Wednesday, July 25, 2012

RIP Sherman Hemsley

Sherman Hemsley died yesterday at the young age of 74. 

He was awesome.  Between All in the Family and The Jeffersons, he blessed our black and white Zenith through the 1970’s.  When you hear “Weezy” you automatically think of him.  The word “honky” always makes me think of the way George Jefferson said it.  Or Richard Pryor to Chevy Chase on Saturday Night Live.   But I digress. 

Sherman holds a special place in our hearts and in our home.

True story:

There is a wonderful art fair that is held every summer in Normal, Illinois.  It is typically held on the hottest and most humid weekend of the year.  They don’t plan for it to land on that weekend, it just happens that way.  But the Sugar Creek Art Festival is worth the heat stroke.  Traditionally, our attendance goes like this:  I go the festival for a whole day with a friend or two, and John joins us late in the afternoon for a 20 minute swoop through the booths.  Then we find our friends Dave and Barb, and end up at a pub for a couple of well deserved very cold beers. 

A couple years ago, John found a painting that he really liked.  It spoke to him in a powerful way.  It was a 4’x4’ painting of Sherman Hemsley.   It looked like this, only with a brick background.

Barb is an artist, so she appreciated John’s infatuation with a thing of such beauty.   I, on the other hand, was silently appreciative of the fact that the painting cost way too much money and therefore would not grace the walls of humble abode. 

Until we moved.

When Dave and Barb visited us last February, we were given this as a housewarming present.

On the back of the painting, Barb wrote, “For your garage or basement only!!”  But it is a sin to hide such a thing of beauty – especially one that is that well done, thoughtful, hysterical and just plain perfect.  Sherman’s likeness is now hung just inside the doorway of the bedroom at the end of the hallway. 

He may have moved on to the “deluxe apartment in the sky”, but he will be a fixture in our household for years to come. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

No Problem

It’s official.  I have become a curmudgeon.

I’ve never been a real stickler for etiquette.  Let’s be real – I grew up in the heart of the Midwest where we were nice to each other in a practical kind of way.  If a person put multiple forks out for a meal, people would think they were snooty.  Or nuts.  Or both.  We didn’t reach across the table at supper (we didn’t eat “dinner”).  More often than not, my favorite aunt  said “much obliged” instead of thank you.

Here’s the thing that bugs me, and it’s mostly younger people that do it (thus the curmudgeon factor) – instead of saying "thank you", "thanks" or even "much obliged", they say “no problem.”

For my job, I sometimes have to call a certain place to get information.  At the end of our brief conversation, I say, "thank you" and the person on the other end of the line always said either, "you're welcome" or "thank YOU."  Now they have hired a new guy.  He's young.  I can tell by his voice.  And now after my "thank you" I get a "no problem". 

One of these days when I'm in a not-so-great-mood (which is a lot lately at work), I'm liable to go off.  Something to the tune of this:  "You're darn straight it's no problem.  I just thanked you for doing your job.  Or, did I put you out in some way?  Did I inconvenience you?  Do I amuse you?"  (OK, now I'm getting all Joe Pesci in Goodfellas...)  

I'm not the only one who thinks this way.  John's cousins visited us recently and we went to our favorite BBQ place for lunch.  

Our waitress brought our food.
"Thank you."
"No problem."

She gave us containers for our leftovers.
"Thank you."
"No problem."

She delivered our bill.
"Thank you."
"No problem."

Even though John had never even thought about it, our cousins had a big issue with it too.  It's like "no problem" people want to be courteous but they just can't seem to muster the energy for a full on "you're welcome."

I've even gotten "np" instead of "yw" in instant messages and texts.  

Curmudgeons of the world, unite!  We must band together to wipe out this etiquette curve ball!  Let people know that is response is not appropriate!  They will thank us for it someday.

And to that, we'll say, "you're welcome".

Monday, July 16, 2012

Long, long ago

We had company this weekend.  John's cousin and his wife visited us this weekend and he is very into John's family tree.  You could get lost in all the Krajewskis, Placzeks, Wojciks, and Ptasinskis.  Knee deep in Polacks!  It was fun.  We dug up some really old, really cool photos.

I don't know who is in the wedding on the bottom photo, but John is certain that his grandfather is the man standing in the top right corner.  

And with the top two photos, the story we were always told is that John's grandma and grandpa eloped to Crown Point, Indiana the night before she was to leave with her family to return to Poland - because she was too young to get married in Illinois.  But if that's the case, why the formal wedding?  Maybe after the fact?  

At any rate, what awesome photos - to leave so much to the imagination as to what really happened, so long ago.