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Some Things Never Change

The following are all taken from a column entitled The Man Next Door. It was written by Burton Hillis and appeared in Better Homes and Gardens. My small collection range in date from 1964 – 1970.

“Assigning homework is not an easy chore,” teacher Kathleen Brown told me at the PTA meeting. “First you have to keep it short so it will get done, and then keep it simple so the parents can do it.”

Businessman Ed Hunter says some of his problems could be solved if the cheerful man who writes the bank ads also were a member of the loan committee.

When I was young, “hot stuff” described things we liked; today the children refer to them as “cool.” But in the meantime, most of my generation discovered they are “lukewarm” at best.

Our bachelor friend, Mr. Bell, thinks it’s increasingly difficult to judge a woman by her clothes. “Too often,” he adds, “there just isn’t enough available evidence on which to form an opinion.”

They’ve just finished one of those big modernistic discount stores in a shopping center half a mile from our house. It has a huge parking lot, and the interior is jam-packed with merchandise. At the exit are a dozen checkout aisles complete with cash registers and revolving counters–ten of them are chained off and the other two lined eight-deep with customers shopping this convenient new way.

My family tends to give me hair lotion and shaving preparations for Father’s Day. I don’t know what they’d do with a bald and bearded Dad.

Calorie counting is my most persistent New Year’s resolution–but I’ve lost count of how many consecutive years it has failed to improve either my waistline or my arithmetic.

“It’s obvious that some of our politicians have been taking speech lessons,” says Dr. Bob Hannelly. “They’re still not saying much, but they’re saying it much better.”

“I expect one government reaction to unemployment,” says Councilman Chick Welch, “will be to hire more people to find out why there’s so much unemployment.”

Grandpa Hillis pointed out the other evening that if there were a law against being foolish, we’d all be in jail.

I need to remind myself every so often that a boy doesn’t need his father for a pal so much as he needs him for a father.

The trouble with almost any home improvement project is that friends pop in when it’s at its half-completed worst and never come back to see it in its resplendent finished state.

A cheerful blaze crackles in the fireplace. There is a bowl of apples on the table beside my easy chair, a glass of sherry, a good book. The only thing missing is me. I’m downtown sitting on a hard seat in a dismal room, listening to a droning symposium on “The Constructive Use of Leisure Time.”

Burt Jr., will believe almost anything about the future, trips to the moon and all the rest, but I can’t convince him that 100 years from now people will have forgotten that he missed the basket that would have won last week’s game.

For lessons in modern guerilla warfare, I recommend our Defense Department study the lowly dandelion. Late last fall I was everywhere victorious in my back-yard lawn campaign; this spring the yellow crowns are more plentiful than ever, and I have no idea where they hid out all winter.

Granpa Hillis remarks that if a man of 65 could sell his lifetime of experience for only half what it cost him, he could retire in utter luxury.

Our city has been hoping to get some federal funds to help construct a new lake and recreational area, but grumpy Ned Carter claims that–as far as Washington is concerned–“The project just doesn’t cost enough to be practical.”

Fred Henderson says he doesn’t understand the special law of economics which dictates his annual salary increase must always be slightly less than the jump in the cost of living.

I suppose recipes rank below sonnets as a literary form, but a few words left out of a poem won’t do nearly as much damage as a single typographical error in a recipe.

Our favorite picinic area of years past is now a shopping center. Chris suggests we go ahead anyway and spread the table cloth in the parking lot. She says now we finally have stores handy to buy the essentials we always seem to forget.

Even without looking at a calendar, I can tell when the Christmas holidays are almost over. It’s when Rosemary starts ransacking the house in search of the books she was supposed to have been studying the whole time.

All things considered, I am happiest living in a climate that has four distinct seasons–but I’d rather they wouldn’t all show up in the same week. (If you live in NE Texas or SW Arkansas you get this one)

On the way downtown the other morning, I suddenly realized what makes a good driver. He anticipates the unpredictable antics of all the other experts on the road.

Well, that’s it folks. I hope you enjoyed these little one liners. Hopefully they brought a smile your way! Just remember some things never change.


About lovelylissie

I love reading, kewpies, butterflies, thrifting, and all things vintage. I am happily married and live in NE Texas.

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