Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veteran's Day Adventures

Charlie's cursing downstairs woke me up at 7:30. I went back to sleep for another two hours. When I got up for good, I read a few chapters of Return of the Jedi, then did a short story and two poems for Veteran's Day from the Collier's Book of Holidays. The short was The Singing Tree, by Kate Seredy. One of the poems was In Flanders Fields. There's also photo of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

I did the Donald Duck in the Army shorts as I had breakfast. From 1942 to 1944, Donald appeared in a series of cartoons that mostly had  him dealing with daily life in the barracks. Donald jumps into the army with both webbed feet in "Donald Gets Drafted." He quickly discovers that army life isn't as glamorous as the recruiting posters make it seem when Pete demands he stand at attention over an ant hill! "Sky Trooper" is a follow-up to this. Donald does make it into the a paratrooper, much to his shock! He's "The Vanishing Private" when he uses a new invisibility paint to make himself disappear before Pete can get him. "Fall Out, Fall In" has Donald marching with his troop. He's tired and he wants dinner, but first he has to set up his tent, then he has to try to sleep with all his fellow soldiers' snoring! Donald is "Commando Duck" on his first big assignment to contact the (heavily stereotyped) Japanese agents. He ends up, washing...out the enemy.

The most famous of the Donald wartime shorts, and the only one to win an Oscar, was the infamous "Der Fuehrer's Face." Donald finds himself in a surreal nightmare where he's a worker in Nazi Germany, forced to eat wooden bread and make bombs until he's exhausted. Things get really crazy when the foremen demand more and more shells, and Donald finally cracks! I do have fond memories of seeing this on the Disney Channel from time to time as a child, usually on a night show like Mouserpiece Theater where the context could be explained. (And I think they usually cut the ending with the tomato at Hitler and several of the nastier racial stereotypes. I believe I've never seen this short intact until I bought the Treasures DVD set.)

Headed out around quarter after 12 to Collinsgswood for volunteering (making a very short stop first to see if Studio LuLoo was open - they were not). It was a chilly day, though not too cold, probably in the lower 60's. The sun kept playing peek-a-boo behind thick, heavy clouds all day long. It certainly felt like fall as I cut across the development on Park Avenue, across from the park and community pool in Westmont.

I'd just about come out of the development when I heard it. A loud POP! sounded through the development. I felt the back tire go flat. What?! But Richard had just fixed it a month ago! I was so upset. It was a good thing I did leave early. My appointment wasn't until 2. I at least had time to get it fixed. Thankfully, a young lady who was about to take her truck to work on King's Highway gave me a lift to the bike shop.

Thank heavens the shop was open. It turns out Richard hadn't put the tire on properly either when he fixed the wobbly back wheel or when he originally put them on after he found the bike for me. The valve in the inner tube had been rubbing against the tire...and they both finally gave. I ended up having to replace the tire and the inner tube. (I just hope the front one is in better shape. I do have a spare inner tube, but not a spare tire.)

Had lunch at the Bistro after the bike was fixed. The lunch hour was just winding down when I got in around quarter after 1. I had their version of "the Gobbler," the Turkey DeBrie. No stuffing, but it did have real sliced turkey on toasted marble rye with cranberry sauce and melted brie. It was very tasty. It came with crunchy fries and an excellent but tiny cup of cole slaw.

It was getting late. Though I window-shopped a bit, checking out the book sale at the small storefront Haddonfield Library (their main branch is in the midst of major remodeling) and taking a look in a new book store and around The Happy Hippo Toy Store, I finally just went to counseling ten minutes early. I looked at books until Mrs. Stahl was ready.

I told Mrs. Stahl about my vacation and the fun we had and the towns we visited, my (mostly) wonderful Halloween, the slow but sure progress on my story, Charlie's continuing (and noisy) work on the house, and my lack of hours. This happened last year at work, too. They cut our hours in the weeks before Thanksgiving, then wondered why they had long lines and cranky customers during busy times. We discussed my plans for Thanksgiving and what I usually do for Christmas - baking and a little shopping. The latter is mostly for my nephews and niece (who don't need a ton of sugar), Jessa (who can make her own cookies), and Lauren and Amanda (who come from small families and don't have a lot of people giving them presents).

We also went into all the trouble I've had at work lately. I just get so scared and nervous when I make a mistake or things get crazy. That's why I do things like give customers back their money. I just panic when things go wrong or there's tons of people all demanding things at once. I don't know what to say or do, and I feel so horribly guilty for all the trouble!

She suggest that I write a short story about a young woman who is also getting scared at a job she hates and is feeling bad about it. I actually did start something like that and have other stories in mind, but either didn't write them or never finished. I'll have plenty of time to do it. I don't do counseling in December. I have too much going on during the holidays as it is. I won't see Mrs. Stahl again until early January.

Since it was getting chillier by 3 PM, I decided to forgo the water ice and get a treat at the Westmont Acme instead. The Acme's having a big sale on Domino's sugar and Nestle's chocolate chips. I was almost out of sugar and figured I might as well stock up on chocolate chips for Christmas baking while I can. I bought one of the large dollar packs of Fig Newton-style fruit bars (peach apricot) for my snack.

Cut across Newton Lake Park on the way home. They were very busy despite the chill. Kids rode home from school. Haddon Township High School's girl's track team practiced. People walked their dogs and pushed their toddlers in strollers. The park is awash in color now, all reds and yellow-greens and golds. The algae is long gone, replaced by a glassy green waterway.

When I finally got home, I went right into writing. Jeff meets Betty, Mackie, and the others at Port Harbor's big Summer Festival. They're setting up an outdoor stage in the park to perform for royalty, including Hilary and Jeff, and win enough money to continue their journey. Betty's nervous about having her brand-new play performed before royalty. The others assure her they'll be fine.

Hilary isn't so sure. She's not in any hurry to see some traveling group perform a play she's never heard of. She doesn't agree to it until Jeff tells her Betty is a Guardian and a Light Magician. While Hilary has spent the last few years trying to avoid any involvement with magic, she does want to find out more about this girl. (Especially if Jeff has any interest in her.)

I got up to stretch and have leftover Chicken-Vegetable Soup around 7. Made Ally's "Snappy" Ginger Snaps while finishing out the wartime shorts. Bugs and Daffy headlines my favorites of the Looney Tunes wartime tales. "Super Rabbit" has Bugs spoofing the World War II superhero craze when a carrot turns him into an invulnerable critter. He continuously outwits a rabbit-hating cowboy, but when push comes to shove, he turns into another kind of hero - a Marines officer. Unlike Donald, Daffy wants nothing to do with the army in "Draftee Daffy." He'll do anything to avoid that pesky "Little Man From the Draft Board." "Falling Hare" is one of the few times Bugs deals with an antagonist who gives as good as they get. He has to stop a gremlin from sabotaging planes, before they get out of that free fall!

Though laid-back Mickey Mouse didn't figure into many World War II shorts, he did do one war-oriented cartoon in 1929. "The Barnyard Battle" has him joining the army to fight a group of Hun-like cats. He may be a skinny rubber-hose mouse, but that won't stop him from giving the enemy a lickin'!

The Pink Panther was one of the few major cartoon characters to take part in the Vietnam War in "G.I Pink." He's also been swayed by recruiting posters, but he's expecting power, not glamour. Like Donald, he gets quite an eye-opener when he finds himself dodging land mines, avoiding obstacle courses, and constantly getting his commanding officer in trouble with the company mascot and the other officers.

Did two quick fantasy-oriented cartoons while cleaning up from the cookies. Little Audrey did a couple of Silly Symphony-style tales that had her wandering through a fantasy land and helping the characters who live there. "Goofy Goofy Gander" shows Audrey that Mother Goose can be a pretty hip gal when she has to save Mother Goose Land from the two gangsters in her comic book. "Tarts and Flowers" has her helping to rescue Angel Cake from the evil Devil's Food Cake and return her to her Gingerbread Boy sweetheart.

And I honor all those who served and fought for our country on this Veteran's Day, including my own dad Bruce (Vietnam), my late uncle Ken (World War II), and two who are out there now in the Navy, my brother Keefe Jackman and my friend Jen Waters.

No comments: