Smitty’s Loose Change #12

Smitty's Loose Change

We (the wife) have acquired a new medical specialist, a Physiatrist (fizz-eye-aah-tryst). This is a term invented by another doctor in 1957. It originally was an alternative to physician, or GP, to distinguish from the growing horde of specialists. Over the ensuing 60 years though, it has come to refer to a doctor who specializes in pain management and control.

He recommends and co-ordinates with chiropractors, osteopaths, massage therapists, and physiotherapists. He can prescribe specific medications, but usually leaves it to the patient and their GP. He can recommend exercises for specific muscle groups, for home, gym or physio sessions. As a last resort, he is trained and authorized to administer injections of analgesics or cortisones.

His clinic is not – and may never be – authorized to administer the long-term, IV-drip, pain-med infusions that I drive the daughter 60 miles every 8/9 weeks to get.

***

I recently got a phone call from a polling firm, working on behalf of my electricity supplier, Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro. While seeming simple, the questions were actually rather confusing. They wanted to know why I had chosen K/W Hydro, and what it would take for me to recommend them to another potential user.

They asked about draws, perhaps one or more customers could have their monthly charge written off. The finances are a closed system. It takes X amount of money to purchase and distribute power. If one (or more) people don’t have to pay, then the rest of us all have to pay a bit more. I don’t want to pay any extra, and, if I were to win, I’d feel guilty about the rest paying more.

Then they asked about rebates. If they can afford to give rebates, then they’re overcharging us. The final suggestion was to donate money to charity. It’s a feel-good idea, but, either they’re overcharging, or we’re all going to pay more, to finance that scheme.

I don’t know what it’s like where you live, but the truly bizarre thing about all this is that they hold a monopoly. No other power-supply company can operate in this district. We have Hobson’s choice – take it, or else. The only other options are to freeze in the dark, or buy a Honda generator at Home Despot. And, my bill went up to help pay for this useless survey.

***

I’ve been translating German names again. Some of them give cause for wonder/amusement.
Einwechter = one – of a half. One what?? Of a half of what? I suppose the Germans know.
Kieswetter = cheese weather – which is a sky overcast with small, dark, chunky clouds that resemble cheese curds. How in Hell you get named after rain clouds, I don’t know. No wonder these people tried to conquer Europe – Twice

Kieswetter

***

Arbitrary

How you’ve heard it: “His bookshelves are organized in a totally arbitrary way. “What it means: Random, erratic, unpredictable, not based on coherent logic whatsoever.

It may be unpredictable to you. It may appear erratic, but it is not random! ‘Arbitrary’ means selected, or chosen. The books on the shelf may be arranged by size, by color, by the number of pages, or even in reverse alphabetical order of the authors’ first names. You may not see the order. You may not agree with the logic, but the owner arbitrarily chose it. He may even have chosen random.

***

My neurologist, the guy who probably saved my sight – the doctor who was willing to throw me in the trunk of his car and drive me 60 miles to a hospital specializing in eye health – has been charged with 34 counts of sexual harassment, and had his medical license revoked. I did not see that coming.

***

We recently survived another Federal election. One of the son’s co-workers asked him – based on the number of lawn signs – who he felt would be the winner in our neighborhood. The son replied that it looked like Re/Max Realty was out ahead, with Century 21 close behind. The son held out hope for a young upstart named Butter Tart Festival, holding a revival meeting at a local tourist trap. The worker protested, “Aren’t you ever serious?” “Sometimes.” “See, there you go again.” Ya just can’t win.

 

Young Love Gone Wrong

Jailbird

For 20 years, they were deliriously happy…. Then they met.
Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.     😳

Once upon a time, I lost a girlfriend. It wasn’t a century ago, but it was well back in the last century.

When I graduated high school, I moved 100 miles away to take my first job. It wasn’t long before it was apparent – at least to me – that the long-distance romance wasn’t going to work. Jeff Foxworthy speaks of, “If she hasn’t yet saddled up and ridden a new horse, she’s at least pulled one from the barn, and put a bridle on him.” My friends never mentioned that to me. I broke it off – by letter – just before Christmas. She wasn’t lonely for long.

I had just turned 19. Her new beau was almost 21. He had a job as a mechanic. He made more money than I did. He had a car. She traded up – or did she??! The new fella was the kind described as ‘known to police.’ She had a 16-year-old younger brother. By Valentine’s Day, he had sold the kid a switchblade knife – probably a $3/$4 piece of junk, that he charged $5 for.

The home was ruled by a nasty, judgmental mother, only one reason I decided to call it quits. All 6 of the children were a bit sharp – or brittle – especially this youngest, with something to prove. He couldn’t attract a girlfriend, but wanted to go to the high school’s big Easter Dance.

Since he didn’t have a partner, he asked the new boyfriend if he could provide a little liquid courage. Back then, you had to be 21 to purchase alcohol, but he knew a fellow, and provided a Mickey (13 Oz.) of lemon gin. The kid spiked his own punch at the party, and was soon roaring drunk – yelling and swearing, and pawing girls.

The science teacher, the male chaperone, approached him, and told him that he must leave. This was his first drinking experience. He didn’t know how to act. He loudly insisted that he would not leave. The teacher reached to take his arm or shoulder, to escort him out…. and he pulled the switchblade!

If he had just left, everything would have quietly disappeared. Now they had to call the cops! He wasn’t arrested, but they confiscated the knife, and called his parents to pick him up. The policeman asked him where he’d got the knife, and the liquor. Too immature to keep his mouth shut, he quickly named the new boyfriend.

The next day, they pulled him over. With probable cause, they searched the car, found an unopened case of beer in the trunk, and charged him with underage possession.

Our town was a ‘County Town,’ not the county capital. That was 30 miles away. We got a circuit judge, and every Wednesday was court day. Nicknamed the Hangin’ Judge, he had seen the evils of Demon Rum, and had a hatred for alcohol. This was Carrie Nation’s husband.

I don’t know whether he came to hate booze before, or because, he became a judge. The latter was quite possible, with all the drunken tourists, and drunken Indians from the nearby reservation.

The boyfriend pled guilty, and the misdemeanor penalty was a fine, and a criminal record. The judge wanted to get higher up this bootlegging ladder, and demanded to know where he had got the beer. “I found it in a ditch.” “Well, I hope you found a month down there with it, ‘cause you’re going to do 30 days in the county slammer.”

He’d kept quiet about his supplier, but, even sober, he just couldn’t keep his mouth shut. “Hell, I can do 30 days, standin’ on my head.” “That’s contempt of court. Here’s another 30 days, to get you back on your feet.” Suddenly that Archon boy was looking real good – but I was long gone.

Flash Fiction #197

Harry Potter

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

OVER THERE

They both diligently saved from their wages, determined to see at least a little bit of the world, before they settled down to careers, marriage and family.

London was fantastic, and they did all the touristy things. Being nerds, they located a Harry Potter store, bought wands, and enjoyed butter beer. They couldn’t find a platform #9-3/4, but they booked a tour on this old steam train, like the Hogwarts Special. The views of the countryside, the quaint little railway stations, and even a castle on a hill, were delightful.

Happy, but resigned, they returned to face the workaday world.

***

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

On a personal note, this is my 1100th published post since Nov. 2011. Also, if you note, it’s FF #197. If all goes well, in a couple of weeks, I’ll reach another milestone of 200.   😀

Flash Fiction #191

Vacation

PHOTO PROMPT © Ceayr

AM I BLUE? NO!

Ah, to be a Canadian Snowbird in South Carolina, for a week in October. Not really Snowbirds – snow hasn’t actually fallen in Southern Ontario – yet. Warm like summer at home, but not yet crowded with boorish, Speedo-wearing Quebecois.

The beaches are delicious – tanning and soaking up sun. It’s easy to tell tourists from townies. Canadians are frolicking in the surf, while the natives are dressed in down-filled coats, like Canucks will be in a month, when they have to shovel that snow. They stare, wondering why we build sand-castles, and not igloos.

Nobody in Canada owns a powder blue villa. 😀

***

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

Flash Fiction #164

DC Tour

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

DAY TO DAY GRIND

We visited a couple of friends in Washington, DC, for the first time.  I left our tourist itinerary in his capable hands; a day to see the White House, a day at the Washington Monument and the National Mall, a day to explore the Smithsonian, a day to marvel at the Pentagon.

He warned us that there would be a lot of foot-travel.  Anything in DC worth visiting, is on a walking tour.  He urged us to, “Rest up; by the time we’re done, you’ll be worn to a nub.”

I just thought that he meant from the bottom up.

***

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

Flash Fiction #154

Monster

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

NIGHT WATCH

A space rock was going to pass near Earth, and he’d wanted to get a photo of it. His best chance had been Lookout Butte at 2:30 A.M., no matter what the superstitious locals said.

Okay by day, but, at night…. There’s something that eats cattle – and coyotes – and the occasional tourist.  Next they’ll claim that Bigfoot has a condo up there.

He’d heard something as he got his picture, probably a groundhog, later, as he was going through his setup shots, he spotted those two red eyes watching him. Maybe these hicks really know something after all.

***

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

Denominations

Bible

I have never been much interested in churches. Christianity has returned the favor by not being very interested in me.  I think that I will live forever.  Heaven doesn’t want me, and Hell is afraid that I’ll take over.

My little home town had at least 6 different churches for 1800 citizens, unlike some small towns on the buckle of the American Bible-belt, where you’d better be Southern Baptist, or be ridden out of town on a rail. It began as a fur-trading outpost, and soon became known as a center for lake-fishing. With a protective off-shore island, it developed into a lake-port and railway terminus. These all brought to the town, people of many varied ethnic and religious backgrounds.

Three churches occupied an intersection a block above the highway, wisely called ‘The Church Corner.’ At one apex stood the United Church.   It (the sect, not the building) was formed in 1925 through the union of Canadian Methodists, Congregationalists, 70% of Canadian Presbyterians, and an odd bunch of other religious malcontents.  It seems that, ever since Martin Luther showed them that they could, all most Christians want to do is ‘protest’ and establish their own independence.

A girlfriend dragged me to her United Church one Sunday. In long-bygone days when poor factory workers put change in the offering plate, the preacher announced that, “Today, there will be a silent offering.” meaning no coins!  Bills only!  It was probably a pure coincidence that, on Tuesday, he was driving a new car.

Across the street was ‘my’ Baptist Church. My Scottish mother had left the Presbyterian Church when she married my ‘Baptist’ father, and got a twice-a-year – at Christmas and Easter (maybe?) attendee.  It has gone into decline, and is now the site of an artisanal restaurant, attracting mainly tourists.

Unlike our Southern brethren, there was no hellfire and brimstone, but our next-door neighbor sang in the choir, and her daughter was ‘a missionary in India,’ (the arrogance!) so any empty liquor bottles were carefully concealed in the trash.

These two were the main depots for the blue-color factory workers. On the third corner was the Anglican Church, and the fourth side housed the rectory for its minister.  This seemed to be where most of the town’s merchants, lawyers and real-estate agents prayed for (or preyed on) more customers.

Directly beside the highway stood the Presbyterian Church, larger, richer, and more ornate than either the Anglican, or the little Catholic. It was attended, in all pomp and circumstance, by the descendants of the powerful Scottish traders and minor nobility immigrants and their attendants.

This church had a large bell tower, rather than the simple steeple my Baptist, or the Anglican Church had. It had a set of chimes, and an amplifier, and speakers in the tower to carry the music to its worshippers.

With my Mother’s connections, we were the caretakers for several years – dusting pews, mopping floors and firing two coal-burning furnaces in the basement early enough on wintery Sunday mornings to warm the gentry parishioners.

Right beside the bank at the main intersection was a narrow little storefront Pentecostal Church(?) Its members were reputed to ‘speak in tongues’, and handle snakes.  Immediately above was a small apartment intended for the pastor and family.  When she was an impressionable teenager, my friend’s mother had listened to a pastor’s forked tongue, and handled his snake….and the Church had to house and support them there.

If not for a couple of stained-glass windows, the tiny Catholic Church might have been mistaken for a small storage warehouse. There weren’t too many Catholics in town – except in the tourist season.  The rest of the churches might get the occasional summer visitor….but the Catholic Church??!

During the off-season, there was an 11:00 AM Mass. During the invasion, the gullible guilty faithful Catholic tourists packed it all day.  There was an 8AM mass, a 9AM Mass, one at 10, one at 11, and one at noon – and probably evening services as well.  No long sermons.  The priest kept it short and sweet, 45/50 minutes, instant salvation.  After each service, as the faithful filed out the front door, the priest scuttled out the back, and scurried a half a block to the bank with a deposit bag bulging with cash.

There were probably some Jews in town. Two schoolmate brothers, named Oscar and Myron, and a girlfriend’s friend named Leah, indicate the likelihood.  Too small a group to warrant a synagogue, they probably met in someone’s home.

Other than seeing someone coming or going, I didn’t really know who attended what church – and didn’t care – and didn’t know anyone who did. With our already pureed population, and the vastly varied, and often foreign, summer invasion, the town was used to a wide range of opinions and actions.  Such tiny details as whether or not someone attended Church, and if so which one, were minute and insignificant.

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

A To Z Challenge – R

april-challenge

U R here.  U R lost, but U R here.  U R outstanding in your field, and that’s where you should be – out standing in a field.  In case you hadn’t guessed, in this post, I’m gonna talk about Pirates – aRRRgh….no I’m not, just about the letter

letter-r

REMEMBRANCE, REFLECTION, REMINISCING

During my work career, there were several times when I was not employed. Because of my learning disabilities and restricted education, when I was employed, it often could not be charitably described as ‘gainfully.’

With careful financial planning and saving however, we have been able to see and do some interesting and enjoyable things. Did you know that you can spend an entire week at a Red Roof Inn, or Microtel mini-suite for the cost of one day at a posh hotel, if you don’t need to be fawned over?

We can’t afford to fly, and rent a car when we arrive. All trips have been by car, including three Le Mans trips to Florida with my brother.  2400 kilometers (1500 miles) in 24 hours.  I have swum in, and enjoyed the magnificence of the Atlantic Ocean, and the beauty of the beaches, at Clearwater Florida, just after a storm, down at the tip, at Key West, on a warm, sunny day, Daytona Beach, Charleston, and Myrtle Beach, S.C., where I found some singing sand.

When the wife and I were stronger and more mobile, we walked much of historically preserved Old Charleston, and visited Fort Sumter, seeing frolicking dolphins and fishing pelicans. We have driven the Great Smoky Mountains, the Appalachians, and the Shenandoahs, where we took a hundred-mile trip along the Top Of The World on the Skyline Drive, seeing Stony Man Mountain.

We’ve gone down into the Skyline Caverns, and later, the Luray Caverns.  We stopped to tour the awesome Lewis Ginter Gardens.  We even trekked into the Middle Of Nowhere, Ohio, to find the only slightly lost John Erickson, and we did it all on a shoestring budget.

Of course we took photos, at first, the old, printed type. Later we used a digital camera, and ignored the pix on the computer.  Lately, as both the bodies and the wallet grow weaker, we have the memories of better days to keep us warm and happy, with our REMEMBRANCE, REFLECTION, REMINISCING.   😀

Ball and Chain

ball-and-chain

Two men were talking and one says to
the other, “You’re having an anniversary soon,
right?” The other replied, “Yup, a big one… 20
years.”

“Wow,” said the other, “what are you going to do
for your wife for your anniversary?” The other
replied, “I’m going to take her to Australia.”

“Wow, Australia! Now that’s something!” said the
other man. “That’s going to be hard to beat. What
are you going to do for your 25th anniversary?”

“Go back and get her.”

***

I haven’t spoken to my wife for 18 months –
I don’t like to interrupt her.

***

If there is a tourist season,
why can’t we shoot them?

***

I like to make jokes about ugly people.
I figure who’s gonna complain?
***

There cannot be a crisis next week.
My schedule is already full.

***

A carelessly planned project will take three times as long as expected.
A carefully planned project….will only take twice as long.

***

A girl realized that she had grown hair between her legs. She got worried and asked her mom about that hair. Her mom calmly said “That part where the hair has grown is called your monkey. Be proud that your monkey has grown hair”. The girl smiled. At dinner, she told her sister “My monkey has grown hair”. Her sister smiled and said “That’s nothing – mine is already eating bananas”.

***

A bus full of Nuns falls off a cliff and they all die!

They arrive at the gates of heaven and meet St. Peter. St. Peter says to them, “Sisters, welcome to Heaven. In a moment I will let you all through the pearly gates, but before I may do that, I must ask each of you a single question. Please form a single-file line.” And they do so.

St. Peter turns to the first Nun in the line and asks her “Sister, have you ever touched a penis?” The Sister Responds “Well… there was this one time… that I kinda sorta… touched one with the tip of my pinky finger…” St. Peter says “Alright Sister, now dip the tip of your pinky finger in the Holy Water, and you may be admitted.” and she did so.

St. Peter now turns to the second nun and says “Sister, have you ever touched a penis?” “Well…. There was this one time… that I held one for a moment…” “Alright Sister, now just wash your hands in the Holy Water, and you may be admitted” and she does so.

Now at this, there is a noise, a jostling in the line. It seems that one nun is trying to cut in front of another! St. Peter sees this and asks the Nun “Sister Susan, what is this? There is no rush!” Sister Susan responds “Well if I’m going to have to gargle this stuff, I’d rather do it before Sister Mary sticks her ass in it!