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Smoke School Stories
Angie and Uncle George Whitlow Honeymooners in NEW YORK CITY!!!
Yetta nother Smoke School Fireside Chat Story from the secret mind of Whitlow
The moral of this story is
If Heaven ain't a lot like Dixie, I don't want to go. Just send me to hell or NEW YORK CITY!!! it will be about the same to me. Turn on your speakers if you are a Hank Williams Jr. Fan. One fine day we were driving through Oklahoma and I seen this sign. Hank Williams Junior High School. Then it started bothering me. We had to drive on down to the school house to see if it was Hank Williams Jr.
High school or
Junior High Schoool
Uncle Georges Commentary on NEW YORK CITY!!!
This is the busiest time of the year for Whitlow Smoke Schools. Everyone wants a smoke school in April and October because of the weather. If you have a smoke school scheduled for this time of year, you can consider yourself very lucky. I hate doing smoke school in a blizzard or in the Louisiana Dog Days of Summer. From now to the end of November the Whitlow crews will be driving Big Red, Black Beauty , and Big Bertha the smoke machine mobile clear across this US of A to the following states: Illinois, Louisiana, Arkansas, Kansas, Mississippi, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, West Virginia, and the great state of Kentucky. We have finished construction of our third Big Bertha the smoke making fire breathing monster and we are anticipating more private schools for those plants who want to train 12 people or more. I am also looking into scheduling more states such as Iowa, New York, New Jersey, and the Carolinas. You could print out the stories and go into the can to read them later. That is where I wrote them.
We have had some bad experiences with our bank Chase Bank here in West Monroe. The experience turned out to be a nightmare and it all started when a new employee did not follow standard operating procedures and double charged some credit cards. We fired the employee and are trying to straighten out the account with Chase Merchant Services in New York City!!!. They would not return our many calls to find out the status of credit card refunds and the status of our account. After 4 weeks of trying and a phone conversation with the FBI, Chase finally did answer the phone. We learned that the credit card refunds should occur by Monday Sept. 24, 2007. If you feel like you were double charged, please watch your next statement to verify that the refund was made. Call us if it was not refunded. We also found out that Chase was withholding $15,000 from our bank account. My ATM told me that last week, we had a balance of $4. I flew off the handle and picked up my cell phone and called the my Bank Business Account officer and yelled out - I got 4 bucks in my ATM card. I am going to call you again at 4AM when I can't sleep to remind you of the money you have on hold. He called the cops on me. Ain't the first time and want be the last. Kinda reminded me of when I went to jail for littering and when my dog got out down there in Baton Rouge. Littering and disturbing the peace.
Chase Merchant services promised to deposit this money back into our account by Monday so maybe I can catch up on payroll and the IRS. Things are looking up. I found a new bank. We now use a local Louisiana bank named Progressive. If you use electronic payments please call us so we can give you the correct banking details.
In spite of the nightmare, things are looking up. Angie and I had paid in advance for our honeymoon flight and trip to New York City!!!. I fell asleep in the second inning at Yankee Stadium. Sorry but it cannot compare with the Saints at the Superdome or the LSU Tigers in Death Valley. We really did enjoy the Farm Aid concert with Neil Young and Willy Nelson. The next time if we go, I am not going to the concert until after 7 PM. I think it was hotter in New York City!!! than it was here in West Monroe. We drank a ton of bottled water, lemonade and beer. I about decided that John Mellencamp is going to run for president. If heaven ain't a lot like Dixie, then I don't want to go. Just send me to hell or New York City!!! It will be about the same to me.
The main problem we had in New York City!!! was that we were lost for the entire week. There is the fact that I am deaf and then there is the language barrier. I am pretty much used to the idea that I can't hear. Some of the most frequent words that I say are huh, what's that, what did he say. It does not bother me, I am used to it. I know it bothers everyone else. Having to repeat every word and having to put up with the blasting sound on the TV set, especially during the LSU broadcast, where I have the game on the TV set and the sound on the radio- the voice of the Tigers, Jimmy Hawthorne. I know it bothers them, but I cant help it. I got a set of 5,000 buck hearing aids free from the VA, but I hate them. They seem to always be clogged up with ear wax or peanut butter or something. They hurt my ears. And after 15 years of being deaf- sound confuses me, drives me nuts, and actually makes my stomach turn. Makes me want to puke. We have 2 Angie's working in the office now and both of them are soft talking. I can't hardly hear a word they say. So I broke down one day and got the hearing aids out of the medicine cabinet. I cleaned the ear wax off them and put them in my ears. I sat down in the office kinda sorta near the air conditioner vent. "What in the heck is that noise?" I asked.
"It is the air conditioner." The moral of this story is, If you work in a plant, the signs say hazardous noise, put in those ear plugs. It is a lot better than the hearing aids for the rest of your natural born life. There is a plug for job safety. Give me a Brownie Button. Rule of thumb, if you can not hear a normal conversation for the background noise, put them ear plugs in.
Back 15 years ago, I test drove a Dodge Diesel pickup truck and the motor noise gave me a headache. I opted to buy a gasoline powered Chevy Silverado. This is our Country. Well when I test drove that first Diesel Ford Excursion "Black Beauty" we use as a company vehicle, I told the salesman that they were a lot quieter than they were 15 years ago. Well one day when I had my hearing aid on, I noticed that the diesels were louder than they were back then. The noise gave me a headache again. The entire ordeal is a payback for all those years of criticizing my Grandfather Roddy White and my Uncle Earl for not wearing their hearing aid. I guess it don't help that Uncle Bill and I got up under Uncle Earls house trailer under his bed and shot off a 10- Gauge Double Barrel shot gun to see if he would wake up to let us in the door. That was back when I was a 15-year old redneck. Uncle Earl did not even hear the gun go off. It is all a payback. Anyway I left my hearing aid in the computer case back in the hotel when we were in New York City!!!.
The other problem was the language barrier. Back in the 1970s when I was in the Air Force, I spent 4 weeks of my life in Iceland. It reminded me of a frozen Oklahoma or Kansas. It was colder than a well digger's ass in China. I spent the entire 4 weeks in my bunk bed bundled up in a wool blanket, listening to Neil Young or Jimmi Hendrix on the stereo at full blast- no wonder I am deaf. Doesn't help that I was smoking funny roll your own cigarettes and I could actually see the musical notes rising off the vinyl of the record on the turn table. They do have these beautiful Swedish blonds down there in Iceland, so I did venture into Keflavik twice on the bus. "Excuse me Mam, but do you speak-a- de- English."
"Why yes I certainly do, my husband is in the Navy."
Otherwise there was this language barrier. Then there was the 2 years in the early 80s when I was stationed in Huntingdon England. Those English girls in the pubs speak and a whole other language than we do down here on the Bayou. I guess it is my own dang fault. I was born a southern man. I got this Forrest Gump accent. I have always been hick and a redneck. The words we use down here on the Bayou do not appear anywhere in Webster's dictionary.
We were lost every single time we got on the subway in New York City!!!. It was underground so I could not see the sun. I did not have my trusty compass on the dash board like I have on "Big Red" (my Grand Pappy once said, Never Trust a redneck who names all of his picking-up trucks.) my trusty Dodge Ram Diesel monster picking-up truck with the Dixie horn. I had no idea if we were moving north, east, south or down under. I did not know where to get on the subway nor more importantly, where to get off. Once while stepping out of the subway automatic doors, I hesitated a moment to ask a person where to go to catch the next subway. Never hesitate on a New York City!!! subway. That was the lesson that I learned the hard way. As soon as my feet touched the ground I heard the door close on Angie. I turned around and realized in horror for an instant- I seen arms and legs hanging out the closed door and Angie and she was screaming HELP!!! I could see visions of my new bride's legs and arms scattered from Penn Station all the way to Grand Central Station. Luckily the doors opened again automatically and freed Angie with only a few scratches and bruises.
In New York City!!! it was a combination of not wanting to wear the hearing aids and the language barrier that made me want to seek out the sanctuary of the hotel room on the trip. But we reasoned that we were after all in New York City!!! and we should go see the sights. So several times we got on the complementary hotel shuttle bus down to Penn Station Newark, caught the Amtrak to Penn Station New York. This we always dreaded. The hearing aid and the language barrier. I honestly think that all of the people working in the information booths in the subway stations are related to the Pygmies Down there in New Guinea. I am speaking to them bending over with my ear down in some hole in the bullet proof glass trying desperately to find out what subway took us where. What's that? What did you say? Huh? What did he say?
We were on the Amtrak headed to Penn Station New York and then Farm Aid on Randal's Island. I was dreading getting to the information booth. Then for some reason, I started thinking scripture. The Bible says, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all of these things will be added to you." What does that mean? I started thinking about Norman Vincent Peal's the Power of positive thinking. Then I remembered from my Assembly of God preaching days of how God likes to be praised. So this may be it. When you feel stressed, just praise the Lord. You should try it. I think it worked on this Amtrak. I start thinking in my heard, praise the Lord, bless his Holy name, praise God. It might have helped that I was the only person in New York City!!! wearing a 10 gallon Hoss Cartwright hat and Harley Davidson cowboy boots with the blue jeans bloused so you could see the shiny metal eagles on the spurs. But as I was praising the Lord in my head, when this man who worked for the railroad came up to me and asked, "Are you going to Farm Aid?"
"Why yes we are, How did you know."
"Nobody in New York City!!! wears cowboy hats and boots. Your feet will be killing you and you will burn up in that hat and that Texas Shirt."
He was right on all counts. Anyway he said that he worked for the railroad and he knew exactly what subways would take us to Randal's Island and Willy Nelson at Farm Aid. Well praise the Lord- the trip went very smoothly. We stuck to him like superglue. We went all the way. Just like Reggie Bush and the Saints.
One day we decided to go to Cape May New Jersey to see some whales on a Whale Seeing Boat. It was a bad bum trip. Kinda like that marijuana that I did not inhale back in Northeast College in Monroe in 1966. We rode the train most of the way but decided to take a bus from Trenton to Cape May. At one point during the bus trip I looked up and seen this sign that says Cape May 25 miles. It took another 2 hours to get there. The bus stopped on every corner. When we finally got to the boat, we learned that they were not going out because they did not have enough people registered. Gee Wiz Holey Cow.
We decided to take a big dog bus from Cape May and spend the night in Atlantic City. We had to walk from the boat to the bus station about a mile and a half. I am a fat ole man out of shape and it was hotter than heck. My feet were killing me, so I spotted a couple of yard chairs out in front of some house. It looked like nobody was home so we decided to sit down in the shade for about an hour so I could catch my breath. Angie protested but I said heck, we are just going to sit down- we ain't goin to steel the chairs. I admit if they had left a beer in an ice chest, I would have stole it. When we got up and resumed the walk we passed a sign. Condo for Sale, 1 bedroom, 1 bath, $250,000. Heck West Monroe don’t seem so bad. We paid $130,000 for this 3 bedroom, 1 ˝ bath brick home with a swimming pool and 3 acres in woods. Shoot one day in Oklahoma I brought a brick house for $9,000 and had 30 years to pay for it. What in the heck happened? Recently I brought a Dodge Diesel truck and had to pay $55,000 for it. Holey Cow.
Atlantic City was beautiful when we arrived there around midnight. The lights were awesome. The bus stopped just in front of the Donald Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort. We strolled hand and hand romantically down the boardwalk and in the edge of the surf on the Atlantic Ocean on the beach. Then we went inside the Resort to check on room rates- $275 bucks a night. I told the clerk, "Heck we just wanted to rent a room, not buy it." We walked two blocks up the road and got a room at the No Tell Motel for $75 bucks. It weren’t near as fancy as the Taj Mahal but it did have a bed and a shower. We did not have to kill any roaches, spiders or snakes to go to bed. That is about when we realized that we had left all of our suitcases back at the main hotel in Newark. Along with the soap, shampoo, and toothbrushes. We also left the Jack Daniels and the Gin and Tonic. We took another stroll around the boardwalk and fount out they sold a lot of tee-shirts but no underwear, Holey Cow. We did find a tooth brush. We found a liquor store, but was told they were not allowed to sell liquor after 10PM- Gee Wiz, why bother. We did find a quiet bar near the hotel and had a few highballs, at about $12 a glass.
The beach was absolutely wonderful in the morning. The water was warm, the surf was roaring, and the waves were ready for body surfing. But we did not have any dry clothes to change into and no towels So we just strolled hand and hand along the beach. After strolling and picking up shells we went inside the Casino to donate a hundred bucks. Then we caught the train back to Newark and our hotel. The next day we took in Farm Aid and except for the heat we loved it.
During the trip we learned that Angie’s daddy was scheduled for a heart catherization. So we diverted our return trip and rented a car in Chicago. We spent a week in Vincennes Indiana and loved the experience. I got to hold my granddaughter Chiquita Banana again. She is now 4 months old. Joe, Angie’s dad sure can cook. He loves to cook biscuits and sausage gravy. You can get a lot of great tasting food in New Orleans but you cant get biscuits and gravy. Joe is 78-years old and he still works as an orderly in a hospital. He still picks up patients and puts them back in bed. Can you imagine? Joe is a very interesting person. He was a medic in the Korean War and earned 2 purple hearts. He sure can tell some good stories. He lost his wife about a year ago and he is lonesome. He is looking for a girlfriend if you have anyone in mind. He wants one that is young enough to keep up with him. I am serious about the girlfriend. I have tried to get him to move in with us here in West Monroe, but he wants to stay in Indiana and work.
The worst part of that trip was Angie losing her suitcase and me losing my $200 Hoss Cartwright 10 gallon Cowboy hat. Angie’s suit case was sitting on the back porch when we got home, but I doubt of I will ever see my hat again. By the way, remind me never to wear a cowboy hat and boots in New York City!!! when it is hot and we have to walk a hundred miles.
We did have some excitement on the trip. On a subway we witnessed a no-legged Gulf War veteran that threatened a young couple over the consequences of war. It was scary and sad to watch. Suppose they gave a war and nobody came. I felt alarmed that the veteran would take out a pistol and shoot the young couple. Actually I thought of Captain Dan and Forrest Gump. Life really is just like a box of Chocolates. You should call my cell phone and listen to my voice mail. Why you would swear that I am Forrest Gump. I do a very good imitation.
Then there was the Newark Taxicab war. We were trying to catch a cab from the Penn Station Newark to our hotel when we got into this dispute over what cab was going to take us. The cabs were lined up outside the station. There was an argument in a foreign tongue. One guy let us in the back seat of his cab. Then another cab came up and blocked our exit onto the street. The next thing I knew the cops showed up with guns. We tried to get out of the cab but the back door knobs had been removed. We could not get out. I figured bullets would fly and we would be shot in the cross fire. Dead as a doornail. I am a fat old man and I could not get out of the back window. Angie got out of her window and eventually came around and let me out. Holey Cow, she may have saved my life. We sure were glad to get home and we pledged never to get on another plane, taxi, or bus, or train again.
While waiting on the bus in Cape May we met an older couple of Jewish descent who lived in Manhattan. They had lived in their apartment for years and were only paying $800 a month rent. They said new residents were paying over $3000 a month rent. Can you imagine? Holey Cow! They said they did not own a car and did not need one. He said he could get out of his apartment, walk down to the elevator, go down to the basement, and catch a subway anywhere in the city and be there in minutes. I asked him about Wal-Mart. I was getting the Wal-Mart DTs because I had not seen a Wal-Mart in a week. If you cant get it at Wal-Mart then you sure as hell don't need it. The New Yorker said they did not shop for groceries. The groceries were delivered to their apartment. Can you imagine that? Lets see, can you bring up a pack of turnip greens and some cornbread or some black-eyed peas. How about some chitlins? We did take the ferry and go around the Statute of Liberty and she is a beautiful site.
Well the honeymoon went well. Things are looking up. LSU is winning. LSU Football image/ LSU Tigers Verses South Carolina Game Cocks- Geaux Tigers
Aaron is adjusting, making A’s in school, and getting new friends and girlfriends. He is only 11 and this is his first time to show any interest in the opposite sex. It should be interesting from here on. I was hoping to have him avoid sex. I have a 15 year old daughter with a 4 month old baby and no job. Daddy, can you email me 50 bucks?
My boat is in the shop and may be ready to catch some Saco-let fish (Every where else but South Louisiana they call them White Perch or Crappie- but I want eat nothing that has crap in it) in a week or so. It is a good life. See you in smoke school. Just remember that life is just like a box of chocolates. Your really need to call and listen to my voice mail 812-617-0344.
It's good to be back home in Louisiana after the New York trip. I am so thankful that I do not have to commute on subways and trains to go to work daily. All I have to do is go outside the back door to enter our office. I have a newly instilled fear of taxis and subways. I don't waste any time jumping off subways anymore.
I am a small town girl from the Southern Indiana-Illinois area. I enjoyed listening to John Mellencamp at Farm Aid. Mellencamp and I actually attended Vincennes University during the time period. I also enjoyed Willie, of course, and Neil Young who is one of my favorite musicians.
I enjoy county life; I grew up on a grain farm and attended school in Lawrenceville, IL and Vincennes, IN . The times on the farm are some of my most pleasurable and memorable moments in my life. I enjoyed riding my horse all over the farm and to nearby towns (7 miles or more). I love corn and wheat fields. To me they are beautiful.
If Heaven ain't a lot like Dixie, I don't want to go. Just send me to hell or NEW YORK CITY!!! it will be about the same to me.
Angie and George Whitlow
Farm Aid 2007
Angie and George at Farm Aid- the last time I wore my Hoss Hat
Angie at Farm Aid
Farm Aid picket boy- no junk- Whatever
Neil Young at Farm Aid
Neil again at Farm Aid
Neil yet again at Farm Aid
Willy Nelson at Farm Aid
On the Boardwalk at Atlantic City
Angie in Atlantic City Boardwalk
Angie on Atlantic City Beach
Angie again on Atlantic City Beach
Angie yettagin on the Beach
Angie Down on the Boardwalk
A lovely doll singing Down on the Boardwalk
Boardwalk fair on the beach
Uncle George under the Boardwalk
Naked lady on Atlantic City Beach at night- gee I forgot to remove the lense cover
Fair on Atlantic City Boardwalk at night
Lights at Trump Casino Atlantic City at night
Angie inside Trump Casino
Chandelier in Trump Casino
Trump Casino outside on the Boardwalk
At home in Vincennes Indiana
Uncle George and Keyda Banana Grand Baby age 4 months
George and Keyda by the pond
My Daughter Heather Kita and Nate
Heather and Whitey the RAT
Heather animal farm - a RAT
Heather animal farm B- RAT
Angie and her daddy Joe at home in Vincennes Indiana
Joe on pond in front yard
Other family photos and smoke school photos
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