Only Children: We’re Not Bad, Just Misunderstood

music musings, published in 2009)

I bet your mind immediately went to a visual of a screaming, kicking child who wasn’t getting his way and was having a “come-apart.”  Right?  Well, this entry isn’t about that, but we will explore the deep complexities associated with folks who are only children.

Hi, my name is Zach.  I am a Tennessee Squire and an only child.  There, I said it.  Some maybe saying “Oh, that explains it!” or “Wow, he is very well adjusted socially to be an only child.”  Put your seat belt on because here comes another revelation – I am an only of two onlies.   Yep – Mom is an only and so is Dad.  No aunts.  No uncles.  No cousins.  Family reunions could be held in a Mini-Cooper.  I give you this background because Momma Squire and I had a discussion the other day concerning kids being at the house that weren’t our offspring.  So, I thought it would be a great public service for me to share some insights into only children and how we think.  Maybe this is worth what you paid for it or maybe it will be a revelation that will help you break through those relationship issues with your only child spouse or it will give you something to read while you are eating lunch.  Bet you thought I was going to say reading while in the bathroom. (But are you really coordinated enough to carry a laptop in there with you?) For typing ease, I will use OC.

Only Child Time – OC’s are used to being by ourselves.  We typically think it is ok to eat alone in a restaurant.  We grew up alone and have grown like having solitary time.  Most OC’s require a certain amount of alone time each day.  Mine is early in the morning from 5:00 until it is time for the rest of the family to wake up.  This is why we get grumpy on holiday trips or vacations when there are people around us 24/7.  It is also why we will disappear during family events, weddings, etc. and our spouses will find us on the back porch or in the car.

Inappropriate Games – Please think before purchasing a game for an OC.  No, I’m not talking about Halo or Grand Theft Auto.   I am talking about two person games.  I remember receiving Candyland as a present one year – Yes, Mom was a stay-at-home Mom, but really?  Who would sit and play Candyland with me?

I also got a croquet set.  Really?  You think I would set up the hoops, sticks, and then go around the yard banging a ball with a mallet?

I also got Yard Darts (Yarts!) one year.  Use some common sense people and I’m not talking about stabbing myself in the temple with one.  That would be hard for an only child to do.  Wait – maybe Yarts could be only for only children; but I would get tired of throwing them and then having to fetch them since no one was there to return them.   Having these multi-player games actually make only children more creative.  We had to figure out how to play them or change the rules so we could enjoy them.

Touching stuff – Yes, we have issues with people touching our stuff.  I really don’t think it has to do with selfishness.  It has to do with location.  If you touch my stuff or play with my stuff, it won’t be where it was the next time I want it.  That’s why I don’t let people read my newspaper before I do.  You will probably turn it inside out, get it out of order, or the worse thing – when it is time to read the next session (yes, I have a particular order), you will have that section.  This is where the discussion with Momma Squire centered the other day.  She asked me whether I ever had folks over to spend the night with me when I was a kid.  My response – “No, because they would touch my stuff.”

Hopefully these points will help you understand OC’s.  We really aren’t bad – just misunderstood.

Zach, A Tennessee Squire and an Only Child


If You Dislike Waiting, I Have Some Bad News

barry currin, stories of a world gone mad, beaverdamusa.comI have never liked to wait.

When I was around 14, the skateboard craze hit my hometown. I grabbed the Western Auto catalog and found the perfect one.

Actually, there was only one, but it was perfect enough.

I broke my piggy bank, jumped on my bicycle and rode downtown to the store.

My heart broke when they told me they didn’t have any in stock. They could order me one, though. 

I ordered it on a Thursday. I was assured it would be in their next weekly delivery, which — naturally — ran on Wednesdays.

While my friends mastered the fine art of riding a skateboard over that infinite week, I watched them from the sideline and waited for Wednesday to come.

I call that feeling of helplessness and anxiety Skateboard Syndrome, and it’s real.

I don’t have to tell you the skateboard didn’t arrive as promised. I guess it came the following week. I don’t recall exactly.

Before long, I was ready to progress from the skateboard to the vehicle. Getting my driver’s license was a huge deal for me; I thought I would never turn 16. 

On my birthday, we drove a half hour to the driver’s license office.

The sign on the door said they were only open on Tuesdays.

Naturally, it was Wednesday.

I don’t understand why people nowadays are so over the moon to order stuff online when they can get it just down the street.

I know it’s a money-saving thing, and I do it when I am forced to, but I don’t like it.

If I wanted my widget in a week, I would’ve ordered it a week ago.

Earlier this spring, Kim and I found some lawn chairs we wanted down at that big ol’ store I’ve made fun of before. After a half hour, a half dozen store employees came to the conclusion they were out of them.

We were told we could pay for them, and they would be shipped to the store in a week.

In a moment of weakness we agreed. We then blew the checkout person’s mind when we told her the employees back on aisle 706 told us we could do it that way. 

Within the next 15 minutes or so, another half dozen employees hovering over a computer screen determined no more chairs like that were going to be shipped to that store, regardless of whether they were specially ordered or not.

They told us we could go home, order them and have them shipped to our house.

You guessed it. They would be delivered in a week.

I needed some kind of assurance the chairs really would be available online. Those half dozen employees said they would, but after the comedy of errors we had been through, I simply didn’t believe them.

They let us buy the display models just to get rid of us.

To all the people behind us in line that day, it’s called Skateboard Syndrome, and it’s real. 

The preacher once said that when we’re waiting or anticipating something, it’s the same as worrying. And as Christians, we’re not supposed to do that.

If that one is on the final exam, I’m in trouble.

Hopefully, there will be an exception for those who suffer from Skateboard Syndrome.

Love Songs

music musings, beaverdamusa.comAs I write this musing, it is Valentine’s Day.  I thought I would wax poetic on how love has impacted different music genres through the years.  Then I realized I didn’t know what the hell that last sentence meant.  In football terms, I dropped back and punted. 

I then decided to see what my music catalog turned up when I searched for “love”.  It returned 926 songs that had “love” in the song title, performer’s name, or album title.  Once again I am amazed at the diversity in my catalog.  Contrary to my sweet Valentine’s belief, there are songs more recent than 1995 in the list.

I won’t bore you with all the songs, but here are some that grabbed my eye as I scrolled through the list:

  • Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love by Van Halen – my favorite DLR era song.  Don’t think they had Valentine’s Day in mind when they wrote this….
  • Anything for Love by Meat Loaf – this song revived his career in the 90’s.  Love this song and glad to get to see him do it live.
  • Burning Love by Elvis – E loved him some love songs.
  • Calling Dr Love by KISS.  Again, this goes in the category of “don’t think Valentine’s Day was on their mind”.
  • Cool Love by Pablo Cruise – have always loved this song.  Still hoping Dave Jenkins will do it live someday.
  • Deeper Kinda Love by Sammy Hagar – a hidden gem by the Red Rocker.
  • Endless Love by Lionel Richie – don’t hate.
  • Heard It in A Love Song by Marshall Tucker Band – a classic that causes me to pause every time I hear the opening notes.
  • I Wanna Learn A Love Song by Harry Chapin – one of my favorites by Harry.  
  • Love in the Midnight by Styx – I can still hear the 8-track fade out and back in as the track changed on this deep cut on Cornerstone.
  • When It’s Love by Van Halen – my favorite Sammy-era song.  
  • When You Need My Love by Darryl Worley – the twist he puts on the lyrics on the last verse is great songwriting.

As you can see by the sampling above, love appears in all kinds of songs with a variety of meanings.   Regardless, Happy Valentine’s Day!

Musing on Love



All the Amazing Ways we Misuse Words

barry currin, stories of a world gone mad, beaverdamusa.comWe’re ruining another word.

I first discovered this at a restaurant a few days ago.

The server came to the table to take our order.

“I’ll have water.”


“… with lemon.”


“… and baked tilapia.”


“And, there’s an ax murderer sneaking up on you.”


Of course, I’m being silly. I would never order baked tilapia.

Then the next time we ate out, the same exact thing happened again. The answer the server gave to everything we said was “perfect.”

Could it be we’re destroying another word in the English language? Is the word “perfect” the next victim of our insatiable desire to unnecessarily change the meaning of a word?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating we go back to saying things like “wherefore art thou.” I say “cool” when I like something. The other day, I slipped back into the ‘80s momentarily and referred to something good as “bad.”

But come on, fair citizens of earth, we have over 171,400 words in English. Let’s treat them all with some respect.

Here are a few we need to stop using incorrectly.

* Random. Just the other day I heard someone say, “I’m just so random sometimes.” I don’t even know what this means. What is keeping this person from saying, “I’m just so lug wrench,” or “I’m just so cat food?”

* Awesome. This is the grandaddy of them all. Yes, I say it, but I don’t feel good about it. The California redwoods are awesome. Someone’s selfie is not. 

  • Amazing. This is almost like awesome but several times more annoying to me. And yes, I must admit I’m guilty of this one sometimes, too.
  • Sick. Some of you may not even be familiar with this one. Saying something is sick means something is cool, or amazing, or awesome.
  • Literally. I hate this one the worst, yes, literally. People will say, “I got so mad, I literally exploded.” Or, “It is literally raining cats and dogs.” I heard this one the other day: “I am literally starving to death.”
  • Addicted. This is a close second to literally in the annoying category. People become addicted to chemical substances like drugs or nicotine. People do not become addicted to Netflix (I don’t think).
  • Sweet. I emailed someone the other day telling them I was going to be able to do whatever it was they wanted done. They replied, “sweet.” 

We get in the habit of over-using phrases as well. I don’t much care for it when I say “excuse me” and the other person says, “Oh, you’re all right.” Again, what does that even mean? I already know I’m all right, at least I think I do. But if people suddenly stop telling me I’m all right, will I begin to think I’m no longer all right? I can see it happening.

I first heard the phrase “no problem” when I was on vacation in Hawaii more than 30 years ago. All the Hawaiian people in the service industry would say it with gusto to tourists, and it was novel to me. But, somebody apparently snuck it back like a pineapple, and now it’s spread worse than kudzu.

It has virtually replaced saying thank you, especially in younger people.

“I’ll have water.”

“No problem.”

“… with lemon.”

“No problem.”

“… and baked tilapia.”

“No problem.”

It drives me crazy, but not literally.

The Invasion of the Roofers; Quite a Spectacle

barry currin, stories of a world gone mad, beaverdamusa.comWe Americans love our summers.

Nineteen sixty-seven gave us the summer of love.

Bryan Adams sang about “The Summer of ’69.”

And if you’re a fan of the“Seinfeld” sitcom, you certainly remember the episode titled “The Summer of George.”

I’ve had lots of great summers. One of my favorites was my senior year of college when I moved off campus into an apartment. My two courses that summer were history of rock and roll and some kind of a geography class, which meant I had lots of time to hang out with Kim at the apartment pool.

This summer, however, has not made the top 40 list of favorites.

Allow me to describe to you The Summer of the Roofers.

Back on March 21, we had a historically catastrophic hailstorm. It affected a large part of town. My neighborhood was especially hard hit.

It lasted 20 minutes, and many of the hailstones were as big as tennis balls.

Cars were determined to be total losses, trees were mangled, and everyone’s roof was damaged.

When it was all over, the yard looked like a polar ice cap.

As soon as the ice cap melted, the roofers invaded.

Most came from out of town — if not out of state — driving fancy pickups with their toll-free-800 numbers painted on the side.

They were ruthless. They stuck temporary signs at every entrance to the neighborhood. They stole each other’s signs.

We had to wear camouflage anytime we were in the front yard and dive behind the shrubbery when we saw one coming.

The entire month of April was like a Jehovah’s Witness training camp.

One evening the doorbell rang while I was sitting in the living room, and without looking I yelled “we already have a roofer” through the door.

I had no idea a girl scout loaded down with Thin Mints could run so fast.

The next step in the roofing process is the ceremonial arrival of the shingles.

This is a procession where a truck pulls a flatbed trailer full of shingles with a forklift hanging off the back through the neighborhood at 4 mph while looking for the house where he has been dispatched.

This normally happens when I am trying to get somewhere in a hurry, which is most of the time.

Then, the truck stops in the middle of the road and the guy blocks the other lane with the forklift while unloading the shingles.

When the roofing crew arrives, they take their direction from the guy who brought the shingles and park in the middle of the road as well.

And heaven forbid anyone ever ride together, because if they did, there wouldn’t be seven vehicles at each job site.

Between the roofers and the mowing crews — who park exactly the same way — every time I leave the house I have to slalom out of the neighborhood hoping I don’t smash into a forklift parked crossways in the road.

The hammering and banging is a daily ritual from dawn until dark.

It’s seven days a week. It’s been going on so long I still hear it even after it stops.

The other day, a crew had mariachi music blaring from the radio.

After a couple of hours, I couldn’t take it anymore. So, just like Pavlov’s dog, I loaded up the family and had Mexican for lunch.

We’re now four months after the storm, and I would say not even half of the houses have been done. Ours hasn’t.

I told our guy not to hurry though, because when I get my new insurance premium, it’s just going to go through the roof anyway.

The Brown Cow Club, 17 Million Members Strong

barry currin, stories of a world gone mad, beaverdamusa.comI have excellent news.

According to a recent survey by a trade group for the US dairy industry, 7 percent of American adults think chocolate milk comes from brown cows.

You probably saw this last week, because the news outlets all went nuts over it.

Everyone seemed to be appalled that nearly 17 million grownups don’t know how we get chocolate milk.

I’m not appalled, though. In fact, I feel just the opposite. I think it is fabulous, because this news makes me feel better about myself. It should make us all feel better about ourselves.

We can take heart that we are brighter than at least 17 million people — which is only 2 million shy of the population of New York State.

That is a lot of people. A lot.

Imagine being ranked by intelligence, looking behind you and seeing 17 million people back there. What an ego boost that would be.

I didn’t see the rest of the survey results, but I am curious as to what else these people think.

Maybe milkshakes come from cows in Minnesota in the winter.

Hot chocolate comes from cows in south Georgia.

Heavy cream comes from chubby cows.

Non-dairy creamer comes from fake cows.

White Russians come from cows on their 21st birthday.

Skim milk comes from skinny cows.

Retired cows make Milk of Magnesia in their spare time.

I wonder how long the members of the brown cow club think a cow has to jump on a trampoline in order to make whipping cream?

I also wonder what kind of milk they think those Chick-fil-A cows stuck up on those billboards produce?

“Hey, Myrtle, why does the milk have black spots in it and taste like chicken?”

Coconut milk does come from coconuts, so if that question was on the survey, they might have gotten it right. But I wonder if they think coconut farmers have to get up at 4 a.m., to milk them?

When I was in Future Farmers of America back in high school, I was on the cattle judging team. I had no business being on a cattle judging team, but I studied and tried my best.

To the best of my recollection, the team consisted of four members. We learned about different breeds of cattle, and how their physical features determined their value.

We and similar teams from other schools in the county went to somebody’s farm and observed cows. 

Think of it as a cow beauty contest, minus the questions about world peace.

We didn’t win, but we did better than some of the teams. But even the worst member on the worst team surely didn’t think chocolate milk came from chocolate cows.

I wonder what else these 17 million people believe?

I’ve always thought a few people made it into adulthood still thinking dogs are boys and cats are girls. I’ll bet the brown cow club has a few of these people in its ranks.

The members of the brown cow club walk among us. I think it’s important we identify them.

Here is an easy way to expose them.

The next time you think you may be in the presence of one, tell them you swallowed a watermelon seed last week.

If they automatically manhandle you and begin performing the Heimlich Maneuver on you, they may be trying to dislodge the watermelon that is surely growing in your stomach.

I don’t mean to sound cynical, I really don’t. But, chocolate milk from brown cows?

It’s udderly ridiculous.

Beware the Ivy of March

barry currin, stories of a world gone mad, beaverdamusa.comIn my backyard sits an old bed sheet with a heaping pile of pulled weeds on it.

It’s been there for 9 days. It has endured a couple of rains and even a snow.

It needs to be dragged down by the road for the public works truck to pick up, but no one in my family is probably going near it any time soon.

This pile consists of last year’s dead day lilies, some blackberry stalks and various other weeds.

And somewhere in all those tangles lurks the meanest poison ivy vine the world has ever known.

Mother nature spent all winter breeding this weapon of mass destruction, and take a wild guess where she decided to test it out.

This new strain of killer weed must be invisible; neither Kim nor I ever saw it. On the other hand, we didn’t know we needed to be on the lookout for poison ivy during the first week of March.

We worked for a couple of hours. When I came in, I thoroughly rinsed my hands and arms. It felt so refreshing, I rinsed my face. I rubbed it thoroughly with my hands, then I rubbed it some more with a paper towel.

I didn’t realize I was saturating every square inch of my bare skin with poison ivy oil.

I’ve had poison ivy plenty times in my life. Always before, the symptoms were rows of little clear blisters on my arms or legs. They’re a temporary annoyance more than anything else — never a whole lot worse than mosquito bites.

Not this time.

It took two days after my run-in before the blisters started appearing on my arms. A day later, the rash broke out on my nose, cheek, chin and neck. That’s also when my eyes began to swell.

By the fourth day, my face looked like I had been sparring with Floyd Mayweather. My left eye was swollen to the point that I could see my own eyelid from the inside.

Both arms had several beet-colored, half-dollar-sized blotches.

Kim came away with some, too. She got it on her arms and even a little patch on her forehead. I rarely beat her at anything, but I won the poison ivy challenge in a runaway.

I finally gave in and sought professional help because calamine lotion was only making this stuff mad and more ornery.

The doctor sent me home with 14 days worth of pills, a $100 tube of ointment and a package of cookies.

The cookies, actually, were my idea. When one goes to the doctor, that person deserves a treat. For the record, it was a toss-up between Oreos and army men.

Naturally, I felt the need to explain myself to everyone I saw. More than once I sensed someone thinking, “Why won’t this hideous, one-eyed man stop talking to me?”

My face looks better now, but it’s not completely back to normal. My eye still itches. I don’t think the blotches on my arms will ever heal, even after one Benjamin Franklin amount of ointment.

Every time Kim tells the story to someone she says, “I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture. I should’ve taken a picture.” I’m a little concerned by how much she wanted to preserve the hideousness. 

Poison ivy isn’t contagious, which is the good news.

The bad news is, the oil from the plant stays on whatever it touches for a long time. I threw away my trusty White Mule gloves I’ve had for probably 30 years.

I used the nuclear holocaust setting on the washer for my clothes, and I’m still afraid to touch them.

Then there’s the problem of that pile in the backyard. Public works runs again in 3 days, so I have some time to figure out how I’m going to get it to the road.

Regardless of what I do, I’ll be cautious. I don’t want new army men that badly.

Graceland: A Step Back in Time – or History

music musings, beaverdamusa.comFirst, I must apologize for the delay between blogs. I could blame it on the Russians, the time change, or the March snow-pocalypse we just had.  But then again, I could tell the truth and let you know I had writer’s block.  My web host has docked my pay accordingly.

(Photos at the end!)

A few weeks ago, my beautiful bride and I went to Memphis for a quick overnight getaway.  Since I live in Middle Tennessee, it takes a lot to get me to Memphis.  I will muse about the primary purpose in the next blog (that is called a tease), but I want to devote this installment to a by-product of our trip.

We took a step back in time and history before we left Memphis – we went to Graceland.  Yep – went to Elvis’s house.  Plopped down about $50 each and it was worth it.  The whole tour was very organized and easy to navigate.  At first, we took a shuttle bus across the street to the actual house itself and were given iPads with headphones to listen to John Stamos narrate your tour, along with pictures and additional photos and visual aids. After the house tour, you could tour a museum with his cars and even go on his two planes.  Below are the quick hits on the whole experience:

  • The house was not overwhelming in size.  It was probably big for its time, but compared to today’s McMansions, it was small.
  • It was like stepping back in time.  The furnishings were exactly as they were as the day he died in 1977 from the green percolator to the shag carpet.
  • The upstairs was considered private when he was alive, so the tour did not go upstairs out of respect.
  • The kitchen was small.  Really small.  
  • The grounds were beautiful with horses and a huge barn.  Elvis loved riding horses when he was home.
  • He built a large building in the backyard just to house a racquetball court.
  • The jungle room lived up to its reputation – maybe the missus and I could convert one of the kids’ room into a jungle room when they move out.
  • The largest plane included a dining room, bedroom, den, and galley.  Everything was covered in plastic.  Creepy.
  • The car museum was great.  It contained some of his original cars, including the Stutz Bearcat he drove the day he died.  It also contained a lot of “toys” like golf carts, tractors, and a snowmobile that had wheels instead of tracks so he could use it in the yard.
  • They had converted one of the buildings into a room with all sorts of memorabilia like receipts for building the pool, Lisa Marie’s (daughter) crib, Elvis and Priscilla’s wedding outfits, etc.  
  • The house and grounds were right in the middle of a neighborhood with houses right next to it.  Wonder if Elvis’s neighbors hollered across the fence “hey, want to snag a beer and grill?”
  • The graves were right there in the back yard.  The area around his parents and Elvis’s graves was very solemn – not a lot of talking.  
  • Throughout the tour, it was obvious that Elvis loved and revered his mother.

I was 13 years old when Elvis died.  I remember watching some of his specials on TV, but his mainstream popularity was waning and he was probably destined to a residency in Vegas and then maybe even Branson.  The number of people who remember Elvis is dwindling and it made me wonder how much longer the crowds will go to Graceland.  The mobs of girls who swooned and screamed when he shook his hips are dizzy for different reasons now.  

If you ever get a chance, I would recommend taking a step back in time and visit Graceland.  Who knows, you may like shag carpet.

As I mentioned, the next musing will be about the primary reason for the Memphis visit – “g” is your clue.

Musing about Memphis









Look! You Never See That in the Neighborhood

barry currin, stories of a world gone mad, beaverdamusa.comOn our way home from the office one evening last December, a herd of deer — probably 10 or more — meandered across the road in front of the car right smack dab in the middle of our neighborhood.

It was a rare and unusual sight, but it didn’t hold a candle to what I saw on the way home yesterday.

I know you’re probably thinking I’m going to say Elvis or a UFO or the police SWAT team trying to talk someone off the roof.

This wasn’t anything like that. As I rounded a curve I saw a bunch of kids playing soccer in a vacant field.

There must have been 12 of them — maybe 15.

It didn’t hit me initially, then I started trying to remember the last time I saw kids outside playing a pick-up ballgame of any kind. I couldn’t. 

Our ever-growing reliance on technology has replaced the ball and bat, and I don’t understand how anyone could see that as a good thing.

When I was growing up, the kids in my neighborhood and I engaged in at least one pick-up game of football, basketball or baseball just about every day. We were born before the soccer generation.

We showed up, we chose up sides, and we played until our tongues hung out of our parched mouths.

We had access to organized youth sports, but I much preferred doing it this way. Our uniforms were shirts and skins. We didn’t have a schedule to stick on the refrigerator. Nobody’s dad was a volunteer coach, and nobody’s mom brought snacks. We didn’t have a team outing to the cheapest pizza buffet in town at the end of the season, because the season never ended.

Scraped knees and elbows were our participation ribbons.

The lessons we learned were invaluable.

We learned sportsmanship. In baseball, we shared our glove with someone on the other team if he didn’t have his own, or if his was being used as second base.

We had no officials, obviously. So we had to learn to compromise. This was usually punctuated by the team losing the argument saying, “Let the babies have it,” but it was compromise none the less.

We learned at least enough responsibility to know to go home when the streetlights came on.

We learned tolerance. If the most annoying kid in the neighborhood was the one who owned the football, then he was tolerated. And if he played his cards right, sometimes he even got to play quarterback.

We learned that wounds of all types eventually heal, and bruises fade from purple to green to yellow before disappearing completely and being quickly forgotten.

I don’t remember if we actually ever said, “rub some dirt on it,” but we had hundreds of opportunities.

We learned time management, which meant cutting the yard early in the morning before the game commenced.

I think the main thing we learned is sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. And sometimes you just have to agree to disagree about who won and who lost.

There was always a tomorrow. There was always another game.

We were healthy, we were skinny, we were tanned, and we were happy.

Kids today are missing that experience. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good video game. In fact, we had video games — and other indoor activities like board games and cards — back in those days, too.

That’s what we did when it rained or if it was so cold the basketball turned to stone.

Although I could, I am not going to go on some big, long rant about kids these days spending too much time locked in their bedrooms in the dark staring at a screen.

I just don’t understand why it is more fun to play a game on a computer than in real life.

I would give just about anything for one more day in that vacant lot. I miss it.

Those kids playing soccer yesterday will miss it one day, too. And they’ll be glad they had it.

A Loaf of White Bread, Because it’s My Birthday

barry currin, stories of a world gone mad, beaverdamusa.comMy birthday is right around the corner, and I know exactly what I want.

A loaf of white bread.

I know, I know. You were probably expecting me to say world peace, reduced greenhouse gas emissions or a Tennessee Vol defense that allows fewer than 700 yards per game.

That’s the stuff dreams are made of all right, but I am making it easy on my loved ones this year.

Of course, I need a pair of a shoes, but what fun is that? It’s my birthday. I should get something I want — not something I need.

And all I want is a loaf of white bread. Here’s why.

The other night, I saw a bottle of Karo Light Corn Syrup at one of my favorite restaurants, which triggered a childhood memory.

When I was growing up, we had dessert after every meal. Usually it was cake or pie. Sometimes it might be pudding or ice cream. On those rare occasions when we didn’t have a dessert sitting around, we improvised.

My favorite improvisation was what we called Karo and bread.

Daddy would give everyone a piece of white bread, butter it, cut it into nine pieces like a tic-tac-toe board and pour Karo syrup on it.

It was sweet, creamy and sticky. It was delicious. It was delightful.

I would eat the four corner pieces first to get them out of the way because they had the most crust. Then I would eat the four remaining outside pieces, saving the center piece for last. It was the one with the most butter, the most syrup and no crust.

Nowadays in our house, we eat whole wheat bread, just like all other good health-conscious folks. Karo and bread doesn’t translate to whole wheat bread.

It’s my birthday. I get to make one exception.

Besides, one loaf of white bread won’t kill me. I probably won’t even eat all of it.

I fully believe my request will trigger your generosity, which certainly is already buckling under the weight of all this Christmas spirit.

So, in order to keep bread truck after bread truck from lining up down my street, and thereby making my neighbors mad at me, I have made a list of alternative birthday gifts I will also happily accept.

  • a gallon of whole milk. I dearly love milk, and I drink skim like it’s going out of style. But let’s face it, when I slather up that white bread with butter and Karo syrup, I’m going to need whole milk to wash it down. If I’m going to do this, I’m going to go all the way.
  • plugs that work either way you put them in the receptacle. I’m convinced I get it wrong about 99 out of a hundred times.
  • the fortitude to delete the old emails in my inbox which have no chance of never being relevant again.
  • someone to help me eat the super economy-size cereal I bought last week. I’m the only one in the house who eats cereal, which means I should’ve passed by it at Sam’s Club the other night. But I was hungry, and I just couldn’t. So I now have a double-wide box with two huge bags filled with cereal. I’ve been eating on it daily and have barely made a dent in it. 
  • a helium-filled hula hoop. I tried hula hooping the other day — 40 years too late, apparently.

I make this silly list to illustrate the point that like most of you, I don’t really need any more material things. In fact, I would love to downsize.

Just give me a celebratory meal, and I’ll be happy.

And for dessert, you already know what I fully intend to have. Finest Craft Beers from America’s Best Micro Breweries- 728x90 banner