’19 A To Z Challenge – Q

AtoZ2019letter-q

 

 

 

 

 

 

I once lived next door to a bootlegger.

Now that I’ve put up the attention-grabbing click-bait for the WordPress reader, this post will be about

QUILTS

and a bunch of other things. Wear your hiking shoes. This will be a longer trek than usual.

Mennonite

I live in the middle of Mennonite territory. With no TV, quilting is a way of life, and financial support. When I first came to town, I lived for about a year and a half, in a boarding house, run by a New Order Mennonite woman. She bought it with, “a settlement from my husband.” Like a lady’s age, I never asked if it was through death or divorce.

It was not unusual, especially in the winter, to come home to find the table pushed over to the edge of the huge, old kitchen, and four tiddly women, – her, her mother, and two friends from up the street – a couple of empty, home-made elderberry wine bottles and four crystal sherry glasses, in front of a quilting frame.

My father used to go out for 2 or 3 hours in the evenings, Monday to Friday. Back before TV, my mother made me a quilt, all by herself, with no frame. It kept me warm in bed, in our old, drafty, hard-to-heat house. How I wish I still had it! She also used to take threadbare clothing and bed sheets, tear them in strips, braid them into a ‘rope,’ and sew it together into an oval floor mat, to keep my feet warm on cold mornings.

The old lady’s house was at the bottom of a steep, block-long hill. There was a stop sign, at a one-way street. With the main street easily visible, a short block ahead, surprising numbers of drivers just didn’t stop. We had an accident a week, and a serious accident every month.

My brother rented parking on a tiny driveway on the uphill side. He left to go home one summer Friday afternoon. He had not been gone an hour, when there was a screech, and a huge crash. I looked out my front window, to see a car parked in his spot – upside-down.

The old lady complained about having to rake, and clean leaves out of the eaves trough, from the two stout Maple trees that stood on either side of the front door. I asked why she didn’t have them taken down. She replied, “Have you seen the scars on those trees??! If they weren’t there, one of those cars would be in your bedroom.”

It was a rough section of town back then – drunks, druggies, hookers. A prospering bootlegger lived the other side of the one-way street. One evening he accompanied a good customer out to the sidewalk – just as there was another terrific car crash, only, this time, the upside-down car was deflected his way, and crushed him.

Recently, with the installation of the LRT street railroad, and urban renewal, that old, brick, century-home has been turned into a Pupuseria, an El Salvadoran restaurant serving meat-and-cheese stuffed corn pancakes. I went in one day, to see if it was worth taking the wife to, and got into a conversation with the owner. (Of course I did!)

I mentioned that I had lived across the street, a half-century before, and told him about the bootlegger and his death. A little light went on. When they were moving in, and had to clean out the basement for their own storage, there had been hundreds of empty beer, wine, and liquor bottles.

Quilt 1

But, back to the quilts. The local Mennonites have organized a Mennonite Relief Committee to raise money for less fortunate Mennonites, especially in South America. They have a second-hand, recycling store, but their biggest money-maker is the annual spring quilt auction.

Quilt 3 (2)

Well-to-do people come from all over the world to bid, both in person, and now, online. These quilts draw fabulous prices, especially the winner of the judging contest, which can go for $10,000 or more.

Quilt 2
This year’s featured quilt at the New Hamburg Mennonite Relief Sale, Little Brown Church, has been described as a giant puzzle with more than 3,000 pieces.

Quilting

Flash Fiction #206

Angels

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

WE STAND ON GUARD

Okay, gentlemen – and ladies, Mardi Gras is still a couple of months away, so this will be our first, get-to-know New Orleans tour. We will be focussing on safety – ways that people can hurt themselves.

Are there potholes where someone might trip and fall in front of a float? Is there a loose power pole, or low-hanging wires? Are there steep brick steps leading to the street, from a bar that’s overstocked with liquor? Is there a tree that some drunken moron might climb to view the parade?

Stay sharp! It will be a busy week for us Guardian angels.

***

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

friday-fictioneers-badge-web

Hot Dog

Hot dog

A man was eating a hotdog….. A woman with a small dog walked up to sit in another bench across from the man. Immediately the little dog began to bark at the man while he ate.  The man asked “Would you mind if I throw him a bit?”  ”Not at all.” the woman replied.  The man picked up the dog and tossed him over a wall.

***

I bumped into an old school friend today.  He started showing off, talking about his well paid job and expensive sports car.  Then he pulled out a photo of his wife and said, “She’s beautiful, isn’t she?”  I said, “If you think she’s gorgeous, you should see my girlfriend.”  He said, “Why? Is she a stunner?”  I said, “No, she’s a fucking optician.”

***

A black student goes to his Mom and says, “I have the biggest dick in the third grade.  Is that because I’m black?”  She says, “No, that’s because you’re 19.”

***

My wife and I were woken up at 3AM by loud banging on our door. I got up, opened the door and there was a drunken stranger standing in the pouring rain, asking for a push. “Are you insane man?!!? It’s 3 in the morning!!” I screamed, slamming the door and stormed back to bed…

“Who was that?” asked my wife.”  Just some drunk asking for a push.” I grumbled. “Did you help him?” she asked. “No, I did NOT! It’s 3AM and it’s pouring rain! ”Well, you’ve a short memory.” she said. “Don’t you remember three months ago when we broke down and those two guys helped us? You should be ashamed of yourself! Now get out there and help him! “She had a point, and angrily, I got dressed and went out into the darkness, calling out, “Hello, are you still there?”  ”Yes.”  “Do you still need a push?” ”Yes please.” ”Where are you?”  ”Over here…on the swing.”

***

Dad and Son are in the living room when dad’s feet get cold. “Get my slippers from upstairs” he says. While upstairs Son sees two of his sister’s friends, so he goes up to both of them, “My Dad told me to come up here and fuck both of you”.
”You’re lying” they retort.
“Okay, I’ll prove it then, Dad, did you say both of them?”
”What’s the point of fucking one?”

***

THE $100 TATTOO

Eric gets home late one night and Sarah, his wife, asks “Where the hell have you been” Eric replies “I’ve been out getting a tattoo”
“A tattoo?” She frowned. “What kind of tattoo did you get?”
“I got a hundred dollar bill on my privates” he said proudly.
“What the hell were you thinking?” she asked, shaking her head in disgust. “Why on earth would an Accountant get a hundred dollar bill tattooed on his privates?”
“Well one, I like to watch my money grow. Two, once in a while I like to play with my money. Three, I like how my money feels in my hand. And lastly, instead of you going out shopping, you can stay right here at home and blow a 100 bucks any time you want”

***

Three intransitive verbs walk into a bar.  They sit.  They drink.  They leave.

***

Government Philosophy: If it ain’t broke, fix it ’till it is.  😦  😯

 

Smitty’s Loose Change #5

Smitty's Loose Change

Everybody’s always got something to add.
I recently saw this list of women’s names

Ann
Anne
Annes
Anais
Anna
Anni
Ani
Annie
Annika
Agnieszka

Ann is a good solid English name taken from the Hebrew Hannah, and means ‘kind, helpful.’ The French language insists that all nouns have gender, and makes Ann feminine by adding an ‘e’ to make Anne. Welsh speakers must think that there’s more than one, because, to them, it becomes Annes (annis). At least one Spanish-Cuban/French woman also pronounced her name annis, but spelled it Anais. Languages like German and Spanish have no silent letters, so the ‘e’ is pronounced, and Anne soon becomes Anna. Languages like Italian converted it to Anni, all except for the unfortunately-named, Italian-American singer, Ani DiFranco.  The construction rules of the original Latin say that one is an anusani means ‘many assholes.’ Some people can’t just leave it short and simple.  A landlady of ours had a son she wisely named Paul, but insisted on calling him Paulie.  I thought she had a parrot.  English soon had females named Annie. Languages like Swedish and Dutch can be poly-syllabic to indicate diminutive and feminine, and the name became Annika. Polish is a ‘busy’ language.  It took Annika, and married it to the similar Greek name Agnew, to create Agnieszka, which, aside from meaning ‘kind and helpful,’ also means ‘little lamb.’

***

Every time I open my mouth, some damned idiot starts talking.

***

After only 5 ½ years at this blogging thing, I finally achieved 1000 followers on April 22nd – and again on April 24thand, once more on April 25th.  WordPress has been doing some home redecorating, and the previous two weeks were inexplicably up and down.  I’d go to bed with 998, and get up to 997.  999?  No, still just 998.  😀  Finally, the magic number was reached.

I thanked and congratulated the gent who finally broke the bank….and got up the next day to 999 again. Twice more it happened before I got two followers in one day, and haven’t looked back.  I’d kinda like to know why.  Were my followers dying, – getting kicked off WordPress – or intentionally un-following me?  I know, don’t ask questions you don’t want to know the answer to.

***

In my blog-post Words, I included the word ‘lagniappe’.  Recently, a little 10-page, throw-away community newspaper has added a food and cooking column.  The author has titled it; La Yapa –Bolivian phrase for that little extra gift given in gratitude by market vendors.  I noticed the common linguistic ancestor.  Did you?

***

For our ‘Good Christian’ friends, Mark Twain said that; It’s easier to fool someone, than to convince them that they have been fooled.

The English surname ‘Bullard’ means – son of a monk or priest.

***

Recently, at about 2:30 AM, my son’s cell phone vibrated to an incoming message. Sent from a phone with a number one digit higher than his, the screen read, “Hi, I’m your text-door neighbor.”  That’s one random way of meeting new people.  I think I still prefer the drunken butt-dial.

***

[Ouг ϲompany camе to the һealth center (which believeѕ that a resort), obtaineɗ cheϲked in, carried սpstɑirs and into οur room. I entered into HUGELУ large moo moo as well as craԝled into the mattreѕs … it waѕ actually meаns ahead of time to be in that bedrоom.Тime, ϲoming from this aspect on, apρeared to crаwl and also go bananas swiftly all concurrently. It crawled coming from facet from yᥱarning for the dаy to become over and also would like to bbe back with our little bit of guy again, as well aѕ it went bananas fast due to the fact that once points stаrted, there was no stopping!]

After insisting that I never receive any interesting spam comments, I downloaded the above, whose occasional strangely sized and shaped letters do not publish as they originally showed.  I fail to see how anyone would think that an excerpt from an illiterate account of a young family’s trip could induce anyone to open it, or access the site.

I won’t waste the time, but I could have some fun correcting all the spelling, punctuation and construction errors.  I do think that it would be a great prompt for a short-story post.  Anybody want to have a go at a Flash Fiction-type challenge and finish it?    😕

Adaptability (Humor In Business)

SITUATION ADAPTABILITY EVALUATION
FOR MANAGEMENT PERSONNEL

This test has been designed to evaluate reactions of management personnel to various situations.  The situations are based on actual case studies from a well-known educational institution, and represent a cross-section of test data, correlated to evaluate both reaction time to difficult situations, as well as the soundness of each decision selected.

There are 8 multiple choice questions.  Read each question thoroughly.  Place an X by the answer you feel is most correctly justified by the circumstances given.  Be prepared to justify your decision.

You have 4 minutes.

Do not begin answering the questions until you are told to do so.

1.  You have prepared a proposal for the Regional Director of Purchasing for your largest customer.  The success of this presentation will mean increasing your sales to his company by 200%.  In the middle of your proposal, the customer leans over to look at your report, and spits into your coffee. You:

(a) Tell him you prefer you coffee black.
(b)  Ask to have him checked for communicable diseases.
(c)  Take a leak in his ‘OUT’ basket.

2. You are having lunch with a prospective customer, talking about what could be your biggest sale of the year. During the conversation, a blonde walks into the restaurant, and she is so stunning that you draw your companion’s attention to her, and give a vivid description of what you would do if you had her alone in your motel room. She walks over to your table and introduces herself as your client’s daughter. Your next move is to:

(a) Ask for her hand in marriage.
(b) Pretend you’ve forgotten how to speak English.
(c) Repeat the conversation to the daughter, and just hope for the best.

3.  You are making a sales presentation to a group of corporate executives in the plushest office you’ve ever seen. The hot enchilada casserole and egg salad sandwich you had for lunch react, creating a severe pressure. Your sphincter loses its control, and you break wind in a most convincing manner, causing three tumblers to shatter, and a secretary to pass out. What you should do next is:

(a) Offer to come back next week, when the smell has gone away.
(b) Point to their CEO, and accuse him of the offense.
(c) Challenge anyone in the room to do better.

4.  You are at a business lunch, when you are suddenly overcome with an uncontrollable need to pick your nose. Remembering that this is definitely a NO-NO. You:

(a) Pretend to wave to somebody across the room and, with one fluid motion, bury your forefinger in your nose up to the 4th joint.
(b) Get everyone drunk, and organize a nose-picking contest with a prize to the one who make his nose bleed first.
(c) Drop your napkin on the floor, and when you bend over to pick it up, blow your nose on your sock.

5. You’ve just spent the evening with a supplier who invited you to an all-night boiler-maker drinking party. You get home just in time to go to work. You stagger to the men’s room and spend a half-hour vomiting. As you’re washing up, the Sales Training Manager walks in, blows cigar smoke in your face, and asks you to join him for drinks after work. You:

(a) Look him straight in the eye, and launch one last convulsive torrent at the front of his Hart Shaffner & Marx suit.
(b) Nail him right in the crotch, banking on the fact that he’ll never recognize your green face.
(c) Grasp his hand and pump it till he pees his pants.

6.  You are at a dinner with a customer and his wife, who looks like the regional winner of the Marjorie Main lookalike contest. Halfway through dinner you feel a hand on your lap. If you are resourceful, you will:

(a) ‘Accidently ‘ spill hot coffee in your lap.
(b) Slip a note to you server to have your customer paged, and see if the hand disappears.
(c) Excuse yourself and go to the men’s room. If he follows, don’t come out till you have a signed order.

7.  You’re on your way in to see your best account, when your zipper breaks, and you remember that you forgot to put on your underpants this morning. You decide to:

(a) Call on the customer’s secretary instead.
(b) Explain that you were trolling for queers.
(c) Buy a baggy raincoat and head for the school playground.

8.  You’ve just returned from Green Bay, Wisconsin, in January, and tell your boss that nobody but whores and football players live there. He mentions that his wife is from Green Bay. You:

(a) Ask what position she played.
(b) Ask if she’s still working the streets.
(c) Pretend you’re suffering from amnesia, and don’t remember your name.

Remember, there are no “correct” answers, except perhaps to take up Yoga so that you can practice bending over and kissing it goodbye.

 

 

McBride

We are all, what we are, because of our life’s experiences, where we’ve lived, the trips we’ve taken, the jobs we’ve had, and especially the people who’ve come into and gone from our lives.  Such a one for me, was McBride.  For about two years of a very formative period, he cut a Technicolor swath through my life.

Bestest friends for a while, we couldn’t have been more different.  Where I was quiet and reserved, he was loud, brash, outgoing and incurably happy.  He just didn’t have a volume control.  Even standing near enough to inspect his fillings, he always spoke as if you were across the room….or across the street.   His personality opened like a big, bright beach umbrella to cover everyone within reach.

Given the same first name as me, and only a month younger, he was born and raised in Barrie, Ontario.  When I lived there for a year, finding that the bank and I weren’t going to have a happy, long-term work relationship, he had moved to Toronto, hoping to find himself, and gainful employment.  When I moved back home for another run at life, he did the same thing.  When I moved to Kitchener, because that was where the jobs were, he did the same.  When we both found that jobs needed education, training and experience, we both wound up taking the same Adult Education course.

It didn’t take long to find that we had his hometown in common, knew the same people, had been the same places.  Besides potential employment, one reason he picked Kitchener was that his older, policeman brother lived here.  He stayed with the couple for a while, but they had a tiny little house, and two young children.  He needed a place to live.  I shared a double bed with my brother, in what was the converted parlor in a rooming house.  Always anxious to maximise her profit, the old Mennonite landlady added a cot, and let him live with us.

When 21 was the legal drinking age, and I was just learning how to wrestle Demon Rum and his friends, McBride was an experienced and dedicated partier.  I would take the trolley-bus home after school got out at 11:00 PM, but it was not unusual for him to roll in at three, or four.  One night he showed up with a big grin on his face.  Just 21, he had put the moves on, and escorted a 45 year old woman from the Secretarial Course home.  He rose to the occasion four times before leaving a happy and very satisfied gal, and walking three miles home.

He never met a beer he didn’t like, especially if it was free.  We were living on the equivalent of Unemployment Insurance.  Once he paid his rent and transport, there wasn’t much left.  He might party Friday night, because school got out at nine.  He might party Sunday night, because we could sleep in and go to school at 5 PM, but Saturday was his day at the Hotel.  Stuffy old Ontario didn’t have bars; they had closely monitored “beverage rooms” in licensed hotels.  Mixed drinks were almost unheard of.  They served beer.

He would spend an hour, Saturday morning, in the bathroom, while the landlady complained about lack of access.  He would emerge, shiny and polished, and ready to start some serious drinking.  A glass of draft beer cost 15 cents, and he was perennially broke.  He would borrow the fifteen cents for the first glass, and disappear for thirteen hours.  I couldn’t spend that long in a dim, smoky room full of noisy drunks, but he did it each and every week.  After leaving broke, he would return with a pocket full of coins and loose bills, drunk, and always well fed.  He always repaid the 15 cents, but never offered more.

Apparently, there were always games of chance/skill going on, penny-toss, the Ring Game, and something called Kadiddle.  I never found out if he cheated or was just a great player.  The first Saturday he left, the phone rang at 1:30 in the morning.  The landlady went to bed about 10.  I heard her get up and answer it in the hall, right outside my room.  Then she banged on my door, told me it was for me, and peevishly insisted that it never happen again.  It was the bartender at the hotel, demanding that I come and pick up the drunk who couldn’t stand, much less walk four blocks home.

The next couple of weeks, on Saturday night, I would move the phone and its stand into my room about midnight, with the cord under the door, as near my bed as it would stretch, and grab it on the first ring, so as not to waken Broomhilda.  Finally, I got smart, and just got dressed and left the house, quietly, at 1:15.

We were so broke we couldn’t afford to spend the afternoon, but he had great plans that we would move into a small apartment.  Back before single-use, plastic food containers, he started bringing home dishes.  If he had an order of French-fries, he put the plate and fork into his coat pocket.  He brought home a vinegar shaker, and a set of salt and pepper shakers.

Including ale, porter and stout, all beer in Ontario was served in a “lager glass.”  Shaped like a Coca-Cola glass, it had a white line a quarter inch from the rim, to assure that drinkers got full measure.  I went to pry him from his chair one night, and he clinked.  He had lager glasses in his pants pockets, across his stomach beneath his belt, down the sleeves of his coat.

Getting into the rooming-house was up two steps, across a landing, then up five more steps.  With me pushing, he made the first two easily enough.  When he took a run at the last five, he got about halfway up, lost his balance and reeled backward.  I managed to catch him and get him headed up again, but I had heard breaking glass.

I got him in reasonably quietly, he collapsed backward on my bed, and I started removing glass and glasses. He had 25 lager glasses, three of five, across his tummy, were broken.  He’s lucky he’s not a eunuch.  I dumped the broken stuff, set the empty ones on the dresser and poured him into his own bed.  When I woke the next day, he was still asleep, but six of the glasses were full of rented beer.

I last saw him about 25 years ago.  He had a regular run from Barrie to Kitchener as a gypsy trucker.  Between road trips and hard drinking, he’d lost a wife, but was still upbeat.  He opened my eyes to a lot of real life.  Have any of you had a “character” like this in your life?