Author: Judd, Brooks

Ten Items or Fewer

Item 1: Let me be the first to say a very Happy 4th of July. The memory of our historical Fourth brings to mind the story about the patriotic Yank yakking it up with an equally patriotic Brit in a bar in downtown New York City at the annual 4th of July Parade. The Yank smugly asks the Brit, “Say do you guys have a 4th of July in your country?” The Brit puts down his pint of Guinness and says in an extremely staid British accent, “Yes we do. We also have a fifth and a sixth.”

Item 2: In the spirit of this celebrated 4th of July, I encourage all of you (and yours truly) to set aside a couple of hours, round up a copy of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and spend some quiet time reading these cherished documents, and then re read them.With all of our woes and troubles in this chaotic land we call the United States of America wouldn’t our celebrated 4th of July be an ideal time to reread what our founding fathers had to say as they were preparing to sever ties with their Mother Country while creating an entirely new homeland?

Good things may very well happen. Your beliefs may be solidified, questions may arise that weren’t present before or you may feel the need to do more research. Whatever happens we owe it to ourselves to understand more fully the principles that this country was founded on.

Item 3: Monday, June 30 marked the end of the fiscal year, and marked my sixty-sixth birthday. June 30 also marked the day that Sheila retired as a special education teacher in Delhi. July 1 marks the beginning of a well deserved and well earned retirement. God bless you Sheila.

Sheila has worked so hard these past years, doing all those things that a loving wife, daughter, mother and grandmother is able to do.I can only partially comprehend the work she has put in to keep the home fires burning brightly.I am one fortunate fella to be blessed with someone like Sheila. You’ve earned it. On to Ireland!

Item 4: CBA Kick start videos. I hope you folks are enjoying the daily videos on the home page as much as I am. Rick was so kind to let me choose them. I do get a kick out of going through and selecting them.

Item 5: Kids. Substitute teaching for me is still rewarding and fulfilling. I enjoy informing my children that at one time in the United States children just like themselves were looked upon not as entitled extensions of their parents but viewed as a commodity to be used.Factories and farms were sprinkled with thousands of children working and no one blinked twice to see children toiling long hours.Laws eventually had to be passed to protect our children from the sweatshops in the major cities.When I tell children this bit of historical fact they just roll their eyes and say, “I wouldn’t do that! Working? That’s crazy!”

Today we spend billions of hard earned dollars on our children providing them with anything to keep them occupied and making sure they can keep up with their own gaggle of friends. Go figure.

In fourth grade I had a paper route, mowed lawns and I never asked for or received an allowance from my parents. My parents weren’t mean or tightfisted. It was just that I was eager and able to earn money. I was happy to do it and it seemed like the right thing to do. Why should my parents hand money over to me when I was able to earn my own?

(Lies I may have told): I slogged 5 miles through the slush and snow to my school with nothing but a cold biscuit to stave off the hunger wearing tattered torn leggings (sewn together from old potato sacks by my mother) to ward off the icy sleet and snow. When my daughters saw Highland School for the first time and quickly realized that it was only 150 feet away from my home they were surprised.When they learned that the winter weather in Hayward bottomed out at about a bone chilling 50 degrees they were suspicious. Upon further investigation when they discovered that my mother fed her well clothed children steaming mugs of hot Cream of Wheat or Maypo on those winter mornings, Jessica and Rhiannon were moved to ask some rather pointed questions. From this point on my lovely young daughters were more than just a little bit skeptical believing any of their father’s stories.

Truth be told I did have a paper route, mowed lawns and never asked for or received an allowance. It made me feel good to have money in my pocket and not having to ask my parents for $.75 (yes six bits)) to go to a double feature at the classy Ritz or the less ritzy Hayward Theaters in downtown Hayward with Rick. Of course Rick and I thought nothing of throwing out our thumbs to hitch hike to the theater and back again.Times were indeed a bit simpler and yes even probably safer back then.

Item 6: A new App has just been released. It is the “YO” App. Tis true. The App does nothing but send the message “YO.” I’m sure it will be a billion dollar “Must have” for those who need these things.

Item 7: To those parents who are having a difficult time getting your teen-agers to do their chores I wanted to close today’s column with a golden oldie written by the prolific song-writing team of Lieber & Stoller that was sung by the talented and successful Coasters back in the late 50’s called “Yakety Yak.” Anyone under 40 reading today’s column can rest assured that kids at one time were supposed to help out around the home and do it QUIETLY.

Take out the papers and the trash
Or you don’t get no spending cash,
If you don’t scrub that kitchen floor.
You ain’t gonna rock and roll no more
Yakety Yak (Don’t talk back)

Just finish cleanin’ up your room
Let’s see that dust fly with your broom
Get all that garbage out of sight
Or you don’t go out Friday night
Yakety Yak (Don’t talk back)

Just put on your coat and hat
And walk yourself to the Laundromat
And when you finish doing that
Bring in the dog and put out the cat
Yakety Yak (Don’t talk back)

Don’t you give me no dirty looks
Your father’s hip he knows what cooks
*Just tell your hoodlum friends outside
You ain’t got time to take a ride
Yakety Yak (Don’t talk back)

* “Just tell your hoodlum friends outside......” I think every parent has said that at one time or another to their teen age son or daughter. It sounds SOOO familiar.

Until August: Read a book, hug a child, pet a dog, stroke a cat, eat a bar of chocolate and smile.


Posted:  7/4/2014

Copyright © 2002 California Bluegrass Association. All rights reserved.
Comments? Questions? Please email