Small World is More Than Just a Disney Ride

My teeny-tiny unimportant blog generally gets between 60 and 90 hits a day from somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 or 50 viewers. The discrepancy between these two numbers is because my sisters and my brother look at the blog a few times throughout the day, thereby increasing my hits. While these numbers aren’t remarkable, they are significant in that I started with maybe 10 hits a day, all from my family. They had to read it; I tested them!

Some really fun things have come out of this blog. For instance, I wrote a blog post in which I declared I was going to develop a taste for whiskey given that it looks so good when Frank Reagan, patriarch of Blue Bloods, drinks it along with his daughter Erin. I was subsequently contacted via my Nana’s Whimsies email address by a total stranger with whom I carried on a fairly significant back and forth email conversation regarding whiskey and Frank Reagan. We haven’t been in touch since. For a few years, I had a regular reader from Connecticut — a woman whom I had never met. When someone comments regularly, you begin to feel like friends. She has stopped commenting, and because her last comments made mention of being ill, I’m kind of heavy of heart. I pray for her every day.

Because of my blog, I have become more connected to old friends and some of my cousins who read my blog and might even comment, making me feel closer to them. I get hits from all over the world. Saturday, I even had a hit from Botswana. I love to picture a cattle herder out in the wilderness of Africa reading my blog. I’m not sure where I think he or she got the internet connection, but hey! it’s my imaginary story.

For a long time, the blog post that received the most hits was one that I wrote about a woman with whom I’m acquainted who donated a kidney to a friend. That record — over 200 hits — has stood for a long time. It held first place until a couple of weeks ago when I wrote about friends of ours whose son-in-law owns Bear Creek Distillery. While donating a kidney is important, what can I say? MAKING WHISKEY! Duh. That blog post has gotten significantly more hits than the kidney donation. I’m not sure if that fact has any social significance, but it is what it is.

Saturday evening, I was notified by a friendly ding from my phone of a new comment on that particular blog post. It came from someone with the same last name as my maiden name. From the comment, I learned that I have a relative living in Denver that, prior to this blog post, I never knew existed. The comment came from her father, who informed me that his grandfather and mine were brothers. I have unsuccessfully tried to figure out what that makes us. And to add even more confusion to the mix, what relationship does that make his daughter — the woman who lives here in Denver — to me? Does anyone have an abacus I can borrow?

It doesn’t really matter, because at the end of the day, blood is blood. My cousin-the-commenter said he has a vivid recollection of being in my father’s bakery. In fact, he recalls getting his high school graduation cake from Gloor’s bakery, and even remembers Mom handing the cake to him. And even more important, he noted that his grandfather made homemade wine just as did mine. And he admitted that it was probably lucky they both didn’t quit their day jobs to become vinters.

There’s a concept known as six degrees of separation. The theory is that all humans are six or fewer steps away from each other. In other words, the “friend of a friend” idea will connect one person to any other in six steps or fewer. I’m no sociologist, so I can’t comment on the reliability of this theory. Still, as Walt Disney said, “It’s a small world after all.”

Hey Cousin Mindy. Let’s have coffee!

 Big Enough to Fit an Elephant

Most of the regular network dramas are wrapped up for the summer. That’s okay. It was time for us to say goodbye to Frank Reagan for a few months. Tom Sellick needs a bit of time to practice up on his sighing. There are only a few shows that Bill and I faithfully watch, and (spoiler alert) it was fun to see that Jamie Reagan and his partner Eddie will be getting married next season. Let’s just hope that Blue Bloods doesn’t surprise its fans in next season’s opener with an unexpected mid-summer death like they did this season. My heart can’t take it. As for Madame Secretary, well, wait and see, I guess. A series name change perhaps?

At any rate, because we have moved to reruns or stupid space fillers, Bill and I are positively scrounging for things to watch in the evening. You would think between cable television, Netflix, and Amazon Prime, we could come up with something. The problem basically is that we can’t seem to find many shows on which we agree. He would watch Anything Mafia and I would watch Anything British Murder Mystery, and frankly, never the twain shall meet. Imagine Inspector Robbie Lewis saying, “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.”

So we’ve started taking turns picking our nightly program. His recent choice was Kill the Irishman, a docudrama on Netflix about real-life Cleveland gangster Danny Greene that included lots and lots and lots of cars and buildings exploding. When it was my turn, I chose Rocky, the 1976 film written by and starring Sylvester Stallone. Yo, Adrian.

While Kill the Irishman was released in 2011, the story takes place in the 1970s, culminating in Greene’s death (predictably, by explosion) in 1977. On the other hand, Rocky was released in 1976. Even when they are period pieces, the more current films have a different feel to them than do the older films. I sort of like the look and feel of the films made in the 1970s, 80s, and even 90s. They’re often so delightfully cheesy. See above: Yo, Adrian.

One of the things that both Kill the Irishman and Rocky had in common were the 1970s cars. If you would have asked me about cars from circa 1970, I would have said they were big. But even with that knowledge under my hat, I was taken aback by the sheer size of the cars. Quite literally, my VW Bug could almost fit in the trunk of some of those cars.

Bill’s father was a Buick man, mainly because his brother-in-law was a Buick dealer in North Carolina. As a steel worker, his father would never have considered anything but an American car, but the relationship required the American car be a Buick. So every couple of years, Rex would trade in his car for the same car/newer version. He would drive down to North Carolina and make the switch.

My dad was a Buick man for many years. Our neighbor sold Buicks, and that accounted for Dad’s choice. Dad’s choice, that is, until one year when the two had a bit of a fall-out around the car, and a few hours later, Dad pulled into our driveway in a brand new, shiny, Mercury Marquis.  If he could have, Dad would have had the license plate read Eff U.

The car was beautiful. It was a pretty shade of burgundy. And it was big. Huge. Almost-couldn’t-fit-in-our-garage huge. He brought the car home the morning we were leaving on our summer vacation. The trunk was large enough to easily handle luggage that fit clothes and supplies for six people for a week. Heck, it could have handled a washer and dryer as well, had Mom been so inclined. Huge.

Not actually our car, but same vintage.

We all loved that car, and Mom and Dad drove it for many years. I can’t remember when they sold it. I’m sure my brother will know. But I’m fairly certain they had the car long enough that the next car was considerably smaller. Remember President Carter’s gas lines?

I don’t miss big cars. I can’t imagine having to drive (and park) cars of that size, especially with the number of cars on Denver’s roads these days. Still, they were pretty, and they were nearly as comfortable as sitting in an easy chair in your living room.

Frankly, now even easy chairs in your living room aren’t that comfortable.