Wednesday, September 19, 2018

SLOGGING THROUGH WINTER... Good & bad (Part 169m)

SLOGGING THROUGH WINTER… Good & bad (Part 169m)

When Stan gave me the envelope with the information on his stock pics I just put it on the front seat of the car and pretty much forgot about it. I’d also put the rat poison I’d purchased on the seat and it wasn’t until I saw Hobie walking in the door that I remembered it. When I went to the car to retrieve the poison I saw the envelope and decided to leave it there knowing I’d not have the time to look through it during the day. A little before noon I heard my phone ring, picked it up and heard but one word... “Well?” and immediately recognized Lynda’s voice. I didn’t know how to respond so repeated “Well…” back to her. After a few seconds of silence she, in a voice that had the sound of disappointment to it, asked what I thought. Again, not sure what she was referring to,
 didn’t have a ready response and answered ..."about what?". The only thing that came to mind was the stock choices from Stan and I wondered why she’d be the one calling about them. I don’t remember what my words were but I did convey the idea I was a bit confused about her call. More silence… Finally, I asked, point blank, what was the purpose of her call. That… was not the right thing to say at that moment as she, indignantly, said something along the lines that she couldn’t believe that I didn’t know… and hung up. I was left there with the phone in my hand and shaking my head.

It wasn’t long before the noon siren blew and as soon as I could leave for lunch I did. I headed right for Lynda’s office. I know she saw me walk in but she turned away and started talking with Ruthe. Stan was on the phone so all I could do was stand and wait. When she turned back towards me she, quite noticeably, made sure her legs were together and that her skirt was pulled down as far as she could get it. I got the message… loud and clear, that she was mad at me. Now I had to find out why. Stan was still on the phone so I leaned over the rail and gave her the hands up signal and a questioning look. When she turned away again I got a little upset. As soon as she turned back towards her desk I asked, point blank, why she was mad at me and what I’d done. At first I didn’t think she was going to respond. She stood up and walked over to the rail where I was standing. In a voice as sharp as I’d ever heard from her she ’spit’ out to me that she couldn’t believe that I was “that kind of person”. I definitely remember standing there shaking my head and thinking I was in the wrong place. I’d been confused with the telephone conversation but this little ‘ad-on’ was over the top. I don’t remember exactly but I might’ve put my hand over my face in disbelief. ”What kind of person?” was what I finally responded to her. I’d like to believe that hearing me say that shocked her because she didn’t respond. We stood there face to face for a few seconds before Stan broke in and suggested we all go across the street to Michael’s for lunch. Neither of us wanted to but he wouldn’t take “No” for an answer.

Looking back at the situation lo these many years later it really is pretty funny. As I was to find out Stan had picked up on the fact that something had been bothering Lynda and when I walked in he pretty recognized that it somehow had to do with me. Thankfully, he didn’t make a big deal out of it. He waited until Lynda and I’d ordered and got up and walked out the door, paying the bill on his way. That left the two of us, and me especially, with nothing to say. Once the food was served (… not that you need to know but I think I had a turkey club sandwich) Lynda started in by saying that she couldn’t believe I was so ungrateful. I know I reacted to that kind of sharply but it was enough to get across to her that I really had no idea what she was upset about. I’d not ever spoken to her in that manner so, somewhat meekly, she asked if I’d opened the envelope… telling me that  she knew Stan had given it to me the night before. My answer was simple… “No.” Then, more silence before she made a meek apology saying that she’d assumed that I’d seen the contents. Now it was Lynda who was back-tracking.

I remember starting to eat my sandwich and she soon followed with another apology and saying that the whole situation would be explained when I opened the envelope which had become the focal point of the misunderstanding. I asked what was so important about a number of Standard and Poor’s research papers. She just smiled back in the old familiar Lynda way that I was used to, not giving me any clues. When we were leaving she asked if I’d do her a favor and call after looking at the contents of the envelope. By then I knew my next stop was out to my car. The envelope, a standard brown manila one, was right where I’d put it the night before. I climbed in behind the steering wheel, grabbed it and tore the end right off. Peering in to it  the only thing I saw were some of the familiar S & P stock reports. A little upset, I was about to lay the packet back on the seat when I saw something bright white mixed in with them. I pulled everything out and saw my initials on the outside of a white greeting card sized envelope. I wasted no time in getting that open and what I saw literally took my breath away.

There were two glossy color photos of a female lying on a couch. She was wearing a red and white flowered dress with her panties showing. In the first one she was lying face down and appeared to be asleep. I could barely see her head but saw her hair was blonde. There was no doubt that it was Lynda. I’d  probably taken over 100 pictures of Elle in her panties but, unless she was in a very good mood or wanting something from me she was always after me to “Hurry up!” so there was little to no ’staging’ of the scene. I loved the first one as it appeared that Lynda had fallen asleep. I only had one or two of Elle liked that and I really liked the ‘natural’ look of them. The second one was of the look I always craved… a butt shot with the view of the crotch unobstructed. There were only a few lingerie manufacturers who made large crotches and in looking at the picture knew the panties had to have been made by one of them. While sitting there almost drooling I had already started to come up with a way to start a dialog with Lynda about who made these panties. I don’t know how long I sat there just staring at the pictures. In fact, I don’t remember what brought me back to reality. 

Out of the car, I actually had a brief thought of going back over to see Lynda. Thankfully, it didn’t last long. I had to wait for the right moment with no one around to call over to her. Even then it was difficult. I was trying to thank her while at almost the same time she was insisting that she was the one thanking me. We ended up laughing about it. As I was about to hang up the phone I heard her say something I didn’t fully grasp… “Life is full of surprises…”. It was so open ended that I pretty much dismissed it and tried to concentrate on finishing out the work day.

To be continued...

Monday, September 17, 2018

SLOGGING THROUGH WINTER... Good & bad (Part 169l)

SLOGGING THROUGH WINTER… Good & bad (Part 169l)

Being Winter, Elle preferred that I go to the 10am church service with her and the kids. However, on this Sunday I wanted to be alone in my time at church. My sleep had been restless with the recurring thought that the deceased driver was doing exactly what he’d had in mind to do with his life… be a professional race car driver. I knew there would be comments that his was a wasted life. Racing, all kinds, had been a part of my life and even though some of it had been dangerous, it had never gotten to my psyche. Accidents were going to happen to the other guy, not me. In my auto racing days, I’d be a little nervous while waiting to go out on the track but once there, no problem. However, the risk level of it to me was far below that of where the accident took place… 60 miles per hour on a 1/4 mile track versus 180 miles per hour on a two 1/2 mile track. In church, I chose to do my own praying and didn’t follow the prayer book. As I remember it, I was praying that I could be strong enough to not let the unfortunate things that happen to others make me question their desires and ambitions. As far as the rest of the day, I have no record or memory of what I did.

Bret was waiting for me at work the next morning. He knew Cliffy a little bit from when he raced at the local track. He also knew Cliffy had gone to Daytona to be in the pit crew for a local driver but hadn’t been able to get any information on how the driver did. He was disappointed to hear that he hadn’t qualified. Then I told him that he’d been on the pit crew of the driver that had died. I remember his eyes bugging out of his head as soon as I told him. I remember him asking if I was sure and told him that Cliffy’s wife had told me herself. He was still shaking his head as we walked to our desks. Once there, he told me that he’d actually gotten that driver’s autograph when he’d raced at the local track the year before. I didn’t really want to talk about the accident itself but Bret wouldn’t let it go. Finally, I was ‘rescued’ by Joanie telling me I had a phone call. It was Lynda from the stock broker’s office.

I’d not talked with her since she got out of my car when we met out at the bowling alley. In her desire to do something for me as a “Thank you…” for getting her home safely on New Year’s Eve she’d agreed to give me a couple of pictures of her in panties that had been taken by her husband. However, nothing was mentioned about when she’d give them to me. I wasn’t about to ask so, for me, the safest thing was to just wait… and I’d consciously chosen not to go over her office hoping to hear from her. After hearing the familiar voice I held my breath. The call was to tell me that her boss, Stan, who was my broker, had some information sheets for me to look at. I really wasn’t in the mood, or position, to buy any more stock so just told her I’d try to get over there later. I remember her asking if everything was OK. I didn’t want to go into the racing thing so just told her it was.

The next surprise was in having Hobie come over to my desk to ask about the racing accident. He had a newspaper in his hands and asked if I’d seen the pictures of it. Hobie had never shown any interest in car racing so this was from ‘out of the blue’. He went on that he’d seen it on the late night TV news. The fact that it had been on the regular TV news had also been a surprise when I’d seen it the night before. Bret heard him ask me about it and came over as well. In my mind I started going over just how I was going to ‘escape’ again from what appeared to be a never ending reminder. Neither of us had seen the newspaper pictures and I wasn’t sure I wanted to. But, Bret did.

To get out of that I told Hobie I wanted to show him what Mae and I had accomplished on Saturday in the cellar and what we planned to do going forward. On our way I remember Hobie saying that at one time his son wanted to get involved with race cars and now, after seeing those pictures, was glad he got involved with girls. I had to smile in hearing that. He didn’t give the response I was hoping for when he saw the results of our efforts. I mentioned the incident with what I thought might’ve been a rat getting into the main part of the cellar. I’d already told Mike to get more rat traps but Hobie told me to go see the owners of the old time hardware/general store. It was run by an old line family with ‘roots’ in the town almost as deep as mine. The patriarch supposedly had a homemade rat poison that Hobie said had worked for the bank back a number of years prior. It sounded pretty good to me and I figured I could stop there when I went to pick up the information on the stocks that Stan had picked out for me as the store was almost next door to the brokerage.

Thankfully, my day was fairly busy with customers. Even though I hadn’t done anything physical all day I found myself feeling tired by the time 5pm came. When I went to pull out of the parking lot there was policeman directing traffic who wouldn’t let any one make a left turn. I tried to find the reason but he wouldn’t have any of it so I just turned right. I had to take a fairly circuitous route to be on my way home. However, it did take me past the hardware store so, with them still open, I stopped. I knew the youngest son, Tom, from the Chamber of Commerce meetings. When I told him what I was looking for he laughed and said most of the things that made up his grandfather's concoction had been outlawed. My first thought was that there was no wonder the rats had been eliminated. He did offer up a new kind but couldn’t attest to the effectiveness of it but I took it with me anyway. Back outside I ran into Stan, my broker. The brokerage rented space in the parking lot owned by the hardware store and he was on the way to his car. When he saw me he told me about the group of stocks he wanted me to look over. I really wasn’t interested at that moment but, wanting to stay on his ‘right side’, agreed to walk back to the office to get them. I thanked him and told him I’d be in touch if anything interested me.All I wanted was to be on my way home.

Elle had some news for me when I walked in. Beth had called in the morning and told her she and Cliffy were on their way home. But there was a caveat to that. They expected to be home sometime late Tuesday night but would only be there to get some sleep. They would be leaving first thing in the morning to attend the funeral for the race car driver. It was being held on Wednesday evening near Boston. After telling me, Elle expressed disbelief that Beth wouldn’t make at least a quick stop to see her baby. I’d questioned how she could’ve taken off for Florida in the first place. But the baby seemed to have thrived under Elle’s care and hadn’t been a problem at all… well… except for one thing.

To be continued...

Saturday, September 15, 2018

SLOGGING THROUGH WINTER... Good & bad (Part 169k)

SLOGGING THROUGH WINTER… Good & bad (Part 169k)

We worked clearing a path so the desk I’d found could be moved. We’d agreed to quit when we heard the noon siren. I’d hoped that we could’ve completed it but was satisfied with what we’d been able to do. I led the women upstairs and let them out but returned to the cellar. I’d come up with a thought about the source of the sound that Meg had heard and wanted to check it out. The bank was located within about 150 feet from the river. All the businesses located in that area had been plagued with a rat infestation. The bank had numerous traps set in the area where the trash was stored and, according to Mike, the messenger/custodian had pretty much eradicated the problem. There were two sets of doors that led into the storage area where we were working… one from the old coal bin and the other from the furnace/boiler room.  Normally, they were only open for a short period of time each day. However, when Bret and I had taken the crates of old ledger cards into the boiler room we’d left one open and the three of us had just done the same thing. My guess was that a rat had darted into the storage area and that was the sound that had scared Meg. I immediately made a note for Mike to lay out traps in the storage area to eliminate that from being a problem when an employee had to go in there for some reason or another. That done, it was off to home and lunch.

Other than for the fact that schools had been closed for a few days, the kids didn’t  like the snow that had fallen. It was too powdery to do anything with so they had elected to stay inside and annoy Elle. She hadn’t done the grocery shopping for the week so assigned me the chore. Thankfully, there wasn’t too much on the list as it was my hope that I’d be back in time to watch my favorite sports TV show… Wide World of Sports. The co-creator and director of the show was a fraternity brother so I had a somewhat vested interest in watching it. I’d had a chance meeting with him a number of years prior and remember him asking what I’d like to see on the show. When I told him “auto racing” he told me they would be working some in in upcoming years. With the Daytona races going on and the biggest stock car race of the year I was looking forward to seeing how much, if any, of it they’d cover this year. I was excited that I was back in time to see the bulk of the show and after unloading the groceries went into the den to watch it. I turned the TV on and stood there waiting for it to warm up before taking my seat. We didn’t have remotes in those days so I had to stand there to change the channel to ABC. I was glad the program was on it as it was the one with the best reception for where we lived. I was about to take a seat when I heard the unmistakable voice of Chris Economaki, a sometime commentator for the show when they covered any kind motorsports. I didn’t particularly like his style as he was always ‘hyping’ the action even when there was nothing to hype. But I sensed something different. It was like his voice was muted. I stopped before getting to my recliner and took a look at the screen. What I saw took my breath away. It was the picture of a race car with the whole front end missing… and I mean everything, including the windshield. Then the camera did a close up of it and I could see inside the car and the driver still strapped into his seat. Then I realized Economaki was narrating the tape of the accident. I was still standing when I saw another race car heading straight for the open end of the wrecked car. I remember screaming “NO!”

I really can’t tell you what I did them. The next thing I remember was Elle lightly slapping my face. I was on the floor and felt like I was going to throw up. The TV was still on and there was some other kind of sport on the screen. I asked Elle if she’d changed the channel and she shook her head as if to say “No”. But, she wanted to know what had happened and why I’d screamed. I was trying not to vomit but it was no use. I remember half crawling to the bathroom which was only about 10 to 12 feet away.

After washing my face I made my way into the living room and the couch. Elle had shooed the kids down to the basement for which I was thankful. She sat next to me looking very concerned as I tried to explain… and it was hard. I’d only seen a few seconds of the clip and really hadn’t heard much of what Economaki had been saying. I had no idea who the driver of the wrecked car was but did tell her it was the most violent crash I’d ever seen. I told her that when I saw the other car headed right for the open end of the wrecked car was when I screamed. I told her there was no way the driver could’ve lived after that and in realizing it I just ‘lost it’. We were still sitting there when the phone rang. It was Bret. I could hear his voice was animated and before I could ask if everything was OK he asked if I’d seen the Daytona crash on TV. When I said I had I forget just what he said but he somehow managed to give me the name of the driver… Don Mactavish… the guy who Cliffy was helping in the pits. I know we talked for a few minutes but I have no idea what was said. The phone was in the hall and when I hung up I found I couldn’t stand without holding on to the wall. Elle helped me to the kitchen table but when she fed the kids I couldn’t eat. I still had the vision of the car spinning around like a top after hitting the wall, stopping with the driver fully exposed and then getting hit by the other car.

I’ve thought about this wreck many, many times since that night and it always hits me hard. I did not know the driver although I knew who he was. Cliffy had raced against him a few times and he was considered to be a future star. In fact, the ride in the car was his first try in what was called the Sportsman Division at that time (now the Infinity Series), the then next to the top NASCAR level. The car was owned by a very influential man with deep roots in racing and the fact that he’d chosen Mactavish to drive his car was a ‘feather in his cap’. Like after so many fatal racing accidents, changes were made to try and prevent similar things from happening. This one really shouldn’t have happened. The track had a couple of steel “Armco” barriers covering an opening in the concrete wall so there could be access to the infield (pic 1, circled). Mactavish got spun into it, hitting at the most vulnerable spot. It gave way allowing the car to hit the butt end of the concrete wall and, at approximately 180 miles per hour, it ripped the whole front of the car right off. (pics 2 & 3) The motor ended up 100 yards down the track. Following the crash the opening was filled with concrete, too late for Mactavish. NASCAR eventually mandated upgrades in the roll cages for better protection of drivers (pic 4)

Beth usually called to check in on the baby sometime after 6pm but on this night it came and went with no contact from her. We were both pretty somber and had set the kids up to play by themselves. There wasn’t much to say. Elle finally called Beth’s sister to ask if she’d heard anything and was able to get some information. Because of the death the state police were involved and all NASCAR personnel had been gathered at their offices but that was all she knew. I think it was around 10pm or so when the phone rang. Elle answered and was only on for a short time. She told me she had no news other than what Beth’s sister had shared. I was too worked up to go to bed so went into the den and turned on the TV. I had no idea what as on but didn’t care. Elle had no interest so headed upstairs. I fell asleep and when I woke up it was deja-vu… the news was on and there was the crash on the screen. At first I was going to jump up and turn it off but just sat there and saw the whole thing again. Since I knew the end result it was much easier to watch. If there was one thing to take away from this version, the announcer did say that the driver, Mactavish, was already dead when the other car hit him. Since I’d seen the original version I’d been thinking of what it might’ve been like to see a car coming at me, unprotected, at 180+ miles per hour. Strangely, I was able to go to bed and get some sleep after seeing it again.

To be continued…

Thursday, September 13, 2018

SLOGGING THROUGH WINTER... Good & bad (Part 169j)

SLOGGING THROUGH WINTER… Good & bad (Part 169j)

Discretion being the better part of valor, I decided not to mention that I’d be working with a lone female when I told Elle. Because it was Winter I didn’t have as many chores to do on the weekends and with only spending only a few hours I’d still be able to get everything done. Beth would call twice daily to check up on the baby. The Friday night before my first day working with Mae I was home when Beth called. I didn’t know much about the whole deal of both she and Cliffy going to Daytona and took advantage of the call to get some more information. I knew she was there as a scorer for the companion race to the Daytona 500 which would be run the following day. However, I didn’t know anything about Cliffy’s participation as a pit crew member for one of the cars in the race she'd be scoring. She told me the car he was supposed to be with didn’t qualify but he’d been asked to fill in with another team. I asked who the driver was and recognized the name as being one of the guys we’d competed against at the championships. Beth said it was good in that it had Cliffy in with some people who had “connections” in racing. Hearing that made me excited and couldn’t wait to hear all about it when they returned.

When I pulled into the bank parking lot there was a 1957 Chevy station wagon just like the one I’d had after I quit with racing horses. It brought back some memories but not for long. I was at the door of the bank when I saw a thin young woman get out of the car. I didn’t recognize her and was about to ask if I could assist her. Before I did I saw Mae get out the driver’s door. With a big smile she bellowed out “Meet Meg, my sister!”. That news disturbed me because I’d told her Hobie had said "No." to her working. I guess it showed on my face because Mae promptly added “… you don’t have to pay her…” . That took away a bit of the concern I had but in looking at the way the woman was dressed… under her coat she was wearing what was obviously a uniform…  I wondered why she was there.

Inside, while taking our coats off, Mae, talking a mile a minute, sort of explained. On Friday and Saturday nights Meg worked as a short order cook at a well known all night diner from midnight to 8am. Her car was in for repairs so Mae was her “wheel’s”. It would’ve taken too long to get her home and then to be back at the bank by 9am so she rode along. With that established we made our way to the cellar. I brought Mae ‘up to speed’ as far as what Bret and I’d already done and suggested we continue on with that. It wasn’t too labor intensive but it did entail a lot of bending over and squatting down. As Mae and I dug into a couple of boxes/crates Meg stood there and observed. We were looking for the really old hand written ledger cards and when Meg asked if she could join in just to have something to do I figured it wouldn’t hurt… three sets of eyes and six hands would make the work go faster. I’d really not taken a close look at what Meg was wearing when she took off her coat as I was busy locking the doors. I’d led the way to the cellar and then into the storage area. So, when Meg bent over to look in a crate to get an idea of what it was she was looking for I got a very pleasant surprise.

Meg looked to be in her mid 20’s with dirty blonde hair and a nice smile. She was obviously better looking than Mae (and thinner) and the white uniform made for a potential VPL. The second she bent over to see what was in the crate I got my ‘treat’… both a leg elastic and crotch line… a two-fer. I know I was mesmerized for longer than I should’ve been and had to snap out of my ‘trance’ when Mae asked if she should get another crate. Because the light down there was so poor I was pretty sure she didn’t see me blushing. We worked that way, with the boxed material on the floor, for a couple of crates before Mae suggested that we bring a bunch of them out and stack them up. That way we wouldn’t have to bend over so much. It was a good suggestion but it also deprived me of my enjoyment.

After a while we needed a break and I suggested that Meg go across the street to the luncheonette to get coffee and a couple of buns. (Bagels hadn’t swamped the market yet) While she was gone I walked Mae to the end of the storage area and showed her the desk that Bret and I’d found. Her immediate reaction was to suggest we try to get it out and to use that to put the crates on as we perused the material in them. I took a close look and could see it was a big, and probably, heavy desk. I countered with the idea of trying to clear things stacked around it away so it could be moved. I was thinking of Ward, the cleaning service owner and his crew, to do the actual moving. Meg returned with the coffee and buns as well as a bag marked “Grant’s” on it. Grant’s was an upscale 5 & 10 cent store that was right next door to the bank. It was Mae who asked what she had in the bag. When she reached in and pulled out a pair of khaki pants and a long sleeved top she announced that now she was ready to go to work. Mae offered to take her upstairs to the ladies bathroom and she quickly nixed that idea and said she’d just change in the adjacent storage area. I thought that was pretty bold and wished I could come up with a way to maneuver myself to get a glimpse of her doing the switch… but knew it wasn’t possible. She headed in that direction and Mae and I started back for the where the desk was located. The next thing we heard was a scream from the area where Meg had headed.

Mae had led the way back towards the desk with me following behind. Upon hearing the scream I immediately turned around. I could see Meg standing in the open area we’d just left. As I approached I could see her holding her newly purchased top up against her chest… but what really caught my attention was that I could see most of her panties. Mae walked up to her to try and calm her down and to block my view. But, in the few seconds I had I could see they were white bikinis but the light was too dim to tell if they were cotton or nylon. As interesting as that was I really wanted to know what had her so scared. Mae continued to try to calm her down and a couple of strong shakes of her upper body got her attention and elicited a weak “There’s something in there!” pointing to the middle of the three storage areas. I took the few steps to get over there and all I could see was more of the same jumble of boxes/crates, discarded furniture and plain old junk. If there really was something alive in there there was no way to see it so I turned back towards Mae and Meg. That was when Mae asked me to pick up the new pants that Meg had just bought that were laying on the floor. I picked them up and took them to the two women noting Mae still trying to cover Meg as best she could. I really tried not to stare as Mae helped her sister pull the pants up and made a half hearted attempt to look away. It wasn’t until then that I could ‘feel’ the excitement. Meg was no ‘beauty’ but even so, had a decent body and gave me another “panty memory”.

To be continued…

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

SLOGGING THROUGH WINTER... Good & bad (Part 169i)

SLOGGING THROUGH WINTER… Good & bad (Part 169i)

As I had expected, during the night the wind had blown snow into the driveway. I’d gotten used to having my neighbor, John, come over with his tractor to clear it away after it snowed. But, it had stopped before dark and when I went out to my car to go to work I found a drift about knee high right at the bottom. Standing there, looking at it, I knew I wanted no part of shoveling it. Sometimes, when weighing choices, you make the wrong one. I decided to try and blast my way through it with the car. The area around where it was parked was basically clear as the wind had blown most of the snow on out into the farm field. I had no trouble moving my car and turning it to make the run down the driveway to the road. I don’t know how fast I was going when I hit the snow but I do know I didn’t make it out to the road. Stopped, I sat there and called myself a whole bunch of uncomplimentary names… and then had to fight to get the door open. Not a good way to start the day!

It was about 10am by the time I finally got to the bank and found everyone had made it in to work. But it seemed as if the customers were staying away. I checked the transaction register for the previous day and found we’d only processed around 60 transactions. With snow it was to be expected that it would be slow but on this day with the sun out and no wind there were still very few customers. I’d expected to go to a Chamber of Commerce luncheon meeting but it had been cancelled the day before. That meant I had about three hours with nothing on my schedule. I was still peeved that Hobie had taken no action on my request to have Mae work with me on the cellar re-organization/clean up. I’d had Bret help me move some things around one late afternoon and it came to me that, since business was slow, I might get Bret to help me again. When he returned from lunch I approached him and after a ‘hard sell’ got him to join me. We’d previously cleared a path though all the stuff that took us to the front of the building. That had given us access to some old wooden file cabinets. I’d opened one to find copper plates mounted on wood that had been used to print pictures. We hadn’t time that day to check on the others so that was the first step. I fully expected to find more of the same but was disappointed. The one Bret opened was filled with papers that had been randomly stuffed in the drawers and he couldn't figure out what they were. My first one held a few leather bound legal size books that I thought might've been minutes from Board of Trustees meetings. In both cases it seemed obvious that whoever had filled the cabinets had not organized the contents. We tackled the other two and in one found what appeared to be a “Day Timer” for the period… the late 1800’s, along with some personal items. It was strange, like we’d opened a time capsule. Intrigued, we wasted time trying to read some of what had been written but the hand writing of those times was quite ‘flowery’ and we struggled a bit with it. When I heard Hobie’s voice behind me it made me jump.

After showing him some of our discoveries he started digging in to some of the boxes. What I found particularly interesting was that back in days around the turn of the century they used wooden crates and there were a lot of them. Hobie had us carry a few out to better light and we all took a look. Mostly hand written ledger cards, Hobie decided that because of their age (pre 1900) there was no point in keeping them. That was a major step in the process. When the bank was constructed it had been heated with coal. When they converted to oil heat it was too costly to remove the fire box of the furnace. Since the bank always had a lot of sensitive paperwork as trash they would incinerate it in the old furnace. So, in just the short period of time Hobie had been down there with us we had a clear direction as to what to do with some of the stuff that was there… burn it!

Hobie took one of the hand written journals upstairs when he left and Bret and I started looking for boxes with hand written ledger cards. We actually worked up a sweat lugging them to the furnace area for Mike, the messenger/custodian, to burn. I don’t remember how long we stayed down there but when we headed back up to the banking floor Lorie was giving the ‘word’ that they we all “in proof”. I remember that we’d cleared a space of about 10 feet square. We’d also located a very old desk in the far corner of the space we were working in and had set a goal of getting to it the next time we were down there. We’d decided that we needed a table to work from as both of our backs were hurting from bending over. I was pleased with the unexpected progress that had been made and enjoyed working, shoulder to shoulder, with Bret.

I honestly thought that after Hobie saw what the cellar project was all about he’d give me the ‘OK’ to continue on with it with Mae as my helper. He’d already asked me about Bret and his availability after work and had been told about his wife working and having to be home to watch his kids. I was puzzled about why a decision was being delayed. With the results of the day as an impetus I finally made the decision to ‘push’ and ask him again. I certainly didn’t look like a bank officer as I walked into his area what with my tie off, sleeves rolled up and dirt on my shirt. I brought him up to date telling him we’d moved about a dozen crates filled with ledger cards into the furnace room ready to be burned. He seemed to look pleased so I pressed on telling him I was excited to see how much progress we’d made in such a short time. I tried to ‘slide’ into the request to continue on but by using Mae as my helper. The expression on his faced changed immediately and then said he thought the work was too physical for a woman. I’ve always had a short fuse when hearing something stupid… and his reason was… stupid. I can’t do justice to Mae in describing her. I’ve tried in earlier posts but the thing that had impressed me the most was she was not someone to be labeled. In her mind she could do anything and all she wanted was a chance to prove it. On everything that had been thrown her way since she was hired she’d excelled at and I wanted to take advantage of that desire. So… I stuck my neck out and proceeded to ‘sell’ her to Hobie. Long story short… he wanted to talk with her, one on one, before he’d give his approval. As I’ve posted before, “little victories” was what I was after and this was one of them. By the time I left for home not only had Hobie spoken with Mae but he'd given me the approval to pay her. However, it was not to be at an overtime rate when she stayed after the bank closed. For when we were to work on a Saturday it was flat rate but I couldn’t hire her sister. I didn’t argue with him even though I knew it would upset Mae. When I told her the next morning I thought she might decide not to do it but by noon she agreed and we decided to start on Saturday. The problem for me was in how to tell Elle that I’d be at work for a couple of upcoming Saturday mornings.

To be continued…

Sunday, September 09, 2018

SLOGGING THROUGH WINTER... Good & bad (Part 169h)

SLOGGING THROUGH WINTER… Good & bad (Part 169h)

The good feeling was soon to disappear. Walking up to the house I noticed that the only light was coming from the kitchen. A pet peeve of mine was that the kids would leave lights on when leaving a room knowing they weren’t going to return. That was especially so when they were called for supper, leaving the den and living room lights on. An optimistic thought was that Elle was finally getting through to them. Once in the kitchen I saw all of them, the baby included, all gathered down by the oven and stove. What was even more of an eye opener was that they all were wearing their coats. Before I could ask why Elle was all over me wanting to know why I hadn’t called her back. I didn’t know what she meant and with a puzzled look asked what she was talking about. She proceeded to tell me she’d called twice and left a message both times. It took me a few seconds to think about that and then asked when she’d called. She couldn’t remember the exact times but it came to me that Joanie had left work early so it could’ve been anyone who answered. But, with a little thought I remembered that for part of the afternoon Bret and I had been  outside shoveling the sidewalk. I briefly explained and then asked why she’d called. Plain and simple… they had no heat.

That was a surprise as fuel oil had been delivered just a day or two earlier. I looked at my watch and it wasn’t quite 6pm, still a chance to get to the company that sold the oil and to get a service call in. They were located in the same town as the bank and as they were good customers I decided to do business with them. That… and the fact that with a delivery of 500 gallons they would take 3 cents a gallon off the price. $20 was a lot of money back then. But there was no answer. I knew the names of both the owners and tried to get a phone number for them but without success. I knew nothing about oil burners but went to the basement anyway. I knew how to start the burner when it was time to turn on the heat after the Summer was over so tried that but got nothing for my effort. Thinking about the situation for a few seconds,it only took a short time to come up with plan ”B”.

It was to call the company that provided oil for the church. The owner and his family were members of the congregation and they had been very patient when there was no money to pay for the oil. The owner, Fred, would periodically pressure me to do my personal business with him. So, the call was to him. Of course, the first question was to ask if I had fuel oil. When I told him that it had only been a day since it was delivered he ‘snorted’ which sort of surprised me. “It’s the filter!” he bellowed out. I didn’t really grasp what he meant and questioned him on it. He explained that when the tank was filled it had probably stirred up the sludge in the bottom of the tank and that was clogging the filter. I asked if he could come out and he gave me a rather terse “No” as an answer. He did me to call his son, Arnie, who’d been working for him for a while doing service work. Both Elle and I knew him and some of his ‘escapades’. (I could write a whole post about him.) It was not a comforting thought to think he’d be the one to fix whatever was wrong. Somewhat reluctantly I made the call only to hear a female voice answer. Elle had casually mentioned that Arnie had married one of the teachers she’d subbed for and the voice reminded me of it. But, Arnie was out snowmobiling. She seemed nice and wanted to know why I’d called. I explained and she, trying to be helpful, said the service truck was outside and if I could come over in about 20 minutes she’d try to find the thing I needed. I didn’t have much choice so, after grabbing a bite to eat headed for Arnie’s house.

It took but five minutes to get there. Even though I’d briefly met her I didn’t really remember what she looked like. When she opened the door I saw a cute young woman in a bathrobe looking like she’d just stepped out of the shower. She introduced herself as Margie and proceeded to praise Elle for the time she’d taken over her class. That was nice to hear but I had a wife, three kids and a baby who were at home and were cold and needed a filter. I wasn’t bold enough to ‘push’ her on it more than to offer to go out to the truck and to try and find the filters. She said she had a good idea where they were kept and told me it’d only take her a minute. She slipped on a ski jacket and disappeared out the door. I was left standing in the middle of the kitchen so, with nothing to do, took a look around. When I saw some denim pants lying over a chair I also noticed some articles of white clothing draped over the back of another one. I was only a few steps away so moved over. I saw the seat of the pants appeared to be damp. Moving closer I could see they were lined with flannel. Elle had those kind of pants for our older girls to wear when playing outside so I knew what they were for. Standing there I became convinced the larger white article was what Elle called “Long Johns” which she would wear under her pants when ice skating to keep her legs warm. Next to them was something much smaller and I turned my attention to it. It didn’t take long to realize they were panties. I wanted to pick them up to inspect them but had no idea how long Margie would be so just stood there staring at them. Finally, unable to resist the temptation, I reached down to feel them. They were cotton and were damp… which excited me. I only touched them for a second or two but as I let them drop back I noticed there seemed to be some pink in the waist and leg elastics. I knew I’d seen some like it but couldn’t remember where, which annoyed me. I was going to try and lift them up with the idea of checking the label to see who made them. Just as my hand started down I heard the turning of the door handle and immediately felt my face flush. Margie walked in with some small boxes and said she hoped one would be the one I needed. As I moved forward to take them from her I was hoping she wouldn’t notice the color of my cheeks. As I thanked her I told her I’d return the unused ones to the office and then pay Arnie. To make the visit a little more personal I asked when he’d gotten the snowmobile. That brought a big smile to her round face and she said it belonged to her father and that she was only letting Arnie “borrow” it. She said she’d been out riding all afternoon, taking advantage of the snow while it was around. She also said she’d stayed out a bit too long and “paid the price for it”. Not knowing what she meant I headed out the door and for home.

On the trip home I concentrated on just how I was going to make the change of filters. Since I’d never done it wasn’t sure just what I’d find when I got back to the basement. After assessing the situation I collected to tools I thought I’d need as well as one of Elle’s pots just to make sure no fuel oil spilled onto the concrete floor. Every time I went to the basement at Elle’s house I could smell fuel oil from a spill from  back when we were still in college and I didn’t want that. It was a relatively easy process. One of the filters was the exact one I needed. I managed to do the job without making a mess. The filter I removed looked like it was coated with tar which explained why no oil was making it to the "gun". My only problem was in getting it to start and to stay running. By the time I did the temperature in the house had dropped to below 60 degrees. We let the kids stay up later than usual hoping to get the house a little warmer. When they did go to bed they were wearing their coats. I stayed up until about 1am and the temperature had risen to around 65 degrees. I took their coats off before going to bed myself. I was wide awake and my thoughts drifted back to Margie and the damp clothes I seen, wondering how they'd gotten wet. Her statement about staying out too long got me to fantasize that maybe she'd wet herself. It was with that thought That I finally fell asleep.

To be continued...

Friday, September 07, 2018

SLOGGING THROUGH WINTER... Good & bad (Part 169g)

SLOGGING THROUGH WINTER… Good & bad (Part 169g)

Looking around I could see most of the main floor staff had made it in. The big question was how long was the snow going to last. There hadn’t been much about the snow on the radio on my way to work so decided to call my father (the amateur weather man). He usually was pretty good about predictions and I asked why he hadn’t called the night before. He said that as of 10pm the storm was just a New England event and he went to bed. I asked if he’d gleaned any information on how long it would last and I definitely remember him laughing. “When it’s over…” was his answer. The reason I wanted to know was if it was going to be a prolonged event I could get some of the people out early. While on the phone Mae came up to my desk with a check to be signed and I asked  how her trip in had been. I always smile when writing about Mae… she was sort of unflappable, not letting little problems interfere with the important stuff. In typical Mae style she answered, “Nothing to it.” and was on her way back to her customer. If I could take her at her word it was more of a local event than a major ‘happening’. All I could do was to wait.

With the snow I’d forgotten about J J and the mortgage customer who was to be Elle’s and my new neighbor. Normally, house “closings” were handled at the attorney’s office. However, in the previous snow storm the roof over the porch at Gee's office (it was a locally historic house that had been restored) had collapsed. The repairs were still underway so the bank was where they took place. I saw J J come around the corner followed by a tall, gaunt, serious looking man. My first impression was “Oh no!”. Andy, the real estate agent, had given me a brief background on him and J J had let me peruse the application form, neither of which would’ve given me an indication of what he looked like. As I looked at him I was trying to remember his date of birth from the application but couldn’t. A quick guess was that he was about 70 years old. J J introduced us and I, trying to lighten our meeting up, said something really inane… “Welcome to the neighborhood…”. All I got in return was a stare from him… not good. J J tried to salvage the situation by giving me the information that I would’ve asked for and said that it would be a while until they would be starting to do anything with the house to which the man nodded affirmatively. He did finally speak saying he wanted to get back to the city before the roads got too bad. That was when I asked if it had been snowing in the city and he gave me a short answer… “No…” and turned to walk out the gate. As I watched him say his farewell to J J, I couldn’t help but wonder what Elle, I and the kids were going to be in for when he and his family did finally show up.

A by-product of the previous snow storm had been a request from some of the women to relax the dress code a bit in snowy conditions. We’d already changed it to allow the females to wear ’nice’ pants along with a jacket that covered their backsides but many still preferred to wear skirts or dresses. What they were looking for under these conditions was to wear more casual pants and sweaters in place of a jacket. Hobie and Bert (the president) conferred and agreed to it but subject to a review in the future. (In thinking about it as I write this, I would liken the results to the start of “dress down Friday” which was probably some 10 to 15 years in the future). In any case, The lack of a jacket provided some unexpected VPL’s and DP’s, the most notable being Trish. In the three plus years I’d been working in close proximity to her had only observed a few and none of them were notable. Her trousers were light gray and might’ve been wool and she was wearing a bulky sweater that only went to her waist. The first opportunity I had to really observe her was a bit of an eye opener as the pants were, for her, tight and tight enough to her hips to see the indentation of the leg elastic of her panties. That had me on ‘high alert’ and had me gazing at her backside every chance I got. But, the ’treat’ was the DP. To get three desks in the area we occupied we’d cut the space between desks to the point that it was sometimes hard to be seated in your chair and to be able to reach under the knee hole space to retrieve a dropped item. Bret was away from his desk when I looked towards the work area and saw Trish’s back at an almost horizontal position. Her head was in the knee hole space and when I stood up there it was… a DP with at least two inches of her panties showing as well as a some bare skin above them. If someone had been looking at me they would’ve thought I had a problem as I rushed around the corner of my desk and into Bret’s space. The goal was to see if I could identify the waist elastic of her panties… and I could. They were Shadowline panties, for sure. The new department store in town featured that brand of lingerie. It was like a breakthrough for me after being somewhat frustrated for three plus years. Laura had continued to ‘treat’ me to VPL’s on a fairly regular basis. Primarily choosing to wear pants suits I’d get to see the familiar diamond shape of the crotch line and it told me she was continuing to wear the Sans Soucie panties I’d gotten for her.

It was still snowing at the noon siren and Hobie was the one who made the decision to let the “outliers” who had to drive at least five miles leave early. Laura and Joanie didn’t but they’d walked to work so, with Hobie liking both of them, allowed them to go as well. Joanie was still into dresses and skirts so there hadn’t been much, if any, ‘action’ (peeks, VPL’s or DP’s) there since she’d taken over the receptionist position. But, on this day she wore high boots and when it was time to go home I was in the right position to witness her struggle to get them pulled up. Withe her wearing a skirt I didn’t get the same panty confirmation that Laura had provided but I did get to see a fair amount of white as she pulled each of her boots up.

The snow had stopped around mid afternoon. Because it was so light and with the high winds making drifts there was no way to know how much snow (in inches) had fallen, but it was substantial. Chaz had returned during his lunch break (he worked for the phone company) to make a quick pass through the parking lot to plow it. The problem with that, at least for those bank officers who parked there, was we ended up having to shovel our cars out to go home. That was when I was really glad I‘d not worn my suit. The trip home was a lot better than in the last storm as the road crews had kept up with the drifts. When I drove past Davo’s house I couldn’t help but remember the night I’d spent there in the last storm. His girlfriend, Leigh, was a ‘piece of work’; alcoholic with little modesty, and had put on quite a ‘performance’ while I was there. With Davo being a big racing fan I knew I’d see more of her during the upcoming season. That thought reminded me that there would be a baby at home when I got there as we were caring for Cliffy and Beth’s new son. Our neighbor, John (the farmer) had cleared the driveway and I was able to pull up to the garage. What had started out to be a bad day had turned out to be not so bad after all… at least to that point.

To be continued…