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My farewell speech

  • Posted on May 29, 2012 at 10:16 am

My computer is still not posting photos to this site. I’m still working on a solution.

Sunday I said farewell to my coworkers, definitely a bittersweet experience. I’ve had four years of fun while assisting our guests at the World’s Most Beautiful Theme Park. I chose to leave because my energy is not as high as I’d like it to be. Before I share my farewell speech I’d like to tell you the great news.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg has a five-week old Clydesdale foal named Aiden. He’s already larger than a pony and a sweetheart. His arrival wasn’t announced until a few days ago because the equine handlers wanted to wait until he passed the danger period that took last year’s foal. For now barricades are keeping visitors at least 10 feet away from the new family.

About 15 minutes before my last shift ended my supervisor, Leslie, came by to wish me well and ask about my plans. I asked if he wanted a speech. He said, “Yes.” This is the message I left with my co-workers.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, I bid you a fond farewell as I recall my years of fun here in the toy shop. I wish to tell you that I’m leaving to spend more time with my family. I did not steal from the tills. I did not steal toys. I did not sleep with my supervisor. I did not sleep with student interns. I repeat. I am leaving because my family requires my presence at home.”

After Leslie stopped laughing, he said, “You are so funny.”

My response was, “I hope so. That’s why I went to EBWW, to get my funny back.”

I must add, “Honk if you’ve heard this speech before.”

© by Sharon D. Dillon, May 29, 2012

It’s all Barney’s fault

  • Posted on May 9, 2012 at 4:50 pm

After carefully reading and digesting two items in today’s Daily Press I have come to the inescapable conclusion that it is all Barney’s fault. What, you may ask, could that saccharine-sweet purple dinosaur do to upset me? That is besides being purple and saccharine-sweet? Read on and, I’m sure, you will blame Barney too.

Article #1 – spread across pages 1 and 4 talks about a local fish kill caused by warm, shallow water that is also oxygen-depleted. Authorities are unsure about the cause of this condition and who is responsible for disposing of the stinky, silver fish. This situation is serious. However it’s cause is obvious and easily repaired.

Article #2 on page 2 reports, “… Researchers have calculated that dinosaur flatulence could have put enough methane into the atmosphere to warm the planet during the hot Mesozoic era. Like gigantic prehistoric cows, sauropod dinosaurs roamed widely. … their plant digestion was aided by methane-producing microbes…. Methane [has]… as much as 25 times the climate warming potential as carbon dioxide….”

Anyone who has stood down-wind of a cow can understand this concept. We don’t know if Barney is a sauropod, but we can be certain is not a carnivore. The fact that he is disgustingly sweet and purple indicates that he dines exclusively on sugar beets and purple kool-aid, leading to mega-flatulence. Young dinosaurs don’t just pop up out of nowhere, so we can assume that he has relatives roaming around the woods.

In addition we know that Barney has extended relatives roaming the world. Godzilla, Swamp Thing and Creature from the Black Lagoon seem to be vegetarian. We’re not sure what Godzilla eats other than sky-scrapers. However, it’s obvious that Swamp Thing and Creature from the Black Lagoon dine on water plants and algae, which become “aromatic” in hot weather. Can you imagine the resultant odor once they’ve been digested by Barney and his relatives?

In conclusion, I assert that Barney and his family’s gaseous emissions are directly responsible for the lack of oxygen and warmer temperatures, especially since Swamp Thing and Creature from the Black Lagoon spend most of their time in water and Barney needs an occasional bath.

You’ve heard of bubbles in the bath water, haven’t you?
© by Sharon D. Dillon, May 9, 2012

My Spring Vacation – part 3

  • Posted on May 4, 2012 at 8:14 pm

After leaving the Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop I drove six hours to West Virginia to see family. I was apprehensive because I had not been there since 1974. Would I be able to find the house where I would be staying? Would I also be able to spend polite and sane time with my children’s father –in his home?

The trip was long and winding but beautiful. I made a decision that since I had changed for the better over the past 38 years so had he. I am on good terms with Carrie, my sister-in-law and her family. I’d already met and liked Georgia, my successor. My adult children liked Emmy. So I figured the visit should go fairly smoothly. All I needed to do was stay away from Orville, the ex. You’ve figured out by now that our parting was not amicable.

When I arrived in Buckhannon I called everyone who was keeping tabs on my journey to let them know I had almost reached my destination. Cell phone reception is non-existent in the mountains. Then I proceeded to head toward my destination with warnings of an impending snow storm echoing through my brain.

Despite excellent directions, I missed my turn off the main road. When it dawned on me that I had driven too far I stopped to ask directions. This was nerve-wracking too. I had out-of-state plates and a sad, lost look on my face. The woman who answered the door took pity on me and told me to drive back to the red and while real estate office and turn right. It worked!

Now I was on the correct road to Carrie’s house. Her directions said to go around a sharp curve and up a hill. After going around at least 35 curves and up that many hills I was feeling nervous. I kept looking at the photo she had sent, all the time driving with my fingers crossed.
There it was, just like the picture. I was there. I headed down the steep, narrow driveway and was greeted warmly before I even climbed out of my car. After unpacking and enjoying a quiet supper, our niece Teresa and her one-year old grandson Caden, stopped by for a visit.

The next morning we all waded through about six inches of wet snow and piled into Carl’s car for the short drive to the next farm where I was once again greeted warmly.

We shared memories and pictures of Dan’s memorial services. Orville, Emmy and I drove down to the pond where they had scattered their portion of Dan’s ashes. Later Emmy and I walked across the snowy meadow to see the memorial tree and flowering shrubs they had planted.

They fed us delicious American and Philippine dishes for lunch and supper. I also met Emmy’s handsome husband David and father-in-law Paul, also called Pappy the Clown. I was happy to welcome these wonderful men to our family.

We were invited for breakfast on Tuesday. Georgia baked home-made bread. I must admit that I ate more than my share. Pappy had promised to make some balloon animals for the great-grandsons. I anticipated one or maybe two shaped balloons for each boy. Not so, I drove home with a big, green lawn bag full of balloons, not just animals but toys as well – and the lovely memory picture board they had made for their memorial service.

Wednesday morning I began the long drive back home to Tidewater Virginia, my ears ringing with invitations to visit again soon. Not knowing what roads were safe I stuck to the Interstate system. The trip took 11 hours. The route over the mountains takes about eight hours. I’ll try that way next time.

By now you’ve figured out that there was no confrontation. Orville was not the “bad guy” of my memories, nor my best pal. He is just Georgia’s husband. I now have another sister and daughter. What a gift!

© by Sharon D. Dillon, May 4, 2012

My spring vacation – Part 2

  • Posted on May 3, 2012 at 8:28 am

After leaving Patty’s house I drove about five hours to the Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop at the Dayton Marriott where all the funny people I knew and hoped to meet were gathering. A few I knew from their blog photos, some I recognized by name and the others – well they were a gift in another package.

When I walked through the door EB Heron’s masculine figure lured me to the proper table where Jody gave me my EB princess tiara and my EB’s Harem tee-shirts. I saw other familiar faces such as Wanda, Rose, Bonnie, Joanie, and Barb. For the next four days no one was a stranger.

Everyone was so friendly. Even the key note speakers and instructors treated us lowly “occasional” bloggers like we were just as famous as they. Each of them said that they started where we are and hit the big time, some sooner, some later.

I was impressed and encouraged by Ilene Beckerman who wrote her first book at 60. Her talk gave me hope that even though I’m now classified as “mature,” I still have a chance to be published. Seeing a few other gray heads there was also comforting.

Since I’m basically a beginner even though I’ve written for newspapers and magazines, I stuck to the basic classes:

The Power of Erma – Nancy Berk
Hypnotic Recall Fills the Creative Well – Suzette Martinez Standring
The Six Million Dollar Humor Column: How to write bigger, funnier and faster – Tracy Beckerman
Be Funny, Make Money – Michele (Wojo) Wojciechowski
If You Blog It, They Will Come: How to Blog Your Own Field of Dreams – Nettie Reynolds
Finding the Authority to Write – Kyran Pittman

Each class and keynote speaker gave me knowledge, hope and motivation to keep trying and to push harder to get published. Even the amateur stand-up comics motivated me, that is when I wasn’t laughing too hard to think. If they can do it, so can I — maybe in 2014.

I must give three Huzzahs and a huge thank you to Suzette Martinez Standring. Since my son passed in December my body and soul had been torn into pieces. I was unable to gather myself enough to write. Even ordinary tasks seemed daunting. We were seated in rock hard, lecture hall seats made for skinny students. When Standring announced she was going to lead us in a meditation, I thought, “That will be useless. I’ll never get comfortable enough to meditate.”

After just a few minutes I was off in some other place. My guides showed me a peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich on whole wheat bread. What kind of motivation is that? I don’t like grape jelly. I don’t like peanut butter and jelly together. And I seldom eat whole wheat bread. Soon we were all back in the room and other students began sharing their insights. I kept my mouth shut. Wouldn’t you?

For the next couple days I pondered this peculiar imagery. On Sunday morning I saw Standring in the lobby as we were all preparing to leave. I worked up the courage to ask for a moment of her time, then asked what she thought it meant. As all good teachers, she threw the question back to me. I told her that the message seemed to tell me I should try new ideas and experiences and new combinations of old ideas and experiences. Just because they didn’t work before, it doesn’t mean they won’t work now. She responded, “That’s exactly what that image means.”

However, the most powerful moment in Standring’s class came when she brought us back to the lecture hall. All my body and soul bits were once again back with me. I was whole again. I didn’t stop smiling for the rest of the workshop. I’m still grinning because I’m whole.

All too soon our time in Dayton was finished. After exchanging hugs, business cards and promised to meet again in 2014, I loaded my luggage and began the six-hour drive to West Virginia where My Spring Vacation – part 3 takes place.

© by Sharon D. Dillon, May 2, 2012