All posts by Sue Shirkey-Raypole

This Stupid World

Only in this stupid world do drugstores make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front.

Only in this stupid world do people order double cheeseburgers, large fries, and a diet coke.

Only in this stupid world do banks leave vault doors open and then chain the pens to the counters.

Only in this stupid world do we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in the driveway and put our useless junk in the garage.

Only in this stupid world do we buy hot dogs in packages of ten and buns in packages of eight.

Only in this stupid world do they have drive-up ATM machines with Braille lettering. 

Lie, Buy, and Deny

I have the Power Of Attorney for an older friend, Charles, who is in a nursing home. Recently, Charles had become very concerned about getting a State ID. I told him that although he no longer drove, his driver’s license was still good for another year to use as identification. I told him it was a waste of $24.00 but he was insistent about getting a state ID. I took him to the BMV and the Clerk there told him he could wait another year as his driver’s license was still good. Finally, he said, “I heard on television that they won’t let me vote without a State ID.” The Clerk and I both reassured him that he couldn’t be denied his right to vote.

For years, I have encouraged him to cast absentee ballots but he wants to vote in person. I told him that I would take him to the Board of Election and he can still vote as he would if he were going to a precinct polling place, but he could do it early.  Continue reading Lie, Buy, and Deny

All-Time Favorite Summer Songs

In this week’s People Magazine there’s an article entitled “What is your all-time favorite summer song?”

Among those interviewed, Stevie Nicks said, “The Boys Of Summer by Don Henley. We love the boys of summer. Need I say more?” NO, Stevie!

Janet Jackson answered, “Hot Fun In The Summertime by Sly And The Family Stone because it takes me back to when my brothers were on TV every Saturday with their cartoon. It was a magical moment.”

I liked that one, also, remembering listening to it in the summer of 1969; that was the first summer Gerald and I spent together. Every evening we would go to the Dairy Queen and I would have a cherry-dipped cone, which is still my favorite DQ treat!

My all-time favorites:

  1. Summertime from Porgy and Bess, by a number of artists including Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson Trio, Big Brother And The Holding Company
  2. Hot Fun In The Summertime by Sly And The Family Stone
  3. Under The Boardwalk by The Drifters
  4. Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days Of Summer by Nat King Cole
  5. Summer Breeze by Seals & Croft
  6. A Summer Song by Chad & Jeremy
  7. In The Summertime by Mungo Jerry
  8. Summer In The City by The Lovin’ Spoonful
  9. Summertime Blues by Eddie Cochran
  10. Saturday In The Park by Chicago

Husband Gerald’s:

  1. Surfin’ Safari by The Beach Boys
  2. Centerfield by John Fogerty
  3. Hazy-Crazy-Lazy Days Of Summer by Nat King Cole
  4. Hot Fun In The Summertime by Sly And The Family Stone
  5. Sunday In The Park by Chicago
  6. Surf City by Jan And Dean
  7. Wipeout by The Surfaris
  8. Summer Breeze by Seals And Croft
  9. Cruel Summer by Bananarama
  10. Surfin’ USA by The Beach Boys

Click HERE for Billboard’s Top 30 Songs of Summer list.

Waiting Room Encounters of the Third Kind

At the Jewish Hospital in Cincinnati, I had a number of interesting encounters in the waiting room.

The waiting room volunteer said that there was coffee, tea and water available. I said, “Sweetheart, I think I’ll have some tea.” Luann, another person there waiting, jumped up and said, “I’ll get it for you.” Gerald said, “You have more than one sweetheart!” I thanked her for fetching the tea for me and we had a delightful conversation about the word “fetch”.

I can get used to being served!. I did my best Blanche Dubois imitation, “I’ve always depended on the kindness of strangers.”

Later, a woman named Pat and her daughters and nieces came in to the waiting room. Pat’s daughter Tonya admired her cousin’s hot-pink Coach purse. The cousin told Tonya she could get a very good deal for her and began making phone calls. Tonya began to fret that her husband would not like for her to spend that much money and I spoke up and said, “Just tell him that you’re getting the Coach purse instead of a JUDITH LEIBER purse.” None of that group had heard of Judith Leiber; I brought up Judith Leiber’s designs on the internet. I said, “See, this sweet little minaudiere costs JUST $2,450.00. I said, “Even better, let’s tell him that you’re NOT getting a BIRKIN bag!” None of the gals had heard of Birkin either. Oh, I just had to show them a Birkin by Hermes. I said, “Shucks, the starting bid is just $69,000.00 compared to $114.00 for the Coach! Just tell him how lucky he is that you JUST want the Coach!”

However, I cannot behave myself for very long. The news about the Supreme Court decision about the Affordable Care Act was announced and several people were discussing it and one said, peevishly, “Well, there isn’t anything we can do about it NOW!” I said, “THANK GOD!” It is always amusing to me when people are obviously NOT accustomed to being contradicted. The word HARRUMPHED is perfect for the reaction I received!

As If I Needed Another Reason!

The day after Memorial Day, I went to Walmart to buy flowers for the cemetery for next year. I only put live flowers on my mother’s grave and buy artificial ones for the other graves we decorate. I always buy the artificial flowers after the holiday and put them in the basement. I do the same thing after Christmas.

At Walmart I loaded 13 arrangements in my cart and took them to the check-out.

I don’t like it because Walmart has short belts and no dividers at their check-outs. (I see that as a deliberate strategy to screw us!) I always demand that the clerk allow me to place everything on the belt prior to the start of totaling so that I can watch the tally. Continue reading As If I Needed Another Reason!

It Was Ageism Is What it Was!

I applied for a job as a “Field Organizer” for a political campaign and I had an interview on the telephone. I knew that these jobs were usually filled by young people, mostly by recent college graduates. As we’d had several very incompetent ones in past campaigns, I decided I wanted to be “paid” instead of doing all of their work for them while I was being a volunteer! After all, I had experience and knowledge! I thought that perhaps those might be desirable traits they were looking for in a candidate!

My “interview” was conducted on the telephone and the interviewer was obviously a young woman. Of course, in the “chatting” part I asked about her background; from her summary I gleaned that she could not have been more than 25 years old. Her first Continue reading It Was Ageism Is What it Was!

You Could Have Heard a Pin Drop

We recently marked the anniversary of President Obama’s order to Seal Team 6 to take out Osama bin Laden. His action displayed brilliance, decisiveness and fearlessness. He showed his usual “grace under pressure” (JFK’s quote from Hemingway) and when criticized by some French people for not giving bin Laden a proper religious burial, the President answered that he would not allow bin Laden’s burial site to become a shrine!


Below are some other BON MOTS addressed to our sometimes obstreperous allies, the French:

JFK’s Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, was in France in the early 1960’s when French President Charles de Gaulle announced that France would pull out of NATO. DeGaulle said Continue reading You Could Have Heard a Pin Drop

Eating Marsh Rabbit

I just told my brother Les that I was going to write about eating squab. He said, “Oh, that sounds so much better than saying you ate DOVES, doesn’t it?” I said, “Squab is also pigeon.” He answered, “That’s even worse!” Being the youngest in the family, Les was not as exposed to our wide array of “epicurean delights” as the older ones were.

Growing up poor, my mother would fix any wild game brought home except opossum or raccoon. I think it was because opossums were so disgusting and we had raccoons as pets. I loved quail, pheasant, rabbit, and especially turtle. I still like “offal”: gizzards, livers, tongue, heart, kidneys, lungs, tripe, and brains (yes, I admit that I’ve eaten brains!). Continue reading Eating Marsh Rabbit


I understand addiction. I am an addict. I do not say this with any humor. I have been addicted to Coca Cola since I was a child. I recognize my addictive personality. I am empathetic with people who are addicted to smoking and other addictions which do not harm others.
In 1985, Coca Cola committed what is considered to be one the biggest blunders in the business world by bringing out “New Coke” with plans to retire the original Coke (NOW known as “Classic Coke”). When the announcement was made, I, along with many others, began stockpiling Coca Cola.

To illustrate the extent of my addiction: I was scheduled to go to California for a week on Company business. In my carry-on bag I packed one change of underwear and cosmetics, Continue reading Addiction

Does Your Husband Want Metric?

In re-reading the article “CAVEAT EMPTOR” I thought about how often women–and especially OLD women–are victims of unscrupulous dealers.

In the old days, when buying cars, furniture and appliances, nearly all the sales staffs were male and I would always ask to have a saleswoman, which usually resulted in being told there weren’t any saleswomen. I knew that there were plenty of capable women who could sell cars, furniture, and appliances, but those were COMMISSION SALES jobs so men usually had them, while women were assigned to non-commission sales. I was very pleased when I saw that a local car saleswoman was ranked Number One, but unfortunately, it is not a car dealership we would use.

I wouldn’t consider making a car purchase without the guidance of my husband or Continue reading Does Your Husband Want Metric?

Lux Aeterna

Writing recently about the movie “Diner” being considered the most influential movie of the past thirty years, I was struck by how influential movies are in our lives. I read once that before the advent of movies, people kissed with their eyes OPEN! When the kissing scene was on the screen the actors had their eyes open and the audience, in the silent-movie theater, were tittering. When the actors began CLOSING their eyes, the audiences did not laugh.

I had never read a Stephen King book before I saw “The Shawshank Redemption”; I haven’t read one since! I read James Dickey’s book “Deliverance” ONLY after seeing the movie. I read Harold Robbins roman a clef “A Stone For Danny Fisher” after learning that Elvis’ movie “King Creole” was based on that book; about the only thing similar in the movie was the name Danny Fisher! Continue reading Lux Aeterna

Going Postal

When I went to the post office to get the 420 1-cent stamps, there were two clerks working. The clerk Susie was busy helping a couple complete applications for passports. There were three people ahead of me in the line of the other clerk named Debbie. Debbie was telling the first customer about her divorce and about her son’s living arrangements. I was shocked by such inappropriate behavior. The second customer, turned to look behind him, and he and I rolled our eyes at each other in disbelief. When the man got to Debbie he asked for two stamps and plopped coins on the desk. The next person in line was a young woman carrying a baby. Debbie commented that the baby was “precious” and the clerk and the woman began chatting about different family members.  Continue reading Going Postal

Refrigerator Games

I hate to have anything on the front of my refrigerator except at Christmas time when it’s covered with Santa magnets.

During the remainder of the year, “stuff” is only allowed to be on the SIDE of the refrigerator, dammit! Yes, I do make the rules!

However, we have ongoing “refrigerator games”. Our “refrigerator games” are family and friends endeavors. There are no rules. We post a name, phrase, question or something of interest and all family members and friends are encouraged to participate.


A recent favorite posting on the refrigerator: “IF A DOCUMENTARY WAS MADE ABOUT MORGAN FREEMAN, WHO WOULD NARRATE IT?” After hearing three different documentaries narrated by Morgan, Les asked that question. We had a variety of answers, but I think the best was James Earl Jones. Continue reading Refrigerator Games


Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday celebrated for eight days and nights. It starts on the 25th of the Jewish month of Kislev, which coincides with late November-late December on the secular calendar.

In Hebrew, the word “hanukkah” means “dedication.” The name reminds us that this holiday commemorates the re-dedication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem following the Jewish victory over the Syrian-Greeks in 165 B.C.E.

In 168 B.C.E. the Jewish Temple was seized by Syrian-Greek soldiers and dedicated to the worship of the god Zeus. This upset the Jewish people, but many were afraid to fight back for fear of reprisals. Then in 167 B.C.E. the Syrian-Greek emperor Antiochus made the observance of Judaism an offense punishable by death. He also ordered all Jews to worship Greek gods. Continue reading HANUKKAH BEGINS

Christmas Music, 2011

There are two kinds of people in the world: those, like myself, who can’t get “enough” of Christmas music, and the others, like Les and Gerald, who get so tired of Christmas music that they threaten to blow up the stereo! To keep harmony (PUN INTENDED) in the family, I compromised several years ago and agreed to have no Christmas music in the house until the day after Thanksgiving. Gerald got in my car today and Barbra was singing “Silent Night”. He said, “I thought…..” Before he was able to complete his sentence, I interrupted and said, “I only agreed about IN the house; the car is my domain!”

My brother Bode and I loved to sing Christmas carols and it was usually to the embarrassment of everybody else! One of my favorite stories: we were visiting Continue reading Christmas Music, 2011