Archive for the ‘Dickie-Quickie’ Category


Sunday, December 20th, 2009

I love Christmas stories. Please send yours to To find out what this is all about, go to

My buddy Al wrote a Christmas story to remember last week in his blog at He gave me permission to put it here this week. Enjoy

I awoke to find myself in the less-than-bustling metropolis of Comstock, Michigan.  No, I hadn’t been on an all night bender — it only felt that way. I had been on a fifteen hour drive with Vigi to visit her family for Thanksgiving and I did all of the ‘aiming’ for the final seven hours.  It was our last chance to make the trip before winter closed in and I looked forward to spending a holiday with a house full of people once again.

Since the kids moved out and scattered around the country raising their own families, the peace and quiet I longed for while they were growing up had become deafening, especially around the holidays.  Besides, things were getting kind of crazy at the radio station and we were sloshing our way through the middle of a financial rough patch at home;  not the greatest timing with Christmas just around the corner.

After the obligatory slide show and catching up on several years of National Geographic, I was more than ready to prowl two of my favorite haunts in town — the only two haunts in town.  It felt good not to be sticking to a schedule for a change and, in my absence, Veege could visit with her folks without being concerned about keeping me constantly entertained.  After meandering through the aisles of the local Meijer’s ‘everything store’ I headed over to the one place that was an absolute, positive, don’t miss any time we made the trip: The Kalamazoo Air Zoo.

They had vintage aircraft from World War II and Korea through present day classics hangared there and many were still operational.  On the right day, you could even catch a glimpse of a local pilot putting one of those two-thousand horsepower beauties through her paces!  They had everything from flight simulators and a pink [believe it or not] P-40 flown by a very talented pilotress, to a mighty gull-winged Corsair — the plane that makes my heart go thump and has held the kid in me hostage ever since I first saw the movie  Flat Top.  You could actually walk up close enough to get a whiff of grease and oil mixed with just a hint of musty leather.

No tour of The Air Zoo was complete without a trip to the gift shop.  I entered expecting to see the usual models, banners, books and displays — but what to my wandering eyes should appear but a shiny Corsair, perfect scale to the gear!  She was carved from mahogany and painted in such painstaking detail that you could almost hear the roar of her engine.  She was gorgeous!  She was, also, $139 and I couldn’t afford to spend the price of a post card at that point.

I was unusually quiet for the last two days of our visit and most of the ride home.  I am never quiet.  Never.  ”All right, what’s wrong?” Vigi finally ventured.  ”Shows, huh?”  ”Not if you’re a mime,” she answered.  I told her all about the Corsair and explained that it wasn’t so much that I wanted it but that I couldn’t get it.  We both had good jobs and worked hard.  We weren’t extravagant.  It’s not like it was a car or a boat or something — just a stupid airplane model that shouldn’t even require decision making.  She reminded me that the financial rough patch was only temporary, and I stopped my whining.  In my generation guys were supposed to do better than that for their families; the little airplane became a symbol that continued eating at me — and she knew it.

The remaining few weeks until Christmas sped by.  Our ‘rough patch’ was beginning to smooth out and I had, at last, put the whole episode with the Corsair behind me — mostly.  Christmas morning, the two of us did our usual Santa thing but when the ripping and tearing of brightly colored paper had ended, there was still one more present under the tree.  She smiled and handed it to me.  Unlike the others, I opened this one carefully unveiling a plain brown box.  I was puzzled.  Slowly I opened the flaps marked “This Side Up” — and what to my wondering eyes should appear but THE shiny Corsair!  The one from The Air Zoo!

That incredible lady actually pirated all of the money from her change jar, where she had been dumping stray nickels, dimes and quarters for years, contacted the curator of The Zoo and ordered one very important Corsair for one grumpy old man.  So many times through the years Vigi has lighted a torch when she found me in a dark place — and that Christmas, she did it again!

Dickie – Quickie

Monday, December 7th, 2009

The Christmas letters are pouring in. Thank you. Please send yours to . We’ll post most of them right here or on the podcast.

This one is from Carol:

Dear Dick, Well here is a Christmas story for you.

 I think I was 14 or 15 years old we (my family had already done the Christmas shopping) were a church going family. I was a member of the choir… a soprano. Because many of the choir members were going to be traveling the director asked me if I would sing a solo the Sunday before Christmas. I excitedly said yes.

 So with the music in hand I went home and asked my Dad if he would help me practice. My dad played both the piano and the organ (otften at the same time… we had an organ and a piano in the dinning room/livingroom side by side). My Dad took his music very seriously but I loved to hear him play and I would often lend my voice to whatever he was playing. We practiced together after dinner for at least two hours or until dad thought that it was good enough. I also practiced when the choir practiced at church.

 I usually never got nervous when I sang in front of people but when the Sunday rolled around I had huge butterflies in my stomach. I received a wonderful piece of advice from a  cherished family member( my godfather) he told me don’t look any familiar faces just look straight out into the church. I told him that I thought that was a great piece of advice but that I was afraid of heights and I would be in the loft at the front of the church. My choir director said that if youlook straight out and not down I would be okay.

             Well you know as I stood in the loft I looked straight out and in the middle of the church pews was a row of every relative I knew. However instead of making me nervous I was really calm. I saw my godfather make a gesture with his finger raising up his chin. The Song I sang was “O Holy Night” I was only concerned at that time of making my notes.

     I was shaking so bad that I thought my voice would crack. I took a deep breath and I could not hear a note but everyone else did. After the service was over at the reception, a person that I don’t even know came up to me and thanked me for giving her a Christmas gift that she thought that she would never get again. Apparently she was going deaf and all that she wanted was to hear her favorite Christmas Carol again. I told her (my uncle heard me say it) that I was given a a gift and I was glad that I could pass it on and make someone’s holiday a special one.

                                                                   It made me realize many years later and even to this day that if you are graced with a gift that you need to share it and never take it for granted. You may not think that anyone is listening but if you see one person smile that you have made a difference.


Dickie – Quickie

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

We’re swapping Christmas stories, and it’s your turn. (To find out what this is about, go to This story is from Sheri Shanks. She’s confirming the “Pick A Person” idea in the podcast.

You asked for Christmas stories, but what I have to tell you is actually a No Christmas Story.  In December of 1999 my two children moved with their father and their step-mother about 20 days before Christmas to Ramstein Germany.  Their step-mother was in the Air Force and that is where she was going to be stationed for at least 4 years.  I would get to see my children, once a year, for about 3 months in the summer.  So we had Christmas early.. the apartment was decorated inside and out with the help of my finance…. and I knew that Christmas day was going to be rough, I would get thru it.  We said good-bye to the kids around the 5th of December, and 4 days later, my finance left me…. no note… no phone call… nothing… just the key to the apartment in the mailbox and all of his stuff gone. I was devastated.  There is no words to describe the totally emptiness ….. my children were gone, my mother had passed away in 98, all my family were more than 300 miles away and I had no way to get there.  I woke up Christmas morning to an empty house, and an empty tree.  The child in me felt like I had been the worst child ever, because Santa didn’t come.  

This year is going to be better.  I live with my daughter, there are 3 children… we will be going to my son-in-law’s parents house with a big family celebration… and I will be right in the middle of it all.  I didn’t tell you all this to make you feel sorry… what I really would like you to do is tell you listeners and readers that if they know someone who will be alone at Christmas, and even if they have invited them to come share it with them… most (including me) won’t go because Christmas is family, and you aren’t feeling.  But the next best thing they can do is go over to that person’s home… don’t call in advance… show up with a plate from your Christmas dinner, or a plate of cookies, just something to eat.. and a small gift… believe me when you wake up Christmas morning and have nothing to unwrap and alone…. having someone show up at your door… does so much for that person.  The gift need not be much, a holiday candle, or any kind of candle, a small gift certificate to that place…. heck even a small fake decorated Christmas tree……. that person’s whole day would be so much better… you don’t need to stay long… it’s better if you don’t because they aren’t gonna want you to see them cry.  Be Santa… leave the gift at the door.. knock and run.. sign the card… from Santa….. I know a lot of people do things for
the homeless at this time of the year, but there is another group that gets totally forgotten… and it’s those that have no one…. I’ve been there more times than I ever want to.. and I will never let anyone I know NOT have something to open on Christmas Morning… we are all still kids at Christmas… we still believe deep in our hearts that Santa is real…. and when he skips our house…. it really hurts…..

 Now go watch a comedy in your big papa chair……. and I’m going to
listen to Quiet Hands as I fall asleep……. you put me to sleep every
night… and I mean that as a compliment…….. 

 Please send your story to And Merry Christmas/Hanukkah/Quanza/Solstis.

Dickie – Quickie

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

We’ve been swapping Christmas stories. (To find out what this is all about, go to ) Here’s one of mine:

This is a Christmas story that only goes back to 1971. And it might have been over in 2006. But it was too good for some folks who heard about it to let that happen. It was Christmas Eve, 1971, and a young guy by the name of Larry Stewart was down on his luck. He was homeless, out of work, and out of money. He hadn’t eaten in a couple of days, when he walked into a diner, and ordered a big meal. When the bill came, he said he’d just lost his wallet. When the owner walked over to the cash register, he figured he was going to have a problem. But instead, the owner slipped a $20 bill into his hand and said, “You must have dropped this.” Larry never forgot that.

 Fast forward to Kansas City Missouri, Christmas, 1981. Over the holidays, a mysterious stranger dressed up like Santa Claus started showing up in bus stations, thrift stores, Laundromats and skid run hotels, handing out $100 bills to people down on their luck. He just slipped the bills into their hands, said “Merry Christmas,” and walked away into the night before people even had a chance to understand what was going on.

 He did that for 26 years. Then in 2006, that Secret Santa who had never revealed his name let a tv reporter catch up with him, and his story got on the air. It was Larry Stewart…the young kid who needed a break…and got it in that diner all those years ago. He had become a successful business man. And every Christmas Eve, he played Secret Santa. He had given away more than $1.3 million dollars to needy people all over the United States since he started.

 It’s a great story, and a true one. And you may wonder why after all those years of being a Secret Santa…giving money away anonymously, Larry Stewart let the tv reporter tell his story in 2006. And here’s the answer. Larry got cancer. He knew he only had a few months to live. He was hoping some other folks would pick up where he left off.

 Larry died the next April. But in the last couple of years…since Larry’s story got on the air…Secret Santas have been spotted giving away $100 bills all over the country, just the way Larry did it. They dress up like Santa Claus, go to some places where Santa might not otherwise make a landing in his sleigh, slip some money into some very surprised hands…wish a quick Merry Christmas, and then quickly disappear into the night. Just like Larry.

 It’s a real Christmas story. It only goes back to 1971, so it’s not very old as Christmas stories go. But it is a true one. And I guess some folks just feel it’s simply too good to let it end. And I agree.

I’d love to add your Christmas story either here or on the podcast. Please send it to:  And Merry Christmas.     

Dickie – Quickie

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

Lots of your Christmas stories coming in. (Please send yours to  And check out what this is all about at Here’s an especially  important one from Proud Podcast Participant Bob Conklin.

Hi Dick

          I am going to attempt to put this set of memories to paper. It is not a single story per say but rather a collection of what I remember. I say attempt because I suffer from that affliction that I suspect most of us Louie Louie generation men suffer from, the one that tends to cause excessive moisture to collect over the lens of your eye blocking the ability to see the text clearly. Here goes:

 My dad was a firefighter for the City of White Plains, NY where I was born and raised. Being in that job meant that there was more then a good chance he would have to work on Christmas as well as my birthday, New Years day and any other holiday you care to mention. As an aside his birthday was December 24th so that meant he generally had to work his birthday too. Dad made sure the 3 kids and mom, my older brother and sister then later on my baby sister who never made it to her first birthday, always would go to Christmas Eve services. Our church held a true midnight service, where the Christmas story was told and at the stroke of midnight Silent Night was sung with the pipe organ quietly playing along. We held candles and sang our hearts out. Our church used real candles on the alter and in the pews. As I grew older I remember that the city told our church that in order to keep using real candles they would have to have a Firefighter in church to monitor the service. I can still see my dad working his magic to arrange his shift to make sure he was at church for the service before heading back to the station so finish out his shift. Dad never let on that it was he who would request that assignment because for as long as I can remember he was the dispatcher and that was a job that not all firefighters could do. Looking back now that he is gone, I am saddened that I never said thank you to him for doing what he could do to be near us even though he was working to serve our city. (There it is that affliction I mentioned earlier) On the rare times that he did not have to work, he would still wear his dress uniform and take us all in the old Chevy to church and secretly smile to the firefighter that was on duty while dad would hold my hand.

 Damn its hard to type through the tears that always come.

 Merry Christmas Dick!

Dickie Quickie

Monday, November 30th, 2009

The Christmas stories are pouring in. Please add yours. ( Send them to: ) Thank you. Here’s another very special one:


Dear Dick:
Christmas and “the Holidays” — have always been (for me) a time to try to bring a bit of cheer and love to those who don’t expect it.  An example:
Years ago, my ex and I used to drive from north Jersey to my sister-in-law’s place in Maryland just outside of Baltimore.  We used to split the driving chores.  I used to bring along all kinds of wrapped holiday candy, and delighted in wishing the toll-takers “Merry Christmas” while giving them candy along with the fee.
It was wonderful to see their faces (and eyes) light up. 
It was one of those “….little, but BIG” things.
If only we could all give in the spirit of the holidays—it doesn’t matter which one we celebrate.   It’s amazing how the smallest and simplest of kindnesses can mean the world to someone.
Like you, I believe it can be a better world.
Carole With an E



Dickie – Quickie

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Just got back from a business trip…trying to catch up. Some wonderful things about the blog/podcast in the mail box. For example:

Your latest podcast REALLY gott my wheels turning.
Before I go off in that direction — did you ever think of scanning the pix you’d like to keep (those of your folks, you with a mustache, the day you took 2nd in the citywides (WOW!!), LWW at the Grand Canyon) and putting them on a CD?  If you don’t have a scanner, there are places (yes, even Walgreens and CVS) that do that for you.   It would be a pity to part with them — although I must fess up – I’ve been in the same boat.  Which to hold on to and which to part with.  Hard decisions, those.  (And that includes “stuff”, as our departed buddy used to opine.)   I hate to tell you how many times I’ve begun with the best of intentions to sort thru and throw out my “stuff”, only to end up sitting cross-legged on the floor for hours reminiscing and putting it all back again.   I just couldn’t bear to part with them.
Some of the things you said really got me thinking.
Fragrances and aromas — they have been proven to be (as I’m sure you know as a former therapist) one of the most evocative (memory-wise) of the senses.  Marcel Proust and his story about the aroma of Madeleines (cookies) and all the memories that came flooding back to him decades later when he smelled them.  (I know I don’t need to mention people’s scents — that is just so basic.)
First loves — (and yes, I do mean in the plural!!) – each one forever owns a tiny piece of our heart — they map out their territory, “stake their claim” so to speak.  And that tiny plot remains forever, mostly forgotten — till something reminds us.  Then the memories and emotions come flooding back.  That can be a blessing and a curse.    Even later on in life – any deep and meaningful relationship leaves a little push-pin in our hearts, remaining there till some day, some time, something reminds us.  People, situations and things long-forgotten come rushing back.  Some so real you can see, smell and almost touch them.
That’s what sets us crazy humans apart.  All the memories, like so much hidden treasure locked away and waiting to be discovered by accident.    I wouldn’t trade any of it, even the sad and wistful things.  As you said so well — (and I may be paraphrasing a bit, so forgive me) “…it’s what makes us….US.”
Each of us is, in many ways, the sum of all the life we’ve lived thus far.  Life is one wild and crazy ride — if only folks would realize how wonderful it can truly be.  Sometimes it takes a few negatives (as I have recently learned) to truly open your eyes.  
I am bound and determined to enjoy whatever comes my way.
Dick, thanks so much for sharing.  Have a great day.
Carole with an E   

Dickie Quickie

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

Proud Podcast Participant Michael has an observation that is cogent, timely, and pertinent. It’s one that only a member of the Louie-Louie Generation would think to make. In fact it’s worthy of Big Louie, his own bad self. Michael says:

We’re all in the same boat;  except with different leaks.

Pot Hole Update

Monday, October 26th, 2009

Our son is in good shape considering the accident. He’s home and recovering. My Lady Wonder Wench and I want to thank all of you for the way you let us know you care. Big Louie, his own bad self, the Chief Mustard Cutter of the Louie-Louie Generation wasn’t surprised at all about the notes you sent. I was a little surprised…and it feels good. Thank you. Dick

Dickie Quickie

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

Proud Podcast Participant Betsy had this to say about this week’s podcast:

Re town names, around here we change them if they’re not interesting enough.   For instance Crested Butte, a little ski town in central Colorado, becomes Crusty Butt.  If you ever fly your plane to Aspen, I might ask you where’s your ass been?  😉  Typical Louie Louie generation immaturity at play. 😉