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Susan Sleggs

Flash Fiction and personal thoughts

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Party

Security System

My father has been gone twenty-five years already. Seems like yesterday I was sitting at the table in his antique shop called “The Mousetrap.” His shop, located in a small town of 300 people in western New York, sat next to a large parking lot that had once belonged to an active business building that was set way back from the road. That parking lot attracted bicycle riders, skateboard attempters, and other children playing in the day light. At night, cars of teenagers parked in the shadows doing what they do in the dark.  Continue reading “Security System”

Who Has a Bowl?

When I was young knowing someone who owned a punch bowl was imperative. Not everyone could afford a nice one, especially if it had at least twenty glass cups that matched. Back then punch was served at many different kinds of parties. My family go-to recipe was a liter bottle of ginger ale mixed with a can of Hawaiian Punch and a large can of frozen orange juice concentrate. Spoonfuls of rainbow sherbet, or a ring of frozen juice with fruit in it (made using a Jello ring mold) floated on the top of the liquid. At a wedding there might have been two punch bowls, one for the kids and one spiked with Vodka for the adults (that the kids like to sneak). Continue reading “Who Has a Bowl?”

“They were awful!”

It’s National Pizza Party Day. Really? I know a family that has pizza every Friday night for dinner. Does that make every Friday night a party? I doubt it. Who needs a party to order pizza. We probably have it three times a month, and it’s usually on a night I have been “busy” doing something else instead of making dinner for my hubby who still works lots of hours. The definition of busy could be anything from sewing, writing my blog, shopping or having lunch with the girls.

I have heard that pizza isn’t really Italian, but the National Day of calendar gives facts that says it is. It also says the original pizza used only mozzarella cheese, mainly the highest quality buffalo mozzarella variant which was produced in the surroundings of Naples, Italy. The first United States pizza establishment opened in 1905 in New York’s Little Italy. I guess we’ll give the Italians credit for pizza without argument.

It was estimated that the annual production of pizza cheese in the United States in 1997 was 2 billion pounds. That’s one heck of a lot of cheese. How much of that was consumed at your house?

I was the youngest of four girls, so from 7th through 12th grade, I lived at home with just my parents. I’m a people person so on many Saturday nights there were a few extra girls overnight. I liked to eat even then, so for a snack I would make a Chef Boy-ar-dee Pizza from a box. There was a package of dough mix that only needed water added, a can of sauce, and a package of very dry parmesan like cheese. I would add pepperoni or mushrooms sometimes. In my memory it seems like we usually ate most of it. I now have lunch about once a month with one of the girls involved. She admitted to me one day, “Remember those pizzas you used to make. They were awful, but you liked them so we all ate it.” I wish you could have seen the look on her face when she told me that. It appeared she could still taste how awful they were. We laughed and talked about what good memories those pajama parties left us with.

Next time you have pizza, don’t just have it for supper. Call some friends, get out the cards or a board game, and turn it into a party. Oh, and by all means, order a good one with gooey thick hot cheese and the toppings of your choice.

 

 

Enjoy the Suds

Funny how a title of one of these National Days evokes different thoughts. When I saw the title Bathtub Party Day I wondered just what the picture would be. Somehow, one baby in a tub doesn’t equal a party to me. I immediately thought of my two children playing in a tub of bubbles when they were both under the age of five. I also remembered how a special friend would stay overnight when we were kids and fist we would make “secret” mud-holes in the garden, then take a bath together to clean up.

But: my mind also went to college, when a bathtub would be filled with ice and all sorts of alcoholic beverages in cans or bottles. Now that was a party. I have also heard of pouring all the bottles and cans contents into a tub and using it like a huge punch bowl. Sorry, that scene turns my stomach. Then I imagined a fancy hotel room with a heart shaped tub with a couple on their honey-moon or a weekend get-away. I would enjoy that one! I hope someone thought to bring a candle and a bottle of wine.

So what was the first scene your mind conjured when you read Bathtub Party Day? Maybe you can help me learn some new options.

Mickey Mouse’s Birthday

On November 18, we commemorate the birth of that ever lovable mouse that was once a rabbit called Oswald. It was back in 1927 while under contract to Universal Studios that Walt Disney first sketched a floppy eared bunny that later became Mickey Mouse.

From a rabbit named Oswald to a mouse named Mortimer, eventually the squeaky voiced rodent was dubbed Mickey. He flopped in two animated short films, then on November 18, 1928, Mickey’s star was born. The first animation synchronized to music and sound effects, Steamboat Willie premiered in New York.

Within a year, a Mickey Mouse Club popped up in Salem, Oregon. This particular club offered admission as a fundraiser for the Salvation Army with a donation of either a potato or a small toy and a penny. According to a December 22, 1929, Statesman Journal (Salem, Oregon) article, $12 and three truckloads of potatoes and toys collected by eager new members.

Remember, the stock market crashed just 20 days before Mickey Mouse was born. That a cute little mouse could bring smiles to the faces of children at an uncertain time really isn’t such a surprise.

Generally, new members joined the club by completing an admission form obtained from a local merchant and attending meetings held during matinees at local movie houses. The price of admission often was reduced for good deeds and report cards. By the end of 1930, the Mickey Mouse Clubs had spread across the country.

A makeover in 1935 by animator Fred Moore gave Mickey the look we are familiar with today. The big eyes, white gloves and the pert little nose. More lovable than ever before, he propelled himself even further into the hearts of children everywhere.

His companions Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto joined him along the way, bringing vaudeville comedy with them.

I took the above history from the National Day of Calendar and shared it because I had never heard any of it. Happy Birthday Mickey Mouse. A trip to Disney World is still on my bucket list.

Happy Birthday USMC

Happy Birthday to the United States Marine Corps!

I have a lot of connections to the military in this great country. I can name people who I know both past and present in all branches of the service, except the Marine Corps. I never thought of that until today. My lawyer’s son is a marine  but I don’t know him personally. Funny how that works. I wonder why the marines are avoiding me?

If you are at all familiar with my blog, you know I am pro-military because I believe our United States would not be what it is today without them. Yes, sometimes our government gets us involved in fights we don’t think are ours, and we lose young men and women for no apparent good reason. I have trouble with that too. But, think about the fact that it is us as a country that is looked to for help. We are strong enough and big enough to help others. It’s part of our job as a super-power.

The presidential election was two days ago, and we now have people protesting and rioting in the streets because of who won. This is sad and scary. I was raised to give a person a chance to sink or swim before passing judgement. If the protesters are also being destructive, aren’t they part of the problem instead of the solution. I’m all for freedom of speech, but please folks, wake up! Destruction and failure to cooperate is only making the problem worse.

Do I believe our president-elect has what it takes to be a strong, good president, able to keep us in a position of power? I have no idea. But he sure won’t get there with his constituents tearing apart the cities and causing more problems for the police and their neighbors.  Let’s hope the “educated” that disagree with the outcome of the election come to their senses before the Marines get called out to work on their birthday.

Peace!

Don’t Miss the Party

Do you remember the very first company Christmas Party you went to?  The one you bought a fancy dress for, also got a new haircut or style, then filed and polished your nails the day before and refused to do anything that might break one.  The one that made you think you were so grown up and mature.  This happened for me when I was a senior in high school.  My “sweetheart” had graduated the year before and was working locally until his draft number came up.

A couple of days before the party he got a bad cold.  Of course he still went to work, but he decided he was too sick to go to the party because he was coughing all the time and had a slight fever.  I had been waiting for that party for over a month and I was devastated by his decision.  Luckily his boss lived across the street from me.  (And his boss’s daughter was a very close friend.)  I went to the neighbors to complain and share my misery.

The boss, Don, was a very understanding man with five kids of his own.  He was also very practical.  His reasoning we should still go to the party went something like this.  “Don’t you still have to eat?  Don’t people sometimes have a little brandy when they have a cold? Don’t a lot of cough drops taste like mint?”  Yes was the answer to all three questions.  The next instruction was, “You tell your boyfriend all of those things, then tell him to drink Stingers at the party.  I’m sure he’ll feel better.”  I had to ask what a Stinger was.  He explained it was a drink made with brandy and crème de menthe.

I went home to make the phone call that included the information and some begging.  We went to the party.  I found out it was just a bunch of people standing around talking, most of whom I didn’t know.  I don’t remember any details about the food or door prizes, but I remember Stingers are a great aid for the common cold.

Footnote: the legal age to consume liquor was 18 at the time in New York state.

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