True stories with a twist!

Posts tagged ‘humor’


(The names of the characters in this story have been changed to protect the identities of both grouchy and sunny dispositioned people herein.)

My friend,  Martha, is visiting from New York for the day and brought her neighbor, Harriet, with her. It is a June Sunday and the weather is beautiful. I suggest taking a walk in Loantaka Park.

Harriet immediately asks, ” Is it buggy there? I hate being swarmed by mosquitoes.”

“I’ve never noticed any particular mosquito swarms there; Loantaka is my favorite place to walk,” I say, reassuringly.

Martha agrees, “It’s a perfect Sunday for a walk. That reminds me of the show by Stephen Sondheim, “Sunday in the Park with George, and she starts singing, “Isn’t it rich, are we a pair? Me with my feet on the ground at last, You in mid-air?”

“Great song,” I say, but that one is from Sondheim’s “A Little Night Music.”

“I’m not a fan of Sondheim’s,” Harriet scowls. Neither of us comment on Harriet’s musical tastes.

As we drive towards the park entrance we see a policeman, directing lines of cars into and out of the park, an unusual sight at Loantaka Park.

“Oh, something’s going on here today. Look at all the people wearing blue T shirts and carrying balloons,” I say.

“I thought we were going for a quiet peaceful Sunday walk. With all these people around I might just as well have stayed in the city,” whines Harriet.

“Oh, look; they’re walking for a cause,” says Martha. “What do their shirts say?”

“Sure, I know the old story: everyone has a gripe; everyone is marching for something or demonstrating about something,” comments Harriet.

When we finally find a parking spot we see the marchers at close enough range to read “Walk for the Arthritis Cure” on the blue T shirts, and a few “Agile Ankles” on white T shirts.

“Oh, great,” says Harriet disapprovingly. “There goes our peace and quiet. Look over there; some of the marchers have small noisy children with them and some even brought their yappy dogs.”

“I wish we’d known that this walk was planned today,” says Martha. “I would have bought  a blue T Shirt and joined them.”

“Maybe we should go somewhere else and leave the crowds behind,” Harriet sounds off again.”

Martha and I have stopped responding to Harriet. We can’t cheer her up or change her perspective, and we’re not going to let her ruin our good time. We all get out of the car and head for the path.

“What a treacherous trail,” says Harriet. “Watch out; here come some bikers. They could run right into somebody.” We proceed down the path and receive another of her dour comments, “Oh those people are blocking our way with their little kids on tricycles. ”

We try to concentrate on the lovely day, the congenial happy people around us and the good cause they are representing.

Martha and I are becoming intolerant of Harriet’s constant complaining. As one of my holistic friends would say, “She is polluting our environment with her negativism.”

Everyone has an off day, and we hope Harriet hasn’t any serious problems that are causing her constant eruption of unhappy thoughts. We wish her well, but wish even more that she would take her complaining somewhere else and keep her dark, unhappy thoughts to herself. We want to enjoy one of the few “Top 10 Summer Days in the Park.”

It is too easy to forget that this year, 2011, set weather records all over the world for devastating, damaging and deadly conditions. I am grateful that the severe, difficult winter is over and that we have such a lovely summer day. It is sad that some people cannot see gloriously perfect conditions when they’re right in the middle of them.


We were vacationing in Wyoming, excited about our first visit to Yellowstone National Park. The hotel in Jackson Hole was lovely; the rental  car was new, and it was a beautiful summer day. My husband, our son Mark and I decided to get an early start for the drive to Yellowstone the next morning.

The attendant brought the car up from the garage and we drove off. When we got on the road Mark commented that the apples we had left in the car  the night before were missing, as were the bottles of water. My husband rationalized by saying,

“In Wyoming there are strict rules about removing anything edible that bears might find tempting. The parking attendant was probably complying with the rules”

That seemed logical, and we continued on our way.

At our first rest stop Mark offhandedly said to me.

“I never liked blue cars because they seem to change their color throughout the day. The shade of blue changes with the sun’s angle”.

“You’re right” I agreed. “Now the color looks more gray than blue.”

Back on the road, we ventured higher up into the mountain range. In another hour we finally saw the sign to “Old Faithful”. I glanced at the dashboard clock to see how long the trip had taken. Oddly, there seemed to be a problem with the clock. The time hadn’t advanced. This was a new development; yesterday it was working perfectly.

We lost our civilized Eastern identities as soon as we came to the prehistoric-looking park. Steam spewed from the earth and bubbling mud pots perked away. Eerie sounds arose from deep inside subterranean earthy places. “Old Faithful,” nature’s creative story, erupts and spews boiling hot water one hundred feet high. And “Old Faithful” repeats this naturely trick every two hours.

Much later, sated with natural vistas and wildlife sightings, we began our drive back to Jackson Hole. My husband asked me for the directions he had put in the car last night.

They were gone.

“Wait a minute,” he said. “Where is the rental agreement?” He looked in the glove compartment. It was empty.

“I know I put the rental papers in the glove compartment last night. I always  do that in rental cars.”

Mark noticed some papers peeking out from under the visor and pulled them down. Then the shock hit. All the coincidences of the day suddenly made sense. The missing apples and bottled water. The subtle change in the car’s color. The non-functioning clock. The missing rental agreement.

The papers listed the registeree as Mr. Thomas Gill.

We were in the wrong car! The parking attendant brought us the wrong car this morning!

The car was registered to Mr. Thomas Gill. What would happen when Mr. Gill requested his car? Obviously it wouldn’t be in the garage. It would be missing. We were driving it. The staff would report the missing car to the police, assuming it had been stolen. And if we were stopped we couldn’t prove why we were driving Mr. Gill’s car. It wasn’t from the same rental company we used, so his rental company wouldn’t have any record of who we were. If we were in an accident we would not be covered by insurance. And our cell phones were out of service range, so we couldn’t call the hotel or the car rental company to explain the mistake.

The last thing we expected right then was a traffic jam. A traffic jam in the middle of the wilderness. Was there road construction, an accident, a disabled car? Here in the great state of Wyoming traffic jams were caused by other factors.

Factors such as a herd of buffalo crossing into civilization from buffalo land by way of our highway. The tourists in cars ahead of us were thrilled. They abandoned their cars. Just left them in the middle of the road to get closer to the beasts and take pictures. Then, as if it weren’t bad enough to be surrounded by wild buffalo, one lazy animal decided to lie down right in the middle of the road. The tourists went wild! They couldn’t get enough of the buffalo scene. The bisons seemed to be enjoying their fifteen minutes of fame. No one but us was in the slightest hurry.

The police in at least three states were probably looking for us by now for car theft and impersonating Mr. Gill.

A whole new mountain range formed by a slow moving glacier could have been formed by the time the road was cleared.

That evening, finally back at the hotel, we were treated like celebrities. The hotel manager presented us with vouchers for free dinners, paid for the day’s gasoline and waived the hotel garage’s daily parking fee.

Everyone seemed to know about the car mixup. Each encounter with a staff member brought the same response,

“You’re the people who drove the wrong car today.”

Our misadventure was big news throughout the resort.

We never did meet Mr. Gill.

Send It, Tend It or End it

Send it, Tend it or End it

I finally understand what the postal service has been doing all these years.The function of the US Postal Service is clear. It is not what you assume, not what you think and not what you ever thought. Bringing bills, annual holiday cards and junk mail to our homes is what we always thought was their mission.

Not so.

After years of paying attention and becoming aware of Postal techniques I began to realize that the hidden mission of the Postal Service is to do everything they can to create reasons for people to meet and come together. Postal workers have developed a clever way to achieve this goal.

It’s a little known company policy known as DWMWP, or “Deliver the wrong mail to the wrong people.”

This policy is implemented with the Post office’s low tech answer to Twitter. They don’t tweet: they send messages inconspicuously. Nobody knows about their secret methods, or even that they ARE methods.

Did you really think it was a coincidence that so many envelopes addressed to other people living at other addresses somehow arrive regularly in your mailbox?

The mail personnel count on most people making the effort to track down the true recipients of the mail. Then the person receiving the wrong mail calls the intentionally wronged party to say,

“The mailman brought me an oversized envelope with your name on it, containing personal financial information and a special notice from the IRA. Would you like to see it?”

The wronged party and intended party then make arrangements to meet and exchange mail or to meet and decry the terrible state of mail service these days. But they will meet, and that’s the point.

I received a package from Chico’s addressed to someone several blocks away. I looked up her phone number on “” and called.

“Hello, June. We haven’t met, but I’m a neighbor of yours. The postman delivered a package from Chico’s addressed to you.”

“Oh, I’ve been waiting for that package. Would it be alright if I came right over to pick it up?” She was at my front door ringing the bell almost before I could hang up the phone. Before she came inside she removed her shoes.

“I have been trained by my new Japanese daughter-in-law,” she said. “Yoko insists that I take my shoes off before entering her house.” June was a delightful woman with a charming British accent. “I have worked at AT&T for sixteen years but now I’m nervous. We’re all waiting for an announcement of another massive layoff. None of us knows whether or not we still have jobs.”

Considering the dire news she was contemplating she was cheerful and positive. I would welcome her as a friend.

Another time I received a package clearly addressed to “The Reverend Daniel J. Kim” His address contained the same house number as ours, but on a street around the corner. I called his house and spoke to his wife, who said, “Please come over.”

I did, and thought, when else in my life would I have an opportunity to meet a Korean minister?

I was impressed with the calm, serene aura they exuded. Their home had gentle, peaceful music playing that relaxed me the moment Mrs. Kim opened the door. “We do not know many neighbors,” she said. “Everyone is in such a hurry.” I understand that comment very well. My busy life needs more of their influence.

Then, on the oppostite spectum of misdelivered mail, was the Party Planner. But that’s a whole other story leaving me with the question, “Are all party planners outspoken, overpowering, and opinionated?

And how many romances have developed from postal “mistakes?” The numbers, if revealed, would probably put “” to shame.

“My birthday card had mistakenly been delivered to him and he came over to bring it to me. It was love at first sight.”

“I was deep in thought writing a summary to a term paper, when the phone rang and I heard that voice. She told me about a mistake in a mail delivery. Is that what my horoscope meant when it predicted that something special would happen today?”

Testimonials abound.

The next time you receive a parcel or envelope addressed to someone else, wink back at the postman and say,” I ‘m onto your secret mission and I understand the covert operations of the U.S. Postal Service.

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