I got back to my locker and there were four elderly gentleman changing into their street clothes after water aerobics, crowded into this U-shaped nook with lockers on three sides and a bench in the middle.Â An older black gentleman was holding court.Â He had gray hair, a high forehead, salt and pepper mustache, and a kind of jolly countenance befitting a pickle barrel sage.Â His voice, stentorian, like Paul Harveyâ€™s, filled the locker room and commanded attention, not aggressively, but agreeably and effortlessly.
â€œJohn McCain.Â I remember John McCain.Â He ran for President.Â He was the last honest politician.Â You could believe what he said.Â Those guys running for President, you canâ€™t believe a word they say.Â Theyâ€™re all a bunch oâ€™ clowns.Â Those politicians, they talk out of both sides of their mouth, you know.Â Even the president, I think heâ€™s lookinâ€™ out for us regular folks, but you canâ€™t believe everything he says even.Â You canâ€™t trust the government.Â Thatâ€™s what it is.
â€œNow in my day, a manâ€™s word was his bond.Â A man was his bond.Â You could take him to the bank.â€
Dunno if you wanna go into a bank, you canâ€™t trust them either, somebody said.
â€œNo, thatâ€™s right.Â My dad used to say, you donâ€™t need banks.Â You shake a manâ€™s hand, that oughta be good enough, you know.Â Now you take farmers.Â In my daddyâ€™s day, farmers were honest.Â A farmer was an honest man.Â You buy a bushel of field corn, you know, corn to feed the horses, the cattle, you got a bushel of corn.Â You pay for a bushel, you get a bushel.
â€œI was watching this commercial on TV with my daughter, you know the one, heâ€™s watching football on his cell phone, sittinâ€™ right there in the restaurant watching the game on his cell phone, and his girlfriend gets upset, you know, and he looks at her and he lies, he looks right at her and he lies through his faceâ€”â€˜Iâ€™m not doinâ€™ thatâ€™â€”right in her face.Â Thatâ€™s what the kids are like nowadays, you know.
â€œI said, you know, if my daddy caught me lyinâ€™ like that, he woulda burned my bottom, he woulda took off his belt and burned my bottom, just like that, you know. Â You didnâ€™t lie in my dadâ€™s house.Â And my daughter says, â€˜You know, Dad, if you were raisinâ€™ my kids, you punished them they way you did us, youâ€™d be in jail.â€™Â Right in jail.Â Well, thatâ€™s what I believe.Â Parents are sâ€™posed to raise the kids.Â Kids ainâ€™t sâ€™posed to raise the parents.â€
Well, you have a good day now.
â€œYup.Â All I have to worry about is get my wife sumpinâ€™ for Valentines Day tomorrow.Â Canâ€™t forget that.Â Oh no.Â Iâ€™ll be in trouble.Â I figure Iâ€™ll just get her a 99Â¢ card, you knowâ€¦â€
â€œWell, she says, itâ€™s the thought that countsâ€¦â€
You give her a 99Â¢ card, youâ€™ll get a 99Â¢â€¦Â uh…Â dinner!
â€œWell yeah, I guess youâ€™re right.Â Sheâ€™ll say, â€˜That all you think of me?â€™ Yup.Â Forgot her birthday once.Â One time.Â Boy I got in trouble for that.Â All day long, the kids are sayinâ€™ Happy Birthday, I didnâ€™t even think of it.Â We went to bed, I said, â€˜How come youâ€™re so upset?â€™Â â€˜You forgot my birthday,â€™ she says. â€˜Itâ€™s my birthday, you didnâ€™t say a single word!â€™Â I said, Iâ€™m so sorry, let me make it up to you, but she said, â€˜Itâ€™s too late for that.â€™Â And that was that.
â€œBut you know, usually, my wife, she gets over things pretty quick.Â You know, sheâ€™ll be chewinâ€™ my head off one minute, then sheâ€™s done, and everythingâ€™s fine.Â Just like that.Â Now my daughter, sheâ€™s just like me.Â We get along like cats and dogs.Â Weâ€™re too much alike, you know. Â She’s a chip of the ol’ block, just like her old man.
â€œHey, coach!Â How you doinâ€™ today, young fella? You gonna give them kids what for?Â You gonna put the fear oâ€™ God into â€˜em?â€
Well, Iâ€™ll give â€˜em a workoutâ€¦
â€œYou bet.Â Good for â€˜em.Â Â Yup.Â Well, guess Iâ€™ll go get that card.Â You guys have a good day now.â€
Â© 2012 Douglas J. Westberg. All Rights Reserved. Â Please share this on Gather.com, and elsewhere on the web by means of a link back to this page, but please do not copy. Â Doug’s latest book is The Depressed Guy’s Book of Wisdom from Chipmunka Publishing