Guess Who’s Jealous, Now…?!
I was telling Ruby tonight about posting my Dad’s harrowing experience on the ice in 1938. I had been about to add that I thought he was jealous of all the attention she was getting from my readers.
I didn’t get the chance, because once I told her the story she jumped right in with, “That’s nothing. I know people that drove trucks over the ice to Cockburn Island.”
Umm, well, actually… so do I. My dad is one of them (no, Mushy, not the kind of “ice truck driver” you were telling me about… just stupid Canuckians trying to save a buck). He did it when the crappy truck he had over there already finally died, and he didn’t want to pay The Bargeman a bzillion dollars to get another one over there in the summer. He tossed his snow machine in the bed of the slightly less crappy truck and away he went. Ijit. He drove the snow machine back the next day.
And Ruby continued telling about when one of the Bruce Mines Robinsons (Sandtrampers, originally, they were) “drove over there with his skidoo in the bed of the truck. Smart, he was – that was how he got himself back again, wasn’t it?”
I didn’t dare say another word about my Dad. I have another story from him to post, as well, but I think I’m going to post another from Ruby first. I see her more often, so I guess she should get precedence. Not to mention, she has the fan-base. And I don’t want her to raise the rent…
I did ask her if she’d ever been to Cockburn herself.
“Nope,” said she.
“Why not?” I asked. “Just never had the opportunity?”
“Nope,” she laughed. “I just never had a boat.”
* * *
So I have a favour to ask of you all…. does anybody out there (anywhere on the planet…?) have a Velvet Elvis painting they’re willing to send to Canuckia? I’ll pay for it (I’m poor, though, remember, so go easy on me…), and the shipping, too.
No, my taste in art is not “off” (no offense to Velvet Elvis fans, or Elvis fans in general) – but I need it as set dressing for a soon-to-be-starting web production of “Magnificent” proportion. I would have thought I could find a Velvet Elvis painting at some second-hand emporium here in town, but so far, no such luck.
PS – Day 12 Smoke Free!!! The “Patch” is spectacular. Last night I dreamed that Stuart Little moved in… and for some reason, so did Ky’s dad, and we got into a heated argument over whether Stuart should have his own little cup to drink from (my argument), or whether he should drink from the cats’ dish (The Dad argument), since he was eating cat food anyway. Stuart – not Ky’s Dad. Poor little mouse should have his own cup, dammit…
And Craig Ferguson is still stalking me. In my dreams, that is. Last night, he made his producers hire me for some unknown but extremely well-paid job, and had them commemorate it with a really ugly porcelain plaque that said “Welcome On Board!” That’s right – “ON Board” – not “Aboard”. I KNOW!!!! How weird is that?!
Obviously, Craig Ferguson does not have a boat.
Random Song for the Day: “The Middle” – Jimmy Eat World
Lost in Translation?
Okay, I’m having trouble following… I’m unemployed. The last thing I want is to have to go back to retail. Well, no, actually, the last thing I want is to have to go back to a call center – but retail is pretty freaking close behind…
I just went back to school for certification in some business courses, along with web development. These were hardly my first choices, but there were reasons at the time to take those options. Now, it looks like I might have to fight to keep the “WTF did I take this crap for again?” thoughts from overwhelming me. Again.
I’m running out of J.O.B.’s in my new “field” to apply for. My next option is to apply for any and all general office positions I can find. I thought I’d give the administration offices in our local steel industry a shot. And then somebody reminds me that our local steel industry has been bought out.
By a foreign company.
Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean I can’t get a job there… except there’s been talk of all the administrative positions now being outsourced to another company.
A foreign company.
Yes. It’s in India.
I’m not sure if I’ll need an interpreter when I call to see if they’re hiring or not….
I’ve been thinking seriously, too, about that idea of a Ruby “blook”. Every time I look into self-publication, though, something turns me off the idea. Maybe it’s that I’d feel more like a “real” author if I actually had a “real” agent trying to make their 15% cut by trying to sell my stuff to a “real” publisher… I have dreams of becoming the next Lucy Maud Montgomery and having my best-sellers translated into a bzillion languages… I wonder how Ruby would “read” in Punjabi or Sanskrit….
I also wonder if I should go back into the production business again… bring back the shorts and put ’em up on LesTV… It’s not that I’m short of ideas, or even young slaves to do much of the work for me for free (ask me about “The Magnificent Binky” sometime) – it’s that I’m so short of TIME. I could starve before anything starts bringing in any cash…
But, assuming I go back to them, if the video shorts do start taking off, I’m going to start syndicating them in other languages within seconds. I know just where to go for that, too.
There’s this company I found…
It’s in India.
Random Song for the Day: “Back in the U.S.S.R” – The Beatles
Team in Winter – Source Unknown
I found this info while looking for links for this waaaaaay back story of my dad’s that he told me on Saturday. I’m still shaking my head.
Ruby says you can’t trust that Internet – and I guess she’s right, this time, at least. This is not a “Ghost Island” I’m about to talk about, although there aren’t many that can say they live there year ’round. And apparently the Canuckian Government Census-Takers ought to make the odd phone call now and again.
Cockburn Island is a ‘ghost’ island in Ontario, which despite the apparent signs of life (there’s a small town and marina) has an official population of zero. The 1996 census listed a population of just two, but both people had left by 2001, making this the least populated incorporated municipality in Canada.
Some of these abandoned houses are supposedly still used as holiday homes, but what interests me if the makeshift airport to be found deep in the forest. It’s evidently still in use but I’ve found no mention of the airport around the internet. Most websites say that the marina is the “only way of getting on the island”, but it’s clearly not. If you asked me, an abandoned island would be the perfect place for an evil empire to keep its headquarters…
Thanks: Matt Blum & Taylor
Clearly, one can’t believe everything found on the internet. Wikipedia has this to say, slightly (slightly, I say) closer to the truth:
“Cockburn Island is an island in the Canadian province of Ontario, located in the Manitoulin District. It is separated from the westernmost point of Manitoulin Island by the Mississagi Strait, and from Michigan’s Drummond Island by the False Detour Channel.
Cockburn Island had a permanent population of ten in the 2006 Canadian census. The island does, however, have a recreational summer population of anywhere from 50-200 people. In the 2001 census, the island’s population had been reported as zero, due to Statistics Canada’s counting method of rounding off population figures for communities of smaller than 15 people.
It is the least populated incorporated municipality in Canada, and township offices are located on the mainland in Thessalon, actually in the district of Algoma. The island is not connected to either Manitoulin or Drummond Islands by bridge or ferry service. The only available transportation is by private boat or float plane from Manitoulin or Thessalon.
A small portion of the island is taken up by the Cockburn Island 19 Indian reserve, which also has no permanent population; this is a heritage land belonging to a First Nation whose primary community is located on Manitoulin Island. The remainder constitutes the township of Cockburn Island.”
First of all, the “airport” is an airstrip, upon which small planes can land and take off, and sometimes, they even do! In really stormy weather, when you can’t get out by boat, and you have a heart attack, or appendicitis, or you fall out of your tree, making a radio-call for a plane is the only way off the island to a doctor… assuming the weather isn’t so bad that a plane can’t fly, in which case, you’d be SOL. Luckily, this doesn’t happen often.
Secondively (Suzism), “both people had left by 2001″…?! Nope. One died, and her husband most likely spent that winter on the Manitoulin. He went back to Cockburn, though, and eventually remarried. Ummm. Not sure where he found her, but it probably wasn’t anywhere on the Island itself, which is only 15 miles across – hard to miss a woman, even if she’s trying to hide. I haven’t met the new wife, but my kid has, and she says the new wife is pretty groovy. They raise peacocks. Or something.
Thirdly, Cockburn Island proper is now privately owned, by some rich guy from somewhere in the U.S. I haven’t met the new owner, but my parents have, and they say he’s pretty groovy, too…. He’s let everybody that owns land and buildings keep what’s theirs… I think they have to sell to him when they’re sick of the place or something. Fair enough, I guess.
AND….. no. It’s not pronounced the way you’re laughing at, either… It’s pronounced “CO-burn.” Stop laughing, now.
So how do I know all this? Well, my parents are “Haweaters,” having been born and raised on Manitoulin Island, as opposed to “Sandtrampers”, which is what they’d be if they’d been born and raised on Cockburn Island. There’s always been a fairly friendly rivalry between the Haweaters and the Sandtrampers. Having been raised by Haweaters, but having spent much of my childhood on Cockburn Island, I wonder if I might be able to call myself a Hawtramper…? Sandeater…? Hmmmmm….
Thessalon is where *I* was born and raised. I generally refer to it here, Where the Walls are Soft, as “Teeny-Tiny Town”. My dad opened up a farm machinery sales business in “Teeny-Tiny Town” in 1947, married my mom in ’48 and moved her there from the Manitoulin. His business turned into a Ford dealership (please, no “Found On Road Dead” jokes…) and eventually, he sold it – 1977, that was, and got himself a job rebuilding, and then captaining a big ol’ steel tugboat called “The Debbie-Cin”, with which he hauled a barge back and forth from Cockburn Island to Thessalon for The Midway Lumber Company.
Dad had a cottage on Cockburn Island by then, although we’d spent many summers docked at the so-called “marina” (cement pier) there, before the camp, as we Northerners call a “cottage”, was built. The town on Cockburn, by the way, is called “Tolsmaville”. So there, Internet. I taught you something.
Anyway, back to the job my dad had, hauling timber on a barge… it’s interesting, mainly because my mom and I got to go back and forth with him. What would have been an hour’s boat ride in my dad’s 31 ft cabin cruiser took about four hours in The Debbie-Cin. That’s when we were towing an empty barge from Thessalon to Cockburn. The return trip, with a full barge, was more like 7 or 8 hours. I did a lot of reading that summer.
But it’s even more interesting, now that I learn that my dad came full circle when he got that job. He had another job hauling stuff from Thessalon to Cockburn during The Dirty Thirties. 1938, to be exact. He was 18 years old.
That was my first job off the Manitoulin. I guess it was my first job for anybody other than my own dad, now I think it through a little. My brother Marvin got it for me. He’d been hired to haul hay to Cockburn from Thessalon, because he had a team of horses. Not everybody did, you know, and most of them worked in the bush hauling out timber, although you didn’t see much of that in the winter, I guess.
The boats couldn’t run in the winter, obviously, and sometimes Marvin would get a job carrying the mail, or hauling farm parts over the ice. There was a lot of people living there then – they didn’t start moving off the Island until after the War started. World War II, I mean.
Me: That’s when the ferry stopped, wasn’t it?
Me: The ferry from Meldrum Bay to Cockburn.
(snorts) I don’t know where you hear this stuff. There wasn’t no ferry from the Manitoulin to Cockburn! You’re all mixed up. They tried running a ferry from Blind River to Cockburn for awhile, but they couldn’t make a go of it, and it shut down after a year.
Me: I thought I heard it from you..!
Well, like I say, you’re all mixed up. Now, where was I?
Right, Marvin had a team of horses… So, he could usually get a job hauling something in the winter. He didn’t have a boat, so people like Bill Jones made runs in the summer, carrying the mail, and goods, and people back and forth between Cockburn and Meldrum and Thessalon, but Bill would usually hire Marvin to help out in the winter, and that year Marvin asked me to give him a hand. They had hay to haul from Thessalon to Cockburn, and Bill Jones only had Marvin’s team, and his own and one other to do it. Gord Nichols, I think it was.
Remember how we’d go on the snow machines and follow the tree-line? That made the trip easier, when they set out everybody’s Christmas trees in a line all the way from the breakwater in Thessalon to the breakwater on Cockburn. Any old idjit could follow that. They didn’t do that in 1938, though, and a lot of idjits got lost and froze to death. (laughs)
Bill Jones knew what he was doing, though. He’d been doing it awhile. It was my first real job, and I was nervous. We had to haul a great big sleigh full of hay, and I was driving. I didn’t have to worry much about getting lost, because I was following Bill, and Gord Nichols was behind me. I was kind of leery of the ice, mind you, because the Great Lakes don’t really freeze. We were on the North Channel, and you could usually count on decent ice, but you had to be careful because there’d be air pockets, and sometimes you’d hit open water real sudden. Lots of people went in, and lots of people lost their teams.
Anyway, we got about half-way to Cockburn and decided to stop for lunch. It was cold as hell, and we stomped around a lot, clapping our hands to ward off frost bite. Remember how I used to make you do that at the half-way mark? You gotta make sure to do that now and again – if you sit still too long your toes’ll fall right off, when you take your boots off.
So we stomped around and unhitched the teams and led them up to the back of Bill’s sleigh to feed. We were just about to eat lunch ourselves, when Bill noticed the water coming up around his feet. He started to yell at us all to get the hell away RIGHT NOW!!! I never run so fast in my life!
Marvin had the double-trees and he’d just managed to hook the goose-neck into them (Les Says: I have no idea what that means, but I didn’t want to interrupt him at this point…) when the back end of the bob went down through the ice and dumped all of Bill’s hay into the channel.
I don’t remember who hitched up Marvin’s team, might even have been me, but all of a sudden we were flying over the ice, with Bill yelling to spread out so we didn’t all go down at once for the weight. I was scared to death and I didn’t have anybody to follow anymore. I was sure I’d somehow do something wrong, so I kept trying to hand the lines over to Marvin, but he wouldn’t take them.
I found out later, that Marvin had already lost two teams that winter, delivering mail, and that’s why he had me driving in the first place! I was mad over that for a long time.
We did finally get to Cockburn. We’d lost a sleighful of hay, but the horses all got there, and so did we, so I guess it could have been worse.
But I never hired on with Marvin for a run like that again.
Random Song for the Day: “Oh No” – Gogol Bordello
I Wants It.
Who doesn’t want it? Really? Liar.
I spent years not giving a damn about money. It’s true, I did. I couldn’t care less, as long as I was “getting by”, and it never took much for me to “get by”. Still doesn’t.
The difference now, is that I look at “getting by” a little differently. I was in and out of debt, for years. I’d finally get out, and I’d be right back in up to my ears again. I was one step ahead of bankruptcy, and I called that “getting by”.
For the past year, I’ve been out of debt (well, I now have a small amount of debt again, but it’s been to move toward a dream, so I’m going to forgive myself. Ahem…*) and in control of my bills, but I’ve also been concentrating on things other than accumulating money. I’ve still not really cared about money, per se, as long as I could “get by”.
I’m changing the way I think about that, now. I want money. So that I can leverage it, and get those dreams into the here and now instead of the future.
Sounds real bright coming from The Great Unemployed One, doesn’t it? LOL! Yeah.
I had a different kind of dream last night, the kind that embeds itself in your psyche while you sleep (thank you, Patch-on-My-Arm). I dreamed I had won the lottery. Millions.
And I couldn’t decide whether to take the “pay-by-the-month” option, or take a lesser amount all in one lump sum. It was a huge problem deciding, in the middle of my dream, but when I woke up, all I could think of was, “That’s the kind of problem I’d like to have, right now.”
It got me thinking about how I’d deal with it if I did win millions, so I decided to google some answers.
I figured, since I’ve heard of bzillion-dollar lottery winners burning through their money because they don’t know what they’re doing, and it feels like they have a never-ending supply, suddenly, that it would be wise to take the “pay-me-by-the-month” option.
Turns out, the smart money is on the lump sum payout, since there’s no guarantee I’d live long enough to pull in all my installment payments. Studies tend to show, too, that the average lottery winner is more likely to blow through that money faster, rather than do the smart thing and invest or save the bulk of it. Good intentions tend to fall by the wayside without a plan.
Yeah, but what if you already won the lottery and took the monthly payout instead of the lump-sum option? Are you regretting that one? No problem! I found out that there are companies that will buy your future payments from you.
You can do the same with settlement payments if you sued and won for an injury, too. Me, I don’t intend to want money enough to stoop that low, but, then again….
The bottom line (ha ha) is, though, that I don’t know enough yet, about how to handle a large amount of money once I do have it. Yeah, yeah, I haven’t won the lottery (yet), and the chances are slim that I ever will… maybe, I’d be better off getting into real estate, and learning about mortgage notes? Hmmmmm.
I think I’ll keep dreaming for awhile, before I make any decisions. I’ve still got seven weeks worth of patches left to dream on, after all.
Yes, folks, I am in my second week of Smoke-free Success. I have traded my tar-filled lungs for wicked weird, Patch-induced sleepy-time entertainment.
So far, the dreams are the biggest pay-off, but I think the money I’m saving may hit me soon. I’ll let you know.
Not-So-Random Song for the Day: “Money” – Pink Floyd
Ruby’s Mom & Dad – March 23, 1909
Meet Ruby’s Mom and Dad. This photo was taken on their wedding day. It took a lot of begging, but Ruby finally let me take the picture home, frame and all, to scan it.
It kind of looks as though Ruby’s Mom has her hands in her pockets but Ruby says, no, her mother always held her arms a certain way, in photos, or when talking to people, to make it less noticeable that she had
She would fold her hands at the knuckles, just behind her hips. Her grandchildren used to walk around doing that, pretending to be Gramma, Ruby said with a laugh, as I was packing up the picture to take home. I was trying to get the hell out of her house with it before she changed her mind, but then she started talking about her mother during the Great Depression, and I sat right back down again.
We used to call them the ”Dirty Thirties”, you know. All those people out of work – it was just awful.
We did alright – my Dad worked for the railroad, and we had a little farm, so we didn’t have to worry about starving to death, even with all us kids. I think my mother always felt a little guilty about all those people with next to nothing, because she was always giving food to perfect strangers, whenever they’d ask for it.
There were always hobos on the train in them days. There’d be men leaving their families behind to hop a train out West, hoping there’d be work out there. Us kids used to run down to the tracks whenever we heard a train coming, just so we could count the hobos and wave at them. We wasn’t making fun of them, mind you, but we used to wonder at the things those men saw. Some days there’d be up to a dozen hobos waving back at us. They always waved back.
Sometimes, when we’d get back home there’d be a hobo in our house! The odd one would get off the train, or maybe he’d get caught and thrown off, I’m not sure, and our house was right there, wasn’t it? So, sure enough, he’d be bound to knock on the door, and ask my mother if she’d give him something to eat.
One day, a hobo knocked, and my mother was alone in the house. She didn’t like the idea of letting a strange man in, but she didn’t have the heart to run him off, either, so she said, “You go round back and chop me some firewood, and I’ll make you a lunch.”
So, off this man went behind the house to the wood pile, and he chopped wood for an hour, while my mother cooked him up something to eat, and packed it all up for him to take away with him. He sure earned his lunch that day, I guess!
For some reason, my mother followed behind him when he left with his lunch – maybe she was going to haul water, I’m not sure, but she happened to see him meet up with four other hobos off the last train. She felt awful, too, when she saw he was splitting up that lunch between the bunch of them, after she’d made him chop all that wood… She wasn’t mean with a meal, but she’d only packed enough up for one man.
There were times, too, that a man would need a place to settle in for the night, and my mother never turned anybody away. She’d bed him down on the living room floor and give him supper. In the morning, he’d have a hot breakfast, and she’d send him off with a lunch for later, too.
Then she’d spend the whole day washing all those bedclothes twice over, just in case the fella was lousy, or had fleas.
One day, she got a great big box off the train, addressed to the “Section Foreman’s Mrs.” Inside that box was a whole set of “Knowledge Books” – encyclopedias, they were. And the note said “Thank you for taking me in, and for the nice meals on such-and-such-a-date….” It was from some hobo off a train, who’d maybe got himself a job selling Knowledge Books in Toronto or some such. Imagine that! My mother had those Knowledge Books ‘til she died. I wish I knew who had them now….
Before I left, Ruby showed me this little thing in her china cabinet. She’d bought it for her mother to hold her glasses on, and it sat on her mom’s night-stand, doing just, that for years.
And, yes, those are Ruby’s Mom’s specs still sitting on it.
”Tell that Mushy-Fella
that this is me…”
(Laugh, laugh, laugh….)
So, there, Mushy-Fella… I think we might be wearing her down. Maybe. 😉
* * *
*After a back-and-forth email conversation with a relative who found my blog, and was concerned I might be “taking advantage” of an old woman, Ruby has requested that I remove her parents’ wedding photo, just in case it might bother her son (he’s NOT the relative) that it’s posted online. I still win, though – she says I can leave everything else up, and continue to blog her stories. “I may be old, but I’m hardly incompetent.” So sayeth Ruby.
Random Song for the Day: ”Scar Tissue” – Red Hot Chili Peppers