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I reached into the shower to turn on the water. Next, I removed my pajama pants, dropped them on the bathroom floor, and stepped into the shower. Usually, I would put the pajamas in the clothes hamper, but it was in the laundry room. The hot water felt good, but I was in a bit of a hurry, so the shower was quick.
After drying off, I wrapped the towel around my waist and stepped out of the shower. Without looking where I was going, I stepped on my pajama pants. I felt and heard a very uncomfortable crunch under my foot. I had an idea what it was, which gave me an uneasy feeling, so I picked up my PJs. I’ve always said, “Any situation can only become hopeless if I give up hope.”
So, hoping for the best (but expecting the worst), I reached into the pocket. I began pulling out pieces of my broken and shattered reading glasses. “Darn it,” I cursed.
The situation would not have been so bad, except Melissa just bought these readers for me about a week before. She bought them because I had lost my other pair(s). Since I was going into town, I decided there was no need to share the incident with my wife. So instead, I would buy another pair of basic black frame glasses, and she would be none the wiser to my boneheaded move.
I grabbed a few things from the grocery store in town, then went to Zup’s Dollar Store to replace my reading glasses. They had plenty of basic black frames but they didn’t catch my eye. What did get my attention was a pair of bright green, I mean to say, really bright, loud, fluorescent green reading glasses. I put the glasses on, looked in the mirror, and laughed. “You look like an idiot,” I said to myself. Then, remembering that I had lost several pairs of readers, “However, on a positive note, it will be impossible to misplace a pair of glasses that shine like a beacon at night.”
I went back and forth about whether to buy the glasses or not. Then, I thought about my six-year-old granddaughter; she wears equally bright, purple-framed glasses. “Evelyn will love these,” I said. “Besides, they’re only a buck-fifty.” So, I took the glasses to the counter to pay for them, then headed home.
I put the glasses on when I got home to show my wife. She rolled her eyes. “You’re not seriously going to wear those, are you?”
“Of course, I’m going to,” I replied. “Why wouldn’t I?”
“Because you look like a dork,” she said. Then she asked, “Where are the glasses I bought for you last week?” Oops. I forgot that was the reason I was going to get basic black frames. So I avoided answering her question.
“Well,” I said, “when Evelyn sees these, she will say she has the coolest Papa in the world. Now whose opinion do you think I’m going to listen to, yours or Evelyn’s?”
Melissa asked again, “What happened to the glasses I bought for you last week?” This time she had me pinned down, waiting for an answer. Finally, I had to fess up and tell her about the incident in the bathroom.
My wife shook her head in disbelief. “Well, at least you won’t lose these. And, if you wear them in the yard at night, we won’t lose you either.” We shared a good laugh about that.
Occasionally I enjoy going to mass at Cathedral in Superior, Wisconsin. After mass, it is my custom to stop and visit with the priest; no matter where I attend mass, I frequently take him treats I’ve baked.
The Sunday after Thanksgiving, I was driving to the 7:30 am mass at Cathedral. Unfortunately, a car hit me in the side in an intersection two blocks away from the church. To make a long story short, my car was totaled in the crash. I boogered up my knee a bit, but other than that, no one was hurt in the crash.
The accident caused me to miss mass, but I hobbled to the church and caught Father Andrew Ricci at the end of mass. “Why are you limping,” he asked. I showed him a picture of my car and told him what had just happened. (My car was hit hard, very mangled, and looked terrible. One would have guessed there would have been severe injury – or worse!) “Thank God no one was seriously injured,” he said.
Then I handed Father Andy a bag of Snickerdoodle cookies. I smiled and said, “It takes one heck of a cookie to survive a crash like that!” We shared a good laugh about that.
Last Wednesday, Father Ricci posted a couple of photos on social media. While he was driving, he was struck from behind. His car was hit hard, very mangled, and looked terrible. Based on the photos, I would have guessed there would have been severe injury – or worse! However, it sounded like everyone walked away from the accident without serious injuries. “Thank God,” I said, looking at the photos again.
Last Sunday, I got up early to attend the 7:30 mass at Cathedral. Naturally, I grabbed my reading glasses on my way out the door. After mass, I stopped to talk with Father Andy. I told him about breaking my glasses and that I had replaced them.
Then, I pulled my glasses from my shirt pocket and put them on. “What do you think,” I asked. “My wife says I look like a dork,” I told him. “But my six-year-old granddaughter says she has the coolest Papa in the world.” We shared a good laugh about that. Then I got a bit more serious.
“These glasses are pretty visible,” I told the good padre. “As a matter of fact, I have not had another car run into me since I got these. So you should think about getting a pair for yourself.” We shared another good laugh about that, then it was time for me to go. It is my custom to go out for breakfast after church.
I drove to a favorite breakfast spot, Julie’s Family Restaurant on Belknap Street. I sat in a booth, and the hostess, Ashley, was walking my way with a menu. “Good morning,” she said as she laid the menu on the table. “What can I start you out with to drink?”
I put on my glasses to read the menu, then looked at her. “A glass of water and decaf coffee, please,” I said. Although she kept a very straight face (as did I), I could tell she wanted to laugh at my green glasses. It was one of those awkward moments; I felt like she was trying hard not to look at me, so it didn’t appear she was staring.
When she returned with my coffee and water, Ashley was grinning. “My wife says I look like a dork,” I told her. “But my six-year-old granddaughter thinks I’m the coolest Papa in the world.”
“Oh, I like them,” she said.
“You like what,” I questioned.
“Your glasses,” she replied. “I like your glasses.”
“Ah ha!” I exclaimed, “So you were staring at my glasses.”
“Well, they do draw attention, sir,” she said. “But I really do like them.” So we shared a good laugh about that.
While waiting to place my order, I read a highlighted note at the top of the menu. The message basically asked customers to avoid substitutions to help keep service more proficient. I took note.
Next, the waitress, Tammy, came to my table. “What can I get for you today,” she asked.
“I’d like the Everything Omelet, please,” I said. “But don’t write anything down yet. Can you hold the onion and give me mushrooms instead? Also, can I get salsa in place of green peppers and substitute the cheese with sour cream?”
Tammy said, “How am I supposed to keep that straight without writing it down?”
So, I told her, “I don’t really want any of that stuff; I just had to ask after reading the top of your menu.” (I’m the kind of guy who asks if I can write a check after seeing a sign that says ‘No Checks.’)
“Oh, you…,” Tammy said while giving me a well-deserved, friendly nudge on the shoulder. “What kind of toast do you want? Potatoes on the side?”
After a good breakfast, I went to the store to buy some peat moss and manure compost for the yard.
I stacked four bags of manure on my flat cart, and the salesman helped me find rooting hormone. First, I put my glasses on to read the instruction label. Then I cut a deal with the salesman on three damaged bags of peat moss. He must have felt sorry for me, wearing these glasses, because I bought the lightly damaged bags for about thirty cents on the dollar.
I paid for my goods and headed out the door. Unfortunately, I forgot to remove my reading glasses, so the world seemed blurry. But I was pulling a heavy cart and didn’t care then.
Then a younger man walked around me. He looked at me, wearing my green glasses, and said, “Dude, you’re losing your S***.” Admittedly, the glasses are a bit obnoxious, but his comment was rude.
About fifty feet later, a lady waiting on the sidewalk looked at me and said, “Young man, you need to get your S*** together.” Wow, people! My glasses were loud but certainly not offensive. At least not enough to draw such harsh comments.
I got to my truck and placed the three damaged bags of peat moss in the back. Next, I loaded one bag of manure, then another. “Wait a minute,” I said. “I thought I bought four bags of manure. I checked my receipt. Indeed, I did pay for four sacks. I hurried back to the store to tell the cashier.
On the way, I noticed two white bags on the sidewalk. The lady was still standing there, waiting for her ride. She smiled, “It’s good to see you’ve turned your life around and are now getting your S*** together.” We shared a real hearty laugh about that. I put the two bags in my truck and started for home.
Melissa texted me, “Will you see if you can find any more of that Leinenkigel’s Peach Beer?” It was a tasty brew we had at our daughter’s house the week before. I was almost to Hammond Liquor, so I turned into the parking lot.
Hammond’s is a Liquor store with a lounge in the back and a steakhouse upstairs. I found the beer and asked the cashier, “Are you the bartender, too.”
“Until tonight, I am,” she said. “Did you need something?”
Through the window, I noticed a man sitting alone at the bar. I could tell he was a veteran, and I wanted to go talk to him. “Do you have the Leinie’s Peach on tap?” She said she did not and ran through the list of beers on tap. I stopped her, “Moon Man. Perfect, I’ll have a Moon Man.”
In a joking way, I said to the man, “It’s a little early to be drinking, don’t ya think?”
He laughed, “Not for me. I’ve been out fishing on Lake Superior since five am. After eight hours, that’s a day.”
“Well,” I said to the bartender, “Since he says it’s not too early for a drink, can I get a beer?” The bartender winked at me and handed me the beer she had already poured. “I’d like to buy him a drink, too.”
I introduced myself and learned his name was Bud. Bud and I enjoyed a conversation talking about almost everything. At one point, Bud pulled something from his pocket he wanted me to read. When I put my glasses on to read it, Bud snickered. “What,” I asked.
“Nothing,” Bud said, “I’d just like you to look at that.” I could tell he found my glasses quite bizarre but was too polite to say anything.
Bud went on to tell me he’d served in Viet Nam. He talked bout his time there and friends who didn’t come home. I did more listening than talking; I felt like that was what he needed. Eventually, the conversation became lighter and returned to laughter. Finally, Bud stood up. “Well, I’ve got things to do,” Bud said. “Thank you for the drink. Maybe I’ll see you here again sometime.”
I shook Bud’s hand. “I want to thank you for your service, Bud, and I will say a prayer for your lost friends.”
“Thank you,” Bud said, then he paused. “Do you mean that, or are you just being nice because I was the only one in the bar who would sit next to you, wearing those glasses?”
“Bud,” I replied with a question in my voice. “You were the only other person in the bar.”
“See what I mean?” Bud laughed, “People were afraid to even come here with you wearing those things.” We shared a good laugh about that, then said our farewells.
Driving north on Highway 61, I saw a State Trooper sitting on the side of the four-lane road. Once I was passed, he turned his lights on and pulled off the side of the road. I was wearing my seatbelt, doing seventy in a sixty-five mile per hour zone – but I doubted he would stop me for that. I had a good breakfast and nursed one beer in over an hour’s time, so that was no issue.
I pulled over to the shoulder and put my glasses on to look for my driver’s license. I looked out the window and watched the trooper speed by. We made brief eye contact for just a moment. Then I looked in the rearview mirror, nodding my head and laughing. “Even the Trooper wants nothing to do with these bad boys.” I like my new green glasses, and my six-year-old granddaughter thinks I’m the coolest Papa in the world. I’m good with that.