Van Gogh, Canals, and Cannabis, Oh My!
By Ernie Witham   |   December 20, 2022

Seems like there was always a guy in Dam Square in front of the Royal Palace with a microphone.  In our three days in Amsterdam, we had watched a group of protesters freely protesting their lack of protesting rights. A drunken magician, who spent more time cursing out the crowd than actually performing tricks. And […]

Rock of Ages
By Ernie Witham   |   November 1, 2022

It was raining now and blustery. The temperature, which had been hovering around nippy, was heading toward less romantic sounding terms like “freezing my tuchus off.”  “According to legend,” our guide was saying at a volume that came with weather-related experience, “the Rock originated in a high mountain located around 20 miles north of here […]

The Fickle Finger of Fate
By Ernie Witham   |   October 11, 2022

The woman up the aisle from me was staring at the floor of the LUAS tram, now speeding toward Dublin. I followed her gaze and spotted the three large drops of blood she was fixed on. Would she call the police? Would Cassie Maddox and Rob Reilly of Dublin Murders television fame be the ones […]

Let the Ibuprofen Games Begin!
By Ernie Witham   |   August 30, 2022

“Why are you grimacing?” my wife asked. “Shhh. I don’t want the others to know I’m injured.” Pat looked around. “By the others, you mean…” A couple of eight-year-olds walked by. I quickly stopped rubbing my shoulder, smiled confidently and whispered, “that boy was good, but his sister caught a dozen pom-poms in a row.” […]

Getting There is Half, a Quarter, Hardly Any of the Fun
By Ernie Witham   |   August 2, 2022

Our plane from LAX to Charlotte was late. “We will begin boarding as soon as the arriving passengers are off the plane,” the gate attendant announced. “What’s the holdup?” I asked. Before he could answer, the scheduled departure time advanced by 30 minutes. “It needs to taxi to the gate… as soon as it actually […]

It’s Illegal in Alaska…
By Ernie Witham   |   June 28, 2022

…to drop a moose from an airplane. Seriously! It’s the law. Apparently, the Moose Union is strong up north and parachutes are not. How did this law come about you may wonder? Years ago, a small town in Alaska came up with a contest that involved painting a bunch of moose poo(s?), putting numbers on […]

Pat and Ernie’s Wild Ride
By Ernie Witham   |   May 17, 2022

…proceed to the route… proceed to the route… proceed to the route. I took out my gun and I shot Siri. “Actually, it’s against the rental car company’s policy to shoot holes in the dashboard,” my wife informed me. “According to page 15 of the rental form, they charge extra for that.” I looked at […]

A (Mostly) Truthful Tall Tale
By Ernie Witham   |   April 5, 2022

I’ve always wanted to be taller – I still remember getting measured for my high school graduation robe. “Five feet, eleven and three-quarters inch,” the gown guy yelled out to the gown sizing note taker. “Come on,” I said. “Put me down for six feet, willya?” But no. Gown measuring administrators take their measurements seriously. […]

Looking for the Best Pot
By Ernie Witham   |   March 15, 2022

Bonsai pot, that is.  I gave up the other kind of pot when my last lava lamp died. “Dude, Check it out. I think it’s just as groovy when it doesn’t do anything.” “Righteous.” I sold all my bongs at a yard sale. “Excuse me, did you use reverse osmosis water in this one or […]

Live Well. Laugh Often.
By Ernie Witham   |   February 15, 2022

I was staring blankly at a shelf in the garage. I’d been on a quest for something when I left the house some 15 steps earlier, but my mind stopped working at about step 12. I moved some boxes around for inspiration. That’s when I found the Monopoly game. It was an early edition. Still […]

Back to Normal?
By Ernie Witham   |   December 14, 2021

I know that many people are now touting that 70 is the new 60 and 40 is the new 30. Does that mean that 10 is the new fetus? They also say that telecommuting is the new work standard. Does that mean we should all get water coolers with life-size computer screens so we can […]

Just Coasting Along…
By Ernie Witham   |   November 9, 2021

You never know what huge, unusual things you might see when you go to a new beach (that’s new, not nude). “Wow! Looks like that ship sank just before it got to the pier!” We were in Aptos. That’s not a stunned condition, it’s a small beach community just south of Santa Cruz. We were […]

I Have Some Gripes. Is There an App for That?
By Ernie Witham   |   October 19, 2021

Lately, technology irritates me.  It’s not just because I can’t remember all (or any) of my 1,200 passwords. “It’s getting late dear, maybe you should call it a night.” “Nope. Technology is not beating me again.” I typed in zzzzzzz9999999 and waited. The password window hesitated and then… it shook from side to side indicating […]

Summertime and the Living is Freezing
By Ernie Witham   |   September 14, 2021

“Holy ice cubes, Batman,” I said, as a breeze wafted its way up my shorts. “Fifty-seven degrees?” my wife said. “It was in the 70s when we left Oakland Hills.” “Guess it’s like Mark Twain said: ‘The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.’” “Experts claim that Mark Twain never actually […]

Water Sight to Behold
By Ernie Witham   |   July 15, 2021

I nodded at the approaching hikers. “We’re the official counters,” I said. Pat, sitting beside me, pretended to log it into her phone. There was a steady stream of hikers both coming and going, but we weren’t really counters of course. And the only thing officially we were – was out of breath.  We were […]

A Season Cliffhanger
By Ernie Witham   |   June 10, 2021

Early on in the drive, I was thinking I should have brought my thermal underwear. And my gloves. Now I was thinking I should have upped my life insurance. “There’s no one behind us. You don’t have to go too fast.” “I’m doing 20 miles per hour,” Pat said, without turning her head. Her knuckles […]

A Gray and Common Day
By Ernie Witham   |   April 8, 2021

“Oh man! There are thousands of them.” “What species are they?” “They are Delphinus delphis,” the captain said.  Seems like during every Star Trek movie there comes a scene where they hit the dashboard button that says WARP SPEED. Then they can only hope that the coordinates they set don’t deliver them into the middle […]

A Pain in the Neck
By Ernie Witham   |   January 28, 2021

For five nights, my wife and I slept in the guestroom, while relatives slept in our room. “This bed is too hard. My back is killing me,” Pat said. “How are you holding up?” I could have said: “Fine. You probably just slept wrong.” Instead I said: “My neck’s a bit sore.” Two days later […]

Pinterest-aholic
By Ernie Witham   |   January 7, 2021

Hi. My name is Ernie…  “Hi Ernie!”  …and I am a Pinterest-aholic. It has been 12 days, 5 hours, and 31 minutes since my last Pinterest purchase. (Light applause.) Thank you.  Funny, I remember a few years back when they predicted that we would all be shopping online in the future. I scoffed at this. […]

Come On, Baby, Do the Mashed Potato
By Ernie Witham   |   December 3, 2020

No doubt, this year we have had the stuffing knocked out of us. The coronavirus squashed any hopes of a normal year. The economy sank like a lead gravy boat. And we had a turkey in the…  “Wait. Are you really going to make us suffer through a Thanksgiving pun column?”  “Of course not, dear. […]

Who Was That Masked Man?
By Ernie Witham   |   November 12, 2020

I have a new respect for superheroes, bandits, and anyone else who wears a mask for a living. For one thing, it’s not easy to smell things while wearing a mask, which is probably a good thing for those performing gastro-intestinal surgery. For the rest of us just trying to keep COVID-19 out, we miss […]

Feeling Rakish This Fall?
By Ernie Witham   |   October 21, 2020

Many people laughed when President Trump suggested that the way to stop wildfires in California was to rake the forests. I had a different reaction. My hands instantly got blisters, my lower back felt strained, and my butt hurt like hell. I grew up in the heart of the fall foliage spectacle. Every year the […]

Simple Birthdays? Nay, we say.
By Ernie Witham   |   September 24, 2020

Our family spends more time planning birthdays than some people spend reading presidential briefs… it’s been said… by many, many, fine folks. We’ve had choreographed dance-offs, whereas we all stand in a large circle and someone does a dance move. The next person has to duplicate it or get eliminated. Out of pity they let […]

Grandchildren Keep Us Young. If We Survive.
By Ernie Witham   |   August 20, 2020

“Ernie?… Ernie?… Ernie?… Ernie?…” “Sorry, can’t play right now, Jack.” “Why?” “Because I have some writing to do.” “Why?” “It’s for my column?” “What’s a column?” “About 700 words.” I laughed. Jack didn’t. “My column for the Montecito Journal is due. I have an allotted space to fill.” “What’s a lotta space to fill?” “About […]

An Apple Computer a Day Keeps the Doctor Away
By Ernie Witham   |   July 16, 2020

Per instructions, I moved my face really close to my computer monitor. “Look into my eyes,” the doctor said. Was she going to hypnotize me? Make me cluck like a chicken? “I just want to watch your eye movements to rule out a few things.” “I can roll them around in a circle. Watch.” “Ah, […]

Zoom-Piddie-Doo-Dah, Zoom-Piddie-Day
By Ernie Witham   |   June 11, 2020

Every day millions of people are going to Zoom meetings, classes, get-togethers, sing-a-longs, and various other Zoom-capades. While a convenient way to congregate virtually, not everyone is as… ah… technically astute… which can make it… challenging. Welcome to today’s Zoom class everyone. It appears we are missing a few attendees. Let’s see, supposed to be […]

Walk On. And On. And On…
By Ernie Witham   |   May 21, 2020

Not much opportunity for exercise right now. Gyms are closed. Yoga classes are cancelled. Swing dance lessons have gone dark… “Oh, ah, umpf. Someone turn on the dang lights willya?” So, we head to the great outdoors and we walk until our motivation starts to wane. “You can do it. Just pretend there is a […]

The Game of Life… Currently
By Ernie Witham   |   April 16, 2020

“My bucket is definitely fuller than yours.”Pat looked in my bucket. “Guess you’re right.” Yes! I thought. “Of course, I’ve emptied my bucket twice so far.”“No way!”“Check the green waste container.” I checked. Sure enough.“Yeah, well, I, ah, have emptied my bucket three times.”“Then how come all the stuff in the green waste bucket is […]

Three Women and a Condo
By Ernie Witham   |   March 26, 2020

I leaned over the small round Dot with the pulsating ring of light. She was breathing rhythmically. Waiting for me. Waiting to hear my most domineering voice command her to do my bidding. “Alexa… my love… play ‘I Am the Walrus’ from the Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour album. Full volume.” “Playing ‘I Am the Walrus,’” […]

Happy B-Day/V-Day… I Pray
By Ernie Witham   |   March 5, 2020

After about a decade of marriage, I came to the realization that my wife has a birthday every year. That was also about the time she told me that I had given her the same humorous birthday card four of those years in a row. She also showed me the three “unique” heart necklaces with […]

Road Trip, Hawaiian Style
By Ernie Witham   |   February 27, 2020

My wife hesitated at a puddle of unknown depth at the former Kahuku Sugar Mill parking lot, which is now a series of small restaurants and food trucks that cater mainly to the surfing crowd at North Shore on Oahu. “This thing could cross a raging river,” I said. “The rental company might charge us […]

The Route of my Roots
By Ernie Witham   |   February 6, 2020

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about the route of my roots. Not the many weird routes I have taken in life to get from my New Hampshire roots to where I am rooted today. I don’t have a lot of regretful “routes not taken.” I think I stumbled about amazingly. “I’m in California? Really? […]

Lessons in Lifelong Learning
By Ernie Witham   |   January 30, 2020

After six years of high school, I figured there was nothing else to learn. (Just kidding… it only took me five years to graduate.) But I was wrong. Soon I got a job and found I needed new skills. “So, I won’t be needing Algebra or English Lit?” “No, and you probably won’t need your […]

The Evolution of My Resolutions
By Ernie Witham   |   January 9, 2020

I made my first New Year’s resolution when I was five years old. I promised myself that if I passed kindergarten I would try much harder in first grade. I knew I was flunking nap because I was worried once I dozed off that Tommy kid with the devious freckles would crayon my cheeks red […]

Having a Holly Jolly Time?
By Ernie Witham   |   December 26, 2019

I looked over my shoulder at the car behind me to see if he would kindly backup. The driver of that car was looking over his shoulder at the car behind him with the same thought. The third driver back started to reverse but stopped when another car pulled in behind him. Ahead of us […]

Screaming While Streaming
By Ernie Witham   |   December 8, 2019

I pressed the microphone icon on the Apple TV remote and said with emphasis: “Siri. Turn. Off. Voiceover.” Siri responded in text on the screen: “Voiceover is already off.” I chuckled. “I can still hear it Siri. Listen.” I pressed play and the detective series Bosch came on. There was a bit of clever dialog […]

Love, love me do. Pleeaassee!
By Ernie Witham   |   November 26, 2019

“How was your experience in men’s underwear?” The email asked. “Were you a) delighted with your purchase b) kind of giddy c) blasé d) not so giddy or e) totally disenfranchised? Your immediate response is requested.” This was about the tenth follow-up I had received from recent shopping excursions. Seems like every time I buy […]

Day of the Living Museum
By Ernie Witham   |   November 14, 2019

The man was using a hatchet to make a spoon out of a log. “That’s the way it used to be done,” he told us. “People needed things to do indoors when it was cold and damp.” I zipped up my raincoat. “That’s why we have Netflix.” We were visiting the Weald and Downland Living […]

Walk, Don’t Hop
By Ernie Witham   |   October 17, 2019

(Read more humorous adventures in Ernie’s travel book: “Where are Pat and Ernie Now?” available at Chaucer’s.) I’m always suspicious of someone trying to sell me something. Which is odd because I used to be in retail.  “I’m not sure I need the latest Kodak Instamatic 60.” “Comes with a free flash cube.” “I’ll take […]

Having a White Whale of a Time in Tuscany
By Ernie Witham   |   October 3, 2019

I’ve learned a few things over the years traveling with my wife. For one thing, she never packs enough socks. “Are those my Wednesday socks? I packed a pair for each day and now I’ll be a pair short!” “We got married in California. It’s a community state. Your socks are my socks.” “Oh yeah, […]