HOT-DAMN HOT ROD

Mustang

Once upon a long time ago, shortly after the invention of the wheel….

One day I had to take my car in to a garage to have some work done. Back when ‘Customer Service’ was still a proven fact, and not a forgotten myth, the apprentice mechanic drove me to work and took my car back to the shop.  He, or someone else, was supposed to pick me up at 5:00 PM, when both our firms were finished for the day.

About 3 o’clock, my phone rang. They had dismantled the car, but a couple of necessary parts wouldn’t arrive till early the next morning.  I would have to leave it overnight, and find a way home and back in the next morning.

Home was almost 10 miles across town on a hot August afternoon. Walking was unthinkable.  Transit would mean over an hour, three buses, and still a good walk to the house.  I approached DORIS, a ditzy clerk, old enough to be my mother.  She lived on the same side of town, but normally took a road parallel to mine.

Sure! She could drive me home.  She was also taking Ethel, who lives near me.  At 5:00, we all left the office, and headed for the parking lot.  Doris handed me a key chain, and said, “When I’m in the car with a man, he drives.”  A little strange, but, Okay.

I know she drives a crappy Dodge Dart. The keychain she handed me was quite masculine – a blue rabbit’s foot, one die (dice), and a Ford key.  She saw me looking at it questioningly, and said, “I had to take my car in too.  I’m driving the son’s car.”

When we got to her spot, there was a new(ish) Mustang. I climbed in and fired it up, and saw a couple of reasons why she wanted me to drive.  Gearhead son bought the ‘Tang with the stock 283 cubic inch motor, but had got ahold of, and shoehorned in, a gigantic seven liter (427 C.I.) engine with 4-on-the-floor transmission.  I was raised on standards, so I was good to go.

As I backed up and pulled out, I found yet another reason. While son had installed the big motor and tranny, he hadn’t (yet) put in power steering or heavy-duty front suspension.  Here was an engine as big as Mount Rushmore, sitting over extra-wide front tires. It was like trying to steer the Titanic with a canoe paddle.

Once I got it going more or less straight, on the road home, the conversation turned to language. How could it not? I was in the car.  I mentioned that the first thing I had learned about German when I arrived, was that there are no silent letters.

I had asked a German-speaker about an Amish dish called ‘schnitz und knepp.’ I confused her by pronouncing it ‘nepp.’  This is when she told me it should be ‘kenepp.’  We had recently hired a new, young engineer, named George Kniseley.  When he came around to introduce himself, he pronounced it ‘nizely.’  I told them that, properly, it should be pronounced ‘kenizely.’

Doris said, “Who??”
“George Kniseley!”
“Who??!”
“The young engineer we just hired.  He sits upstairs, across from Bill, our chief engineer.”
“Oh, him!?  I’ve been calling him Kinsley (kins-lee) for six months, and nobody’s said a thing.”

That’s okay, Boris….uh, Doris, I’m sure he doesn’t mind.   😕

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Flash Fiction #94

Antiques

PHOTO PROMPT © Mary Shipman

HARD-TIME MACHINE

They’d spent a wonderful week at the little lakeside tourist town when he finally succumbed to curiosity about the sign. It read;

TAKE A TRIP IN A TIME MACHINE
Shuttle Leaves At
9:00AM 11:00 AM 1:00PM 3:00PM

The psychedelically-painted hippie love-bus dropped them off at a moribund factory, next to another bright sign declaring;

Welcome to Terri’s Temporal Temple
Come on in and see how your
ancestors lived 150 years ago
(And our Amish neighbors still do)

It was a cute come-on for a ratty little antique shop, but the tour was educational. Our pioneer ancestors worked hard! Vive technology!

***

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

The Fellowship Of The Blog – Episode Seven

Day 4/Part 1 – I Shoulda Stood In Bed

Cordelia’s Mom was a joy to visit.  We would do it again in a heartbeat; in fact we may do so, next year, on a weekend, so that we could also meet Cordelia, her Dad, and her sister.  Buffalo is only a two-hour drive, as opposed to four, for Detroit.  But the primary goal of this trip was always to meet John Erickson, especially after his recent, uncharacteristic, internet silence.

Online maps said that it was an hour and a half, from our motel to John’s place.  Add slowdown because of road construction, and the possibility (Certainty!) of getting lost, and it might take three hours.  Allow time for meet and greet, and another four-hour drive to Detroit – it was going to be a lonnng day, so we were up and ready to leave early.

I lamented to the checkout clerk that there was no way to get around the potential traffic jam.  “Oh sure there is.  Just go to the edge of town and turn north on Ohio 23.  It’ll take you right to Newcomerstown.”  Sure enough, the flat print map showed a gently curving line, sweeping at a tangent, right to where we wanted to go.

The Map is not the Territory.  I’d have done better, both on the car, and on the wife, to have chanced the backup on the Interstate.  Any resemblance between Ohio 23, and an actual highway, was purely coincidental.  The optimistic hour and a half stretched to well over two hours.  Not once in that time did I drive the car faster than 40 MPH.

The Golden Dragon roller-coaster at Six Flags might have had more twists, and stomach-turning, heart-stopping plunges.  The only thing that narrow little road didn’t have, was a loop-the-loop, and I’m not entirely certain of that.  The poor wife was shaken and rattled in every arthritic joint.  She ached!

Miss GPS was having another snit because I insisted on taking the back road.  She wouldn’t even RECALCULATE, and kept insisting that I return to the Interstate, so we turned her off.  As we slid under I-77, and neared John’s house, I turned her back on again.

“Turn right on Highway 21, and immediately left on County road 49.”  Well, that might take us in the back way, but I know that John lives just off Highway 93, so I proceeded further west.  Sure enough, in 3 more kilometers, she said, “Turn right on 93, and proceed 7.2 km.”  There, she ordered me to, “Turn left on Highway 2.”  It was a gravel road, barely wide enough for an Amish wagon, so I proceeded further north – till the paved highway ran out, and I turned onto the far end of “Highway 2.”

Lost and Confused Signpost

 

 

 

If I thought I was lost yesterday, the Hell was just beginning.  Already off ‘the paved road’, we soon left gravel again for a dirt road, and finally, in the middle of a ten or twelve mile loop, drove across an acre of grass field, with two ruts in it.  If the Amish drive their buggies this way, they have to use mares or geldings, because a stallion would high-center.  All I could hear was my new $400 muffler going clang, clang, clang.

We finally reached paved road again, the correct paved road, as it happens.  I turned north, and soon reached a church and a cheese factory which I knew were north of John.  Turn around and head south again, soon we finally reached John’s little cluster of houses.

After three hours without a rest stop, both of us had to go – badly.  There’s no There, there.  I pulled in, and asked the lady who runs the two-pump gas station/convenience store/bait, tackle, and hunting shop, about a public washroom.  She just looked at me strangely, until the bearded stunt co-ordinator for Duck Dynasty explained to her that, “Some peoples is got they privies inside t’ buildin’s.”

Rednecks

 

 

 

 

With the possible exception of BrainRants, I swear never to turn off the paved road again.  These folks are so off the beaten track, that Friday the thirteenth doesn’t occur until Sunday.  A lot of them are happy when they reach 21 – because not just everyone’s IQ goes that high out there.  When John and his wife moved in, the average rose considerably, but the same could be said about a load of pumpkins.

After the pit stop, we met John and his wife at their impressive country mansion, and were warmly welcomed, but that, again, is a story for another day.  We left John’s place and turned south on 93.  It did not, at all, resemble the road we’d driven north on.  It did resemble the Highway 93 I’d used Google Street-View to research.

When we popped back out onto the east/west feeder highway, I turned back east and, only a couple of miles up the road, I found County Road 93.  This was the one that Evil Ethel Snitfit had led me astray on.  Way to go, Ohio, put two roads, both numbered 93, right beside each other.  No wonder Rants badmouths Nohio.  😦

 

The Fellowship Of The Blog – Episode Two

 

Jailbird

 

 

 

 

Before I set even one foot onto the WordPress savannah, to begin this meet-the-bloggers safari, I found that I was being treated like a criminal – an alleged criminal, a might-be criminal. What’s worse is, I have to admit that it’s valid.

The first stop on our trip will be a short visit with Cordelia’s Mom, in the Buffalo area. Like me, she had Cordelia, a daughter who already had a blog site.  Like me, her daughter pushed her in front of a blog-bus on the information super-highway.

Since Shimoniac and I are both about as dangerous to anyone, male or female, as a stuffed Tickle Me Elmo doll, I naively assumed we might meet at the home of one or the other. Not so!  We’re online daters, not to be trusted till we prove we can be.  We will wisely be met at a very public place.

As CM noted, “It’s not as if the writer of a long-established blogsite would turn out to be an axe-murderer.” but there are other disturbing possibilities.  I realise that it’s just as true for us.  If Shim and I follow Hansel and Gretel into the gingerbread house, we might end up being sold to white slavers.  If so, it better be by the pound.  If I cease posting, you’ll know that colonoscopy thing was just for practice.

Actually, since this trip is planned to last five days, I won’t be posting anything till early next week. Don’t despair, and please return then.

After most of a day and a night in Buffalo, we plan to wend our merry way through the Amish Paradise of eastern Ohio, to the country mansion of the Baron of the Blogsites, John Erickson. John has been off the air since about the middle of July.  Repeated emails from both AFrankAngle and me have produced no response, either from John, or his wife.  We fear the worst, but hope for the best.

While I don’t have permission to just show up, I still plan to stop by his place unannounced, to see if we can get some information. So John, if you’re reading this, that’s not the Fuller Brush man, or Avon, knocking on your door.  Failing contact with J.E. or Mrs E, I have a letter I plan to leave, telling of all our love and how we miss him, and urging him to rejoin our community.

I thought John, and perhaps his wife, might like to accompany us to the knife show just to his south, and possibly over to see the Y-shaped bridge in Zanesville, and a couple of strange S-shaped bridges nearby.

Y-bridge

 

 

 

S-bridge

 

 

**

The best-laid plans never survive the first contact with reality. The greatest chance of any success is to adapt, as much and as quickly as possible.

The son booked all three of his weeks of holidays in the summer “shutdown”, when it’s really hot in the plastics molding plant. He asked for a week of leave-of-absence for this trip.  In previous years, others have asked and were quickly granted.  After five weeks of no answer, he was suddenly told by the plant super, that they are just starting a new, large contract, and his leave was denied.  The curse of being indispensible.

In all previous references to Shimoniac, and subsequently, please read, Granma LadyBug. The wife is stocking up on antihistamines and accompanying me for an abbreviated trip.

The day we wish to leave, Cordelia has an unbreakable business meeting. We will be met instead by Cordelia’s Mom, and her mother-in-law.  While BrainRants says he’d like to meet, he has urgent family affairs to handle this weekend.  Perhaps another time….  We can only hope to find the reckless recluse, John Erickson.  This thing is coming apart faster than wet Kleenex.

We’re about to leave, carrying another $3.18 in orphaned American coinage, but promise to return with fabulous tales of genies, and Rocs, and flying carpets…. wait, that’s already been done. Whatever stories I return with, they’ll be brilliant.  See you soon.   😀

Flash Fiction #12

copyright-adam-ickes

Humor With Impact

I didn’t often receive packages here at my little accounting office.  I didn’t remember ordering any supplies, yet, here was Mr. FredEx, with a basketball-sized parcel.  What could it be?  There’s a note on top.

“Dear Brother;

I found this at a yard sale the other day and thought of you.  Find a place to display it.  Just a reminder that you’ll always be my favorite ButtHead.

Your loving sister

Nancy”

Ha, ha, very funny.  I’d been subjected to this type of humor for years.  The Amish, at the Pioneer Museum, sell hand-made brooms.  Perhaps turnabout is fair play – Witch.

 

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

Fruit Salad

Not to be confused with White Lady In The Hood’s poke salad, this is just an excuse for another little serving of a bit of this and a bit of that, with some humor dressing.

If KayJai goes back to Chatham, Ontario to visit friends and family, she’s going to find that she’s got some new neighbors.  A Fundamentalist Jewish sect from near Montreal, has been ordered to surrender 14 children, from two months to 16 years of age, to Child Welfare Services, on charges of neglect and abuse.  Instead of doing so, 200 of them moved 500 miles west, into a new province.

The newspaper article does not say how many families are involved, but 14 children were from only two families.  Even more so than our local Mennonites and Amish, they wish to do things the modest, old-fashioned way, a claim validated by photos, black clothing, hats, ankle-length skirts on girls, clunky shoes, adult females swathed in black blanket-like wraps, covering half their faces.

Most of the members speak only Yiddish and/or Hebrew. Despite this, and their declared dedication to a simple life, they have an English-language website.

The son has a young male temp at his shop who is white.  Not an albino, but the guys agree that he looks like he lives in his mom’s basement and eats chalk.  He is as white as the Elf, Legolas, from the Lord of the Rings movies.  If you built a child’s toy blocks replica of him, it would be a Lego Legolas.  If you broke the bottom off the figure, it would be a legless Lego Legolas.

The son insists that, if you read and inflect the following eight words correctly, they form a coherent sentence.  Anybody want to try? Buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo; buffalo buffalo buffalo.  Translation provided upon request.

The local Traffic Department seems to have been working overtime to further F**k things up.  There are two spots, one a mile to my east, another, a mile to my west, where small subdivision streets come out to meet the main thoroughfares.  In both cases, they do so at a tee intersection, and at the top of a hill.

The Works Department has installed a (partial) set of lights at each.  The main road faces the lights, but there are none on the side streets.  With reduced sightlines, it is surprising enough to have someone make a right turn in front of oncoming vehicles, but panic can ensue when lines of traffic are rushing up the hill, with a green light and the right-of-way – never faster than the 40MPH limit of course – and have some asshat little jackrabbit driver perform a perfectly legal, but highly unsafe, left turn, in front of four lanes of traffic.

Many bus stops were located just before intersections.  Apparently there has been much complaint about drivers not being able to make right turns on green lights, so, with agreement from the Transit Department, many of the stops have been moved to the other side of the intersections.  Now, the buses go through the lights, and immediately stop – and traffic backs up behind them, right across the intersections, despite regulations about not entering unless you are sure you can clear.

Even after the lights turn red, and there is no following traffic, the sheep refuse to pull out and pass the bus, and just sit there and wait for it to proceed.  Thanx Traffic Department, I see how this new system is so much better.

A local city councillor has chosen a strange hobbyhorse to ride.  He was quoted in the paper recently, railing against the proliferation of used clothing donation bins around the city.  I agree with most of his rants.  They are everywhere, beside corner stores, in mall parking lots, sometimes two and three, side by side.

They’re often overflowing.  There are often boxes of wet books and magazines, broken toys, even old black and white TVs, beside them.  This guy wants to licence and restrict them.  (Doesn’t every politician?)  He wants to get the names and addresses of all these charities, so that they can be notified and held responsible for cleaning up the mess.

I’m with him through most of that – right until he gets to the word “charity.”  Just because the word “donation” appears on these bins, doesn’t make them the property of any charity, except for the odd Salvation Army one.

Almost all are owned and placed by commercial companies.  They take the used clothing that you throw in.  They sort it out, and anything worth reselling is shipped to a third-world country.  When your raw material is free, even sorting, shipping and sale at pennies on the dollar means you can turn a tidy profit.

The next time you see some kid on television after the tsunami in Malaysia, or typhoon in Bangladesh, wearing an AC/DC concert tee, just like you used to own, it doesn’t mean he’s got the same shitty taste in music you do.  That’s your old shirt!  The unsalable balance is ripped to pieces, and winds up at places like my son’s plant, in fifty-pound bales of rags, again, turning a further profit.

If you’ve been putting clothing in these boxes, thinking it goes to underprivileged kids, or homeless people, you may want to think again.  Then again, maybe not.  We occasionally donate used clothing and other household goods to either Muscular Dystrophy, or Juvenile Diabetes.  They call us and tell us when they’ll be in the neighborhood with a truck for pick-up.

Okay, the meds are kicking in.  You may want to take some now – or a three-martini lunch.  I hope you’ve all had a good Christmas, and we look forward to New Years.

Stuff You Should Know

 

Vegetarian is an ancient tribal name for the village idiot, who can’t hunt, fish, or start a fire.

The crap that gullible people believe, coupled with thought processes that make a plate of spaghetti look neat and well organized, have led to some of the strangest, often dangerous, shit.  In the Middle Ages, the cognoscenti, the intelligent, educated (?) men noticed that ferns never produced seeds….and yet, ferns grew, and multiplied.  Therefore….Careful!  Don’t hurt yourself on this….fern seeds were invisible.  If you could find and gather enough of these seeds that couldn’t be seen, and ate them, you would become invisible too.  Can you say Dark Ages, or Inquisition??!  Or Westboro, or just Duh!

Once upon a time, (Wasn’t this week!) people had respect for themselves and others, and various institutions.  Perhaps society was a bit too restrictive, and change was an improvement, but the pendulum swung too far the other way.  I blame the hippie generation.  With the best of intentions, they tore society down, but failed to put up anything in its place, and society needs structure.

If it feels good, do it.  Like my young senator, they weren’t doing anything that their parents hadn’t done, but, you damned young fools, that’s what doors are for.  I believe this was the beginning of the downfall of the education system, no penalties, no failures, no need to work.  Spell it as it sounds.

Back then, only criminals committed criminal acts, and if caught, went to jail for them.  One did not break into neighbors’ houses, or steal or vandalize their cars.  One did not steal from neighbor-owned businesses….but, the wheel has turned, and society has changed.

Cities have grown larger, and more impersonal.  Companies are not owned by us, so there are more and more among us who are willing and anxious to steal from and damage them.  Then, if they get caught they blame parents who didn’t raise them well, and teachers who didn’t understand them, and claim they are the victims of some plot.  They’re not criminals!  Give them a GPS anklet and six months of house arrest.

Businesses have had to modify their buildings to reduce loss and shrinkage, two words that mean being stolen from by outsiders, and being stolen from by employees.  Many stores are now laid out so that you can’t get back out the door you came in.

On a trip to South Carolina, the wife and I shopped for groceries at a Piggly-Wiggly store, simply because we’d heard Jeff Foxworthy make fun of them on his comedy albums.  We found out that the entrance doors had no motion sensor on the inside.  As we approached them from the outside, they slid open for us, and a young man lugging a hockey bag zipped out past us, with the head cashier and store manager in hot pursuit through the exit doors.

He’d been spotted on the closed-circuit, dropping meat into the bag.  They were going to approach him, when he used us to facilitate his getaway.  They chased him into the parking lot, but he got into a car and got away.  We got the manager as a bag-boy as we checked out, and I asked what happened.  They had good video shots of him from several cameras, and they got his license number.  The manager said the state troopers would probably be waiting for him by the time he got home.

The same kind of thing happened out near Benzeknees, but the pursuers were too impetuous.  When the thief drove off, he struck and killed a clerk.

Many Canadian stores, including my cheap newspaper favorite, are installing double-bar systems.  As you enter, pushing on the outer bar allows you to open the inner bar.  They’re almost impossible to reach over the inner bar from inside the store, to get the outer bar to release it, and allow egress.

Recently, as the wife and I entered to pick up (and pay for) a few items, we were met by a pair of shoplifting Nuns.  Actually, they had used the pharmacy, which is located at the entrance end of the building.  Since they had nothing else to purchase, they wanted to exit at the nearest door.  We had to explain to them that they would have to go to the other end and show their paid-for packages to a cashier, to sidle out past shoppers checking out.  Neither of them was toting a hockey bag.

Sixteen Amish in eastern Ohio were convicted of hate crimes.  The leader of a strict, break-away sect apparently was miffed that other Amish did not follow him.  Declaring that some of the non-followers were not pious enough, he ordered his sons, and some of their friends, to break into homes in the middle of the night.  Men were pulled from bed, and their beards were cut off.  The two to three-foot long hair of women was lopped off, sometimes down to the scalp.

The suspects argued that the Amish are bound by different rules, guided by their religion, and that the government had no place getting involved in what amounted to a family or church dispute.  It’s the, “My religion is better than your laws.” all over again.  Other Amish testified that the religious teachings and methods of punishment of the firebrand ideologue deviated from standard Amish traditions.

The season of festivals/drive the daughter places, is upon me.  Last Saturday I took her to her BarterWorks meet.  This Saturday will be the Cherry Park Festival.  The wife was busy tonight, pouring beeswax candles for her.  Sunday is a 50 mile drive to visit the crazy cat lady.  Next Saturday will be an Anti-Violence Festival in the big Victoria Park, and Sunday we will visit our friends at the Free Thinkers meeting.  Since the son is doing a week of day shift at work, perhaps he might wish to join us.  I’ll keep you updated, whether you want to be or not.