Part 1 of The Ruby Chronicles
This is what I get for complaining about losing against Ruby in cribbage. I don’t know where her luck (er… talent?) comes from, but after winning my second game in about 8 1/2 years (!!!) against her a couple of weeks ago, I was very disgruntled tonight to see that she’s back on her winning streak.
Or I’m back on my losing streak.
I know, I know – somewhat of a disappointment… but I should be grateful she let me take a picture at all.
Tonight being Sunday, I popped over for dinner with Ruby around 5:30. It was her turn to cook, and she was a running “a little behind the times”, as she puts it.
Her back bothers her a lot more lately, and being on her feet at the stove must really be hard on her – so I was slightly dismayed to realize she was making a perogi dinner for us. She had to be on her feet the entire time it was cooking, and she wouldn’t let me help.
“If I sit down now, I might never get up again,” she said, shooing me back to the table.
There’s something wonderful about winter walks with the dog – especially on a Sunday afternoon, when it seems like no one else in the city is out and about.
We almost always go to the same place every time – a field across from a ball diamond just a few blocks from home. We usually pop across the road to the ball field, too, but it’s almost all I can do just to get around in there, as the snow is knee deep and Kaylee spends most of her time there “swimming” in the snow – which she LOVES to do – and is much less likely to break a trail for me, like she does very generously in the spot where these photos were taken.
When Ruby was a young girl, her school in Northland had a fair once a year, in the spring. It offered the usual school fair “stuff” of the era; games of chance, 4H projects, etc., and students could show off (and sell) their needlework and baked goods.
One year, Ruby won a needlepoint contest – got a trophy and everything. Another year, she and her sister Joycie entered a singing contest. They won 10 cents each for climbing up on the back of a hay wagon and singing “The Little Shirt My Mother Made for Me.”
The real killer year for Ruby, though, was The Year of the $5 School Cake.
She and her sisters each baked up something to sell at the school bake table every year. This year, Ruby had baked a chocolate layer cake. It was a beautiful cake and she was really proud of it.
On the walk to the fair, Ruby fell behind a little, walking veeeerrrryyy carefully to make sure her cake survived the journey intact. She was just coming to the edge of the fairground, far behind her sisters, when a stumbling drunk guy comes reeling towards her, and stops her.
“Hey,” says the drunk. “Whad’ya got there?”
Ruby tells him she’s got a chocolate cake to put on the school bake table.
The drunk says, “Yeah? I’ll give you $5 for it.”
Ruby, not being stupid, promptly handed him the cake. $5 richer, she went wandering around the fair grounds until she found her father at the ice cream stand.
Her father loved ice cream. He looked forward to the school fair every year, just so he could get an ice cream cone. He also loved children, and every year, he bought every kid that came along an ice cream cone too.
When Ruby found him, he asked, “Did you sell your cake?
Ruby said, “Yup,” and told him about the drunk, and showed him the $5.
Now, Ruby’s dad had probably just blown (at 5 cents a cone over 20 or 30 kids) around a buck and a quarter. Ruby, on the other hand, had just gained $5 by scalping her own school cake. All her father could think of to do was laugh.
Ruby has no memory of what she might have spent that $5 on, and it drives her crazy that she can’t remember.
“That was an awful lot of money back then,” she says.
All I can picture when she tells this story, is the drunk – stumbling through the woods and across fields carrying a chocolate layer cake…
Not-So-Random Song-for-the-Day: “The Little Shirt My Mother Made for Me” – Marty Robbins