiences teaching
English in China, and sometimes it's got some really goofy jokes.
"http://www.smartgroups.com/groups/michaellarocca"
Michael has also published a free ebook, called HOW TO GET PUBLISHED, that
you can pick up at "http://www.smartgroups.com/vault/michaellarocca"? along
with some other free ebooks about promotion that he didn't write.
Finally, if you want to see what else he's published, including an EPPIE
finalist, "http://free_reads.tripod.com/michaellarocca.html" will tell you all
about it.

ABSOLUTE END

My flannel robe just went into the hamper to be washed. Spring is here.
**I wrote the above sentence the first week of March. Since then we’ve used another cord of firewood.

SURPRISE

During the recent cold spell, I cleaned my desk. The desk was very surprised.


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