Holy Grail # 7–Part Time Jobs

“Welcome to putt putt. Would you like to play all of our courses today? We have three 18-hole courses, and you can play all three for just $1.50. That is three for the price of two.” I pitched this line to our miniature golf customers. Jim Loudermilk hired me for this part time job at Putt-Putt golf on S. Campbell. It was the summer before  my high school junior year.

“Attention putt-putt golfers. The next person to make a hole-in-one with a red, yellow, blue, or green ball will win a $.50 discount coupon. You can use this coupon toward the purchase of your next game.” Jim was a master at marketing his course. We had “Super Saturday”, from 9:00 to noon ($.75). In addition, Mondays were “Dollar Days” from 9:00 to 5:00. Both gave you unlimited play plus other fun and games.

One month I took a few of our younger regular customers and we hung free game placards on doorknobs. Jim paid these youngsters $0.03 / card, which was great money for someone in Junior high. Once, after a particularly successful day distributing 500 free game passes we celebrated with a trip to Dairy Queen. They later confided they threw away one package of 100 cards in a dumpster.

Daily Putt-Putt Jobs

I completed several jobs each day in addition to selling tickets to new customers. These included:

– Blowing leaves and debris off carpets
– Cleaning rest rooms
– Washing and waxing golf balls
– Stocking soda and candy machines
– Updating the marquee

Kmart Sporting Goods

“Attention Kmart shoppers. Your flashing blue light is now in the sporting goods department. For the next 10 minutes pick up a Rabble-Rouser fishing lure for just twenty-five cents.” Announcing “Blue Light Specials.” was just one of my Jobs at Kmart sporting goods.

I was an avid sportsman during my college years. I camped, hunted, and fished. Therefore, I could not ask for a better job. I always knew when essential gear was going on sale.

Interestingly, Kmart paid it’s employees in cash. I remember traipsing to the office, punching my time card and collecting my cash envelope. Subsequently I would return to the sporting goods  department to buy that week’s specials.

High School – My Sweetheart, Jobs & Guitars

She wrapped her arm around my waist while I pulled her shoulders close. In this manner we walked the hallways of Kickapoo high school before our homeroom class. Just days before my dream girl, Kim Herbel accepted my homecoming invitation. I was clearly out of my league. She was a petite 4’10” cheerleader with tiny waist, big boobs, and a spunky personality. I on other hand was a nerdy, skinny senior. My only athletic accomplishment was making the golf team as an alternate. Our romance lasted until shortly before Christmas.

I got along well with her mother. Mrs. Herbel was manager of a store in Battlefield Mall that sold musical instruments. I took advantage of the employee discount to purchase my first guitar. This nylon string classical guitar served me well. I never took lessons and taught myself since YouTube was not available in the 1970s. One of the first songs I learned was Blackbird by the Beatles.

The Beatles, also known as “The White Album“, is the ninth studio album by The Beatles.  It was released on 22 November 1968. A double album, its plain white sleeve has no graphics or text otherThe Beatlesthan the band’s name embossed.  This was a direct contrast to the vivid cover artwork of the band’s earlier Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. No singles were issued from The Beatles in Britain and the United States, In 2003, Rolling Stone ranked The Beatles at number 10 on its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully

Recently Linda and I attended a class taught by our friend and  retired Methodist minister, Sue Gibson.  The class was based on the book The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully by Joan Chittister.

Although this was a book about growing older I found many of the lessons thought-provoking for those of any age.

“Old age is not when we stop growing. It is exactly the time to grow in new ways. That period in which we set out to make sense of all the growing we have already done. It is the softening season when everything in us is meant to achieve its sweetest, richest, most unique self.”

Lifelong learning

Living life to the fullest means active aging. One thing that can make the difference between healthy and unhealthy aging is lifelong learning. According to the Harvard University Longitudinal Study of Adult Development, continued learning determines “the degree to which life will be satisfying to us.” It also determines the degree to which we will be interesting, valuable, life-giving to others. Learning projects that keep elders’ minds active also expands their horizons. Additional it gives them them opportunities to be in community with others on retreats, study groups, or in online e-courses.

In a series of short, bright, and snappy chapters, Chittister provides a tour of other elements of growing older gracefully. As I listened to the audiobook I found myself thinking of songs that seemed appropriate for the topic at hand. Each week I posted these songs on a new website, Sue’s Classroom. You can click the hyperlink to the left or click on “Sue’s Classroom” from the menu at the top of this page to see these selections.

Growing Older in the United States Today

Growing older in the United States today really means, according to the latest statistics and research findings.

• By 2020, 18 percent of the country will be over 65.

• In 2005, only 7 percent of those between 75 and 84, and only 25 percent of those over 84, need help with personal care.

• Decrepitude and incapacitation that come with age are, on average, only about the last three months of life. Even then, mental clarity is more likely to remain to the end. “Clearly, life does not end till it ends.”

• Only 5 percent of those over 65 are in special-care institutions. And 80 percent of the rest of the older population have no limitations in managing the rigors of daily living.

• Old age is no longer a custodial care proposition. “Grandma does not ‘live in’ anymore. She is far more likely to live alone, in her own home or apartment, drive a car into her eighties, and volunteer at the library.”

• Old brains are no less intellectually competent than young brains. “Scientists have discovered that older people, while not as quick computationally as younger people, do think just as well as the young, but differently — with more depth, with more reflection, with more philosophical awareness.”

Tips For Growing Older Gracefully

Our 60s 70s and 80s can be some of the most satisfying years of our lives. For sure our physical health isn’t what it used to be. However, if we choose to see them there are many blessings. Consider just the following three examples:


We have more time. We can use this time to study, pursue leisure activities, volunteer, deepen our spirituality, etc.


Our lifetime of experiences give us the ability to think differently — with more depth, more reflection, more philosophical awareness.


Stay busy. Cultivate relationships both old and new. Find opportunities to volunteer. Check on others who may be shut ins and would enjoy the companionship as well as meals, etc.


Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there. We honor you today, the second Sunday in May because of all you have done for us. Today I want to share a few tidbits of information about this 110-year-old holiday.

Mother’s Day recognizes mothers, motherhood and maternal bonds in general, as well as the positive contributions that they make to society.

Establishment of Mother’s Day Holiday

The modern holiday of Mother’s Day was first celebrated in 1908. Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother at St Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia. St Andrew’s Methodist Church now holds the International Mother’s Day Shrine.

She campaigned to make Mother’s Day a recognized holiday in the United States beginning in 1905. Ann Reeves Jarvis, her mother, died that year. Ann Jarvis had been a peace activist who cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the American Civil War. She created Mother’s Day Work Clubs to address public health issues. Anna Jarvis wanted to honor her mother by continuing the work she started. Additionally she wanted to set aside a day to honor all mothers because she believed a mother is “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world”.

Protests and Carnations

Although Jarvis was successful in founding the holiday, she became resentful of the commercialization of the holiday. By the early 1920s, Hallmark Cards and other companies had started selling Mother’s Day cards. Jarvis believed that the companies had misinterpreted and exploited the idea of the day. Also she felt the emphasis of the holiday was on sentiment, not profit. As a result, she organized boycotts of Mother’s Day, and threatened to issue lawsuits against the companies involved.

Jarvis argued that people should appreciate and honor their mothers through handwritten letters expressing their love and gratitude. She thought people should do this instead of buying gifts and pre-made cards. She protested at a candy makers’ convention in Philadelphia in 1923. Also she demonstrated at a meeting of American War Mothers in 1925. By this time, sons and daughters were sending carnations as gifts on this day. Additionally authorities arrested Jarvis for disturbing the peace when she protested AWM’s carnation selling to raise money.

Sundays With Mom

Families all have traditions and routines. Ours was no different. Each Sunday mom began the day by dressing each of us in suits with clip-on bowties. But these were not ordinary suits. She purchased these suits at Freeman’s clothing store and they required alterations by tailors. We went to Sunday school and then sat through church. Dad gave us pencils so we could doodle during the service.

Mom prepared Sunday Roast each week. This traditional British main meal is typically served on Sunday (hence the name). It consists
of roasted meat, roast potato, vegetables like broccoli, carrots and onions,  and gravy. She put the ingredients in a roasting pan and put it in the oven before we left for church.

Eventually she tired of preparing Sunday roast and our after church lunch became a visit to the heritage cafeteria.

Music with a dash of trivia