Saturday Open Thread – November 24th

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come. THY WILL BE DONE, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but DELIVER US FROM EVIL.

For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen †

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39 Responses to Saturday Open Thread – November 24th

  1. The Folded Napkin … A Truckers Story

    I try not to be biased, but I had my doubts about hiring Stevie. His placement counselor assured me that he would be a good, reliable busboy. But I had never had a mentally handicapped employee and wasn’t sure I wanted one. I wasn’t sure how my customers would react to Stevie. He was short, a little dumpy with the smooth facial features and thick-tongued speech of Downs Syndrome.

    I wasn’t worried about most of my trucker customers because truckers don’t generally care who buses tables as long as the meatloaf platter is good and the pies are homemade. The four-wheeler drivers were the ones who concerned me; the mouthy college kids traveling to school; the yuppie snobs who secretly polish their silverware with their napkins for fear of catching some dreaded “truck stop germ” the pairs of white-shirted business men on expense accounts who think every truck stop waitress wants to be flirted with. I knew those people would be uncomfortable around Stevie so I closely watched him for the first few weeks.

    I shouldn’t have worried. After the first week, Stevie had my staff wrapped around his stubby little finger, and within a month my truck regulars had adopted him as their official truck stop mascot. After that, I really didn’t care what the rest of the customers thought of him. He was like a 21-year-old in blue jeans and Nikes, eager to laugh and eager to please, but fierce in his attention to his duties. Every salt and pepper shaker was exactly in its place, not a bread crumb or coffee spill was visible when Stevie got done with the table.

    Our only problem was persuading him to wait to clean a table until after the customers were finished. He would hover in the background, shifting his weight from one foot to the other, scanning the dining room until a table was empty. Then he would scurry to the empty table and carefully bus dishes and glasses onto cart and meticulously wipe the table up with a practiced flourish of his rag. If he thought a customer was watching, his brow would pucker with added concentration. He took pride in doing his job exactly right, and you had to love how hard he tried to please each and every person he met.

    Over time, we learned that he lived with his mother, a widow who was disabled after repeated surgeries for cancer. They lived on their Social Security benefits in public housing two miles from the truck stop. Their social worker, who stopped to check on him every so often, admitted they had fallen between the cracks. Money was tight, and what I paid him was probably the difference between them being able to live together and Stevie being sent to a group home. That’s why the restaurant was a gloomy place that morning last August, the first morning in three years that Stevie missed work.

    He was at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester getting a new valve or something put in his heart. His social worker said that people with Downs Syndrome often have heart problems at an early age so this wasn’t unexpected, and there was a good chance he would come through the surgery in good shape and be back at work in a few months.

    A ripple of excitement ran through the staff later that morning when word came that he was out of surgery, in recovery, and doing fine. Frannie, the head waitress, let out a war hoop and did a little dance in the aisle when she heard the good news. Bell Ringer, one of our regular trucker customers, stared at the sight of this 50-year-old grandmother of four doing a victory shimmy beside his table. Frannie blushed, smoothed her apron and shot Belle Ringer a withering look.

    He grinned. “OK, Frannie, what was that all about?” he asked.

    “We just got word that Stevie is out of surgery and going to be okay.”

    “I was wondering where he was. I had a new joke to tell him. What was the surgery about?”

    Frannie quickly told Bell Ringer and the other two drivers sitting at his booth about Stevie’s surgery, then sighed: “Yeah, I’m glad he is going to be OK,” she said. “But I don’t know how he and his Mom are going to handle all the bills. From what I hear, they’re barely getting by as it is.” Belle Ringer nodded thoughtfully, and Frannie hurried off to wait on the rest of her tables.

    Since I hadn’t had time to round up a busboy to replace Stevie and really didn’t want to replace him, the girls were busing their own tables that day until we decided what to do. After the morning rush, Frannie walked into my office. She had a couple of paper napkins in her hand and a funny look on her face.

    “What’s up?” I asked.

    “I didn’t get that table where Bell Ringer and his friends were sitting cleared off after they left, and Pony Pete and Tony Tipper were sitting there when I got back to clean it off,” she said. “This was folded and tucked under a coffee cup.”

    She handed the napkin to me, and three $20 bills fell onto my desk when I opened it. On the outside, in big, bold letters, was printed “Something For Stevie.

    Pony Pete asked me what that was all about,” she said, “so I told him about Stevie and his Mom and everything, and Pete looked at Tony and Tony looked at Pete, and they ended up giving me this.” She handed me another paper napkin that had “Something For Stevie” scrawled on its outside. Two $50 bills were tucked within its folds.

    Frannie looked at me with wet, shiny eyes, shook her head and said simply: “truckers.”

    That was three months ago. Today is Thanksgiving, the first day Stevie is supposed to be back to work. His placement worker said he’s been counting the days until the doctor said he could work, and it didn’t matter at all that it was a holiday. He called 10 times in the past week, making sure we knew he was coming, fearful that we had forgotten him or that his job was in jeopardy.

    I arranged to have his mother bring him to work. I then met them in the parking lot and invited them both to celebrate his day back. Stevie was thinner and paler, but couldn’t stop grinning as he pushed through the doors and headed for the back room where his apron and busing cart were waiting.

    “Hold up there, Stevie, not so fast,” I said. I took him and his mother by their arms. “Work can wait for a minute. To celebrate you coming back, breakfast for you and your mother is on me!”

    I led them toward a large corner booth at the rear of the room. I could feel and hear the rest of the staff following behind as we marched through the dining room. Glancing over my shoulder, I saw booth after booth of grinning truckers empty and join the procession. We stopped in front of the big table. Its surface was covered with coffee cups, saucers and dinner plates, all sitting slightly crooked on dozens of folded paper napkins.

    “First thing you have to do, Stevie, is clean up this mess,” I said. I tried to sound stern. Stevie looked at me, and then at his mother, then pulled out one of the napkins. It had “Something for Stevie” printed on the outside. As he picked it up, two $10 bills fell onto the table.

    Stevie stared at the money, then at all the napkins peeking from beneath the tableware, each with his name printed or scrawled on it. I turned to his mother.

    “There’s more than $10,000 in cash and checks on table, all from truckers and trucking companies that heard about your problems. “Happy Thanksgiving,”

    Well, it got real noisy about that time, with everybody hollering and shouting, and there were a few tears, as well. But you know what’s funny? While everybody else was busy shaking hands and hugging each other, Stevie, with a big, big smile on his face, was busy clearing all the cups and dishes from the table. Best worker I ever hired.

    Plant a seed and watch it grow. At this point, you can bury this inspirational message or forward it fulfilling the need! If you shed a tear, hug yourself, because you are a compassionate person.

    Well.. Don’t just sit there! Share this story!

    Keep it going, this is a good one!


    • Menagerie says:

      Wonderful story. How are you Michelle?


    • ytz4mee says:

      Thanks for the share. I have always said, private charity is far more effective than government programs. And – the government programs are designed to lessen the connections between us. It does my heart good to see Downs Syndrome young people working in grocery stores, etc.


    • Sha says:

      Michelle: That’s a great story. When things get tuff for me , I just keep telling myself this to shall pass and it alway’s does. Here’s wishing you lot’s of blessings and nothing but good in your life.


    • michellc says:

      That did make me cry.

      My oldest brother was mentally retarded, not DS, but he brought so much to all of our lives. Something many don’t know is that they are so loving to everyone. When I was a kid and people would point and stare or make fun of him, it would always make me furious, but he would never notice, a gift I believe given to them by God. When I would get mad and say something to people, he’d always tell me I wasn’t being nice and God said we should love everyone. He passed away 10 years ago and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t miss him, especially around Christmas as that was his favorite holiday.
      I truly believe God blessed our family by sharing him with us.


  2. ytz4mee says:

    Larry Hagman of “I Dream of Jennie” and “Dallas” fame has passed away at age 81.

    For years, he was considered the unofficial mayor of Malibu, where he lived for decades in an oceanfront home. He often led impromptu ragtag parades on the sand while wearing outlandish costumes and flew a flag from his deck that declared “Vita Celebratio Est” — “Life is a celebration.”</em>,0,5294713.story


  3. Sharon says:

    Obama won, Obamacare is the law, and, as my wife says, I will just have to learn to dance to a new song.

    Now, don’t get me wrong, Obamacare is awful. Forget all the “free stuff” it provides. Children covered on their parents’ plan until 26 years of age? A scam, making young adults — excuse me, children — pay for complete, comprehensive health insurance when all they need and should pay for is major catastrophe insurance. Then there is the “annual ” or “preventative” exam, which according to Obamacare is “free.”

    I have now posted a notice in my office and each exam room stating exactly what Obamacare will cover for those yearly visits. Remember Obama promised this as a free exam — no co-pay, no deductible, no charge. That’s fine and dandy if you are healthy and have no complaints. However, we are obligated by law to code specifically for the reason of the visit. An annual exam is one specific code; you can not mix this with another code, say, for rectal bleeding. This annual visit covers the exam and “discussion about the status of previously diagnosed stable conditions.” That’s the exact wording under that code — insurance will not cover any new ailment under that code.

    You gotta love this stuff. I wish I had the chutzpah of the people who wrote Obamacare. What they did not tell you, and I am, is that it covers absolutely nothing more than the bare minimum.

    You may just want to have a pap smear or check your cholesterol. However, I am now mandated by the government to talk to you about your weight, exercise, family life, smoking, sexual abuse(!), and even to ask if you wear seat belts. And I am mandated to record your answers.


    • ytz4mee says:

      Also, they also now ask if there are guns in the home.


      • Sharon says:

        A year ago when I first ran into this, I absolutely refused to give them any information…at my personal doc in MN.

        Haven’t encountered it here (yet) perhaps because each appointment has been very specific,….and perhaps the audits haven’t totally kicked in yet.

        I’m suspecting that it will not be long before — you don’t answer the questions, you don’t see the doctor — kicks in.



      • Arkindole says:

        I have to see my guy every three months for diabetes. I haven’t heard that one yet, but he knows he won’t get an answer from me on that one (or, anything else not medically related). We did have a long talk last time about what he has to do to set up for ACA…he has no clue.


        • Sharon says:

          What I’m thinking is, if they don’t “get an answer from us” their medical practice will be at risk when they are audited, according to the AT piece. So when my doc tells me that if I don’t answer, I’m making it likely that he will be audited/penalized on that point–I will just walk out without receiving the care. None of us are going to get out of here alive, but we still get to choose the character of what life remains for us.

          I’ll take my chances with personal liberty….I intend that the ground under my feet will always be the land of the free.


          • Arkindole says:

            Yep; true. I suspect they’ll have a hard time with my guy, or, he will fake them out somehow to avoid the rules. He’s not a liberal at all, and he’s one of the few good endro guys in the area–been around more than 20 years. He’ll do what he wants to do. Always good to play it by ear.
            They can find things out from other agencies anyway. Little birdies tell me that shop owners who deal with BATF are getting some really outrageous requests on register audits–asking for “non-required demographic statistics”–on Fridays; expecting the data first thing on Mondays. Then the thugs say “oh, so sorry, we didn’t expect you to hire someone to do that over the weekend…”


          • stellap says:

            I’m on the same page, Sharon.


          • ctdar says:

            can we plead the Fifth ??


          • ctdar says:

            can we plead the Fifth?


          • stellap says:

            One alternative is to just lie. That way the doctor has his answer, and you still fly below the radar, rather than standing out.


      • Sharon says:

        One of the questions on the page I was handed was “Do you feel safe in your home?” Let’s just say I blew my top. Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I have to tell the rest of the conversation with the nurse who answered my indignant questions–she understood my point totally, and said many people absolutely refused to even consider answering anything like that. However, she said they had also intercepted several cases of in-home, ongoing abuse by asking the question….apparently some individuals being abused didn’t have the guts to speak up, but when they asked pointblank, they gave the information.

        Well, that’s fine. But that shouldn’t become a justification for the whole thing–which of course, it already has.

        We would like if our doctors say they won’t cooperate, but of course they will, if they want to stay in business. They are already being penalized (financially, in escalating amounts) if there are too many followup visits for illnesses/treatment programs for those who are hospitalized for anything. An attitude of “I won’t cooperate” is NOT going to stop what’s already in place.

        And that of course includes my own plan to refuse to accept treatment under those conditions. Once enough people are “making a stand” someone will be made an example of to intimidate the larger numbers. This is not a game. They are not imposing this in a lawful way. They intend to win. They will do whatever they have to acquire control at all levels. The high school rebel mantra on our part(s) isn’t going to do it–as though this is the same as standing up to the biology teacher who has bad breath and everybody hates anyway.

        These are the same departments that have been buying hollow point bullets by the hundreds of thousands for a couple of years now. They do not intend to lose regardless of what we come back with.


        • Arkindole says:

          That would be 100’s of millions rounds. And, in point of fact, it’s all a less than zero sum game with mutually assured destruction.


    • cajunkelly says:

      Just finished reading this over at PJM myself Sharon.

      I think my response will initially be;
      I realize this is a mandate for you to ask these questions.
      It is not yet a mandate for me to answer them, or to answer them honestly, so

      You have any problems with me lying?

      Or I might ask with a smirk; don’t you want to know if I wash my hands after wiping my arse with my bare left hand?

      Regarding diabetes;
      I have GEHA (government insurance) and was notified 2 weeks ago that a new “preventive” program is beginning. If you are a diabetic (we are not) there are certain tests you “should” get every quarter. If their records indicate that you have not gotten these tests “their nurse” will likely contact you (or as the pamphlet says “reach out to you”) with a “gentle reminder”.
      The article states these new steps are to comply with ACA.

      Being the radical that I proudly am, *if* “their nurse” were to contact me, I would immeidately request/require their legal/medical qualifications to “gently remind” me of anything regarding MY health/healthcare decisions. I would require those qualifications IN WRITING before any further communications are allowed.

      Or, I might just summarily hang up on ’em. (smirk) Depends on my mood at the moment.

      Why? Simply because I will not go gently into the coming dark night.

      Sharon, great idea about printing out information such as this.


  4. Sharon says:

    This bit from PJM is good info, and specific. I want to have it available to give to our kids, our peers (old people) and their children to provide specific insight into all the new realities.

    Good information is available, but there’s so much of it to keep track of if it’s going to be useful to me. So I’m setting up a manual system today with a 3 ring binder, printing off one copy of relevant and useful articles/charts, etc. and creating my own stash with an index, so I can add things.

    No matter how much stuff we can store on our computers, unless you’re a software wiz or an IT manager, you’re not going to be able to easily retrieve it. Filing stuff, on a computer or in a file, is pointless unless you can retrieve it. So Ima starting a new manual system.

    It’s imperative that we are be specific about information we pass on, exactly who said it, etc. Old people speaking the truth about reality today can very easily be accused of exaggerating or misunderstanding. True thing. We need to be able to say, “Here’s a copy of what I’m talking about.”


    • Arkindole says:

      Very good Idea. My wife’s grandmother did that on a lot of things, and it is absolutely invaluable. I’ve had the problem you’re working on–trying to trace backwards from my father’s father and before. It was all word of mouth on that side. If there was no written documents done (like birth certificates, land deeds, changes in spelling of names[!], etc,), and the elders are gone, it’s lost.


  5. Sentenza says:

    For starters, King said Petraeus told them that the CIA talking points meant for U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s Sept. 16 round robin of five Sunday network news shows, originally contained the information that there was evidence al-Qaeda elements were involved in the attack. These talking points were then altered through “an inter-agency process.”

    I’m shocked.


  6. Sharon says:

    According to (shadowy anonymous blogger) Sorcha Faal the Russian military’s GRU foreign intelligence unit presented a report to Kremlin leadership late last month that said Obama removed one of the United States Navy’s most powerful admirals from his command (in the wake of Benghazi 9/11) specifically because he fears a military coup is being planned against him.

    Even with a grain of salt, it’s an interesting read. Whether there is any credibility to such thoughts or not, I’d sure like to think that teh Dear Leader worries about it.


  7. Hullo, dahlings!

    We just had a fun little adventure.Friend called to say her neighbor had found a dog that looked like a bear. She thought it might be my Bernese. She couldn’t take him in because her dog hates other dogs, and the guy who found him couldn’t keep him for the same reason. So I went over and picked him up, since my dogs love other dogs. Sure enough, he could have been my Glory’s twin. I took him on errands with me but before we got 15 minutes out I got a call that the owner had been found.

    He was a real sweetie…I did bring him in to meet my girls and they got along great. Hoping for play dates in the future!


    • stellap says:

      They are lovely dogs!


    • Sharon says:

      I watched the last rounds of the national dog show out of New York last night. I just admire the owners and the beautiful dogs so much….it seems like the doggies really enjoy all the attention. I can’t imagine what it takes to get them to that point. The speed of the judging process is a little weird to me–there has to be a whole lot of knowledge and experience on the part of the judges, and a whole lot of trust on the part of the dog owners who are showing. It seems to go SO fast when they are actually choosing the last 15-20 finalists.


  8. Sharon says:

    Got light bulbs?

    We do–in all wattages. I started stocking up about 3 years ago. Got a couple of hundred of them in all sizes. They will become part of our estate if we don’t need them before we turn up at room temperature. 👿


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