by Paul Melvin

I HATE HARD HATS…not the people…but the hats. I marvel at how well construction workers, utility workers, mill workers and others who must wear them can flip them on their heads straight, or at some jaunty angle and look well in them. My job sometimes dictates that I wear a hard hat. I’m always self-conscious. Now and then I catch a glimpse in a window or mirror. I look like I’m wearing Mother’s old oatmeal pot. I can’t nod, shake my head or stoop over. The hat stays still as I shake my head from side to side. When I nod, it falls down over m.y eyes, am if I bend over to pick something up…it’s usually the hat. But, hard hats are with us to stay. God bless ’em.

VALENTINES TO MY BROTHERS-IN-LAW. I’ve got a couple o! the best brothers-in-law in the world. Al is tall and somewhat slender. I say somewhat because he used to be slenderer. He eats well. Chuck is quiet and has lost a lot of weight. He used to eat well. Both of these guys would give you the shirt off their backs. Al is a good host, a great uncle to our kids and a joy to visit. Chuck can fix anything from a light switch to a computer. Since I have only light switches in our house, I’ve never seen him fix a computer, but he claims he can. Chuck is a great uncle too. There’s nothing wrong about giving your brothers-in-law valentines, is there?

EVER NOTICE HOW PLACES AND THINGS HAVE SMELLS OF THEIR OWN? Think about your favorite, or not-so-favorite smell…Mom’s kitchen (remembered as a kid), your home after a party, a closed~up house, a gym, a locker room, a new car, a suit out of moth balls, an old pullman parlor car, gasoline, tobacco, paint, freshly mown hay or grass, your little girl after her bath, a baby.

WHY DOES THE PHONE RING WHEN IT ISN’T FOR ME? We’ve got three phones at our house and the bell hardly ever tolls for me. I like to think I’m an important man…amateur politician, writer, businessman, father…that’s it! FATHER! Father never gets any phone calls…at home that is, but wait ’til he gets to the office…then everybody at home calls him for something. Oh well, it’s nice to know you’re loved.

WHY DO WE SAVE OLD PILL CONTAINERS? You know, no one I’ve talked to can give me a good reason for saving these things. The drug store has all they need. Our friends have plenty of their own. Our medicine chest is full of them. I’ve got a box of them in my basement work room. Some are large, some small. But, the minute you try to throw the rascals out everybody and his brother has a million reasons for saving them. In the meantime we keep collecting more and more pill containers. I’m going to start a reclamation service and make a fortune.