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Have TUBA, Will Travel

January 26, 2017

{“I shouldn’t be allowed to go out alone!” (Embarrassed emoji)}— this was the text sent to my wife Lil Red. {“Did you buy something?” (Curious emoji)}—was her response. {“Umm…maybe…” (Innocent emoji)}—was my reply. {“What did you buy?” (Kind of aggravated yet knowingly understanding emoji)}—was her retort.

It was supposed to be a simple search and retrieval mission. Go to the hardware store and buy a replacement light fixture, to replace the one that was broken. To be more precise, the one I had broken… by forcibly unscrewing a stuck bulb and tearing out the fixtures working parts in the process. These things happen! I accidentally tear stuff up all the time. So out to the hardware and back, but was it my fault there just happens to be a thrift store along the way?

Goodwill is fun! There’s always neat stuff. It’s like treasure hunting and it’s sort of recycling. However, I am informed there’s often too much neat stuff and am told to limit my consumption to things we actually need. Because we are on a budget and have plans for major purchases. So only what we need… unless it’s something really super neat-o. With this little side trip my resolution held firm. Yes, there were several cool items but nothing needed, nor nothing that could not be lived without. Then, in my departure, I heard it from across the store, for whatever reason knowing exactly what it was. The man who was looking at it looked rather taken aback as I inquired his possible purchase of the item whilst simultaneously taking it away from him. Twenty-five dollars later I left with a smile.

“Why would you buy a TUBA???” Lil Red obviously did not register the same level of neat-o-ness as me of my latest find. The more important question was, Why wouldn’t I buy a tuba? I mean look at it… it’s a tuba! A thrift store tuba and… seriously how often do you find a working brass instrument at a thrift store? Let alone a friggin’ tuba? Oompah-oompah-oompah! I do not know how to play a tuba… but what fun!

My concerto had to be moved outside at my spouse’s request. Did she not understand this was a tuba and it was great fun to make it go oompah-oompah-oompah! My mother, who lives next door, came outside, looking rather concerned, fearing that the neighbor’s cows had gotten loose again. Cows do sound like tubas now that I think of it. Nope ma, it’s just me oompah-oompah-oompah! She smiled and went back inside. This is a good example of how my family, friends and neighbors perceive me. There’s nothing peculiar about me roaming around my backyard blurting on a tuba.

The next day, once the fires of “WTF” had died down, I took a moment and explained to Lil Red why this bulky, banged up, brass noisemaker was so important to me. It was rather simple really and could be summed up in one sentence: “Two months ago I couldn’t have played… well blown in and made noise with, any wind instrument, let alone a tuba. She immediately understood.

They say (“they” being psychologists, not tuba players) that when you attempt cessation it helps to set goals and reward yourself with each successful step toward quitting. It has been two months gone by since the sweet, nicotine tainted bliss of a cigarette had graced my lips. You have to find a method that works for YOU and even if you have to use a crutch it’s better that falling on your a$$ in a smoking heap. For me it’s a few occasional puffs off a cigar that takes the edge off. Though that’s far from perfect, it’s also far from my former 3 packs (60 cigarettes) per day.

So money is being saved (a pack of cowboy killers runs at $5 a pack, you can do the math). My health has improved dramatically, especially my breathing. And now I can run around with my grandson without running out of breath. And do it more often since I don’t have to pause for a smoke break. Thus celebration is in order! So how do you celebrate some extra cash and the ability to take a deep breath…Oompah-oompah-oompah!

I welcome almost all questions and comments via FOCUS, or email me at or you can FRIEND me on Facebook under Saw’s Brood!

Hope to hear from ya, until then try and stay focused. See ya!




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