’18 A To Z Challenge – W

Get Off My Lawn

Old Man

I write ‘old,’ because I am old, but also because I read even older writings when I was young.  I love the new technology (what I can understand of it), but I miss the grace, style and solemnity of bygone days, and bygone manners, and bygone speech.  When/because I was younger, I never had the opportunity to call someone a

Whippersnapper

Now that I am old enough to do so, life and language have moved on, and I have missed my chance.  I might as well speak of button-hooks, or buggy-whips, or Marcel hair treatments.  People would regard me even more strangely than they already do.

‘Whippersnapper’ is a word which has been used since the 17th century. The word can be used in two different contexts. One, it refers to a person who is very lazy and has no ambitions. The other context is used to denote young people who live on the streets and are indulged in wrong practices. However, the usage and meaning of the word changed over time. Now, it is used for a person who is very confident, or for a child who keeps questioning.

Nowadays, society moves so fast that many of us don’t have, or take, the time to actually say or write things.  OMG!  For those who deserve this epithet, (and they are numerous, and greatly deserving) I will have to settle for a firmly applied “Asshole,” or a solid smack with an appropriate acronym (PITA = Pain In The Ass), or Emoji. Thumbs Down

Old Stuff – Part 4

Nun

As the youngest of nine Catholic children, the wife’s two oldest siblings, through no fault of their own, both became nuns. The eldest rather vainly insisted one day, that she was not 20 years older.  Careful calculation revealed it was only 19 years, 11 months and 17 days.

Not being terribly Catholic, I knew that priests moved from parish to parish as needed, but thought that nuns more or less served where they enrolled, or were sent where needed – and left there. Watching these two women over the years, I was amazed at the frequent-flyer miles they racked up.  Join a convent, and see the world.  If I’d known that there was this much free world travel, I’d have become a nun.

They both became School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND). The younger of the two was a better administrator, so she got more trips.  She was sent for two years to Le Pas, Manitoba, to organize a school district for Aboriginals, although that was more cruel and unusual punishment than reward.  She went for six months of missionary work to Ecuador – in our winter.  She flew to Rome, to the Vatican, where she met the then-Pope, and spent six months with a world-wide think-tank group.  She was brevetted to Mississippi for two years to reorganize their Catholic school system.

After several years of break-in period at a local Catholic girls’ school, the elder sister went to work at the Mother House in the Hamilton Diocese, which administers most of Southern Ontario. Not exactly world travel, it’s only an hour’s drive away and, if nuns owned cars, she could have commuted home each evening.

She returned after a couple of years, and worked as an aide at the Catholic School Board offices. Finally she was awarded a real trip.  While her younger sister, the Sister, spent six months in Ecuador, she was parachuted into the jungles of El Salvador.  She returned to Canada, and spent another couple of years at the Hamilton Mother House.

She so impressed upper management with her rigid, assertive attitude, that they offered her a five year post as a house mother to about twenty teenaged Catholic girls at an upscale private school in London, England. These were the privileged daughters of ambassadors and minor foreign royalty.

The boarding house, along with its convent and school, were hundreds of years old. With solid stone outers, there wasn’t much need for interior repair and redecorating.  The dining hall had gorgeous oak wainscoting on the lower halves of the walls.  Oxidization and polish had turned it almost black, but the grain still glowed beneath the shine.

The same oxidation eventually deteriorated the plaster walls and ceiling and it was finally decided to redo them. The Sister watched in dismay, as the glorious wood was pried off the wall and thrown away.  As the tradesmen worked, suddenly something fell from between the wood and the wall, and rolled almost to her feet.

When she examined it, it was a very thin coin. At first, she thought it might be something one of the girls had inserted, a toy, like Monopoly money.  A closer look revealed that, as thin and worn as it was, it was a real coin.  It is still a prevalent practice around the world to add a coin to a new building or addition for good luck.

Knowing that I collected coins, she held it until she returned to Canada and gave it to me. Study reveals that it is an Edward II, short-cross, silver sixpence, minted between 1547 and 1552 – Eddie didn’t rule very long – back then coins often weren’t dated.

From the wear on it, it probably didn’t get hidden till near 1600, but it gives you an idea how long ago the building was erected. Because of the wear, it’s worth ‘only’ about $25 today, but would have had about that level of buying power when it was minted.  Someone was serious about this one.  It was more than mere pocket change.

At over 450 years old, it’s the oldest thing I own. I’ve also included a few photos of my older, 1850 – 1900 Canadian coins, including a couple that were minted before the government got around to producing coinage, and allowed individual banks to issue their own.

For those who can’t see the detail, Tails side first;

Pre-1858 Bank of     Bank of Upper    Two-headed 1965
Montreal token        Canada token      Churchill commemorative
one sou.                      one penny            crown

Edward VI                 Hanover                Victorian penny
short cross               love token              186?
sixpence                   penny equal

cci_000018

cci_000017

Flash Fiction #118

trading-post

PHOTO PROMPT © Jean L. Hays

FADED GLORY

Two hunnerd years ago, there’d be 20,000 buffalo out there. It’d take ‘em all day to amble past.

150 years ago, it’d be 10,000 head of cattle bunchin’ up, to be driven to Chicago.

Almost a hunnerd years ago, they built this here ROOT 66, ta get from Chi-town, out to Californie.  Any given day, there’d be 5,000 cars passin’, lots faster than buffalo or cattle.  Enough of them stopped here, to make this place a gold mine. “Last chance for gas for 100 miles.”

Them glory days is done. Nowadays, it’s tough to get a tumbleweed to stop here.

***

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

 

Flash Fiction # 110

sewing-machine

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

LOOKIN’ SEW GOOD

Grandma had the best legs in town. (That didn’t sound creepy or perverted, did it?)

I asked her one time how she kept them so trim and muscular. With nine kids, she saved money by making clothes on the old, treadle sewing machine.

Grandpa saved, and finally bought her an electric model. The first time the power failed, the old antique got lugged back down from the attic.  “Besides,” grandma explained, “that wimpy little motor can’t handle leather or denim.  How do you think I got the most gorgeous gams?”

Grandpa just grinned.
I think I need some brain bleach.

***

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

 

Easy Money

American money

There was a mean boss in a factory.
The boss liked to watch the workers.
He wanted the workers to work hard.
One morning the boss came to the factory at nine o’clock. A man was drinking coffee.
The boss came back at nine thirty.
The man was still drinking coffee.
The boss was angry. “How much do you make a week?” he asked the man.
“Three hundred dollars.” the man said.
The boss gave the man three hundred dollars.
“Take the money and get out of here!” he said.
Then the boss asked another worker: “What was that man’s job?”
“He doesn’t work here”, the worker said, “He came to pick up a package.”

***

A Rabbi, a Hindu Monk, and a lawyer are driving down the road when their car breaks down in the middle of nowhere.
Spotting a farmhouse they walk over and tell the farmer they need a place to stay the night while they wait for a tow.
“I’ve got room in the house for two of you but someone’s gonna have to sleep in the barn.” says the farmer.
The Rabbi says, “I’ve no problem with that, I’ll go.” He leaves.
Five minutes later there’s a knock on the door. The farmer opens the door and the Rabbi is there.
He says, “Sir there is a pig in that barn; in my religion pigs are unclean, I cannot sleep under the same roof with a pig.”
The Monk speaks up and says, “I have no problem with pigs I’ll go sleep in the barn.” He leaves.
Five minutes later there’s a knock on the door. The farmer opens the door and the Monk is here.
“Sir there is a cow in that barn; in my religion cows are sacred, I cannot sleep under the same roof with a cow.
The lawyer responds, “I’ll go sleep in the barn, I’ve got no religion.” He leaves.
Five minutes later there’s a knock on the door. The farmer opens the door and the pig and the cow are standing there.

***

A: Why are you late?
B: There was a man who lost a hundred dollar bill.
A: That’s nice. Were you helping him look for it?
B: No, I was standing on it.

***

Becky: Simon, your father is a teacher but you can’t read and write.
Simon: So, your father is a dentist but your little brother Bill still has no teeth.

***

An art collector is walking through London looking for a Christmas present, when he notices a mangy cat lapping milk from a saucer in the doorway of a shop. He does a double take when he notices that the saucer is extremely old and very valuable, so he walks casually into the store and offers to buy the cat for two pounds.
The shop owner replies, “I’m sorry, but the cat isn’t for sale.” The collector says, “Please, I need a hungry cat around the house to catch mice. I’ll pay you twenty pounds for it.” And the owner says, “Sold,” and hands over the cat.
The collector continues, “For twenty quid, I wonder if you could throw in that old saucer. The cat’s used to it and it’ll save me having to get a dish.”
The owner says, “Sorry, but that’s my lucky saucer. So far this week I’ve sold sixty-eight cats.”

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.