Author: Judd, Brooks

Ten Items or Less

Item 1: The late great Jimmie Stewart was on the Tonight show chatting with Johnny Carson and related this little story. Jimmie asked Johnnie what you would call a newly married woman who refused to get romantic with her husband until he would prepare for her a huge plate of spaghetti. Johnnie replied, “Well, I don’t know Jimmie, what WOULD you call a newly married woman who refused to get romantic with her husband until he cooked for her a huge plate of spaghetti?” Jimmie smiled and slowly drawled out his reply, “Johnnie,she would be a pasta-tute.” Ouch!

Item 2: Just a few short days ago was the 50th anniversary of one of the most infamous days in U. S. History, November 22, 1963. I was a naive 15 year old sophomore at Hayward High walking through the hallway, brown bag in hand, getting ready for lunch.The loudspeaker crackled to attention and a monotone sullen voice notified our students that our president had been assassinated in Dallas. An eerie shroud of silent shock quickly fogged the hallway, the courtyard, then enveloped our entire campus. We were all numb.
I took my sack lunch and went into Herr Lillie’s classroom. He was my first year German teacher and his class would begin at the end of lunch. Herr Lillie always ate alone in his classroom choosing not to mingle with the gossipy echelon of teachers who crammed into the teachers smoke filled lounge every day for lunch.

Herr Lillie would quietly read his German newspaper while sipping on his strong hot tea and nibble on a home made sandwich. He was a man of slight build, not very tall and he always stood erect.He dressed impeccably in a tweed suit with matching vest, polished Brogues, all complimented by a large self knotted bow tie. Herr Lillie also wore the soon to be fashionable rimless glasses worn by John Lennon.

Herr Lillie was truly a soft spoken individual and you had to strain to hear him.He never raised his voice and commanded the room with a presence that belied his small physical stature.Once a month on the last Friday Herr Lillie would don his liederhosen,oil up his multi-colored concertina, pass out his carefully hidden stash of German beer drinking songs, and for that one hour Herr Lillie would smile, and join in with us as we lustily belted out the German lyrics to his treasure trove of cherished German songs.But not today.

I stared at my sandwich as tears began to fall from my eyes. Herr Lillie looked at me from across the room, carefully laid down his German newspaper and asked me what I was feeling.I thought for a second tried to collect my thoughts and I told him I was angry, sad, and confused.He shook his head sadly and said,”Indeed,” and went back to reading his paper.

I wanted him to cry and show emotion like me.I wanted an explanation of what had happened, why it happened and what was going to happen to our country. Herr Lillie probably wanted the same things but it was not in his personality to show emotion. He was a man who was always in control, a rock of quiet strength.I think that is why we loved him. 50 years later I think back to what he might have said. His one word was enough.

Item 3: An interesting side note to what else occurred on this tragic day. A record album was released in the United States by a quartet of well dressed young Liverpool musicians sporting long hair with the ridiculous name of the Beatles. There is a train of thought in which I concur that one of the reasons the Beatles were so popular in the U.S. was that their youthful exuberance and humor filled the huge void left by the tragic death of the youthful JFK.

Item 4: I stopped by our local Costco a few days beforeThanksgiving to pick up some fresh fruits and vegetables.I quickly pushed my noisy cart toward the chilled fruit section hoping to make an edible pass by at least 6 ladies offering up samples of fudge,cheese,chicken,or salami.Why are there no ladies offering up samples of wine?

I raced through the vast wine and beer section and one particular sign stood out.I thought someone had made a mistake and misplaced a decimal point.The sign was advertising a bottle of 40 year old Scotch Whiskey from the Glenlivet Distillery. Its name was, “Kirkland Signature.” It is described as having a,“sharp hint of spiced fruit and cream, accompanied by a touch of refreshing green apple, giving way to a refreshingly long, warm, dry finish.” Sounds good to me. One problem. A fifth of this runs a mere $699. I think that comes to about $30 a shot.

Item 5: In the Modesto Bee today this small article appeared.”A new whiskey created in Kentucky features a blend of age and scarcity that has spiked demand-and its price. Michter’s Celebration Sour Mash.
Michter’s Distillery LLC produced only 273 bottles this year of the up to 30 year old aged whiskey.”

There is already a long list of movie stars, moguls, and politicians signing up to order a bottle of this prestigious whiskey. Cost? $4000.00 for one bottle. One would think the recession is over. Speaking of which.....

Item 6: If in 2008 someone were to pull you aside and predict that in a short 5 years in 2013 these things would have happened:
Two wars would finally end,Bin Ladin would be taken care of, the stock market would go from 800 to top 1600, the three major car companies would be selling cars again and making record profits, banks would be thriving (maybe too much) unemployment would be down along with gas prices, the housing market would be surging upward and Stanford’s football team would be in the top ten. You would look at that person square in the eye and probably say, “Hey, can I have some of what you are smoking?” Just a thought.

Have a joyous Christmas and until January: Read a book, hug a child, pet a dog, stroke a cat, eat a bar of chocolate, and pray for rain, and take a few seconds to smell the roses......

Posted:  12/6/2013

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