Rhymes, Rants & Accolades from North Central BC

Archive for January, 2018

SMALL CHILDREN & ANIMALS

Sense and Nonsense 1976

Small children and animals are often smarter than we adult human beings realize. They sometimes have a surprisingly good sense of humour as well. The other day our not- quite-3-year-old insisted that she should visit the doctor. Her last visit to him had involved an inspection of the spots she had had on her tummy; an allergic reaction to something or other. Remembering this, I asked her “Have you got spots, on your tummy again? ”

“No, she answered, pointing to her multi-coloured, T-shirt-encased protuberance, “I got stripes!”

Our 5-year-old grandson took me into his confidence recently. “You know, Grandma, sometimes I don’t hear very well.” I whispered back, so quietly I could not hear myself, “What did you say?” He answered, “I said, ‘sometimes I don’t hear so good, I have a hearing problem.’”

His parents had mentioned that they had worried that their son may have had a hearing problem. They had taken him to a clinic to have his sensory and mental reactions tested. They were told that both his hearing and his l.Q. were above average.

We once had a small dog with an intelligence that seemed to match her diminutive frame. She ignored the house rules concerning sanitation, would not come when she was called, and followed strangers anywhere. In fact she preferred strangers to the people who fed and petted her. Whenever we had company she would go into her cute act, leaping into their laps and squirming with joy when they petted her. I am sure she would have welcomed any intruder, happily leading him to the family jewels (if we had had any).

One evening she disappeared. We spent hours calling and searching for her. The next day we received a phone call from some people on the other side of town. Tuffy had been hurt and was recuperating at their place. When we picked her up, she was a pitiful sight. She had some bruises and one leg appeared to be sore. Her big brown eyes had an expression of enduring pain. We took her home and tenderly placed her in a soft bed with some warm milk and her favourite dog-food.

For a week she convalesced. She ate very little and drank only small amounts of the warm milk we offered her. Once in a while she would limp out of her basket, her tail dragging, to bravely greet us and let us know she was trying to exercise, despite great pain. On the weekend, some friends arrived for a visit. Tuffy instantly forgot her role as an invalid. She leaped out of her sick-bed and went into her usual welcoming routine. She leaped and wiggled and squirmed, all without the slightest trace of pain. Suddenly she realized that the jig was up. She went over to her food dish and wolfed down the contents. For a “dumb” dog, she had done a good job of fooling us for the past week.

Our cat has a weird sense of humour. Last spring my husband was picking some fresh clover for the rabbits. The cat was watching him, moving his head from side to side in a quizzical fashion. He tentatively reached over and took a bit of clover, chewing it slowly. Suddenly he spat it out, shook his head violently and sped away. I’m sure the clover couldn’t have tasted that bad – the rabbits loved it!

His, Hers – plus a small Ours

January 1977 Sense and Nonsense

Over the Christmas holidays we managed to visit with almost all of our offspring. We have one of those space-age families consisting of “his”, “hers ” and a very small “ours” which makes for more than the average number of offspring. Quite a few of these are married and rapidly forming little “ours” families of their own.

During an idle moment I counted these younger and more beautiful replacements of ourselves. The total was larger than I imagined. I read somewhere that you really know you are “over the hill” when your descendants outnumber your friends. I suggested to my husband we had better start making some more friends – and soon!

I am not sure what “over the hill” really means. At a recent birthday party for a 25-year- old, she dismally mentioned that she was now “over the hill.” I expressed amazement and asked her if she was over the hill, what did that make me?

“Oh, that’s a different hill,” she explained. “You’ve already been up and over my hill, now you’re climbing another one!”

I wonder how many hills we have to climb before we reach the final one. A few years ago our neighbor’s daughter married and moved to Vancouver Island. The area where she lived was reputed to abound in oysters, crabs and other edible seafood. Our neighbors planned on visiting their daughter and also bringing home some of these delicious foods. My gourmet palate tingled with envy. I mentioned that I hoped my daughters would marry and settle down in varying agricultural areas of the country. Then I too could visit them and collect the goodies which grew locally.

“Maybe one of them will move to the Okanagan into the “fruit belt” and the other will live somewhere along the coast in the “seafood belt.” I hopefully commented. An elderly gentlemen, the grandfather of the new bride, had a better idea. “Wouldn’t it be nicer if one of them married into the “money belt” he suggested with a twinkle in his eye.

Some families in this modern era find themselves re-related to one another through re-marriage. One husband and wife found themselves re-related to each other when his mother and her father were married. Their children suggested that the marriage made their parents step-brother and sister. They insisted on addressing their parents as “Auntie Mom” and “Uncle Dad.”

Oh well, although we may be “over the hill” and so far none of our children have married into the “money belt” I believe we should count our blessings. Our youngest child is not too confused about her relationship to us. Sometimes she calls her dad “Uncle” and sometimes she calls him ‘”Grampa” but when she really wants his attention she knows a loud “Daddy” is more than sufficient!

WORLD’S LONGEST TONGUE-TWISTER

SEPTEMBER I, 1977 Sense and Nonsense

Afternoon television interview shows seem to be hard up for things to talk about and people to talk to lately. The other day I half-listened to one show concerning tongue-twisters. The audience was participating (hilariously) in an exercise in speech agility. “Peter Piper picked a Peck” and “She sells sea shells.” were both tackled (mostly unsuccessfully). A new one (to me) was “Aluminum linoleum”. It is a toughie no matter which way you pronounce “aluminum”.

A double jointed tongue would be an asset in becoming a tongue-twister expert. I have decided to try out for The Guinness Book of Records’ worlds’ longest tongue-twister. Using the premise that alliteration is the key to successful tongue-twisting composition, I have selected the letter “s” for repetition.

COMPETITION FOR WORLDS LONGEST TONGUE-TWISTER (also an excellent typing exercise for those who have trouble hitting the letter “s ” on the typewriter). Statistics show shunning cigarettes suspends self-slaughter. Slimy sludge smears spongy cells, slows circulation, and speeds oesophagus spasms. Skeptics speculate specialists spoofing. Should censoring cigarettes stop serious sinus seepage? Severe sneezing starts shnozz sniffling. Summer sunshine soothes sensitive sensory services, shrinks swelling.

Several sources insinuate cigarettes ensure cessation of sense of smell. Some say (sneeringly) civilization’s stink sickens. Smelly smog, and sluggish sewers unsettles stomachs. Cigars and smouldering cylinders smother scent. Certain segments of smokers sabotage safety in sanctuaries and sometimes settlements. Sleepy slobs sample cigarettes, subconsciously set sparks, scorching and singeing shelters. Sane smokers cease in sedentary situations. Some sections of society sanction segregating smokers. Some say self-centered cigarette smokers saturate social spaces, upsetting sensible sensitivities. Silent sufferers suspect sadism from smoke-spewing sophisticates.

Solution? – Solitary security! A separate scope should stop the smoke! Cynics say secondary side effects of cigarettes are stained skin, unsanitary and soiled ceilings, cermaics etc. and savings shrinkage (surpassing seventy-seven cents)

Cigarette slaves say “So what!”

TRAINS

November 17, 1977 Sense and Nonsense

Trains are a romantic link with our past. Many songs have been sung and stories told of various incidents in railroad history. School-children have learned, and recently Pierre Berton fans have learned of how closely the “National Dream” was linked to Confederation. I have managed, somehow, to ignore trains most of my life. Many of our domiciles have been located within hearing distance of these links with glorious history. At one nerve-wracking period in my life we lived so close to the railroad tracks, I sometimes suspected that the National Dream was rumbling through the next room. Even then my mind refused to acknowledge the significance of their magnificence, and I referred to them simply as “that awful noise”.

My first experience as a passenger on a train happened at a very tender age. Our family journeyed from the Coast to an unknown and unseen homestead in the Cariboo region of B.C. The first lap in our trip was by boat across Howe Sound to the village of Squamish. There we boarded the old steam-driven Pacific Great Eastern. I vaguely recall hanging for dear life to the railings along the train aisles as the P.G.E. puffed and chugged its way through the Fraser Canyon. I also remember my soup sloshing over the sides of the bowl, and onto the table in the dining car. You had to be a fast soup eater on a train in those days.

My only other memory of that trip was of my mother apologizing to the taxi driver on the final lap to our destination. “Two days on that train, and she doesn’t get sick … until now!”

A few weeks ago I again boarded a train, this time from Edmonton and with my three- year-old daughter. We had spent a week there after arriving by Greyhound bus. Anyone who has travelled by bus with an active youngster will probably agree with me, that it is the ultimate in tedious experiences. I had planned on flying home when someone suggested the train.

I must have looked blank because they expounded, “You know, that long, noisy thing that travels on tracks not two miles from your door?”

Statistics say trains are the safest mode of transportation. I thought of this as I climbed into our sleeping compartment with my tired daughter, after switching trains in Jasper. The hypnotic roll and clank of the coach had almost lulled me to sleep when I began hearing voices. The last sleeping car was also the caboose and the trainman at the end was communicating with someone. Apparently our train was “No 9”. I mentally hummed a few bars of “The Wreck of the Number 9” as I eavesdropped on the barely audible conversation.

They were discussing the “south wheel” and I gathered it wasn’t functioning as it should. I suddenly realized that the rythmn of the car noises had changed and there definitely was a “clunk” somewhere in the direction I presumed to be south. I no longer felt like sleeping.

With alarm, I heard another vague reference to the “south wheel” and then clearly, “There’s hardly anyone in the sleeper.” This suggested to me that possibly the south wheel was about to fall off and cause a derailment, but this was of little concern because there was “hardly anyone in the sleeper.” My daughter had awakened and I decided that now was a good time to go to the diner for supper. We enjoyed a delicious, long meal. My daughter had two bowls of soup and never spilled a drop on the snow white tablecloth.

When we returned to our coach, I noted that it was still there. A porter was chatting with the trainman at the back. He waved at us and seemed remarkably cheerful for someone about to be involved in a derailment. I decided that if the trainmen weren’t worried about it, neither was I. My new worry concerned the alarm clock that I had purchased in Jasper. I had bought it in case the porter forgot to awaken me before we reached our station. I had no intention of travelling any further west than I had to. New clocks are not to be trusted. It was possible that it would stop dead sometime on its journey towards 2 o’clock. It had never been that far on its own before.

The terrain near the railroad tracks looked entirely different from the familiar view of the same locale from the highway. However I was sure I would recognize Prince George even in the dark of night. As it was I almost didn’t. My view of the city consisted of several illuminated piles of lumber. By this time I no longer cared that much. I was dead tired and the hands on my new clock seemed to be rotating quite nicely. When my husband met us at the Endako Station, he asked us how we enjoyed the train ride.

“The choo-choo train was fun! “said our daughter. “It’s the Canadian way to travel” I told him.

IF IT MOVES FEED IT –  IF IT DOESN’T DUST IT

Sept 15 1977 Sense and Nonsense

I am finally completing my spring cleaning. I scrubbed half the walls in our living room last May. The clean part looked so good I decided to leave the rest dirty for a few hours, just to feast my eyes on the obvious results of my efforts. That was a mistake. I can’t remember whether the cow calved, (we don’t have a cow) the cat kittened, or the bunnies bunnied. However something drastic must have happened to postpone my spring cleaning for so long. Suddenly the calendar said it was September, and just as suddenly I decided I was tired of people commenting on how well the two shades of wall panelling harmonized–they are supposed to be one color.

I once read a book concerning people like myself. We are called random housekeepers. I don’t remember the book that well but the authors’ opening advice: “If it moves, feed it. If it doesn’t dust it” was very helpful.

Random housekeepers are not necessarily lazy people, just inconsistent. We need a rule of thumb to clean by. The author also mentioned that people may not notice a randomly tidied house if the phone is clean and shiny. She said it was very important to always have a clean telephone. Well, I hope everyone who visits us notices that my phone is free from dust, grease and bread dough, most of the time. For some reason, whenever I have my hands knuckle-deep in bread dough, the phone invariably rings. I know from experience, that if I take time to scrape and wash the gummy stuff from my hands, my caller will hang up.

I am thinking of writing the phone company, and suggest they invent a phone with a receiver than can be unhooked and immersed in dishwater. On second thought, I suppose the little holes would fill with soap bubbles, distorting the tone of future conversations. I shall just have to learn to pick up the phone with my toes or teeth. (How do you talk on a phone, if your teeth are full of it?)

I have invented a few rules of my own to clean by. Two jobs I despise are cleaning the oven and defrosting the fridge. I find it very easy to ignore my oven, but impossible to ignore my fridge. When the freezer compartment of my refrigerator becomes iced up, the little door refuses to stay shut. (A weak spring on one side falls off) When this happens I automatically buy a can of oven cleaner.

My hard and fast rule is: Never defrost the fridge without cleaning the oven on the same day. Rassling with the door to the freezing compartment 20 times a day is too irritating to live with for long. If the spring on the door was ever replaced, I would have the dirtiest oven in town. Another rule I have is to wash and wax the kitchen floor whenever I wash my hair. I invented a similar rule when our 3-year-old was a baby. I washed the floor every day after I bathed the baby (I had to). As she grew older and no longer required daily baths in the kitchen, the floor had fewer scrubbings. In our house the rule is; the smaller the baby, the cleaner the floor.

I am thinking of inventing some more rules–such as whenever the vacuum cleaner bag needs replacing, I should shampoo the rug. Another job I always put off is washing the windows. I usually wait until the landscape looks blurry before cleaning them. I think I shall make a rule, that every time I have to scrape bread dough off the phone, I also have to wash the windows.

Last year I got my spring cleaning done months before the leaves turned color. We tentatively planned on selling the old homestead, I scrubbed, painted and polished until the place gleamed. It looked so good that before the first prospective buyer phoned, we had changed our minds about selling. That was a drastic way of getting the spring cleaning done on time, but maybe we should advertise the place again, next spring. Possibly next year I shall finish my spring cleaning before September.

I’M GLAD I’M NOT SPORTS’ NUT

Oct 27, 1977  Sense and Nonsense  [Nechako Chronicle]

This time of year I am glad I am not a sports’ nut. How does one follow the baseball finals, the football finals, as well as the first few games of the hockey season? The other day baseball was on one television channel and hockey was on the other. At the same time, a football game was droning on a local radio station. All my favorite T.V. shows were pre-empted! The male persons in our household happily agreed to watch baseball. (The youngest prefers hockey, but he was outnumbered.)

I sulkily retired to the kitchen and listened to the football game on the radio. I dislike football intensely. However once in a while I force myself to listen to one, to try to decipher what there is to it that lures people to pay outrageous prices just to sit and watch it in the pouring rain and/or icy wind. I have finally decided that it must be a variation of the “hammer on the head” syndrome  (it feels so good when it’s over and you can go home to your nice warm bed!)

Hockey is a game that requires an adequate knowledge of the rules to enjoy watching. I have watched quite a few minor hockey games, but the only thing I am absolutely sure of is that if the puck gets past the big kid in front of the net, who is wearing a different coloured sweater from the one your kid is wearing, there is cause for jubilation.

The one spectator sport that I have a certain knowledge of the rules, is baseball. The rules are similar to softball, a game we used to play in school. At recess time, two kids would appoint themselves captains, and choose their teams. As it was a small school, it was necessary for every kid to participate in order to play a proper game. Sometimes the captains would fight over me. As I had trouble hitting the ball, throwing the ball, and also catching the ball, I knew it was a dubious distinction.

One captain would say, “You can have her!” The other would argue. “No. you can have her. I had her last lime!” In later years, after I started wearing glasses. I discovered that being able to see the ball improved my ability to play the game somewhat.

I understand that there are people in this world who cannot bear to miss a televised sport. I can just picture such an addict, sitting equal distance from two television sets, one turned to a baseball game, the other to a hockey game. Possibly, he also has a radio tuned to a football game.

Catfish Hunter winds up for the pitch…It’s on the centre line…The ball is out of bounds…A line drive to center field…and icing is called …It’s a forward pass on the fifteen yard line…and it’s now in Canadian territory… There’s a double play, and the runner on second is out…He is tackled in the end-zone … and a penalty is called for high-sticking!…Esposito fires the puck at the boards….Strike one!… The ball is on the 45 yard line…It’s a foul ball! …Robinson passes it to LaFleur. He shoots!… It’s a touchdown!!….The Dodgers win 5 to 1!!!…Drink Pepsi!.. In your Pontiac car, wearing your new 18-hour bra

WAY UP NORTH – 1977

June 30 1977.  Sense and Nonsense

A few weeks ago we went on a camping trip up the Alaska Highway and into the Yukon Territories. On returning home we took the Stewart – Cassiar route to Hazelton, B.C. First of all I must insist that we had a good lime despite the weather. The reason I am emphasizing our enjoyment is because of the difficulty we had in convincing other people of this. I had written a day to day account of our travels and recently read this journal aloud to some friends.

One person remarked “Sounds like you had a great time, glad I wasn’t there.” He added “You should have left mailing addresses along the way. Then we could have sent you postcards from home reading, ‘Having wonderful time. Wish you were here!'”

As it was we were unlucky weather-wise in the Yukon. We camped near the Rancheria River for three days while the weather gradually worsened. A tent can be very comfortable in the rain with the proper use of plastic tarps and a little heat. However when the rain is combined with a multi-kilometer-per-hour wind gusting off the snow covered mountains it is a different story. Still I cannot understand why our friends misinterpreted the mood of my journal. On pages 1, 2 and 3 and again on page 14, I mentioned the sunshine. I also described the spectacular scenery, the wildlife and the interesting things we saw and did.

On every page I pointed out exactly where my husband tried to catch a fish. On the final page I devoted a whole paragraph to the scene where he finally did catch a fish. That this fish dwelt in waters quite close to home should have been incidental.

I would like to relate some excerpts from my journal which drew chuckles (mostly sympathetic) from our friends. “We camped just south of Chetwynd last night. We were starving and yesterdays’ stew sure tasted good. We used the gas lamp for heat in the tent. However it ran dry before 3:00 A.M. when Fern (our small daughter) decided to throw up (too much pop & ice – cream). It was at this time that I remembered where I had left the flashlight – at home naturally.”

“The road to Ft. Nelson was rough, rough, rough and it rained steadily. This morning Leon discovered his power-saw was nearly floating in the plywood box on top of the car. We stopped and he drilled a small hole and let out about 15 gallons of water.

“Last night we camped at Muncho Lake, a lovely, blue-green lake surrounded by snow covered mountains. A little wind during the night woke me up. It was stirring the plastic tarp on the tent. I suppose the ancient bear turd we noticed earlier prompted the dream I was having. The rattle of the plastic scared me half to death.”

Note : Some people have hinted that we were a trifle foolhardy to go on an extended camping trip with merely a tent between us and the bears at night. We decided not to invite the bears to our home-away-from-home for a midnight snack. We methodically wrapped every particle of food and any dirty dishes. Before retiring we placed it all in the trunk of the car. I refused to succumb to the urge to throw food particles and pour grease on the campfire at night. We gift-wrapped the garbage and deposited it in a far off garbage can. I hopefully believed that the hissing of the gas-lamp which burned all night (except the first night) was repellant to our furry friends. As an added precaution my husband kept his “bear tranquilizer” (an axe) handy.

“Yesterday we had our first car trouble. The signal lights quit flashing and Leon was fiddling under the hood trying to locate the trouble. All of a sudden I noticed smoke rising from the steering column. I switched off the key, grabbed Fern from the back seat, yelled “Fire” and hit the pavement in my bare feet. As it turned out it was no catastrophe. The signal lights had burned out and who needs signal lights up here.

At Laird hot-springs: “We hiked up through the woods, past the second pool to the first pool. The water in this pool bubbled up like a gigantic witches’ cauldron. A sign proclaimed that this water ‘may be injurious to your health.’ I suppose being parboiled would be “injurious to your health” as even the second pool was plenty hot – especially on the one end (It was nice after we got used to it.)

“At Watson Lake we heard the news of the outside world – that Pierre and Maggie have split up. The radio reception up here has been intermittent – mostly not. All along the Alaska Highway there are liquid outlets at regular intervals – gas for your car and booze for the driver. You can’t always buy food but there is no way you have to stay sober.

“At Rancheria they insisted that bait was not necessary to attract an arctic grayling. They told us a naked lure was all we needed. I bought a can of shrimp anyway (we ate it later) I also bought hamburgers to go (plain $2.25) a dozen Yukon eggs (the same eggs Robert Service wrote the poem about) and a pound of coffee. The coffee was only $2.50 a pound, a pre-inflation price for pre-inflation coffee. (We just used twice as much).

“The fish would not bite – bait or no bait. This morning we both had the same idea – let’s leave! It poured rain all night and the icy wind threatened to blow our Yukon based canvas home back to B.C. We have seen at least three motor – homes towing smaller vehicles. These vehicles are a mess. Smashed headlights, mud-splattered and rock pitted. This morning Leon noticed one big outfit with trail bikes strapped on the back. At least he thought they were trail bikes – completely mud encrusted with mud stalagmites hanging down.

“At Cassiar we could find no motels or hotels or even a laundromat. There were no stores to speak of at all. The 1500 people who live there must have their food and clothing handed out on payday. We finally found a gas station a few miles out of town.

“Well we did it! We said we could probably sleep in the car if we had to. Leon in the front seat and Fern and I in the back. Aside from the fact that my rear end kept going to sleep (Fern hogged the bed) and Leon was about a foot too long for the width of the car, we managed about 4 hours of sleep.

“At Tattogga Lake we found a small laundromat. Clean clothes! I don’t know if I can stand it!  Thought about a shower too. However, I had had a sponge hath at our breakfast – stop lake this morning. Decided that and clean clothes were enough shock to the system for one day.”

Near Stewart. B.C: “Fern could hardly believe her eyes when she saw a Volkswagen “bug ” caught up in a tree. Don’t know how long it had been there, but it was nestled up there quite snugly. Not far from there we passed an enormous piece of ice which extended down the mountain almost to the road. The sign said “Active Avalanche. Don’t Stop.” We didn’t.

“The Kitwanga Country grows the most enormous cottonwood trees. Every swamp contained huge prolific skunk cabbages. Also lots of mosquitoes and blackflies. Our B.C. mosquitoes are only ½ the size of the Yukon ones but they are much quicker. The size of the Yukon variety makes them more awkward and therefore easier to catch unawares.”

[Note 2018] My neighbor recently filled me in on the history of the Volkswagon in the tree. On a long ago road trip my neighbour’s daughter and her young friends had hoisted the “bug” up into the branches after its motor died. [So much for my theory that it had been caught up in an avalanche]

PYRAMID POWER

May 13, 1976  Sense and Nonsense

Power seems to be a word everyone is using these days. People seem to be searching for non-mechanical sources of energy. Some groups of people have formed organizations using the term “power.” We have had “black power” – also red, white and yellow power. We have also had “flower power.”

The newest kind of power is “pyramid power”. Thanks to Red Kelly and the Toronto Maple Leafs’ hockey team, pyramid power has become very popular. In one hockey game in Toronto, the Maple Leafs clobbered the mighty Philadelphia Flyers with the help of this new kind of power. Mr. Kelly tucked tiny plastic pyramids under the Toronto bench. Some of the players placed these pyramids on their heads during intermissions.

The results seemed to be spectacular. The Maple Leafs scored goal after goal. That they lost the next game in Philadelphia was almost incidental. After all as someone pointed out, the Philadelphia stadium is in itself shaped like a pyramid. This probably neutralized the power of the smaller pyramids within. Besides it was rumoured the Philadelphia team were armed with some “pyramid power” of their own.

The ancient Egyptians were great believers in pyramids. They built huge structures in that peculiar shape throughout the land. Their dead, who were often treated better than their live counterparts, were entombed in these large stone buildings. They were buried with plenty of food, jewels, weapons and servants (who were also dead) to make their afterlife as comfortable as possible. Why they chose the pyramid shape for this purpose instead of the easier to build square or rectangular, nobody knows for sure.

Some people believe pyramids have supernatural properties. I have been told that if you place a glass of milk under a pyramid it will stay fresh for days. A friend told us of an experiment someone made with a banana. He peeled it and placed half of it under a pyramid. He left the other half just outside the strange looking little structure. The banana half that was under the pyramid remained appetizingly white and firm. The other half very shortly turned brown and sticky.

I have decided to go into the pyramid business. I shall call it Pyramids Unlimited. After all, if thousands of people paid $3.98 for pet rocks last Christmas how much will they pay for this much handier item? I will shortly have for sale custom made pyramids in the newest spring shades to complement anyone’s wardrobe. These pyramids will be designed to be worn as a hat on one’s head. Some will be equipped with cleverly concealed shelves to store your milk and bananas. These last I would recommend should not be worn at all but instead placed in the kitchen to replace the old fashioned refrigerator.

P.S. I am too late: Eatons and some other stores are already selling pyramids. The pyramids sell for $3.49 which has to be a bargain. I shall have to start a new business. How about Squares Unlimited? A square has special powers too. Just add glass and it’s a window, add wood and it can be a table, chair or even a house (if you have enough squares).

Add eyes, a nose, mouth and a body and it is a certain kind of person – someone who insists there is no such thing as pyramid power!

JANUARY IS NOT A GOOD MONTH

Jan, 1975  Sense and Nonsense  [Nechako Chroncle]

January is not a good month. It is cold, snowy and generally miserable throughout. The biggest thing wrong with January, however, is that it is too long. February hasn’t that much going for it either but at least it is short, especially on non-leapyears. After you get past Valentine’s Day it seems to be downhill all the way into March. But then I never cared all that much for March either. In this country it seems to have many more lionish lionish qualities than lambish ones and like January it is too long. As a matter of fact most of the bad months are longer than the good ones.

Some of the best months of the year only contain thirty days. For instance, April, when things are definitely showing the promise of Spring, is a relatively short month. June is another good month. Its thirty days are crammed full of sunshine, flowers and weddings. In some towns couples have to book ahead many months to have a June wedding. A lot of them have to settle for July, as the churches are too busy in June.

September is my favorite month of the year. The Fall foliage is gorgeous, the weather is still warm and the bugs have mostly disappeared. In no time at all September  is over though, and and crummy, windy, dull October looms ahead with its vast expanse on the calendar.

I am considering writing a cabinet minister. I am not sure which one, and inform him of my suggestions for revising and improving the calendar. I am sure most Canadians would welcome my ideas especially the one concerning January.

I think January short be shortened dractistically, if not outlawed entirely. Twenty-one days is long enough for the coldest month of the year. The ten days left over could be added onto June which would lengthen our summers considerably. I would also suggest shortening March and adding the extra days to April. This would shorten the period known as “break-up.” It would also speed up the grass, leaves, birds, and other phenomena which indicate Spring.

My personal opinion is that October should be shortened also. Some people would probably disagree with me, especially the witches, goblins and ghosts who have had the last day of October to themselves for many years. I see no reason why they can’t change Halloween from the the 31st to the 21st of October. The ten days difference could be divided equally between August and September.

There would be one little problem, however, in this new calendar. The poem which has always been a reliable way to remember which month has how many days, would no longer be useful. Maybe we could try to revise it to fit.

Thirty-six days hath September, also August but not November. It hath thirty. All the rest have thirty-one… Except Jan., Mar., April, June and October. And then of course, there is February….On second thought, let’s leave the calendar the way it is.

 

 

 

KEEPING ON TIME

Mar 29, 1976  Sense and Nonsense

We once had a friend who collected clocks for a hobby He had clocks of every description in his home. Most of his clocks were not your ordinary straight tick-tocking variety. They did extraordinary things every hour and some of them every half-hour. Birds would pop out and make very un-birdlike but loud noises. Bells would clang, at times incessantly. Little men and little women would leap out of the clockworks announcing the time of day in various audible ways. To visit his house at noon was an experience not unlike having a front row seat at a rock music festival.

I believe that clocks should be seen but not heard. The raucous ring of an alarm clock must be one of the most infuriating sounds known to mankind. I have often envied the man, who upon retirement purchased six shiny new alarm clocks. He set them all to go off at the usual early morning hour on the first day of his retirement. Upon being awakened by the deafening din of all these clocks, he quickly collected them and took them outside. He lined them up and with his rifle proceeded to ruin the six clocks with as many accurately aimed shots. The man calmly hung up his gun, went back to bed and slept the sleep of one who was well satisfied with his life.

One sure way to cultivate insomnia is to have two clocks ticking within earshot in bed at night. I listened to this stereophonic tick-tocking for awhile one night and I discovered one thing. Clocks do not tick the same. One will tick while the other will tock. Just when I was getting used to the crazy rythme, one clock skipped a beat. Before I went completely bananas, I managed to locate one of the clocks and hide it in a faraway corner of the house.

I have had bad luck with watches all my life. My watches lied a lot. I used to spend good money on them, getting them cleaned and adjusted. Still they would tell the wrong time. Maybe it was because I would periodically immerse them in water. I have never owned a water proof watch, although some of them were “water resistant”. A “water resistant” watch compares to the “shrink resistant” label one lady found on a pair of socks in a department store. When she asked the clerk what the label meant, she was told “The socks do shrink, but they don’t want to”. I suppose my watches didn’t want to get wet either.

One time on an automobile trip to Alberta I had occasion to wish we had packed an alarm clock. We checked into a motel in Jasper at about midnight. We decided we had to rise at 5:00 a.m. in order to arrive at our destination on time. The girl in the office had no clocks available and there was no way they would awaken us at that early hour. Both I and my husband were dead tired and I was worried that we would sleep in. Hubby was unconcerned, although noncommital. He went into the bathroom and drank two large glasses of water. “The clock is set” he assured me as we crawled into bed. Sure enough at exactly five o’clock I awakened to the sound of the toilet flushing. I suppose if one experimented with this trick they could awaken at any hour they chose. If they had good reliable kidneys they need never bother with an alarm clock again

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