Thursday, February 22, 2007

Angie Gets Cornered

Angie here again. I apologize for it being so long between posts, but I think the whole town has felt like we've been stuck in a time warp with the trial going on. I'm so happy for Paige. I just hope and pray that she stays here, we've come to love her so. It's too bad she's a little young for my son, Frank Jr.

And don't listen to Bev about Talkatoo. She talks about that silly bird all the time. "Do you know what Talkatoo did last night? Isn't he the smartest bird you ever heard of?" She goes on and on. She loves that bird, but she will never admit it.

Kanner Lake is growing, you know. Last fall, a good friend of mine, Dimples Wright, opened up a new ladies gym in the old hardware store just off Main Street. Her husband owns the building, and when the hardware store closed, she thought it would be fun to open a little gym for the Kanner Lake ladies. Dimples is a retired history and gym teacher, and is in amazing shape for a lady of our era. Of course, not everyone has the same idea of fun.

After the pie explosion last fall, which was followed by the Angie explosion, Dimples stopped by Java Joint one morning and joined Bev and me for coffee. Of course hers was a cup of herbal tea with a fruit cup. Bev must have seen trouble coming, because she quickly excused herself and hurried out to an "appointment." Dimples and I continued to catch up on our families and everything. What I didn't know was she had a hidden agenda.

"I saw your post in the blog about your exercise program," she said, moving her index finger up and down, demonstrating my favorite workout.

"Did you like it? I'm really enjoying writing in the blog, but I'm not enjoying these extra pounds. But it's almost impossible to lose weight at my age."

"I love your posts, but I do have to disagree with you on one point Angie, you have not always been plump. You may have carried an extra 5 pounds or so, now and again, but you were never fat."

"I am now, and no matter how much I laugh and giggle, I hate looking at myself in the mirror. How do you stay so svelte? You have the figure of a 20-year-old."

"Trust me, I'm far from perfect, but I do try to eat right and stay in shape. I still work out every day and I just opened a new women only gym in the old hardware store. Rusty and I own it outright, so I don't have all the overhead, so I thought it would be fun to open a little gym and have a place to stay in shape. I've trained a couple of women who used to commute with me to the gym in Coeur d'Alene, and we’re going great guns. Why don't you come by and give it a try?"

Trapped. Cornered. My mind was racing. How do I get out of this one?

I'm sure that Dimples knew exactly what was going on in my mind, because she quickly moved ahead and continued, "Let’s make a date for 2:00 this afternoon. I'll take you through the circuit, weigh you in, and we can start you on a food and exercise plan. It won't hurt, I promise. I think you'll have fun."

What can you say after that? She knows my schedule. "Sure, if you really think it will help. Even David said I looked different."

"Wonderful! And I bet when you're done David won't be able to keep his eyes off of you."

Me and my big mouth. "It's not like that, really we're just friends."

"Of course, if you say so. Oh, my goodness, look at the time! I have to run and relieve Maki so she can take a break. I'll see you this afternoon." And off Dimples flew.

Of course I went, and I had a great time. I don't know how she did it, but Dimples had half the retired school teachers there, several moms, and even a little area for the kids and a college girl to watch them. Wow! She had only been open for a week, but had she ever been making the rounds.

As for me, it's been about 10 weeks and I've already lost 18 lbs and 2 dress sizes. I'm feeling better than I have in years. Missy (my daughter Melissa) noticed when she was doing my hair yesterday and was really impressed. Frank Jr. asked me if I've changed my hair, (answer-no), and a certain dinner companion has commented on how well I'm looking and whistles at me whenever he sees me. People are just now starting to really notice. Yes, it was little hard with the holidays, but the gym is such a great little place, it's like going to meet my friends every day. I might even start teaching classes soon.

Oh, I almost forgot. I found my old jeans and top that I was wearing when I met my Frank at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, back in '67. You know, I might just get back in them. Eat your heart out, Goldie Hawn.

Posted by Bailey Truitt @ 7:00 AM 4 comments links to this post
Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A Dinner Alone

Hi, Janet Detcher with you today. Recently I received this forwarded e-mail from a friend. I don't even know if the story's true or not. Could be just made up. But it doesn't matter. The sentiment is true enough--and one I agree with. So I wanted to share it with you. You can read it as truth, or read it as fiction--either way, it has a strong point to make.

I was sitting alone in one of those loud, casual steak houses that you find all over the country. You know the type--a bucket of peanuts on every table, shells littering the floor, and a bunch of perky college kids racing around with long neck beers and sizzling platters.

Taking a sip of my iced tea, I studied the crowd over the rim of my glass. My gaze lingered on a group enjoying their meal. They wore no uniform to identify their branch of service, but they were definitely "military:" clean shaven, cropped haircut, and that "squared away" look that comes with pride.

Smiling sadly, I glanced across my table to the empty seat where my husband usually sat. It had only been a few months since we sat in this very booth, talking about his upcoming deployment to the Middle East. That was when he made me promise to get a sitter for the kids, come back to this restaurant once a month and treat myself to a nice steak. In turn he would treasure the thought of me being here, thinking about him until he returned home.

I fingered the little flag pin I constantly wear and wondered where he was at this very moment. Was he safe and warm? Was his cold any better? Were my letters getting through to him? As I pondered these thoughts, high pitched female voices from the next booth broke into my thoughts.

"I don't know what Bush is thinking about. Invading Iraq. You'd think that man would learn from his old man's mistakes."

"What an idiot! I can't believe he is even in office. You do know, he stole the election."

I cut into my steak and tried to ignore them, as they began an endless tirade running down our president. I thought about the last night I spent with my husband, as he prepared to deploy. He had just returned from getting his smallpox and anthrax shots. The image of him standing in our kitchen packing his gas mask still gives me chills.

Once again the women's voices invaded my thoughts.

"It is all about oil, you know. Our soldiers will go in and rape and steal all the oil they can in the name of 'freedom'."

"Yeah, I wonder how many innocent people they'll kill without giving it a thought? It's pure greed."

My chest tightened as I stared at my wedding ring. I could still see how handsome my husband looked in his "mess dress" the day he slipped it on my finger. I wondered what he was wearing now. Probably his desert uniform, affectionately dubbed "coffee stains" with a heavy bulletproof vest over it.

"You know, we should just leave Iraq alone. I don't think they were hiding any weapons. In fact, I bet it was all a big act just to increase the president's popularity."

"Yeah. Plus, think of all that money going to the military instead of social security and education. And, you know what else? We're just asking for another 9-11. I can't say when it happens again that we didn't deserve it."

Their words brought to mind the war protesters I had watched gathering outside our base. Did no one appreciate the sacrifice of brave men and women, who leave their homes and family to ensure our freedom? Do they even know what "freedom" is?

I glanced at the table where the young men were sitting, and saw their courageous faces change. They had stopped eating and looked at each other dejectedly, listening to the women talking.

"Well, I, for one, think it's just deplorable to invade Iraq, and I am certainly sick of our tax dollars going to train professional baby-killers we call a military."

Professional baby-killers? I thought about what a wonderful father my husband is, and of how long it would be before he would see our children again.

Indignation rose up inside me. I'm normally reserved, but pride in my husband gave me a brassy boldness I never realized I had.

Sliding out of my booth, I walked around to the adjoining booth and placed my hands flat on their table. Lowering myself to eye level with them, smilingly said, "I couldn't help overhearing your conversation. You see, I'm sitting here trying to enjoy my dinner alone. And, do you know why? Because my husband, whom I love with all my heart, is halfway around the world defending your right to say rotten things about him.

"Yes, you have the right to your opinion, and what you think is none of my business. However, what you say in public is something else, and I will not sit by and listen to you ridicule MY country, MY president, MY husband, and all the other fine American men and women who put their lives on the line, just so you can have the freedom to complain. Freedom is an expensive commodity, ladies. Don't let your actions cheapen it."

I must have been louder that I meant to be, because the manager came over to inquire if everything was all right. "Yes, thank you," I replied. Then, turning back to the women, I said, "Enjoy the rest of your meal."

As I returned to my booth applause broke out. I was embarrassed for making a scene, and went back to my half eaten steak.

The women picked up their check and scurried away. After finishing my meal, and while waiting for my check, the manager returned with a huge apple cobbler ala mode. "Compliments of those soldiers," he said. He smiled and said the ladies tried to pay for my dinner, but that another couple had beaten them to it. When I asked who, the manager said they had already left, but that the gentleman was a veteran, and wanted to take care of the wife of "one of our boys."

With a lump in my throat, I gratefully turned to the soldiers and thanked them for the cobbler. Grinning from ear to ear, they came over and surrounded the booth. "We just wanted to thank you, ma'am. You know we can't get into confrontations with civilians, so we appreciate what you did."

As I drove home, for the first time since my husband's deployment, I didn't feel quite so alone. My heart was filled with the warmth of the other diners who stopped by my table, to relate how they, too, were proud of my husband, and would keep him in their prayers. I knew their flags would fly a little higher the next day. Perhaps they would look for more tangible ways to show their pride in our country, and the military who protect her. And maybe, just maybe, the two women who were railing against our country, would pause for a minute to appreciate all the freedom America offers, and the price it pays to maintain its freedom.

As for me, I have learned that one voice CAN make a difference. Maybe the next time protesters gather outside the gates of the base where I live, I will proudly stand on the opposite side with a sign of my own. It will simply say, "Thank You!"

To those who fought for our Nation: Freedom has a meaning the protected will never know.

Posted by Bailey Truitt @ 7:00 AM 3 comments links to this post
Monday, February 19, 2007

Back to Normal (We Hope)

Well, by now you've all heard the news. The trial is over. We are so very happy for the outcome. God has answered our prayers.

Lots of healing needs to take place now. Paige says to thank all of you who've written her for your thoughtfulness. She will be getting on with her life now, as will the rest of the town.

Things are sure quiet this morning. The reporters have all pulled out of town. It's back to the usual crowd here, with Wilbur on his stool, everybody chatting, and S-Man typing away. (Of course, NOBODY sits on Wilbur's stool when he's in the cafe.)

The biggest news around her now will be whether or not the hotel at the beach gets built. Good. That's the kind of controversy we can handle.

Love to all of you,

-- Bailey

Posted by Bailey Truitt @ 7:00 AM 4 comments links to this post
Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Gone to the Bird

Some people just don't learn.

For example, Cosmos was a good gift for Angie. Just what she needed--practical, companionable, and at the very least, soft enough to cuddle. But what does she go and get me? A bird! A noisy, bothersome cockatoo, not good for either companionship or cuddling. What was I ever going to do with such a gift?

There seemed to be only one thing to do: give it away.

Not immediately, mind you. I could tolerate its somewhat questionable chatter for a few days, long enough for Angie to have her laugh. Then I would find it a proper home, maybe with a certain coxcomb I know.

But wouldn't you know it, my husband has taken a liking to that bird. Laughed every time he passed the cage. And when I suggested finding it a better home, he wouldn't hear of it. So my house has gone to the birds, and Talkatoo has found a permanent nesting place with us. (I assure you, the name was my husband's choice, not mine. I would have chosen something more reasonable like Hamlet or Dante.)

Now Talkatoo sits in the corner of the spare bedroom, talking off his bill and flinging birdseed over the floor. I think I shall have to invest in a new vacuum soon.

Bev's Tidbits:

Word of the Day: Coxcomb--noun meaning a vain, showy fellow fond of display.

Grammar Rule of the Week: Quotation marks indicate titles of short works (articles, short stories, one-act plays, essays, short poems, and chapter titles) while italics indicate the titles of long works (books both fiction and nonfiction, full-length plays, book length poems, motion pictures, periodicals, and magazines).

Classic Book: David Copperfield by Charles Dickens.

And in honor of February, the month of love--Poem of the Month: William Shakespeare's eighteenth sonnet.

Posted by Bailey Truitt @ 5:00 AM 4 comments links to this post
Monday, February 12, 2007

I'm On a Rant

Howdy, it's Wilbur Hucks with you on this Monday morning. Lots going on around here. I'm sure you all know that--you can read the papers just like I can. Except I don't need to read 'em since I'm livin' here seein' everything take place.

The trial's supposed to end this week, that's what we're hearing. But it may not be until around Thursday or Friday. Everybody's on pins and needles, I can tell you that. We just want this behind us. Of course, Paige does especially.

But you're hearin' enough about that on the news--that's not what I want to talk about today. I'm doggone riled up, and when Wilbur Hucks is riled, the folks I'm riled at had best watch it. What am I so mad about, you ask?

Stupid people cuttin' down our military folk.

Listen. You can hate war all you want. You can this particular Iraq war all you want. You can think it's the dumbest thing we ever did. But you can't say idiotic things about the brave men and women who are serving in our forces.

I served in the military myself--the Korean War. I didn't have a lot of time on the battle field worrying about whether I thought the war was a good thing or not. I just did my duty, tried to protect myself and my fellow soldiers, and come home in one piece. I was lucky. I got to do just that. A lot of my buddies didn't. Those people over there in Iraq are heroes. They're doing what their country has told them to do. They're putting their life on the line to fight terrorists and try to help those Iraqi people. They're not "mercenaries." They're not gettin' lots of "obscene amenities." They don't deserve to be "spit at". They deserve our respect and honor.

It's hard enough fighting, knowing you might be blown to bits any minute. It's got to be a whole lot harder now, when all our folk over there can read the news on the computer, and read about crazy people and how they tear down the military. You think that don't make them feel bad? They're over there fightin' while we're here in our snoozy soft beds, and all they get is bad attitude and disrespect from some people. It's downright disgusting.

When I see anybody in uniform here in the states, I go up and shake their hand. I say thank you for their service. That's what you should be doin' too. You don't want to do it for yourself, do it for me, and tell 'em Wilbur sent you.

Rant over. It better not have been for nothin'.

Posted by Bailey Truitt @ 7:00 AM 4 comments links to this post
Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Trial

Hi, this is Bailey. Sorry for the lack of a post yesterday. It seems the lives of all of us bloggers are getting busier. Lately I've been running around bugging people for their posts. I've decided to relax about the matter. If a new post doesn't come in for the day, so be it. We'll post as often as we can.

The reason for the latest hubbub here (this is putting it very mildly) is--the trial's now underway. No doubt you've been reading about it in the papers. We've had over six months in Kanner Lake to try to settle after last summer's trauma, and we've managed to do that pretty well. But now everything's all stirred up again, with the trial and news people here from all over the country. I've been very busy at Java Joint, I can tell you. Lots of people coming in and out. It's been very interesting to meet the country's top reporters that I've seen on TV for so many years--from all major news stations. I just wish our meeting could be under different circumstances.

This trial--well, most of the town wishes it wasn't even taking place. All we can hope for now--pray for--is that it ends the way we'd like it to end. Sometime next week it should all be over. Sarah Wray is hanging in there, but she's on pins and needles every minute, worried about Paige. Of course Sarah's tending the shop by herself right now, but hoping for Paige's return. Simple Pleasures has had a booming business, too, with all our visitors.

To all you media folk who are now in Kanner Lake--we do hope you feel welcome. If anyone acts snippy to you or less than totally friendly, please do remember what a strain we are under. Seven months ago this was a little-known town, not used to publicity. Now, frankly, at times we can feel under siege. Everything will go back to normal in time, I know. But for now…things are a little hard. Hang in there with us. Okay?

Love to all of you out there, from all of us Scenes and Beans bloggers.

-- Bailey

Posted by Bailey Truitt @ 7:00 AM 5 comments links to this post
Monday, February 05, 2007

Superbowl 41

Hi, Carla here. Did I watch the Superbowl? Of course. Didn't everybody? Given the crazy bunch I was with, I didn't just watch it, I lived it. I was at some friends' house, and they threw a true Superbowl party. Lots of people, lots of food and drink. Plus one couple had gone to school in Chicago, and another couple was raised in Indiana, so we had people yelling for both teams. It was a fun afternoon, even for someone like me who doesn't get into football all that much.

No doubt the men at that party could give you a blow-by-blow account of the plays. Who did what, who ran so far, who kicked so great, whatever. I couldn't tell you any of that stuff. Here's what stood out to me:

Best play: Okay, I said I couldn't name any, but I can name one. That very first play. A kick-off, run all the way down the field? Man, even I got excited at that one.

Best commercial: Hands down, the “mouse” commercial for Blockbuster. I kept waiting to see it again, but they only showed it once. You wait. Everybody’ll be talking about that one today. I laughed so hard I nearly squirted Coke out of my nose.

Best new advertised product: What in the world has taken technology this long?!! Bring on the Chrysler car with the heated cup holders! Just think--no more cooled-off lattes from Java Joint!

Worst commercial: The two guys “kissing” while eating a Snickers bar. Something tells me you're gonna be hearing some water cooler talk about that one…

Worst halftime artist: Prince? Are you kidding me? So many great singers and bands out there, and they had to pick a guy who doesn’t even know what to call himself? Okay, I liked his blue and orange outfit. Kicky mix of colors. But what was with the black do-rag? You think he put that on in the last minute just to keep his perfect curls from getting wet?

Most apropos halftime song: Purple Rain

Weirdest move
: What was with that funny leg-lift thing the Colts quarterback did every time he was about to get the ball? A strange-looking step with his left foot. Can anybody enlighten me?

MVP #1: Most Valuable Precipitation. Well, the rain, silly. It had more effect on the game than any one player, if you ask me.

MVP #2: Most Valuable Pigskin. Yeah, the dancing football. The one that bounced from arm to arm like it was greased. How many turnovers and fumbles did it manage to pull off, anyway?

Worst misnomer for a state (or maybe I should say "best"): Florida, the sunshine state? Yeah, right.

So there ya have it. Carla's blow-by-blow account. Did I miss any highlights?

Posted by Bailey Truitt @ 7:00 AM 8 comments links to this post
Friday, February 02, 2007

Duke Takes the House

Well, finally! Here it is February--and this crew finally lets me make my first post of the year. I've been waiting every since December to fill you in on something.

In December I told the story of how the wife, Mable, got all upset when our pup, Duke, got a Christmas ornament hook stuck in his mouth. But I left out the first part. Before that, last you heard from me on the Duke subject was--Mable refused to let him in the house. So how did he get from the garage to the room where we keep our Christmas tree?

Happened like this. I was out in the garage messin' around. I thought I might be able to make me some homemade spinner bait. I got the idea watching Mable and that yackity friend of hers sittin' at the table makin' their foo-foo jewelry. They was using all kinds of glittery, shiny beads and it got me to thinking.

Since Bailey showed me about this bloggin' thing, I went out and got us a computer for home so I don't have to always bug Bailey to write my posts. Leslie showed me how to use Google and wouldn’t ya know it--there's a site to make spinner bait. Check it out: Fisherman's Shack ( Lookie that little picture at the end of the page, that's what I've been making. Well, close to it anyway.

So Duke and I are out in the garage with Mable's beads and whatnots. Duke's got a bone and going to town on it. We're just as happy as can be, the two of us. Mable starts yellin' at me to come in the house and bring her beads with me. I took 'em in and had a talk with her. We decided I needed to buy my own beads. Well, she decided and I agreed. I poured me another cup of coffee and listened as Mable went on and on about everything that yackity friend of hers had said.

"Shh!!" I said.

"Jake Tremaine! Don’t you shush me."

"No. No. Mable, listen. Y'hear that?"

She cocked her ear over. Then she jumped up from the table and ran to the back door and yelled, "It’s Duke!"

I followed her out the door and there was Duke, lyin' in the middle of the yard, head down, cryin'. (We have a doggy door in the garage for him, so he can get in and out.) I called him to come to my but he just laid there. Mable started to get nervous and ran to his side and was there before I could get off the porch (and she tells me she don't like Duke.)

"Jake Tremaine! Look what you've done to this poor puppy!"

"What? What'd I do?"

I don't know how he did it. Duke's paw was up on his lip and his tongue was hanging to the side all funny. I looked closer to see a fishing hook laced through his paw, lip, and tongue. If I didn't feel so bad for the little fella it would've been hilarious. Mable was furious. "Get that thing out of that poor puppy and don't you leave stuff laying around like that."

"All the stuff was up on the workbench. I don't know how he got it."

"Then don't leave him in the same room with it."

"But, Mable, you told me he's got to stay in the garage, and that's where all the stuff is."

So I got the hook out and Duke's fine. He's a trooper. I went to the store and got my own beads. And Mable lifted her rule about not lettin' Duke in the house. 'Course then he goes and gets a Christmas ornament hook stuck in him. I think the dog's just hooked on hooks. Anyway, he earned his place in the house, and now Mable's so stuck on that dog she hardly lets him out of her sight. He even sits and listens while she yakkity-yaks away with that friend of hers. Now that's patience.

-- Jake

Read the personal blog of the author of this post.

Posted by Bailey Truitt @ 7:00 AM 4 comments links to this post
Thursday, February 01, 2007

It's Done!

Rak Shool Yikra! (It is Done!)

Shnakvorum rikoyoch! (Greetings, friends!)

That's right! My first novel, Starfire, has been completed. I typed in the final words on January 25th at 3:04 p.m. at my little table in Bailey's most wonderful Java Joint. It was something of a surreal moment for me. I could have sworn I heard a Apatos trumpeting in triumph, but when I looked up from the computer screen everything in the Java Joint was quite normal.

Bailey was serving some coffee to some people on their way through for a weekend of skiing, while trying to keep Wilbur from showing his scar to them (unsuccessfully, mind you). Janet had come by to work on a blog entry, and was talking with Paige, who was picking up some drinks for herself and Sarah at Simple Pleasures.

Then, as if on cue, everyone stopped what they were doing and looked back at my table. Maybe it was the sudden silence after so many days of constant keys softly tapping away, or the scribble of pen on paper. Or maybe there's some kind of vibe that a just finished novel sends out that demands attention. I don't really know, but Bailey's squeal of joy was surely heard by half of Kanner Lake. Even if it wasn't with Java Joint being something of an unofficial news center for the town it wasn't long before word spread that Starfire was done and that the completion party was on for Friday the 26th.

I must admit I was very surprised at the turnout for the party. It seemed like half the county was trying to cram into Java Joint for the evening. Bailey and Sarah had gotten together and made a very wonderful cake decorated with little plastic dinosaurs. And then all the Java Joint regulars presented me with the latest edition of the Writers Market Guide. Agents, here I come!

It is times like this when I am so glad to live in a community like Kanner Lake, where friends share in each others' accomplishments. And though I'm not one to get all sentimental, I don't know if I could have ever finished this novel without the constant support (and yes, even the teasing) of everyone here in Kanner Lake. Their interest pushed me on, even when things got tough.

So thanks to everyone who's been here with me through the writing process. You have all made Sauria a better place, and I hope one day you'll get to see a bit of the world you influenced by influencing me.

-- S-man


Read the personal blog of the author of this post.

Posted by Bailey Truitt @ 7:00 AM 5 comments links to this post