The World’s Greatest Frog Giggers – Nick, Terrell and Me.

Frog Legs

These fresh frog legs do not look so delectably delicious at the moment but a good Southern cook can turn you into a true believer and a natural born lover of frog legs with just one bite of a fried frog flipper.

Frog

The only reason I’m here is Kermit has a date with Miss Piggy and somebody has to help protect our rights. Where is PITA when you really need them? They do nothing for us frogs. They probably sneak around and eat frog legs on the sly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have known Nick Lewis all my life. If I’m wrong about that I surely have known him since we were together at Albany Junior High School in our home town of Albany, Georgia in 1956. That’s certainly the better part of sixty years. I probably met Terrell Cooper, our faithful sidekick during those years, a couple of years later.

The attraction among us was the total lack of reverence we had amassed in our short lives. We had big backyards at home that were full of holes and every hole was filled with discarded reverence we felt we no longer needed. Even worse was our collective sense of humor. Not only did we have huge irreverent senses of humor but no one was spared, included ourselves, when we chose to jest and poke fun at the world. We took no prisoners.

After our school days were over we took to the working class. Colleges back then had more irreverence than they could spare. Besides, it was easier to raise hell and get in trouble without school administrators interfering.

Sometimes we would meet after work at the Pig ‘N Whistle drive-in. This was a favorite cruising spot for our age group. Car-hops worked the parking lot and a lot of kids did not realize The Pig had a dining room off to one side of the lot. Sometimes when we finished work we would gang up in the dining room where you could gather a bigger audience of guffawers, gigglers and horse laughers and assorted other idiots who loved a lack of reverence.

I feel sure it was in the Pig N’ Whistle dining room that Terrell, Nick and I drank cold beer and decided we were master frog giggers. They sent me for the gigs. I rigged the gigs because they always said I was the best gig rigger. It was an old Tom Sawyer rub they would use on me to get me to do the work. I got the gigs and we met back at The Pig after dark.

Because I couldn’t see too well (my lenses on my glasses were thicker than the bottoms on coke bottles, they often told me) I was always extremely cautious about taking my precious fanny into dark water without being armed with a pretty good flashlight. I would try to find a flashlight with at least 16 batteries. What I really wanted was one that would blast out a beam of broad daylight.

I forgot to mention there were a few things I did respect. I had a great deal of respect for alligators (in all sizes) and cotton-mouth water moccasins (also in all sizes). I knew enough to recognize the reflection of red-eyes in the beam of the flashlight. That would be your typical gator. Frog eyes would shoot back an emerald twinkle that would make your mouth water. If you were so nervous your mouth would not water, then you had to have another beer to calm you down.

I’m not sure I remember the reflected color of a moccasin’s eyes. I do remember you could spot a water snake for a quarter of a mile down a crooked creek on a smut black evening if you were overly cautious like I was. And I can vouch that a skinny white boy can jump twelve feet straight into the air if a beaver’s tail slaps the pond water as a warning sign on a moonless night.

So we piled in Nick’s Ford sedan and we headed out the Gillionville Road to exhibit our gigging skill. Since we were totally irreverent, weather reports and flash flood warnings did not seem to effect us like they did normal people. I think Nick turned back south off the Gillionville Road onto Mud Creek Road (who knows where we really were). It was a dirt road and things went along swimmingly. That’s how we referred to things after as we plowed headlong into a creek raging across the road in full flood mode.

We sat there for a few seconds. The engine died. The car began to fill with good old Mud Creek’s muddy creek water. The car had those high floor sills over the rocker panels and your feet rested in little square compartments. Compartments that also quickly filled with water.

Swimming to shore soon became one of a diminishing list of options. It was then that Nick performed a miracle: it’s one I have never witnessed before or since. He started the car. Let me rephrase that. He cranked the doggoned car. He put it in reverse and backed us out of the creek. The water was up to the bottom of the windows and Nick Lewis drove us out of there backwards.

We drove back to the Gillionville Road and found a huge oak tree with roots about six inches above the surface of the dirt. Nick parked the big Ford atilt on those big roots and the water poured out of it for what seemed like forever. We took a beer break.

We decided to go to a pond we knew in Baker County. It was a beautiful place. There were huge bull frogs all over the place. We took a beer break.

Then we took our gear and Nick and Terrell went one way around the pond. I went in the opposite direction. I soon reached a place where a stream fed the pond and it was so swampy I could go no further.

I began to backtrack and followed the path Nick and Terrell had chosen. It was no time before I came up on this big frog that looked like he might have weighed as much as three pounds. I just knew two pounds were all leg. I stalked him carefully, slowly and slyly. I eased up on him. I eased up on him again. It must have taken me thirty or forty-five minutes to get a good stab at him. In a perfect spear tossing heave that would have made Tarzan envious I nailed the frog to the ground right beside a big log.

After reaching the same swampy area I couldn’t cross Nick and Terrell found me when they returned by the same path they had taken around the pond. I was sitting on that big log staring at my prize winning frog still ruthlessly speared on my gig.

They told me later (after I had a beer break) that they couldn’t get me to speak for a while.

The frog on my gig did not have any legs. They had gigged him and relieved him of his legs when they first started around the pond. I had spent almost an hour stalking a frog that couldn’t hop.

That’s when I quit drinking beer.

DSC01918 (525x1024)

This is the real deal with Paul Swilley’s fist wrapped around a beautiful pair of frog legs which are still attached to the frog. We later released the frog after he told us he was the original Old Croaker.

Order From Amazon.com

If you click on this picture you will immediately be transformed into a brilliant Amazonian with a golden opportunity to buy my crazy book at Amazon.com. Lucky you.

 

Granny Brooks Comes to Athens.

Arches 1

Granny Grace Brooks captures Athens and declares her victory over the great Bulldog Nation by posing beneath the famous Arches on Broad Street.

Cup Dawg 1

Granny Grace and the famous Java Bulldog. Notice the flower blossom centers are coffee cups.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This story is about a visit to our house by Katie Mae’s Mother, Grace Alligood Brooks who will be 92 on April 2. It is dedicated to my friends Anne Watson O’Conner and Carol Watson Miller in memory of their own dear Mother, Connie Smith Watson, who passed away just a year ago on April 10, 2013. She was 91. Their Mother and my Mother were good friends. My Mother, Rozelle Pitts Swilley, died October 16, 2006 at the age of 93. The common but golden thread woven through the lives of these three remarkable women has to be their longevity and the opportunity provided by that longevity to imbue in their children a great love of life, a keen ability for loving friends unconditionally and a heartfelt and closely held culture of caring. Needless to say the women mentioned here are all great heroes to me.

Great-Great Grandmother Granny Grace Brooks came to see us in Athens and I think we enjoyed being with her more than we ever have in the almost forty years Katie Mae and I have been married. Probably because, for once, we had her all to ourselves.

She will soon be 92 and it has only been six months since she and her middle daughter were able to gather up her granddaughter, great-granddaughter and great-great granddaughter for an all-girl five generation photograph. It was a beautiful picture and they all looked marvelous.

So Granny Brooks came to stay and at almost 92 she reminds me so much of my own sweet Mother. Each of them so often have had the same puzzled look during conversation because neither could hear and both too vain to allow the purchase of a hearing aid. They would not even talk about it (and certainly wouldn’t hear of it).

The same quizzical look is also there when you can see the lights in Granny Brooks eyes flicker with a flash of an old memory too quickly come and gone to be fully grasped and recognized for what it is or was.

Both Mama Ro (my Mother) and Granny Brooks repeated over and over the same comments about how lovely the trees are and how much prettier they will be when Spring returns. The same things were said about the birds and then the absence of the birds and then they would much enjoy the arrival of more birds as they twisted and turned and spiraled abstract paths around the house only to disappear again in an instant.

Katie Mae and I drove Granny around Athens to take her picture with some of the many big and brightly painted fiberglass replicas of Uga the Georgia Bulldog mascot. I dropped them off downtown so Katie Mae could get a picture of Granny under the famous UGA Arches.

Back at the house Granny Brooks most often sat near a back window and peered down some twelve or fifteen feet into the back yard where she could watch birds and squirrels making their living. Mama Ro would do the same from our rear window in the Statesboro house.

A feral cat is raising her children in the woods behind this house in Athens and Granny Brooks stares intently as the cat hunts the wooded area and then circles back on a regular basis to check on her young. Granny is intrigued by the cat’s actions and movements. I wonder if her fascination with the cat is because it cannot be acting any more protectively than Granny has acted for all her many years when it comes to tending her own brood.

Watching the mother cat can only make me think of the incredible sacrifice she and so many women like her made for us. We are the children of the greatest gals who ever lived. Women who were born and raised from the 1910’s through the 1930’s lived through the most despairing and hopeless times that ever existed for modern man.

Fresh off a depression that created a dearth of available necessities and foodstuffs, America was thrown headlong into a World War that created a crippling, rationing of food, supplies, gas and oil and any commodity you can name.

And that’s the same time many of us were born and raised. It’s unbelievable how well fed and clothed most of us were as we grew older. Our Mothers knew how to save seed from one year’s harvest in order to have seed to plant for the next year’s crops. Our mothers could cook huge meals from the scantiest stocked cupboards imaginable. They could sew with such dexterity that the finished product looked store bought.

Our Mothers made sure we were fed first and foremost and I sometimes feel a trifle guilty when I cannot remember ever missing a meal.

With those thoughts in mind, I questioned Granny Brooks about her own childhood and the hardships she lived through growing up on a hardscrabble farm in Mitchell County, Georgia in the late 1920’s and 30’s. It is an enduring story for people who care but, sadly, a story  that people tend to forget. It would do us all well to remember these women and what they had to live through and what they did for us.

Our son Paul took Katie Mae’s iPad and filmed Granny Grace telling some of her story. I suspect that film will become a family treasure.

This is a woefully inadequate tribute to these fine women. We should never pass up on an opportunity to remember how much we owe them and how much we love them. Thank you Grace Alligood Brooks, Connie Smith Watson and Rozelle Pitts Swilley for all the deprivation you endured so we would not be deprived.

Order From Amazon.com

Left clicking on this book cover or any of the pictures will take you to Amazon.com who printed this book from my first blogs. The book is fun and inexpensive and can be purchased in paperback or for Kindle on the Amazon website

 

USA Dawg 2

Granny Grace with the Captain America Bulldog. He is the most patriotic bulldog in America.

 

Johann Bleicher’s Great Boar Hog Killing Adventure

Funny Pigs_3

This is usually the kind of hog I kill. Hogs with class. If they are really classy I let them live. Mildred here was spared because of the shoes. This is a pluperfect pig with Holstein Moo-Cow booties.

Sow 1Several months ago our old friend Johann Bleicher came to see us. He brought his son Jarrett along with him and Jarrett was a great delight to us being as he was undoubtedly raised perfectly and mannerly by his lovely mother Faye.

I contend Jarrett’s upbringing had nothing to do with any input from Johann because Johann was raised under much the same crazy conditions as Vic Miller and my own humble self. Johann has been in a confrused state of mind ever since he was born. Confrused means the same thing as confused only that is the way truck drivers say confused and I have spent the last thirty years working around truck drivers and as a result I often mispronounce words and use malapropisms to get me through my normal day.

Johann and Jarrett spent two or three days around here in Athens and we checked out the UGA campus and bookstore and some of the weird shops downtown. We had to make a stop by “the Junkman’s Daughter’s Brother’s Sister’s Husband” or whatever the hell they call it. Go see it in Athens when you come this way. Call me. I’ll take you down there. Not only is it a strange curio shop but watching the patrons can be a great pastime for an old redneck like me. It’s different.

We told more than our share of lies and overly embellished tales and I could tell Jarrett was buying none of our BS stories but he had a pretty good time (I hope) and Katie Mae, Paul and I certainly enjoyed having them here.

Too soon they were on their way to visit our old nemesis, O.Victor Miller. I don’t think we have ever really done anything bad to Miller to make him lash out in relentless retribution all these years later but it just seems that way.

He can get you involved in a seriously life threatening situation inside of a minute and a half that will have you spending weeks to clear up without loss of life, limb or most of your already dark and jaded reputation.

The plan is for Johann and Jarrett to join up in our old home town of Albany, Georgia so Miller can take them down the river to hunt for boar hogs. In fact we have taken to calling Vic, Old Boar Hog Miller. Miller believes that local American Indians have inspired him to be able to speak to the spirit of the hog. In speaking to the spirit of the hog, he is asking forgiveness from the Great Hog Spirit in the sky for killing the poor pig. After all it was done for food and we only kill what we can eat.

Recently I had a dream and I’m pretty sure the Great Hog Spirit spoke to me as I slept and as he was speaking I had a vision of a smaller hog that I had previously seen in a picture Miller had put on the internet. The smaller hog was hanging by his rear feet from the branch of a scrub oak tree in the woods near the banks of the Flint River.

Vic had the pig by the front foot and he was deep in prayer with the pig. I’m sure he was telling the pig that same story about needing his sad carcass just for food. In my dream I heard the pig say, “Oink.” Which in pig English means BS, BS, BS. That’s BS times three. In better English I heard the pig tell the Great Hog Spirit, “Hell man, I was just standing there grubbing up a sassafras root and the SOB shot me.”

Anyhow to get back to my story, I had not heard from Johann or his wife Faye for several weeks. I figured if Johann was lost in a South Georgia swamp Faye might have missed him by now. I e-mailed Johann a note about not seeing hide nor hair off a boar hog from his great hunting trip and I felt sure he would come back through Athens with at least a half-a-hog for old Ben whose freezer had great yawning gaps and ravines in its innards.

Along about Christmas time I get the UPS knock at the front door. Those are the same guys who are being trained to use door bells next Christmas. There is a box at the door and I retrieve it and take it in to Katy Mae. We open it up and there is the nicest piece of ham you have ever seen.

There is one small problem. I don’t know who sent the ham. The label on the box says, “It took me awhile (sic) to get that sow we killed all dressed out.” (See the picture) I haven’t talked to anybody but Johann about pig meat but I can’t be sure who sent the ham. I’m a little afraid to eat it because I’m sure some of my old enemies are still alive and South Georgia personal vendettas have long memories and lives of their own.

I call the company that shipped the ham and I’ll bet you know what I asked the young woman who answered the phone? You got it. “Who sent me this ham?” She said, “JoAnne Beecher.” I said “Who in the hell is JoAnne Beecher?”

Katie Mae walked over to where I sat with the phone in my hand, took the phone away from me and whacked me in the head with it. She than patted me gently on the shoulder, leaned over and whispered, “Johann Bleicher, you nutcase.”

So that’s how I got my Christmas ham. It was delicious and Katie Mae and I really appreciate it. Thank you Johann and Faye.

But Faye, I know you to be a truthful person so could you help me out by telling me why Johann and Vic sent a boar hog carcass from somewhere along the Flint River near Albany, Georgia to The HoneyBaked Ham Company in Carrollton, Georgia to be processed?

Order From Amazon.com

 

Super Hugging – $60 Per Hour

Madison, Wisconsin businessman Matthew Hurtado is not presently answering requests for interviews about his latest venture in the capital city. Hurtado has opened up a hugging house he calls, “The Snuggle House” and it is too much a stretch of the local citizens’ ultra-liberal imaginations to just lie down and take “hugs for bucks.”

Sixty bucks gets one hour of cuddling and spooning with professional huggers. Why hell, I didn’t know there was such a thing as a professional hugger. Man, are we getting old. We used to call them prostitutes. There is no mention of the sex of the huggers but my bet is they are all young women.

I would make a wonderful hugger but if women came in the Snuggle House for a little hugging from my fat, blind, bald-headed, crippled 72 year old wore-out fanny no telling what I would wind up having to pay them. I’d go broke inside thirty minutes. Not just financially but physically and mentally too.

They say touching and hugging and all that relieves stress but if Katie Mae ever got wind of me being near a hugging house, I instinctively know that the stress level for me would be immeasurable. They still do not make frying pans as light as a feather and after she got through with me it would be a closed-casket funeral. The undertaker would have to wheel my carcass by an auto body repair shop to get all those cranial dents filled with Bondo.

Madison’s Assistant City Attorney is Jennifer Zilavy and she says, “There is no way (sexual assault) will not happen.”  “No offense to men but, I don’t know any man who just wants to snuggle,” she adds.  Sounds like old Jennifer has got a good grip on the snuggling and hugging intentions of most men out there in the cuddling marketplace. City attorneys are drawing up a new ordinance to regulate the super stress relievers.

Hurtado’s attorney reports the “press the flesh” entrepreneur has carefully put rules into place to protect the clients and employees too. Now that tells you something right there doesn’t it? You’re gonna need protection. It surely sounds like these hugging episodes don’t always have the warm and fuzzy tender endings you are expecting.

I noticed the article I was reading referred to the cuddling industry as a cottage industry. I warned you we were old-fashioned and out of date. When I was young we referred to those cottages as “whore houses.”

I think people should stick to my Christmas advice and get the lonely man in their lives a “Big Hugs Elmo.” “Big Hugs Elmo” is a top favorite of kids and for good reason. Elmo will hug you unconditionally. That means he doesn’t care if you are young and pretty or old and ugly. Besides, he is a cheap date. You don’t have to ply him with expensive dinners and alcoholic beverages for his hugs and affection.

You can’t find a better and a cheaper date.

Big Hugs Elmo

Order From Amazon.com

 

 

Of Passions Past

SGI B&K2

SGI 2

 

 

 

 

It’s freezing outside on the beach and being trapped inside we have little to do but turn our thoughts to stories of past youthful peccadilloes. We would be stupid to tell these stories on each other so we have to tell them about old friends and acquaintances who are no longer here to defend themselves but, by the same token, neither can they be embarrassed by these stories.

So, sans names and for better or for worse, here they are:

Blessed be the ties that bind – Many years ago our young couple was still madly in love  just as they had been the first time they met but he was beginning to fear that after ten years of wedded bliss things were growing amorously stale in their relationship so he decided to inject some really new-fashioned romance into their marriage.

This was during those famous haymaking years when no (sexual) bars were on hold and our boy was embarking on a fantastic trip of adventurous love making for the two of them.

He had been reading the Penthouse Magazine letters to the editor section. The letters to the editor were all wildly exaggerated stories of sexual exploits in which the letter writer had supposedly indulged. Our hero had no idea the letters were most likely written by Penthouse staff writers.

Anyhow he tees up his bride for the real passion play of the year by promising her, come Friday evening, he is going to take her out for the dining and dancing and loving experience of her life. Sure enough, Friday came and the young man left work early so he could meet her at the house and they both could get squeaky clean in anticipation of the big event(s) to come.

True to his word, he took her to the nicest restaurant in town and after a wonderful dinner they left for the night club with the brightest lights, the biggest, wildest dance floor and the city’s most famous band in residence.

After all that fine food and after drinking and dancing until they were about to drop it was time for action. Our boy takes her home to their castle of delightful pleasures.

He’s got his game plan in motion. Soon they are both as bare as the day they were born and he has her spreadeagled on the big king sized bed. He takes four of his finest silk neckties and ties each of her arms and legs to a separate bed post.

He kneels over her lovingly and just as he gets closer to whisper a loving message in her tender ear he grabs his stomach and wails, “Ohhhh, I don’t feel so good..,” and he promptly passes out.

It took her three hours to get loose from the ties and to get him rolled off her and onto the floor.

It took him six months to get back into her good graces. That was about the same time she told him he didn’t have to sleep on the sofa any longer.

Winter love at the beach – An old friend told this one on himself. He’s no longer here to defend himself so you’ll have to take my word for whatever claim to stupidity I make on his behalf.

It’s winter at the beach but it is a mild winter and the beach is beautiful. The moonlight is beautiful and the banana sized doobie my friend has rolled for himself and his wonderful wife is beautiful. I know we used to call them doobies. I don’t know what the kids call a jumbo sized marijuana cigarette these days, other than a doobie or a joint.

My buddy was normally not a marijuana smoker but it was a short vacation time at the beach in the winter so he got some weed and made plans to smoke it with his wife. He had heard great stories about the increased pleasure producing results of making mad passionate love while under the influence of marijuana.

He got her out of the cabin full of friends they were visiting by saying they wanted to take a romantic little moonlight stroll down the beach all by themselves. They each mixed a big drink-for-the-walk cup of their favorite beverage and they headed outside.

As soon as they were outside, he realized he was too stoned to be walking down the beach but an alternative plan quickly sprung to mind when he saw none of the nearby beach houses were occupied. In fact the one right next door was not only empty but it had a great upper deck about three floors up which they could use to their heart’s delight.

About twelve or fifteen feet up to the second floor he realized he probably should not attempt to get any higher so he rested on the benches built into the deck railings. He began to think this would be an ideal place to attempt serious circus sex so he convinced her to sit beside him and snuggle up close. Remember she was stoned to the gills too.

It was then he noticed the door bell had a light. Marijuana has a great reputation for turning the smoker into a quivering mass of paranoia and it was only a minute or two before he began to believe the light was blinking and winking at him. He felt sure there was somebody at home and they could see he and his wife sitting on their deck.

He took her hand, they picked up their drinks and headed for the stairway down to the beach.

He never made it past the first step. He fell headfirst down the stairway and when I say he fell I mean the boy went all the way in a series of moves that would leave an Olympic gymnastics star green with envy. He shot down and over each and every step and, in the process, he slid over two short landings between the steps on his back before resuming the somersaulting downward spiral that finally ended at the last step on the bottom.

He told me the only beauty to the entire escapade was his ability to make all those twists, turns, bumps, grinds and slides without spilling one drop of his drink. I remember he said, “You know, I always favored strong drink and I think it would have killed me to spill that liquor.”

The downside to the story is he just about ruined his back with that fall and it took him six months to recuperate. During that time, he had to sleep on the sofa. She said she was afraid he might hurt his back if he slept in the bed.

Summer love on the beach – My favorite story was short and sweet and it probably occurs all the time. Think about this story each time the mood hits you to engage in primeval frolicking on the beach in the dark and don’t you dare think about doing it during the daylight hours. You will get put in jail.

This particular time the amorous and adventurous couple rush straight down the beach on a warm summer night. There are enough dark scudding clouds to keep the bright moon at bay. The world is their oyster. They are having the fun to end all fun.

She is, if I can try to put this as delicately as possible, in the woman superior (aren’t they always?) position. It goes without saying, he is pinned to the sand on his back.

It takes only a split second to turn sheer delight into unmitigated fear and horror to find their little oyster shell lit up like the fairway at the carnival when they turn on one of those million candlepower lights.

Only this search beam is coming from out on the water. Horny old shrimp boaters have spotted them from the water and they have allowed their boat to silently drift so close to the couple the boat has almost grounded near the beach. I suspect shrimpers indulge in this unsportsmanlike behavior frequently.

As the story goes, the young man begins to yell, “Get up, get up, get up, get off me, get off me, get off me, run, run, run.” This is exactly what he begins to do as soon as he can gain his footing. He leaves her in the spotlight, so to speak. It takes him two hours to get back to the beach house. It takes him six months to wheedle his way back into her good graces. They had been back home about six months before she told him he didn’t have to sleep on the couch any more.

So remember all you young and handsome Lotharios, it only takes a few quick minutes of fun to put you in the doghouse for half a year. It’s probably best to let “the best laid plans of mice and men” go unfulfilled and just go ahead and “Do what comes naturally,” back there in the bedroom where you are supposed to naturally do those things.SGI KSGI 3

Order From Amazon.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of a Christmas Past and a Charlie Brown New Year

North End of Mantle

The rocking horse has a music box which plays “Toyland” and as it plays the horse’s head and tail rise and fall while the clown on its back raises and lowers his legs. There must be something about riding a horse that tickles a clown’s bottom.

As we approach our 40th anniversary we gain a modicum of intelligence about how to pack away all this Christmas joy and paraphernalia. We are leaving the age of cardboard boxes behind us.

I was dispatched to Wal-Mart or any place that has plastic storage containers for sale. Somehow I do not feel alone.

AT Wal-Mart the brightly colored containers are everywhere. Not only Wal-Mart but Lowes and Home Depot have them and I think I even saw some street vendors carrying the things around on their backs.

So I drag the containers home and Katie Mae faithfully packs all the little Christmas people away for another year. Christmas is over and packing up all the participants gives me a sad, melancholy feeling not helped one bit by our hearing the last strains of “Toyland” from the little rocking horse that has carried that silly clown on his back for over 30 Christmases.

As I carry the containers to the basement, I can still hear the music box struggling to release a note or two but finally it is done and finished and the lights go off in the basement storage room.

And in a flash (it seems) the New Year is upon us. The holidays and all that food have done nothing to diminish my alacrity, adeptness and superior skill at surfing the channels. I hit a brick wall when I reach a channel showing, “Happy New Year, Charlie Brown.” I’ve got to stop and watch Charlie and his assortment of weird friends. I’m a kid again.

I’ve started watching close to the end of the film but I can see Peppermint Patty is in an ice skating competition and she’s out on the big rink. Snoopy is providing music with a tape player (circa 1980) when all the tape suddenly turns into a huge can of worms (or so it seems) and poor Snoopy is keyless or clueless or tone deaf or anyhow, he ain’t got no music for the Peppermint Patty skating routine.

Patty is breaking into enough sweating, hot flashes (just her cheeks) and scared to death looks that I’m afraid the ice is going to melt. This is a desperate, desperate moment. Did I say this is a desperate moment?

But wouldn’t you know it, our main man, the incomparable canary of unlimited talents flies a couple of neat tight-looped back flips and lands solidly on his little bird legs right in front of Snoopy’s microphone.

He pursed his tiny lips for a whistle. I know. You didn’t know canaries had lips but they do. Chickens do too.

Anyhow, he pursed his little lips until they were about the size of a rhino’s mouth and you never heard such beautiful music even during the long Christmas celebration.

And just what was he whistling? “O mio babbino caro” (“Oh My Beloved Father”), an aria from a Puccini opera. I didn’t happen to know that. I had to Google it. I’m not sure how Woodstock knew about it.

Woodstock saved the day and Peppermint Patty skated on into glory and greatness. I think if a tiny canary can save the day in such a big way we can achieve anything we try (almost).

Charlie Brown and Woodstock have given me a great start to my New Year. You should have seen that canary blow. “The Voice,” “The X Factor” and “American Idol” combined cannot equal Woodstock’s ability to enliven an hour, an evening or a whole brand New Year.

I just Googled it again. This time I am listening to Maria Callas sing the aria. From now on, in this New Year, if I begin to feel sad, melancholy or a little down in the dumps, I will dial up Woodstock on YouTube and let him whistle me up that incredible Puccini aria.

woodstocksnoopy

 

 

 

 

 

peppermint-pattyOrder From Amazon.com