Several years ago, we used a satellite service for television. When we first subscribed to this service, we were unable to get our local channels. I wasn’t interested in dealing with all of the processes that were necessary to get network feeds from New York and Los Angeles. We had no antenna and lived far enough away from any city where we might be able to pick up any networks so we went without for about 3 years. The only network we could get was ABC but we were far enough out of town that it didn’t come in very clear. At the time, our children were very young and their interests dictated a lot of what we watched. We didn’t feel that we were missing that much on network TV. This was at the same time that Survivor was starting out and was a big hit. It didn’t sound like anything that would appeal to me. It was a rare occasion when I really missed having the networks. Finally, the satellite TV provider started offering local channels and we were eligible to receive the ones from Memphis. We immediately added them to our package. It was at the first of the year when the NFL playoffs are on every weekend. I didn’t realize how much I had missed professional football. The first Sunday after we added the networks to our satellite package, I came home after church, turned on a game on TV and went to sleep on the couch. I hadn’t napped that good in 3 years.
When I was growing up and had an opportunity to go any place where you played games to win tickets that could be redeemed for prizes, I always dreamed of having enough tickets at the end of the day to get one of the prizes on the top shelf. These included basketballs, lava lamps and the largest stuffed animals ever made. I don’t think Chucky Cheese was around when I was little and I never went to one until my children were born and old enough to be interested.
My youngest daughter was invited to a birthday party at Chucky Cheese when she was little. I went to the party with her. She was young enough at the time that I she needed assistance figuring out how to play some of the games. I also helped her keep up with the tickets that she won. At some point during the party, she went to a game that wasn’t functioning correctly. When most games are not working, they take your tokens, you don’t get to play the game and you don’t get any tickets. This one would give you huge numbers of tickets for doing almost nothing. Most games will give you one ticket just for playing. This one was giving you 50. If you did anything that would normally give you ten tickets, this one would give you hundreds. Some of the things that would usually give you the least amount of tickets would cause the game to give you tickets for a solid 2 minutes. We were getting piles of tickets just for putting tokens in the machine. My daughter quickly became bored with this game. It was a game that wasn’t that exciting when it worked correctly. You were trying to shoot stainless steel balls into different baskets that gave varying numbers of points. My daughter wanted to play something else. I basically forced her to stay at this game well beyond her tolerance for staying. She was ready to do anything else. I was had visions of us walking to the car with lava lamps in hand. I did let her spend her last tokens on some other games.
Soon we were making our way to the prize area with our huge ball of tickets. When my daughter started looking at the prizes, she didn’t start looking at the top shelf behind the counter like I expected her to. She knelt down looking in the bottom right-hand corner of the case where they kept the cheap prizes just like she always did. She asked me how many of the tattoos she could get. I told her she could probably get all of them. There were no lava lamps to be had that day anyway. We would go home with more cheap prizes than ever before. And a happy little girl.
A few years ago, I was at a visitation at the funeral home for a family member that I didn't know that well. There were several family members there that I know I had met in the past but I rarely ever saw them so in many ways it was like meeting them for the first time. At one point, I found myself standing with my aunt and her daughter. They were among the few people there that I knew well. My aunt introduced us to one of her cousins that I had heard of but didn’t remember ever meeting. We were making small talk and someone asked him how he had been doing. He said, “I buried my wife earlier this year.” My cousin replied, “Well congratulations!” She thought he had said that he married his wife. I gave my cousin a confused look and her mother shouted her name. We quickly sorted out what had happened and were able to get a laugh out of the situation. That year for Christmas, my cousin received hearing aid batteries as a gag gift.
When my grandfather died, I remember being at the funeral home with my family. I remember that a lot of people came to see us during the visitation time. My family and I were in the process of moving back to the West Tennessee area and we had the opportunity to see a lot of people that we hadn’t seen in a while. My children were very young at the time and everyone wanted to see them too. There wasn’t very much opportunity for me to spend much time alone with my mom. There was one occasion where I my mom and I were alone next to my grandfather’s casket. As we looked at him, I told my mom “He just doesn’t look like himself. He just doesn’t look right being here at the funeral home without food on his tie and his fly unzipped.” It seems like every time we were there, there was the same conversation between me and my six male cousins: “Ok, who’s going to tell granddad that his fly is unzipped THIS time?”
Singer, Songwriter, Entertainer, Storyteller