My Time Telling Mouse!

LONG before the Apple watch was popular …..

Long before digital watches were popular ….

…we learned how to read the face of a clock and tell time. In math class we were even tested on clock faces!!

Once I learned how to tell time, my folks bought me a watch. I remember that watch so well. It was HUGE on my little wrist. It had a thick black wrist band and the watch had a thick, curved piece of glass over the watch face. When I did a search on Google, my watch immediately popped up. It was a Mickey Mouse watch.

From everything I could find, this model first appeared in about 1971, so it would have been a few years old by the time I wore it on my wrist. I remember having to wind it every day or it would stop working. You really can’t tell from this picture, but the glass covering the watch face is very thick and weighed a lot (for a watch). I remember how heavy my wrist felt when I wore it.

I would often find myself staring at the watch and waiting for the minute “hand” to move. I loved that Mickey’s hands were the hands of the watch! I had never seen anything like this, and it really helped me to tell time.

As weird as it may sound, I remember the smell of the leather band it was on. I remember having to tighten the band to almost the last notch for it to stay on my wrist. For some reason, I thought mine had a second hand on it, but all of the ones I found did not. Some of the watches I found had a small circle on the bottom that counted the seconds, but those were mostly stopwatches.

Word is that these watches are worth money today. I wish as a child I would have taken better care of my stuff. I have no idea whatever became of the watch. It remains a fond memory. I wish I still had it….

I Miss My Hammock!

Years ago, when I bought my first home, there was only one thing that I wanted for the back yard. We had a huge shade tree in the yard, and I wanted a hammock to relax in.

The hammock that I had, came with the rope hammock and a stand. It took a few tries for me to figure out how to get in and out of it without killing myself, but once I had it figured out, it was sheer heaven. I loved just laying in it. I found so much peace just relaxing in the back yard. Oh, how I loved to lay in the hammock with a good book! It’s probably my favorite place to read.

There are other types of hammocks, but I always found the rope ones to be more comfortable. I always found them to be cooler. Every summer I find myself longing for another hammock.

The truth is, with all I have going on in my life, I would probably struggle to find time to use it. There isn’t a whole lot of time available to relax. Ella keeps me busy on my days off, and when Sam and I are both off, that is the day we get everything done.

I still have the hammock stand in the garage. The rope hammock I bought years ago is still in a bag. It is too big for the stand I have. I tried to use it once and my butt hit the ground. Eventually, I will get one that fits and again enjoy those summer days in the shade. When I do, I will be sure to have a little table next to me for my iced tea, and my book….

A Quiet Fourth & Song Draft Update

How life has changed in only a couple of years! Every 4th of July, our town puts on a fireworks show that is literally in our back yard. We usually have a big back yard BBQ, bonfire, and invite everyone over to watch the fireworks. Last year, the show was cancelled because of Covid. This year, Sam’s family was up at their cottage, my boys were at their cousin’s house, and it was just Sam, Ella and me at home.

Last year, we got some really awesome pictures of Ella in her 4th of July outfit and we made sure to take some again this year. She’s obviously a whole lot busier, but we still got some great shots. The one that was more candid than any of them also got the most “likes” on Facebook. She was literally walking down the sidewalk when I snapped this one:

Sam’s grandma (and Ella’s great grandma) is in her 90’s. We decided to go and visit her in the afternoon. It’s always fun to watch Ella in a new environment. Despite the fact that we brought a huge bag of toys, books, and such for her, she still seems to find things to get into. Her grandma had a 500 or 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle that she is working on in her living room. It’s up on a table, but you know that Ella walked right over to it! I was waiting for her to just get one hand on it to pull it all down. Thankfully, that didn’t happen.

When we arrived back at home, we made dinner and relaxed. Our plan had been to put Ella down for bed and then head outside to do a bonfire and watch the fireworks. Either Sam and I are getting old, or we are just exhausted, because Ella was in bed around 8:30 and we were both dozing on the couch. Both of us were in bed by 9:15!

Naturally, we were awakened by the fireworks show around 10:15. We probably could have gotten up and watched part of the show, but we decided that we would just listen to the booms from our bed and try to sleep. I’m not sure how I was able to fall asleep in between the bangs and booms, but I did (for a few seconds at a time). It was funny because we’d hear the booms, then we’d hear the echo coming from the baby monitor. We were both happy when the show was over and we were able to actually sleep.

My neighbor said that this year’s show was kind of lame, so I wasn’t sorry we were in bed!

Outside of some great family pictures, this is my favorite from the fourth:

I love the “Color Pop” filter on my phone!

Song Draft Update

Round one of the 2021 Song Draft is in progress. I believe that there are 13 of us participating with 10 rounds of picks. Each of us participating will offer up a pick for each round. You can follow the entire Song Draft at my buddy, Hans’ blog.

He is posting every pick. I will be posting my song picks here in my blog after he posts mine. My first pick is in and will be posting one week from today. It is a great Detroit oldie that has a neat Motown connection. Watch for it on the 15th…

I have my 10 picks ready and I am excited to be taking part in this Draft event. I hope you enjoy it, too.

Remember R-R-R-Raw Power?

When I was a kid, we spent our summers outside. If we weren’t playing baseball, we were riding our bikes around the neighborhood. Almost every kid I knew would ride their bike and pretend it was a car or a motorcycle.

I was six years old and I remember seeing an add for this thing you put on your handlebars and when you twisted it, it made a motorcycle sound. I had to have it! I think I ended up getting it for my birthday. Here is the ad I saw:

I remember loving that thing! I rode around the block revving that thing the whole time. I was the only one in the neighborhood with one. As a matter of fact, there was a kid who lived down the street from us who was a HUGE trouble maker! Timmy. I’m not sure, but if there was any kid who should have wound up in jail, it was probably him. He was forever breaking windows, stealing things, and such. We fought all the time.

I bring him up because every time I would park my bike somewhere, he always had to go and rev that thing on my handlebars. I knew that eventually HE would be the one who would break it. He wouldn’t leave it alone! As a matter of fact, one day my parents had taken us out to dinner. We were pulling into our driveway, and on the side of the house was this kid walking my bike down our driveway. Fear entered his eyes when he saw us pull up. He immediately dropped the bike and ran home. The kid broke into our garage and was actually stealing my bike!!! All because of that motorcycle thingy.

Take a look at the above picture – the thing only cost like $7! I’m sure his folks could have bought one for him.

I don’t remember if my dad when down and talked to his folks or not, but there was no love lost between us. One time he ticked me off and I picked up a rock and threw it at him. I wound up hitting him on the forehead right between the eyes. That rock was like embedded in his forehead. I didn’t think I threw it that hard, but obviously I did.

It wasn’t a proud moment for me. I think he needed a couple stitches and I would up grounded for a week. All I could do was sit in my room and look out my bedroom window. It is the first punishment I remember serving.

I’m sure kids today would look at this toy and think it is super stupid. That’s ok. To me, it was something that furthered my imagination and turned my silly bike into a Harley!

My “Go to” Karaoke Song(s)

It has been some time since a “Daily Writing Prompt” moved me enough to use it as a blog idea. Today’s though, was definitely one I could use. The Prompt? “What is your ‘go to’ karaoke song?”

I have to admit, I have sung a lot of karaoke. I did this mainly when I was in my mid 20’s to early 30’s. My friends and I had a couple places that we’d go and sing at. Looking back at it, I have to laugh because they were all dive bars.

I started singing karaoke with my old morning show partner, who actually COULD sing. He had a great voice and often sang ballads from the Great American Song Book. It was always funny because you’d have these people up there singing Johnny Cash, The Rolling Stones, Queen, and Prince. Then he would get up and sing something from Robert Goulet!

At one point, between radio jobs, I actually hosted karaoke, which I thought would be fun, but it really wasn’t. It was then that I realized there were plenty of people who “thought” they could sing, but couldn’t. They come up to you with requests like, “Put some reverb on my voice” or “Pitch the song up or down” or “Give me more volume on my microphone” … It was crazy! These people are up there thinking their Shania Twain or John Lennon or something.

I have never claimed to be a good singer. I have a handful of songs that I can sing and sing them well. I know which songs my voice will never be able to handle. I stick with the ones I know I can do without embarrassing myself. In my repertoire were songs like: The Wonder of You (the Elvis version), Bad Bad Leroy Brown, Bad Case of Loving You (Robert Palmer), The Lady is a Tramp (Sinatra) , Mack The Knife (Bobby Darin), And I Love You So (lol – yes! The Perry Como song!), and That’s Amore (Gotta do some Dean Martin!).

If I had to pick the 3 karaoke songs that people would associate with me, they would be:

#3 – Tutti Fruiti by Little Richard

The reason for this is that back in the day, I used to change the lyrics to this. The lyrics were … well, not clean. People always laughed when I did this, however, today, I couldn’t do that any more. It’s just not who I am. I actually kind of cringe when I think of some of the lyrics I sang.

#2 Delilah – Tom Jones

I’m not going to lie, this was always a hard song to sing. Tom has such a great and powerful voice. The end of this song is tough. The night is fairly high – and you have to hold it for some time. That high and long note was nothing for my old morning show partner. He used to do this song a lot. I am not sure how or why I started singing it, but it became one I was always asked to sing.

#1 – Secret Agent Man – Johnny Rivers

By far, one of my favorite songs to sing, and hence, my “go to” karaoke song. It was always a favorite of mine growing up. The Johnny Rivers single was recorded live (I think at the Whiskey A Go Go). I probably heard my dad play this hundreds of times on his guitar. It has such a great intro and awesome solo. I remember one time I brought a fedora and a trench coat to the place we were singing so I could wear them when I sang this. Yeah, I was quite the dork in my 20’s!

While I loved singing karaoke, eventually it got old. I felt like I was going out and wasting money on alcohol, and being forced to sing the same things every time. There were plenty of other songs I would have loved to try, but the people I was with always made me sing the ones they wanted to hear (“It’s my birthday! You HAVE to sing Bad Case of Loving You!” etc…) The karaoke “scene” just wasn’t were I wanted to be anymore.

If there was karaoke at a work party or back yard BBQ, would I get up and sing today? Yeah, probably, but I would leave the fedora at home!

Words of Praise From Tricky Dickie

One of the things I love about the Facebook Memory Feed is every now and then something pops up I forgot about. Today is one of those instances.

I am sure that I have the letter referenced in this writing somewhere in a box at home. I don’t know where it is off the top of my head because it is a letter of recommendation for a radio job. Since I am no longer working in radio full-time, I packed it away as a reminder of a good friend.

11 years ago, (7-1-2010) I wrote the following:

He’s Been Off The Air For Years, And He Still Makes Me Laugh

Cleaning up the basement, I found a box of old cassettes. Most of them are my old radio shows from my Honey Radio days. In the box was one labeled, “Another Crappy Richard D. Show” – I probably labeled it. You must understand that Richard is a legend. He was one of the greatest bosses I ever worked for. The atmosphere in that building was constant fun, mainly because of his attitude. We all joked with each other, and each one of us was the butt of someone else’s jokes. It was an experience I’ll never forget.

I had to go to the college today and so I brought the cassette with me. In listening to it, I was reminded of a time when radio was fun. It was brilliant magic, and Richard was the magician. Richard knew personality radio and was a master at it. As a listened, I heard many of the familiar phrases he’d use:

“I’ve got the monocle on my mind’s eye, and you’re looking good today”.

“I brought my cerebral compass, which is here in case I lose my train of thought, I can find my way back”

“I’m the silly DJ from Savage, Minnesota….where they just decorated the town square….they bought him a suit”

“To my right is a wall. On the wall is a peg. On the peg, records. When I take one of the records off the peg and play it on the air, it becomes a Tricky Dickie Off The Wall Record”

“If you will allow me to open up Poor Richard D’s Almanac…” (which looked at famous birthdays and This Day In History). After reading his facts (and jokes) it would be followed by some kids saying, “Wow, we didn’t know all that stuff Richard D”…to which he would respond, “Of this (long pause) I am aware”

Then there were references to his family and residence.

“Hurricane Hazel” – his mother in law

“Bee-Bop” and “Doo Wop” – his boys

“Oldielocks” – his wife.

“Lack of Drive in Warren Michigan” – where he lives

And of course, there were plenty of Keith Allen jabs…..”That was Drag City by Jan and Dean…Keith Allen went there once in a dress”, for example.

Radio brilliance from a time long since gone.

During my time at WHND, I pestered him constantly for advice and for stories from his CHUM and WXZY days. I was probably a big pain is his neck, however, I never had to wonder what he thought of me again after reading his letter of recommendation for me. Honey Radio was going off the air and I asked him to write something I could use in my search for my next radio gig. Here is his letter:

November 29, 1994

To Whom It May Concern:

In contemplating what I might write about one of the best employees ever to pass through these doors, my mind focused on qualities one might use to measure any worker. Some, though not all, are listed below.

Attitude: Keith Allen is one of the most cooperative, cheerful, and positive people I have ever encountered in the workplace. I never had to talk to him about attitude adjustment. He seems to be upbeat by nature, and is a pleasure to be around.

Work Habits: Keith is self starting and self directed. Rarely, during his tenure here, did I have to steer him. He accomplished voluminous amounts of work in short time spans, and his energy level was high. He always did what I asked him to, without complaining, even when the task was not something he enjoyed.

Dedication: During Keith’s time here, his total focus was on Honey Radio, and how to make it better. He displayed a fierce pride and loyalty toward WHND. More often than not, he came in early for his shift, and stayed hours after it, contributing in whatever area he was needed. One of Keith’s strongest assets is his total love of and commitment to radio broadcasting.

Talent: Unless Keith Allen’s motivation level changes, he will be one of the great radio personalities of the future. He has the innate tools to master the art: a sense of what’s funny and what is not, great timing, a fantastic music background, and a good voice. If Keith doesn’t become a major talent someday, I’ll be very surprised.

Add it up: A person with a great attitude and disposition, a self starter with a high energy level, a person who loves the medium, an individual who is dependable and reliable, and a person with enormous talent. The sum is someone, I’m sure, you will want to add to your operation.

Richard D. Haase
Program Director, WHND

Richard is still working in radio … as a tech guy now. I’m sure the atmosphere in his presence is still the same. (Very rarely was he in a bad mood.) He is like a 12 year old trapped in an adult body! Perhaps that’s why we got along – neither one of us have grown up. I’m honored to have worked for him and more honored to call him a friend.

Over 20 years later, and you still make me laugh, pal. Thanks!

11 Years Later – 2021

Richard is still around, though retired. Life has certainly changed for both of us over the years. I think of him often, and recently caught up with him on the phone. Though he is a bit older, his voice is still as strong as ever. In the time we chatted, it was obvious that his wit was quick as ever. It was great to just pick up where we left off.

Amongst the many boxes of radio stuff, I have some of Richard’s old WHND shows. The last time I listened to them was probably about 7 years ago. A mutual friend and co-worker and burned them to CD for me and I listened to them on my way into work. With every Keith Allen joke, every bad pun, and every silly laugh, I found myself back in 1994 and laughing at jokes he probably wrote in 1964! I’m sure if I popped those shows in today, I would still laugh….all these years later!

The Legendary Richard D!

Chasing Fireflies

Last night, I sat outside on the porch after I put Ella to bed. It was still light out, so I grabbed the baby monitor and my Bible and went out to read. As evening rolled in and it started to get dark, I looked out into the yard and watched as the fireflies were turning their “lights” on and off. I set my Bible on the chair and walked out into the yard to just watch the magic of these little bugs.

As I stood watching them, a memory came rushing back to me that I wanted to write about before I forgot about it. It took place when I was probably between 5 or 7 years old. We moved to a new house in 1976, and I know there is a picture from this trip with me in a shirt from my old elementary school, so that narrowed the time frame down for me.

Our family borrowed my grandpa’s pickup truck, which had one of those campers that sat in the bed of the truck on it. It kind of looked like this:

We drove it to Ohio for a trip to King’s Island and Sea World. My mom had an old friend that lived in Ohio and we visited them on the trip. My mom’s friend had three daughters and two of them were twins. I think this was the first time I had ever met twins and I probably always got their names wrong. This picture is of my brother and I with the girls in the camper.

We only have one other picture of us all together and I am going to guess this was at Sea World because I think this is supposed to be a walrus. Not sure who the two guys in the back were, but I remembered hating that they were in our picture!

Any way, I remember we spent the night at their house. I am guessing we stayed in the camper, but I am not certain. At any rate, I remember their back yard was huge. There were train tracks that ran along the back of their property and we actually got to see a train come through.

That night was first time I ever saw a firefly. We we all outside playing and the fireflies started flashing. I asked what they were and the girls told me. They seemed surprised that I had never seen them before. As I recall, we all got jars and began to catch them in our hands and put them in the jars. I remember being amazed at these things.

I remember not being afraid of them (I was afraid of wasps and bees). I remember watching them in my hand and in the jars. They just kept flashing away. It wasn’t until a few years later, that we learned that the fireflies were signaling each other in search of a mate.

We have plenty of pictures from our trip to Kings Island and Sea World. However, we have no pictures of us chasing the fireflies. Yet, this memory came back to me as vivid as ever. Go figure. I probably stood out in my yard for about 5 or 10 minutes just watching nature’s light show, remembering a very enlightening evening!

Thank you “Friend”

I went to the side door to put some boxes in the recycle bin and noticed a small box on the porch. Sam has ordered a few toys for Ella, so I assumed it was for her. I noticed that the box was addressed to me. I asked Sam if she had ordered anything for me, and she told me she hadn’t.

I opened up the box and found this note inside:

I opened the box and there was another box inside.

I’m not going to lie, I had no idea what this thing was. So I opened it and found that it was an electric razor that is made to shave your head. It has a few other attachments (beard trimmer, nose hair trimmer, etc…). It’s actually pretty cool.

It had a charge on it when it arrived, so before I showered, I actually used it on my head. It works pretty good. I was really surprised. I never used to have luck with electric razors, on my face at least. It was actually a close shave.

I have an idea of who might have sent this, but no one wants to claim responsibility. So here is a public “thank you” to the thoughtful friend who sent me this gift. I appreciate it very much. You are very kind.

I Just Want To Make It All Better

As a parent, you hate to see your child sick. You feel helpless. All you want to do is take away the hurt. You want to make them feel better. You know that they are miserable and you would gladly bear their pain and suffering to allow them to get well.

The past few weeks have been hard on my little girl. Two weeks ago, she had yet another ear infection. After a full run of antibiotics, she began to show signs of being sick again. She spent a lot of time cuddling and laying next to me on the couch.

She had a slight fever yesterday and last night she was up almost all night inconsolable. I was at work, and Sam tried everything to get her to calm down. She finally calmed down early this morning and was able to sleep a little bit. She was asleep when I got home from work and Sam called her doctor to see if she could get her in.

The doctor said that her ear infection was actually worse. She was surprised that the week’s worth of the antibiotic didn’t touch it. She ran a bunch of tests to make sure it was not something else (Covid, RSV, Flu, etc) and they all came back negative. The ears have a lot of inflammation and so she has some ear drops to take as well as another antibiotic. We are hoping that this does the trick. If not, we could be looking at a hospital stay.

When she was born, she did not pass her hearing test in one ear. After retesting, she passed. However, at that time, they told us that she’d probably be prone to ear infections in that ear, and may even need tubes at some point. I believe we may be at that point. We’ve scheduled an appointment with an ENT and hope to have more answers after that.

In the meantime, we continue to pray that she feels better. Can I ask that you do the same? Thank you in advance.

I hope you feel better soon, my princess. I love you as big as the world!



National “Let It Go” Day

National Let It Go Day is celebrated on June 23 of every year. On this occasion, forget every regretful situation and the things that play on our minds and lead us to become angry, frustrated, hurt, guilt-ridden, or even embarrassed. It is time to let them go.

This is one of the most valuable lessons I learned over the past 4 years. There are just some things you need to not focus on. It’s not easy, but it can be done.