“Cold Turkey” is the only way to cure an ice cream addiction. That’s what I told my dealer. I had been such an easy mark when he began driving his little yellow ice cream truck up my driveway. Every two weeks he would ring my doorbell and there he would stand in his starched uniform, his name stitched across the pocket flap.

“Ma’am'” he would say, “Could I interest you in…”

“No!” I barked. “Go away! I told you no more ice cream for me! If you bother me one more time I am going to turn you in to the regional manager of my weight loss group.”

“But we are having a special,” he coaxed. “Chunky Chocolate Peanut Butter Binge. Your favorite. Only $5.29. This week only.”

“Steve, I told you I am on a diet. That stuff has 14 grams of fat a serving. Now beat it before I call the cops!”

I slammed the door in his face. “Lousy pusher,” I grumbled as I munched on a celery stick.

He was back two weeks later. “Here, have a sundae cone,” he purred. “One cone won’t hurt you. If you like it, you know where to find me.”

I bought a carton of the stuff and he knew I was hooked.”Have a few extras,” he offered. “Pass them around to your friends. For every new customer you bring me, I will give you a free half gallon for yourself,” he whispered with an evil wink.

Soon I was supplying the whole neighborhood, keeping a few bucks profit for myself . Steve stopped giving me the free half gallon. I began to hock our belongings to feed my habit. I had to purchase a new wardrobe in a larger size. I couldn’t get through the night without my ice cream fix.

Fortunately Steve had given me his cell number.

“Steve,” I whispered into the phone late one night, “I need a gallon of Raspberry Rumble. I’m desperate, Man! What? Yes, I have the money. I pawned my son’s bronzed baby shoes and my late grandmother’s wedding ring. I’ll meet you in 30 minutes behind the dumpster in the alley. And I don’t want any of that cheap stuff. I want premium, at least 12 percent butterfat.”

When he arrived, I was waiting with the cash and we made the exchange.

“Wait a minute,” I growled. “You had better not be ripping me off.” I opened the carton and touched my tongue to the contents.

“Hey! This ain’t premium! It’s been cut with sherbet! What are you trying to pull? I oughtta break a snap on you! No, wait, that’s not right. Bust a trap! No, that’s not it. Shoot!”

“You mean ‘bust a cap’?” he asked.

“Yeah, that’s it! I oughtta bust a cap on you!”

“You’re carrying a piece?” he asked.

“A piece of what?”

“You know,” he said. A gun.”

I wasn’t, but I beat him senseless with a marble rolling pin I had in my apron pocket. That’ll teach him to mess with an ice cream junkie.








Rock and roll stars were presumed to be immortal. They were not supposed to get gray-haired and paunchy. The Grateful Dead, the Eagles, and the Beach Boys have become the Grateful Deaf, the Bald Eagles, and the Beach Geezers. I believe they are still touring.

It isn’t just the singers who have changed; it is us, the fans. Let your cataract-clouded eyes sweep the crowd at the next Golden Oldies concert. We look like the audience at a seminar titled, “Planning Your Retirement Portfolio.” These days we would rather burn our 30-year mortgage certificates than our draft cards or our bras.

I used to dance The Twist, but these days I can’t get good lateral movement from my knee replacement.

The differences extend way beyond appearances. Instead of VW minibuses, we arrive in sensible sedans.The bumper stickers on the back don’t say, “Hell, no, we won’t go,” but “Proud grandparent of a Summerside Middle School honor student.”

Gone are the love beads and granny glasses, to be replaced by MedicAlert bracelets and bifocals. No one is interested in “free love” unless it includes a condom and a certificate of good health from your physician. The cigarette machines have been replaced by ATMs. Instead of swilling Boone’s Farm Apple Wine straight from the bottle, we are sipping diet cola from paper cups.

While I was at the concert, I was witness to a drug deal. Those are still happening. I saw a senior citizen trying to swap two Prozacs , a bottle of Tums, and a tube of Fixodent for two Viagras, a Celebrex, and a tube of Preparation X.

Just like at Woodstock, the life squad made several runs, but this time it was not for indecent exposure or intoxication. They were for a stroke, cardiac arrest, and a broken hip. The broken hip was the result of a feeble attempt at moshing and crowd surfing.

I was impressed by the performance of 1960’s singer Little Eva, who can still belt out her hits just like the old days. She tried to coax the crowd of lethargic senior fans to “Do the Locomotion With Me,” which was one of her biggest hits. The request was met with a few half-hearted, vaguely railroad-like gestures by those fans whose bursitis was not acting up.

On the bright side, I added a couple of items to my rock and roll memorabilia collection. I brought home a nifty souvenir program which featured a group photo of the Beatles’ grandchildren and a signed and numbered X-ray from Mick Jagger’s hip replacement surgery.



When the time came to repeat my wedding vows many years ago, I froze like an Eskimo nudist. Being an uncommonly shy person, I was so paralyzed with fear that I was unable to utter a single word of my vows other than a quivery “I do.”

It was a very low-key wedding, attended by only immediate family and close friends. By not having the opportunity to be a Bridezilla, had I missed out on the opportunity to be a glamorous Princess for a few hours?

That’s why when I was asked to chaperone the local high school’s prom, I jumped at the chance. Here was my chance and I was going to milk it for all it was worth.

When the big night arrived, after hours of primping and preening, I emerged from my dressing room with a twirl and a flourish. It took several minutes for the rustling of acres of crinoline and lace to settle over a hoop so large that the area under my skirt had its own weather system. On my head was a glittering tiara the size of a candelabra.

“Who are you supposed to be?” asked my escort. “Scarlet O’Hara?”

“Fiddle-dee-dee,” I replied haughtily. “Bring the carriage around, Rhett, it is time for the grand ball and I am feeling a bit woozy. I just may swoon.”

“Maybe you need to loosen that corset, Scarlet. It may have given you the waist of a wasp, but your eyes are bulging like Kermit the Frog. And stop calling me Rhett!”

When we arrived at the prom, I remained seated for so long that he asked in annoyance, “Aren’t you going to get out of the car?”

“A lady always waits for her gallant escort to help her alight from the carriage and then sweeps her into his manly arms and carries her into the ballroom.”

“Carry you?” he asked. “Are your legs broken?”

“You, Sir, are no gentleman! I am but a helpless flower of the South. My dainty, bird-like ankles and delicate feet would never carry me up that grand staircase.”

“You?” he asked. “Dainty?  You have legs the size of tree stumps and feet like Sasquatch.”

“Carry me before I wallop you with my parasol!” I growled.

“Okay, okay! Oomph! Have you put on a few pounds lately?”

After a lengthy struggle, I finally achieved ground clearance and he staggered valiantly up the steps, weaving from side to side, as he grunted in red-faced exertion. We were nearly at the top when my hoop skirt flipped up and got caught on the outstretched finger of a statue of General Robert E. Lee, leaving me dangling in mid-air and swinging like a Confederate flag in a stiff breeze.

“Now how will I get to the prom?” I wailed.

“Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”




Until I heard about it on a television news magazine show, I was not aware there was a market for underwear which would dissolve in boiling water. Who would need that? Victims of cannibals who wanted to hold onto their last shred of decency as they were tossed into the pot?

Then the news anchor went on to explain that they were developed in response to demand by very modest women in another country (which shall remain nameless). The women were concerned that lecherous garbage collectors might ogle their discarded undergarments. Before they discard their worn underwear, the women boil these newly designed panties until they dissolve.

It never occurred to me that my garbage collectors might be peering into my garbage bags in search of something erotically stimulating. Now I cannot stop worrying about it.

The next time I threw out a pair of worn underpants, just to make them less tempting to prying eyes, I first stuffed them into an empty sauerkraut can, then filled the can with bacon grease and potato peels. I taped a note to the outside which read, “Dear garbage man, there are no underpants in this bag, so don’t even think abut looking for any. Even if you did find some, they would be those big, white, cotton, granny-style briefs complete with mystery stains and a safety pin holding the worn elastic band together. I am sure they would not interest you anyway.

P. S. Stay out of that sauerkraut can.

P. P. S. Just in case you did not heed my warning to stay out of the sauerkraut can, that size tag is incorrect. I do not wear, nor have I ever worn, size 9 underwear. The tag must be sewn in upside down. I customarily wear a size six, in spite of all the empty ice cream cartons and candy wrappers in my garbage. Who asked you anyway?!

Not long after that, I heard on the news about a man who robbed a convenience store while wearing as a disguise a pair of underwear over his head. He wore them sideways so that he could see out of one of the leg holes, and the clerk recognized him as one of the local garbage men, which led to his apprehension.

Said the news anchor, “The robber appeared to be wearing  a large pair of women’s size nine stained cotton briefs with a safety pin in the waistband.”

“I told you,” I shouted at the T.V., “Those are size sixes! That tag is upside down!”

Shoot! Were did I put the phone number of that dissolving underwear manufacturer?









I was raised in the rural Midwest and had a very straight-laced upbringing.

You know you are a naive, Midwestern redneck when you read about the dozens of love-making positions in the Hindu sex manual Kama Sutra and you are familiar with only three of them. Four if you count that time you and your beau tried to do it on the tractor and you fell off and had to wear a neck brace for three months. You don’t want to do that again.african-violet

I do know when I get cut off by an aggressive driver in traffic, I am supposed to show the offending driver one of my fingers in a vertical salute, but I am so clueless that I am never quite sure which finger. I think it is one of the middle ones.

I once read a movie review in which the reviewer warned movie goers about a newly released film’s “copious use of the N-word, the S-word, the F-word, the other F-word, and all the language so appalling to polite society.”

We don’t curse at my house. I thought there was only one dirty F-word. I can’t figure out what the other one is. It is driving me nuts.

If you are uncertain of your status as a redneck, check your yard for the following: a pink plastic flamingo, a plywood cutout of a little boy urinating, and a disabled truck propped up on cinder blocks.

Still not sure? Is your vehicle plastered with bumper stickers containing crude references to bodily functions?

My favorite redneck bumper sticker, seen on the back of a rickety pickup truck, read, “it’s not how you pick your nose; it’s what you do with the boogers.” This bumper sticker succeeds on many levels of the redneck-o-meter, in that it mentions a bodily function (nasal congestion) and uses a crude hillbilly term (boogers).

Note that the bumper sticker, while using traditional redneck phraseology, is properly spelled, grammatically correct, and appropriately punctuated. This makes it a rarity among hillbilly bumper stickers. Usually they just say “no fat chicks.”

I was especially impressed by the correct placement of a semi-colon and the presence of apostrophes in the word “it’s.” Two times, no less!

Be proud, fellow rednecks! Embrace your hillbilly heritage and your Midwestern naivete!

Meanwhile, what the heck is the other dirty F-word?



I am a wimp. I once tried to sign up for an assertiveness training class but I was afraid to tell the receptionist that I broke her pen while I was filling out the sign-in sheet, so I left.

I don’t know where all my suppressed anger goes. I am guessing the spleen, judging by the expression “venting one’s spleen,” meaning to boisterously express one’s anger.

By now my spleen must be a pulsating mass of verbal venom. One day some unlucky person will be the one who irks me that one last time. My head will spin around and I will spew profanity and split pea soup like Linda Blair in that old movie “The Exorcist.”

I thought it was going to happen a few weeks ago. I was expecting a house guest who has a baby and I went shopping for supplies. I asked a young lady who was stocking shelves where I might find the diapers. She glanced at me and said, “Aisle 12.”

Guess where she sent me? To the diapers for incontinent adults. There they were, nestled among the denture adhesives, laxatives, and reading glasses. The nerve of her! I may be no Spring chicken, but as yet none of my orifices are leaking inappropriately.

Stomping back to her area, I fixed her with a frosty glare and said through gritted teeth (my own,I might add), “I MEANT baby diapers!”

I could swear she smirked at me, the little twerp. So I did what any self-respecting mature lady would do: I peed on her strapped sandals.

Okay, I didn’t. The idea did occur to me. But no, I forced yet one more outburst down into my spleen, which by then must have been bulging like an aneurysm. My spleen began to rumble like an awakening volcano.

Someone shouted, “Look out! She’s going to blow!”

My head had just started to spin when arthritis caused my neck to seize up like our old Buick when I ignored the “low oil” light.

The doctor says I need a neck brace. I found them in aisle 12, right next to the adult diapers.





I often hear single women complaining that suitable life partners are nonexistent. It seems to me that the ladies are getting awfully particular.

She doesn’t like his hair (or lack thereof), or his ears, or his mama, or his job, or the car he drives. He doesn’t make enough money, he has too much “baggage”, or he has a goofy laugh.

The most unusual reason I ever heard to reject a suitor was grammatical errors. The woman complained, “He is always ending his sentences with a preposition. I hate that! It is so annoying!”

I was tempted to point out to Ms. Grammarian that she split an infinitive in that first sentence. I could understand her rejection if she said that he always ends his sentences with an unwanted proposition, but not a preposition. It seems a bit nit-picky.

For example, on a first date with a woman, single men should keep in mind that this dinner conversation probably IS acceptable: “Hey, Baby, how about if you and I rumple the sheets tonight?” (Ends with an interesting proposition.)

This statement IS NOT acceptable: “Hey, Baby, you look like the kind of woman I’d like to rumple the sheets with.” (Ends with a preposition, which is grammatically incorrect. According to the single lady mentioned above, a real deal-killer.)

Acceptable: “I like to come home to a woman who is barefoot and pregnant and in the kitchen.” (Ends with a proposition. Only interesting if that is the woman’s ultimate goal also.)

Unacceptable: “If you were barefoot and in the kitchen, you’d be the kind of woman I’d like to come home to.” (Ends with a preposition. Also grammatically awkward.)

Hopeful suitors should keep in mind that that the subject and predicate always should agree. Also, on a first date, dangling participles are very bad. As a matter of fact, it is not a good idea to have anything dangling on a first date, particularly at dinner. A real gentleman keeps everything snugly confined, both grammatically and sartorially.

I volunteered to coach my neighbor Warren before his blind date, so that he might make a good impression and not make any grammatical errors.

Warren was doing pretty well until he told his date,”You are just the kind of gal I hope to someday share the seven-year-itch with! Hey, where are you going, Miss? I could adjust my dangling participle! Miss?”

That idiot! What did I tell him about splitting infinitives, ending his sentences with a preposition, and dangling his participles?