Posts Tagged ‘ Romance ’

A CHANCE MEETING WITH MY FAVORITE LEPRECHAUN

THE HUMAN RACE

 

  

A CHANCE MEETING WITH MY FAVORITE LEPRECHAUN

 

Not too long ago,

I was walking down the street minding me own business when

when I heard a rustling of leaves coming from high in a maple tree.

When I looked up, there was Francis Archibald O’Leary with

that waggish face beaming down at me.

He was trapped, clinging to a spindly branch that barely supported his portly Leprechaun frame.

“Top of the mornin’, chappy!” hecalled, tipping his topper.

Up to that point in my life,

I had been a logical kind of guy who believed that elves, mermaids, gremlins,

pixies, brownies, even gnomes were figments of our imagination. But I must admit that

I’ve known my share of Leprechaunic folk the size of Billy Barty.

So there high above me was Francis, oozing blarney winking down with

impish green eyes magnified by bifocals.

As sure as St. Patrick drove all the snakes from Ireland, I had

never met a more whimsical character than the one whose coattail was

was caught in the branches.

“Before you forsake me,” he pleaded, “would

you be up to doin’ a kind deed?”

I shot him an skeptical glance.

“Wouldn’t you agree, it’d be unmerciful

to leave a body trapped in a tree on such a fine kite-flying day?” he rattled on.

“How’d you get up there?” I asked.

“Would you believe I was tryin’ to getcloser to heaven?” he snorted.

“If I help you down, will you give me an interview?” I asked.

“Yer pullin’ me leg,” he howled.

As I began to walk away,” he hollered after me:

“Unless yer interested in talkin’ to the descendent of Ireland’s King Timothy O’Leary?

That’s me, you see!”

No sooner did I help him down that he pushed

out his double chin and tossed me a cockeyed smile.

“Timothy O’Leary was not really a King,”

he explained showing no guilt. “He was more like the

chief of a clan in County Cork. But King

Leary did exist. And his same blood

trickles through my veins and those of

my sons, Shawn, Kevin and Bryan. They

are all sturdy lads.”

“Just where on the Emerald Isle do you

hail from?”

“Sad to say, I’ve never been to

Ireland. My father, Timothy

raised nine of us on an estate in Cambridge,

Mass. where he was a groundskeeper.”

“Are you truly one of the Little People?” I asked.

“Not only am I the largest leprechaun in the world,

I’m the only one with an engineering degree; one

who works with rainbows, pots of gold, taxes,

and has an enchanting wife named Allie who teaches

college calculus. Just think of me as an overgrown

elf with supernatural powers. That’s me!”

That spiel was the beginning of a friendship

that lasted far more than a blink of an eye.

Before we parted, I asked, using tax lingo,

“Francis, would you be up to granting your

rescuer three promissory wishes?”

“Brace yourself,” he said puffing up his

chest and pouching out his belly:

“May the road rise up to meet ya. There’s

one… May the wind be always at yer back…

And here’s me favorite: May you be in heaven

ten minutes before the devil knows yer dead!”

Right there in front of me, Francis vanished

in a puff of smoke leaving the scent of

Irish Spring in his wake.

Francis Archibald O’Leary was truly a happy soul.

Right now, I’ll wager he’s at a place, far above

the maple tree, shuffling his twinkle toes,

dancing a jig. The sight of him will surely cause

old St. Peter to open wide his gates.

And, may I add, leave the many friends he

left behind with heartfelt memories.

Toodleoo, old pal.

In Irish, that means good-bye.

 

— Boots LeBaron —

 

(Frank, a physicist and former U.S. Marine,died on Valentine’s Day last year when I wrote this story.

He was born in Cambridge,Mass. in 1927)

http://www.amazon.com/Human-Race-Boots-LeBaron/dp/1494218526/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1458011225&sr=8-1&keywords=boots+lebaron

 

 

JUST WHO IN THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?!

THE HUMAN RACE

WHO ARE WE?

Lovers can be friends.

Friends can be enemies.

Enemies can be teachers.

Teachers can be preachers.

Preachers can be hypocrites.

Hypocrites can be gigolos.

Gigolos can be heart breakers.

Heart breakers can be liars.

Liars can be users.

Users can be abusers.

Abusers can be cowards.

Cowards can be heroes.

Heroes can be brutes.

Brutes can be romanticists.

Romanticists can be manipulators.

Manipulators can be politicians.

Politicians can be swindlers.

Swindlers can be believers.

Believers can be dreamers.

Dreamers can be schemers.

Schemers can be tycoons.

Tycoons can be ignoramuses.

Ignoramuses can be patsies.

Patsies can be voters.

Voters can be celebrities.

Celebrities can be impostors.

Impostors can be charmers.

Charmers can be shysters.

Shysters can be lovers.

Boots LeBaron

PRETTIEST MOM ON CRESCENT HEIGHTS BLVD. PASSES ON AT 100.

RUTH CHANNON SHOWED TRUE COURAGE DURING ‘THE BIG

WAR.  THROUGHOUT LIFE SHE EXUDED GREAT JOY.

     Not long after Nazi dictator Adolph Hitler’s attempt to conquer the world, obliterate Judaism, slaughter millions of Jews, invade Poland, Czechoslovakia, occupy Austria, bomb the hell out of Britain using der Furor’s powerful Luftwaffe air force, the Japanese launched its December 7, 1941 sneak attack on Pearl Harbor on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

     They struck with carrier-based planes sinking or damaging 19 ships, killing or injuring 2,200 American servicemen, and destroying 188 planes with negligible losses to the Japanese.

Not only did that devastating attack on Pearl get the U.S. into World War II, it revealed a dormant spirit within the men and women of our nation. It was a wake-up call that made us realize that now was the time for all courageous women to radically alter the course

they’ve been living a comfortable existence as housewives, mothers, daughters, administrators, clerks and community leaders to come to the aid of their country. It was a time for great sacrifice; a time to fight an enemy that’s threatening the freedom of what we continue to call the land of the free and the home of the brave.

     And for those reasons, I’d like you to meet Ruth Channon who was one thousands of American women to abruptly change their lifestyles to support their nation which must go to

war against a well-trained, goose-stepping enemy known as the Axis.

     At that time, hundreds of thousands of men left the workplace and joined the U.S. armed forces to combat a mortal enemy. That’s

when thousands of women from all walks of life and levels of

society, forfeited personal and professional comforts to take over the jobs

men had vacated..

     So Ruth Channon, an ambitious young woman, gave up her dreams to become what she whimsically and proudly called herself, “Ruthie the Riveter.” What makes Ruthie unique, is her positive attitude,

her sense of being a woman, and the fact that the mother of my late childhood friend, Richard (I called him Bumbo, he called me Boots) turned 100 years old on April 1, 2015.

     For at least two years, Ruthie worked as a riveter at Hughes Aircraft Co. in Culver City, Calif. During the war, her mother would baby-sit with Bumbo and his sister Sheila while riveted away helping build fighter planes and bombers to battle a powerful enemy that would make Darth Vader look like a kindergartner.

     When I asked Ruthie if by chance she worked on a bomber that actor Clark Gable served on as a tail gunner, she had no idea. As the story went, when German field marshal Hermann Goering learned that Gable, a well-known motion picture star has enlisted in the American Air Corps and was a tail gunner, the notorious field marshal had offered $5,000 to kill him.

     When Gable learned of the price that was put on his head, he was quoted as saying, “Tell Goering that, ‘Frankly, I don’t give a damn!'” Of course, that line was taken from the 1939 Civil War epic, “Gone With the Wind” when Gable as Rhett Butler told Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh), “Frankly, Scarlett, I don’t give a damn!” “Gone With the Wind,” is considered one of the most famous films in Hollywood history.

     Back to Ruth Channon and reality: In their own way, close to 19,000,000 women went to war replacing their male counterparts who became U.S. warriors. In 1942, the original Rosie the Riveter was discovered. Her name was Rosie Ronavita. She was a welder building planes for Convair in San Diego. To land such a riveting job, the government would explain to female applicants, “If you can use an electric mixer, you surely can operate a drill.”

     Working for less money than the men they replaced, women were proud to become active members of the war effort. When posters showing a sturdy female with the slogan, “We Can Do It!” became quite popular. The significance of Rosie the Riveter became as popular as the Uncle Sam recruiting poster pointing under the slogan, “We Want You!”

     When I asked Ruthie about her going to work, leaving her two young children at home, she explained that as a single parent, her mother would baby sit with her young son, my childhood pal Richard (I always called him Bumbo), and her daughter, Sheila.

     Was doing a man’s job difficult? “Not really,” she said. “I was young and strong.” Ruthie was also one of the best looking mothers residing on Crescent Heights Boulevard. She was a young mom, with raven hair, dark brown eyes and Pocahontas cheekbones.

     Was working as a riveter on fighter planes and bombers exhausting? “Only when I got home at night. But my kids made everything alright.”

     Near the end of the war, Ruthie married an ex-GI named Saul Channon. Lucky for Bumbo and Sheila, he adopted them.

     Saul Channon looked like an husky leprechaun. Actually, he was a Russian Jew and the son of a rabbi. I can’t remember him without a cigar sticking out the side of his mouth.

     Mr. Channon never talked about the hell he went through as an infantryman with the 45th Armored Division; never mentioned the wounds he suffered during a firefight in Messina, Italy, in 1944. They were severe enough to buy him a ticket home. I loved the guy.

     For a long time after his return to civilian life, he remained traumatized like the combat infantrymen who return from the Middle East today. Ruthie told me, a thump in the night would send the former sergeant diving under the bed. Even action scenes in a movie, like “Return to Bataan” would cause Saul to hit the deck in a movie theater, taking cover behind rows of seats.

     To get the trembling ex-GI back onto his seat, Ruthie said she would have to remind him that it was only a movie they were watching in a darkened theater.

     “Most of the time it worked,” she said. “What Saul went through, made me realize how important it was for me and all those other women, to do our duty. Although Saul is dead, I still talk to him. He was a great father and husband. I’ll never stop loving him.”

     As I always told her, “You were the best looking mother in our

neighborhood.” She loved that compliment. It was the truth.

     I once told her, “Ruthie, you come with a button on your shoulder. I could press it any time and you’d register joy.

     “One day,” I went on, “that darned button stuck. There was no turning off your joy button. You’re such a loving and joyous person.”

     Ruthie died on Friday Oct. 30, 2015. Lucky for St. Peter,

although he’s not Jewish, she’ll greet him with a smile as he opens those

pearly gates. No matter who she met, she always had a constant abundance

of love and joy to give. And she was so easy to make laugh.

     I’ll love her forever. Ruthie the Riveter truly was the best looking mom on

Crescent Heights Boulevard. And that’s the truth.

     — Boots LeBaron

ATTN. FUTURE GROOMS: NEVER MARRY THESE WOMEN!

THE HUMAN RACE

 

 HEY, GUYS…  IS IT TIME TO TIE THE KNOT?

    

Never marry a woman who plays the flute

and raises cobras for the hell of it.

Never marry a woman who refuses

to play catch with you.

Never marry a woman whose ex-husbands are muscle-

bound cage fighters or NFL defensive linemen.

Never marry a woman who believes that

motherhood must come with a nanny.

Never marry a woman who expects 3-karats,

new wheels and a Visa card before nuptials.

Never marry a woman who continually

beats you at checkers.

Never marry a woman who’s

mesmerized by her beauty.

Never marry a woman who’s been widowed

three times and is under indictment for ADW.

Never marry a woman who constantly

fusses with her ankle-length hair.

Never marry a woman whose mother prefers

nothing less than a kiss-ass son-in-law.

Never marry a woman who doubles down with a pair

of sevens while the blackjack dealer’s showing a King.

Never marry a woman who’s repulsed at

the thought of changing diapers.

Never marry a woman with thick chest hairs

who can bench press three-hundred pounds.

Never marry a woman who’s bent on turning

you into her mealy-mouthed daddy’s clone.

Never marry a woman who spends more than

three-hours a week at the beauty parlor.

Never marry a woman whose father expects

you to take over his house-plumbing chores.

   Never marry a woman who downs a vodka

Martini for an eye-opener every morning.

Never marry a woman whose eyeteeth grow

into fangs when the moon rises.

Never marry a woman who relishes her job

as bouncer at a saloon for longshoremen.

Never marry a woman who cackles and

flies on a broomstick.

 

Boots LeBaron —

ATTN FUTURE BRIDES: NEVER MARRY THESE MEN!

THE HUMAN RACE

NEVER MARRY THESE MEN

 

Never marry a man who drives a Mercedes,

wears a Rolex and lives in a hovel.

Never marry a man whose work tools include

a blackjack, a .38 Special and a silencer.

Never marry a man who allows his nostril

hairs to grow long enough to braid.

Never marry a dude who sees Viagra’s four

hour erection warning as a manly frivolity.

Never marry a man who insists on selecting

your bridesmaids from a Victoria’s Secret catalog.

Never marry a NRA enthusiast whose

favorite sport is fortune hunting.

Never marry a man who’s obsessed

with your bank account and his profile.

Never marry a man who asks you to

strip at his bachelor party.

Never marry a man who’s an alcoholic

posing as a workaholic.

Never marry a man who proposes as

you’re pole-dancing at Bada-Bing Bada-Boom.

Never marry a man who has the names of

five ex-lovers tattooed on his buttocks.

Never marry a man who blows his nose on

your grandma’s embroidered dinner napkin.

Never marry a man who twits a close-up

of his crotch on the Internet.

Never marry a man you catch

peddling your thongs on eBay.

Never marry a man who’d rather watch

a Star Trek rerun than you in a nightie.

Never marry a man whose last wife took

him for everything but an empty jewelry box.

Never marry a man who thinks he’s

too masculine to clean the toilet bowl.

Never marry a man who sees a girl’s

night out as a shameless act of feminism.

Never marry a man who goes for a Hickey while

   standing in line at the supermarket.    

Never marry a bank robber unless you

can drive the getaway car.

 

— Boots LeBaron

A BROKEN PROMISE: CIVILIZATION’S MAJOR CRIME

THE HUMAN RACE

A BROKEN PROMISE AIN’T NO MISDEMEANOR!

 

A broken promise can scar the

soul of every individual who’s convinced

that trust is humanity’s cornerstone.

It’s capable of shattering the

confidence of any trusting person

whose confidence in another

has been desecrated.

In any court of

dignity where the indignant

act is exposed, the culprit

will either be exonerated,

mentally shackled with feelings

of guilt and anxiety for life,

stuck with a misdemeanor thanks

to the power of forgiveness,

labeled as a liar and a cheat,

or, depending on the severity

of the mental or financial anguish

inflicted on another. Of course, those

suffering from life’s broken-promise

syndrome, especially those whose lives

have been wrecked in the midst of a

lovey-dovey relationship, has every

philosophical right to reward that partner

with a seat on the electric chair.

Humanity consists of so many ridiculous

men and women in search of peace of mind

and a perfect life, which is never perfect.

No matter how benign or devious, a broken

promise can cause humiliation, hyperventilation

acute anxiety or psychotic short circuitry

despite the admirable intentions that kick off

any kind of human relationship. Yet, no matter

how intolerable the plight, a broken promise

should rightfully be labeled guilty as charged

on every victim’s shit list. Forever!

Boots LeBaron

BEAUTY QUEEN TELLS ABOUT HER ADVENTURES IN LIFE

THE HUMAN RACE

LIFE’S REALITIES FROM A FORMER BEAUTY PAGEANT WINNER

 

     Lee Turner was one beauty pageant queen who wasn’t afraid to tell her true story,  looking at life and death as she lived it.

     Here’s the still-timely interview I wrote 26 years ago:

     Despite their years, the expressive brown eyes are youthful and unmistakable trusting. As we sat across from each other in a corner booth at Buffy’s coffee shop in old downtown Torrance, California, Lee Turner revealed what those eyes had seen in 74 years of life.

     I’ve never used the word sweetness to describe a woman’s face. But in Lee’s case, it was a perfect fit. Even before she spoke, her eyes would reveal the emotional thoughts behind them.

     It wasn’t all good. It wasn’t all bad. Yet there were moments of terror that still lingered in her memories. There were moments of love, restlessness, confusion — and times when she felt “on top of the world.”

     For Lee, motherhood was one dream that never materialized. After several miscarriages, she could never have a baby of her own.

     The last pregnancy lasted six months.

     “It broke my heart,” she remembered. “But looking at the world today, maybe it’s just as well.”

     Although she shrugged away those memories, she recited “My Great Desire,” a poem she wrote after she lost her last child, as if it happened just yesterday.

     “I wish I had a darling boy to tuck into his bed,

     To put away each baby toy and smooth his tousled head.

     I’d walk so proudly down the street

     And take his chubby hand

     And smile at ever one I’d meet

     And look upon his face so tan!

     God, is that too much to ask,

     A favor which seems quite small?

     I would try to master the heaviest task

     If you would heed my call.”

     A half-century before we met, in the former Torrance Auditorium, Miss Leila (Lee) Mae Combs, a striking 24-year-old brunette paraded across the stage in a one-piece swimsuit and high heels.

     In competition with nine other young women, she won, selected as the first Miss Torrance in that city’s history.

     “The country was still very poor then. The Torrance Moose Lodge sponsored the beauty contest. I came prepared to sing a ‘song poem’ I wrote. But it wasn’t necessary.

     Lee walked away not only as Miss Torrance 1939 but was awarded a new swimsuit, a beach towel, a robe, a free hair shampoo and set at a local salon, and the opportunity to compete in the Miss California beauty pageant in Venice, Calif.

     “I lost that one,” she said, smiling.

     Beauty contest winners, Lee noted, “have it made today. If they were asked to compete for the kind of prizes I won, they’d say, ‘Forget it!’ In my day, the honor of being selected as a pretty woman was important.”

     As a young women, her favorite actress was Clara Bow. “I wanted to be like her,” Lee said. “In 1940, she moved into a girlfriend’s apartment in Hollywood, worked as a waitress and taught ballroom dancing while pursuing an acting career. But Hollywood never beckoned.

     “A couple of producers offered to show me their etchings,” she said, giggling. “I told them, ‘No way!'”

     She would never forget the Sunday morning of Dec. 7, 1941, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. “Even now when I think of it, I break out in goose bumps.”

     On that fateful day, Lee and her first husband, Eddie Guillow, a crane operator, were newlyweds living in a small house near Honolulu Airport.

     “I was sitting at a breakfast table writing a note to my mother on a Christmas card when I heard the sound of a plane,” Lee recalled. “It kept getting louder and louder. Suddenly, the house seemed to explode.”

     A Japanese Zero riddled her home with machine gun fire, the bullets penetrating the breakfast nook only a foot from where she was sitting. “I ruined the note,” she said, laughing at the irony. “I dove for a door jam, thinking it might be an earthquake.”

     Then a second plane zoomed overhead, dropping a bomb that exploded across the street, sending chunks of shrapnel into her house. About the same time, her husband was operating a crane near the battleship USS Arizona, which was under heavy attack. “When the Arizona exploded and sunk, Eddie had to dive off the crane and swim under the burning oil to safety.”

     A year later, back in the U.S. while walking with her sister-in-law, Lee said she “hit the dirt” when a plane passed overhead. “I felt embarrassed. But when my sister-in-law started laughing, I told her, ‘It’s not funny!'”

     Her husband was killed in a crane accident in 1947. Five years later she married Ken (Buck) Turner. A maintenance supervisor for the Torrance Parks Department, her husband died several months later.

     “It seems that everywhere I go, something drastic happens,” said Lee, who grew up in Torrance in a family of eight children and graduated from Torrance High School there.

     Another calamity she found herself in the midst of was the devastating Long Beach earthquake in 1933. “It was a very foggy Friday afternoon,” she recalled. “I was in the kitchen of my second-story apartment fixing french fries when the building began to sway and shake.

     “Polytechnic High School was right next door. It’s tower collapsed and fell onto my front yard. I was 18 years old and terrified. When I sat down at the breakfast nook, a second temblor tore the gas stove from the wall and knocked me out! When I came to, I was covered with french fries.

     “I was trapped in the kitchen. Rescuers had to break into the room to get me out. Other than a bump on my head and being scared half to death, I was fine.”

     At that time, I asked, “At your age, with all these experiences, what have you learned about survival?”

     “I live today as if it were tomorrow. I have girlfriends. I like to go places. I was a liberated women long before my second husband died. I don’t like to see what’s happening in the world. But I love visiting downtown Torrance.

     “I plan to be around long after everyone else is pushing up daisies,” she said with  that sweet-faced smile.

     Suffice to say: Lee Turner, if she’s still alive today, was my favorite beauty queen.   Ever!

 

                        — Boots LeBaron —

 

 

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