The “Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating cContest” is major league eating and naturally takes place on the 4th of July. What better way to uphold the Constitution of our country than to pig out.
For eleven out of the last 12 years Joey “Jaws” Chestnut (his real name) has won. This year he downed 74 wieners and buns in 10 minutes and thereby earned the coveted “Mustard Belt.”
For several years Joice and I have been going to the YMCA of Waco to exercise. We have gotten to know several people and two of the couples we have had to our house for a meal. In general, however, we only know people casually and the conversations are informal and don’t last long.
We don’t try to evangelize overtly, but we hope to leave some sort of interest in the Gospel, so we try to find out if they have any interest in God and the church. We get some surprising conversations.
I’ll disguise the names a bit, but if you visit the Y, you will soon be able to identify the characters that I mention.
One of the first people we met (and this was almost 4 years ago) was Ronald, the owner of a small business in Waco. He has been coming to the Y almost since it first opened and he knows many people and he seems to remember their names. If he doesn’t, he is making them up and whoever it is that he is talking to doesn’t seem to mind. Ronald is friendly, folksy and a good pal with Jake, who owns a used car business. They sit side by side on stationary bikes and discuss business, money and cars. They pedal for about a half an hour, wipe down the bikes carefully with towels and disinfectant and then leave for the upper room of weights.
I grew up in the mountains of Pennsylvania and my wife, Joice, in the lake areas of Michigan. We knew what harsh winters were like, but our summers were usually mild—a time when the young men played baseball and the young women (sometimes) watched them. It was a time for mowing the hay and harvesting the crops. We wanted the sun to shine upon us, burning as necessary, to gather our tans. Once the sunburn settled, there were great patches of skin to remove—like a snake shedding its skin. There were sometimes contests to see who could remove the largest (intact) piece of skin and the boy who won might get a Boy Scout badge.
I haven’t seen a road sign that says “Animal Crossing” yet because it seems weirdly generic to include all of the animal world in warnings about crossing roads.
Where I grew up in the so-called mountains of Pennsylvania (the Alleghenies) were part of a vast Appalachian Mountain chain. Some parts of it included Thorny Flat on Cheat Mountain and Balk Knob in West Virginia. However, in my part of Pennsylvania, the principal settlements are Altoona, State College, Johnstown and, of course, Shickshinny, Tunkhannock, Susquehanna (River), and Nanticoke. Route 11 runs along the River and is a great source for roadkill. “Sundried woodchuck” is a specialty at some of the roadside diners.
We often eat out on our back patio—I don’t know why I say “back” because we don’t have one on the front. And our patio is not very extravagant—it measures roughly 12 feet by 50 feet. There is no roof over it, but there is a six foot wooden fence encircling the whole back area, with a large gate at the far end.
Come to think of it, I don’t know whether the whole area is a patio, or just the part that has a cement floor. If that is the patio, then it is only about 8 by 18. From the inside of the house a double door looks like it leads out to the patio, but one of the doors is fake, making it look grand, although it has no other purpose.