Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Bowl of Soup

It’s rumored that on this upcoming Sunday there’s a sporting event taking place that will attract more than 110 million viewers. You knew it was coming when last Sunday’s newspaper was filled with advertising from K-Mart, Target and every local appliance store describing gigantic savings on gigantic-sized television sets.

We have a 20” RCA color television set that I recently bought on October 22, 1989, and it was in excellent shape, until I noticed that I had to sit nearer to hear the sound clearly. At first I thought that I was just growing deaf in my advanced years, however, when my young wife Carmen noticed it too, we knew something had to be done since our extended warranty ran out in October 1990.

There were three viable choices; (1) we would not watch television ever again, which is a very acceptable solution, (2) we could buy a newer, slim-line 29” set, now on sale for less than $350, or (3) we could repair our current set.

Our home’s décor is mainly dark, wooden antique, and our current television set has a faux wood-grained metal exterior that comfortably fits in, so we opted for the latter choice at an estimated cost of $165. The set is bulky and heavy, and when we called the repair shop, Greg said it would cost an additional $55 if we needed them to pick it up from our home and deliver it after it was repaired. He was nearby, so we asked him to stop by, and when he did, he took out an instruction sheet on controls, played around with our remote for perhaps five minutes, and fixed the problem for $85. There was no extended warranty given, but we had our practically new set operating again as it should.

I get attached to older things that still work, including my Grandmother’s 1920s toaster where you lower the right and left metal panels, and it browns one side of a slice of bread at a time. I have to keep an eye on it or else smoke may arise as the bread is blackened.

If you walk through my home you’ll find a lovely china cabinet from the 1950s that belonged to my parents, and an art deco lamp that’s nearly seventy-five years old, that I inherited from my Mother’s first cousin Peggy.

I have one suit and it’s green corduroy complete with vest, which I will wear only on special occasions. I bought it new for my nephew Brian’s Bar Mitzvah that took place in 1979.

I also enjoy driving my 1987 Honda CRX SI that I bought practically new in 1990. Its most amazing characteristics are that it has only 126,028 miles, its body is slowly oxidizing and looks like a piece of art, and the sun roof will open electronically, but it has to be hand cranked closed.

Then there are cherished friends that I have stayed connected with for years. This month, when I was on the west coast of Florida, I stayed with Bernie, and when I was on the east coast, I stayed with Arnie. I have known each of them for more that sixty years.

As far as what I’ll do this upcoming Sunday, that’s not such a tough decision. First, I will either walk on a nearby deserted beach as I have done during past games, or take in a movie in a nearly vacant theatre.

Then I will come home and have a bowl of my wife’s delicious chicken soup, which is made from my Grandmother Fox’s recipe that is at least seventy-five years old.

As far as following any sports event that takes place this Sunday, I may read about it in the Monday morning newspaper, but only after I finish the crossword puzzle.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

When Holiday Meant Holy Day

As I was hurrying to get some cards and letters in the postal mail today, Saturday January 18, I realized that there was no reason to rush. After today’s pickup, with no Sunday delivery, and none on Monday, there’s only an outside chance that the mail will be delivered on Tuesday.

On Monday, January 20, workers have a day off at the post office, banks, libraries, schools, federal, state and city offices. It is a Federal holiday honoring the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., the Black civil rights leaders. Actually, his birthday is on January 15, and he would have been 84-years-old if he hadn’t been slain on April 4, 1968.

Yesterday, a friend left a voice mail message that closed with, “Happy Holidays.” When I called her and asked her why the plural, she replied that along with King’s Day, Chinese New Year arrives on January 31, followed on February 14 by Valentine’s Day. The latter is a spirited selling holiday for both the Society of American Florists and the National Confectioners Association (NCA). As you are well aware of, the NCA merged with the Chocolate Manufacturers Association of the USA in 2008.

There’s also a Federal holiday on February 17 to honor George Washington’s day of birth, which was actually on February 22, 1732. However, the retail establishment has designated it as President’s Day, so they can also honor Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, which took place on February 12, 1809, and seamlessly segue into another selling weekend from their Valentine’s sales period.

All Federal holidays come on a Monday, to give tired, overworked Americans a three-day weekend.

March 30 is Cesar Chavez Day, and it’s an official state holiday in California, Colorado and Texas. President Obama has proclaimed it as Cesar Chavez Day in the United States, we don’t know what banks, post offices, and governmental offices will be closed or left open to force workers to toil. They won’t toil as much as Chavez and his United Form Workers people did, however some might feel it is an injustice for them to even work.

According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s website found here, the only Federal holiday that’s actually a holy day, is Christmas. However with some retailers pushing sales, Christmas Day is not a holiday for everyone anymore.

To send greetings to everyone on your various holiday lists, remember to buy as many Forever stamps as you need before January 26, when the price of one stamp goes up three cents.

When you send out a card for Chinese New Year, write恭禧發財, or say to anyone you know, regardless of their race, religion, color or ethnicity, “Gong Xi Fa Cai” in Mandarin, “Gong Hey Fat Choy” in Cantonese, or just plain Happy New Year.