Monthly Archives: August 2019

A Top Down Vacation

We decided to visit my wife’s brother,

to surprise him for his 65th birthday.

Since he lives in Hertford, North Carolina

and our cars have high miles on them,

we thought it best to rent a car from Avis.

When we came to pick up the rental car,

they said the Kia sedan needed washing.

Instead, we would have to settle for a smaller car.

It was a new red Mustang convertible

that was available for the same price.

I replied, “I guess that will be alright.”

Once we drove off of the rental lot,

my wife and I burst out laughing

and quickly put down the top.

We got stuck in traffic in the DC outer belt.

Drivers didn’t use their turn signals at all

as they entered the road and crossed three lanes.

In Virginia, we noted an unusual hardware sign

it said get fresh veggies and your pool water tested here.

We saw another one stop shopping store.

They sell guitars and guns.

You could get either one that strikes your chord.

Or, pick up both some amps and ammo.

Virginia is for lovers and fresh peanuts.

They even sell those terrible boiled ones.

A sign declared North Carolina is the birthplace of Pepsi-Cola.

Oddly enough, every diner served fountain Coke not Pepsi.

You can get ice tea as long as it’s sweetened

with enough sugar in it to bake a cake.

Tobacco is the North Carolina state vegetable.

There are tons of different kinds of churches everywhere.

I was puzzled by a sign declaring that Catholic Church masses

would be held at the nearby First Methodist church.

I have no idea if the pope knows about this.

In the south families are very tight.

It’s easy to visit your great-grandparents,

grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles.

That’s because they reside 100 ft from your house

nested all together in the family cemetery.

In the south no one asks if you have crazy people in your family.

They just ask which side of the family they are on.

We noted that Southerners back into parking spots.

They seem to be very directionally challenged

as they back up several times before completing their task

We traveled many miles on remote back roads,

getting lost as there was no cell phone connections

for our Mustang’s built in GPS to pick up.

Like up north we saw hundreds of Dollar Stores.

I noted that none were called, “Confederate Dollar Stores.”

Actually, we had to wait until Ohio

before we saw a Confederate flag.

I never saw a Trump sign or bumper sticker,

until we arrived back in Pennsylvania.

That doesn’t mean that Southern states

aren’t struggling with their history of slavery.

Fredericksburg, Virginia is facing such an issue.

The city council is considering removing

a former sandstone slave auction block.

It’s a heavy fixed structure that historic preservationists

say could be damaged if it were moved elsewhere.

Some residents want it removed as it’s a painful reminder

of  the ugly history of the town and the South.

Other citizens want it to remain as a tangible reminder

for the public to be able to reflect

on the city’s painful history.

I am glad to see some in the South

wrestling with the sins of the past,

in an effort to make a better future.

All in all a great summer trip.

Returning that convertible was the

low point of the whole vacation.

The Gun Club:  “Mother Earth” 

“Anger Blues” 

“With age, comes wisdom. With travel, comes understanding.” – Sandra Lake 


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Food for Thought

Some Facts on Immigration and a poem.

7.6% of immigrants are self-employed compared to 5.6% of native-born Americans and they founded more than 40% of Fortune 500 companies.

Immigrant-owned businesses with employees have an average of 11 employees. These businesses account for up to 5.2 million jobs.

Immigrants actually only account for 13.5% of the total U.S. population, which is in line with historical norms.

Undocumented immigrants pay an average of $11.64 billion in state and local taxes a year. In 2010, undocumented individuals paid $13 billion into retirement accounts and only received $1 billion in return. Over the years, immigrants have contributed $300 billion to the Social Security Trust Fund. Without the contributions of immigrants going into the system, it is estimated that full benefits would not be able to be paid out beyond the year 2037.

Undocumented immigrants do not qualify for welfare, food stamps, Medicaid, and most other public benefits. Most of these programs require proof of legal immigration status and under the 1996 welfare law; even legal immigrants cannot receive these benefits until they have been in the United States for more than five years.

Under current immigration laws, there are very few options for legal immigration, the costs are increasingly prohibitive and the wait for any kind of status can be long and frustrating.

I wrote this poem several years ago and it seems even more fitting today:


Forrest Gump said,
“Life’s like a bowl of chocolates.”
I can tell you life
isn’t always a bowl of cherries
or peaches and cream milk & honey
or as dandy as candy
or as fine as wine
nor filled with sugar & spice.

Too often we get in
a pickle or a jam
and feel twisted up inside
like a pretzel
and get a chip on our shoulder
and express sour grapes
in the wrong direction.

Well it’s time to spill the beans,
there’s more to life than
bread and butter
and meat and potatoes.
To get the gravy in life,
America must celebrate
its melting pot
by using all its ingredients
we can make a delicious gumbo
not be content with hot dogs and apple pie.

The most nutritious thing we can do
is get the spices out of the cupboard
roll up our sleeves,
quit using our fingers
to point blame at
others who don’t look like us
and use those fingers
instead to start cooking
up a bottomless pot
of the broth of diversity
for variety is the spice of life.
Too many cooks cannot spoil this recipe,
only enhance it.
The kitchen will never smell sweeter
I guarantee ya…

Chris Rea: “Immigration Blues”

The Founding Fathers Favored a Liberal Immigration System.


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