The Idle American: With Friends Like These

Don Newbury can always find the lighter side of life.

It’s almost impossible to be bored in this life when you have the kind of friends who strive to live every day at the speed of joy.

Uncle Mort refuses to give in to what he thinks leads many folks to early graves. He says he’ll resort to extreme measures to avoid falling into a trap he calls “terminal boredom.”

Mort finds much to merit his attention on his little spread down in the thicket. Sometimes, though, he seeks a scene change by hopping on his golf cart for a spin to the general store and a game of dominoes.

If his buddies don’t show up, he leans back in his cane bottom chair – pencil in hand – to jot down clever stickers on bumpers of cars getting gas tanks replenished….

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   With election season now just weeks away, many of the stickers are intended to be serious. “Some candidates in political races at all levels wouldn’t recognize ‘serious’ if it slapped them in the face,” he claimed. “Too many of them are the biggest jokes of all.”

One he noticed merits a chorus of “amens.” It reads: “Vote Conservative. If Liberalism Worked, You’d Still be Living in California.”

Another message: “I wrote the Constitution for our Marriage, But I Accepted All of Her Amendments.” Still another: “We Tried Divorce, But it Didn’t Work Out.”…

*****

   Bunny Martin, a college classmate, still has his wits about him at age 88. He won the wooden World Yo-Yo Championship at age 16 in 1955. The Toronto contest was the last held for this type of yo-yo, so he remains the “reigning champion” in that division. It is so noted in the Smithsonian.

For 68 years, he entertained–nationally and internationally–his programs featuring magic and humor, in addition to masterful spinning of stories and yo-yo’s. He stepped aside at age 83 when health issues arose.

Bunny called the other day, eager to share an account which, uh, may have happened….

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   Booked to entertain at a convention of 300 highway patrolmen seated behind desks in an auditorium, he claims that one on the front row placed his revolver atop the desk, pointing it toward Bunny. Then, the guy scribbled a quick note, passing it down the row to be handed to Bunny.

He paused at mid-speech – he claims – to read the message that lessened his fears a bit.

“Don’t worry,” the note said, “You’re safe. I just want the name of whoever invited you here today.”….

*****

   One buddy called with the story about two nuns who felt called to witness to patrons at a nearby racetrack. Upon arrival, they spotted a man studying a racing form. The nuns examined it, noting that one entry– a long shot – was named Leviticus.  Could a Latin-named horse be a sign from heaven for them to bet?

Deeming this to be a possibility, they plunked down $2. Leviticus won, and they claimed the $100 winnings.

They drew straws to see who would confess to Mother Superior. One lost….

*****

   “We have sinned, Mother,” the loser whined. “But we had two signs from heaven that couldn’t be ignored.”

“What were the signs?” Mother Superior asked.

The nun answered, “We thought the horse with a Latin name clearly was a sign, and when the cashier handed us our winnings, he spoke to us in Latin: ‘Jesus Leviticus wrecked us!’”….

*****

   Still another caller reminisced about our being friends for a long, long time. “There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for you, and nothing you wouldn’t do for me,” he contended.

He wasn’t through, adding, “That being true, we’ve done little for each other.” We then went on our way rejoicing.

Finally, this was overheard somewhere in recent days. The speaker admonished, “To the absolute extent than you can, strive to live every day at the speed of joy.” This is a simple statement with a profoundly important message. In a day when differences are underscored at every turn, surely we can agree to seek what is good in our world–and there is much–to reclaim the noble art of living joyfully….

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   Dr. Newbury, longtime university president, continues to write weekly and speak regularly throughout Texas. Contact information: 817-447-3872. Email: newbury@speakerdoc.com. Facebook: Don Newbury.

Please click HERE to find Mostly Mort, Don’s book about the wit and wisdom of his mythical uncle, on Amazon.

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