The 'BARKING OWL' always has something to say, and like the feathered version, can be either WISE...............or ANNOYING!

Monday, January 14, 2013

A Fifteen Minute Free Write. Ready, Set, Go...

...get gap insurance!  My wife recently cracked up our "new" 10 year old car to the point where it was "totaled".  She's fine now, thank you (I always told her that she is "fine as frog's hair"), but the two month old car was beyond repair.  One quick clue is that if the air bags go off, it's toast.

Several days after the accident, we heard from State Farm with a settlement offer that placed the car's value about $2500.00 below what we had just paid!  Yipes!  During that phone call the claims officer asked me if we had "gap insurance" and I had to confess that I had never heard of that.  When confronting my car dealer about the car being overpriced he admitted that he left this mysterious item out of our contract because he knew we wanted to keep the payment low.  He never gave us the option.  Later, when challenging my local agent to get the offer up higher somehow, he asked, predictably, about gap insurance!  What is this strange entity everyone in the world knows about, except me?

Gap insurance is a separate policy that one might take out to insure that the lien holder gets paid completely off after an accident.  It fills in the "gap" between what the insurance company will pay and what you owe.  "Now you tell me!"  After 5 or 6 weeks of research and office visits, many phone calls, and writing a somewhat lawyerly letter, my State Farm settlement was raised substantially, leaving only a relatively small "gap", so I am happy.  But I am forewarned about the next loan.

And I'm thinking about a spiritual gap insurance we all might need.  I am often amazed and dismayed at how so many people face the inevitable end of life with such nonchalance.  They think about their conscience such a little bit; they rely on their parent's religion overmuch; and they settle for a life philosophy that could readily be summed up in a sound bite or on a bumper sticker.  I suggest there is a huge gap that must be faced more deliberately....and my time is up.

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

I Swear That I Am Impressed With the Youth of Today!

Yesterday I was miffed again, as I thought about the young Bozo who came oh so close to cancelling out half the Grandfathers my Gkids were to have!  I expressed my regret that I did not cuss the dope out as he deserved.  But in truth, I hope since my "mouth speaks what my heart is full of", that it never does reveal a lot of four letter gunk.  A vile rant at the delinquent driver would not have helped anybody.  I believe most of my anger was at the sin-sickened state we must endure, when the simple virtues like prudence are so lacking even from the mechanical mundane world of traffic.

Today I had a rather opposite experience, which enheartened my hope for today's youth, and our collective welfare.

As I waited at a stoplight downtown, I was looking blankly forward across the street when something irregular caught my attention.  A person I had barely noticed walking away from me on the far sidewalk suddenly dropped.  Next, I would have expected the person to immediately jump up and maybe shake it off and rub his or her hands and look around to see if anybody saw the fall.  But nothing happened.  I had to wait for the light to turn, but in those long seconds there was no movement at all.

I just about called 911 to say that somebody just dropped dead on the corner of 12th and Main, but as I pulled across the intersection and parked, the elderly women began to stir.  As I was getting out of the truck another car came across the bank parking lot and two young guys jumped out, racing to help.  The poor woman had tripped and hit her head on the sidewalk.  She lay on the edge of the grass as we talked to her, trying to discern what she would need, before she declared that "The first thing I want to do is get up.  My rear end is getting soaked!"  Then she proceeded to stand, refusing help because she said it's best to do it herself.  Then we saw a growing contusion over one eye, a scraped cheek and what seemed to be a cut on her nose.

The details go on, but my happy observation was of the two young men who dropped everything and dedicated themselves to this woman's necessary care.  One was wearing our high school's letter jacket and talked of his service already rendered with our fire department.  The police were called to make sure the woman and her ailing husband who was waiting helplessly in the car, would get home safely, but I was so gratified to confidently let those guys do their thing.

Now I wish I had gotten THEIR names so I could congratulate them, and honor their unselfish care and generous service to whatever stranger they might see in trouble.  I was greatly comforted, for next time it might be somebody's Grampa who, as the stoic woman described her accident, would "trip on a chalk mark!"

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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

I Do Not Swear

"Hey you _______  ________ _______!  I've never hit anybody in anger in my whole life, but I'm gonna come down there and beat the _______  ______ out of you!"  I don't swear, so no, I didn't ever say that.  But even these few years later, I sometimes wish I had, that beautiful winter day on Hwy 57.

I was minding my own business driving home from work on the aforementioned divided highway.  After a few days of heavy snowfall it was a pleasure to just cruise along on the now dry pavement, and with the sun shining bright and warm.  Before I even saw it coming a bright red sports car passed me-- and several other cars in my lane all going about 60--like we were standing still!  I was talking to my son on the phone at the time and told him about the jerk shooting along so close to the snow bank which was still crowding the traffic lanes along both shoulders.

The guy must have just hit that berm of snow on the left, because all of a sudden a huge cloud of snow erupted not too far ahead of me.  I saw a flash of red cross the lanes between cars and then an even bigger mass of powdery snow fly up beyond the right shoulder and nearly blocking the lowering sun.  I pulled over and walked up wondering how many mangled corpses I was about to see, but here was this guy sitting between the front seats of his crumpled car, and talking on the phone!  He yelled up to me and another guy, "Hey, did I ROLL?"  Distracted by the fact that he was alive, and by his nonchalance, I looked back and saw the "tracks" his car did in fact make after it left the highway.  He certainly did roll, or bounce, or maybe he bounded and leaped as far as I know, for at least 50 yards!

Apparently he was calling his mother for a ride or a tow, or maybe to arrange a brain transplant.  I was too stunned at the moment to know what I felt, but after I left, and just a few miles up the road I began to get very angry.  That idiot might have killed himself (which might have been good for the collective gene pool), but he may have killed the other guy that stopped to help him out.  He may have killed or maimed the other folks just going home or going out to eat or going shopping.  But most importantly, he may have killed my Lily's and Danny's and Elaina's and Araya's future Grandfather to be!

I wish now that I knew who he was or where he lived so that I could go and let the SOB errant driver know how angry I am still today.

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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY: 3 out of 4 Gkids

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