Beware The Telephone Scam

This past week I came within a hair’s breadth of being Scammed and taken for $5,000.00, in CASH. I shiver when I think of it, because, it happens often, all around us, and to ordinary people like me. The kind who hesitate to let others know how stupid we had been  to be fooled. And so, I write about it, and, just maybe, save someone from being ‘ taken’, 

My saga began at 7:30 one morning, and still half asleep, answered the phone and a muffled voice said “Grandma, this is George, (fake name) your grandson”. I couldn’t understand what he was saying, and he repeated it, but in my half stupor and his muffled voice, I couldn’t make sense of what was happening.

But getting more awake by the second, I then heard a clear male voice ask if I were Ethel Bradford, and, when I said Yes, told me that George and two pals had gone to Toledo, to attend a friend’s wedding, and after the party, they had gone downtown, to look around, drank more wine, and then got in an accident. George, as the driver was in jail, with a DUI charge, and had a broken nose which accounted for his muffled speech..

George pled with me to keep it all a secret, but if I could, please, quickly send him the money,  in cash, so he could get out of jail, and come home, AND NO ONE but the two of us would know of it, and there would be no record in Salt Lake of his arrest. and so, not on his ‘record’.  Oh.

Of course I wanted to help him, but had no idea of how to quickly get cash half way across the country, but the ‘Attorney’ who was helping George knew and immediately began telling me the ‘how’ of it all.

I still wasn’t really awake, and was in shock to think of George in trouble, hurt, in jail, and needing money so that his attorney could do this and that, before other attorneys got to his case and did such and such. It made no sense to me, and it was then I knew I was ‘in over my head’ and needed help.

I explained to the two men that I would have to get George’s Uncle in on the plans for I didn’t understand what it was beginning to entail. The attorney didn’t like what I was saying, but they needed the money, fast, and so I called my son, got his OK to help, and  then  gave him the phone number to reach George.

And he did, and he saved the day for me. My son was more awake and more aware of life’s oddities, than I was or still am. He talked to the attorney and got the details of what, who, when and where and then casually mentioned he had best call the police here to get their aid in moving the $5,000 in cash across the country, and, what do you know, George’s Attorney there in Toledo, hung up the phone and the phone number we had been using, was, of course,  suddenly no longer in service.  And that one word, ‘police’  did the trick and brought to an end to the  Scamming.

Another quick phone call told us that George was in the midst of his routine morning ablutions, almost ready for breakfast, had never been and had no plans to be in Toledo. Yeah and his nose wasn’t broken, either.

So, I learned professional Scammers are sharp. And smart. They know who will be the most vulnerable, and at the top of the list are, a female, older widow, with grandchildren, and who just might have a ‘buck of two’ stashed away, The people of this category are also said to be more likely to panic, and so, with no thought, of talking and telling anyone else. No one, that is, until she finds her beloved one had never been in trouble and that she had been Scammed. Royally Scammed.

When the hubbub was over, I called the local police, just to report what had happened, and the fellow was kind, rather bored, and not a bit surprised. Said it happens all the time, and they, the police, seldom know of it until the money is sent, the one with the supposed problem never did have a problem. And not a clue as to who did it, for  Cell phones  leave  no trail, even where the call  had come from.

Yes, I had his phone number, but it is so easy to buy a cheap  phone, use it, and then with an utterly untraceable phone number, toss the cheap device into the garbage, and buy a new one to pull the next scam.

And . . . if it does happen to you, . . of course you’ll panic, that’s human nature when one you love is in trouble, but take a few moments to ask a few questions, and seek help, which is exactly what the Scammer does not want. and be as lucky or blessed as I was when you find your ‘George’ to be safe at home and your money still the bank.

Just remember, with untraceable phones, Scamming happens more often than it once did. Good luck and remember it does happen to ordinary people like me . . . but hopefully not to you.

Yeah, it’s been over a week now and I think I ‘m getting over the scare, the panic and the anger that followed .

So, see ya next week, and be careful and don’t let yourself be scammed.

Money? I Love It

I’ve written this first paragraph half-a-dozen times and it always sounds as if I’m a crass, selfish, greedy woman, when all I want to say is, ” I love money,” and you do too. And so, ignoring all my odd feelings, I repeat, I love money.

The precious stuff has been made of wood, rubber, fur, china, salt, tea, copper, rum, tobacco, teeth, and yes, lest we forget, it’s made of paper, gold and silver, as well.

These ramblings came to my mind a day or so ago when I bought a good sized package of salt and realized that, back in the days of early Rome, that package of salt would have made me a wealthy women, I shuddered in joy.

Salt was priceless as a preservative in those long-gone days but back then, it was so precious that Roman soldiers took their pay in ‘sal’, and the word salary is still the word we use for our hard-earned wages.

Slaves were sold for their weight in salt, and you and I, unwittingly, pay homage to that custom whenever we say, ‘someone is (or isn’t) ‘worth his salt.’

All over the world, primitive people have used teeth of dangerous animals as we use money. Porpoise, tiger, bear, boar and whale teeth have all been used, and the wealthy wore their ‘money’ around their necks. A status symbol, no doubt.

And if you think women have been discriminated against on U.S. money, take a look at Kansas. Long before the ill-fated Susan B. Anthony dollar, which died quickly, but back in 1854, that territory issued a one-dollar bill with a woman’s face upon it. And two years later that same place, made a three-dollar bill with little girl cherubs pictured upon it.

Liquor, in any form, has always been a favorite ‘coin’. English miners in the 19th century took beer as partial pay and a century before that rum was legal tender in South Carolina.

Tea leaves were ‘money’ for centuries in the far East, and were packed into bricks for easy use. And another leaf, Tobacco, to this day, automatically means M-O-N-E-Y in most of our southern states. Big Money.

At one time the actual bales of tobacco leaves changed hands, then warehouse receipts were honored for purchases of all kinds, and today owning tobacco leaves is quicker credit than a Credit Card.

Money colors our lives and our language. Like a phrase that began in the early days of this country, when many a man carried his ‘poke’ of gold dust and paid for his purchases by letting the seller take a pinch or two of that gold. All of which makes us, without thinking say, ” How much can you raise in a pinch?”

Yes, money and its uses have come a long way since man first exchanged his cache of furs for household needs, and when the goldsmith, maker of jewelry and trinkets, was the first ‘banker’.

But instead of the bank paying the interest for the use our money as banks do today, that ‘banker’ had a different slant and actually charged a fee for protecting his customer’s coins. Yeah, we paid the bank.

Oh, money, money, money. Hated, coveted, lied for, cheated for, stolen, crass. But isn’t it a lovely thing to have around the house? Call it what you will, from ‘sal’, to the American Indian’s Wampum, to a man’s ‘poke’, beaver (in the early wild days when furs were traded as money ) greenbacks or just plain money,   In all forms, and under whatever name, we’ll take it, for we love it.

Bi-Centennial Cookbook

From “way back” in 1976 . . .

I’m 40 years late, but “Better Late Than Never” and so today I tell of a small Cook Book that was published by localite. Charles P. Hines, to commemorate the Bicentennial Year of 1976. See? Forty years late, but I just ‘ found’ it myself, and think  it’s worth sharing with you.

Each recipe is special, for each one comes from the home of either a National and State leader of that time.

They begin with President Gerald Ford and Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, and inasmuch as it was the end of one Presidential term, recipes are also from the then President-elect James Earl Carter and his Vice President-elect Walter F. Mondale.

Following, alphabetically, from Alaska to Wyoming are recipes from the Governors. Some recipes are similar to today’s. but then there are surprises, such as Nevada’s .

See, from childhood on, I’ve heard of Rocky Mountain Oysters and, thought it a ‘funny’, and a lot of nonsense, but I was wrong and here is the authentic recipe straight from the office of then Nevada Governor Mike O’Callaghan . And you’ll have to search for a Sheep Camp, rather than  your Butcher Shop, to find these delicacies. .


Wash well 5 dozen Mountain Oysters. Fry slowly until cooked, in a large cast iron skillet, in butter.

In a separate iron pan, brown a sliced onion in butter.   Then add sliced Pimentos, sliced green Bell Peppers, sliced Garlic, Minced Parsley and 3 chopped fresh Tomatoes. Remove vegetables from pan and set aside.

Brown 2 Tbsp. flour in butter, add salt, black pepper and allspice to taste. Next add 1 Quart white wine to the sauce. Return the cooked vegetables to the pan. Pour this sauce over the Hot Mountain Oysters. Serve and enjoy.

NOTE….. Mountain Oysters  (often referred to as Rocky Mountain Oysters) are actually the testicles (removed from the skin sack) of two-month old lambs. The operation is  routinely performed at all Sheep Camps in order to let the lamb mature into the body of an adult sheep, and   yet retain the delicate flavor of the immature animal.  Koshkola is a favorite of the Basque Sheep men in Nevada whose ancestors brought the ages-old technique from the ‘Old Country.’


The next recipe comes from then Governor Ray Blanton of Tennessee.,and to me, worth trying.


Soak in water one cup Black-eyed Peas overnight, and then boil, in water, along with bacon until done. BUT NOT MUSHY. Drain well.

Mix following ingredients and marinate the cooked beans in it for 5  (Five) days before serving. (I would suggest refrigeration, better safe than sorry)

1 cup salad oil
1/3 cup wine vinegar
1 medium onion, slivered
1 clove crushed garlic
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp pepper sauce
1 tsp savory salt

After five days, drain well and serve on thin squares of cornbread.’

Quite a few of the recipes found in the Bicentennial Book are such as we use today, but I have chosen from those which are ‘different’, perhaps from their ancestery, or peculiar to the food available in their areas. And so here is South Carolina’s then Governor, James B. Edwards, who calls it his favorite Ice Cream. It was, he states, his Grandmother’s Recipe.


Mix together:
One quart Buttermilk
One Pint whipping cream
Two cups sugar
One Tbsp Vanilla
Mix ingredients and pour into an Ice Cream churn and then freeze.


And finally , in choosing unique and different recipes, I’ve chosen to share a recipe given by Carl Albert, Speaker of the House of Representative in Washington DC, but from Oklahoma and he tells us how his family serves the lowly Turnip, and makes of them, a special dish..

3 medium size turnips
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1 and 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 cup grated cheese

Peel the turnips. cut in slices and boil for about 15 minutes in salted water. Make a white sauce with butter, flour, milk, salt and pepper. Pour this over the drained, cooked turnips and sprinkle cheese on top.
Bake for about ten minutes and serve very hot. Serves 4.


Music OF Your Choice

We all like music, and our one complaint is, we don’t always like the same kind.. But, like it or not, it’s always in our ears, no matter where or when we go.  And some of it we love and some of it drives us nuts. Used to be called Elevator Music, but what I tell of today is called Music Choice. Big difference, our choice. Your choice.


And if you have cable TV, you have your choice of music at your fingertips and comes along with your Comcast listing. Now you might already know of this music, but I didn’t until about a year ago, and just in case there are others as uninformed as I was, here is my answer. And wherever Comcast cable is, so is your choice of music.


It was an eye opener for me. There   are 47 channels of music, with No commercials, night and day, and right on your own personal TV. Yeah, and that means there are 47 different types of music to choose from and continue to play ONLY the kind that YOU ask for.


Sounds too good to be true, and you probably know all about this, but I didn’t, so simply click your TV to any of the below channels, and there you will find music, no commercials, no voices, and exactly and only the genre you asked for.


Here they are:




950… Light Classical

949… Light Masterpieces

948… Easy Listening

947… Singers & Swing

946… Blues

945… Jazz

944… Smooth Jazz

943… Soundscope

942… Stage & Screen

941… Sounds of the Season

940… Romance

939… Tropicals

938… Mexicana

937… Musica Urbano

936… Pop Latino

935… Contemporary Christian

934… Classic Country

933… Country Hits

932… Today Country

931… Pop Country

930… Golden Oldies

929…   70’s

928…   80’s

927…   90’s

926…   Y2K

925…   Toddler Tunes

924…   Kids Only

923…   TeenBank

922…   Party Favorites

921…   Pop Hits

920…   Love Songs

919…   Soft Rock

918…   Classic Rock

917…   Rock Hits

916…   Adult Alternative

915…   Alternatives

914…   Metal

913…   Rock

912...   Reggae                                                                                                             

911…   Gospel

910…   R & B

909…   R & B Classic

908…   Throw-back Jazz

907…   Hip Hop Classic

906…   RAP

905…   Hip Hop & Rap

904…   Indie


OK. I don’t even know what kind of music, you’ll find on some of the categories, such as 904 or 912 , but that’s all right, someone must like it, or they wouldn’t be there.   Most of the Titles speak for themselves. Like Christmas.


And on they go, but one that made me laugh is that after a week or so of 941’s Patriotic music in July, they finished the month with CHRISTMAS IN JULY, and we heard again those lovely   winter songs and helped us cool off in the 100 degree heat.


Who knows why, and maybe each year they choose some other type, but otherwise if you want any of their numbers, that’s what you’ll get. Nice.


Flip around the stations. If you don’t like one, try another. I suppose my favorite of all is 934, easy listening Classic Country. Never tire of it. 949 and 950 are also good ones and you’ll find yourself humming along with some familiar melody and then will be surprised to find you have been loving some bit of Classical music, and not knowing it..


Give it a try.   Mine is softly ON almost all 24 hours, and in the evening when rhe News, or some TV program comes on that I want to watch, I can turn the music down lower and on a TV , perhaps in another room, also see the desired program of politics, the news, or whatever.


I hope this reaches some who didn’t know such a well of music is there for us.   Was a surprise to me. Anyway . . . Good luck and good listening. Try 934 and hum along with me and Martie Robbins, Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, or , , , , , , just name your choice. It will be there..

Visiting With Old Friends

All  Done  Just  By Cleaning  My  House . . . . . .

I recently cleaned my house and it was like visiting an old friend. I dusted, picked up and handled vases, chairs, books and furniture that I have certainly used, or seen every day, but not really touched, handled and ‘known’ for a long time. It was good. Really good.

Now, anyone who has even a passing acquaintance with my weekly words, knows that house cleaning isn’t my long suit. Oh, I know how, for I am the daughter of Nettie Ohlin, my mother,  but I’ve never found joy in the task and turned the chore   over to others as soon as I could. As I recall it was when my second son was about two years old, and I’ve never seriously gone back to it.


But a day came recently when I saw I was living in dust and confusion, and also knew my ‘angel-with-wings’ , Crystal, because of holiday/vacation mix-ups, wasn’t due for a time, and so . . . early one morning I disciplined myself and went to work.


Yeah, I donned grubbies and began working. It took almost a full day to finish the task, but by golly, I was proud of the job I had done, and also knew that Mom would have been surprised, but also pleased with my work.


It really shouldn’t have taken so long, but once into the job, I began enjoying myself and found myself doing a few extras I hadn’t planned on, and I needed cleaning items I don’t usually purchase. Anyway, I took off for a store where I seldom go, and where no one would know me, (Yeah, still in my grubbies), bought what I needed and could almost hear Mom saying, “If you’re going to do it, Ethel, get the correct material and do it right.”   See, , Mom was a good teacher.  It was the student that got poor grades.


But once started, I went the full 20 yards, and patted myself on the shoulders and grinned to know that Crystal would wonder, too. Oh, well, I even washed a small set of curtains and felt one with women of all times as I improvised and hung them outside to dry in the sun and breeze, The neighbor’s cat came and rubbed against my legs as I did that age-old chore. and felt a ‘rightness’ with my actions that I loved and had a feeling that all the dryers in the world can not duplicate. I even loitered with my task to prolong that feeling of comfort .


As I ran the wand of my vacuum along the baseboard of what had once been my bedroom and when it ‘caught’ on an imperfection in the   board, I grinned and felt as if I had run into an old friend . Yeah, I know how I once cussed Luke Morris, the builder, but now

it was good to stumble upon that old familiar bump and found myself saying, aloud “Hey there ,you ole bump, it’s nice to meet up with you again, and I just dare some fussy carpenter, painter or cleaner to try so smooth you away. I’ve almost even come to loving you.”


So It’s still there. And will continue there as long as I live. Then it will be someone else’s ‘bump’ and they can do as they please, for there will be no memories for them and they might even wonder how I tolerated it for so long.


With bare feet I re-discovered the slight difference in the level of the floors between some of my rooms and recalled how Brad and I had differed on how to cope with those differences. I won, however, and they are still here.    And I also smiled at Brad over that old Difference and hope, in whichever of God’s Rooms he now dwells. and if he happened to be watching my splurge of industry, that he grinned, too.


During that day I dusted pictures that I first saw hanging on Gram’s walls. I put a tablecloth my mother had made upon a small table. Touched some old sad-irons that had sat in Brad’s Ham Shack, and dusted pieces of china that my friend Florence once gave me.


I found that cleaning one’s home really is like visiting old friends and I loved it. And when my frenzy finally ended I went to bed tired, sweaty, soiled, hair a mess, with aching arms, but also feeling so domestic it blended into a mood of righteousness. Almost near to virtuosity.

The mood didn’t last beyond that day, and I knew nothing can ever tempt me to ever, ever be without those angel-wings of Crystal. But for that one day, it was wonderful   Sometimes, getting back to basics is good for the Soul, as well as for the house.   Amen.