It’s Beginning To Look A lot Like Commerce

Christmas Presents

 

 

 

 

On Tuesday, November 11, after I stood quietly, respectfully, for two minutes, I stopped at a Dollar Store, and picked up a box of biscuits for the dog.  With my receipt, the clerk handed me a postcard sized form.  If I filled it in and dropped it off soon enough at a downtown office, I might earn a seat in the reviewing stand for the local Santa Claus parade – being held tomorrow, Saturday, Nov. 15th.

I returned home to hear the son announce that he’d picked up his ticket for his firm’s gala Christmas Party – being held next Saturday, Nov. 22.  Dear Ebenezer Scrooge, it’s not even the American Thanksgiving yet, and we’re already hip deep in Christmas.  Welcome to the Festival of Conspicuous Consumption.  The decorations have been out, and the ‘Christmas Sales’ have been on since Halloween.  Even today’s crossword had 3-down – gift-bearing trio = Magi, and – guide for 3-down = star, although, admittedly, those are a little more Spiritual than the rest.

Canada is a bit ahead of The States.  We held our Thanksgiving last month, well before the behemoth that is the Holiday Season was on its tracks and starting to move.  We’ll still be ahead of them in a few years when the commercial season begins about the 4th of July, and we celebrate our independence on July 1.

Be sure to give the ‘Good Christians’ lots of room to ignore Ramadan, Rosh Hashanah, Diwali, Kwanzaa and secular atheism, and insist that their single day in the next two months of celebrations, is the only valid reason for The Season.

Allow the more militant among them a little extra swing room for when they U-turn, and insist that no-one should be allowed to have fun, or give presents, or engage in spiritual introspection, without their permission and participation.  Their cold, exclusionary Grinch’s hearts are well attuned to this icy time of year.

Armed with my CDs, I’m ready for the day, just over two weeks away, when the radio begins delivering nothing but all-Christmas songs, all the time.  I got a new keg of Bah Humbug on E-Bay, and will be downing the occasional shot to keep me topped up, as I help the wife assemble and bake Christmas Holiday cake and Christmas Holiday cookies.

Advertisements

Flash Fiction #26

Hollywood

 

 

 

 

It All Comes Out In The End

Rob honey?!  Come have a look at this.  We saved hard enough for this Hollywood trip; you should come and enjoy it.  Just look at the people – and the palm trees – and the….  ROB!!?….  What was that?

What was the name of that stuff we saw advertised back in Illinois, that’s supposed to prevent ‘travellers’ diarrhea’?  Duckitall??  Dukerol!!  I thought that was just if you went to, like, Thailand.  I didn’t know about a bad fish taco in Redlands.

You go ahead with that walking tour of the homes of the stars.  My tour’s going to be sitting.

 

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

 

 

I Remember

poppy-flower-red-remembrence-day-artificial

I remember that November 11th is a very special day!  It is Remembrance Day in Canada, and Veterans’ Day in the USA.

You remember to do the many small, but significant, things you should do today.  Remember to salute a service(wo)man – respect and thank an older veteran – drag your ass away from the mattress sale and attend a cenotaph ceremony, even if it’s on TV – stand quietly at attention for two whole minutes, at 11:00 AM.  That means, turn the damned cell phone off.  They didn’t fight for your right to play Farmville or Angry Birds.

Remember to think about how much the armed forces have given, so that you can have so much. Remember the peace and plenty you enjoy – and who obtained it, and continues to defend it.  It wouldn’t hurt to do that every day of the year, but today it is mandatory.

I remember that my father went to sea in WWII, and that my/our world is much better because of him and his compatriots, and the valiant few who still guard us. They will be honored, as long as we remember.

Canadian Flag                                                                                              veterans

 

The Fellowship Of The Blog – Episode Six

Old Jalopy

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3 – Lost In Thought – And Other Places

The muffler shop manager holding our car for ransom, called early. After trading retirement financial security for a ride back to Canada, we had our treasured transportation back to the motel by 10 AM.  Now we were ready to attend the knife show, at 1 o’clock.

The drive to the knife show was 44 km/26 miles. Halfway there, work crews had two matching bridges down to one lane each.  With the usual assholes rushing up as far as they could, before cutting someone off, by the time we got there, the two-lane, bumper-to-bumper backup on the Interstate was five miles.  By the time we returned from the show, the parking lot was ten miles long.

Cracker Barrel Sign

 

 

 

 

The wife decided that we needed some sustenance before reaching the venue. She had been eyeing Cracker Barrel signs since Erie, PA.  At the exit before ours, there was another one, so, up we went.  Little Miss GPS was not happy.  RECALCULATING!  Turn around. Turn right, now! Get back on the Interstate or I’ll smack you.  We turned her off, and wound up having lunch at Denny’s, saving Cracker Barrel for supper.

Residents either knew exactly where we were from, or couldn’t point to Canada (and maybe even Ohio) on a map. Our server at Denny’s had both her maternal grandparents come from Paisley, a little village of 900, 80 miles north of Kitchener, where my brother lives.  He probably bought their old house.

We had seen TV promos for a movie called Ouija, where the game pointer is inhabited by a malevolent spirit. I didn’t believe in such silliness – until Ethel the evil GPS struck.  Perhaps she was angry because she was ignored, and turned off while we lunched.

When we turned her back on, she quickly got us to the next exit. The ramp comes up to a T-intersection.  My memory from a trip there almost ten years ago, said that we turned right, but Ethel insisted that we turn left, and drive 6.7 km.  Turn left on this highway (?), then turn right on this county road. (It’s a farmer’s lane!)

I knew we were in trouble when we passed under the Interstate, and were south of it.  Turn off the paved road??! We left pavement for gravel road, and ran off gravel onto dirt road.  We finally looped around, right back to where we started, and she insisted that we turn left again. Oh no you don’t! We turned her off, and I turned right.

I drove for several miles, but now I was spooked. I didn’t see the Civic Center.  I did see a gas station, with a State Trooper, so I pulled in and asked him.  I admitted that I was a dumb, lost tourist, and where was this venue?  He leaned to his left, and pointed just past the big tree, around the bend.  Damn!  Damn!  Damn!!  I gotta get these glasses retreaded.

After recovering from our adventure in the wilderness, the knife show was a dismal failure. AFrankAngle didn’t miss a thing.  Apparently the Ohio Knifemakers’ Guild had a little schism, and the clique responsible for advertising and promoting the show, took their toys and went home.

Two of the makers were amazed that I’d even heard of it, in Canada, and drove all the way to attend. One maker packed it in at the end of Friday, and refused to return Saturday.  Only about half the expected displayers showed up, not including any of the fancier makers.

The show was about half-size, and so was the paying-customers crowd(?). There were a few ‘purveyors’ – collectors with a display of other people’s knives they were anxious to unload.  There were a few Suppliers, with grinding wheels, sanding belts, and handle materials – and damned few makers to sell them to.  There was only one ‘rusty jackknife’ display.  One maker was selling para-cord bracelets that his kids had made.  One maker’s wife had added some small knitted items, and etched drinking glasses, to expand the display

There were to have been door-prize draws, every hour, on the hour.  There was one, just as we arrived at 2:20 PM, but I didn’t hear any others before we left, a couple of hours later.  With so few ‘good’ knives, I took only a few photos.  They include a dagger with dyed, stabilized Maple-wood handle, and a couple of shots of a Japanese-style Katana.

SDC10669

 

 

 

 

 

SDC10668

 

 

 

 

SDC10667

 

 

 

 

 

Battle Horse Knives is a production team of a husband, his wife, and a friend. Using production-line methods, they had dozens of well-made, but uninspiring, hunters and skinners, suitable for the local outdoor crowd.

Since the guys work with wood for the handles, they’ve also acquired enough carpentry skills to build an 8 foot long miniature battlement to display their wares. Like my Rapunzel post, they included a tower with hair streaming down.  I thought it might have come from the center of the V-shaped beard on the friend.  The wife told me that it cost her a knife at the Atlanta show, but she got it from a 12-year-old girl attendee – with her parents’ knowledge and permission.

SDC10671

One artisan – not maker – took factory-made knives and removed the handle material, and replaced it with the State stone, Ohio Flint. Cute, but so what?

Back to the motel, a home-style supper at Cracker Barrel, a little shopping at the plaza, and a good night’s sleep to rest up for the Erickson Expedition. Wanna know how it turns out?  You know where the Archon’s Den is!  See you soon.  😀

Flash Fiction #25

Edsel

 

 

 

 

 

SPEED KILLS

Bob was the weirdo who bought an Edsel – the Ford sucking a lemon.

He lived a mile outside town, past my house and the hospital, where the speed limit dropped from 50 MPH, to 30. Never content to do merely 50, he screamed in at 80.  Accustomed to standard transmissions, he used the automatic, to slow down for the hospital zone.

Equipped with a Pushbutton Transmission, the controls were located on the steering wheel hub. One day, Bob inadvertently poked ‘Reverse’, instead of ‘Low.’  That was 1960.  They cleaned up the oil, but parts are still falling from the sky.

 

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site, and use her weekly photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story

Fellowship Of The Blog – Episode Five

 

Day 2/Part 2 – Wheeling To Wheeling

When we last left our hero and heroine, they were dashing west, across the New York Turnpike, towards Erie, PA. Safely reaching there, they quickly turned south, for another 3 ½ hour drive, just past Wheeling, WV.  Being at the top of the rapidly narrowing panhandle, Wheeling is a place where you can be in three states in under a half-hour.  We did the same kind of thing a few years ago, on our way to Front Royal, VA, coming out of PA, across 18 miles of Maryland panhandle, and into Virginia.

Traffic was light, so I was running on autopilot. Soon though, we came up behind a minivan moving erratically – slow down, speed up, trouble staying between the lines.  I thought maybe someone was drunk or stoned, but it had a fish-shaped plastic sticker on the back, indicating that it was owned/operated by a “Good Christian.”  Drugs apparently are a big problem.  Signs all along the highway urge anyone with concerns, or information, to call #799.

When I finally felt it was safe to pass, I found it driven by a big-haired blonde, with a cell phone jammed in her ear. Way to go, bitch!  Obey church rules, but ignore State legislation against distracted driving.  It would have produced a very non-porn meaning to the phrase, “Oh God, I’m coming.”  I just didn’t want to be around for either version.

SDC10676

 

 

 

 

St. Clairsville, OH, where our Red Roof Inn was located, is at the western edge of the Appalachian Mountains, and the motel is perched almost at the top of a steep little hill. I missed the easily accessible, but unmarked side driveway, and had to drive down the hill, and turn and climb back up to the aerie.  At the bottom of the hill, I gunned the engine – and blew the entire back end off the exhaust system.

The wife was mortified by the roar, but the locals, in their Ford F250s and Dodge Rams never even noticed. They probably thought I was there to compete in the tractor pull.  You know you’re staying in YeeHawville, when the young man, carrying a baby, in front of you in line at the WalMart, adds a six-pack tube of Copenhagen snuff to his order, and the most often-shown ad on TV is for an on-line dating service – FarmersOnly.Com.

SDC10672

 

 

 

 

We checked in, and the room clerk told me that there was a Meineke Muffler shop somewhere in the plaza across the street. I said I’d walk over to check out opening times, after supper.  “Oh, it’s too far to walk!”  I could have seen it, if I knew where to look.

With roads hanging off the sides of hills, I walked a block down the hill, to the main road, and a block back up a hill, to the plaza entrance, then a block back down, into the actual parking area. I could have hit it with a thrown stone from the motel, but it was the best part of a mile to actually get there.

A clerk at the Kroger didn’t know of any Meineke shop, but one at the WalMart told me that it was really a Monroe Muffler shop, located in the farthest corner. The sign in the window said they opened at 7:30 AM, and I was there as the mechanic arrived.  Sadly, there were cars left for service, overnight, and people with appointments.  They would get to mine as soon as possible, perhaps by noon, perhaps by closing.

I barely had time to walk back to the motel, when the phone rang. The guy with the 7:30 appointment hadn’t stopped in.  They had looked at my car, and he rattled off a list of items which needed replacing.  For the mere sum of $358.79US ($400 Can), I could have the car back in time to attend the knife show.  Did I wish to proceed? Did I have any choice??!

But, these are tales of tomorrow, to be told in the next episode, when the car moves much faster, not having to drag all that heavy cash around. Y’all come back now!   🙂

Mental Health

The voice-mail menu at the Board of Mental Health lists;

If you are obsessive/compulsive, press #1 repeatedly.
If you are co-dependent, have someone press #2 for you.
If you have multiple personalities, press #3, 4 or 5.
If you are possessed by Satan, press #666.
If you have gambling problems, press #7 – 11
If you hear voices, press whatever number they tell you to.
If you are paranoid, just hang up. We know who you are, and are coming to get you.

***

A high school science teacher standing in front of a class of seniors, suddenly asks, ‘What part of the human body is seven times as strong as steel, pound for pound? Miss Johnson??”

Startled, Southern Belle, Miss Johnson replies, “Well, I’m sure I don’t know. I can’t understand why you would ask me a question like that!”

The teacher says, “The answer is, a human hair. And you, Miss Johnson, are an optimist.”

****

If the world is my oyster, I think I’m allergic to shellfish.

The difference between genius and stupidity, is that genius has its limits.

***

Ol’ Fred had been a faithful Christian and was in
the hospital, near death. The family called their
pastor to stand with them. As the pastor stood
next to the bed, Ol’ Fred’s condition appeared to
deteriorate and he motioned frantically for
something to write on. The pastor lovingly handed
him a pen and a piece of paper, and Ol’ Fred used
his last bit of energy to scribble a note, then
he died. The pastor thought it best not to look
at the note at that time, so he placed it in
his jacket pocket.

At the funeral, as he was finishing the message,
he realized that he was wearing the same jacket
that he was wearing when Ol’ Fred died. He said,
“You know, Ol’ Fred handed me a note just before
he died. I haven’t looked at it, but knowing
Fred, I’m sure there’s a word of inspiration
there for us all.”

He opened the note, and read, “Asshole, you’re
standing on my oxygen tube!”

***

The nude model climbed up the ladder,
As the painter, Titian, had bade her.
The position, to Titian
Suggested coition,
So he climbed up the ladder, and had her.

The was a young lady from Bright,
Who could travel faster than light.
She set off one day,
In a relative way,
And returned the previous night.