Turkey Talk

Convocations have occurred with some fanfare and very little drama (thank Gawwwwd) and now, the final epic graduation of son will take place to end the graduation year ceremoniously, thus. Or something traditional and ceremonial like that….

His grad date and Mommy spontaneously dropped by to shake my hand and meet the mother of the young man who will accompany her first born on her graduation. I’m hoping I made a good impression what with the clean laundry littering the floor, Mags barking madly, Hubby chillin’ on the couch eating his snack and watching hockey news and me still in my stinky running clothes. WHO DOESN’T WANT TO MEET SOMEBODY FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THAT SWEET MESS?! She was sweet and then the turkey talk happened. Literal, turkey talk. Son and grad date will have pics taken at someone’s cabin or farm or something naturalistic like that. I went into a semi-conscious state when the question of ‘so what are your plans for that day’ was asked. I wasn’t aware I was to have PLANS. Like, real PLANS?!! Then on to the discussion, well really more of a statement than discussion, of having pictures taken where there was a wharf and water and oh yeah, could be turkeys wandering about. BECAUSE GRAD PICTURES AREN’T GRAD PICTURES WITHOUT A RANDOM TURKEY IN THE BACKGROUND. That’s how it’s done, people.  

If I get trampled on by a rafter of turkeys (I looked it up…a group of turkeys is a ‘rafter’. Now you can amaze your friends with your trivia and expert knowledge of turkeys. I DO RESEARCH! You. Are. Welcome) I want that escapade into awesomeness documented for future generations to peruse and envy. “Oh, yeah look at Grandma run from that wacked out turkey! HE LOOKS PISSED!”


It will be framed and hung in the most auspicious place in the house. The bathroom.

I’m still waiting for warm weather to appear, but the gods of Spring/Summer refuse to cooperate, so here we are freezing in our capris and sandals hoping for some temps above freezing to save our tulips and budding trees. Plants are defiant and trying to come to life despite the cold air and billowing winds. It’s dismal. All this while I sit in front of the fire and see that other parts of Southern Ontario are under a heat wave and have HEAT warnings. ACTUAL HEAT WARNINGS. “I’m just dying from this heat” said one lady on the news. “I have to jump in a pool to cool off” OH FOR FUCK’S SAKE, SHUT UP! And I think I may have hurled my wine glass at her. The dog looked scared and ran off. I may have frightened Hubby who suggested we go for a walk. THEN WE LOOKED AT REAL ESTATE IN MY HOME TOWN…which was so eye-opening. What’s with all the dark-stained moldings?

I don’t understand.

Also, EVERYBODY HAS A POOL!! WHY CAN’T I HAVE A POOL?!

Because I live in Newfoundland and have the fire going in the middle of June. That’s why.  

But, I still want a pool in my backyard and a cornfield in the park around the corner. 

 I CAN DREAM…. 

I Remain Aloof and Ambivilant With a Side of Fog-Induced Misery. Good. Times.

The current weather conditions have prompted Hubby to exclaim his dedication to moving, so he has taken to looking up prospective real estate on the mainland. This has included my hometown, where I have to say “No, that’s not Chatham. That’s actually in Tilbury” to which he shakes his head and says “So?” Yes. Exactly. So? So why are you even looking over there? So, there’s no real viable based-in-reality prospect of us moving to Southwestern Ontario within the next 4 years, but he loves to toy with the idea just to see my reaction. I remain ambivalent and aloof, until the next day which has me looking up real estate in ACTUAL Chatham, not the near-miss towns, and then I get all sentimental and ‘what if’ and then I snap out of it when the IB book list looms over my head reminding me my teenaged son has yet to graduate highschool. And drive. And get a first part-time job with actual customers yelling at him because he messed up their beloved double-double. To relocate the junior would be detrimental to my sanity…and his.
Life marches on and the weather we are experiencing plays a major part in mood and enjoyment of life. The entire month of July has been one big kick in the ass, day-after-day of rain, drizzle, fog and near freezing temperatures. After a while it has one dreaming of beachy vacations amid sand, sun and surf, and possibly even selling it all and moving to an uninhabitable tropical island to become beachcombers and vagrants…is that even possible? Can one still be a rugged beachcomber living off the sand, building a straw hut and eating coconuts and bananas all day as the warm sun sinks into her skin? Ahhh….I think I want to try that.
People are starting to wonder if the sun will ever shine again in our skies. Flowers are not blooming, the barbeque remains unlit and the deck hasn’t seen occupants the entire month. We are now thinking fall will just come swiftly, leaving summer a distant imaginary friend waving at us from our driveway as father backs over her with his car. Poor Summer. She never had a chance with Dad at the wheel.
As the rest of the civilized world bakes in a heat wave, we shiver and huddle in our masses and homes, fires lit in the fire place, blankets abound and the umbrellas and nanny bonnets at the ready. (Nanny bonnet= rain bonnet old ladies wear to protect their permanents. These are Dollar store finds that the senior women use on windy, rainy days, currently in abundance these days. I threatened to don one yesterday as I headed out into torrential rain and 60km hour winds)
You may laugh at our inconsequential whining of ‘no summer weather’ however, we only get two months of summer-like temperatures to begin with. Now take away an entire month, and we are left hoping and desperately pleading with the weather gods to make August a more warmer and sunnier reprieve from the onslaught of winter. We know, we choose to live here, and most of us will not trade places with mainlanders, our island being our homeland as we remain stoically patriotic, however, that tends to wain as the days of rain, drizzle, fog wear on and our spirits begin to drag. A day in the sunshine is all we ask.
I hope with a new month beginning tomorrow, Summer will make an appearance in my driveway. I’ll remind the drivers to watch where they’re going so she can safely wave and maybe even stay for supper.    I’ll turn on the barbeque….who wants a hamburger?

Look!  There it is!  Ahhh...warm....

Look! There it is! Ahhh…warm….

Bringing The Awesome From The Past

Hi. How are you? I’m not sure where to begin. I shall inundate you with shit that has no bearing on your life whatsoever, just because it pleases me. How’s that for a beginning? Yeah. I now speak like I was just crowned queen and sit on a thrown made of gold and velvet…or velveeta… which would obviously be more awesome. Who doesn’t love a throne made of cheese?!
The temperature in my office remains a chilly -25 degrees whilst outside the warm summer air is billowing the trees…I so want to be outside. I wear a coat INSIDE and take it off when I get out into the sunshine, instead of the other way around…I think that’s odd…especially since we seldom have sunshine and warmth simultaneously. I’m reveling in the irony.
Recently, my family had a reunion in my hometown and now the old black and white photos of yester year are popping up all over FB. I love it, not only because I get to see my mom and her sibs in their natural habitat when they were young and carefree, but because it also gives everybody a connection. Most of the pictures I have never seen, especially ones involving my Aunt Edie. She was an entity only in my mind. My mother would often say when I was younger, how much I reminded her of my Aunt who had died long ago, but I never knew why. I don’t know the circumstances of her death and I don’t know why I reminded my mother of my Aunt. I may never know, but it’s nice to see an actual face to the name. Maybe it was the way I twisted my hair when I was bored, or the expression on my face when somebody teased me about my freckles or how I continually get lost in unfamiliar places…and even familiar ones. It’s nice to know that your family remembers everyone even if they are no longer in their presence…and can retell old stories as if they are reliving a period in time that somehow got a little lost and by telling the stories, they can find them again, if only for a moment or two. It would be nice to make a reunion in the near future so I can hear these stories in person.
In the meantime, keep up with the pics and I’ll see if I can guess who’s who…and whomever Hercules was, I bet he was the one who thought outside the box and did his own thing…you can tell by the mushroom haircut and the goofy glasses. A man before his time. The name alone is awesome…it signifies greatness…Thought I’d throw that in there in case my cousin has another pic or two of that guy and can give me some clue as to how he managed to photo-bomb our family pics. See? Man before his time….

My Grandfather and Great Grandmother with William Hercules...who is awesome and on the right.

My Grandfather and Great Grandmother with William Hercules…who is awesome and on the right.

 

 

The Dikes

As a slang term, ‘dyke’ is the euphemism for a lesbian woman, thus ‘the dikes’ may imply a pair of lesbian women.  Not in this instance.  The dikes referred to a land mass located on the south side of town that served as a hedge for the Steele Park which was a short walk from my house, and the expanse of land on the opposite side, that served no particular purpose during the years of my childhood.  Steele Park had one lowly swing set, a hut that was used for the parks and recreation staff for arts and crafts in the summer, a picnic table, a tether ball pole and later a playground ensemble that no one could decipher or by what force of nature had put it there.  It was so convoluted an engineer would need instructions to figure it out. The summer park recreational program was fraught with arts and crafts sessions or latent walks to tour the local police station.  Touring the Chatham city police was always a highlight for the summer programs and it was especially great for those of us situated on the other side of those dikes.  Far enough to want a bus but close enough to force the kids to walk.  We were shown real jail cells with steel bars and given the speeches of crossing the street safely on a green light.  The highlight was always some kid getting invariably locked in a cell while the rest of us taunted him and debated his future prospects as aninmate.

 The park and rec staff took pity on us who attended the Steele park afternoon arts and crafts sessions, as our reputation for the ‘bad’ part of town preceded us.  Their activities were usually poorly organized since staff kept refusing to attend to our park out of fear or loathing or both. Those who did show up were ill prepared and we found them particularly boring, but they tried to engage as many of the smaller ones as possible.  Their ‘hut’ was a focus point for break-ins and more than once their supplies depleted by the wayward teens who found alternate uses for craft glue.

Filled with lush grass and large maple trees on the boundaries between the park and the adjacent houses, the park was a great sanctuary in the summer and a tobogganing heaven in the winter.  The dikes served as a nemesis for toboggan gods looking for the next big hill to conquer and conquer it we all tried. 

  Feathered with trees and spots of grass, the dikes was the perfect sledding haven with its slopey side rising at the end of the park, then reaching a steep pinnacle, only to incline haphazardly down the other side that, in the seventies, was inhabited by nothing but solid clay ground and dirt underneath a few feet of snow that had turned to a solid sheen of ice by the time the hundredth kid had taken his turn. The city later found that land as a perfect site to build a housing development.  New and upscale homes began to populate our favorite tobogganing hill.  Soon, instead of our sleds, inner tubes and crazy carpets sliding downhill to an empty expanse of hard land, if left unmanned or steered improperly, they now headed straight into some person’s backyard and newly constructed deck.  I’m not sure what housing developer saw large cash rewards for this stroke of genius, but I’m guessing his pie in the sky idea never took to the fruition he had hoped.  Those kids with the sleds landing in the upscale backyards of the new land owners, surely put a damper on the whole “paradise” idea.  Especially if a wayward kid had inexplicably managed to detach a fence post or garner a concussion from a flying Christmas decoration. 

One afternoon, a young friend who did not live in our neighbourhood asked to go tobogganing down the dikes with me.  Shy and new to outside invitations, I eagerly accepted.  I was wearing my quite unfashionable bright orange snow pants my mother had just bought that severely clashed with my dark brown long nylon coat that ‘covered your bum to keep you warm’.  As if I was worried about ass-warmth at the age of eleven. I was quite conscientious about my attire, and swore under my breath as I walked down to the park to meet her.  She was waiting for me when I arrived and I immediately noticed her matching skiing ensemble and the color rose in my cheeks.  Afraid she would notice my lack of fashion sense I steeled myself for a sarcastic remark.  She made no attempts at humor at my expense nor did she seem too concerned with the temperature of my ass.

The girl and I took to the hill with crazy carpets in hand.  Using a crazy carpet on a hill made of ice that sloped severely and littered with rocks and tree stumps, was something of a daredevil escapade about which we would later contemplate our sanity.  This journey into sledding horror proved a rite of passage, as it were, for the faint of heart and junior Evel Knievel among us.   It was also an excellent training ground for future emergency room medical staff and those destined to treat head traumas.

We made the journey to the edge of the park and tackled the dikes.  Our initial runs down the hill proved exhilarating and exhausting.  The long walk back up (which really, wasn’t that long it just seemed like forever with all that clothing on, which did keep my ass warm in case you were wondering) was taking an eternity and we decided to move to another portion of the hill to get more of an exciting and steeper ride, because nothing says ‘temporary paralysis’ better than flying down a hill at the speed of light with a slick sheet of bendable plastic under your ass and the wayward tree stump making you airborne for what seemed like minutes, then landing with a tailbone-crushing thump on a boulder the size of Quebec.   My friend took her turn and I watched first in joy, that later turned to horror as her crazy carpet hit a sheen of ice, propelling her down the hill at an alarming rate of speed,  beating her off a tree stump and soaring her out of my range of vision.  I took to my carpet and tried my best to keep my eyes open for the ride, but most of it was a blur.  I made it in one piece down to the other side of the hill to find her gasping for breath and crawling on her hands and knees. 

In school, we had taken some first aid lessons and learned the new procedure of the Heimlich maneuver.  A technique that was designed to assist a person severely choking on her ham sandwich or chicken bone and anything else she had erroneously decided to attempt to swallow.  This newfound life-saving technique was supposed to dislodge a wayward object from the victim’s throat by performing intrusive stomach-pumping motions with your fists as you bear-hug the victim from behind, whispering sweet-you’ll-be-all-rights in their ear as you pummel the shit out of them, thus, allowing them the ability to breathe freely once again.  Quite simple, really.

Seeing my friend crawling and gasping for breath, I suddenly remembered she had been chewing gum when we began tobogganing.  With the Heimlich presentation still fresh in my mind and thinking I could rescue my new friend with the greatest technique ever known to mankind, I took it upon myself to be her heroine. Rescue the would-be daredevil with precision medical attention and expert execution of a brand new technique.  I would be lauded as saving a young girl’s life.  Wait ‘til her mother finds out she was near-death, but with the life-saving Heimlich, I brought her precious daughter back to life and saved her from inevitable brain-damage or worse, death from the dikes.

I quickly darted for her and wrapped my arms around her so my fists were securely in her stomach and began thrusting in urgent motions.  She tore away from me and started yelling at me.  “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?!!!”  Shocked, I backed away on the crunching snow and stared.  “I was saving you.  I thought you were choking” I replied a bit miffed that she didn’t appreciate my life-saving and quick-thinking first aid.  “I WASN’T CHOKING YOU DOPE!!  I GOT THE BLOODY WIND KNOCKED OUT OF ME.  STAY AWAY FROM ME!”  And with that, she took her crazy carpet and stomped back to the park.  I wandered home defeated, but still convinced the Heimlich could have saved her, if only she had let me.  No appreciation for the would-be life-saving first-aider in her midst.  We never went tobogganing together again.  I guess she was afraid of the whole ‘crazy girl with the orange pants thinks everybody is choking’ thing.  I hope somebody knew what he was doing when she found herself choking on her chicken wings one Friday night and I wasn’t there to put my mad stomach-pummeling fist-thrusting Heimlich-Maneuver skills to work to save her ass.  Meanwhile, my orange pants took a sabbatical and my crazy carpet was in the garbage the next day.  

I should point out Steele Park now looks nothing like it did when I was a kid.  Everything is gone but a climbing apparatus. The dikes look like a little incline with trees and a cemented path running through it and the ‘housing development’ spared the better part of the clay ground.  Instead, they covered it in sod and kept a field of green to have something pretty to look at instead of screaming daredevils careening towards their flower gardens.  Everything seemed so much more mountainous when I was four feet tall.   

 

 

  

The Barn

white-wood-black-barn-old-wooden-grass-hi-274116

I remember being in the presence of an old barn.  This was back in the seventies when the summers were hot and seemed to last a whole year, not a mere few months.  We with nothing more to do but to wander aimless and reckless, our shorts hiked up and our faces flushed from the heat, trudging through yards and barren forest looking for adventure.  Or shade.

There stood before me a large black structure, the wood rotted and the inside dilapidated. The tall A-frame of the roof pointing skyward as if noting the direction of heaven.  The window at the top was gone; replaced with just a wooden bi-fold door hanging off its hinges.  The wood was split and left hanging, the wind blowing the shards innocently, as if afraid to blow too hard and break them. The grass lay brown and dry, the summer quickly turning into fall the leaves having fallen, dried up brown and withered away.  The dirt road was dry and gravelly, the stones crunching when we walked upon them.  There was a gaggle of us, the kids.  We were dispersed in age, the older ones herding the younger ones around the barn discovering it’s secrets and noting its dangerous allure. We were alone out in the country. Of course, near Chatham the country is everywhere around the outskirts of town.  I couldn’t have been far from where I lived.  I can’t imagine my mother ever allowing me to stray too far from her sight.   The attraction to the old building was in its mystique.  The rotting wood that once housed what exactly?  Animals?  Hay?  Corn?

   I’m not sure I was ever inside the barn.  The large looming face stands resolutely in my memory, however, any ideas of lofts or ropes or any items deemed ‘barn materials’ seems out of reach to me.  Was it a dream I had and I thought it was a memory?  Maybe, as the motives for attending the scene secretly remain hidden within the black rotting wood.

My brother seemed to have been the catalyst for my presence at the site.  My cousins were there as well, but more as outlying extras in a movie set.  Their milky dreamlike movements float through my mind and I can see their smiling faces looking down at me, mocking my existence among the big kids.

My memory of the old barn ends there.  I have no idea how we managed to travel so far outside of town, or even if it was that far out.  I just remember the feeling of freely walking about and curious as to its existence.  I know it’s no longer standing out in the country, but it’s nice to visit from time to time….