Cumberland Times-News

Jim Goldsworthy - Anything and Everything

February 22, 2014

He still walks the floor ... but there’s no floor

Here’s a question you probably never expected to hear:

What’s the strangest thing that ever happened while you were sitting on the toilet?

I’ll give you a while to think about that before I tell you what happened to me.

——————

The idea was to go to Gettysburg on Sunday to watch the Super Bowl and stay there to celebrate Capt. Gary’s birthday at Gettysburg Eddie’s on Tuesday, then come home on Wednesday morning so I could go back to work.

 However, extended weather forecasts are like pre-season college football or basketball rankings. What happens may not be what the experts expected.

And so ... on Wednesday morning, the streets in Gettysburg were merely wet, but the roads outside of town were layered with ice.

Also, coming home would have meant crossing Western Maryland’s version of the Alps to get to Allegany County. Hannibal, I am not.

So, on Wednesday morning, the captain and I decided to stay put for another day. That settled, we thought it would be a good idea to follow Goldy’s Rule 157: Goldy eats.

Gary eats, too, and it was time for breakfast.

The streets were good enough to drive to Dunlap’s, where we usually take our breakfast, but my car was encapsulated in at least a quarter of an inch of really tenacious ice.

Never before, in all my born days, have I been as sick of shoveling snow and chipping ice and scraping frost from the windows of my car as I am at this point.

We walked a couple of blocks to another restaurant we had been told was open. The sidewalks were slick, and it would have been easier to walk in the street, except that too many cars were using it. There was enough texture in the sidewalk ice that our boots were able to gain enough traction to keep us vertical.

Remember Tim Conway’s little old man on The Carol Burnett Show and how he walked? That’s how we looked on that ice.

The restaurant was open, and the waitress was glad to see us. She lives in the country and said the roads were not at all good.

One of life’s basic truths is that when it comes to fastballs and restaurants, location is everything. Here is an example of how that works with restaurants:

Dunlap’s is not in the tourist section of town, and its No. 4 Breakfast Special — two eggs (any style), sausage, home fried potatoes, toast and coffee — costs $4.80.

This other place is in the tourist section. Its virtually identical equivalent of Dunlap’s No. 4 breakfast is the No. 3, and it goes for $10.50.

That said, the value of anything is whatever someone is willing to pay for it, and we were willing. It was a very satisfying breakfast, too.

Bill, our buddy who owns Eddie’s, had decided for practical reasons to hole up for a few days in the same motel where we were staying.

Technically, his place was closed that day. No pointing in risking the health and safety of the staff, most of whom live out of town, and there wouldn’t be enough business to make it worth opening the place.

However, he did open for us and himself and some of his other cronies, including Mark — who runs the motel — then sent out for pizza. Didn’t turn the heat up, though.

He put my bout with the medics (see last week’s column) on his Facebook page and said that for a time, I was getting more hits than his cat.

It was a pleasant day. Overnight, the ice melted and the road crews had everything under control, so we came home on Thursday.

Mark has become as good a friend to us as Bill.

This means that one of our best buddies owns a bar and restaurant, and another rents us rooms in a motel that is less than 50 yards down the street. Sometimes, life is good.

Mark put us in a double-room suite similar to the one we stayed in at his other motel nearby, which as I’ve told you before was as haunted as all get-out.

For a variety of reasons, we’ve been staying lately in single rooms, where there has been only a minimum of paranormal activity.

Our usually unseen visitors, whoever they are, apparently are drawn to double rooms.

The first morning in the new suite, I asked Gary if he’d heard somebody walking across the ceiling in his room during the night.

“Yes,” he said, “I did. And somebody kept closing my bathroom door. Woke me up two or three times.”

We both heard an unmistakable clomp-clomp-clomp across the ceiling, as if someone was walking across a bare wooden floor above our heads. This happened more than once, three nights in a row.

Footsteps from an unknown source, whether on your floor or the next one up, are a common manifestation. So is door-closing.

However, this motel has no second story. Nothing is up there but the roof, and nobody would be traipsing around on it at 3 a.m. during an ice storm. I wonder if, back in the day, there was a two-story house on the same ground. Whoever is up there may not be aware that things have changed.

I was peacefully minding my own business in my own bathroom when someone yelled at me. The door — which opens outward, from where I was sitting — wasn’t completely closed, so I called, “Gary? Did you want something?”

No answer. OK.

Later, I asked him if he had hollered at me before he went out. He said he hadn’t.

Well, I told him, someone did. (Not the first time we’ve had such a conversation and it probably won’t be the last.)

The next morning, I was in the same place, with the door ajar. Gary had already left to go visit Mark in the office.

While I was watching it, the door gently closed the rest of the way and the latch clicked.

The only thing I could do was sit there and laugh. Truth is, I’m still laughing about it.

The next time I visited the toilet, I said to whoever who may have been listening, “I’ll close it all the way, this time.”

I was left undisturbed.

And I’ve been thinking: A couple of years ago, as we were turning in for the night, I told Gary I planned to take a shower when I got up.

The next morning, I awakened to find a bath towel and washcloth neatly folded on the floor beside my bed.

The least I can do for such kind ... souls? ... is show them a little courtesy in return.

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Jim Goldsworthy - Anything and Everything
  • He means well, and this time they spared his life

    Our pal Phil is the only re-enactor certified in writing by both the Lee and Custis families to portray Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee (whose wife was Mary Anna Custis Lee). When he’s in uniform, he generally stops at the bottom of the path that leads to the summit of Little Round Top, salutes Capt. Gary and First Sgt. Goldy and asks permission to join us. (Get it? Generally ... General Lee?) We always return his salute and grant him permission, in part because he’s our friend and also because the real Lee never got to see what it really looks like from up there. (Get it? Grant ... Grant? U.S. Grant? Real Lee ... really? OK. I hear you. That’s enough. Seriouslee.) Phil gets a kick out of being able to sneak up on us while we’re distracted by tourists.

    July 20, 2014

  • They’d have fallen like Autumn leaves

    So there we were, minding our own business (at least momentarily), leaning against the cannon at Little Round Top.

    July 13, 2014

  • Better read that french fry before you eat it

    People give me otherwise-insignificant items they hope will amuse or inspire me. I appreciate this. I’m always glad for free entertainment, which as Goldy’s Rule 33 says is everywhere. All you have to do is wait and it will come to you. Also, I have been writing columns for 37 years and embrace inspiration anywhere I can find it.

    July 6, 2014

  • The moose is loose, and it’s coming for you

    So how would you like to look out your kitchen door window onto your porch and see a moose looking back at you from close range?

    June 28, 2014

  • There are some debts you can never repay

    Today’s column will be relatively short, as my columns go, for reasons that should become apparent, and I thought long and hard before writing it.

    June 21, 2014

  • It could have saved the county a lot of money

    Random thoughts sometimes occur to me when I least expect it, usually when my brain has become tired.
    When I voice these thoughts at work or in other places, people may tell me, “Goldy? It’s time for you to go home.” Yes, ma’am.
    Here are two random thoughts of recent vintage:
    • If Bugs Bunny were an Emergency Medical Technician, would that make him a MedicHare?
    • If Daisy Duck got a job driving for United Parcel Service, would she be an UPS-a-Daisy?
    I wouldn’t blame you if you think that sounds Goofy — or Daffy.

    June 15, 2014

  • These two were part of the Not Top Ten

    Occasionally, at this time of year, I see reference to a “class orator” or a “class speaker.”

    Nothing wrong with that — people can call such things whatever they want, as far as I’m concerned — but it makes me wonder. Have “valedictorian” and “salutatorian” become politically incorrect, and I didn’t notice? It may come as a surprise to you, but I really have not kept up with what is politically correct or incorrect. That’s what people tell me, anyway. With some of them, it actually seems to be a compliment.

    June 8, 2014

  • Coming soon to a highway near you?

    People say to me, “Goldy? Can I ask you a stupid question?”

    In theory — and theory only — the correct response is: “The only stupid question is the one you don’t ask.” Not so much. There ARE stupid questions, some of them so stupid that to call them stupid is to damn them with faint praise. Other questions are — on the face of it — legitimate questions, but shouldn’t be treated as such ... not if you subscribe to the same philosophy that I do: Free entertainment is everywhere; all you have to do is wait, and it will come to you.

    June 1, 2014

  • This was a skill that proved very useful

    The Belmont Park stewards have decided to let California Chrome wear his nasal strip during the Run for the Carnations. Nasal strips usually are worn by people who snore and may have saved numerous marriages. It helps the Triple Crown hopeful to breathe, and some twolegged athletes wear nasal strips for the same reason. In this case, Chrome’s nasal strip may keep him from (wait for it) ... losing by a nose.

    May 25, 2014

  • He made a big splash by asking this question

    “I don’t know who you were talking to last night,” said Capt. Gary, “but you were talking and moaning in your sleep. Never heard you do that before.” Neither has anyone else, I said. Besides, I had told him not to be surprised if we had visitors. I wasn’t at the top of my game for a couple of days, and he said some of our friends asked him if I was all right. It’s not the first time for this, so now I’ll know to watch out for it. It can affect you and is not something to play around with — as our friend Cathy found out.

    May 18, 2014

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