Monday, April 20, 2015


Yesterday (as most days) I made my pilgrimage to the local hardware store. Our store is a dandy, full of all kinds of tools, gizmos and gadgets to delight the senses. Importantly, it has a full staff of knowledgeable old guys who know where every nut and bolt in the place resides. Seemingly, if you approached any of them with an inquiry about a "thingamabobber", they'd probably know what you were referring to.

"Yeah, buddy, the thingamabobber is a popular item here. Look on aisle 15, left hand side, halfway down about eye level."

These guys are good.

In addition to being a wonderful place to shop, our hardware store is a local gathering place because it has a popcorn popper that runs 16 hours a day. Customers or run-of-the-mill moochers are free to take a bag or two as they wish. Once you shovel the popcorn into the bag, something magical happens. By the time you exit the store, the paper popcorn bag containing your free bounty of corn resembles the paper towels with which you wiped up the drippings from your last do-it-yourself automobile oil change. Yes, folks, this corn is the real deal; and tasty to boot.

Yesterday, while chowing on my free/mooched bag of corn and wandering the aisles of the hardware store, I came upon a product on the shelf that took me back a few decades, reminding me of my father. He spent the better part of his spare time tinkering. I don't recall what specifically he was doing but I DO remember that his hands we're those of a man who wasn't afraid to get his hands dirty. And dirty they were - laden with soil, grease and other such unpleasantries. To remove the grime, he swore by one product and one product only:


And there it was before me on the hardware store shelf. I was so shocked I about spit out a mouthful of corn.

For those of my two readers who are not familiar with this product, here's a picture of what the container looked like when I was a kid:

You'll see on the package that it has a simple message - Cleans Dirty Hands. What it doesn't tell you is how it works. It's comprised of soap and borax. The borax is an abrasive and essentially takes off a layer (or two) of skin and, with it, the dirt and grime. Regardless of how Boraxo accomplishes the task of turning filthy hands into clean ones, it worked. I liked the simplicity of the product and its unabashed honesty. There were no promises of soft skin, pH balancing or a cure for psoriasis. Just clean hands.

Once I fully contemplated that the presence of Boraxo was not a mere mirage, I went ahead and bought a container for myself.

I just hope that it can dissolve popcorn oil.

Readers, enjoy your day.

Friday, April 3, 2015


It wasn't supposed to happen. We were ticked off at the airlines. We weren't going to spend one dime on air travel this year.

Then it happened.

Memories of the Emerald Isle swept through my mind. Of tall pints of Guinness at the end of a long day's hike. Of the beautiful countryside. Of the magnificent coastline.
It wasn't supposed to be like this.

The last time we were there was ten years ago.  I spent two weeks searching; searching in vain. I could never find one.  We walked from Killarney along the circular Kerry Way. Nothing.

I was told that no one had heard of such a thing. It didn't exist in Ireland. But I persisted. Every day brought a new disappointment. We returned to the U.S. I swore I'd never return to Ireland.  I just couldn't face my failure.

But I knew I must. And I will...soon.

I will return to Ireland. This time I will not be denied. I WILL find a pub that serves a corned beef sandwich.

It will happen.

It is my destiny.

Readers, enjoy your day.