Article from the 7/8/2016 Catalina Islander

Since I became "Catalina's Official Greeter", March 10, 2014, when the Chamber Of Commerce assigned me to greet the cruise ships and cross channel carriers,  I have answered 49,889 questions.  These are some of my more recent interesting/unusual questions/comments:
"Is Catalina connected to Alcatraz?"
"Is Catalina off the California Coast?"
"What time does Catalina open each day and how much does it cost to get in?"
(Call to the Chamber office).  "Hi, I'm calling from a cell phone and I want to call you back from my home phone. What's your number?"
"I understand that if it is a foggy day that any mail leaving the Island is picked up by an airplane, put into a water proof bag, and then dropped somewhere in the channel where a Coast Guard boat will pick it up and take it to the mainland." 
 
HITTING 50,000 ON FRIDAY
I will be hitting my magical number of 50,000 questions answered on Friday, July 8.  I am predicting around 10am.  If any of you locals see this paper when it comes out early on the Island, hopefully you can join Mayor Annie and myself to welcome and surprise that milestone visitor off the cross channel boat (you won't be able to miss me with my big sign!).  I am hoping that I will be able to convince local businesses to give free meals, lodging, tours, gifts, etc., to them when they RETURN next time.  As promised, if the Museum allows, I will pick up my "Catalina Time Capsule" column and stop "Only On Catalina".
 
I SINCERELY APOLOGIZE!!!
Sometimes we ALL have one of THOSE days when ANY little irritation becomes a MAJOR issue.  That was me last week!  I personally apologized, but want to put it in writing so I don't do it again.  I am sincerely sorry to the Post Office, Ning's, and the shore excursion group at the Mole and ANYONE else I was short with.  I was reminded that "we all have those days", but that doesn't mean that I have the right to get angry at my fellow Islanders who are all GIVING THEIR ALL for the thousands of visitors coming here.  We are ALL in this together and we shouldn't turn on each other, which is what I did!  For anyone that I hurt before "Veterans Day", or ANY day, catch me on my behavior!
 
FEED A PLANT
Like others, I am continually throwing away cups and bottles, but suddenly realize that the liquid in them could be utilized by our thirsty plants/trees BEFORE they are thrown away.  Even coffee and soft drinks are almost ALL water and can help us keep our flora happy during our major drought. 
 
MY SONS ARE GONE!
Have you ever fallen in love with a 2000# creature.  If you said "Yes, I like my mother-in-law!" you are SO DEAD!  I was NEVER an animal person, but when I "horse sat" those PHENOMINAL CLYDESDALE HORSES, Thursday night, 7pm-Midnight, they became my SONS!  I concentrating on calming them down, along with the two dalmations, after a long day of travel and being shared by SO MANY excited locals and visitors. I really BONDED with these magnificent animals!   WHAT A FANTASTIC HONOR TO HAVE THEM HERE!  That is not to take away from the "U. S. C. TROJAN MARCHING BAND"!  I counted 70 musicians and a dozen or so more cheer leaders, Tommy Trojan, staff, etc.  You are ALWAYS a highlight of our parade and we hope you come back many more years to come!!! (Sorry, Linda!). 
 
GOD, TAKE ME NOW!!!
Where do I come up with my articles each week?  Some weeks are easy and others are like pulling teeth.  I had the later last week and couldn't think of ANYTHING when a great friend of mine, Roberta, commented, "Chuck, have you EVER had embarrassing moments on the Island?"  THANKS for the idea, I guess, so here are three of those "I wish I were dead" moments.  In chronological order and not in order of humiliation.
The first one occurred around 1956.  I was 9 years old and a GREAT family friend, Jimmie Trout, who lived on the Island since the turn of the century, invited us to have a VIP tour of the Disney Studio in Burbank.  Jimmie had been working for the Disney company since he did the background art work for "Pinnochio", in the early '40s.  For years he was the man who did the official "signature" for Walt Disney himself!  Dad drove my brother, Billie, my two cousins, Betty Jo and Charlene, and myself to the studio where we did the "regular tour".  Then one of the officials came to our group and called our family out to join him.  We went upstairs to where they were presently working on upcoming animated movie, "Sleeping Beauty".  Soon after looking over the shoulders of these remarkably gifted artists (no computerized work then!), a VERY distinguished man came over and introduced himself to us.  From the moment I heard his voice, I KNEW IT FROM SOMEWHERE!  I kept focusing on it until I yelled out, "YOU'RE THE VOICE!!!"  He smiled and said, "Yes, thank you."  Winston Hibler was the one who narrated all of the "True Life Adventures" on the "Disney Program"!  He was going to be our PERSONAL GUIDE!!!  After showing us more art work than I even imagined existed, he escorted us to the commissary where we went through the cafeteria line and grabbed the kind of food that pre-teens usually eat.  As we sat there, in came EVERY star on the set: "The Hardy Boys", "Spin And Marty", "The Mouseketeers" (yes, there was Annette eating a hamburger in front of us), "Andy Burnett", and then my favorite, Fess Parker, "Davey Crockett".  Mr. Parker was wearing THAT coonskin cap that EVERY kid wanted.  I decided then and there that I was going to get one of those caps, whatever it took!  Regardless to say, none of us ate more than a bite or two during this "star gazing" meal.  When Billie and I got back to the Island we started working on Dad to get us coonskin caps.  We weren't exactly poor, but didn't have the money for the caps.  Dad came up with a "brilliant (?) idea"!  As summer was coming and we were going to get our summer haircuts, Dad suggested that he make a "natural" coonskin cap out of our own hair!!!  Billie and I didn't have too much to say about it, but IF that was the ONLY way we could get one, SO BE IT!  We "proudly" showed off our unique hair pieces (eat your heart out, Mr. Trump) EVERYWHERE we went.  We were continually stopped by tourists who wanted to take our pictures.  I was used to this, but wasn't used to being told to "turn around" so that they could get pictures of the "tail" in the back.  I attended all of the dances at the "El Encanto Youth Center" (location of the "Catalina Spa"), and performed with the other "square dancers" every night.  It wasn't until I SAW how ridiculous Billie and I looked when our "heads" appeared on the "Walter Cronkite" news, that I realize HOW TOTALLY NERDY THIS WAS!  NO WONDER NO DATES THAT SUMMER!!!
The second one occurred in the early 1970's when Dad decided to donate his mother's "treasurers" to "Unloved Gifts" in the Post Office Arcade.  Grandma died in 1954 and Dad had hurridly wrapped up all of her crystal and turquoise jewelry and put it in storage on the Island.  I convinced him that it was "time" to part of these treasures and allow our local hospital to benefit from them by giving them to sell.  I forgot who the gentleman was, but he was with the hospital at the time and we was there for the "unvailing".  The crystal came first.  As he so gently started unwrapping these now brown newspapers from their valuable contents, it suddenly came to our attention that Grandma drank from Welch's grape jelly jars!  Not just ANY jars, but the ones with the faces of the characters from "The Howdy Doody Show" on the bottom (they might be worth something now?).  The enthusiasm greatly waned at this point!  I quickly suggested that we concentrate on the jewelry.  There were all of these BEAUTIFUL turquoise pieces and we were SO HAPPY to see them exposed.  As Dad and I stood there with our Cheshire Cat smiles, the gentleman took his thumb nail and started pealing off the paint!  GRANDMA had painted her jewelry with this turquoise paint.  The man handed back our box of "treasurers" and Dad and I made a quick and humiliating exit! 
After my brother died in 1974, I took care of Dad who had experienced a major heart attack and stroke.  I had NO medical experience, but I had promised Dad that I would NEVER SEND HIM OFF OF THE ISLAND (we didn't have an extended nursing care facility then).   One day the doctor said he wanted to get a "sterile urine sample" from Dad and told me to go to the hospital to pick up a kit, "Main Stream Collecting".  A "Candy Striper" gave me a box.  When I got home I unwrapped the contents and was amazed at the amount of gauze, large q-tips, iodine solution, etc.  I got EVERYTHING laid out and then proceeded to get Dad ready for his "main stream".  As readers have figured out by now, I am VERY ANAL and do "whatever" I am directed to do, WITHOUT QUESTION!  I did EVERYTHING that the directions told me to do, no matter how ridiculous the instructions sounded!  Dad kept saying, "That hurts!  Are you sure we are supposed to do ALL of this!?!"  "Dad, I hate putting you through this, but I am ONLY doing what they say to do!"  I stuck sticks into places where sticks shouldn't go and I worked on skin that should have been left ALONE!  IT  WAS TERRIBLE!  Once we got through, I got his urine sample and promptly went back to the hospital to diverse myself of this "torture chamber" induced liquid.  When I came in, the nurse was there and I gave her the sample.  I told her HOW HORRIBLE the experience was for Dad and she seemed quite confused!  "What was the problem?"  "EVERYTHING WAS TERRIBLE!!!", I said.   I showed her the box.  She asked me to wait there.  A few moments later she showed up with the other nurses.  I found out that, believe the coincidence or not, they had been watching a training film on "Main Stream Collecting".   As I stood there very vulnerable, she said to the others, "You won't believe it, but Chuck just administered to his father, Orval, the "Main Stream Collecting" system for FEMALES!!!"  They all began laughing. 
I'M JUST THANKFUL THAT "DUMB ISN'T PAINFUL"!!!
 
For those of you who want to read some of my past articles in my column, you can find them on my blog, www.catalinaislandman.com.  If you want to contact me directly, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.