Snow can be good and bad. Good in the sense that it’s pretty but bad in the sense that when it melts (which, around here, is the next day) it makes the world a very muddy place. I’m safe from it usually but the dogs get out in it and track it into the house. When they do that (or attempt to) I resort to a little thing I call “the enforcer”.

It’s only a rolled up newspaper; the Broken Arrow Ledger in fact (circulation in the dozens). That’s about the most use I ever get out of that paper. Yesterday, the headline read “School Bus Window Cracked by BB Gun”. The story got half a page.

But I digress…

I can’t imagine what the dogs find so intimidating about the newspaper but all I have to do is whip the thing out and slap my other hand with it loudly and they hit the dirt. I feel like Wyatt Earp toting the thing around in my pocket ready to draw it out and let fly whenever them fur-bearin’ critters start to git ornery. Lately, if I only reach for it, their ears go down, the tails clamp down between the legs and they start groveling big time. The women-folk of the house think I’m being cruel but you’ve gotta keep them varmints in line else they take over. I’m only defending our way of life!

The paper-slappin’ does seem to distract things though. Erin usually registers a complaint whenever she’s trying to practice her piano. She’s doing an old spiritual classic these days. The first time she tried it, she sang along too and there were several comments:

Erin: “Rock-a My Soul in the Bosom of Abraham, Rock-a My Soul in the Bosom of Abraham…” etc

Melissa: “Oh, is that your new song?”

Me: “I remember that one from when I was a kid. What does that song mean anyway? All my life I’ve wondered. I mean, what does it mean: Rock-a my soul? And what could ‘bosom of Abraham’ mean?”

Evan: “Nyuk! Nyuk! She said ‘bosom’! *giggle* *giggle*”

He’s eleven, remember.

Erin: “I’M TRYING TO PRACTICE HERE!”

Well, excuse us for breathing!

I’ve checked out a couple of web sites for famous people lately to see how they stack up against mine. (Hint: boooo-ring!) They all share a common feature: a section titled “What I’m Reading”.

Why would I care what anybody else is reading? How arrogant is that? Of course, here I am writing you about it so I’m falling into the trap too. And those sites get way more hits than mine. So perhaps I’ll put that sort of thing in. So here it is:

What I’m reading:

The HandPlane Book by Garrett Hack. Hey, I already finished the Handbook of Chemistry and Physics so I’m moving on to the building trades. I just finished The Complete Book of Sharpening. You probably think I’m kidding.

What Evan’s reading:

The Adventures of Captain Underpants a ‘graphic novel’ by Dav Pilkey. If you’ve never heard of these, you’re missing something big. You can forget your Harry Potter; these babies look like they were drawn by 12 year-old boys and they are full of pre-adolescent humor. The series includes: The Adventures of Captain Underpants, Captain Underpants and the Attack of the Talking Toilets, Captain Underpants and the Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies from Outer Space, and Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants, Take that cultural literacy!

What Erin’s reading:

The Phantom Tollbooth. Ok, so there’s some real literacy in our home after all.

What Mel’s reading:

The Broken Arrow Ledger (circulation in the dozens) and The Tulsa World The best column is “Police Beat”. In other words, who among your neighbors and acquaintances has been picked up for DUI or “domestic disturbance”. Melissa has always been the most aware of what’s going on in the world in our family. She can’t live without the newspaper.

This beats what Oprah is reading by a mile. Why? Because what we’re reading is entertaining! Oprah’s reading some depressing drivel about what it’s like to live in misery or what it’s like to live in an organized crime ‘family’. I guess that would be misery wouldn’t it? You won’t catch me reading any of that. Dav Pilkey just wrote another graphic novel – this one entitled The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby!

Oh, and by the way, Yes I’ve read all four Harry Potter books to the kids and Yes I understand that the stories take place in a world of witches, wizards, and magic and No I don’t think I’ve warped their little minds by doing so. If you’d like to engage me in a little intellectual repartee about it, bring it on! I’m packin’ a rolled-up newspaper in my hip pocket and I ain’t afraid to use it on ya neither!

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