Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sometimes, Ya Just Gotta Be Flexible

Last weekend, when I was still in my youth, I was heading down to MickeyMouseLand to visit with some friends who were going to be in town for a short, weekend long vacation. I had planned on spending Friday nite and bum around with them on Saturday. Then Saturday afternoon, I was heading over to BBB and Debra's home for a much desired visit.

I had arranged with Manuel Labor to have Friday afternoon off but was only able to get out of the Birthplace of Speed around a Japanese dental appointment, you know, tooth hurty.

I know, my apologies.

So, I am hotfooting it down that Eisenhower Highway System and at that rest area located just the other side of the St. John's River, I stopped and called my friends to see where they were staying and then I was going to googlemap that location on, unlike my olestationbus, this trusty ole tetherless laptop.

The Guy answers and mentions they had decided to make it another weekend as something or other had come up with one of their grandkids.

Oh Well, sometimes Life Just Gets In The Way.

So, I started working on a backup plan when my trusty cheap cell phone rings again.

It is BBB calling to let me know he has to go to Hotlanta for a week of meetings, leaving early on Sunday for that 7 hour drive and "Can we reschedule your visit?"

Well, of course, because, sometimes, Life Just Gets In The Way.

So, here I am, more than 1/2 way to MickeyMouseLand, anticipating a fun filled weekend and getting ready to usher in my 1/2 century of life.

So, what to do?

Head back to the Taj Mahal and hang out for the weekend?

Mosey on over to some part of Central Florida to which I have never been?

Be totally bummed out because I was rejected by, not one, but two different sets of friends?

Well, those of you Counting Along With Me know that none of those things happened.

I called my friend Kris to see what was up in her weekend.

"Whatca doing Kris?"

"Getting my hair done," was her response. After all, she is of the age where that thing is important.

"Interested in some company this afternoon?" this olelongrooffan responded.

"Bring it on and meet me on Park Avenue in Winter Park around 4."

"Looking forward to it, Kiddo," was my reply.

And, Counters, know that we did meet up at a pretty cool old restaurant and enjoyed some good eating. And Kristina Joy treated this old birthday boy to a pleasant meal, complete with cold beverages.

Thanks Kris.

So we sat there on Park Avenue, downtown Winter Park, in what I guess is known as the

Winter Park Mall and just had a good ole time, talking about life, living and lovers.

Know, it was a blast.

Afterwards, Kris managed to drag this olelongrooffan through Pottery Barn or Williams Sonoma or something of that ilk, but all was well.

Later, we headed back to her lovely condo where she milked this oleman of his thoughts of my renovation plans for her place and we had a generally wonderful evening together.

As the night ended, I headed toward her guest bedroom because, if you have Counting Along With Me, you will remember she is just not that into me.

So, anyway, the next morning I awoke and got on this olelaptop to determine what we could do to enjoy that pleasant, Chamber of Commerce type of Saturday there in MickeyMouseLand.

Kris mentioned going over to the Ikea store to see what was up with them.

I suggested we, instead, head over to the Maitland Art Center as that Saturday was a Smithsonian Free Admission Museum day.

And guess what Counters?

We did


We had a blast!!

Some cool Confluence Art by three different artists displayed in a museum compound founded in 1937.

Yeah, a fun time was had by all.

So, mid afternoon, I realized Kris needed to get back to her studies so I bade a farewell to our adventures to head back to the Tah Mahal and let Kris study her Calculus and Trigenmonitry.

Stuff so complex that this olelongrooffan doesn't even know how to spell it.

But know my lovely daughter Jessica knows.

So, this olelongrooffan heads out, in an area of MickeyMouseLand of which I am not the most familiar.

And, luckily for me, I promptly misguided myself and stumbled upon this.

A trio of late 50's or early 60's Mopar coupes, or...err...tudors caged behind this 6' tall fence.

This first one is a highly desirable Imperial.

I think this looks good from any angle.

And click on the following image for that cool roof line along the rear of this ole tudor.

See that jumble of wiring on the hood of this Rolls product. I am confident it is in that location as result of Lucas wiring!!

The following image is of a Chrysler 300, I think I remember, H, a classic, early muscle car that is relatively rare and highly desirable to certain members of the cult of which I am a member.

And I love the deck lid of this with the ribs sticking out between those fins.

And yet another desirable Mopar product of that era

equipped with fins cooler, and more rare, than a '57 Chevy.

So, I finally oriented myself and got to heading back to the Taj Mahal.

Now, as thejeepjunkie has expressed many times, this olelongrooffan can take a 3 hour trip and make it into a 7 hour trip.

And this olelongrooffan is in total agreement, and proud of it.

Tonite at happy hour, he mentioned he is thinking of getting the Kid a new windshield frame for the Kid's ole CJ5 and it was located in Hotlanta, Georgia.

Well, I mentioned I really don't have anything going on next week and did he want me to go get it for him?

thejeepjunkie says, "Thanks, but no thanks, I need it before Christmas."


But true.

So, MickeyMouseLand is a short 80 minute drive down the Interstate from the Taj Mahal but, I am proud to say, that return trip last Saturday took me nearly 3 hours.

After all, I had to stop to get some images of Historic Downtown Longwood for you Counters.

The above building houses the Administrative Offices for the City of Longwood, Florida. Pretty Cool, huh?

And the below image is a doll selling shop.

And this old hotel, now a professional office complex.

An image of a parking lot light, fashioned after a lighthouse, just for the CDM.

And a clock tower for Jessica.

And a downtown gazebo, just because this olelongrooffan likes them.

An old church, founded in 1867.

A tade further up the road, this olelongrooffan found the antithesis of those old Mopars.

Lamborgini Of Orlando.

This place was filled with Rolls Royce Phantoms, Bentley Coupes, an Old Shelby Mustang, and a few exotic cars of which, while I recognize them, I don't know their names.

Just all around nice stuff but no so desirable to this olelongrooffan.

After all, none of them are "blue plate specials".

However, the really, really cool thing was in the parking lot of that, probably $10 million dollar sales lot was this

awesome '64 Chevy ratrod 4 door sedan!!!

I absolutely love it!!

So, a bit up the road I had to stop at Rockin' Ribs to get a shot of this

Roadside Attraction for you Counters out there.

And with special memories of Jessica linked earlier,

And I arrived back at the home of the World's Most Famous Beach to see these hoons involved in a traffic accident and, all of the occupants of those vehicles, standing, stupidly, in the middle of International Speedway Boulevard!!

But know, You Counters, it is including the image of this

Chicken Coop, just for thehorsefarmer, being flexible in life and having a wonderful 3 hour tour, lets me

Celebrate Life.

What I Saw Today

Reality is certainly getting in the way of this.

But reality pays the bills.

So, I was heading west on Granada Boulevard from the Taj Mahal, just past the Ormond Garage, parked dang near where the Kid and I saw this, I spotted this sweet ole coupe, no not a Coop de Ville,

but a 1940 Chevrolet Master Deluxe Coupe. Even Kit Foster would agree with that recognition of this automobile masterpiece.

Looking at the blurriness of the above image, I will say this about that though, it appears that at just over a year old, the trusty old Polaroid has served its $50 price.

This sweet ole coupe was serving as a wedding transportation vehicle and it was parked in front of a pretty swanky restaurant there in the Mainland side of downtown Ormond Beach, Florida.

Of course, I whipped a Ueee in the oleragtop to get these images for you.

Yeah, that is the kind of guy I am. Trying to find gainful employment, trying to save $24.95, worried about what cock-a-mammie thing the Florida legislature is going to do next, fretting over being age challenged, and I am still thinking about the needs of those Counting Along With Me.

The paint on this ole beauty was as shiny as the shiny new coat on my olestationbus.

How about those cool headlights and turn signal indicators? And that hood ornament is similar to the one TheGentlemanFarmer gave me years ago.

UPDATE: If you remember this blog, you may remember I mentioned that old hood ornament and how neither TheGentlemanFarmer knew to what vehicle it belonged. Well, a couple weeks ago, I was checking Just A Car Guy's blog and he had an image of a 1947 Chevrolet Deluxe and it possessed the hood ornament that holds a valued place on the wall of the Taj Mahal.

Another mystery solved!! (There are a blog or two about mysteries and this olelongrooffan but I sure can't find them. Maybe it was the few posts I did over at wordpress.

But, alas, once again I digress.

The dashboard of this nearly 70 year old automobile contains more chrome than my entire olestationbus.

Now, I am a car junkie, I admit it, revel in it and will continue to do so as long as I can do it.

However, I wonder if anyone in the year 2046 will stop and take images of

this 1976 Buick Century?

I would suspect so and it is possessing this knowledge that allows me to

Celebrate Life.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thoughts of TheGentleman Farmer

As I am approaching my 50th birthday, and as the Complaint Department Manager points out, I am so old that I fart dust, well, anyway, I have been asked by many friends, "What are you going to do for your birthday?"

Well, Counters, it is like this.

On my 30th birthday, my daughter's mom threw me a huge bash with about 75 people in attendance and it was a wild, wild night.

On my 40th birthday, a good friend of mine rented a huge limo type trolley and we pub crawled all around FantasyLand and had a fantastic, highly inebriated evening.

So, I think on my 50th, this oleman will peacefully relax at the Taj Mahal and enjoy a home cooked meal and a cold cocktail or two and, generally, reflect on how to continue to Celebrate Life into my 50's..

And, while I received invitations from many friends to celebrate my birthday in a more boisterous manner, this olelongrooffan will calmly move into my 50th year.

But the way I choose to celebrate my 50th is not what this blog is about.

Those of you Counting Along With Me will remember this recent experience, and You Counters will remember I am always looking for a way to get to test the Authority Of The Man.

So, as I am cruising north on my beach, after dealing with those MuffinTops, I shot the following image of that North Central Florida Beach I call home.

Fairly deserted for a Chamber of Commerce Sunday afternoon. But note the speed limit sign in the following image, quite unlike these days.

So, being the kind of guy that I am, I look at the speedometer on the olestationbus

and say H*ll Yeah!!! I got it to the Man again!!

Now while I was down at my favorite grocery store, I spotted, in the refrigerated section, a favorite snack of my Dad's, TheGentlemanFarmer.

Yeah, that's right, Pickled Herring and saltines.

Now remember, TheGentlemanFarmer and my Mom had 10 children, "All chiefs, no Indians," as Mom liked to point out.

Well, being raised on a farm there was not really a bunch of extra bucks around for "frivolous" desires, but, having said that, we never needed anything that we didn't get. It was a pretty communal upbringing and pretty much what was mine was thejeepjunkie's and vice versa.

But that cold jar of herring in the fridge belonged to TheGentlemanFarmer, make no mistake about it. Occassionally, while TheGentlemanFarmer was enjoying a fine ride on that Cutty Sark ship, he would indulge in that jar of pickled North Atlantic Ocean fish and, sometimes, if we were around, he would share a piece, or two, with us kids.

It was like a visit to BBB and Debra's place. Highly desired and greatly enjoyed.

As it has been years since this olelongrooffan has eaten any herring, I decided to pick up a small jar of that favorite snack of TheGentlemanFarmer to help celebrate my birthday and past memories.

As you will note, that is a single sleeve of saltines.

Well, get this, Publix only sells the large four sleeve boxes of saltines.

I never eat saltines and I knew if I purchased one of those four sleeved containing boxes, the remaining three sleeves would be stale before I ate them. So I, while I thought about going to Wendy's and snagging some free ones, I decided instead to head up to my favorite local convenience store to pick some up.

And, man, is that herring and saltine snack delicious!!! Thanks to TheGentlemanFarmer for many things, including this delicious, albeit rare, delicacy.

Oh, and just in case you are wondering, this is what the 50 year old left foot owning big toe looks like on this olelongrooffan! And, yeah, that is the toenail I lost while building that stone waterfall on BBB and Debra's pool deck many years ago. Luckily, it found me again.

Sorry for the visual.

And I hope you all can, as I do with herring, saltines and an upcoming milestone birthday,

Celebrate Life.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

In General, I Hate Muffin Tops

I originally posted this over at the Complaint Department Manager's blog but, after completion, I thought it would be SFW for By The Numbers, as well as Ormond Offbeat.

Sorry CDM Followers, I am just an old man and get pissed off rarely. I turn 50 years old a week from Tuesday and, just like many old men, have little patience for a lot of people.

So, this pleasant, Chamber of Commerce kind of Sunday afternoon, I headed down the beach to my favorite Publix grocery store to stock up on feed supplies this old man needs every month or so. You know, soy sauce, black pepper, chips and, really, whatever else they have on sale.

The cool, at least I think anyway, thing about where I live is that the Taj Mahal is less than two blocks from an automobile friendly beach and I can drive from my condo to my grocery store on the beach.

Yeah, I really get a kick out of that.

So I arrive at my local shopping center that I enjoy hanging at and enter my grocery store.

As this is a fairly large, stock up, kind of visit, I grab one of those rarely used shopping carts and head on off.

Now, I am a single guy and, like most men, I don't shop, I buy. So, I know where I am going.

As I head down the produce aisle I spot the following.....

A mid 20's year old pony tailed, tank top, tattoo bearing redneck pushing a child carrying cart, you know, the ones with benches in them for young kids to ride in. Well this one was equipped with a mid 20's year old girl holding a toddler on her lap.

Additionally, another mid 20's girl with a HUGE tramp stamp was free loading a ride in that kid carrying area and that tattooed dude was struggling to provide acceleration to that buggy.

Further adding to my frustration, there was another, and part of that crowd, muffin top pushing a cart of her own alongside that oversized grocery cart.

So what did this olelongrooffan do?

I stopped, turned around, and started my, usually pleasant, Publix shopping experience on the other side of that Florida based retailer.

As it was, I was able to complete my excursion without running into them again.

Until I realized I had forgotten tortillas for my morning eggs and sausage breakfast wraps.

So, I head over to the "Ethnic" aisle and as I turn the corner, I see these two cart bearing tattooed rednecks moving down this aisle and basically blocking my passage of them in the aisle in front of me.

Oh, by the way, if you are on a four lane road and are going the same speed as the car to your right, You Are In The Wrong Lane.

But I digress.

Slowly, one of those carts moves in front of the other one and I slip between them to get my much desired tortillas.

As I slide between them, one of the tramp stamped muffin tops says, loud enough so this olelongrooffan can hear, "I can't believe how rude people are down here."

Now I have to say, I believe, these days, I am a polite ole man.

I always point out burned out brake lights.

I let people out in traffic.

I carry my 87 year old neighbor's recycle bin out to the curb every Thursday.

I never park in his parking spot.

and cold pops are always in my frig for thejeepjunkie and TheGoodAttorney for their happy hour visits.

But this fat little bitch just pissed me off.

I had left my buggy behind them to slide through, get those tortillas and return to it to reverse direction and get out of their world.

So, as I was returning and fuming at her thinking I was rude, I mentioned in passing that she was the one blocking the aisle.

As she started to smart off some inane response, I turned to her and said....

"Hey muffintop, your grandchildren will love that tramp stamp across your ass."

and I turned around and left.

Now while this is not the most mature method I could have handled this situation,

It sure felt good and I am still able to

Celebrate Life.

also posted at By The Numbers, although with some editing.

Thanks CDM.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Just Some Old Photos

So, the other day I was working with Manuel Labor tearing up SweetKristine's pristine home and, if you have Been Counting Along With Me, I found that memory inducing old Budweiser tall boy can.

Well, as I was looking around in My Pictures inside this trusty olelaptop, I found some other images that I thought I would post here, just for the h*ll of it.

This first one is of some of the horses we had out at the original Haven Lee Farm in Halltown, Missouri. I did a blog about it and the Bus commented that it was a pretty good yarn and even linked it in a blogpost over at Bus-Plunge. Thanks Big Brother.

I think I included this image in a blogpost but wanted to include it again as a reminder to myself as to why I live in the Sunshine State. It is a shot of my Mom's 1988 Honda Accord buried in what appears to be a foot or so of snow. BRRRRRR.

The only white stuff I want to be buried in can be found in the third photo of this blog!!

This old school black and white photograph was taken at my Mom and TheGentlemanFarmer's 25th wedding anniversary. The dapper dressed man in the center of this image is my Mom's dad, Alphonse Charles Bansbach. The couple he is addressing is the Bus and his, still gorgeous wife, The Private RN. It was on Granny and Man's cabin out on the Big River that the B's Nest sign the Bus has on his lake cabin emanated from.

Now, I am sure you are curious as to why we all called my Grandfather "Man". Well, from the story I got, he travelled alot and my older family members lived near Granny and Man in Shrewsbury, Missouri. One time when Alphonse came home, my older siblings asked either Mom or Granny, "Who is that Man?" And the name stuck throughout the rest of his, and my days. I am not sure if our cousins, yeah both them, called him Man also.

The following image was taken at the funeral of TheGentlemanFarmer's mother. Her name to us was Moo. Even I don't know the inspiration of that nickname. In this image, TheGentlemanFarmer's younger brother, my Uncle Frank, is on the left and I am not certain who that dude is to Uncle Frank's left but I will venture his last name, or his mother's, is probably Lee.

I was living in Florida at that time and had a good, although long distance, relationship with Uncle Frank. When Moo passed, Uncle Frank recommended I not travel to St. Louis for her funeral. I took his advice but afterwards, I was p*ssed as I missed meeting a ton of cousins whom I had never met and, most likely, never will. My loss that is for sure.

On a much brighter note, check out the following couple images. That is the brood of most of my older Lee siblings.

In this image, from right to left are my nephew Christopher, his step brother Skip, my niece Mary Ellen, my NotSoLil nephew Jim and my niece Stephanie. That old go cart we got from our neighbors, Bill and Minnie Lee Lemmons. They had two sons with Celebral Palsy and Lou, the youngest, would say to everyone in my family in the most excited voice possible, whenever he saw us outside, "Hiya Bob!" Will remember him forever.

Check out the old school metal chairs surrounding that tablecloth covered table in the background of this shot.

These images were taken in the backyard of my Mom and TheGentlemanFarmer's home to which we moved from Haven Lee Farm, Halltown edition.

In the above photo, you can see YoungChristopher hamming it up for his aunts, uncles, grandparents and dad.

From left to right, you my Mom, my brother Jim-the Bus, his totally hot wife-The Private RN, my baby sister Joan-referred to as the Horsewhisperer in that blog about A Day On The Farm, TheGentlemanFarmer has, as always, a camera glued to his face while his namesake, Robert G. Lee, Jr. is standing behind him enjoying his son be the limelight of the moment. To BBB's left is thebarngoddess, a then skinny Jane, thejeepjunkie and #9.

I don't recall the reason for this gathering but in that above photo, check out all that junk beside that junk filled metal building in TheGentlemanFarmer's backyard!! Oh, there was a polebarn out back, that Tim Penn and I built, with even more junk in it!!

The following image was taken at #9's American wedding. I put it this way as she was married in France and then followed up with another wedding here in the states a few weeks later.

I'm going to put it at about 1990. From the left, the olelongrooffan, thejeepjunkie, TheGentleman Farmer, my oldest sister, BBB, the Bus and thehorsefarmer. I remember it as a frigid cold experience and will always do so. I mean, who the h*ll gets married in the middle of December in the Ozarks? See that photo of Mom's Honda to get the idea!!

And this young lady?

She is my youngest sister Joan's 14 year old daughter, Hailey. I have to say this about that. My daughter Jessica is 10 days older than Hailey and man, kids grow up fast these days!!

The following image is of thejeepjunkie hiking through some unknown woods oh so many years ago.

And many years later, this olelongrooffan and thejeepjunkie remembering to Celebrate Life!!

This one is of BBB during his stint in Vietnam. I remember seeing a hard copy of this photo around when I was a kid. It was captioned, "Would you buy a used car from this guy?"

Definitely not.

This is a shot of this olelongrooffan, perched on the rear decklid of my oleragtop during this adventure. The reason I included this one as opposed to the closeup of me that KJ shot. Well, in this one you can't see as many of my wrinkles.

And this old shot was taken, based on the Christmas tree in the background, during a Christmas dinner out at the Halltown based Haven Lee Farm.

From the left in this photo is my Grandfather, Alphonse, thejeepjunkie, TheGentlemanFarmer, this ole longrooffan, complete with oxford under that short lived football jersey, I'm not sure who is next in line but I am sure he is some seminary student my folks harbored every holiday. Either that or the Bus, who was in the seminary at the time. The last in this lineup is Wally Ellinger, a Catholic priest.

A few things about this photo.

That glass of milk on the table? I am confident it is "half and half". No, not the cream but 1/2 powdered milk and 1/2 whole milk. That is Mom stretching a buck during my upbringing. Yeah, that, and the day old bread store.

In front of Alphonse is a can of Coors. I would suspect this is either just after Coors was introduced into the State of Missouri, but if it was prior to that date, know everyone loved a smuggled in from Kansas can of Coors beer.

thejeepjunkie, as always, manuvering his way in front of this olelongrooffan in the food line.

TheGentlemanFarmer is surely telling a story and has the rapt attention of both that seminary student and Wally.

And judging by the fact that serving plate of food in front of Man had been disseminated by all present and thejeepjunkie and I were back for more, and the fact that TheGentlemanFarmer's napkin is still on his plate, and the fact the ice in those partially filled cocktail glasses had melted, I am confident this would become a long story telling night out there on ole Haven Lee Farm!

Now just a bit on Wally Ellinger. As I have mentioned previously, we, as kids, never called nuns and priests as "Sister" or "Father", just Delores or Wally. Wally was a Roman Catholic priest and, as such, was not able to marry. When Wally's brother passed unexpectedly, he left his wife Ruth and 8 children to carry on in this world. Wally, a year or so later, left the priesthood, then and now, a mortal sin, and married Ruth and became another father to those kids. Yeah, weird but true.

Below is a full on shot of my Grandfather and his now infamous hat!

I told you he was a dapper dressed dude!

And I downloaded this image of my three older brothers from the Bus' blog a while back just to enjoy it. Mid 50's, boys in ties and dress coats, well except for thehorsefarmer in the middle, but, heck it is still the same way.

And this shot is of the five Lee boys shot outside at our home at 1822 S. National, the corner of National and Sunshine, in Springfield, Missouri. This was a huge three story with basement home on several acres. Sadly, it is now a parking lot for St. John's hospital in my hometown. But know this ole longrooffan has great memories of it.

And this last one is of thejeepjunkie outside of the St. Agnes Cathedral in Springfield.

And why do I include this slightly out of focus shot.

It is because thejeepjunkie was wearing the most favorite shirt this olelongrooffan owned!!!

And it is finding these old images, sharing them with you and getting something to give thejeepjunkie sh*t about allows me to

Celebrate Life.