I Do

Wedding rings

I guess I could put this post under ‘Old Stuff ’.  The wife is 65, and I’ve had her for over 47 years but, discretion being the better part of waking up tomorrow without a pillow over my face, I’ll just recount the fateful day.

I was raised as a Christmas/Easter kind of Baptist.  Churches and religion meant little to me.  The wife was raised in a strict Catholic family, but like two older sisters before her, had started ‘questioning’, and soon also left “The Church.”

We had met at an Adult Education retraining course in February, and hit it off right away.  We were thinking of waiting till we both graduated and had jobs.  We spoke of waiting till Sept. 21 the following year – not only my birthday, but also her parents’ anniversary.

I got out, and got a job, and she would soon follow.  We saw no point in waiting.  I told my Mom that we planned to just go to City Hall, but she insisted that we both should have a day to remember.  We talked the Anglican minister in my home town into marrying us.  The guest list was only about 25 people.  All the ‘Good Catholics’ in her family boycotted, although the two ex-Catholic sisters and their husbands showed up.

We chose Dec. 2, 1967, as a mutually agreeable date.  My sister was living directly across the street from Mom and Dad, in the ex-Presbyterian Manse, which had a huge living room/drawing room combo.  She and Mom cooked like crazy, and that’s where the reception was held.

The wedding ceremony was held after the regular 11 AM service, once the minister shooed the parishioners home.  We had bought a wedding license at City Hall, but the church issued another one, so we are twice married.  Perhaps that’s why it’s lasted so long.

The brunch reception started around 1 PM.  We gave the camera to my brother to take a few pictures for posterity.  He quickly got loaded at the open bar.  He remembered to take the shots; it’s just that people have the tops of their heads cut off, or one arm.

Long before the internet, and without phoning ahead, I had hoped to get us to Niagara Falls for a bit of a honeymoon.  About four o’clock, Mom strongly suggested that we get underway.  A freezing rain storm had blown in off Lake Huron.

I checked the car over before we left.  There was some soap on the windows that was easily removed, but no tin cans dragging from strings at the back.  We took the highway south, out of town, and turned off onto the secondary road that headed easterly towards The Falls.  Within a mile we were sliding off the crown of the road on a half-inch of ice.

Do we continue slowly, hugging the gravel shoulder, or take a different route??!  I elected to turn around.  Just as we got back to the main highway, a sander/salter truck rolled past.  Follow Him!!!  He went 30 miles southwest, down the lakeshore, and then turned southeast.

At some point, we began to notice a smell, a definite aroma.  I stopped and raised the hood.  One or more of ‘my friends’ had jammed three small whitefish between the engine block and the exhaust manifold.  Heated up with 30 miles of driving, the hot exhaust was cooking the fish, and burning off the fish-oil.  I managed to remove them with very few burns, but the smell lingered with the car for a week or more.

All plans definitely out the window, the best we could hope for were roads not too icy to prevent us from at least getting back to Kitchener.  Such was not to be.  As the freezing rain abated, it changed to wet, slippery, clingy snow.  The Ontario Works truck ahead stopped seasoning the road, and put his plow blade down and pushed the accumulating white stuff back.

We followed him to the small town of Listowel, which was barely bigger than my stage-coach stop burg.  We hoped that he would continue on through, towards Kitchener, but, just at the outskirts of town, he pulled into his home base, apparently done for the day, or at least his shift.  Now where??!

The town of Listowel was known only for The Blue Barn Inn, a motel with a couple of dozen rooms, an in-house restaurant with food famous for miles, and an entertainment room where B-acts and wannabes played.  Could we get a room?  Since no-one else drove in over the ice, there were rooms to spare.

After settling in the room, we now wondered about supper.  What little we had eaten, was 7 hours ago.  I went downstairs to the dining room and asked if I could get something to take back to the room.  On Sunday nights there was no a la carte – service was only from a giant buffet.

The cooks had worked all day to prepare for the usual huge crowd, and the ice storm had prevented almost all of them from showing up.  When the host found out that we were newly-weds, stranded there, he asked for a couple of dollars, and told me to take as much food and drink as I could carry on a cafeteria tray.  We remembered the place with nostalgic fondness for years, but, about 30 years later, it burned to the ground.

Very little of the day was as we had hoped or planned, and none of it elegant or impressive like a Hawaiian location wedding/honeymoon. It was an adventure, where all eventually turned out well, and set a sort of pattern for the marriage.  If we could survive this, we could survive each other.  We’ve passed 47 years, and are heading for the Golden 50.

Even as a second marriage for my Mom, and a war-delayed first for my Dad, they celebrated their 60th anniversary just before they died.  While we increasingly complain about aches and pains, and various medical problems, I think we’re strong and healthy enough to reach that mark also!     😀

#467

Chastised

Shrew

I took shit twice this week, and both times from a woman….  Wait, I’m a male, and I’m married – that statement is redundant.

I took the wife to a grocery store that we don’t normally patronize.  Once you’re in, they give you all the room in the world, but, worried about ‘shrinkage’, they funnel you in, and funnel you out.

Finished with our shopping, we joined the mule-train heading for the exit.  Suddenly, the two women with carts ahead of us, came to a complete stop.  I waited for a few seconds to allow someone to put change or coupons in a purse, but when a minute had passed and we still weren’t moving, I looked to see what the holdup was.

Three women had entered the store, one, 5 to 10 years older than me, and what seemed to be her daughter and a friend.  The daughter was treating her like she was senile, and giving minute instructions – go here, look for that, don’t buy this, etc., etc.  The problem was, they’d stopped her when her cart was crossways to the access aisle.  If the two in front of me wanted to stand there like sheep, I’d play herd-dog.

The old gal wasn’t leaning on the cart, so I grasped the front and slowly, gently turned it 90°, till it was against the wall, and out of everybody’s way.  The senior’s hand and wrist moved with it.  Now the two dreamers woke up and headed out of the store.  The darling little old lady looked up in surprise and said, “Oh, was I blocking the aisle?  I’m so sorry.  I apologise!”, because that’s what thoughtful, well-mannered people do.

Suddenly, like a fireworks display, the daughter started popping off.  To the friend, “Well, isn’t he aggressive?”  To me, “What’s the matter?  Are you so busy that you couldn’t wait a minute?  She’s an old lady you know, and she has mobility problems.”  At which point my wife hobbled up to the corner with her forearm crutch, where the bitch could now see her, and blasted right back at her.  “I’m an old lady too, and I also have mobility problems, and it causes me a lot of pain to have to just stand there and wait!”  Uh…yeah…well…  She was still trying to close her mouth when we walked out.

Later in the week, I went down to my usual supermarket.  It sits on a five-lane street, the center lane for left turns, everywhere except at the supermarket’s driveway, where the roads crew have painted a swoop and stop-line.  I must turn left into that store, and oncoming traffic must turn left into the side street for the EuroFood market.

I pulled over and stopped for oncoming traffic in the other lanes.  I looked up and saw a pair of seniors, older than me, coming at me.  They want to go in on the side-road….  Whoa!!  No they don’t!  He wants to go on past me to the entrance at the far end of the strip-mall.  He managed to get the car stopped just before he hit me, and then they sat there gesticulating at me.

When it was safe to do so, I pulled past them and made my left, but as I did so, the sweet little, 80-year-old wife rolled down her window and offered some verbal opinions.  I’m glad I had my windows rolled up.  When I got home I had to buff scorch marks off the passenger side of the car.  I think a taxi driver had to pull over and catch his breath.

I saw the kind, round, old Germanic face, and heard (faintly) what was coming out of it, and all I could think of was the subservient, aproned haus-frau who curtseyed, and opened the counter-weighted gate for Goldfinger, in the James Bond movie – who went all Valkyrie, and pulled out a Schmeisser machine gun on him when he tried to escape.

Entitled without being attentive, opinionated without being informed, judgemental without the faintest shred of suspicion that they may be in error – I begin to understand how wars, and jihads, and feuds, and murders come about.  It all comes back to the Ego and Insecurity.

Has someone taken you to task for something you were innocent of??  How did you handle it?  😕

While I’m asking questions….like the occasional debate as to whether to call carbonated soft-drinks Pop, Soda, or Coke (even when it’s obviously not)….I only referred to them as ‘carts’ in the body of the post, but I tagged it ‘shopping carts’, which is what I call them.  I have heard them referred to as ‘buggies’, which I think of as a baby conveyance.  At a couple of stores, I’ve heard the teenager paged to ‘go bring in the wagons.’  What do you call them?

#466

Flash Fiction #52

Chain

PHOTO PROMPT – © C. Hase

SHIFTING SANDS

I finished reading my book, and I’m bored.  I’ll have some crackers.

LINK!

I’ll make a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch.  The bread is small.  I’ll make two.

LINK!

It’s TV commercial time.  I’ll eat a few chips.

LINK!

Doctor says my cholesterol level is normal, but the weight is creeping up.

LINK!

Abdominal fat surrounds and presses on organs, adversely affecting them.  Phooey!  I’ll live forever.

LINK!

And so, like Ebenezer Scrooge, our chains of obesity are acquired.  So easily gained, forged one link at a time.  So difficult to divest ourselves of.

Cast off your chains.  Be healthy.

The above is a somewhat distressing, very personal account of the five years since I retired, still eating as I did when I worked, but no longer working.  I would not insult by pointing fingers and using the ‘Fat’ word, just a gentle reminder, and a wish for the best for all.

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

#465

Getting The Word Out

I guess I got my work ethic from both my parents.  Mom was content to just get a job and do it, in a time and place where women working outside the home, and especially in a factory, were unusual.  Once Dad got a reliable factory job, with a regular salary – paid in cash, in an envelope, every week – he often looked for other minor ways to supplement income, whatever it took to support self and family.

Like me, he’d got some secondary education, but no concrete idea of what he wanted to do with his working life.  Out of school, he worked for a year at a flour mill, then a year in the lumber industry.  He trained as a butcher, and refused to eat any fowl for the rest of his life because of how messy they were to clean.

He worked as a grocery store clerk, as a taxi driver, and then as the taxi dispatcher.  He worked as a poolroom attendant.  Not exactly glamorous, but it paid the bills.  As I was growing up, he devised several ways to supplement income.

He organized a weekly Saturday night party/dance at the local Legion, and took it from a dozen drunks who didn’t want to go home to their wives, to a couple of hundred people dancing and being entertained.  He hired the little band and sang and told jokes and made public service announcements.  It gave him and Mom a social night out, and put a few dollars into the family coffers.

He talked a printer into running him some advertising sheets for “SMITTY’S CARWASH”, and put them on posts on Main Street, and down near the beach, in the tourist area.  I could be mowing the lawn or eating lunch, and someone would roll into our driveway.  A rag, a bucket of hot soapy water, and the garden hose, and ten minutes later they had a shiny car.

Speaker

Another “Remember When” thing that he/we did, that no longer occurs because it’s been outlawed almost everywhere, was mobile public broadcasting.  He got a pair of speaker horns, attached to a sheet of plywood. We would wrestle them up, and attach them to a roof rack on a little British, Vauxhall station-wagon.   A feed cord ran from them to an amplifier in the back.  Power was supplied by a charged auto battery via a cord with alligator clips, because cars didn’t have cigarette lighters.

From when I was about 10, to 14, after I helped him set it up, I would ride with him.  He would drive, and speak into a mike.  Do one block, move to the next, and blast out the same announcement.  Up one street, and down the next, then back and forth across the town.

This was a summertime activity only, for when people were outside their non-air-conditioned houses, or the windows and doors were wide open.  There never seemed to be any dearth of clients – the town was holding a Bingo on the lawn beside the Town Hall – the Softball League had a playoff game – the Anglican Church was holding a pancake supper – the local snake-oil salesman was having a sale at his appliance store – somebody had brought Donkey Baseball to the local park – the Ladies’ Auxiliary was touting their Fish and Chips supper at the Masons’ Lodge – the circus was coming to town.

When I entered my teens, one day my Dad suggested that I take up the mike, and broadcast the spiel.  It would have been much easier for him not to have had to drive one-handed, and be able to concentrate on the road, but I was still a shy little nerd with a squeaky voice.  By the time my voice deepened a bit, and I had taken public-speaking training for assertive projection, times had changed.

This was the stone-age equivalent of social media – just without the internet, but people were waking up to the idea that they didn’t have to put up with things like spam noise pollution.  Churches in town were told to stop ringing their bells, because the faithful now had clocks, and knew when to come to worship.

The one church which had already removed its clanging bell, had replaced it with speakers on all four faces of the tower, and used them to blare out the chimes from their new electronic organ, and the entire service.  It was right across the street from a large Bed and Breakfast, as well as a 9-unit Inn.  The guests, and their hosts, strongly protested that they had the expectation of peace and quiet.

My father sold the amp and speakers.  The churches kept their bells quiet and their sermons indoors, and technology continued to create newer and better (?) ways to get the word out.  Now, if we can just pry the word out of the cell-phone-addicts’ ears.   😕

#464