You know, January and February are my least favorite times of the year for several reasons. First, the weather stinks. Hardly any golf for me this time of year. Second, as a fellow Florida type person told me the last time I was down there, we live in caves up here. And he was right! We live in caves four to five months of the year unless you are brave enough to ski, ice fish, or some other scary activity like that! Third, and the worst thing is that in January and February almost ever year without fail my inventory slithers down to ridiculously low levels mainly because everyone buys all my great inventory and it gets so bad that I hardly have anything to play with myself!

Well last year was the exception to the rule, as my inventory was great the whole year due to two unusual large collection purchases in December of 03.

But this year as almost every year I've been singing the blues about my shrinking inventory. Why I think if something doesn't happen pretty soon I'll be completely out of inventory in another forty five days! Yikes!!!!

Well as fate always has it, I am very happy to say that we have incoming inventory next week!!! It's a collection from the Michigan area that I've been working on for some time now, and it's pretty big. So we won't be going out of business after all! Yippeee...

And of course I'm working on a bunch of other collections. Part of the problem is that it gets so busy that there is little time to work on the massive pile of train collections for sale lists that I accumulate over the holiday season, and then of course you miss out on some you should have bought, and it just goes down from there. So I am very happy to say that once again we'll be in great shape with inventory.

Not that we are out of inventory. I'm still working on some collections that I haven't finished yet from our storage area. But only around forty five days left, and that is a scary thought. Then what???

Jean our auction administrator is out for around a month due to an operation she had at the beginning of the month. We were lucky enough to find Paula who has taken over the position until Jean returns. We've had to lower the number of auctions we can do on a daily basis due to the fact that Paula only had one day to learn from Jean what should have been a full two week seminar, but Paula's doing a great job, and we sure do appreciate her plugging away the way she does.

We are getting a new telephone system probably this coming week. Yours truly put the old one in, which isn't really much of a system at all. It never functioned correctly and now some of the phones aren't working correctly as well! With the new system we will actually be able to communicate and forward phone calls into the auction office instead of someone having to walk from the store and yell, "Hey Jean you have a call!" That'll be nice!

At some point I believe we are going to go with a bigger server or two servers for I'm told by our webmaster that we are coming close to reaching our limit, so I guess we'll have to do something. We'll notify you on the auction site when that is happening because as in the past it could cause some problems with auctions, and we'll try to deal with that before they happen.

I have this dentist who's name is Tony. We have a couple of things in common. One is we like trains a lot! I'd like to call it we both have this train gene or something! And we both have this other thing called a golf gene.

As Tony was drilling away yesterday we were talking about some golf experiences that we've had, and when I could come up for air I told him about this past Monday when I went golfing.

It was great! I have this thing that I want to play at least 9 holes each and every month of the year. Monday it got up to fifty degrees here which is unheard of in February, so I pulled the clubs out and headed for the golf course. When I got there I was a little stunned by the amount of snow that was on the course. I thought it would have all melted away, but I guess that stupid blizzard from that black Sunday that my Pittsburgh Steelers took the axe (ba ha...ouch) just had too much snow to melt away.

I thought of turning back, but then I thought further. ‘What if there isn't another chance in February?' Well that thought was just too scary for me, so I continued and pulled my bag out of the car.

I did manage to play nine holes that day. I was the only one on that golf course, possibly the only one on any golf course for miles! But I had fun, and I actually hit the ball pretty good. The only problem was the balls I was hitting were white, and I lost ten of them. But that's OK, I got the round in, so I'm good until March roles around!

Well Tony chuckled at my story as he told me to look towards him and adjusted my laughing gas mask. Then he told me his story.

"Charlie," he started. "You know that's a pretty good story, but I think I can do you one up. You could see some grass couldn't you?"

Of course there was some grass that I could see. Maybe one third of the course was grass, two thirds snow.

0060.jpg - 238466 Bytes And he went on to tell me about when he had joined a local country club that was very hard to get in. Well back then there was a seven to ten year waiting list as I remember. He had sworn that the day that he finally became a golfing member he was going to go golfing no matter what.

The day happened to be sometime in January. I can't exactly remember what the exact date was because by this time my eyes were starting to roll up into my head and I was trying to get them back down and not laugh too hard to force Tony to hurt me.

Tony told me how he painted his balls brown, and went out to his new golf course with a good friend. Only unlike my experience of the other day, the entire golf course was covered with two or three inches of snow. He made a point of saying there was no grass to be seen.

Tony and his friend were able to play two holes on that day several years ago, and he did me one up in that the event was video taped, so he had proof!!!

And although he didn't specify, I have a feeling Tony didn't loose any balls, which is why this afternoon I'm buying some brown paint!

Last but not least, I just came across a picture of myself playing with my brand new Marx Santa Fe Freight set on Christmas of 1952. I think this picture goes with the other one that mysteriously I found in my car one day several years ago. How about that!!!

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