Flash Fiction #166

Rest Home

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz 😀 (Thanks, Ted)

WHY DID THE CHICKEN CROSS THE ROAD

It had been a difficult decision to put his Mother in an assisted-care facility.  She valued her freedom and independence so much.  She couldn’t take care of herself any longer, and she couldn’t be trusted to try.  He still remembered the scream of the smoke detector when he came to visit, and found her cooking hamburger.

She still loved the outdoors, and every evening they helped her down to the lake-shore.  She enjoyed watching the sunset, the wheeling and cries of the gulls, and the thrum and ribbit of the frogs.  She was 92 – they wouldn’t enjoy this much longer.

***

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

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You’re Pulling My Leg….Off

Pirate

A man is walking down by the docks, and sees an old man standing at the end of the pier with an eye-patch, peg-leg, and a hook for a hand. He figures this guy’s got some good stories, so he wanders over and asks the man, “Excuse me, but do you mind my asking where you got your peg-leg?”
“Arr, ’tis a good story, matey. I was climbin’ up the rigging, and a rogue wave came along and smashed into the boat. I lost me footing and fell in the water, when a shark came along and bit off me leg.”
“Wow, that’s terrifying! What about your hook?”
“Arr, ’tis a good story, matey. We were sailin’ along when we were boarded by a band of marauders! I got in a sword fight with one of ’em and he cut off me hand, so I had a hook put on.”
“Jeez, that’s horrible! Alright, how about the eye-patch?”
“Arr, ’tis a good story, matey. I was out on the deck one day, with clear blue skies all around. I looked up in the sky, and a seagull came along and he pooped in me eye!”
“So, you lost your eye because a seagull pooped in it?”
“Well, ’twas the first day I had me hook.”

=====*=====

Man goes to the library and approaches the front desk. He asks the librarian: “I was wondering if you had the book I ordered? It’s for men with small penises.”

She replies: “I don’t know if it’s in yet.”

He says: “Yeah, that’s the one.”

=====*=====

If trees screamed, would we be so willing to cut them down?
Maybe, if they screamed all the time.

=====*=====

A man walks into the street and hails a passing taxi. “Perfect timing,” he tells the driver. “You’re just like Frank.”
”Who?” asks the cabbie.
“Frank Fielding. He did everything right. Great tennis player, wonderful golfer, sang like Pavarotti.”
“Sounds like quite a guy.”
“Not only that, he remembered everyone’s birthday, was a wine connoisseur, and could fix anything. And his wardrobe – immaculate! He was the perfect man. No one could measure up to Frank.”
“Amazing. How’d you meet him?”
“Oh, I never met Frank.”
“How do you know so much about him?”
“I married his widow.”

 

I Found A Feather Today

Feather

I found a feather today, and along with it, I recovered a piece of the peace of my childhood. I found a sea-gull feather.  I found nostalgia, and I wallowed in it.

I was born and raised in a small town on the eastern shore of Lake Huron. The sand-bar island, half a mile offshore was/is a sea-gull nesting-site protected Provincial Park.  We had sea-gulls!  Lord, we had sea-gulls.

They loved the 4 or 5 fishing boats that went out each day. Swimming at the beach, late in the afternoon, I could watch a fish-boat heading back to the river harbor, towing a 100-yard kite of gulls behind it.  The fishermen gutted the fish on the way home, and dumped the offal in the lake.

Actually, of course, these were ‘lake gulls.’ Few, if any, ever saw salt water.  Their deep squawks were a constant summer background sound-track.  Later in life, I found that the gulls on Lake Erie were the same breed, but for some reason they cried like they had sinus infections – their calls much higher and shriller.

The simple discovery of a feather brought back childhood memories of fun, freedom, warm summer sunshine, tourists, fast-food and nothing to do, but hundreds of things to do.

As innocent children, we found many things to do with a feather. We could wedge it in our hair, or tie it on with a string or an elastic, and be an Indian in the games of Cowboys and Indians….before it became politically incorrect, and an insult to Aboriginal Rights.

I’ve cut the bottom off larger feathers at an angle, and split the longer edge, to create a quill. Sadly, all too often, instead of elegant writing on a sheet of paper, all I produced were ink-blots that would make Rorschach proud…or curious.  There’s a real art to it; one which I never mastered.

As a teen, my friend and I would split several lengthwise, and glue them to a piece of dowel we’d bought at the lumber store, ‘fletching’ it to produce an arrow. For a tip, we’d add a filed-down sliver of split-off railway track.  We could have just bought a target arrow from the hardware store, but what’s the fun in that?

Aside from fish guts, another thing that seagulls clean up is edible human waste. They keep down infections by keeping down the rat population; it’s why they’ve been declared a protected species.  In my warm, fuzzy home-town, they kept the streets cleaned of dropped tourist (and native) hot dogs, French fries, ice cream cones and popcorn.

My current home is, sadly, much closer to Lake Erie than it is to Lake Huron, so the gulls shriek with a nasal twang. There’s a landfill site behind the plaza where I found the feather, and at least 12 eating establishments inside it.  With the help of some sparrows and chickadees, they keep the grounds clean.

When I found the feather, it took me on a lovely flight of retrospective fantasy. I didn’t even pick it up, but left it, hoping that another young Archonoid would jam it in his hair, or take it home to tickle his sister with.  Perhaps even, an adult would see it, and be winged into some pleasant thought or memory.

Remember, sex involving a feather is a fun fantasy. Sex involving an entire bird is perverted.   😉

Feather 2

Choo-Choo

Before the summer ends, I thought I’d take you all on another virtual vacation trip with my parents.  After we had bought that bank-vault on wheels, we took it camping in a variety of places.  One summer, my Dad decided we would concentrate on the area near Bracebridge, Ontario.  Since that fateful summer so many years ago, Bracebridge has installed a theme park called Santa’s Village.  Nowhere near as large and all-encompassing as the all-Christmas, all-the-time town of Frankenmuth, MI., but it still draws its share of tourists.

We pulled into town and located the tourist camp.  The town is on the edge of the Canadian Shield, so there is lots of rock.  The camp itself nestled along the edge of a river at a big bend.  Projecting above the campgrounds was a vee-shaped, hundred foot high, stone outcropping.  After we got set up, my younger brother and I went for a walk.  About a block back, where we entered the camp, the rock sloped down so that you could drive about half-way up the steep grade, and climb to the precipice.

We walked up and stared down at our tiny trailer.  In today’s world, there would be steel railings, high mesh fences, air-bags at the bottom and so many warning signs, that you couldn’t see the magnificent view.  Back then there was common sense and self-reliance, and a hundred foot drop.  Having seen what was to be seen, we felt we should return to camp.  Most people just went back down the middle, but we wandered around one edge.  The front was so sheer that only a professional climber with pitons could ascend.  Around the side, where it was merely 90 feet high, the wall was only an 80 degree slope and had cracks and little ledges.  “Do ya want to climb down?”  And down we started.

We made it down safely, although we could have walked back around and got home sooner.  At the bottom was an eight foot pile of scree, which angled down to the edge of the road.  I stepped off onto it carefully, but my brother dropped the last couple of feet into it, and lost his footing.  He tumbled into me, and the two of us rolled right down onto the road, and nearly got run over.  The fact that it would have been ironic wouldn’t have made the hospital visit any better.

The next day we packed the trailer back up and headed further north.  I asked Dad where we were headed, but he just said, “You’ll see.”  We didn’t exactly get lost, but we didn’t get where Dad wanted to be, and had to turn around and go back, and then onto a different road.  Back before GPS and computer maps, I’m surprised that anyone ever got anywhere.  Without Sacajawea, Lewis and Clarke would still be in the parking lot at a Wal-Mart in Montreal.

We finally turned off the paved road, and headed into the bush.  After a couple of miles, the dirt road T-ed out.  Do we turn left or right?  Dad finally decided on right, and started to drive.  After a while I noticed that there were steel rails not too far off the road.  Dad finally admitted that he had heard from someone, that there was a miniature railway back here, which connected two lakes.  We drove for another mile or so and came to one of them.  The tracks went right out onto a concrete dock.

Apparently, by getting lost, we had come at this railroad from the wrong side, and should have turned left at the T-intersection.  If we had gone the other way, we would have reached a nice little campground and village.  On this end there were a few houses and a tiny general store.  Because we drove the extra miles, we had run out of daylight.  The sun was going down.  No time to drive back through the bush to the other end.  Dad talked to the store owners.  They were heading for bed, but told us we could park on the tiny lawn at the end of the building.

There was no room to open the trailer, so we decided to just sleep in the car.  Fortunately it was a station-wagon.  We hauled the stuff in the back out, and Mom, Dad, and my brother slept (?) in the back.  I jammed my feet under the steering wheel in the front.  We had no mosquito netting and it was way too hot and muggy to roll the windows up, so it was doze, slap, doze, slap all night.  I don’t want to say that the mosquitoes were big, but I saw two of them molesting a seagull.

We were out of the car at first light, and down to the lake with soap and wash cloths.  These little lakes sit in hollows of solid rock, and their average temperature is enough to make penguins order take-out.  The store finally opened at eight AM and we got some coffee and hot chocolate for breakfast.

The tiny train was sitting right across from us, so we went over to have a look.  Unless it got lost when Mom died, we have a photo of me, as a twelve-year-old, stretching up to lean on the walk-rail around the front of the steam engine.  Re-watch Back To The Future III to see Doc Brown, and how big the full-size model is.

Finally a couple of guys came from the nearby cabins and started the boiler on the train.  By ten o’clock it was ready to make its first run of the day.  A locomotive, a fuel tender, (I don’t remember if it burned coal or wood.) three flat-bed freight cars and a passenger car.  The two lakes were only four miles apart, but, to get from one to the other by water, was over fifty miles.  The little railway had been put in to haul lumber, small boats and other freight.

Off we went for a lovely ride through the woods.  When we got to the far end, there was a two-hour hiatus before going back, but at least there was more civilization to wander around and look at while we waited.  Finally, we huffed and puffed and chuffed our way back to the car.  We drove back to Bracebridge and stayed at the same camp for another day to recuperate.  Wrong turns and giant mosquitoes and all, it was an adventure I’m glad I didn’t miss.  I hope you’ve enjoyed rummaging through my fading memories.

I’m Versatile, and Almost Useful

versatileblogger113

A funny thing happened on the way to this blog.  A lovely lady named Candice Coghill nominated me for a Versatile Blogger Award.  Candice, who blogs as the Kindly Hermudgeon, has a personality as bright and sunny as the Florida neighbourhood she lives in.  She apparently felt that a tundra dwelling, grumpy curmudgeon, on the edge of old fartitude, like me, deserved such an honor.  As a neophyte blogger, with only fourteen posts in as many weeks, I was humbled by the recognition, and wondered if it was truly valid.  As KH says though, I am amply supplied with verbosity and opinions, which I feel free to spread in all directions.  Aside from my own few posts, I have been haunting a few other sites, where patient and forgiving bloggers have allowed, what should have been concise comments, to become mini-blogs.

The rules of the Versatile Blogger Award;

Thank the award-giver, and link back to her blog in this post.

I gratefully thank the Hermudgeon again and, if I get the technology figured out, her site will be linked back there.

Share seven things about myself.

(1)    I’m old and crotchety, and getting more so by the moment, but I also have a soft and sensitive side….in my own humble opinion. (There’s that word again.)

(2)    I could read Macleans magazines at least a month before I turned five.  Shocked my mother!

(3)    I collect coins.  Aside from Canadian and American, I have over five hundred coins from over a hundred countries.  A few years ago I added bills to my collection, and now have more than a hundred notes from 25/30 countries.  I have something that perhaps not even an American collector possesses.  I have two (count em – two) US $2 bills, one with a miscut corner.

(4)    I have had a lifelong fascination for arms and armor, from Greek and Roman, to Medieval, to Renaissance, to modern.  With Canada’s ongoing and increasing official disapproval of anything that goes bang, I have had to limit my personal exposure largely to edged and pointed tools.  Although our tastes differ, my wife is also interested in hand-made knives.  We use knife shows as a vacation excuse, and have attended shows in Toronto, Bayfield, Detroit, Cincinnati, Zanesville, and Winston-Salem.

(5)    I was born and raised in a small tourist town on Lake Huron in Southern Ontario.  1800 citizens year-round but swelled to over ten thousand with summer residents, many with cottages worth more than most homes in town.  It gave me both a small-town background and a more urban appreciation of society.  I knew more people from Kitchener as tourists, than I do now that I live here.

(6)    I have learning disabilities.  Don’t we all?  I had mine and learned to deal with them to my optimum capability long before others, especially schools and teachers, were aware of the term.  Marks usually in the 70s but report card notes saying I wasn’t performing up to my potential.  A few years ago, my doctor said I have a congenital neurological syndrome.  He declined to spend $2000 on tests which would only give it a name, but not do anything to alleviate it.  I have had muscle tremors all my life.  I am not a good shot.  I watched Butch Cassidy, in the movie, unable to hold a gun steady for more than a microsecond, and suddenly understood.

(7)    Perhaps partly because of number six, I am, and have been, and introspective loner.  Pleasantly, but not surprisingly, I have more friends on the blogosphere than I do in real life.  I am intelligent, but more importantly, able to think.  I used to claim to be a rugged individualist until some effete writer slagged the term, saying, “They all claim to be rugged.”  I would sooner sit in the background and indulge my hobby of amateur psychology, by observing, but had the nerve to take public speaking instruction and have learned to speak up when I feel the need.

I am supposed to pass this award on to fifteen blogs which I enjoy.  I am going to decline to do that for several reasons.  First, I’m new enough at this, that my circle of visited blogs barely reaches fifteen.  As new bloggers visit my site I increase the circle.  I’m happy with my regular group, who are highly creative, educational and entertaining.  Most of them are so good that they’ve received this, and other awards, some, more than once.  If I don’t stop this chain letter, the internet may reach critical mass, and implode.

I will give thankful honourable mentions to include, but not be limited to: Brainrants, who I blame for getting me into this mess.  LadyRyl, my grown daughter, who continues to explain the technical intricacies.  Kayjai, a fellow Ontarian, from just down the highway, now living on a rock in the middle of the ocean.  H E Ellis, a great writer and an insightful person.  Savor the Folly, who may no longer be among us, but is sorely missed.  Sandy Like a Beach, always a fun read, but, all that cooking.  I gain weight just passing by.  Sparklebumps.  She certainly is!  Could I get Meloni’s boobsqueeze?  Please?!   Edward Hotspur, what can you say about him, without getting arrested?  SightsandBytes, now Ted’s blog, lives with seals and seagulls on the other side of The Rock from Kayjai.  GrumpyComments, I forgive him for being Irish instead of Scottish and for living on the wrong side of the pond.  And Edrevets, personally keeping an eye on the Arab Spring in Cairo, and a regular visitor to the site of the Hermudgeon, who knows people, who know me, so I’m pleading the Fifth.  Or maybe I’ll drink some of that Fifth to toast all of you lovely people.

It has been a consciousness-expanding couple of months.  I have great respect and admiration for those who have shown me the way.  Now, let’s get back to business as usual.  Gentlemen (and Ladies, of course), Start Your Ranting!