Welcome to Joe's Place at Monkey's Eyebrow, Ky.




Mow, mow, mow your yard…

April 23, 2014

          Sometimes the only way to get relief is to complain about big corporations.

          So here goes.

          I bought a Husqvarna lawn tractor (rugged-sounding name for riding mower) in September of 2010. I bought it at Sears in Paducah. Because I assumed there would be some need for repairs and because I’m so mechanically uninclined or unmechanically inclined or chair reclined, whichever is least incorrect, I let the sales guy talk me into a five-year warranty.    

          I’m satisfied I’ve gotten my money’s worth from the warranty.

          It’s a lawn tractor but I don’t have a lawn. What I do have at my place here at Monkey’s Eyebrow, Ky., is a yard, a fairly large yard with an interesting mix of a little grass, several weeds, an excessive number of molehills and tunnels, and an occasional pile of doggy poop landmines that I didn’t see when they were being left there.

          This time of year, the yard must be mowed more often than once a week.

          I mowed it less than a week ago, but it had grown sufficiently that I cranked up the Husqvarna weed tractor early this afternoon and took it for another spin.

          More than halfway through the job, the tractor’s engine kept running but I could tell by the sound that the blade did not. It has happened before, but on that or those other times the problem was that the drive belt, or maybe it’s called the deck belt, had broken. Today it didn’t seem to be broken, but it was off track.

          I called the 800 number for the warranty folks and was pleased to be connected to what sounded like a native speaker of the American language.

          I gave him my name and address, and he looked up the warranty and agreed that it was real and still in force.

          He asked me if the deck was level and if the blades were set at the proper cutting height. I guess the deck is level; at least, I’ve never fallen off of it. And the cutting height goes in .5 increments from 0.5 to 3.0. I have it set at 2.5 inches, which is what the repair guy told me when last he was here. The man on the telephone said I should check the level and the height. I told him both were okay. He put me on hold.

          When he came back he asked if I had checked the level and the height. I was not completely polite when I told him that wasn’t possible because I’m sitting inside the house talking to him on my landline, and I’ve never brought the lawn tractor inside the house.

          He said he was trying to help me by saving time so they didn’t have to set an appointment. I explained again that I am not capable of putting the belt on. Besides, my warranty says: Service location: In-Home. It implies that I shouldn’t have to fix the machine myself.

          Somewhat reluctantly he gave me an appointment for May 6 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. I agreed but told him that the service man had told me last time he was here that I should check back with the local folks from time to time because sometimes other appointments were cancelled and they might have an opening, which they scheduled based on whoever called.

          The phone voice said if I did that I would have to pay for the work. I asked him why, and he said that the free work under the warranty applied only for appointments. When I asked him if he could check from time to time and see if there happened to be a cancellation, naturally he could not.

          There. I’ve said my piece. I don’t feel any better.

ED ads: Is that supposed to be a warning

April 4, 2014

          I see what seems to be an increasing number of TV commercials about that horrible male condition known as ED or erectile disfunction.

          In less sensitive times it might have been called “limp noodle syndrome.”       

          Any time I see one of those commercials I think of Bill Ryan of Wickliffe and his friends who would meet periodically at the cabin on Prairie Lake for some fine dining and a little drinking. Or maybe more than a little. They called their group the LDL or Limber  D--- Lodge because all of them were of an age where they either experienced ED or had lost a lot of interest in the alternative.

          The commercials inevitably contain some statement like, “If you experience an erection lasting more than four hours, contact your doctor.”

          I caught one of those commercials last night and heard the advice about contacting a doctor.

          I wondered if that was a warning or an incentive.



Is it that hard to eat?

Jan. 25, 2014

          I think I’ve mentioned this before, but peeves – pet or any other kind – sometimes must be repeated.

          Bella and I were in Paducah this morning and we decided to go to a restaurant for breakfast.

          Bella said she wanted a waffle and bacon, but if they didn’t have a waffle, she would take just bacon.

          When the server arrived to take orders I asked if they had waffles.

          “We have pancakes and biscuits,” she said.

          “That really doesn’t address the question I asked,” I told her. I was nice about it. But the correct answer would have been something like, “No.” She could have gone on after verifying the absence of waffles and added, “But we do have pancakes and biscuits.”

          But that’s not my peeve.

          Bella ordered just bacon. My order included bacon, too. For the first time of the several meals I’ve eaten in that restaurant, the bacon was nearly raw. Maybe they had new cooks who had little experience with bacon.

          But that’s not my peeve.

          It was fairly obvious that we were through with breakfast, as confirmed by the fact that no food remained on our plates.

          The server came again. And finally we’ve come to my peeve.

          “Are you still working on that?” she asked.

          “We never were ‘working’ on it,” I pointed out. “We were just eating the food.”

          I’m not a refined, sophisticated diner. Look folks, I live in Monkey’s Eyebrow. This is not exactly the center of high-brow culture. We usually are polite, of course, as I was at the time.

          Despite my lack of high-tone culture, I think “Are you still working on that” is rude, or at least crude.

          Also, it implies that the food must have been tough, tasteless and practically inedible, so that instead of enjoying it the diner must have approached it as a chore.

          Wouldn’t it be so much nicer if the server said something like, “Have you finished your delicious meal, sir?”

          In which case the strip of raw bacon hanging out of my mouth could be regarded as part of my answer.


Throw a little light on the situation

Jan. 21, 2014

          In his ongoing effort to help me keep my blood sugar below a lethal level, my family doctor checks my blood and has me come to his office about once every three months.

          If you will allow me to give him a plug, and this is a completely unsolicited plug, I’ll just say that Dr. D. Blake Leslie at Paducah Family Medicine is an outstanding family practice doctor. His practice is part of the Jackson Purchase Medical Associates located mostly in the Lourdes Medical Pavilion. The group also includes the Ballard County Medical Clinic, RediCare, and some other practices.

          I went there this morning for the three-month visit.

          Two members of the staff (I guess they are nurses of one kind or another) checked me in with the standard weigh-in, blood pressure check, and lots of questions.

          One question that I don’t recall being asked before was if I had ever had a colonoscopy and, if so, did I remember when.

          I answered that yes, I had one several years ago and then five years later had a different type of exam because I was taking some blood thinning medicine and they didn’t want to take me off that, which they would have had to do to administer a colonoscopy.

          I couldn’t remember the name of the exam or when it was, but I thought it was about five or six years ago.

          She who was asking the questions asked what kind of exam it was.

           “Well,” I said, “I believe the doctor stuck his head up my butt and looked around. At least, that’s what it felt like.”

          I wasn’t sure what answer she wanted when she asked, “What did he say?” Later I realized she wanted to know if he had found anything of concern but at that point I didn’t know what she was after so I made up something on the spot. “He said, ‘I forgot my flashlight. Someone hand me a light so I can look around in here.’ ”

          For some reason, that caused both of them to laugh.

          When I realized what information she was trying to get I told her that the doctor told me he saw nothing out of the ordinary and I wouldn’t need another exam for 10 years.

          I think that’s when they decided to give me a shot.         




What! Is that what you meant to say?

Dec. 25, 2013

          I frequently see or hear sentences that sound okay until I really pay attention to what I read or heard.

          Here’s an example.

          I saw an Associated Press in the AOL news feed this morning, reporting that Queen Elizabeth had pardoned Alan Turing, who was instrumental in breaking Germany’s Enigma code in World War II.

          After the war, Turing was convicted for being a homosexual, and his sentence included intrusive surveillance and hormone treatment meant to extinguish his sex drive. He committed suicide two years later.

          It has been said that his theories laid the foundation for the computer age.

          The AP article quotes the author of a book on Turing:

          “ ‘It could be argued and it has been argued that he shortened the war, and that possibly without him the Allies might not have won the war,’ said David Leavitt, the author of a book on Turing’s life and work. ‘That’s highly speculative, but I don't think his contribution can be underestimated. It was immense.’ ”

          If a contribution can’t be underestimated, that means that no matter how little you think it was, it was even less than that. I think Leavitt probably should have said “overestimated.”

          I heard the same misuse of “underestimate” by a reporter on ESPN on October 4, 2013.

          She was reporting about squirrels appearing on various playing fields in golf, football, baseball, etc., and she said, “You can’t underestimate the role these rodents play in sports.”

          Here’s one from the Paducah Sun newspaper’s Jan. 15, 2012 issue:

          “MURRAY — In front of a record sold-out crowd of 8,691 at the CFSB Center, Murray State held onto to its undefeated season a little


          That suggests that the writer knew for certain that the undefeated season would end soon. Would it not have been better to put the period after the word “season” and leave out “a little longer”?

          Here’s another one from the Paducah Sun, this one appearing in the July 1, 2013 issue:

          “About 1 a.m., (I’m leaving out the man’s name), 25, of Benton, was walking east along the side of U.S. 68, between Griggstown Road and McKenzie Park sub-division in the Palma area, when a vehicle struck him. He appeared to die from the injuries, police said.”

          If he only “appeared” dead, they probably should have run a couple of tests so they would have known for sure.

          The Knoxville News Sentinel lets people enter comments at the end of stories in the online edition.  On August 21, this comment was among those after a story about Knox County sheriff Jimmy “J.J.” Jones vowing to stack up illegal immigrants like cordwood:

          “Our very own erstwhile J.J. Arpaio vows to show the Obama administration who really is tough on immigrants.”

          I suspect that whoever wrote that comment thinks “erstwhile” is a synonym for “prominent” or “esteemed” or something of that order. It actually means “former” so the writer has declared the Arizona sheriff to be a “former” person.

          On Sept. 17, 2013, my good friend Chet Thornton posted a comment on his Facebook page about the low temperature inside a deli in Oak Ridge, Tenn. This one clearly involves a typographical error instead of lack of knowledge, and it’s funny in its typoerrancy:

          “We went again yesterday... took my Laboratory grade thermometer... it was 64 degrees... we sat in the window where the sun was coming in... best yet. but still cold. We both had the big bowels of chicken chili which was fantastic and very good sandwiches... My wife is addicted to the unsweetened tea…”

          Each to his own taste, but I think I’ll pass on the bowel of chicken chili, thank you.

          I’ve read and heard references several times in sports reporting about something being a team’s or individual’s first since (pick a year). A headline in the sports section of the Paducah Sun on Oct. 25, 2013, reported, “Lady Marshals earn first title since ’09.”

          Usually if sometime is worth describing as the “first since,” that implies it’s been a long time since the prior one. I think the better way to have said this would have been, “Lady Marshals earn second title in four years.”

          There was a story in the Paducah Sun’s Nov. 18, 2013 issue about an accident on a wet road on a windy day, and hydroplaning was involved:

          “Police said (I’ve omitted the man’s name), 58, of Paducah, was driving in the westbound lane when both vehicles collided head-on.”

          Isn’t it odd in describing a head-on accident to report that “both vehicles collided”? I’m trying to imagine a situation where only one of the vehicles collided in a head-on accident. I suggest that the writer might replace “both” with “the.”

          I saw this one yesterday (Dec. 24, 2013) in a headline in the Knoxville News Sentinel:

          “Family of Louisville man slain by deputy waiting for answers.”

          My first reaction was to wonder why a deputy waiting for answers would kill a man’s family, but when I read the first part of the story I realized that the family was waiting for answers after the deputy killed the man.

          Thanks goodness I’ve never made a mistake.



No, I’m not “running” for office

Dec. 15, 2013

          Someone the other day said to me, “I hear you’re running for Ballard County Judge/Executive.”

          I smiled, confessed that I have indeed filed to be a candidate for the Democratic Party’s nomination to run for Ballard County Judge/Executive. The primary is May 20, 2014.

          I then told the person that I would appreciate his vote in the primary.

          I got to thinking about the conversation later and decided that I probably had not been completely honest.

          Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I “ran” anywhere for anything.

          A few extra years, a few extra pounds, a few extra aches and pains came between me and running. I can’t even remember the last time I jogged anywhere, much less ran.

          Has anyone ever claimed that he or she was “walking for office”?

          Now that would be more my speed.



A good lick with a strop

Dec. 3, 2013

          I know most of the older readers will know what a razor strop is. How many younger readers know?

          Back in the good ol’ days when a shave and a haircut were standard fare at barber shops, there was a strop hanging from every chair.

          A razor strop is a flexible strip of leather or canvas maybe about three inches wide and 18 inches or a couple of feet long. Back in the day of straight razor shaves, barbers would strop the razor before each shave. That consisted of moving the razor in the direction of the spine back and forth along the strop, alternating the direction of the spine with each stroke. There was a rapid back-and-forth movement … whish whish whish, repeated several times.

          All of which leads to this. Bill Ryan had the well-known-in-Wickliffe Chesapeake Bay retriever, Ike. Ike was a great duck dog, and he could do other things as well, such as walk to the post office to get the mail at the back door and then deliver the mail to Bill at the Standard Oil station.

          When it wasn’t duck season and if there wasn’t anything to do, the laid-back Ike sometimes would lie on the station floor and lick himself, an activity Bill described as “stropping his dick.”


Maybe I was day dreaming


August 17, 2013


          I guess because of all the showers we’ve been having, the dampness has encouraged the growth of toadstools or mushrooms in the yard. I don’t know one from the other.

          And even if I did know which was which, I still would not be nibbling on them. That means I’m pretty sure I haven’t tasted any hallucinogenic mushrooms.

          So how to explain what I saw today?

          It was 5:44 p.m. MET (Monkey’s Eyebrow Time). I was sitting out front, listening to the rain and watching little splashes bounce up like geysers off Monkey’s Eyebrow Road.

          From the east came the sound of a vehicle headed west on the road. The sound didn’t have the industrial grumble of a tractor or bigger piece of farm machinery. It didn’t have the roar of the Harleys that pass the house fairly often.

          Usually that narrows it down to a car or a pickup truck.

          But when it came into view, it was none of those. It was a limousine.

          Blink blink double take.

          A limousine. A limousine on Monkey’s Eyebrow Road headed toward … toward what? I don’t know. The Ballard Wildlife Management Area and its unpaved roads? Oscar?

          I’m sure there are lots of reasons a limousine would be on Monkey’s Eyebrow Road. Reasons such as … well, frankly, I can’t think of a single good reason.

          Maybe I was day dreaming or had dozed off and was having a dream.

          I’m pretty sure it didn’t belong here. Anything unusual that belongs here is painted either camouflage or John Deere Green.

The Arivett Family of Monkey’s Eyebrow And Other Settlers of the Area

(Note: This is based on conversations with Evelyn Hook Arivett and Leroy Arivett on May 21, 2010, and on some e-mails from Evelyn and her daughter, Wilma Hook Romatz, who lives in Michigan.)

          Ples and Irene Wildharber Arivett and Ples’ brother Brad weren’t the first people to own a business at Monkey’s Eyebrow, Kentucky, but their businesses and their presence in the area are inextricably linked to the history of this small community that sports one of the most unusual names in the United States.

          The name is frequently featured in atlas listings of unusual names; it has been the subject of at least two features on National Public Radio, and is featured in two books by author Mark Usler, who came to Monkey’s Eyebrow on May 21 to launch his new book, Hometown Celebrations.

          The Arivett name itself is also a bit unusual in that it is consistently spelled Arivett, but is pronounced three different ways within the same family. Most of the members of the family and the people who live in the area pronounce the name as Everett, but Evelyn Arivett Hook, daughter of Ples and Irene, pronounces it as it’s spelled, Ar-i-vett. Evelyn’s younger brother, Leroy, who lives near Chicago, pronounces it Ar-vett, without the “i” sound.

          Evelyn Arivett was born at Monkey’s Eyebrow in 1920, the first of four children born to Ples and Irene. Horace, who ran a store at Bandana and who died in Bandana a few years ago, was next. Then came Leroy, and finally Harold, who lives near Atlanta.

          The family’s roots in Monkey’s Eyebrow stretch back into the 1800s.

          The Wildharbers and Goodleys, Irene Arivett’s family, came to Ballard County in 1903 from Henderson, Kentucky. Ples Arivett’s sister, Maude, told Evelyn that when their great grandfather, Jesse Beeler, came to Ballard County from Tennessee in the early 1840s it was nothing but wilderness. For many years, he and his children all lived in houses along what is now called Monkey’s Eyebrow Road, or state route 473.

          “Maudie was quite a colorful character too,” Wilma Hook Romatz, Evelyn’s daughter, remembers, “chewing snuff and spitting into a Calumet baking powder can. She had coal black dyed hair, and a huge diamond ring and red-painted nails.  Her language was equally colorful.”

          According to Evelyn, “Aunt Maudie said she heard that her grandpa had a whole trunk full of confederate money and her grandma kept trying to get him to change it. He refused, and lost everything after the Civil War was over.”

          John William Arivett, Ples Arivett’s grandfather, was born in Virginia but moved to Ballard County in the 1860s. He lived to be 98 and was married three times. He lived in Wickliffe when he died in 1940.

          The business history of Monkey’s Eyebrow goes back to before the Arivetts opened their first business, which was a gristmill. A man whose last name was Ray had Ray’s Store at the bottom of the hill, down in an area which some folks call Old Monkey. Later, Guy Borden ran the store. Ples and Irene Arivett lived in a house near that store, on the south side of the road. There are no buildings there today. The area is covered with trees.

          Several families lived in the area. Before the road was paved, the old road made a 90-degree turn to the north, opposite what is now Palmore Road, then it curved back toward the west, behind where Jim and Jean Meadors live now. The Arivett Store and most of the residences were northwest of the Meadors’ house. The buildings are no longer there.

          Charley Waldon lived across the field (no paved road then) south of the store in the white house where Imogene Alexander lives now.

          A family of Beelers lived down the road. Evelyn’s grandfather, John Wildharber, at one time owned the farm due east of the old road, a farm later owned by a Graves family and then by Herman and Pod Tilley, a part of which is now owned by Joe Culver.

          According to Evelyn Hook, Wildharber came here from California, lived here two or three years, and then went back. He played in a band, When he came here he built a box that his bass fiddle would fit into. He put the box on the back of the car and brought it here with him.

          The house where Charley Waldon’s family lived – where twin brothers Dot and Tot were born – was previously occupied by a family named Moss. Evelyn remembers playing with their daughter, who was about her age.

          Some other families who lived in the area were Redferns, Crabtrees and Yanceys. “And there were Turners who lived down there. They used to sell watermelons. Sand Ridge grew the best watermelons,” Evelyn Hook recalls.

          “There used to be some Laniers who lived down there. Judy Magee was a Hayden, and when you go by the game reserve entry there and you go on down to that curve, the Haydens lived in the house just on that curve. That’s where Judy and her sister grew up,” Evelyn said.

          There was a small school “right over there in front of where that antenna is,” Evelyn said, pointing to the WPSD TV tower. “There used to be a building that was still there. I don’t know if it still is, I haven’t been down that road for a while. The building was still there even after they built that antenna out there.

          “It was called Graves School. I would say 25 or 30 children went there. It had been built for a two-room school but we used only one of the rooms. If it was good weather we’d play outside, but if it was bad we could go in there, in the other room, and play games or whatever.

          “The teacher that we had was real good to read to us. We used to have box suppers and she would use the money that we made from the suppers and other activities to buy books and things to entertain the kids. I love books still, and I’m sure I got it from her. Her name was Laura Lee Holt.”

          The Monkey’s Eyebrow children went to high school at Bandana. There were no school buses then, but Howard Owsley, Joe Owsley’s dad, took a two-ton flatbed truck and converted it into a bus. It was closed in, with benches around the walls and a bench down the middle. It also had windows.

          “He charged us 10 cents a day,” Evelyn recalls. “He would take us to Bandana and then pick us up at the end of the day. There were 15 or 20 people who rode it. He started at Needmore and drove all around the area picking up children.”

          Before he built the gristmill which he and his brother Brad ran, Ples Arivett worked in California twice. He also worked on Dam 53 when it was being built, when Evelyn was about four or five years old. The Arivett family lived at the bottom of the hill then, in a house just past Ray’s Store.

          Leroy Arivett recalls that his father would get up very early in the morning and walk the five miles to where they were building the dam. Because he left before daylight, Ples would carry a lantern. Evelyn said he would walk down to where the wildlife refuge is now, cross a lake and go over to where the dam was. Evelyn says she was born in 1920 and that would have been around 1925.

          “And then we went to California in 1926,” Evelyn remembers. “My dad and my uncle were working out in the oilfields. I guess the oil company owned houses and rented them to the people who worked for them. We lived out there in a mountainous area and my dad wouldn’t let me go to school because he said you’ll have to ride the bus and there’s all those winding roads. He was afraid for me to ride the bus. So I didn’t go to school until I was seven years old after we moved back.”

          They lived in Paducah for about a year or so and Evelyn’s first year of school was in Paducah. After that, she finished grade school at the Graves School at Monkey’s Eyebrow. That school remained active until it was consolidated with Bandana.

          She went away to college at Murray State in the fall of 1938 and I didn’t move back.

          The Arivetts did some farming in addition to running their businesses. Wilma taped a conversation with her uncle Horace a few years ago when he talked about the time they raised acres of sweet potatoes during the depression, thinking that they could sell them and make a little bit of money.  They found it was going to cost more to ship them than they would get, so they brought them back home and ate them all winter. Horace said he still couldn't look at a sweet potato years later.

          The Arivetts’ first business enterprise at Monkey’s Eyebrow was a gristmill operated by brothers Ples and Brad. Evelyn says she was always fascinated with the machinery at the mill. They had a tractor chassis in the back part of the mill. It had a big drive shaft that went all the way across and the motor would run an assortment of pulleys and belts. It had a crusher that crushed the corn and there was another grinder that made meal.

          “The mill made a lot of meal,” Evelyn says. “My dad usually did that. The Yopp Seed Company in Paducah would buy bags and let my dad fill them up with meal and they would take them back and sell them with Yopp’s name on the bags.”

          About a year after they built the grist mill they started putting groceries in the front part. When Evelyn was about 12, in the early 1930s, the Arivetts built a frame building to house the store, separate from the mill.

          There was a set of scales between the store and the mill.  Farmers would weigh their loaded trucks before the corn was ground. They would weigh them again when the trucks were empty. The difference was the weight of the corn.

          Evelyn remembers that the store had about anything that you would want to buy, except meat because there was no electricity to run a cooler to keep meat.

          Later, after the Arivett brothers dissolved their partnership, Ples tore down the frame building and built a new store of blocks in the same location as the first store. Those stores were on top of the hill, a location some people call “New Monkey” to distinguish it from the Ray’s Store that stood at the bottom of the hill. With the advent of electricity, that store was able to sell meat.

          The Arivetts ran that store until around 1955 when they retired and moved to Bandana, where Horace already had a store.

          By the time the uranium enrichment plant was being built near Kevil in the 1950s, there were 14 people living beside or around the Arivetts’ house and store in Monkey’s Eyebrow.

          When the state of Kentucky acquired several of the lakes in the area, Ples fixed up rooms to rent to hunters. “He was always looking for ways to make more business,” Evelyn says.

          Evelyn moved away in 1938 to go to college at Murray State. She married Harold Hook in 1942, and they lived in McCracken County, but came back to Monkey’s Eyebrow often to visit her family.

          She and Harold had a store for about three years in Camelia, where the road from the Paducah Airport intersections with Highway 62.

          Ples Arivett died in 1975, and Irene lived until 1999. She was 96 years old.  

Comments from readers

          Here are some comments from people who have read this article:

          Billy Lanier: “The Laniers mentioned in your article were my grandparents, Wallace and Alice Lanier. New Hope Baptist Church sits on land given by my granddaddy.”

          Mary Helen Hicks: “The Barnhill family are the ones who lived closer to Monkey’s Eyebrow and raised watermelon, right in front of Mrs. Redfern. Their son is my brother-in-law, married to my youngest sister.”

          Ava Magee Siener: “How nice. I go to read about the Arivett family and come across a mention of my mother, Judy Magee.”

          Jeanne Culver Thorpe: “This is a great article. I love the genealogy.”

Splish splash. Is that the medicine?

Jan. 16, 2014

          So, I was talking to the kidney specialist two days ago about participating in a medical study.

          Before he came into the room to talk to me, a couple of members of his staff had checked my weight and blood pressure, both of which were higher than they should be.

          The doctor squeezed my ankles a couple of times and listened to my heart.

          Then he said he was prescribing a diuretic.

          “Wait a minute!”  I said. “I think it was my blood pressure that was high, not my bladder pressure.”

          He said the diuretic would help keep the blood pressure down.

          “I’m not really comfortable with this,” I told him. “Because of an enlarged prostate, I pretty well know the location of every men’s room within a two-hour drive of here. On a really good day I may be able to go as much as two hours without having to pee, but on a bad day I sometimes don’t even make it out of the bathroom before I have to turn around and go again.”

          I went on to tell him that I was going to be duck hunting the next day with some good friends, and I wasn’t too happy about what demands the diuretic might make on me while I was standing there in a pair of chest-high waders. It’s bad enough splashing around with water outside the waders, and it’s much worse if the water (or at least some form of liquid) is inside them.

          He was sympathetic to my plight but not sufficiently sympathetic to change his mind. He said it probably wouldn’t be as bad as I thought because taking the medicine should increase my volume, thereby lowering the frequency.

          “I already feel like an easy-listening FM radio station,” I told him. “The volume is down but the frequency is up. I think you’re telling me it will be just the opposite, with the volume up and the frequency down.”

          He said the medicine would be something called Lasix. I thought that sounded like an eye surgery instead of a diuretic but he assured me that all the action would take place some distance south of my eyes.

          I took the prescription to Sutton Drugs in La Center. They’re such nice, efficient folks. I’ve seen people stand in the prescription line at WalMart for what seemed like hours. It’s never taken very long

at Sutton’s.

          You never know when you get a new prescription whether you’ll have to spend your week’s food money to pay for it, or walk out in not much worse financial shape than when you went in.

          So after the prescription was filled and I asked how much, I was not totally unprepared but at least a bit dismayed when she said “Forty eight, ten.” I had hoped it wouldn’t cost quite that much; forty-eight dollars seemed high.

          I got out my debit card to pay her, and she asked if I didn’t have a dollar bill or a couple of quarters. I was puzzled why that would matter, and I told her I was puzzled. She said she didn’t want to have to run a debit card for a forty-eight cents prescription.

          I wish the doctor had prescribed something like a diuretic that improves hearing.