Banner photo of Larry Eugene Meredith, Ronald Tipton and Patrick Flynn, 2017.

The good times are memories
In the drinking of elder men...

-- Larry E.
Time II

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Burglary or Is This Anyway to Solicit a Yard?

So as we left for dinner a few night ago we saw the police cars before a neighbor's house two doors up. He was on the front yard with two officers. "Hmm, wonder what that is about?" we wondered.

The person is a retired school teacher. I'll tell you how bad times have become. First thought came to my wife's mind was a drug bust. There's been a couple nearby recently. I was even worse. First words out of my mouth were, "Child porn on the computer?" Terrible thing to think of a neighbor, but that's what you see in the news so much these days, some former worker with children arrested for child pornography. No matter where our evil thoughts went, what it was was a burglary.

Didn't know that yet. Looked online and in the paper next day, but nothing about our area in the crime reports. How often do we see a curious situation and never find out what the reasons were? A number of times actually.

The next night my daughter comes home from work announcing as she enters, "Why are the police all over the street."

I looked out and there were a couple cop cars up in front of that neighbor's again. Now a couple hours later, when we had guests stop by, the police were gone.

My visitors didn't stay long, maybe a half hour, and I walked them out to the street as they left. The police were back again. Two officers were across the street talking with the occupants. Meanwhile, I spent sometime talking with my friends, who were my pastor and two elders from my church. They didn't look the stereotypical such. We're not your grandmother's church, I guess. One elder had arrived by Harley-Davidson and they're big fellows with tattoos and such. And while we are gabbing the police amble down and motion me over.

"You live around here?" asks the uniformed officer. The other must be a detective.

"Right here," I say, pointing to my house.

He takes my name, birth date, telephone number and blood pressure. Naw, he really didn't take that last. He tells me there was a burglary two doors up. Then he asks if I saw a person mowing the lawn there a few days ago. No, I hadn't. He didn't tell me anything else. He did ask if I'd seen anything suspicious lately.

Why, yes I did, yes I did.

Maybe it's nothing, but I told them anyway.

It was the other day, I am on the computer and my wife calls me. "There are guys going around people's homes with clipboards."

I  rushed out to see and sure enough I saw a guy wandering from the side of the house on the corner. He indeed had a clipboard and seemed to be making notes. My wife told me there was a guy next door all the way into the backyard. While she says this the fellow came from that house and went to the driver's side of a white car parked on the street.

I hurried back to the computer room to snatch my glasses and my camera. As I returned I saw the white car pulled past our place and stopped and a fellow walking down our driveway. "Did he knock on the door?" I asked my wife.

"No," she said.

I was just going out my front door when the white car drove off with the two guys. I decided to follow and catch them and ask what they were doing. I drive after, but I lost them. They must not have stopped anywhere in the neighborhood. I wanted to get a picture of the car and license. We didn't know there had been a burglary yet, but this was suspicious behavior nonetheless.

As I was returning from my fruitless search for the clipboard guys, I notice the lady in the corner house in her yard. I go to her and ask about the clipboard guys.

"They were Scott's Yard care," she tells me. "They were real pushy, too."

I went in my house and called Scott's Lawn Care and asked if they had crews out surveying yards. The lady who answered said they did.

I said, "Their car didn't have any name on it."

She said, "Our sales crews don't use the trucks." She continued, "They knock on the door and leave a flyer."

Okay, but no one knocked on my door and there was no flyer left. I don't like people walking about my house making notes on a clipboard. I liked the idea even less when that cop told me there was a burglary two homes away.

Next day I went across to the corner house and asked if they left her a flyer. "No," she said. "He held something out, but when I reached for it he snatched it back. 'You're keeping it?', I asked and he said, 'Yeah.'"

As I left her I saw the neighbor across the street was out and about. He's a long time friend so I wandered over and told him my tale.

"They came up the drive," he said, "and I said , 'No, not interested.' They didn't want to take no for an answer, but I don't need them bothering me."

"Did they give you a flyer?"

"No. They said if I you wouldn't hear them out they couldn't give you one."

Is that anyway to try to sell your services, if indeed these guys were really from Scott's. If they were, I suggest Scott's rethink their training. If they weren't, I hope Scott's takes note they are being misrepresented by some people who may be casing neighborhoods for other purposes.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Glory Be, the Lord Must Know How I love Tomatoes!

A lot of people not in the know think Adam and Eve ate an apple. I like apples, too, but if God wanted to challenge my obedience and make it difficult to resist temptation, the Forbidden Fruit would have been a Tomato. (And just recently it was, but more of that later.)

The tomato is a fruit, you know. How do you know? It has seeds. So are cucumbers, green beans and squash - fruit, that is, but this whole vegetable fruit thing gets all confused.

When I was a teenager one of my summer jobs was loading tomato trucks to haul this fruit to the ketchup (or catsup if you prefer) factories. That was hard labor. These were flatbed trailers on 18-wheelers, perhaps 50 feet long and over 8 feet wide and you stacked these bushel baskets well above my head, and I was six foot by then. That is a lot of hoisting and lifting and stacking, all out in the open farm fields of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania in the hot July and August sun.

This was Amish country and the baskets would arrive at truck side on horse drawn wagons. The
bearded-farmer and perhaps his fresh-faced son would hand up the baskets (which usually came on more than one wagon) and the truck driver and I would begin stacking them from the front to the back. For a teenage boy high on hormones the one reward (besides the pay of $10.00 per load) were the spectators. Those rosy-cheeked Amish girls would gather along the side and gawk at us all the live-long day, silent and smiling.  They had rosy cheeks and twinkling eyes and it made you feel quite the little celebrity.

One summer before I had worked the fields of a Chester County farm picking tomatoes. I was the guy shuttling along the vines filling the baskets. It was still July and August and the sun was still hot, and the  tomatoes were lighter one by one than lifting a whole basket, but the job was just plain miserable. It was dusty and every time you plucked off a fruit the Daddy-Long-Legs would come scrambling out of the vines and up your arms. And there weren't any pretty bystander females to boost your ego; nothing but some other dirt-encrusted, sweating guys swatting away the the Harvestman arachnids.

Now you're probably thinking with that kind of background relationship with tomatoes I would hate
them. But you'd be wrong. I love tomatoes. You give me a plate of sliced beefsteak tomatoes with some corn-on-the-cob and it is as good as a Thanksgiving dinner to me. I love tomatoes in my sandwiches, in my salads, stewed or as a soup. You'd be surprised, maybe, by how hard it is to escape the tomato. The stuff is in a lot of sauces, so you get pasta you often get some form of tomato extract draped upon it. They are in that covering under the cheese and pepperoni of your pizza and forming a dark, delicious lake around your franks and beans. There those pieces falling out of your taco and that color in your hoagie; oh man, the hoagie! And how many things go better with the aforementioned ketchup?

But three weeks ago I was told no more tomatoes, not in soups, not sliced, diced or chopped, not fried or stewed, not as juice, ketchup or sauce, probably told not even to look at pictures of them. This was the forbidden fruit along with onions and mustard and coffee and chocolate and...well, basically, if I liked it, I couldn't have it. Speaking, as we did earlier, of Adam and Eve, I kinda felt like they must have after being booted from the Garden. No more tomatoes, utter despair!

And you go to a restaurant and try and find anything on the menu that doesn't contain tomato, mustard, garlic, onions, spices or a whole chorus of joyeous songs of flavors now banned from my concert. Forgit'about it!

But today I went back to the Star Trek Doctor, who went where no man had gone before, peeking
through my body from both ends. That probing had occurred three weeks ago and today was the summarization of the voyage. Captain's Log May 1, 2013, the biopsies were negative. The bleeding ulcer in the duodenum was cauterized, I guess, at least no more bleeding, but the angioectasia in the cecum (dilated blood vessels in the colon) weren't because, "If it ain't broke, we don't fix it". There is nothing cancerous.  The only new medication is a prescription for omeprazole (the active ingredient in Prilosec), which will join my Levothyroxine as a morning ritual for the next 30 years. I know, I'm being awfully optimistic since I am almost 72 now.

I write this with appreciation to those who were concerned for my well-being and for the prayers of those I know prayed regularly for my health and cure.

I prayed, too, and God heard and answered kindly back. He gave me back the tomato!