Category Archives: Holy Grail

Holy Grail: Christmas Edition

“There were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill towards men.”

“That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”

A Charlie Brown Christmas

It’s hard to beat the animated Christmas specials. Ever since I was a kid I always enjoy Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. Ever since its release in 1965, A Charlie Brown Christmas  holds a special place in my heart. Peanuts was dad’s favorite comic strip. I made him this picture one year for Christmas. I don’t know if that was the characters, its acknowledgment of the true meaning of Christmas, or the soundtrack. Whatever it was, its magic continues to be relevant year after year.

Now that Thanksgiving is over the Spirit of Christmas is everywhere. We decorate our homes, trees, etc. And Christmas music fills the air. Everyone has their favorites. It’s hard to beat the classics like Andy Williams and Nat King Cole. Linda enjoys Amy Grant. But the one album that brings back memories of my youth is the soundtrack from A Charlie Brown Christmas. Let me know your favorites.

I’m happy to kick off this year’s Christmas Carol program with the opening track from this album.


Holy Grail # 6–Poker Games & Particle Board

We played a lot poker in college. The games were penny ante because none of us had much money. Dealers choice. Usually 5-card draw or 7-card stud. Occasionally someone would throw in a game of 5-card stud or bankroll a round of blackjack. We usually started right after dinner, consumed lots of beer and continued until well past midnight. Typically everybody won or lost $5-$10. Many poker games took place at the Sigma Nu house.

Normal Street Poker

I lived at 600 E. Normal during my first senior year. I shared this 3 bedroom, 1 bath place house with three roommates. It had all the essentials: dart board, round dining room table perfect for poker games and of course a stereo. One of my roommates was Rick Simpson. He had an awesome stereo. Between us we had two receivers, two turntables, two cassette decks, and four speakers. He had a top-of-the-line Pioneer SX-1250 receiver with JBL speakers.

Because we had no money we constructed a stereo cabinet of cinderblocks and particleboard. The bottom layer consisted of six cinderblocks, two on each end and two in the middle. Two 8″ x 8′ particle boards formed the top. We stored our albums in melon crates.  These fit perfectly in the 36″w x 16″h x 16″d spaces between the cinderblocks.

Layer two held the receiver in a 30″w x 8″h x 16″d slot. Once again, this was constructed with cinderblocks and topped with particleboard. Two cassette decks between three cinderblocks made level three. Finally,  we put my turntable (a direct drive Hitachi model) on top.

Poker Down on the Farm

One of my fraternity brothers, Mike Haldeman lived in a small farmhouse on the outskirts of Springfield. Situated on a few acres, this humble abode was located off Battlefield rd. a few miles east of Glenstone. In sharp contrast to my particleboard and cinderblock furniture, his house was full of antiques.

In addition to being a savvy antiques buyer Haldeman was a skilled poker player. Occasionally we would hunt rabbits during the day and play poker at night.

Mike was a huge Neil Young fan. Every time I hear Neil Young songs I am transformed back to those days.

Decade is a compilation album by Canadian musician Neil Young, originally released in 1977 as a triple album, now available on two compact discs. It contains 35 of Young’s songs recorded between 1966 and 1976, among them five tracks that had been unreleased up to that point. It peaked at No. 43 on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart, and was certified platinum by the RIAA in 1986.

Coming Soon – Reading The Good Book

More details coming next weekend. You can purchase The Good Book through Amazon by clicking here

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.