“This one!” Humor


“This one!”
(blog only)

Janelle Meraz Hooper

When I was a kid in Oklahoma, sometimes summer days were so hot our moms kept us in. When the temperature headed towards 108 degrees before lunch, we’d head over to Hazel’s house and play the catalog game. Her mother kept all of the old Sear’s catalogs just for such days.

We would lie on the cool floor of her family den, reveling in the cool tiles caressing our bare legs. Halfway through the catalog we’d always wiggle over to a fresh, cooler spot. Hazel would pick the latest Sear’s Catalog out of the rack and we would begin. The game went like this: on each page we could pick one item. We’d point to it and say, “This one.” Sometimes we both wanted the same piece of clothing or toy and it was a race to see which one of us could touch it first and win it.

Of course it was just for fun. Neither of us was getting anything we wished for! We played our game page by page until we got to the end of the catalog. At the end of the game, we celebrated our wins with a Popsicle. I hadn’t thought of this since I was eight-years-old.

Why am I telling you this? A few Sundays ago, I was alone, flipping through the Macy’s Sunday flyer with absolutely nothing on my mind. I turned the page and saw the guy at the top of this blog. Totally without thinking, I touched him and called, “This one!” I was amused. And stunned. Where did that come from?

Slowly the memory of the Sear’s Catalog game came to me. Finally, I began to laugh. The game was still the same. I could call “This one!” all I wanted, and all I’d end up with was a grape Popsicle!

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Photo courtesy of Macy’s



Worldreader 2016 top ten book list is out!

Worldreader 2016 top ten book list is out!

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Pull a toddler onto your lap—or tuck it into bed—and share a tale about a house that has a mouse problem (There’s a Mouse in the House!), a gooseberry-gobbling pheasant (George, the Great Green Gooseberry Gobbler), and a cat named Ribbons who gets into trouble with a Christmas tree (Ribbons at Christmas). I’ve broken up the story about Jamaica and Jupiter (Jamaica and Jupiter) into shorter chapter stories so that the friendship between the “outside” bird and the “inside bird” can develop over time.

This small collection of short stories and poetry is from my personal collection of stories I told to my daughter and grandson. Most of the stories are based upon real-life events in our family. My grandson co-authored the opening poem.

My approach to telling stories to children is the same as my approach to talking to them: I never used baby talk or purposely avoided complicated words if they enhanced the story. If there was a question about a word we looked it up and talked about it.

All of my writing, whether it’s women’s fiction, short stories, historical, or a story for children, has humor. Also, as in all of my writing, I bring an awareness of the environment into the story content.

I hope you agree with me:

“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”
Frederick Douglas

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Freedom must be fought for

I’ve just spent an inspiring week in Historic Philadelphia.  It brought to mind this quote from one of our presidents, Ronald Reagan.

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” Ronald Reagan

Janelle Meraz Hooper
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Red Meat on a Friday Night in the Restaurant Business

Red Meat on a Friday Night
(blog only)
Janelle Meraz Hooper

See my books and short stories

Friday nights could be rough in the restaurant business. Working couples were overstressed, overtired, and emotionally numb from not having the energy to communicate during the week.

Oh, joy. Before Rod ever seated the couple at their table, he knew he was in for a rough night. The woman was already sniping at the man—Rod guessed it was the woman’s husband because no date would put up with her vitriol. Between the few feet from the front door to their table, she jumped on the man for not making reservations for where she really wanted to eat and told him his tie looked like hell. Without taking a breath, she then accused him of smoking behind her back. The man didn’t deny it and he didn’t look remorseful, either. Ding! Round one.

This kind rancor wasn’t unusual between couples on a Friday night, a certain amount was even expected, but this couple was the worst in a long time. Rod seated the two, handed them menus, quickly told them about the specials, and ran for the protection of the kitchen. He told them he was going after water but he lied. He was afraid if he gave them anything they could throw at each other, he’d have a big mess to clean up. Instead, he brought them the wine they’d requested. He was pretty sure they wouldn’t throw their wine. They obviously needed it.

He kept an eye on them, avoiding their table until their glasses were almost empty before he cheerfully approached and offered to take their order. Waiters knew that unhappy customers were not only bad for business, they would hurt their tip. If their bickering continued, they might even argue more than they ate, which would tie up the table longer than usual and delay him getting happier customers who would be better tippers.

By the time they’d each emptied two glasses of the house chardonnay, the two had quieted down and were eagerly watching the food come out of the kitchen, each hoping it was their order. When their plates were ready to be delivered, Rod raced to the couple’s table, threw the red meat in front of the two, and stepped back. Red meat and baked potato for the man. Red meat and salad—no dressing—for the woman.

Rod thought it was a good sign when the band came back and the dance floor started filling up. Maybe the music and the dancing would distract them. He was wrong. The man’s wife zeroed in on a couple who was happily dancing around the floor.

“Why can’t you dance like that?” she griped.
He calmly glanced at the passing couple. “Why can’t you look like that?” Ding! Round two,” Rod whispered to a passing fellow waiter.

Halfheartedly, Rod offered a dessert menu. All he got from the two was sneers. Desperately trying to save his tip, Rod brought two complementary chocolate truffles wrapped in gold foil wrappers to the table. With a smirk, the woman unwrapped both candies and stuffed both into her mouth at once. So much for the diet.

The waiter almost had to duck to avoid the man’s credit card as it flew across the table in his direction. Before it landed on the tablecloth, the woman looked at her man with a challenging expression. “I think I would like to see a dessert menu,” she smiled, never taking her eyes off her husband. The man got up from the table, threw his napkin on his plate, and said he was going outside to have a smoke, ignoring the smoke that was already coming out of his wife’s ears. Ding! Round three.

Rod knew there would be no tip tonight from the two. By this point, he was praying that their credit card went through. A credit failure was all this couple needed to complete their disastrous dinner. If only the card went through, maybe he could at least avoid Round four. Even so, it was getting late; most likely, he’d not get a chance to fill his table with another couple. The cashier sent Rod a barely concealed thumbs up. The man came back inside long enough to sign the slip and left again, leaving his wife to fumble with her coat alone.

Back in the kitchen, the other waiters laughed and each contributed to their fellow waiter’s tip jar. It had happened to all of them. The good news was the next Friday night was a week away.

The end

If you like this story, please share! My thanks! Janelle

Check out my books and short stories on Amazon! I write in a variety of genres! Paperback and Kindle. See my books on my book site!

A Contemporary, Western Romance


The third book in my Turtle Trilogy. In the first book, Glory is five-years-old. In Custer, she’s a grown woman relocating back to her Oklahoma home from Seattle. She’s facing a lot of problems, including a divorce, childlessness, and pressure on her mother by the New Jersey mafia to sell her land so they can build a casino. Her biggest problem of all may be Soap, a life-long friend who wants to help her solve her childless problem…

Sprinkled with Spanish phrases and Comanche words,
Custer & His Naked Ladies is full of Southwest Oklahoma flavor. Suitable for New Adult* & up. Paperback and Kindle. (New Adult is the rating that comes right after Young Adult.) Published by iUniverse.

*Note: Naked Ladies are flowers in Oklahoma.