Grand Pockets’s Blog

Genealogy, Family, Poetry and Peeves

Turkey Baster Booger Sucking Happy New Year!


new-years

Happy New Year!

It is officially 2009. It is the New Year which I celebrated by sucking snot all night. Midnight came and the ball went up at Times Square. Meanwhile, here Dan Jello’s nose wasn’t running – it was sprinting. He slept fitfully, he couldn’t breathe. I could hear him wheezing in his bassinet set up in the Lucretia’s room.

It sounded as if he was trying to drag a milk shake through a straw up his nose. By the time Times Square revelers were cheering 2009 in (and I was looking for Frankie and Jennie in the crowd but didn’t see them among the zillion revelers), Dan Jello’s nose was completely clogged. Lucretia got out the snot-sucker and assigned me the “hold im down” task. I am sure my nephew will be scarred by this, and probably hate me forever for immobilizing him as the snot-sucker is rammed up his nostrils. It looks like he has an onion sticking out of his nose. The trick is to squeeze the onion bulb first before putting it in the nose or else you might blow snot out of the baby’s eyeballs or something. Then release the bulb. It vacuums out a long, disgusting strand of thick goo. Dan Jello screams very well, even when sick. My ears hurt. I am not supposed to have to deal with this stuff anymore. I am reminded that I am old, I do not like screeches, squeals or prolonged noise for the sake of noise any longer. Lucretia repeats in his other nostril. Another gloopy gob of snot pops free. Surprisingly, Dan Jello snuggles up to me and quiets down. He sleeps. I sleep. At least until 1 am. Then 2. Then 3. So on and so forth, snot sucking on the hour. Lucretia sleeps. She has to work in the morning. I don’t wake her after the first snot-sucking. She will have many, many more nights like this ahead of her. I will have very few, if any more. In my mind there is some homily about the beauty of the small things in life. This morning came and I picked up a basket full of wadded Kleenex. Dan Jello is peaceful, his sinuses have been defeated in this battle and tiny guy’s defenses are regrouping as he sleeps.

I am taking this chance to write, listening for any gurgling from the other room that alerts me to the need to grab the trusty snot sucker plunger thing and deplumb my nephew again. His head is so small. How many pints of snot can it hold anyway? I am rather amazed.

New Years morning and I am sober. I am one of three or four people in town who are not retching in the New Year. Why do people find it so much fun to make themselves sick? Drunk watching is a fun sport, though. They are such idiots and, I smugly think, I used to be one of them. I survived. I still get idiotic once in a blue moon. Then people watch me and think smug things.

My house is a mess. How can one two year old and a baby upend the order of the universe so quickly? I forgot what it was like to have a wee one underfoot (literally). Lucretia and Renee think they are on vacation because they get to escape to work.

There is gurgling in the other room. I am being called.

The snot sucker is broken. I wonder if a turkey baster will work. I am not repeating my Wal-Mart nightmare to go get another one. I disassemble the snot sucker onion bulb thingy and clean it out and super glue it back together. Voila! It is working again. Dan Jello is plunged out like a tiny toilet bowl and is back asleep. I am still thinking the turkey baster might just work…but the bulb is awfully big. It might suction out his adenoids or something so I better not try. Besides I could never use it on another turkey in good conscience again.

I just fixed eggs and toast. Now I am full and I sit here listening through windows fogged with cold to boots crunching in snow, and the smooshing sound of car wheels plowing through slush, and the tinkle of icicles falling to the sidewalk from the eaves. My feet are dry from the forced air heat, they itch, I lotion them and think of tomatoes. Fat, red, juicy tomatoes, ripe from the vine, hot from the sun. For a moment it is July in my mind. I could eat a tomato from the icebox but it will have the cardboard taste of hothouse produce. Could I have a more unattainable thought on January 1st than garden grown tomatoes?

In Iraq the war drags on. It will rage forever as it has for two thousand years. As long as religion exists men will ignore its teachings and kill each other in its name. Over 3000 sons and daughters of America have already died and my son is at risk. I do not want to hate my country. I think I will if I lose one of my sons over this insanity. I saw Vietnam. We have traded a jungle for a desert. I watch the news daily looking for reports out of Iraq and Afghanistan. My son Jay goes to Kuwait in a couple weeks, he has already done a tour in Iraq. Now they send him back to the area. There are few things I can find nothing to laugh about but this war is that. I try to ignore it most of the time. Understand, I am a patriot. I served, my father served and my grandfather and great grandfathers, clear back to the revolution. My sons are the nth generation of Elledge men to have served in the Armed Forces. Right now I am sorry I ever encouraged them when they were young, or told them I expected them to do their part. I am also proud of them, for ignoring their parent’s fear and doing their duty anyway.

grandpockets1

January 1, 2009 Posted by | family, humor | , , , | 1 Comment

When Ya Gotta Pee


Squeeze walk squeeze walk

Squeeze walk squeeze walk

My sister is staying. Yee gads.  We decided today she’d stay til around April. Her husband, Joey, is going to be in training until then(Army) and she wants to stay here rather than live alone with nobody to help with the kids. That means my niece and nephew are staying, too. My neice came in and descended upon me, all hugs and giggles and sniffs and snotting. She has a cold. She is a little faucet of phlegm. She hugs me tight and holds my ears and sneezes. I blink and she coughs. She is so adorable, I am thinking. “Cover your mouth, honey” I tell her. I cover her mouth for her, then she wipes her hand on my head. I am wondering if it is safe to wrap her in plastic. It is time to exercise my “Uncle and Grandfather” rights. I love nieces, nephews and grandchildren so much exactly because they are returnable.

I decided to take Ezzie, my niece to WalMart with me. I forgot it is New Year’s Eve. Saint Joseph has gone shopping (buying liquor for tonight or returning Christmas stuff they really didn’t want) and its 75,000 inhabitants are at Walmart. My sister and wife are the only people not at WalMart, and I realize that I am insane for coming here. Only “Black Friday” could possibly be busier.

I managed to wend my through the first few grocery aisles, darting around like Pacman when we are hemmed in by a crowd going nowhere. We are standing in the aisle, unmoving. We are not moving because the woman in front of us has quit moving. She is either studying a label very hard or else she has had a paralyzing stroke and cannot move. I am not sure. I have to pee very badly. The other side of the aisle is blocked by a large black lady in a wheelchair shopping cart. She cannot steer very well and has locked up her cart on a gondola full of baking supplies. She is reaching for pumpkin pie filling with one hand, cursing, and trying to steer the wheelchair free with the other hand. Her wheels are spinning. I have to pee very badly. Ezzie is crying. The paralyzed lady is still bent over the Sweet-n-Low boxes. The 37 people directly behind me are trying to go around. I cannot move. My cart is blocked on all sides. Shoppers at an impasse. I have to pee in that worse kind of way that only happens when you know you can’t get to  a restroom.

Ezzie is still crying because we are not in the toy aisle which is where she wants to be. There is a traffic jam on aisle thirteen. Really. I hear that over the loudspeaker. There is also a special on Rotel and Velveeta in aisle 9. Now there is another traffic jam between me and the bathrooms. I do not care about groceries any longer. I want to go home. I want to reach the bathrooms up front. I want to move. I have to pee! I am not kidding, I really have to go! Finally I break free when wheelchair lady suddenly bounces off the gondola and shoots through the carts in front of her upending several Walmart shoppers in the process.

I ditch our cart in the center aisle, grab squawling li’l Ezzie from the seat and dart through the opening like a fullback following his lead block and head for the front of the store. I have abandoned the groceries as a futile exercise and am concentrating on the endzone – the Men’s Room! I get there while alternately squeezing my bladder and wiggling my knees together as I walk – rather odd looking but it works – when I remember I have Ezzie with me. I know she is only 2 but somehow the thought of holding her in one hand and whizzing with the other in a restroom full of men seeking similar relief is impossible. Wildly, I think for a moment of handing her to a clerk or a passing shopper or hanging her from her suspenders from the door knob but I know I can’t. I CAN’T. I have to pee and worse – I quit the kidney stopping exercises when I got near the goal line and now it is REALLY hard to hold on. Oh Lord. Help me hold it in. Please. I promise you – I’ll never take your name in vain again. Just keep me dry. Lend strength to my bladder. When you pray because you have to pee so bad you are definitely in trouble. Running to the car also helps. Rapping knees together while driving helps. Bouncing up and down on the seat while driving helps. I make it home, tossing Ezzie to Lucretia as I run past and enter a state of nirvana in the bathroom. Nothing quite has that feeling of blessed relief….

grandpockets1

January 1, 2009 Posted by | family, humor | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Legend of Aloysius Curveball!


camping_outCamping out waiting for another post? Well, grab a snack, and keep that flashlight handy. It’s gettin’ dark out there…

Dad painted our house one June when I was about 5 or 6. He painted it white, and it took several weeks, painstaking perfectionist that he was, all white, with green trim, and every inch free of runs and neatly cut in as if the paint was laid with a ruler.  Then he resodded the front lawn but it rained and rained for days after he’d skinned the old grass  and he had to put the sod on hold. Meanwhile there was this huge pile of mud in the yard, an irresistable chocolate earth playground. Soaked, squishy, mud pie packing and mudball rolling big ol’ pile of forbidden mud. Quite forbidden. Which made playing in it all the better.

Where or how I got my imagination I do not know, but I suspect it was a giant jape the angels played on my poor mother and father, because you know what I saw when I was six and looked out there at that giant heap of mucky clay? A pitcher’s mound. And I imagined I was the greatest hurler of all time…I WAS ……

aloysius

ALOYSIUS CURVEBALL!

“Nice arm, young fella,
Do you think you oughta stop now?”
Mailman Joe grinned at me.
No way, I thought, winding
Up and firing another juicy mudball.
I’m Joey Jay, after all,
Steely-eyed Redleg facing down
Those Brooklyn Birds – SPpla-at!
Try and hit my aloysius curveball
You pinstriped rat! 5 year old boys
Throw curveballs in their minds-
I had the best bender any ghost batter
Ever faced, even the mailman saw that.

I stood in drizzling mist, early June in ’59,
Proud and tall (tall in my own mind)
And blurred another mudder at the wall.
Someday, I thought, squatting to squish
Another dripping glob, Daddy will turn on
His radio and there I’ll be – chucking
Blazing fastballs – one and two and three!
Enthroned in favorite chair, beer in hand
Dad will yell “SHUT UP!” point at box,
“I want to hear my boy for once!”
The mudball kid, with his aloysius curve –
Granted audience with the Frightful Man!

(What really happened now)
When you’re 5, with accordioned socks
And everyone else in the world is tall,
You’ll get your frightful audience alright,
If you fire mudball strikes against your
House’s freshly white and painted walls.

frightful_audience

©Chuck Elledge2008

grandpockets1

December 29, 2008 Posted by | baseball, family, humor, Poetry & Art | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Attack of the Ice


How it all Began...

How it all Began...

Last night about 5 pm  it was 60° outside, wet and melty, this morning its all frozen solid in sheets of ice. Big icicles on the eaves and tree limbs and walking out the door is a an invitation to go “ass skating”.  The snow is melted off now so it isn’t even good sledding weather – just cold, and brown – that midwest drear that get the winter blues a-goin’. Winter is gorgeous when there is fresh snow and ice – but old snow and snow melt puddles are dirty and brackish, a Saint Jo townscape all done in browns. The orange cone monsters are out too – street crews everyhere, and those signs  “Your tax dollars at work” – proclamations that we’re too stupid to realize that for ourselves.  Six guys are working on the Belt and I see three of them sitting on the truck watching the other three work. The sign should say “Half your tax dollars at work.” That’s when I even see anyone there. Usually its just a long file of orange soldier cones congesting three lanes into one without a worker bee in sight. Our subdivision has a great idea to save money, though.  Don’t do a thing to the roads – let the potholes patrol the speed limit. Saves on road crews, tar and gravel and on police enforcement. Locals call them speed slumps.

Speed Slump at Work

Speed Slump at Work

Speed slumps are most useful – mini skating rink, local swimming hole, speed enforcement, and eventually becoming gravel quarries – at which the neighborhood will need to incorporate them and hire a personnel manager.

I write poetry at odd times and more in winter than summer since I’m inside more, I guess. All the road crews and orange cones and delays get me to thinking and I write about it:

Its winter whiteness now
preparing the roads for the season
of eternal road repair,
a slow lift and collapse like bolsheviks:
the white revolution,
fought against asphalt and pancake sidewalks
ice upended like flapjacks
come spring, like breakfast for the roadcrews
that whistle “The Great Pretender”
while they fill blacktop buckles
with tar slurry syrup
in the heat
they’ll repeat
when the cold jester follows
undoing their labor.

They tar and gravel cars here
before they salt and slosh them.
Its winter whiteness now,
except for the edges
where the myth is sullied
and dirty, gutters of exhaust
fumes made visible
our dark environmental secrets
exposed by the snows.

©Chuck Elledge2008

grandpockets1

December 27, 2008 Posted by | humor, Poetry & Art | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Auld Lang Syne at Christmas Time


Christmas is a time folks often think of family and their memories of growing up. For parents with grown children it’s remembering when your own kids were little ones. My kids are flung from New York City to Arizona, and soon my son Jay makes his second meddle eastern tour (no that’s not misspelled). Besides the 12 billion pounds of paper litter we created on Christmas mornings, we also learned lessons I hope each remember forever – like how to seem really glad to see Uncle Bernie and his obnoxious brood again. Really, family is the place you learn you CAN tolerate anyone for even a short time. Even me and my obnoxious brood, Uncle Bernie. Christmas reminiscing triggers a spate of unrelated memories about the kids growing up –

Like the time when the boys were little guys and I told them we would grow a rock garden.

I took them out back and they all selected a rock which we then carefully “planted” under a soft maple, between two gnarly roots protruding from the ground that made a natural border. We sprinkled some sand on the rocks and watered them and at night while the boys slept I snuck out and replaced their rocks with a little bit bigger ones. They were so excited to find their rocks had grown! We raked and sanded and watered those rocks for a couple of weeks and every morning, bright and early, they’d all three rush out in their pj’s first thing to see how much their rocks had grown over the night.

It finally reached the point that I was lugging 3 small boulders from the Lake in the back of my truck each night, I’ll bet they were about 10 pounds each when I finally told them. Actually Frankie, the oldest, became suspicious first and then I started laughing and told them how I had tricked them and they acted all mad and then laughed and we took the rocks to the Lake and tossed them in so they made a huge splash – mostly on me.

Or how Shayne took his car onto the Lake one January night when it was frozen over but not enough for a car and it fell into the Lake, sinking halfway across the Lake. It took three tow trucks and a houseboat converted into a barge for the occasion to haul it out. Totally trashed of course. His explanation was that him and his buddies wanted to go ice fishing but it was too cold so they thought they’d sit in the car and fish out the windows with the heater on. Ingenious and stupid at the same time. Thankfully they all got out of that one alive – soaked and blue about the gills, though.

Or the time Richie climbed the KKJO radio tower on Faraon Street and got to the top only to discover he was afraid to climb down. After all he was 300’ in the air on what was basically a super tall aluminum ladder. That stunt took the police and fire department to extricate him. He just wanted to see what it looked like from up there. And I understood that. I would have done the same thing at his age. It made perfect sense to me and it pissed off the cops when I told them that. He got a trespassing charge but it was dismissed after a period of probation. I still think they need a higher fence and better “kid proofing” – what red blooded boy wouldn’t be challenged by such a ladder into the sky?

I remember the back-to-back years at Benton when Frankie and next year Jay were Homecoming Kings and their girlfriends Jenny and Rachel were Queen. 2 brothers in back to back years is pretty special. It is also pretty damn expensive. I suggest better spacing methods between children for future parents. You need the time to recoup your expenses.

Now they’re all grown, solid contributing citizens with kids of their own….and my revenge is complete…

December 22, 2008 Posted by | family, humor | , , , , | Leave a comment

Caught With My Britches Down


Once a bunch of us kids went swimming at old man Goos’ farm pond near Loveland and I was wearing cutoff denims as swimming trunks. There was a girl I had a thing for there and her friends and her were swimming from one part of the bank and us boys from another, as if we’d all catch something if we swam too close together. We boys had a steep embankment to jump from, a good way to show off for the girls who were mainly sunbathing in the grass anyway. I suspect most of them weren’t there for swimming as much as to show off themselves and let us act the fool for them.

Naturally I obliged. I made a most spectacular half-twist and huge-splash running cannonball from the bank and hit the water a bit topsy turvy. Hit it hard, too. Enough to peel those baggy cutoffs clean down as the water filled em like a parachute catching air.

So now I am buck nekkid in cold water with an audience of giggling girls who have already seen my shorts surface several feet away from me. Far enough away in fact that rotten Melody Barnes, who I shan’t forget as long as I live, plucked them from the shallows and made for the hills, so to speak.

Now I can swim. But in the matter of how long I can tread water I was soon to find out because those rotten girls weren’t about to tender up my shorts to me. My so called friends, rusty Randy and runny nose little Nick Gabbard were laughing and not about to help, either. So there I was and might have remained treading water to this day because I am sure Melody was not going to leave before I clambered out nekkid…and cold…and smallll…when I was rescued by old Farmer Goos coming up the track hollering at us dang kids and cursing us good.

He was an old German and had a colorful vernacular. Everyone disappeared hither skither about as fast as a bunch of rabbits busting out of a grass clump and Old man Goos come barreling around the bend before I could get out of there.

“What the hail in tarnation”..then he saw the shorts abandoned on the spot whence the girls had fled.

“Caught ye with yer pants down, din’t ee?” He cackled. “Hoo boy had I un camera boy…”

I dog paddled to the side opposite him and was ankles up in pond muck wondering if I could make it home without being seen. I’m fast I’m thinking but probably not that fast…

The old farmer turned, his striped coveralls hanging off his sweaty longjohn tops as he put his hand in his pocket and pulled put his kerchief.

“Come on out boy…I ainta lookin..betcha that..”

He made a lot of moaning sounds which shivered me more than the cold as I swam for the exit closest my shorts. I dashed out and grabbed em on, kinda hopping one legged and turned for a last look before I beat it pell mell outta there. He was laughing, I realized, not moaning, holding his sides crying, he was laughing so hard.

So you see, I had many less than dextrous moments as a young man enthralled with but vexed and stymied by the fairer sex.

December 21, 2008 Posted by | family, humor | , , , , , , | Leave a comment