Sunday, December 29, 2013

It was not a good day .... or WAS it?

 It was a gorgeous weekday in early October 1964.    We were all recovering from the ravages of Hurricane Hilda.  Power in Baton Rouge was almost fully restored and life was getting back to normal.   And I was now back on my job with the Louisiana Division of Employment Security after being storm-closed for a week.

On this particular morning I was en route to New Roads to meet with the Point Coupee parish county agent.  The “new” Mississippi River bridge was still under construction,  therefore it was necessary that I take the ferry to cross the river.  I was still able to drive my 1958 Nash Rambler and with each out-of-town trip I kept my fingers crossed.   This car was rapidly beginning to see its last days, but I managed to keep nursing it back to health.   I had purchased it new in 1958 at a whopping $1800.    Sporting a manual transmission,  it had no AC but it did have a radio, a true traveling luxury back then.   It also had a reclining front seat, a relatively new innovation in cars at that time.  Except when it rained or when it was very cold I would always drive with the driver window open.   It didn’t have turn signal lights, so it was necessary to resort to arm signals out the window.  Some fun!

I had recently been discharged from active duty having devoted over a year of service at Fort Polk during the “Berlin Crisis” in 1961- 62.   Gloria and I and our 2 year old son, Jerry III, resided just off base in an 8’x42’ trailer in a commercial trailer park.  While not the most comfortable accommodations, this arrangement was cozy and, best of all, we were together.   Most of the enlisted guys there participated in ride-sharing to and from our assigned post headquarters units.  I ride-shared with our company cook,  First Sgt Jimmy.  When it was my turn to drive, it was quite a challenge having Jimmy as my passenger because he weighed over 400 pounds.  He also had recently injured his knee causing him considerable difficulty getting into my little 2-door Nash Rambler.  He would have to adjust the seat, then stretch.  On one occasion he stretched and the seat’s backrest reclining gear made a grinding sound.   This made me nervous and Jimmy agreed not to “stretch” anymore when he sat in my car.  I’ll have more to say about this car seat saga a little later. 

When I traveled on state business I would bring my own lunch which consisted of a TV dinner and my thermos of coffee.  To accommodate  transporting my lunches I had fashioned a little wooden tote with a handle consisting of a
2”x8”x12” wooden bed for holding the TV dinner and a wire holder for the thermos.  My wife, Gloria, hated it.  She said "You should be embarrassed being seen with that thing."  But I had to keep reminding her that it was very serviceable since most of my business travels took me to sparse areas of the 9 parishes I was in charge of.  Before each trip I would heat the TV dinner for 25 minutes in our oven (no microwave ovens back then), wrap it in several layers of insulating newspaper,  place it in my tote, then off I’d go.

OK, back to this post-Hilda morning.  Having boarded the ferry with my semi-trusty Rambler,  I found myself positioned next to a late model luxury convertible carrying 2 very attractive young ladies.  As I sneaked flirty glances at them, they would return these glances with smiles and occasional giggles.  This went on for about 5 minutes when suddenly my backrest collapsed (a symptom of my Sgt Jimmy ride-sharing).  And of course I fell back when it collapsed.   Now out of sight I heard the 2 lovelies laughingly saying “Where did he go?”  I managed to pull myself upright, daring NOT to glance in their direction.  I felt myself flushing with embarrassment.   Because my wife, Gloria, loved slap-stick comedy and slapstick reality, she cracked up when I told her about it.

Ever try to drive while having to hold yourself upright?  Not fun.  Thank heavens the ferry was now landing and cars began de-boarding.   Holding myself up by grasping the steering wheel, I entered highway 1 en route to highway 190.  I began to realize this wasn’t going to work … driving without a backrest.  I was about to turn around when suddenly I spotted a 4”x4”x 3’ piece of timber on the side of the road.  I pulled off, picked it up and braced it between the rear of my backrest and the backrest of the backseat.  Worked perfectly.   Was this manna from heaven?   Never before had a piece of roadside trash bestowed such relief.  I was once again upright,  not having to hang on to the steering wheel for upright support. 

I was now comfortably en route to New Roads along Hwy 1 hugging False River when BAM! A huge limb (victim of Hurricane Hilda) crashed onto my car’s hood.  I pulled over to check the damage.    When I dragged the limb from my hood, I found that I now had an ugly cave-in over my engine compartment.  Fortunately I was able to open and close the hood with no difficulty.   Relieved, I proceeded to my destination even though I was truly pissed at having to now drive a candidate for the junk yard.  

I  concluded my business with the parish agent who, by the way, showed no sympathy for my 2 earlier misadventures as he doubled over in laughter.  Nonetheless  I bade him "good day"and proceeded to my next scheduled stop.  

I was now back on hwy 190 when I looked at my watch and discovered  it was 2 pm.  I was starving.  Time to stop and eat.

Back in the early 60s Louisiana (as well as most other states) generously supplied travelers with rest stops.  Many in Louisiana simply consisted of a picnic table on a concrete pad and a trash receptacle positioned under a tree.

Such a rest stop appeared before me, so I pulled off next to it.  With my trusty lunch tote I sat at the table, unwrapped the newspaper from my TV dinner, poured myself a cup of coffee from my thermos, unwrapped my knife and fork and dove into my Salisbury steak meal.  Suddenly after 2 bites my gravy splashed onto my shirt and face.   What the hell!  Closer inspection revealed bird crap.   BIRD CRAP!!  I looked up and saw a male mockingbird proudly perching above me.  That was it!!  I was done!!  No more appointments today.   My lunch went in the garbage and I got back in the car and sped away.  If bad luck happens in threes I had had mine that day.   

I managed to get home without any further mishaps to test my nerves and patience.   

Ever have a bad day? 

A few months later I did manage to sell my Rambler after purchasing a Michoud Plant fleet vehicle.   More on this little saga in a later post.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Hit 150,000 on June 9, 2018

Hit 125,000 on January 24, 2018

Hit 120,000 on December 18, 2017 

Hit 100,000 @ 700pm, Nov 11, 2017

October 3, 2017: 70,000 views.

September 9, 2017 saw my total views soaring to 50,000.

It's March 6, 2017 and total views have now exceeded 40,000.  At this point the top 10 most popular of my 77 blog posts are:

May 10, 2012, 2 comments

May 9, 2012, 4 comments

May 10, 2012, 1 comment

May 7, 2012

May 7, 2012

May 9, 2012

It's now January  14, 2017 and total views have now exceeded 35,000.  At this point the top 10 most popular of my 77 blog posts are:

May 10, 2012, 2 comments

May 9, 2012, 4 comments

May 10, 2012, 1 comment

May 7, 2012

Dec 29, 2013, 2 comments

May 7, 2012, 3 comments

May 11, 2012

May 7, 2012

It's July 23, 2016 and total views have now exceeded 30,000.

And here we are 10 days before Christmas (December 15, 2015) and my blog has now been viewed 25,000 times.....Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel

And once again I owe you  and hundreds of other blog viewers a humble vote of thanks.   And this number does not include my own views or blog maintenance activities.

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And today is September 6, 2015 and totals views are at 22,222

Here it is May 24, 2015 and the number of views appearing on my blog now numbers just over 20,000.  I now ditto the gratitude I expressed when I hit 15,000 back in September 2014.  And out of 67 posts to date the following 10 since last September have been the most popular:

                    1. Dennis Hopper
                    2. QUANTUM APOCALYPSE
                    3. It was not a good day
                    4. Raymond Burr
                    5. ESSO and the Whisk Broom
                    6. My Kidnapper, My Love
                    7. Steve McQueen
                    8. SUPERDOME
                    9. Hit or Miss (1955 - 56)
                  10. Alfred Hitchcock

Why 15,000 you may ask?   Well believe it or not 15,000 is my way of saying thank you.  On Nov 13, 2013 my blog views totaled 10,000.   And now  on September 15, 2014 the total is up to 15,000.  And I owe you  and hundreds of other blog viewers a humble vote of thanks.   And this number does not include my own views or blog maintenance activities.

So gang many many thanks.  And I especially appreciate those of you who have  expressed your feelings with "Likes" and comments (both negative and positive).  Thank heavens 99.99% of your comments have been positive. 

I first launched this blog just over 2 years ago.  I named it MUSTARD SANDWICHES and  I owe my blog inspiration to 4 people:  Bill LaVallee (Read the blog Forward), Peggy Sweeney McDonald (Read the MUSTARD SANDWICHES story), Raymond Cothern and Carol Spruell.  The latter 2, Raymond and Carol, provided the "How to" information and the "push" I needed.   

Two years prior to this blog launch I was posting my stories directly on Facebook.  The only drawback with FB posting was that there was no rich text formatting.  Being able to choose font sizing, italics, bold face and underscoring gives the stories more color, depth and readability.

And after 2 years of blogging I am still a neophyte.  I've not figured out yet how to enable viewers to make comments with each post or why "My blogs" would lend strength to the process.  Or why Google+ would be of value.  I guess I'm just impatient.  Maybe I'll discover value as I go along.

In any event I have discovered value in knowing I have a significant number of MUSTARD SANDWICHES followers to whom I owe a huge debt of gratitude.


Today is September 16, 2014 and with a total of 62 stories we are now at 15000 views and the top ten most popular as of this date are:


Today is March 29th 2014 and the total number of views is now at 12,345.

Today is January 22, 2014 and the total views have now reached 11,111.  


As of this date (Nov 13, 2013) there are 52 blog stories and my blog has enjoyed 10,000 views (NOT including my own views and maintenance actions).   The following 10 stories have been the most popular up to this date:



 As of April 1, 2013 my blog a reached 5000 views (NOT including my own views and maintenance actions).  As of this date the following constituted the top 10 most viewed stories*:

                         1. QUANTUM APOCALYPSE
                                                 2. Raymond Burr
                                                 3. Alfred Hitchcock
                                                 4. ESSO and the Whisk broom
                                                 5. Clint Eastwood
                                                 6. Steve McQueen
                                                 7. Mustard Sandwiches
                                                 8. Mothman
                                                 9. SUPERDOME
                                               10. Wm Holden/Richard Widmark

      *It must be noted here that as of April 2013 there were 20 fewer stories posted/