Mother of God

I never realized how tough my mother was until I witnessed her challenge teachers or administration when she knew they were clearly wrong.

I was busted once in the rough and tumble, wacky world of challenge physical education when I was a senior in high school. Did I give a yankee dime about school as a senior? EEEhhh…No. I guess it showed when I was sent to the vice principal’s office after tackling my best friend on the school grounds and tossing his shoes out of our zip code.

We were playing Alligator Soccer. Alligator soccer you might ask? I will explain it to you simply and with lack of reverence. I don’t know what the hell that sport was all about.

When I entered the Vice Principal’s office, I wasn’t a first time offender. I’d been accused, rightfully, of escaping West Valley H.S. Alcatraz to purchase a Wednesday Whopper at Burger King. My previous friend involved in the sneaker throwing incident, Nathan Nypen, was an accomplice. That was a three day Saturday detail working on the chain gang. Picking up popcorn droppings, snow cone drippings, corndogs sticks. It was worth it. Whoppers are good.

The Vice Principal, who hated me and my family, called my mother to ensure my punishment was not only happening on the grounds of school, but also observed at home.

I was the last of my mother’s 13 children, so it wasn’t her first call from school administration. While responding to the Vice Principal’s horrific story of the shoe throwing incident, my mother asked the most logical of questions in a single word . . . “And?” The V.P. was stuck in a vat of, “oh, shit.” He was dealing with the wrong mom. My mother didn’t condone my actions, but in the previous years of taking care of us through births, Thanksgiving dinners, boxing matches in the basement, fights on the basketball court, setting fire, accidentally, to a back field, nurturing runaway cows, explaining to us why jail was bad, yet supporting us and the police in the process, she didn’t find this to be a felonious offense. The Vice Principal was speechless and provided his own apology while she listened on the phone and continued folding laundry with underwear skid marks. God bless her, and though I’m sure she was on the express way to heaven, hopefully Heaven isn’t littered with skid marks.

Mom did make me apologize to Nathan. Nathan knew my apology was as phony as me retrieving his shoe over the fence I’d tossed it off of. When he said thanks after jumping over the fence, crossing the closed school ground rules, I then tossed them over again. What a jerk.

Nathan laughed at both of my insincere apologies, but he loved the way my mother handled the “situation”.

He respected my mom, especially when she delivered my sentence for the crime, “Don’t do that again.”

She made every day our Happy Mothers Day.

Anti Social Distancing 101 (Dorothy’s Justice)

Many people have older sisters.  Very few of them have six.  I do.  Many people have sisters who are tougher than them and most people in the neighborhood.  Very few have six tougher than anyone in their zip code.  I did.

All of our sisters grew up in a glorious Catholic family, attending church each Saturday or Sunday.  Our sisters were angels most of the time and, hoping to stay in the good graces of God, said their prayers before bedtime and stood out as upstanding, smart, and hardworking citizens.  Then, every once in a while, someone would cross them.  Enter Satan’s little helpers.  If you messed with my sisters, you were simply deemed a fool whose face could be departed.  A fool and his money are soon parted?  No.  A fool crossing my sisters would only be deprived of one thing……blood. Trying not to be be overly dramatic, I did pity the fools who tested my sisters’ reputation as Jekyll and Hyde-ish.  Let’s just say they are probably on a “do not trifle list” managed by the government.

I’ll share an example.  My sister, Dorothy, was walking my sister Maggie to her first day of school.  Maggie was in elementary school and a bit nervous, so Dorothy was supposed to look after her.  Not to worry.  Dorothy did just that.  A student, who knew our family, made the mistake of calling Maggie “Maggie the Maggot.”  Walking up the flight of stairs, he would learn his lesson by having to walk that flight again, if he could, after Dorothy turned red, grew horns, formed a tail looking like a trident and tossed him down that flight of stairs.  “Call my sister that again, and I won’t make it that easy.  Consider yourself warned.” He never did it again.  And, it turns out, this guy was one of Dorothy’s friends.  She’s also infamous for ripping our brother Greg’s pants and shoes off, then making him walk through misty morning dog feces after he had forgotten a key part of his daily chores.

Now a mother of three, and a wife to “bless his soul” Steve for forty years, Dorothy is still alive and throwing.  Her fierce protection of others is one of many ways she shows compassion for her loved ones.  That being written, when pissed off, she will suffer no fools.

When on my side, I never felt nervous in her presence, unless I had done something wrong and feared being punished to the point of submission.  Ok, Dorothy,….that’s enough.

God Bless Dorothy.  God Bless them all.

The Every Other Daily Corona: Public Cess Pools

With the reopening of fishing and golfing, I wonder when or if they’ll open up public pools again.  Sadly, for some, I can guess it won’t be anytime soon.  As a child without a pool at our house, we’d frequent these pools regularly during the summertime pissing season.  I wasn’t a huge fan.  Having two public piss stations in our neighborhood, neither of them were too pleasing for me, but wherever my brothers went, well, I was their shadow.

Thinking back, sans the deaths, I would have welcomed the Corona Virus.  With the exception of one pool out of our neighborhood, I always thought of them as a possible death sentence amongst other unnatural disasters.  Having few friends my own age, I glommed on to my brothers and their friends.   They were all four to six years older, and took pretty good care of me, but there were countless times when they may not be present, thus fearing for my life and clothing.  This was after my brother, Greg, witnessed his bicycle being stolen five feet from the fence barricading him between the thief and himself.  Helplessly, he watched his bike and its new owner, bolt cutters in hand, laugh himself off into the distance.

Once, heading nearby to the same Mission Pool just on the next block past the corner of Mischief and Theft St.,  I proudly rode my bike to the pool in my brand new sneakers.  After some swimming and diving into the blue/yellow liquid, making it green, I left after about an hour to find my shoes missing from the locker I had placed them.  Clearly stolen, with no “witnesses”, or confirmed suspects, (all the deviant a-hole thieves working the locker room) holding back the tears, I rode home in my bare feet.  Walking into our house, leaving a bloody trail from the bottoms of my feet, my mother asked where my new shoes were.  It broke my heart to tell her they’d been stolen.  It was the first pair of really nice shoes she’d ever purchased me.  My very own.  No hand me downs.  Tom, my brother, four years older than me, knew some sleaze bag was prancing around with my shoes showing them off to his derelict family.  He saw red.  Enraged, Tom jumped on his ten speed, recklessly riding to the pool hoping to find the culprit.   With a different pair of shoes, I trailed him by a few lengths witnessing, to no avail, him busting into the locker room without asking for permission.  Tom was only around fifteen at the time, but as a varsity wrestler, he could lick most eighteen year olds in the valley.  Although scaring the hell out of each employee, he was forced to leave by adult personnel.  They were ready to call the fuzz.  Knowing nothing good happens when cops enter a scene, he decided to leave without finding my shoes.  If my brother, Greg, or the rest of our neighborhood gang had heard the news, they would have been right there with him.  I never saw those shoes again, but they did lose my business.

On the other side of the valley was an even more sinister pool. This was Park Piss Pool.  It was a piss dispensary.  If the county could have figured out a way to fabricate fuel with this daily yellow mess, the world would be a far more efficient place.  Gallons and gallons of urinary grime and disgust.  However, it wasn’t the contents of the pool I despised the most.  It was a boy, or perhaps man, who was most definitely mentally disturbed and just flat out mean.  He scared any guts I may have had right out of me and countless others.  While trying to drown me or any other child not practicing social distancing with him, he was a menace.  I’m betting he was in his mid twenties.  His name was Glenn B.  He was also unfavorably known as The Park Penis.  Before throwing him out for several counts of attempted murder by drowning, the pencil necked lifeguards would allow us to witness his grand finale.  Looking like a six foot tall bowling pin, he’d make it safely to the diving board, pull down his bathing suit and piss into the deep and now deeper end of the pool.  Then, he’d further amuse himself by doing a whopper of a belly flop directly into the strategic area of his urine, thus creating a tidal wave of yellow terror.   Children would be screaming while pushing each other right and left with fright trying to find a tsunami safety zone.  It was chaos. Before paying to get into the pool area, I’d refuse when I saw he was present. He’d be there most of the time.  I’d stay on the monkey bars most of the time. While utterly baffling to me, they didn’t present him a lifetime ban for his ungentlemanly antics.

My father hated these stories, so on several occasions, weekends only, he’d take us to another public pool on the other side of town……..the West Side.  It was here he introduced us to another world all together.  Since our side of town was predominately white, we hadn’t really interacted with people of color, usually just cheering for them to race for the goal line on Saturdays or Sundays.  Sure, we had a couple of hispanics in our neighborhood gatherings, in fact they were welcomed as a part of our group, but other than that, it was mostly Irish, Italian, German and British white trash.  When we entered the West Side pool, we were outnumbered by blacks.  There was a little staring on both sides, but I never felt anything but welcomed, and not one ounce of threat or violence. I liked this pool far better than the ones in our neighborhood.  Years later, I gave praise to our father helping us not only acknowledge diversity, but embrace it.  It was deliberate. So, I guess sometimes you have to experience ugliness before finding the right pool.  It’s out there.  Just please don’t cough, sneeze, or most vehemently, piss on me when you find it.

***Following the publication of this blog, I was quickly contacted by an actual member of our Spokane Valley community who was disturbed with a memory this blog dragged out of his wet heart which he hoped to be dead and buried.  He had his own tale of Glenn B., A.KA. “The Park Penis”.   Jeremy S. writes, “I’ll never forget him.  He Kicked the living s–t out of me when I was at Park Pool.  I might’ve been in fifth grade.  I don’t remember what I said to him, but it had something to do with him bugging my younger brother, Andrew.  He held me under water and punched me multiple times.  It was frightening!  I remember the lifeguards pulling him off me.  The dude must have been 35 years old at the time of the beat down.  I crawled out of that pool bawling.”

***Yet another Glenn B. story from my brother, Tom.  He writes, “I will never forget that dude.  He would walk up and down the line of everyone waiting to get into the pool and terrorize them.  Shirtless with only tight shorts and cowboy boots, my friends, Joe and Ryan were waiting in line one day and Glenn slapped Joe and Ryan started crying.  True story.  He was a terror for sure.  He also circumnavigated the neighborhood on his custom built low rider Schwinn bike with fake throttle handle grips and long plastic pom pom strings beneath.”

Oh, the wonderful 80’s.


The Every Other Daily Corona: 6 Seats Away

My old man indoctrinated strangers in a civil, albeit it odd, fashion back in the early eighties when a few of his thirteen children were still in school. You could say he was a man ahead of his time, as he seemed to encourage people to socially distance from him on a routine basis.  He was a suit wearing, neatly combed executive at a radiology clinic in Spokane by day, and well…..a bum in the neighborhood on weekends.  Some of my siblings hated it, but I actually enjoyed it.  One of my brothers didn’t care for it at all.  Our old man would attend baseball games, wearing a mangy sweater with cigarette burns, talking to my brother about his last at bat in between innings.  It was usually encouraging and his analysis was often times spot on.  Dad had the credentials after being drafted to play professional baseball before fighting in the Korean War.  When my brother would return to the dugout, one of his teammates would ask him what that hobo was saying to him.  My brother was ashamed to admit that it was his father.

Taking his six foot rule a bit further with strangers was a bit embarrassing for the rest of us and our mother.  On a short weekend vacation to Seattle, he would find a hotel with an indoor swimming pool and hot tub.  While four of the thirteen children were horsing around in the pool, he wished to use the hot tub.  Once, their was a group of young couples probably in their mid twenties monopolizing the tub when dad was trying to find a place to sit.  There just wasn’t enough room, so he stuck his foot in the water and tried to make small talk with one of the couples.  “I’ve heard one of the easiest ways contract this H.I.V. Virus is sharing a hot tub with others who may have the virus.  Isn’t that the damndest thing you ever heard?”  Three seconds later, he had the tub to himself.  My sister, Maggie, who became a registered nurse and is on the front lines to this day was thoroughly embarrassed by his behavior even at the age of thirteen.  “Dad, that’s a bunch B.S.” Good old Rodney Gannon would just chuckle.

During the aerobics era, we’d often have people in our neighborhood walking the streets to get exercise.  If they lived more than one house away, our old man didn’t know any of them.  He’d be outside smoking a cigarette, and stop them in mid stride just to offer them a cigarette.  I’ve never seen such sinister looks from people.  I thought it was hilarious.  “Well I NEVER!” would be the usual response from some old bag trying to exercise on our street.  You’d never see them twice.  Our dad’s shit eating grin was delightful.  Out of his office on the North Side of Spokane, he made the Valley his own little world by, in very civil ways, pestering those who didn’t know him all for his own amusement.  He took his job so seriously, I think it was his way of winding down, and lightening the world up a bit.  My friends, who knew him well loved it.  While tossing a baseball or football around in the front yard with my friends, they would stop the action and nudge one another and say, “Hey watch.  Mr. Gannon is going to say something funny to this person walking down the street.”  It never failed.  It brought belly laughs for them.  I’d just smile and shake my head.  I guess he was amusing those who knew him as well.

Rodney wouldn’t go to movies much because of the crowds.  We’d sometimes convince him to go to one we knew he’d enjoy.  Raiders of the Lost Ark was playing at a local theater and it was packed, thus difficult to find many open seats together.  You could have referred to it as social distancing from our father at the theater.  I was sitting next to Maggie when she nudged me and had me look up to where the old man was seated.  He’d always buy two supersized barrels of popcorn, one for him and one for others to share, even if they didn’t know him.  Normally, if it wasn’t a packed theater, the people sitting next to him would whisper, “Let’s get the Hell away from this weirdo.”  With no other seats available, they couldn’t move six seats down, so they’d humor him and take the popcorn and pass it on down the line.  That didn’t bother us.  Watching him eat the popcorn was borderline embarrassing.  Anyone who didn’t know him would be convinced it was his last meal.  One handful or front loader at a time, he would shove three quarters of it in his mouth leaving the other quarter in his or someone else’s lap.  That was during the previews.  When the previews were over,  the popcorn was gone, and not wanting to leave his seat, he’d offer a complete stranger twenty bucks to go get two more buckets, one for him and his girlfriend and one for himself.  He’d also tell them to keep the change hoping they’d just leave with his twenty spot and walk to the nearest Chinese restaurant for a decent meal.  They’d return with the popcorn and, by the end of the movie, they even seemed to enjoy his rascally behavior.  With butter soaked hands, they’d even bid our old man adieu by shaking hands with him.  “That was one Hell of a movie.”  And he, was a helluva man.

The Daily Corona: The Good News

The good news is we can watch T.V. during these trying times. The bad news is we can watch T.V. during these trying times.

tv-addictThe great news is we can watch movies like The Bad News Bears.  Anyone who doesn’t love this movie can shove it straight up their ASS!  That’s a semi direct quote from the movie.  The boy shouting this after losing the championship little league baseball game is a white haired child who believes authority is overrated. (He reminds me of someone I know.) The boy, Tanner, was suggesting where the opposing team could place their trophy.

We also knock down some Datelines from time to time, but when that becomes too much of a downer, we switch gears and check the Mafia Channel.  It takes much less time to find out who kills who.  This is definitely not “Whodunit” theater.  It also provides early morning conversations about which one of us had the worst nightmare.  Good times!

I get my exercise when Desperate Housewives of Rathdrum, Idaho shows up on our screen.  She gets hers when I switch to a Classic Major League Baseball game from the late seventies.  Pathetically, I do remember games I watched when I was six.  Hell, I even remember most of the players.  As I’ve stated previously in blogs, we both love baseball, and we miss it, but she doesn’t understand why I sometimes live in the past,

We do occasionally pry ourselves away from the T.V. long enough to take morning and evening walks with our lunatic dog, and I try to cook up something edible daily.  Well . . . this blog is getting as old and boring as watching Corona T.V..




Broken Furniture

“Broken Furniture”  sounds like a song I may or may not have heard as an infant.  I did, however, grow up with a band of sisters and brothers whose only instruments were their fists and shouts.  According to our friend, Vic, we lived in a madhouse. This is nonfictional.

Our friend, Vic, tells me stories about this madhouse when I was too young to remember the stories.  Actually, I wasn’t even born before Vic began studying our family values.  Those values included breaking furniture, bloodying noses and saying “Grace” before dinner.  This was followed by more broken furniture, backyard wrestling and sleeping on the lawn if they didn’t settle down.

Vic once asked my father a logical question , wondering if we were poor, “Can’t you afford new furniture?”

Our father responded with equal logic.  “We’ll buy new furniture when they are all gone.  It would be a ridiculous waste of money if we paid for it now.”

Vic couldn’t help but understand and laugh.




My sister, Anne, said something very discerning to me yesterday.  I didn’t want to believe it, but she was correct.  Currently, every day is groundhog day.  I’m referring to the movie with an unknown actor, Bill Murray.  I remember the actor.  I don’t remember the groundhog’s name.  His or her name may be Corona.  I don’t know.

We wake up every day, thankfully, feeding the dogs and the cats, try to workout if you have the time, and talk to Amazon Alexa,..that’s her full name.

I have a friend who not only works for Amazon, she actually knows Alexa.  (she’s actually pretty sweet) We ask her about the weather, and then curse the jigsaw puzzle we can’t finish, and Alexa curses when she can’t help as well.  She’s now staying with us.  Alexa showed up, in person, not to say hello, how are you today?  She wanted to look at the puzzle. She’s still working on the puzzle.  “Alexa, when are you leaving?”



Singing commercial jingles. Is there something wrong with my wife?

That’s her thing.  She loves singing along to terrifically poor commercial jingles.  I wish it didn’t make me laugh or smile.  Actually, my wish to laugh and smile is critical.  She grants me that.

Lee Marvin in Paint Your Wagon

Lee Marvin in Paint Your Wagon

It all changed with this pesky and raspy cold or flu people are getting.  After taking days off of work, the voice I heard singing the jingles suddenly sounded similar to Rod Stewart, Louis Armstrong, Lee Marvin and Morgan Freeman.  I thought it was funny.  So did she…sort of.  She just didn’t care to be to compared with elderly male celebrities. I had to leave the room when she laughed while doing spot on impersonations of these people while wildly sick.










The Right In?

Screen Shot 2020-03-06 at 8.18.49 PMAlthough these are delicate subjects, I may still approach them with poor taste.  Voting during this time is absolutely necessary, and is not difficult.  Providing a “Write In” candidate on the ballot isn’t difficult either, particularly as an alternative to our current President.  Witnessing someone enter “Corona Virus” as a Write In entry for the Republican candidate was interesting. I shouldn’t have been looking at her ballot, but she highlighted it with stars as well as a skull and crossbones.  If I knew her, I would have suggested a Mr. Yuck sticker.  One could discern she, literally, wished this virus to defeat the POTUS.  It didn’t make me laugh, but it did make me think.

I can’t sit at this computer and pretend I know much about politics like I know baseball and people in general.  Sometimes, I’ll humor those who attempt to engage me with banter about politics.  If we agree, the conversation may last a few minutes.  If we don’t, I diffuse the subject within seconds unless I feel, even if I disagree, they may have a valid point.  I must then proceed to enlighten them with a fart….not literally, but in a manner where the conversation can either continue with something a little more light hearted, or end with the slam of the phone.  Actually, we can’t even do that anymore because of cell phones.  They are far too precious, and, more importantly, expensive.  (I miss those land lines. ) Think about it.  If some disgusting cave dweller decides to fart in mid-sentence, you must change the subject, unless the conversation is about flatulence.

For no more than five minutes, I’ll listen to a politician on TV drone on in front of strange mobs chanting their names, and I wonder if they are just following those surrounding them or actually listening.  I may watch for seven minutes, but I can only listen for five.  This is when the viewer should have the right to dub in a fart to change the subject, or else I’m changing the channel.

People have the right to love or hate our President.  It’s an essential part of our Constitutional Rights.  It’s America.  However, it’s not always what makes America good or “Great” again.  The current POTUS is clearly a good politician, but in this case, he’s more of a good magician.  He convinces good people to believe in things that make even my dastardly eyes roll and generate “what the F are you talking about” looks.  This POTUS is a great magician, but he is not, and let me be clear, he is not a good man. In fact, I just think he’s abjectly evil.  That’s just my opinion, and a little over the top to some, but I have the right to my opinion. I’ve witnessed him turn friends into enemies and brothers and sisters who once unconditionally loved one another question that love.  What’s good or great about that?

After doing something stupid, which I commonly do, I will remind my wife that I am a good man, I’m just not a very good wizard.  She laughs and agrees.  I’m also extremely good at apologizing, because I’ve had to do it frequently over the course of my 47 year career as a human.  Can you imagine the POTUS apologizing for anything?  No.  That’s flat out shameful.

Contrition is a valuable commodity.  Embrace it.  (Let’s not even start talking about humility….HA!) Admit when you’re wrong and repent when you are wrong again.  I don’t think that’s in the Constitution, but it should be.  It usually garners some form of respect, for which I have none of for the POTUS.

“Fart proudly.”  That’s a direct quote from Benjamin Franklin.


47 Cakes

Happy Birthday!  Is it?!!!  It’s quite basically an obligation to feel good.

I had to wish someone happy birthday today.  He is about my age, and I hope he didn’t give a crap if I said it or not.  He probably didn’t want me to acknowledge it, but since I work with him on a daily basis, it’s better to be on the safe side of the cake.

My birthday always felt like Thanksgiving. That’s what it really was.  Thanksgiving was my favorite holiday and my birthday transformed it to a relatively easy Thanksgiving for my mother. German chocolate cake, and shake and bake chicken for everyone.  Wish granted.

Growing up as a hillbilly, we didn’t have parties.  We didn’t have ho downs  We had two cows, Ferdinand and Issabella, sniffing at our screen door waiting for their dessert. As the youngest of 13, the only rule was to wait for the candles to ignite and then blow them out to defuse the potential catastrophe.

Don’t get me wrong.  Or, maybe you can. There’s nothing wrong with taking an adventure to Sir Charles of the Cheddar Cheese Factory or dry heaving to the smell of dirty socks on your birthday.  Just don’t invite me.  The last one spent with Chucky was for one of my many nephews, Quinn.  Someone invited to the party was a neighbor who had her nose recently bitten off by a dog.  She was a foul and angry cuss.  The party guest, not the dog.  (That’s not funny.  That’s not funny at all.)  Actually, it was a little funny because she showed up to the party wearing a costume….according to the other guests who thought they missed that memo.  Fully recovered from the injury, it did leave scars.  The doctors replaced her nose with a clown like prosthetic.  It was a chunk of flesh they took from her hind side.  That’s not funny either.  However, this not being the merriest of neighbors, she would lecture the dog daily about staying out of their yard.  She did it in such a fashion which eventually would lead to her nose’s demise and embarrassment.   Ultimately, after the settlement, she was furnished with a new house, a car and a dose of vanity.  One guest at the party walked up to her and, unknowingly, said in the dimmed lights of Chucky Cheese’s palace for hungover adults, “I didn’t know this was a costume party”.  She thought the victim was dressed as a clown.  According to my brother and I, evidently, clowns can make you chuckle.

I was invited to many of these parties only costing me fifty dollars a pop donated to a child I didn’t even know.  Crappy pizza, flat beer, and awkward conversations with the guy dressed up as a mouse wishing me to pour a beer down his dirty costume was just downright uncomfortable.

I feel sorry for the guy who is turning 47 today, because it will be the fourth birthday he must celebrate this year with his two children and wife.  All he wants for his birthday is a nice dinner at a decent restaurant.  He never gets to choose where this restaurant is, because his wife can veto any of his choices, resulting with them going a restaurant of her choice.  Poor bastard.

It’s his birthday penance.  He told me once he personally suffered during his own B-Day party at the age of ten.  He had an uninvited brother, age 8, sneaking into his special party.  After embarrassing his brother with insults and “get the hell out of my party, you twerp.  Scram!!”  in front of his friends, my friend was beckoned by his father to join him upstairs for a private meeting of the buns.  He was wailed on 10 times, and then told he would be the age of 50 if he didn’t welcome his younger brother to participate with kindness and respect.  End of story.  As the youngest of 13 children, I never was surrounded by this environment.  My older siblings were too busy eating and drinking their presents to even acknowledge my presence.

The last birthday I thoroughly didn’t enjoy took part in a classroom.  My middle school students, their parents, and other relatives decided to interrupt our class by surprising me with a party.  No beer, just cookies, soda, cake and students too strung out on glucose crack to participate with further lessons.  It did teach me a lesson.  Never tell a middle school student which day your birthday lands on the calendar.  If you wish to torture a fellow teacher, tell one of his or her students that tomorrow is his or her birthday, even if it isn’t.  They will never forgive you, which was my plan in the first place.  I paid my dues.  Let them pony up as well.  Mayhem results and spite usually conquers all.

Happy Birthday….even it’s belated, or early….even better!

My next complaint will be to the editor.  It is with regards to the Lord of all Sins: Surprises.