Friday Fun – Book Excerpt

There is something so interesting about an old tree with its gnarly branches and scars where branches once were. I walk by this one most mornings when I am out walking and I finally remembered to take a picture. I thought the younger tree in the background was an nice touch to the photo. 

Now I’ll share an excerpt from my humorous memoir, A Dead Tomato Plant & a Paycheck. Humor might be better than commenting on current affairs, as dismal as they are. My book is currently in a cover-of-the-month contest at AllAuthor, and I’d love for you to hop over and give it a vote if you are so inclined. I didn’t realize this was a popularity contest when I entered, but I did, so here I am begging. 🙂

Now the excerpt:

My professional writing career started with a weekly humor column I wrote for the Plano Star Courier. I still remember the day that the editor called and told me he loved the sample columns I’d dropped off. Could I write a weekly column for them, “And, oh, by the way, they are so good we want to pay you for them.”

“Really? Wait a minute. Is this a joke?”

Luckily, the editor had a good sense of humor, and he assured me it wasn’t a joke. And yes, he did know that Erma Bombeck, who was my idol, had written her column for no pay for the first year or so, so if I’d rather follow in her footsteps…

“Oh, no. I am honored that you want to pay me.”

Of course, I had to talk to the kids and Carl about the fact that I would be hanging Miller laundry on the suburban clothesline, so to speak, and what did they think about that?”

“Fine. Whatever.”

Despite their rather lackluster response, I think they were enthralled with the idea of being in the newspaper and didn’t care about the context. And in the beginning, they were also completely untouched by materialistic attitudes. They never asked me how much money I made, when we were going to be rich, or when I was going to buy them a Mustang convertible.

It was nice then.

Each week as we eagerly awaited the Wednesday paper that carried my column, they treated me with respect and adoration. It was like they were amazed that the same person who occasionally burned their oatmeal and forgot to wash their socks could actually string words and sentences together and make people laugh.

I guess they just didn’t listen all those years I told them incompetence is only skin deep.

During that time of idyllic living, my kids never took exception to what I wrote about them, and they were quite creative in using their ingenuity to do something worth noting in next week’s story.

It was great fun, and we could have gone far in that problem-free state had our resident statistician not taken it upon himself to count the number of times each one had been featured.

The walls of contentment came crashing down the day he announced the results of his survey:

“In the last year you wrote about Paul ten times, Danielle eight times, Anjanette twelve times, David twenty times and me twice.”

Obviously, this was more than just a casual report, and I was suddenly exposed to a unique brand of sibling rivalry.

For a while I tried very hard to balance things. I even made a chart and put checks by their names so I could keep track of whose turn it was, but it was tough. What was I supposed to do when one of them did something simply outrageous, and it wasn’t their week? If they wanted fair, the least they could have done was to be funny when it was their week to be funny.

In a wild impulsive moment, I threw the plan and the chart away, and it wasn’t long until the imbalance was pointed out to me again.

A kind mother probably would have apologized, but I just told him to write-his concerns down and someday he could take it all up with an analyst. They get paid the big bucks. Not me.

That’s all for me folks. Have a great weekend. Be safe. Be happy.

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