Sunday, December 8, 2013

A beautiful evening on the roof.

“Shopping sends me to the roof”
They're starting them so young.

    ROOFTOP – Is it considered a bad omen when a black duck flies directly overhead? Anybody? One of you at ground level look that up for the rest of us perched atop the roof on this clear, cool, windless evening.

    Take this day and put it in Palo Duro Canyon and there would be nothing but camera clicks. Fortunately, cameras are banned from the roof. Too distracting. Carol, quit whining. You’ll get it back when we climb down.

    Over a period of a week House Hayter got 10 inches of rain. That’s not official, ‘cause the rose vase rain gauge was slightly tilted. An unleveled receptacle enhances drop collection. I think. Perhaps it’s the opposite. “Raymond! Yeah you, researcher guy! Look up “Effects on rain collection using angled rain catchers.”

    By the way, we’re on the roof today because of all the shoppers out there. There were so many of ‘em, that when I got home from town a couple of hours ago I had the shakes. Don’t get me wrong, I like people. Just not all at once.

    For the most part, the shoppers crowding me were civil. Some were even nice. I found nice people at Kroger, HEB, Lowes and Home Depot. Why two grocery stores and two retail home-repair warehouses? Because there is no perfect store. -- “What? No Yuban coffee at HEB? Back to Kroger! Khaaaaan!”

The only thing that really upset me about the shoppers was the fact that most of ‘em were walking right behind me. I could hear ‘em. I’m uncomfortable with people behind me. I may be related to Wild Bill Hickok. I keep thinking, are they trying to get by? Are they making silly faces at me? Are they pointing and laughing? Is any of ‘em packing heat?

The Walter Mitty in me wants to stop, turn and say, “Okay, everybody move along. You! Yeah, you! Put the can of corn in your cart and exit the aisle!” My kid brother, Big Al, could do that and everyone would see it as a joke. If I tried it, someone would throw a jar of mustard at me.

I don’t let that keep me from making ridiculous comments to strangers. When the comments fall on the serious minded, it never goes well? – “No, I do not know if Count Chocula is better than Coco Puffs. Why do you ask?”

I enjoy it so much when I say something silly to a stranger and he or she picks up on it. When I was headed for the customer service line at Home Depot, a lady came to the checkout just a step or two behind me. Being the son of Elsie, I motioned for her to go ahead of me. She declined, but I insisted.

I told her that if we were in line at my pharmacy, I would’ve shoved her down before I let her go ahead of me. She laughed. We spent our waiting time talking about our shopping experiences. The tough of us parted laughing. A good encounter.

I mentioned the pharmacy to her because I’ve found that pharmacists are way too patient with customers. They probably have to be, but that’s no excuse. – “Yes, ma’am you can eat grapefruit after taking this pill. Milk? Yes, that would be fine, too.”

“Hey, Mac, would you save my place in line while I go get a carton of Blue Bell, a scoop and some waffle cones?” Pharmacists. I could just punch ‘em out. – “Martha, I joke.”  

People behind me, people in front of me, people beside me pointing and grabbing. And, it’s not going to stop. It’s not even going to get slightly better in the near future. That’s why we’re up here today. I need the calm.

What I don’t need is bad luck black duck. – “Any word down there on the duck omen? Nothing?”

Forget the duck. Look at those birds! What are they? They’re shaped like quail, with the stubby tails, but they’re red from their necks to their belly buttons. And, they’re headed northeast. -- “Hey, Raymond, check out birds and belly buttons! And, we want to know what red-chested squatty bird winters in Newfoundland.”

Birds seem to get along all right, don’t they? That’s ‘cause they don’t have to shop. If they see a bug or a seed or a french fry in a parking lot they just take it. Birds are lucky ducks. Uh, just a second. – “Raymond! Forget about the black duck omen. Ducks are lucky.” I knew that all along.

Truth is, this brief time on the roof has eased my tension considerably. Venting helps. Something else that helps is a quote that I too often forget. It’s from Max Lucado. -- “What you have is greater than what you want. And, what is urgent is not always what matters.”

I’ll need to recall that a bunch of times during the holiday season. And, I’ll likely have to drag you up here more often. A prettier day, we’d be hard pressed to find. Thanks for sharing it. – Next time. 

End You can listen to Hayter on the Mark and Cindy show live Mondays through Thursdays on And checkout the archives.

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