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30 Sep 2010

Louisville Swamp (Flight of the Nightcrawlers postscript)

Posted by Teapots Happen. 10 Comments

I just woke up and read over last night’s entry, and realized there’s another coincidence to be explored in there.

Before yesterday, the last time I’d posted in this blog was way back in the earliest morning hours of February 27th (“Wearing Red“), having started writing the previous night and not hitting “publish” until past midnight.

I had been inspired to work on the blog that frigid evening by a beautiful, magical-feeling daytrip I’d taken earlier that day to a frozen swamp with my friend Megh (who, in fact, blogged about the trip on her website here: http://www.deepsicks.com/2010/03/07/winter-swamp-walkabout)

So, yesterday – after the worm incident at Black Dog Road – Andrew and I set out further upstream along the Minnesota River – him navigating sporadically with an old school paper map, and me just turning when he said to. We got ourselves good and turned around, did a huge circle or two … and then after a couple of hours of closed bridges, blocked roads, and failed efforts to get down by the water we wound up pulling into the Louisville Swamp – the same swamp I’d first discovered and last seen back in February with Megh, the day I’d came home and updated this blog last.

I’ve been there twice in my life, both times I came home and posted in this blog – and didn’t post at all in between those trips.


Megh: Louisville Swamp companion February 26 2010

Megh: Louisville Swamp companion February 26 2010

Andrew: Louisville Swamp companion September 29, 2010

Andrew: Louisville Swamp companion September 29, 2010

Cleo and I approach the mighty oak on the savanna in winter

Cleo and I approach the mighty oak on the savanna in winter

Cleo approaches the mighty oak on the savanna in autumn

Cleo approaches the mighty oak on the savanna in autumn

Cleo beholds the frozen Louisville Swamp / Minnesota River Valley

Cleo beholds the frozen Louisville Swamp / Minnesota River Valley

Cleo beholds the flooded Louisville Swamp / Minnesota River Valley

Cleo beholds the flooded Louisville Swamp / Minnesota River Valley

dead lightning-blasted oak tree

dead lightning-blasted oak tree

the not-dead-after-all lightning-blasted oak tree

the not-dead-after-all lightning-blasted oak tree


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30 Sep 2010

Flight of the Nightcrawlers

Posted by Teapots Happen. 7 Comments

I woke up this morning at 6:30 am to an incoming text message on my phone – it was my friend Andrew, who’d just gotten off work at his nightshift job, saying that “we need to go check out that flooding river right now today” … yeah, right. I rolled back over to return to sleep.

But … by 7:15 I was still lying in bed awake, so I decided to call his bluff.

By 8:00 am we were rolling down the highway in my ’71 Buick, heading south toward the still-rising waters of the flooded Minnesota River.

Cleo is ready to roll

Cleo is ready to roll

Our first stop was Black Dog Road, which had been closed to traffic due to the swelling river. We parked the car nearby and hiked in on the deserted roadway, with Cleo the (black) dog scouting ahead.  We weren’t far past the barricades when I almost stepped on a huge nightcrawler worm that was out in the middle of the road. The morning sun was starting to heat up the day, so I said “oh, little worm, you are SO lost!” and picked him up and hurled him out into the woods toward the river.

We continued onward – and soon saw that the waters were totally covering Black Dog Road not far ahead. On either side, water rose up and spilled onto the high ground crest of the roadway. Abruptly I realized that the road here was squirming with dozens and dozens of nightcrawlers and scrawled by their wet trails, where they’d wiggled onto the blacktop away from the rising river.

I’d never seen such a swarm of nightcrawlers before, and paused to take it in.

“You should collect a bunch and let them loose in your yard,” Andrew suggested.

It was a good idea – I’d been doing a lot of planting and gardening this year, and knew the huge worms would be helpful in conditioning the soil.

But I didn’t have anything to put worms in, so I looked around, pretty much expecting to find a coincidental piece of useful litter – a plastic bag, a water bottle, anything I could carry some worms in. But the sides of the road were surprisingly free of garbage – the only piece I could see anywhere was several yards ahead in the weeds along the road, white and papery looking.

As I walked nearer, I could start to make out words on the side of what appeared to be a cup … words that seemed oddly in line with my intention.

I burst out laughing as I stooped to pick up the only piece of debris in sight – a paper cup that once contained 20 nightcrawlers, sold as fishing bait.

nightcrawler cup

nightcrawler cup


wild nightcrawler passes the worm cup

wild nightcrawler passes the worm cup



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30 Sep 2010

is this thing on?

Posted by Teapots Happen. Comments Off on is this thing on?

Oh man, it’s been awhile since I last posted!

Lots has happened in the meantime – been a really busy spring and summer (longboarding, freelancing, transforming a barren parking slab into a little piece of urban forest) and going through plenty of  major life changes (Becky and I broke up, I was laid off from my job of almost 7 years). Just didn’t much feel like blogging here til today …

.. oh! but before I get to that, one more “since I last blogged” note – a few of my “true tales of synchronicity” were included in a recently-published book – “The Seven Secrets of Synchronicity,” written by my synchro-blogging buddies Rob and Trish MacGregor. Check it out!

7 Secrets of Synchronicity book cover

They discuss my teapots, my encounter with a homeless man in Chicago, and the tale of Jim’s giant rattlesnake

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27 Feb 2010

wearing red

Posted by Teapots Happen. 7 Comments

November 19, 2008

Becky and I got together in the late summer, and then spent every single night with one another for the next several weeks.

Until the night of November 18th – when Becky crashed at her apartment, instead. The next morning, we woke up apart for the first time in over three months, got dressed, and went about our mornings.

When we got together later that day, we were amused to discover that we’d each chosen the same outfit to wear – red, long-sleeve thermal tops with unbuttoned top buttons and white undershirts.

matching red shirts

(The rest of the outfits matched too, but not as perfectly.)

The coincidence was especially weird because we both almost never wear red.

We both burst out laughing; it seemed inescapable that we’d somehow been linked that morning, as we’d gotten dressed alone for the first time in months.


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22 Feb 2010

Back-Lit Glass Block

Posted by Teapots Happen. 9 Comments

November 11, 2008

In late October of 2008 I replaced my rotten old basement windows with glass blocks.

One morning a couple of weeks later I checked my email before work and was met by this odd message in the Action Squad email:

From: David Edwin <edwinshops@yahoo.com>

dan.freeman@verizon.net; johndoe@example.com; actionsquad@yahoo.com; webmaster@homeadditionplus.com; myra@saukcity.net; info@rbtechs.com

Tuesday, November 11, 2008 12:30:26 AM

back-lit glass block

Dear Customer,

My name is Mr David Edwin With the Edwin Shops and i am sending this email with regards to Order for some back-lit glass block from u and i would Like to Know if u have the back-lit glass with the sizes ,I want u to email me with the Cost of that and if u have any Other type do let me Know so that we can Proceed further with the Order,Include your full name and Contact Details for us to connect regarding the Order order,Also i want u to advice on the type of Payment that u do accept .thanks and hope to Hear from u as soon as Possible .

Best Regards

Mr David Edwin

Air Blowers

As soon as I read it, the thought flashed into my mind, fully formed and without prelude or justification,  that my girlfriend Becky had left the basement lights on when she did laundry the night before.

It wasn’t a question, it was a certainty.And if this was true, it would have resulted in the newly-installed glass block basement windows being back-lit all night long.

And of course when I went downstairs to check – yup – the basement lights were all burning.

Back-lit glass blocks

my back-lit glass blocks

I’d probably write this off as merely an interesting coincidence if it weren’t for one thing – what the hell kind of email is that, anyway?! It made no sense, even as SPAM  (scroll back up and read it again …) What purpose could it even hope to serve?

“Back-lit” isn’t a kind of block, it’s a lighting effect accomplished by, well, any kind of lighting at all. (Such as the bare bulbs of an unfinished basement, above!)

And who or what would email such a nonsensical request to:

(None of whom sell any type of glass block at all, let alone the “back-lit” kind.)

As far as I can tell, there is no such person as David Edwin of the Edwin Shops, and it baffles me why such an email was ever generated.

Perhaps a test of a program that scours the web looking for sites with certain keywords, which then automatically harvests contact email addresses and sends out auto-generated spam? Certainly the random phrase at the bottom (“Air Blowers”) bespeaks some kind of automatic spamming.

Parts of it kind of read like a foreign language speaker trying to write in English – but the random capitalization of words, and use of “u” for “you” don’t strike me that way.

Maybe it was a prank of some kind, from someone who had walked past my house in the night and knew that ‘Max Action‘ lived within? But that really seems unlikely. The odds of me even reading the thing were slim.

I replied to the email twice, curious to see who was on the other end, but never got a response.

It’s a weird ol’ world.


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17 Feb 2010

Holding the Bag

Posted by Teapots Happen. 4 Comments

September 2008

One of my favorite things to do on a beautiful day is to go on a “Nature Skate.” This consists of longboard skating through forests, plains , and wetlands- the Three Rivers Park District has several nearby parks that feature miles of smooth rolling paths. The type of longboarding I have gotten into is called “pumping” – basically, gyrating rhythmically back and forth such that forward momentum is created, and sustained. When you’re really in the groove, you can propel that big damn skateboard up hills, without touching a foot to the ground – and you can get whizzing along nicely on flats … or FLY down hills. It’s incredibly satisfying.

Nature Skatin

Anyway, this habit is what led to my being highasakite in the woods on a skateboard with a bunch of my friends, some on boards and some on bikes. We were cruising through the nearest skateable park reserve, down in Bloomington. Having rounded the far end of the park, we were heading back and I was at the head of the pack, which tends to happen – I have been doing this longer than most of my friends, and my board is a dedicated pumping board, optimized for this kind of riding.

I hit the next intersection – this is where I need to either wait, or turn back – because if I just skate off in some direction, the people back there somewhere on the trail won’t know which way I went and we’ll get split up. So I roll into the grass to stop and wait … but then I change my mind. I don’t want to wait, I want to skate. Skate no wait. So I take off solo, liberated – I can go where I want at my own clip and I”m not responsible for anyone else – the others know where the car is and how to get there, one way or another – it’s not a very complicated park, and there are maps on the major intersections. So I’m gone.

It was easy, and no big deal – but it was the first time that I’ve ever just left them behind.

When I fly down the last nice hill and survive the transition down the curb into the parking lot, I’m not surprised that no one else is back yet – but I am surprised to discover that I don’t have my car keys. The only thing in my pockets is a plastic baggie dusted with green crumbs and THC crystals, emptied by the group’s voracious lungs during the ride. Oh yeah, I remember – no keys because Emilie, somewhere out there on a BMX bike, is holding them for me in her backpack. So I cruise around the lot a bit to cool down, and stretch out, and contemplate the varied wildflowers and weeds and shrubs and such growing along the edge of the lot, and ponder the idea of a website that sells native seed mix packets, each mix from a specific national park or other scenic locale. Man, my friends were really taking their time … I hope no one got hurt, and that they didn’t get lost somehow. The low golden beams of the setting sun turned every single tiny piece of traveling pollen into a speck of windborne light.

Hmm, getting dark. Sometimes the park police drive through the parking lots at dusk – maybe they’ll come in and wonder why I’m lurking around the parking lot looking shady. I am far from one who gets paranoid about getting busted when I smoke (if anything I err on the side of being too casual and open with it) – but for whatever reason it occurs to me that I might ditch the empty weed baggie I have in my shorts pocket.

At first it’s not even quite conscious in my head – just an inkling that starts me moving without thought. Seeing no garbage can around, I take a step toward the foliage, then realize what I am doing and remember I was feeling all in tune with nature and respectful of the plantlife – probably shoving a plastic baggie into the leaves isn’t really congruent with all that jazz. Wait, why the hell am I ditching the bag? I don’t feel nervous or paranoid. And even if the park cops came through, I knew that all they’d do is tell me that the park closes at dark.

Nonetheless, I still feel the urge to ditch it, so I stuff the baggie up into the space beneath my car door handle.

When the police truck rolls up to me a minute or two later, I’m not surprised.

And when he asks me a bunch of questions and then asks if he can search me, I can’t help but smile – sure you can. I was waiting for this, you see, so please – be my guest.

After awhile, the park cop – a geeky, wanna-be-military-looking kid – finally goes away, visibly disappointed.

Several minues later, my friends finally roll up, with a tale to tell. It turns out that they had all gotten stopped by two park cop trucks a couple of minutes after I’d skated away – apparently some square on the trail had smelled smoke and called in the not-yet-legal-in-this-state fire to the police. The cops had also asked to search my friends – several of whom were holding beers and herbal paraphernalia. Most knew to say no, but one friend, unfamiliar with the ways of the law, granted them permission to search … even though he was in fact holding my gorgeous tiger-in-a-vortex glass pipe, a years-ago gift from my friend Jacque. So he got a ticket, and they got my pipe.

Which sucked, sure – but the sting was taken away by the strange luck of being struck by the two uncharacteristic, novel urges – first skating away alone and then hiding the baggie, and thus enjoying a lovely solo ride and being spared a lot of annoying grief.


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29 Jan 2010

Gooseberry Falls Hoodie

Posted by Teapots Happen. 5 Comments

September 9, 2008

OK, the background on this one is that in the month or two since she and I had gotten (back) together, my girlfriend Becky had not yet met my friend Emilie, who I’d been hanging out with quite a bit in the previous year or so.

(Note her presence in several of the synchronicity stories on here, especially from 2007-2008).

Em’s life had just taken some sharp turns, which was why she hadn’t been around much recently, but it still felt weird that they had yet to meet – I mentioned Emilie often, and she was also friends with several of our friends. So it had been on my mind that it would be cool if they met.

Anyway, I’d taken a week off of work to get some stuff done around the house and relax. On Tuesday, Becky and I were in my bedroom getting dressed to go get some breakfast. Digging in my closet, she discovered a Gooseberry Falls State Park hooded sweatshirt, and immediately announced her intention to steal it.

(Becky and I have an special attachment to that park; we  took a spontaneous roadtrip to Lake Superior the day after we first met in 2003, and we had quite a memorable time at Gooseberry, in spite of the rainy day. The wet weather chased away all the other people that would normally be swarming the park, and then just as we began to hike in, the rain stopped and the sun came out  …  the skies put on an amazingly beautiful show for us, with roiling clouds, sudden sunshine, and waves of mist cresting up over the shoreline cliffs.)

Gooseberry Falls State Park sweatshirt

Gooseberry Falls hoodie w/ photos from 2003

“Well, I can let you half steal it, I suppose –  I originally stole it from Emilie, so I can’t let you steal it entirely. I’m still not sure if she wants it back …”

I explained that I’d borrowed it from Em many months before in order to explore a vacant farmhouse – and while I didn’t think she’d ever outright, explicitly given it to me, she had indicated that she didn’t really need it back, either (since  she preferred her hoodies much more loose-fitting).

So Becky put on the sweatshirt, and we got breakfast. After eating we decided to go hit a thrift store. Although we were originally going to hit the nearby Savers on Lake Street, it didn’t feel right, and I wanted to take the Riviera out on the highway. So we headed east past St. Paul to the Sun Ray Valu Thrift, where we spent almost an hour wandering the aisles.

When we went to check out, Becky lead the way along the registers as I eyed the movies along the checkout endcaps.  She led us to the to the checkout line with the fewest people- just one woman and her little girl … and only when we had stopped in the line did I realize that I knew the woman – we were standing in line behind Emilie.

We’d been in the same store together the whole time without once seeing each other, until we converged on the same checkout lane at the same time – with Becky – for the first time – wearing Emilie’s sweatshirt.

It made for an amusing introduction.


related post:

If there are Raspberry Bushes …

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3 Jan 2010

Dessert Decision

Posted by Teapots Happen. 7 Comments

Last night I was walking into the Wedge grocery store with my gitrlfriend Becky – we had been charged with bringing dessert to bring to a dinner at our friend Jacque’s house.

(mentioned in the “Milk” part of yesterday’s post)

We were separated somehow going into the store, and I wound up on my cellphone with Jacque. She’d called to tell us what time we should be there by – and that there would be anywhere between 6 and 12 people coming. Standing at bakery counter looking over the delicious options, I gradually realized that I didn’t want to spend the money necessary to feed up to a dozen people with individual fancy organic pastries – but then what?

Jacque suggested a box of cookies.

“No, we should bring something better than that.”

Ice cream came to mind – but no, it was frigid outside, who would want frozen dessert? Hmm … but maybe along with something hot, ice cream could hit the spot …

Then inspiration struck. “You don’t have a microwave … is your oven free? Maybe we could get a couple of apple pies and heat them way up in the oven and have them with vanilla ice cream?”

At that moment, Becky appeared around the corner with a basket of groceries – seeing its contents, I started laughing and handed her my cellphone, saying, “Here, tell Jacque what you just showed up with.”

“Umm, ok … vanilla ice cream and cobbler – will we be able to use your oven?”

Synchronicity? Low-grade “couple telepathy”? Parallel reasoning from two minds that think alike?

Whatever. It was delicious – and the coincidence just made it sweeter.


Related posts:

Cup Hooks & Milk

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2 Jan 2010

Cup Hooks & Milk

Posted by Teapots Happen. 3 Comments


On the 26th, Becky asked me for a “cup hook” – I had no idea what the term meant, but once it was explained to me, I was able to dig one up for her from my workbench.

The next day, my mom stopped by – and gave me a single cup hook, saying she’d found it in her basement and thought I might find it useful. It was almost identical to the one I’d just given Becky – the same size and style, but with a different finish.

Cup hook from my mom

Very “teapot-esque” – Becky already had installed her hook at her place so I can’t photograph them side by side, but it amused my that one was shiny and the other corroded …


Then today Jacque and Jake came by in the midst of preparing to cook for several of us this evening. They needed some milk for the recipe – I had some, and gave them the rest of my carton.

Just as they were leaving my mom arrived, dropping her dog off at my house while she visited a friend in the city. They crossed paths in the doorway.

“I brought you some milk for your fridge,” my mom said upon walking into the house, brandishing a new carton.


Related posts:

Dessert Decision

Teapots Happen v 1.0

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31 Dec 2009

Do the (Downward Facing) Dog

Posted by Teapots Happen. 1 Comment

File under “Cute” …

Two days ago I was drafted to help my girlfriend move a huge van full of her stuff into her new apartment. Looking forward to the strain on my back, I decided that I’d try stretching out beforehand with some simple yoga I’d learned – so for the first time, I got down on my living room floor and did a few alternations of the ‘cat’ and ‘cow’ poses.

Becky suggested that I end with the ‘cobra’ and then the ‘downward dog‘ positions. As I came out of the cobra and went into the ‘downward dog,’ Cleo (my Rottweiler mutt) hopped down from the couch – and went directly into the downward dog posture, right alongside me.

“It was so adorable, I almost barfed,” Becky recalls.


related Cleo posts:

love, dogs, and double dewclaws

Cleo & the mouse

if there are raspberry bushes …

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28 Dec 2009

Christmas Coincidences, Santa Synchronicities

Posted by Teapots Happen. 9 Comments

Last weekend my girlfriend Becky, my mom, her dog, my dog, and I took a rental car to visit my sister in Illinois.

It was an awful, stressful drive out and I didn’t have high expectations for the rest of the trip. Fortunately, once we arrived things smoothed out enough to relax and enjoy things. As it turned out, the weekend set off a storm of coincidences, enough so that I finally decided I had to write about em.

Bathroom Colors

As soon as we arrived, I was surprised to see my sister had repainted her bathroom – and chosen the same unusual colors as Becky had just used to finish her new apartment’s bathroom – two-tone orange-over-cream walls, with deep teal as the secondary color.

Becky & my sister's bathroom colors

Illuminated Crystals

I had brought a book that my dad had given me as an early Christmas present – J.G. Ballard’s “Crystal World,” and I was trying to finish it up on their couch when it was decided that it was time for opening presents. I set the book aside, and got to unwrapping.

First up was a box of translucent agate slices – they were meant to be used as drink coasters, but “I’ll be more likely to put them in a window,” I said.

In the same package, my sister gave me Aldous Huxley’s “Doors of Perception” and “Heaven & Hell.” Hmm, interesting – I had just bought a different Aldous Huxley book (“The Perennial Philosophy“) for myself just before we’d left Minneapolis.

I opened up DoP to a random page – and was amused to find myself reading words that dovetailed perfectly with Ballard’s novel – which involves a whole lot of rather metaphysical luminescent gems;

In vision, men perceive a profusion of what Ezekiel calls ‘stones of fire’, of what Weir Mitchell describes as ‘transparent fruit’. These things are self-luminous, exhibit a praeter-natural brilliance of colour and possess a praeternatural significance. The material objects which most nearly resemble these sources of visionary illumination are gem-stones.”

And just as I finished reading that sentence, Kevin (my sister’s fiance, sitting across the room from me), suddenly said something to my sister about gems, in reference to a game they both play on Facebook .

Then Becky opened her present from my sister and Kevin – and found  a prism that hangs in the window and rotates by solar power, shooting beams of prismatic light around the room  … the same sun catcher that I had given to Becky a few years ago … but she no longer had it,  really missed it, and had wanted a new one, as she and I had established in the days just before we left for Illinois.

I hadn’t mentioned any of that to my sister, though!

Coincidental Coffee

And then a couple of things happened which I didn’t even know were coincidences for a few days – it wasn’t until I returned home and opened presents with Becky a few days later (on Christmas Day) that I figured them out.

My sister gave me a bag of fresh tasty coffee, which had been ground to be used with a French press. Yum! But … unbeknownst to my sister, I’d knocked my Bodum French press off the dishwasher several months before, and smashed it, leaving me without a coffee maker ever since – so I couldn’t use the grounds she’d given me. But, I told her, I’d use the gift as a motivation to finally get around to replacing my french press.

I didn’t see Becky silently gesturing to my sister over my shoulder … back home on Christmas Eve a few days later, we had a huge blizzard.  I spent the whole “snow day” craving a caffeinated hot cocoa, and telling this to everyone in earshot. But when we finally made it to the Caribou Coffee drive through (they recently partnered with a chocolate company, yum), they had closed early. Alas! No chocolate coffee for me …

But then the next morning when I opened my presents from Becky, I found that she’d bought me hot cocoa mix … and coffee beans and a new French press! All of it had been bought long before I spent Christmas Eve craving some “caffeinated Snow Day hot chocolate” – and before I’d gotten the French press-ground coffee from my sister.

coincidental coffee (I'd already used up the cocoa mix packets)

Becky also gave me a coffee mug – she’d gone to the thrift store to get me one to go with the rest of the coffee-themed gifts, and had been happily surprised to discover the same 25-year old coffee mug that I’d had coffee served to me in when we were staying at the Point Montara Lighthouse Hostel in early December – the same mug she’d jokingly threatened to steal, because it featured two panda bears (I’d once given her two stuffed pandas from my childhood).

(and by the way, I’m not at all a huge coffee drinker, such that anybody would automatically think to give me coffee-related stuff)

Blue Glaciers
(Illuminated Crystals continued?)

I’d given my sister a book of amazing nature photography that I’d first seen over at my friend Jacque’s. While we’d first looked through it together, we wound up talking about a picture of a brilliantly-blue glacier, amazed that the photo was true color and not manipulated.

Back home after Christmas, I was with my friends Workman and Amy, digging through the box of miscellaneous random objects my mom had boxed up and given me as a Christmas present. There were some National Geographic magazines in there – Amy picked one and paged through it as I went through the rest of the box. The first thing she said was “Wow, look at this blue glacier!”

(Then today, while I was getting ready to finally write this post up, I was reading another few pages of the science writing collection I’ve been picking at for months – and laughed when I read, “The ice sheet rose up beyond it, like a wall, 200 feet high. It was a startling shade of blue. One of the glaciologists explained that the color was an effect of the ice’s peculiar density.”)

Synchro Putty

Finally, my favorite Christmas Coincidence – it is not an easy one to tell in a satisfying way, but here goes.

Part One:

At my work, we received a gift basket in the mail from a company the owner works with. He put the goodies out on the office’s kitchen table for us to enjoy – various candy and cookies and other such edibles … and a metal tin with some weird pink goo inside, labeled only with “Get What You Want.”

Was it salt water taffy?

Gingerly, I brought it to my mouth for investigation – and I instantly recognized the familiar smell/taste from childhood – it was a big blob of Silly Putty!

Workman, several years my junior, was unfamiliar with the joys of this magical substance, so I showed him how it lifted newsprint, broke when yanked, stretched when pulled – and of course, how it bounced. We split it in half and started bouncing the chunks around the office, trying to hit the 25-foot high ceiling on the bounce. Almost immediately, Workman’s ball bounced into my office – and utterly disappeared. There weren’t many places it could have gone – but no matter how much we looked, we couldn’t find the missing Silly Putty. My blob came home with me and became a fixture in the living room for the next couple of weeks …

Part Two:

The next week Becky and I went to California, where I would see the Panda coffee mug and have a coincidence with deer in the road. While there, we stayed two nights at my cousin Kristina’s house, hanging out with her, her husband, and our other cousin, Rosa. We hadn’t hung out in years, and got to reminiscing about old times when the whole extended family was still on good terms, and we would all spend every major holiday together at grandma’s house.

We laughed remembering how our uncle Greg used to dress up as Santa every year and come in and deliver presents to us awestruck kids. How our grandpa had a crazy stocked nuclear bombshelter off of the basement, and how the whole basement was filled with things he hoarded in case of catastrophe.  And then I remembered something I hadn’t thought of for years and years …

I was a little kid, and I had gotten a red plastic egg full of Silly Putty for Christmas –  and I loved it. I brought it down into the basement at Grandma’s house to bounce it on the smooth concrete floor. It bounced away out of sight beneath a cabinet… and I could not find it. Ever.

Like Vern in “Stand By Me” digging hundreds of holes in search of his lost jar of buried pennies, I tried to find that Silly Putty every time I went to grandma’s house for a long, long time … but I never found it. It was as if it vanished into thin air. My cousins and I laughed at the tale.

I didn’t connect the story with the Silly Putty I’d just gotten for Christmas at work. Not yet …

Part Three :

As I mentioned earlier, my mom gave me a big box of miscellaneous stuff for Christmas.

Part of that present was a folder containing a dozen or so pieces of Christmas artwork I’d made in childhood – a construction paper Santa, a picture I’d drawn of Santa fleeing a flaming chimney with a singed butt, things like that that she’d saved and used to decorate the house for Christmas.

Among the artwork was an old letter to Santa I’d written in 1986 … when I read it out loud to Workman and Amy, I started laughing when it began “For Christmas, I want “Silly Putty” … it was almost certainly this very letter that had led to the Silly Putty I’d lost in my Grandma’s basement.


What I Want: 1986 Letter to Santa, 2009 Christmas basket Silly Putty tin



Wanting a photo of the old note with the Silly Putty I’d just gotten for Christmas, I looked around the living room for the blob that had been floating around constantly for the past couple of weeks … but it was nowhere to be found.

So instead, I went and found the container that the putty had come in. And it was only then, next to my letter to Santa, that the tin’s slogan made any sense to me – “Get what you want,” indeed …


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