Fond memories to start the year

1955 and rhythmic physical fitness


A note to me from my pal who flunked spelling said: “Bil, I hait polly ticks!” Polly ticks? Would that be Parrot Parasites?

But let’s not go there. Let’s talk about dancing.

On our first date in 1955 at the Jantzen Beach Ballroom, we jitterbugged away our shoe leather that day… to big band sounds for our leaps and bounds!

As I recall … the crowd on the dance floor made room for us as I propelled my “wife to be” into frequent, frantic, frenzied, frisky double-time circles until we switched back to our jitterbugging routine to further enhance or spectacular dance that left the rest of the participants staggering in our wake.

This was Rhythmic Physical Fitness and was called the Jitterbug. Fast forward to the new year… now we just tap our feet to the basic beat.

Meanwhile…these days our phones are bugged and that gives us the jitters.

Bill Davis lives in Hood River.

Waiting for my Uncle on Christmas Day


Mother and her younger brother grew up in Roslindale, a working class section of Boston. Only the two of them were left, by the time Uncle Bill enlisted and served in the Twelfth Army Air Force as crew member of a B29 in World War II. She named me after him.

On his 56th combat mission he was shot down over Italy. My mother was notified he was an MIA.

As they hit the ground, the underground quickly appeared and drove them on motorcycles to a safe house. They enjoyed the hospitality (his words) and waited later in a culvert for repatriation. When the language changed to English, they jumped out and were detained.

The Canadians ushered him into a room. They wanted to know if he was a true America Solder and asked him about every strip join and bar in Boston. He returned without my mother knowing and found her in a super market. He left the rest to our imagination.

Uncle Bill married a stripper and after her death, an ex-nun. He mostly drove a dark colored highly polished two year old Cadillac. On Christmas morning, he walked Aunt Allison to our door. She usually wore a hat with a long feather, a mink, and a form fitting expensive dress with heels.

He wore a tailored suit with a vest, and a royal colored tie.

She rustled past and her perfume filled the room for adult conversation.

He would find me and my brothers. We talked about the world, tell jokes and we laughed even if we didn’t understand.

As they were about to leave, he turned and in his best Boston accent say “Here Kid, Five Bucks!”

After my Aunt died, he turned to helping others. On a visit to a local Catholic School for the deaf where his niece attended he met his second wife – Sister Dionysius. Use your imagination.

Next week, I will visit with my Little (I’m a Big of Big Brothers Big

Sisters) and only at this time of year, I will say to him in my best Boston accent “Here Kid, Twenty Bucks!”

George William Selleck lives in Odell.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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