September 2, 2014

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Coonridge Digest
Adopt a child, a class, and/or a school to rid yourself of the world’s woes PDF Print E-mail

By Freida Marie Crump
The Coonridge Digest
Greetings from the Ridge.
Herb and I have a great doctor. The little rascal can out-diagnose the best and he keeps up to date on the latest tonics, pills, and potions. If the paperwork doesn’t kill him we plan to keep the guy forever.
But there’s one malady I’ve contracted that even the town’s finest physician can’t cure. After a long weary year of wars, epidemics, tyrants, and weather, I’ve been left with a severe case of helplessness. Perhaps you feel the same way . . . the Middle East, Ebola, the Ukraine, Iraq, Afghanistan. . . the worrisome beat goes on. Americans have long prided themselves on the ability to look at a problem, figure out a way to solve it then get‘er done. More and more we find ourselves feeling powerless and even vulnerable as the world seems to be spinning out of control.

 
Need produce, a visit or a ride? Just call 1-800-Stephanie PDF Print E-mail

By Freida Marie Crump
The Coonridge Digest
Greetings from the Ridge.
Let me tell you about a remarkable woman. Her name is Stephanie and her age hovers between 50 and 70, depending upon the time of the day, the weather, and her mood. She married young, had a couple of kids, then divorced her husband. In her words, “He was okay . . . for awhile. But then all he wanted to do was sit around, said he wanted to be a stay at home father. I found out he was pretty good at first part.” So for the past 15 or 20 years Stephanie’s been pretty much her own woman.
“I gotta be up and doing something, Freida,” she told me. “I cannot for the life of me see any purpose for living if all you’re going to do is breathe and take up space. Life’s too short!” And in fact most days are too short for my buddy Steph.

 
Finding just the right words when confronted with new baby PDF Print E-mail

By Freida Marie Crump
Coonridge Digest
Greetings from the Ridge.
The Midwest has been known for its fertility since the beginning of time, but in the last few months we seem to be getting carried away. It seems like everywhere I turn I’m confronted with someone’s new baby. Maybe it can be blamed on the terribly cold nights we had last winter.
I’m always in a quandary on what to say when a newly-mothered lady holds her baby out to me. It helps if I know it’s coming and I can rehearse a few lines in the car before I get there. I’ve tried several with varying success:
“Oh how cute.” Yes, that’s about as trite as you can get and the mothers hear it so often that it probably rolls right off their ears. Besides, aren’t all babies cute? I mean, even if the child has three heads chances are that at least two of them are cute.

 
Let’s hear it for the dreamer! PDF Print E-mail

By Freida Marie Crump
The Coonridge Digest
Greetings from the Ridge.
Let’s hear it for the boy who’s so busy looking for four-leaf clovers that he misses the ball that’s hit to him in right field. Let’s hear it for the girl who completely misses what her math teacher was saying about Euclidean geometry because she was too fascinated with the patterns her teacher’s prism earrings were making on the far wall. Three cheers for the little fella who can’t mow the yard straight because he’s so in awe of the cloud patterns forming over his head, and the little girl who can never remember to make her bed but she’s intrigued by the contours of the rumpled sheets and blankets, imagining them to be some green, futuristic cities.

 
Crash of cell phone network ignites panic, desperation PDF Print E-mail

By Freida Marie Crump
Coonridge Digest
Greetings from the Ridge.
We were thrown into crisis mode. I had never seen my friends in such a panic. No fire, earthquake or flood could have affected our region so drastically, and the effects of the catastrophe still linger today in frayed nerves and irregular heartbeats. Last week the AT&T cell phone network went down and the world of some folks came to a crashing halt.
Social media lit up immediately with cries of pain and anguish. With cell phones out of commission some folks had apparently lost the will to live. I had just read an article on the Chilean miners trapped underground in 2010 and the moans of hopelessness seemed eerily reminiscent.

 
Hiding head in the sand is not a pretty picture PDF Print E-mail

By Freida Marie Crump
Coonridge Digest
Greetings from the Ridge.
My cousin Bernice drives me crazy. She’s cancelled her subscription to the local newspaper because in her words, “There’s nothing in it,” she doesn’t listen to local news on the radio, she only goes online to play games and check her Facebook page, she watches news on a biased cable channel when Wheel of Fortune isn’t on, and she complains about how she never knows what’s going on. It’s the “Duh” syndrome.

 
Marching on the Fourth of July: then and now PDF Print E-mail

By Freida Marie Crump
The Coonridge Digest
Greetings from the Ridge.
There’s nothing that shouts the Fourth of July like a parade so Herb and I plan to plant our lawn chairs on the nearest shady curb this week to take in the great American spectacle.
I’m one of the surviving veterans of high school marching bands and can well remember the days of polishing my trumpet on the night before the big parade, hoping for maximum reflection power from the next day’s sun. And speaking on behalf of the marching musicians of the world, I’d like to say that marching in formation on the Fourth is every bit as an athletic event as playing in that afternoon’s baseball game. Times have changed and fabrics have improved but in those steamy days your band uniform was made of pure 100% wool. The temperature on the hot asphalt may be over the century mark and you’re standing there covered with a dark-colored uniform that has been worn, altered, snipped and amended by generations of marching trumpet players long gone.

 
Fact-finding mission leaves aliens bewildered PDF Print E-mail

By Freida Marie Crump
Coonridge Digest
Greetings from the Ridge.
I’ll admit that this doesn’t happen often, but last week an alien spacecraft landed in the middle of the Coonridge Memorial Park. The tavern wasn’t open yet so there was no traffic to speak of and since I’d gotten most of my housework done I shuffled over to see if I could be of assistance. I’ve sat on plenty of church committees so I was used to deciphering strange tongues. Here’s the translation of our meeting as best I can recall:

 
Clean up the Potomac River and present-day predators would be extinct PDF Print E-mail

By Frieda Mae Crump
Coonridge Digest
Greetings from the Ridge.
My knowledge of entomology is right up there with my grasp of brain surgery and ballet but I recently found myself in a conference at which our featured speaker was a well-known bug expert. Okay, I take that back. There are no well-known bug experts, but if the occupation ever gets scandalous or sexy then this guy will be featured on the front page of Time.
His topic for the day was a little rascal that has plagued various parts of the Midwest for the past three years, the Buffalo Gnat. In some places the buggy buggers are called Black Flies, Turkey Gnats or White Socks. The guy told us there are over 1,800 species of the irritating critters but gave no hint as to who counted them. Unfortunately only 11 species have gone extinct leaving the other 1,789 to crawl inside our ears while we’re mowing the yard. The male flies dine on nectar while the females crave the blood of mammals. In this case, mammal is spelled “Y-O-U.” If nothing else, it’s a setback for female equality.

 
Wandering Wanda and ‘Grandma’s Commandos’ PDF Print E-mail

By Freida Marie Crump
Coonridge Digest
Greetings from the Ridge.
Wanda McBride is somewhat of a nut. No, she’s delightfully loony. While other extroverts march to a different drummer, Wanda’s spent her life listening to an entirely different band. In short, she’s a bodacious delight, always doing the unexpected, bringing joy into the room each time she enters.
That’s why her vacation plans are never a surprise. Last summer she packed up her two small granddaughters and took off. Wanda uses no roadmap when she travels nor do her vacations have any particular destination. When I asked her where she was headed she simply pointed a heavily-ringed finger and said, “That-a way.”

 
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