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 […]

Walk On. And On. And On…
By Ernie Witham   |   April 23, 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. “Come on. You can do it. Just pretend there […]

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, […]

Beautiful London Fog
By Ernie Witham   |   October 1, 2019

I’ve spent a good part of my life in a fog. In my brief stint as a Hippie, the fog was often associated with the inhalation of marijuana or as we referred to it then – grass. Sometimes I think it actually was grass we purchased. “Is that a dandelion?” “Might be. You feel anything […]

Buonasera!… again… and again…
By Ernie Witham   |   September 19, 2019

Turn right,” Jeeves, our Garmin GPS told us. Right would have taken us over the cliff. “Jeeves is lost,” I said.  “Swell,” Pat, who was driving, said. We were trying to get back to the tiny Tuscan village of Castiglione d’Orcia where we were renting an Airbnb just inside the Porta, the entrance into the […]

The Wilds of the Inland Passageway
By Ernie Witham   |   September 12, 2019

Cold?” Jackie pointed at the overhead heaters in the solarium ceiling on the back of the Alaskan ferry, Columbia. “With those things on the other night I felt like a French fry.” We had met Jackie earlier at breakfast. It was so crowded we had to sit at the counter. A young construction guy beside […]

A Whale of a Time
By Ernie Witham   |   August 29, 2019

I was watching an extremely large man from one of the five (yes, five) cruise ships that were in port in Juneau, Alaska. The man was having trouble fitting through the door on a floatplane and two young workers were using their shoulders to gently aid his boarding. The man was wearing black shorts that […]

Ravens, Eagles, Totems, and Salmon Spit
By Ernie Witham   |   August 1, 2019

“Nice bracelet,” Pat said to the Native bus driver. “My cousin made it. For my moiety. I am an eagle. My wife is a raven.” “My wife is a Sheppard,” I said. “Sometimes that makes me feel sheepish.” He did not laugh. Neither did my wife. Or anyone else on the bus. He went on […]

Salmon, Fjords, and Bears, Oh My!
By Ernie Witham   |   July 18, 2019

Did you ever eat at a restaurant where your breakfast came so fast you barely had time to unwrap your utensils? Well, it wasn’t in Ketchikan, Alaska! I was on my eighth coffee refill, babbling on about the anxieties of airline travel, like when you get to your gate and they announce your airplane is […]

More TV Or Not More TV: That is the Question
By Ernie Witham   |   June 20, 2019

We don’t watch much TV, so we have a bare-bones cable package. We get the basic networks, some Spanish-speaking soap operas that involve a lot of yelling and scantily-clad women, and about 16 shopping channels all with excited people that probably “just barely” failed their screen tests for action shows, but who now dramatically sell […]

The Evolution of Chatting
By Ernie Witham   |   June 6, 2019

Used to be that a chat was something you had over the backyard fence with your neighbor: “And then she said… and then he said… then they said…”  Or maybe someone you ran into at the A&P: “Wow, that’s a lot of beer. Having the Elks Club over?”   Or maybe with your new girlfriend’s […]

Workout Blues
By Ernie Witham   |   May 23, 2019

Recently, I was describing my gym experience to some friends. “You go to the gym?”“On a regular basis.”“Really? Then you must be doing sit-downs instead of sit-ups.”“Do people get upset when you hog the five-pound weights?”“Who wakes you up when you fall asleep on the exercise mat?” It was about then I began to regret […]

Technological Advances?
By Ernie Witham   |   May 9, 2019

In the past, before technology invaded every aspect of our lives, you sometimes you got a lot of “personality” at the check-out stand.  “Well how are you today? My sciatica is acting up. Not easy standing here all day. My new daughter-in-law has a desk job. Makes more money in a week than I make […]

The Aunts Go Marching Two by Two…
By Ernie Witham   |   March 28, 2019

Where I come from my parents’ female siblings were my aunts. Pronounced ahnt, not ant. So, when I first moved here and someone told me her ant just got a new car, I laughed. And when another person told me his ant just moved into a retirement home, I really busted up. But when a […]

Let it Rain, Let it Rain, Let it Rain!
By Ernie Witham   |   March 14, 2019

I learned a lot of new terms when I moved to Santa Barbara in 1977. I got a job at a small medical manufacturing company on lower Chapala called Browne Corporation. (Thank you Larry and Sue Browne. I’m forever grateful for taking a chance a on a long-haired bumpkin from New Hampshire who said things […]