’19 A To Z Challenge – J

330px-Queen_Victoria_by_Bassano

My little home town was dying, as I was born.

The word that I want to discuss, is

Jubilee

the celebration of any of certain anniversaries, as the twenty-fifth (silver jubilee), fiftieth (golden jubilee), or sixtieth or seventy-fifth (diamond jubilee).

the completion of 50 years of existence, activity, or the like, or its celebration:

Lighthouse

IN THE BEGINNING,
among other things, my home-town was a Great Lake port. A dock was built, almost a mile out into Lake Huron, to an island, to provide calm moorage. Small, sail-powered lake freighters brought wheat from the prairies, iron ore and timber from Northern Ontario. Before the existence of the Saint Lawrence Seaway, these goods were shipped by train to the Toronto area, below Niagara Falls.

The availability of cheap lumber encouraged the establishment of three furniture factories, and later, a plywood plant. There was money to be made – money to be had, and local tax revenues allowed the town to pay for many civic projects. Even today, it is the smallest town in Ontario, with a hospital.

In 1897, Queen Victoria celebrated her 60th anniversary as ruler of the Empire – her Diamond Jubilee. The town had recently foreclosed and seized the property of a sulkie racetrack, half a block wide, and two blocks long, just above the downtown area. Some namby-pamby toph who had not done market research, found that he couldn’t get enough paying customers from dock-wallopers, train crews, and factory workers. They might have watched horses that actually ran, but not swishy ones that only trotted, and dragged a cute little cart behind them.

The town filled in the track and manicured a baseball diamond and outfield. They put up a safety screen behind home plate and built a set of wooden stands. The 8-foot whitewashed wooden fence and ticket gates from the racetrack remained. To honor Victoria, and her achievement, they named it

Jubilee Park.

Then, times and technology changed. Lake freighters became larger, built of steel, and motor-powered. They could steam all the way to the mouth of the Niagara River, and the now-common trucks could move freight faster and cheaper. It is well for the town that, as its freight industry died, the tourist industry burgeoned. There are more summer cottages, paying year-round taxes, than there are residents’ homes. Still, the bloom was off the rose.

By the time I was born in 1944, the plank seats of the bleachers had become wowed, dried and splitting. As a child, for years, I wondered about the purpose of a decrepit, cabin-like construction beneath one end of the bleachers. When I finally thought to ask, I was told that it was a long-extinct concession booth.

Later, smaller, steel-framed stands were built down the first- and third-base lines. Perhaps being too lazy to walk any distance, many men parked right behind these stands. Many a pop foul sailed over the bleachers, to dent fenders and break mirrors and windshields. The attraction of small-town softball is long gone. The town has built a children’s playground in what used to be the parking area. I have not been back in years, but it would not surprise me to find that USB ports have been added, to recharge kids’ electronic devices.

Time relentlessly marches on, but us old-timers can only shuffle along, muttering, Remember when?”

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I’ve Run Out Of Punny One-Liner Titles

Comedy

For chemists, alcohol is not a problem….
….It’s a solution.

Despite the high cost of living….
….it remains popular.

I before E, except after C….
….disproved by Science

Please cancel my subscription….
….to your issues

Lif is too short

Couldn’t claustrophobia be cured by just thinking outside the box?

Some people are wise….
….some are otherwise

We’ll, we’ll, we’ll….
….if it isn’t autocorrect

Rick O’Shea….
….Is a bulletproof Irishman

My relationship with whiskey….
….is on the rocks

I hate it when people accuse me of lolly-gagging….
….when I’m clearly dilly-dallying.

After my friend turned vegan….
….it was like I’d never seen herbivore

My wife says I’m the cheapest person she’s ever met….
….I’m not buying it

If a midget smokes weed….
….does he get high, or just medium?

I accidentally handed my wife a glue-stick, instead of a Chap Stick….
….She still isn’t talking to me

Some people are like clouds….
….When they go away, it’s a brighter day

What’s black and never works?….
….Decaffeinated coffee, you racist

Life and beer are very similar….
….Chill for best results

Terrible summer for Humpty-Dumpty….
….but he had a great fall

I’m diagonally parked….
….in a parallel universe

Hit And Run

BC Mountie

I was recently accused of hit and run – me, the most careful and courteous driver in North America…. well, in Canada anyway.

On December 27th – the last Thursday of the month, when senior citizens get a 10% discount – I took the son along to carry, and went to a pet-food store in a nearby strip mall, to get bags of cat and dog kibble.  I entered off the side street, and eased along the driveway toward the store, fourth in the line.

Looking ahead to my left, I spotted a parking space right in front.  Hooray!  Even for the son, those bags weigh 40 pounds each.  Just as I started to turn my steering wheel, a young mother exited the store with two little daughters, one about 5, and the other 2, in hand, and a tiny dog on a leash.  With her head down, and concentrating on them, she dragged them off the sidewalk and into the empty parking space.

I came to a stop.  Still without looking up, she marched them out past the ends of the parked cars, and into the driveway.  It was a good thing that there was no oncoming traffic.  The spot I wanted was to my left, and they were now crossing the driveway to my right, so I started rolling forward.

As I got about a third of the way around, still without looking up, she changed directions by 45 degrees, and started dragging the kids toward me.  I came to a stop again.  When she got within 5 or 6 feet of the side of the car – about level with the passenger-side front wheel well – peripheral vision must have alerted her to danger.  She looked up, saw me in front of her, and took a quick step back.

I waited for her to safely walk around the car.  👿  Suddenly, she exploded into profanity.  “What the fuck!  Where the Hell do you think you’re going?  You assholes don’t need to be in such a fucking hurry!”  I’m at a stop!  And nice language for impressionable young daughters.  Now, in the middle of a parking lot, she let go of the 2-year-old, and used her right hand/fist to pound her way down the body panels and windows, still screaming imprecations.

Well, that was interesting.  There was obviously no chance for calm discussion.  I’m crossways in the driveway, holding up cars that want to get in off the street, and now some that want to get past and out.  I (finally) rolled into the empty spot, and headed for the store.  “That’s it.  Just walk away and ignore me.”  She’s only angry because we’re not treating her as special.  As I pulled the door open, “I’m five and a half months pregnant you know.”  So that’s what set this off.  “I’m gonna call the cops on you guys.”

When we came out she was gone, and I thought the fuss was over.  We drove home.  I did a few chores.  A couple of hours later, the son was having a nap, and I was just thinking of having one too, when the doorbell rang.  Keeping the puppies from leaking out, I opened up.  There stood tall, dark and uniformed.  That entitled, emotional little bitch – she did call the cops.

“I imagine that you know why I’m here.”  I did.  “I’m here to investigate a collision in the parking lot at the plaza.”  I stopped him right there.  “There was no ‘collision.’  The only time my car came into contact with her body was when she stepped forward and assaulted my vehicle.”

They must teach new police officers a particular method of interrogation.  No-one could be that obtuse without training.  I explained my version of what happened.  “If you didn’t bump into her, why was she so upset?”  I am not psychologically qualified to give reasons why the sanest of us do the things we do.  “I don’t know – seasonal stress??  Parking lot rage?”

“She says she took a step backward.  If you didn’t bump into her, why would she do that?”  “She was startled!  She was frightened?  She was embarrassed that she’d put herself and her kids into danger?”  “She drove herself to the hospital.  If you didn’t bump into her, why would she do that?”  Really??!  With two little kids and a dog, she drove herself to emergency?  “She may have honestly thought that I’d bumped her, when she remembered striking my car.  Why would she make that claim?  My best guess is that she’s a drama queen.”  When I mentioned that she attacked my car, he asked, “She actually struck your vehicle?”  Yes officer, several times, quite hard!

The son had heard me talking to him, and came downstairs.  While I’d gone out to the car to get proof of insurance, he gave a corroborating statement.  When I stated that she might be a drama queen, he mentioned how she had screamed about being 5-1/2 months pregnant, and was going to call the cops on us.  He thought the incident might have been triggered by hormones.  There was a momentary hesitation in note-taking, as if she had also failed to mention these things in her statement.

He offered me once last chance to admit my guilt.  He said, “I guess if you thought that you’d actually bumped her, you wouldn’t have just driven off and left her?”  But I didn’t ‘just drive off and leave her,’ I went into the store and spent 5 to 10 minutes conducting business.  At no time did she follow me in, and in the presence of witnesses, claim that I had bumped into her, and what was I going to do about it.  When I came back out, she was gone.  “Uh, okay.”

Finally, he stated that he had to do an investigation into this occurrence, because there had been a formal complaint issued.  Since it had happened on private property, and no-one had been injured, (Then, why was there such a fuss raised??) no charges would be laid.

This is the third false accusation that has been made against me in just over ten years.  The son likes to watch dash-cam videos of accidents, often from Russia, ‘cause those drivers are CRAZY.  Perhaps it’s time to think about having one installed in my car.

Flash Fiction #157

Amazon

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

CURSES, AMAZONED AGAIN

Poor forlorn shopping mall, not long ago, it was visited and loved by many. It was chock-a-block, cheek-by-jowl with teeming throngs of shoppers.  If you felt someone else’s hand in your pocket, it wasn’t a pickpocket.  It was just the guy beside you trying to reach his wallet.

Sadly, times and technologies change. Now, people buy things they can’t feel, hold, try, or try on, online, and little toy helicopters deliver them to your door.  I miss the milling crowds, almost as much as the forlorn mall merchants do.  At least I can get a parking space near the door.

***

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

***

As a personal pat on my own back, today’s 100-word Flash Fiction is my number 900 published blog-post.  I know of a couple of bloggers who have been at this for over 10 years.  At least one of them has surpassed the 2000 mark.  Plod, plod, plod, I am better than the May-flies who flutter in and die after a few posts, or the uncommitted, who post “I know I haven’t published anything in over a year…”

Friday Fictioneers

Lost In The Urban Jungle

Department Store

In my little hometown, in the late 1940s, the selections in the two small, local, independent grocery stores were not great, and low-volume buying and shipping made prices a bit higher than in ‘the big city.’ My Dad suggested that we start driving 25 miles to the ‘giant metropolis’ of 10,000 people, and shop at the Loblaw’s store.

In our little blue-lawed town, stores closed at 6:00 PM, and there was no such thing as Sunday shopping. On Friday nights, the Loblaw’s stayed open until 9:00.  Dad would come home from work at 5, we’d have a quick supper, and be on the road by 6.

It became a routine. The choices were greater.  The lower grocery prices paid for the gas burned, and it was a family adventure.  There might even be enough left over to have some French fries from a ‘chip wagon.’

One warm July Friday night, we rolled up main street. Dad found a parking spot about a half a block from the store, and put a dime in a parking meter for an hour’s stay. Long before the advent of suburban malls, stores were ‘downtown.’

We walked to the Loblaw’s, did our shopping, and checked out, with some time to spare.  In the days of good manners and social restraint, shopping carts were not allowed out of the store onto main street.  All groceries had to be carried.

We had four large paper bags. I was 6 years old, and my brother was three. We weren’t going to carry any.  My Mother tucked two of the lighter ones in the crooks of her elbows, and my Dad hefted the rest.  When we exited the store, there were no hands free to guide us, so my Mom said to me, “You take your brother, and go on ahead to the car.”  So, leading him by the hand, off we set down an un-busy sidewalk.

We got to the (unlocked) car long before they did. In the days before air conditioned stores, the double doors of the store beside the car stood propped open.  Just as I was about to open the car, I heard ‘clickety-click, clickety-click.’  What was that sound?  Dragging him, we stepped over to the store doors and looked and listened.

This was not quite a department store, more like a 5 and 10, five times as big as the tiny Dime Store in my town.  There were sales-clerks in various spots, but no cash registers or money.  They had a something much like a pneumatic tube system, only made out of steel mesh.

All the price tags, and the customers’ money, were put into a 4” X 4” x 6” steel mesh car, with a little electric motor, and pushed into a drop-tube. Clickety-click, clickety-click, up it went, turned at the top, and clickety-click, clickety-click, ran around the store, and up into a cash office on a mezzanine level.  There, a clerk verified all totals, made change, and returned the little car along with a receipt.  An adjustable semaphore determined which station it would drop out at.

This was the sound that I’d heard. We, or at least techno-geek me, stared in awe.  The nearest clerk noticed us, and asked if we’d like to see it again. “Yes please!” She wrote a note that said, “I have two fascinated kids here.  Just return it.” and stuffed it up the tube. Clickety-click, clickety-click, up it went, around the room and up into the office.  Thirty seconds later, clickety-click, back it came.

She wasn’t busy, so she asked, “Wanna do it once more?” “Yes please!” She added, “One more time” to the note and, clickety-click, off it dashed again, like a 1950 slot-car and clickety-click, soon returned and popped out one more time.

Now…. Let’s step outside, and see what this looked like to our parents.  They’d sent two kids half a block on a main street sidewalk, in broad daylight, but when they got to the car, we weren’t there. Where the Hell did the kids go??! Had someone kidnapped us?  Had we got into the wrong car, and inadvertently been driven off?  Were we lost, and wandering the streets?

They quickly stowed the groceries, and began searching. Up and down the street, asking random pedestrians if they’d seen two little boys – back to the Loblaw’s – Dad went one way, Mom went the other.  They finally returned to the car in a panic….and we calmly walked out of the store.  We hadn’t been more than twenty feet away, all the time, but there had been no reason for them to think we’d gone inside.

Too happy, to give me shit, Mom still impressed on me that I should never do such a thing again. And while we weren’t at the car, the dime’s worth of parking had expired, and an eagle-eyed meter maid had given Dad a parking ticket to pay.  No French fries that night.  I didn’t get lost again for 8 years, when I got swept up in another school group touring a Niagara power station, and had to explain to the Principal, why I wasn’t there for our head-count.  😳

 

You Want It, We Got It

Junk

The wife and I are Mr. and Mrs. Just-In-Case. Over the years, if there’s been some small, inexpensive thing that could make our lives easier, we’ve purchased it.  As I bitched about in my ‘Autumn Housecleaning’ post, the problem is that we never get rid of things we no longer use.

Living as we have, in the same houses for decades, we have accumulated the greatest collection of ‘stuff’, some of it fairly non-standard.  We lived for a couple of years beside a single mother with two young daughters.  She acquired a long-term boyfriend who was there for more than just the free sex.  Whenever he tried to clean up, fix up or paint up, she never had any/the right tools, so she would tell him to go next door, and ask Archon if he might borrow something.

A tree branch had grown over the driveway where he wanted to park his car. Would I have a saw that he could use to cut it off?  We used to go camping when the kids were young.  How about a small, light bucksaw? Perfect!

Later, he wanted to clear out a lilac bush which had overgrown a fence corner. Did I have a small axe or hatchet that he could cut out the sucker shoots with? See ‘camping’, above.  Weekend after weekend this went on, many requests common, some, not as much.  A circular saw, a hand drill and set of bits, a pipe wrench(?), tape measure, carpenters’ level, (3-foot professional, or foot-long home version?) a pry-bar, (standard crowbar or 8 inch window jimmier?) all quickly, freely provided.

Finally, she wanted to reward him for the things he’d done around her place, by baking him a cake. For this, she wanted a spring-form cake pan.  “Go next door and ask (Mrs.) Archon if they have one.”  If it involves food, ‘Of course we do!’  As I handed it to him, he asked, “Do you guys have everything?”

I guess she didn’t understand the ‘spring-form’ concept. You’re supposed to unlatch the little clip on the side to increase the diameter and have the cake slide out.  Apparently she tried to remove it with a large butcher knife, ruining the non-stick, Teflon coating, and gouging the aluminum pan.  She felt badly, and bought a replacement at a Dollarama store, but it wasn’t the quality that the wife had found.

Loupe

Even now, there are things in our house that I’m sure few other homes contain. The son owns a jewellers’ loupe, that thing that you stick in your eye and hold in place with your eyebrow, which magnifies things 10 times.  He bought it from a local jeweller after he left high school, but can’t remember why.  I’ve used it often over the years to check the detail on some of the coins I’ve acquired.

Mortar and Pestle

Recently, the wife encountered a recipe that called for powdered ginger. We have fresh ginger root, grated ginger and dried, chunk ginger.  We also have a small, powerful little electric ‘thing’ useful for such tasks as grinding coffee.  It would quickly turn the dry chunks into powder, but the wife decided to go a different way.

(To the son) “Call your sister, and ask her if we can borrow her mortar and pestle.  She just bought one that she uses to crush herbs for cooking, home remedies and aromatherapy.”

The son replied, “Why bother her? When she bought the new one, I bought her old one from her.  It’s in my room.”  It now sits in pride of place, below the overstuffed spice rack in the kitchen, groaning under every spice known to man, and a couple only to Martians.  ‘Eat your heart out bland potatoes, Matt Damon.’

Into each life, a little weird must fall. It’s just that it falls a little harder and faster at our house.  😉

The Most Important Meal

coffee

WOMAN’S PERFECT BREAKFAST
She’s sitting at the table with her gourmet coffee.
Her son is on the cover of the Wheaties box.
Her daughter is on the cover of Business Week.
Her boyfriend is on the cover of Playgirl.
And her husband is on the back of the milk carton. .

WOMEN’S REVENGE
‘Cash, check or charge?’ I asked, after folding items the woman wished to purchase. As she fumbled for her wallet, I noticed a remote control for a television set in her purse. ‘So, do you always carry your TV remote?’ I asked. ‘No,’ she replied, ‘but my husband refused to come shopping with me, And I figured this was the most evil thing I could do to him legally.’

And finally,
God may have created man before woman, But there is always a rough draft before the masterpiece

***

The object of war is not to die for your country
but to make the other jerk die for his.
General George Patton

***

At one point during a game, the coach said to one of his young players, “Do you understand what cooperation is? What a team is?” The little boy nodded yes.

“Do you understand that what matters is whether we win together as a team?” The little boy nodded yes.

“So,” the coach continued, “when a strike is called, or you are out at first, you don’t argue or curse or attack the umpire. Do you understand all that?” Again, the boy nodded yes.

“Good,” said the coach. “Now go over there and explain it to your mother.”

***

I need to get in shape; if I was murdered right now my chalk outline would be a circle.
I am always going the extra mile: because I never stop for directions.
Am I fat? My favorite food is seconds.

***

What are the Five Reasons for not wanting to be an Egg?

  1. You only get laid once.
  2. You only get eaten once.
  3. Seven minutes to get hard (in boiling water).
  4. You have to come in a box with 11 other guys.
  5. The only one that sits on your face is your mother.

***

I have a great diet. You are allowed to eat
anything you want. But you must eat it with naked
fat people.

***

I hope you don’t fuck like you park…you’ll never get it in…

***

😆