Smarts Win

Brother Dave said he knew a hippie who could beat me assembling partitions, beat me like that proverbial rented mule. But that won’t true. Nobody I ever saw could beat me at assembling partitions, especially a hippie.

The fact that I hadn’t made any partitions in 25 years, since my wife, Donna, and I moved to Knightdale, N.C., from Charlotte in 1971, really didn’t matter. Give me a few days, I’d be just as fast as ever.

Dave was telling me about this hippie because, in 1996, I started making partitions again, driving on weekends to Queen City Container, his box shop in  Charlotte.  I needed the extra money. Dave and I had decided to buy an ATV to ride up at Snowbird, in the mountains of North Carolina, and an ATV was a luxury I couldn’t afford. 

But it was all just a bunch of talk, on his part and mine, because I was never going to get to go head to head with this guy.

And then, one Saturday afternoon, in walked the hippie. I knew who he was right off — he had rings in his pierced ears. I had been back at it, assembling partitions, for several weekends and had regained my old form.  And on this day, I was already warmed up, rolling, ready to show him who was who.

You know where this is going, don’t you. He did beat me, badly.  And he didn’t even know we were racing.

When I knocked off work I stood nearby and watched him for a few minutes.  I was surprised. He wasn’t beating me at my own game — he had a different, faster, way of putting partitions together.  I asked him about that. Instead of copying the way other people made them, he told me, he had spent a whole day trying to figure out the best way.

He wasn’t just faster than me, he was smarter.

NOTE: For another partition assembling story, see “Motivating With Money,” posted on Dec. 1, 2017

Coming Friday: Pretty Woman

Have Some Carrot Cake

[This is a true story.  Oh, I know.   I shouldn’t say that.  ALL my stories are true, more or less.  But you know this one really is true because it’s too good to be made up.]

Here goes:

This is not THE carrot cake, but it is a carrot cake with
This is not THE carrot cake, but it is a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.

Janice, a new bride,  decided to surprise her husband, Eddie, and bake him a carrot cake.  It turned out beautifully, with cream cheese frosting and everything.

But just before he took a bite Eddie paused.  Something wasn’t quite right. What was it? Wait, he remembered: they didn’t own a grater. How in the world had his bride grated the carrots?

He asked her.  She told him.

Janice said she had chewed up a whole bag of carrots, spit them out, washed them good, and put them in the cake. It was hard work — her jaws were still sore.

I know you’re wondering: Did Eddie eat the cake?

Oh, that’s too easy: Would you have eaten it?

* * *

Yes, that's pepper.Speaking of food that’s not fit to eat, at least by most folks, I have another nominee.

A bunch of us were up at Snowbird, in the mountains of North Carolina, in November  when I saw one of my nephews, Mike Stith, ruin a perfectly good banana and mayonnaise sandwich.

He put pepper on it, lots and lots of pepper.

Mike Stith: Pass him the pepper.
Mike Stith: Pass him the pepper.

Knowing that some of you might find that hard to believe I whipped out my iPhone and got proof.

Mike just says, “Don’t knock  it ’till you’ve tried it.”

You get right down to it, what Mike did isn’t surprising.   My brother, Pop, Mike’s Dad,  put pepper on his banana sandwiches, too.

Mike said Pop put pepper on pepper.

On at least one occasion, Pop put pepper on a piece of lemon pie.  As far as I know there’s no law against that, but there ought to be.


Mexican hot sauce on green beans? Yep.
Mexican hot sauce on green beans?

And I have one more  nominee.

Brother Dave; my wife, Donna; and I went to New York after Christmas to visit old family friends, Dan and Daniele Woods, and their children, Fiona and Eamon.

We’re sitting at their dinner table one evening when I saw Fiona soak her green beans with Mexican hot sauce.  And then she ate them.

It’s OK to put butter and sugar on grits –I do that — but hot sauce on green beans?

Fiona Woods
Fiona Woods

Pepper on a banana sandwich?

Oh, I know:

Live and let live.

To each his, or her, own.

And, most important, Mind your own business, Pat.

Coming Friday: Advanced Reporting