Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Christmas Gift For You Continued.....

The stories of Jerry's dysfunction were legendary around the restaurant. Stories of him strolling onto the office at 2 o'clock on Saturday morning and "borrowing a couple of thousand dollars from the safe so he could take whatever hangers-on he had dredged up out of the bar to Lake Tahoe for the weekend. This story I know to be true because I was the manager who opened the safe for him on night. There was the story that goes a couple of years after he had opened IRS agents walking in the door on a Friday night about eight P.M. , chained up the front doors, seized all the cash registers from the bar and the restaurant, demanded that the office safe be opened and seized all the cash in there as well. They even made the waiters and cocktail waitress' turn over any cash they had collected for their shifts. Jerry was five minutes ahead of them stashing cash from the safe in one of the walk-in freezers. My favorite "dysfunctional Jerry" story has to do with the time he decided to take his latest dalliance to Reno for the weekend. He had rented a limousine to drive them there and to return them back to Sacramento on Sunday afternoon. They we going to dine, drink, gamble, and party all weekend at least that's what Jerry thought. Everything was going swimmingly right up until the discussion over a late dinner turned to the sleeping accommodations. Apparently Jerry's date was under the impression that there was going to be separate sleeping accommodations. Imagine that, Jerry had found a woman with some semblance of moral turpitude. I would have wagered that Jerry didn't see that one coming. The full story of what transpired between the two of the was never fully revealed, but the gist of it was the the young lady got the room and Jerry got the boot. Somewhere around nine-thirty the next morning about the time the restaurant go going for Saturday dinner a cab with Nevada plates pulled up to the rear entrance . Jerry climbed out of the back of the cab wearing the same clothes he left in the night before, a little rumpled and minus the tie. Jerry ran into the morning shift manager as he was staggering towards the back door barking at him to pay the cabdriver "Whatever he wants". While the manager was negotiating a monetary settlement with the cab driver he couldn't help but to inquire how he ended up in the parking lot of a restaurant in a different state at seven-thirty on a Saturday morning. The driver said that Jerry hailed him down and told him to take him to the nearest liquor store, which if you've ever been to Reno you know isn't too far in any direction. The driver drove Jerry to the nearest liquor store, Jerry told him to wait for him and to keep the meter running. A few minutes later Jerry emerged from the store bottle in bag in hand, climbed back into the cab and told the driver to take him to Sacramento. It was at this point that the driver said he took a long pause before asking what seemed to him to be a reasonable question ; " Do you happen to know where you are sir ?" With the use of several explicatives fired out in a drunken slur Jerry told the driver he knew exactly where he was and he knew exactly where he wanted to go. HE then proceeded to pull out a large fistful of what the driver said appeared to be $100.00 dollar bills and shook them at the cab driver. The driver said it looked as if Jerry had enough to make it worth his while so he thought he would take a drive. The driver said Jerry never said a word directly for the next ninety or so miles until the cab driver needed directions once they were close to Sacramento. "He just sat back there, stared out the window, and mumbled disparaging comments about women in between drinks from the bottle he had bought all the way from Reno to Sacramento". Jerry is the only person I've ever known who has taken a taxi from Reno, Nevada to Sacramento, California.

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Christmas Gift For You Continued.....

I had a job as a dishwasher in a locally owned steakhouse after I got out of high school. It was definitely not the greatest job one could wish for, but a couple of my friends talked me into it and I figured it would give me an excuse to hang out with them after work. I had been working there for a couple of months when I realized that the owner of the place Jerry, was also the father of the family that had moved into the house across the street from my parents about six months earlier. It took me that long to be sure he was the same man who signed my paychecks. He kept some very unusual hours and in addition to that he wasn't what you might call the next door neighbor of the year. Most of our neighbors didn't even know his name much less what he did for a living. For a person who owned a business Jerry was not what could be described as a fixture in his own establishment. After working there and observing him for those first few months it became clear that he had many other interests besides being a successful local restaurateur. To say the man had many vices would have been an understatement at best. His favorite pastime when he was at the restaurant was sitting in the bar and drinking. He would sit and watch the bar staff while drinking Kamikaze after Kamikaze, the type of drink that one would be able to consume many of before their Mitsubishi Zero crashed into a aircraft carrier deck. Coming in a close second on Jerry's list of vices would have to have been his shameless pursuit of any woman other than his wife.He didn't seem to be too particular in this department. Basically any woman younger than his wife who would still be interested in him after trying to carry on a conversation with him filled his criteria. Even after my parents had met Jerry I didn't shared these facts with them until sometime later. I found it a bit dis concerning to be working for a man who was quite possibly less mature than me. Even without his multitudes of vices Jerry was a man was man who for the most part was bewildered and confused by the world around him. I always found it strange that a man like Jerry would choose the restaurant business as a profession. A business that by nature lends itself to human interaction. Anyone who spent time with Jerry could tell that human interaction was not his strong suit. I guess you would have to say Jerry was just not a people person. To be continued............

A Christmas Gift For You

Most stories you are told of someones best Christmas memory is usually centered in their childhood and involves a toy, or a puppy, maybe a plastic purse. We all can relate to Ralphie from "A Christmas Story" with his Red Rider BB gun.Some people will relive stories of family members arriving unexpectedly on Christmas Eve. The stories all vary to a certain extent, but there is always a common thread that weaves their tales together. The magic of Christmas and the spirit of of the holiday season. Most people won't admit it, but they like to believe that there is some outside force, a spirit if you will, that is looking out for them attempting to help them through the hard times making the good times more memorable.These beliefs couldn't be more crystallized than in the image of St. Nicholas and the Christmas season. I believe the story that I'm about to tell you incorporates many of the elements that fall under the scope of the magic of Christmas. I like to think the story is fairly humorous, and best of all it's true !
When I was fifteen years old I received a red male Chow Chow for my birthday/ Christmas present. The reason for the combination of the two occasions was that for the first time in his life my father actually paid money for a dog. My dad never saw any reason to pay for anything that could be obtained for free. Over the years we had a menagerie of different dogs, most mutts or strays that followed me home. We did have a purebred Dachshund that my grandmother had bred. As is the case with some purebred dogs he went a little crazy as he got older and we had to find a new home for him. None the less I never gave up on having a dog of my own, and once I saw a Chow I knew I had to have one of those dogs. I did get a Chow puppy, purebred with no papers, at the discount price of $125.00. That was still an astronomical amount to pay for a dog in my dads mind, but it was substantially less than the average of $500.00 that AKC registered purebred Chows sold for at the time. I named him Samson, and just like the Biblical that he was named for we found over the next sixteen years that possessed some rather amazing traits. The best way to describe Samson would be to compare him to a force of nature. I watched him intimidate full grown men with a single growl. He really cared for no one other than our family members, and some of them weren't to sure about that. When Samson was a year old my father insisted that I take Samson to obedience classes. The idea of obedience class came from his deep sense of self-preservation more than the desire to have a dog that would walk and heel on a leash. Samson had developed a playful puppy habit of clamping down on your forearm and shaking it violently as if you were an old rag doll. To his great dismay Samson seemed to be particularly fond of the size and taste of my fathers forearms.When my father would arrive at work on Mondays after a weekend of hand to hand combat with Samson his arms scratched and scarred all of his co-workers would joke that my mom must be "a real animal" on the weekends. After two weeks in obedience class the instructor told us that in all the years he had been training dogs he had never encountered a dog that was so fearless and aggressive. These are outstanding traits for a Marine recruit however they are not desirable in your average house pet. That was Samson my first Chow. To be continued........

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Life, Death, and Where The Hell Are My Tires Pt. 2

As of Monday December 15Th my mother-in-law will be alive once again, at least that's what the Social Security Administration says. So life goes on for those of us who are still amongst the living. Just as life is cyclical so are the seasons we have four of them and depending on where you live some of them can last a bit longer than the others. In Oregon winter would be one of the"longer " of the four seasons. To be precise it encapsulates about two thirds of the four seasons, if that makes any sense to you. If that doesn't make sense to you come and live here for a couple of years you will know what I'm talking about. Rain makes up the bulk of our winters here, but every now and then mother nature kicks it up a notch and gives us a taste of what winter is like in other parts of the country. Heavy precipitation coming of the pacific coast runs into a cold bast coming out of the Gorge from the east, or and Arctic front will work it's way down from the Great White North and we get snow. Why I hate snow; snow is wonderful and magical if you are 1. a small child, 2. housebound by some physical malady, 3. retired with no place to go. Anyone who doesn't fall into one of these categories will tell you snow is a pain in the ass ! If you have to go somewhere in the snow via the automobile it necessitates traction, usually coming from snow tires which I happen to own, two sets of them as a matter of fact. So when the man on the TV says snow is coming you go to the tire store and put on your snow tires, simple.... right ? Nothing is simple in the world of the Meyers anyone who knows us will attest to that. We drop the car of for the snow tires, but wait not so quick there Tex. " Your snow tires are too old we can't mount them for you. You're going to need to buy new ones. And for 15 dollars we will recycle your old snow tires." OK I'm going to need them to get to work because I am not a member of the three category club, so we pay for four new snow tires. We'll be back later to pick up the car, and thanks for all the help! Off we drive , traction galore, bring on the snow baby I'm ready for it. Two days later we open the trunk to put the regular tires away and what do we find..... another set of snow tires. Not another set actually just my old ones that were supposed get recycled. Hmmmm if these are in the trunk, and the new ones are on the car, then where are my regular tires that came off the car ? That was the 64 dollar question which I posed to the manager of the tire store . Luckily he had the answer to my question, well half the answer at least. "Whoops we screwed up. We realized it that night and I have your tires right here you can come and pick them up anytime you like. Let me check and make sure they are here. Hold on I'll be right back." This is what I like to call the Meyers pause, everything is good until they put you on hold. " Well Mr. Meyers it appears I only have two of your tires, the other two must have gotten recycled last night." See I told you.Well I guess I did pay 15 dollars for some tires to be recycled. So where are my other two tires, who knows ? Maybe Monday I'll call the Social Security people and see if they can bring them back from the dead too. If it can work for my mother-in-law I'm sure it can work for my car tires.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Life, Death, and Where The Hell Are My Tires Pt. 1

The saying goes life is hard and then you die. Well I can attest to the first part of that statement, the second part is still a mystery. After this last week though I can tell you that dying is a lot simpler than it used to be. Lets start with life. That life is cyclical is pretty much an accepted fact, we call it history. When times are good they are very good, but they never last as long as the bad times seem to. That is why we were blessed with intestinal fortitude, you tough it out until the cycle is completed and the times are once again good. On to death it waits for no man, or woman as we found out Tuesday afternoon when the letter from Kaiser Permanent arrived delivering condolences about the passing of my mother-in-law (and the notice of the cancellation of her health insurance). Business is business in the health care profession as well I guess. The only problem with the letter was that my mother-in-law is still alive. A little bit more confused than she used to be, but still breathing and walking the Earth. When times are bad I am sure many people would not mind being relinquished of all their worldly troubles by a keystroke error of the Social Security Administration. One wrong digit and your slate is swept clean, a virtual "do over" of your life. You could be anyone or do anything that you wanted to. The real trick of course is being anyone or doing anything with the life you have been given. To be continued..........

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Summer has left, Fall has come, and Winter will be blowing it's way up the Gorge any time after Thanksgiving. Visitors have come and gone just like the changing seasons. Halloween was spooky and strange more Fellini than Charlie Brown this year. Maybe it was because the kids are so much older. We carved pumpkins, but not quite the same as in the years before. Our house is quiet these days all except for the sound of chirping birds. The days of heavy paws on the hardwood floors has ended for now. No heavy sighs, snoring, or woofs to greet you when you open the front door. This will change of course sometime in the future, but not the near future. It's funny how you can feel as if you are floating through life observing everything from above at one moment, and the next moment the weight of the world rests upon your shoulders slowly burying your feet into the Earth until you reach the point of feeling more tree than bird. This to I hope will change with time as well. But for now it looks to be a long December as The Counting Crows sing

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Hmmmm..... Purple You Say

When immigrants came to America from Europe to Ellis Island the health officials in the United States would check these new Americans for several physical ailments including heart disease. The telltale sign for heart disease was purplish-blue lips designating poor blood circulation. In most cases the colors purple and blue are usually not conducive with mammals, with the exception of Elisabeth Tailors' blue eyes. So when a dog opens it's mouth to pant and a long purple tongue darts out it can be a little startling. Thats exactly what happened that summer evening when that big, red dog opened his mouth. At this point I thought this dog had walked right off the set of Star Trek. I couldn't wait to find out what was next. Maybe a roar instead of a bark, or wings would come out from under his fur and he would fly around the playground ! The purple tongue was the deal sealer for me at that point I knew I had to have one of these dogs. I didn't know if they were a mean breed, or if they were big pussycats, but I knew i had to have one. After later research I found out that the only other animal at that time that had a blue\ purple tongue is a bear. How could this dog not be the coolest breed ever created.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Some Things You Just Don't Forget

Memory is a tricky thing. Some thoughts come and go in a nanno second, other events are held in your memory as vivid today as they were when they happened. When you think about it your memories may be the only, truly timeless happenings in out lives. I remember the first time I ever saw a Chow Chow, and yes it is still as vivid as yesterday. Standing in left field I looked over my shoulder an saw four silhouettes coming towards me in the late afternoons setting sun. I could make out two people and something that looked like a small horse. As the shadows grew closer I could see that it was not a horse, but a St. Bernard. The two other figures turned out to be a couple of kids from school. The fourth sihlouette was that of another dog, but it was like no dog that I had ever seen in my thirteen years of life. This beast stood about knee high at his back with a massive round skull that was as broad as a mans flattened hand across the top from ear to ear. A long coat of fur that was as dark red as Hungarian paprika. The tail was a large furry plume that curled right up over the back and rested just off the left side of where I thought the ribcage should have ended, it was had to get dimensions due to all the fur. The legs on this dog, even though relatively short were as big around as my wrist. Then he opened his mouth to pant...........

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Final Chapter In My Book Of The Chow

The impetus for starting this blog was the passing of my last Chow Chow about a month ago. Everyone expresses their emotions in different ways, for me the best way to work through these feelings is to write about them. The dilemma is that nobody wants to have the first thing they write about be depressing, the world will kick you in the stomach every chance it gets. So I guess as it was once said the best place is to start at the beginning. I grew up outside Sacramento, California in a suburb called Carmichael. We moved their from Southern California when I was two, so for all intense and purposes that was my hometown. Carmichael was a great place to be a kid especially darning the summer. Long, hot days with nothing to do except get into trouble, and play baseball every day. Every day at the elementary school a few blocks from our house was where we met to play baseball in one form or another. Some days there would be a full game, other days there might only be enough people to have batting practice but there was always someone willing to play. One day just before it was time to go home for dinner I was shagging fly balls when I saw a something that would become an my obsession for the next year, and then in turn become part of my life for the next thirty years.