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Finally Published! – The Waitress, the Whiskey & the Handcuffs

The Waitress, the Whiskey & the Handcuffs
The Waitress, the Whiskey & the Handcuffs

The Waitress, the Whiskey & the Handcuffs
Part 1 of The Ruby ChroniclesRuby Daniel is a 30-something widow trying to get by in a small backwoods Northern town in the 1950’s. Her chicken farm is failing, and she takes a weekend job as a barmaid at an illegal drinking establishment run by a crooked police officer, hoping the extra income will allow her to keep her farm and raise her kids.

Categories
The Landlady

I Sits…

Ruby's Wall Taken November 14th, 2010 with Nokia N97 Smartphone
Ruby’s Wall
Taken November 14th, 2010 with Nokia N97 Smartphone

Random Song-for-the-Day: “Love the Way You Lie” – Eminem – featuring Rihanna

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The Landlady

“Poor Little Deer…”

Mr. Hobbit and the Deer - 1942
Mr. Hobbit and the Deer – 1942
Isn’t that a “deer” little picture? That’s actually what Ruby said to me when she passed it over her coffee cup, laughing, but I’m stealing it for myself…

I got to see a lot of Ruby’s old photos last night; most actually had The Lady Herself in them. Mushy’s instincts are quite correct: she surely was a “looker” in her day.

It’s unfortunate that she won’t let me post any… Ah well… on with the story.

That man – whose name I’m not allowed to publish, and I won’t make one up because his real name was just so spectacular that I couldn’t possibly come up with a better one (I swear there’s a hobbit somewhere with the same last name, and no, it’s not “Baggins”, but wouldn’t that have been groovy-cool?!) – owned a cabin right beside Northland Lake. The photo was taken somewhere ’round about 1942-43, if Ruby’s guess is correct.

The deer was a “gift” from a couple of men who “found” it in the bush, wandering around without a mother.

“Hmmmphf!” says Ruby. “No doubt they shot her and then found the baby.”

Ruby says Mr. Hobbit – there, I’ve named him anyway, haven’t I? – was a real nice fella. She and her brothers and sisters and all their crazy teenaged friends used to go visit him. They would swim in the lake in summer, and skate on it in the winter.

He never let them on the lake after the sun went down, though, afraid something might happen to one of them, and no one would find them in the dark. So, after sunset, they would all crowd into his little cabin, and he would wind up the old victrola so they could dance.

Or he’d pull out his fiddle and they would dance to that.

Nice guy, Ruby says. It was Mr. Hobbit that gave them the deer to take home. “Followed us home right smart,” as Ruby tells it. “It was a tame little thing.”

Ruby’s Mom, now (She of the No. Forearms.), wasn’t so fond of having a deer around. I would have thought she’d worry about the gardens, but no, it was the railroad tracks that scared her. Ruby’s dad was the Line Foreman in Northland, remember, and their house was right beside the tracks. Ruby’s Mom was sure he’d be killed (the deer, not Ruby’s dad – although she probably worried about that, too).

That deer entertained them for most of the summer. It lived outside, but was not in the least bit adverse to coming in for dinner. Ruby always knew when her dad was up in the morning, because once it saw movement in the house, that little deer would be at the door hammering on it with his head. Her dad always gave him breakfast, too.

The bigger the deer got, though, the more Ruby’s Mom worried about him playing on the tracks… she finally convinced the kids to take him back to Mr. Hobbit’s cabin. They didn’t want to, but they did. None of them wanted to find that deer lying bloody on the railroad tracks some morning.

Ironically, after he had been back with Mr. Hobbit for a week or two, a couple of “rough” boys started trying to catch him. Trying to get away, Ruby’s little deer broke a leg on the rocks by the shore.

Mr. Hobbit had to shoot him.

I swear Ruby had tears in her eyes when she told me this story. She very nearly wouldn’t let me take the picture with me, for fear I’d forget to bring it back to her.

Which I had better go and do, right now.

Random Song-for-the-Day: “Lucky” – Jason Mraz & Colbie Caillat

Categories
The Landlady

NewsFlash: Love Found on the Internet

Image: I Heart U
“I Heart U”
Taken July 13, 2008 with Canon PowerShot A550

No, not me, silly! Myself, I am quite content with singlehood, as of yet; it’s Ruby that told me this story, and isn’t it high time for another one from our favourite Little Old LandLady?

Yes. Yes, it is…

We were watching a ball game… the Jays were playing; Ruby’s favourite team, and for once they were actually winning while I was watching, which is unusual, because I generally jinx them into doing stupid things that cause them to lose the game…

During a lull, Ruby started to talk – took me a bit to realize she was speaking to me and not the umpire – my first clue should have been that she didn’t start the sentence with, “Idiot!!” (Ruby rarely calls me that).

“Remind me to tell you a story when we go back to the kitchen…”

Me: “Oooh! What kind of story?”

“It’s a cute story. Funny, but cute, I think.”

Me: “Yeah? Is it about you?”

“No. Shhhh, now!”

So, I had to shhh for about 15 minutes. I got up to get another cup of coffee. Ruby doesn’t drink coffee in her living room. She says she forgets about it, and it gets cold. Usually by the time she gets her coffee on baseball nights, there’s only enough for a 1/2 cup left, but she doesn’t seem to mind…

By the time I’d jinxed the Jays badly enough for Ruby to give up on them, I was wired on caffeine and worked up about the upcoming story…

Me: “So, give it up.”

Ruby laughed. “Well, like I say, it’s funny, but it’s cute. *I* think it’s cute, anyway…”

And then, of course, she took a long pause while she sloooooowly wandered around her kitchen, sloooooowly getting cream for her coffee, and sloooooowly adding the sweetener (after first discovering that her little sweetener container needed to be refilled and sloooooowly refilling it), and then sloooooowly stirring it all up…. I was ready to strangle her before she finally started to talk.

“Have you met my niece, Carol, yet?”

Me: “No, I don’t think so.”

“Well, Carol has a friend that lives in the middle of the bush somewhere down in Southern Ontario, I don’t know where for sure, but she doesn’t live there all year ’round, anymore. She comes and stays at Carol’s place in the winter. Her name is Dahlia.

And last winter, Dahlia got using the internet, and got herself into one of those chat rooms…”

Now, as we all know, Ruby does not like or trust the internet, and I was really surprised that she actually knew what a chat room was at all. So I waited for her to start shaking her head and talking about how Carol’s friend got herself into something she shouldn’t have, and wondered how this story was going to turn out funny or cute.

“And, of course, she met this guy…” Ruby chuckled again, and stirred her coffee some more, making me wait it out.

Me: “Uh-oh.”

Ruby laughed out loud. “I was thinking the same thing, when I heard about it! I guess she started chatting with this fella, and after awhile, he was the only fella she was chatting with… His name was George. Well, you can guess where this is going, can’t you?”

Me: “Yes, I can. She fell in love and ran off with him, didn’t she? Did he take her for her cabin in the woods and she ended up destitute?”

“Now, don’t go gettin’ ahead of me; you’ll ruin the story!”

So I shut up again.

“So, Dahlia and this fella started talking about meeting up, and I guess that’s when Dahlia got a little nervous about what she was doing, and she talked to Carol about it.

Carol read all the letters, or what-you-callems that they’d sent back and forth so far, and she told Dahlia that the fella seemed like he was on the up and up, but then again, who knows for sure? So, Dahlia decided to stick to chatting with him for a bit longer until she knew a little more.

After awhile, though, she decided to take a chance and meet with the guy. Carol said that Dahlia could tell him her address…”

Me: “WHAT?! You’re not SERIOUS!! OH. MY. GOD.”

Ruby laughed, and laughed, and laughed.

“That’s about what *I* said! Now, let me finish the story!

So, they set up a date and time that this George-fella was gonna come to town and visit Dahlia, and Dahlia got more and more nervous as the day got closer. If I’d been Carol, *I* woulda been the one that was nervous-”

Me: “Yeah, me too!”

“-but Carol didn’t let on that she was when she told me this, anyway.

So, anyway, the day comes, and Dahlia was so worked up that she darn near hit the ceiling when the doorbell rang. So it was Carol that answered the door.

And she took one look at the fella standing there, and said, ‘GEORGIE!! What are you doing in town?!’

It was my nephew, George, Carol’s cousin, standing there! At first, Carol didn’t put two and two together, figuring Georgie had just come to visit ‘cuz he happened to be in town… but, no, it turned out that OUR Georgie was DAHLIA’S George all along!

Me: “So did they hate each other?”

“NO, they didn’t hate each other! They got along just fine, and as far as I know, they’re still seeing one another. Turned into quite the match, I believe.”

Me: “Oh. So, then, he didn’t take her for her cabin in the woods and she ended up destitute?

“NO! Now you be nice, or I won’t let you blog this one!”

Random Song-for-the-Day: “Obla Di Obla Da” – The Beatles

Categories
The Landlady Video...

Just So’s Y’all Know…

Edible - But You'll Die, After...
Edible – But You’ll Die, After…
Taken August 9, 2008 with Canon PowerShot A550
Fort Creek, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada

Somebody found Where the Walls are Soft by Googling “knickety knackety lyrics”, which piqued my curiosity, as I’d thought Ruby had made up that song… so I Googled it myself, and found the following, described as “most annoying song now and forever”.

It was also the song sung by the school-children in the Alfred Hitchcock movie, The Birds; something else I didn’t know, which really bugs me, because I love that movie. I should have recognized the song when Ruby sang it.

Alfred Hitchcock used the original lyrics of the song…

Anyway, here are those lyrics, just in case the next Googler really, really needs them:

I married my wife
In the month of June
Ristle-tee, rostle-tee
Now, now, now

I brought her home
By the light of the moon
Ristle-tee, rostle-tee
Hey, donnie-dostle-tee
Knickety-knackety
Rustical quality
Willow-tree, wallow-tee
Now, now, now

She combs her hair
But once a year
Ristle-tee, rostle-tee
Now, now, now

With every stroke
She shed a tear
Ristle-tee, rostle-tee
Hey, donnie-dostle-tee
Rustical quality
Ristle-tee, rostle-tee
Now, now, now

She swept up her floor
But once a year
Ristle-tee, rostle-tee
Now, now, now

She said that brooms
Were much too dear
Ristle-tee, rostle-tee
Hey, donnie-dostle-tee
Knickety-knackety
Rustical quality
Willow-tree, wallow-tee
Now, now, now

She churns her butter
In her dad’s old boot
Ristle-tee, rostle-tee
Now, now, now

And for a dash
She’d use her foot
Ristle-tee, rostle-tee
Hey, donnie-dostle-tee
Knickety-knackety
Rustical quality
Willow-tree, wallow-tee
Now, now, now

The butter it came out
All grizzle-y gray
Ristle-tee, rostle-tee
Now, now, now

The cheese it took legs
And ran away
Ristle-tee, rostle-tee
Hey, donnie-dostle-tee
Knickety-knackety
Rustical quality
Willow-tree, wallow-tee
Now, now, now

She let the critter
Get away
Ristle-tee, rostle-tee
Hey, donnie-dostle-tee
Knickety-knackety
Rustical quality
Willow-tree, wallow-tee
Now, now, now

I asked my wife
To wash the floor
Ristle-tee, rostle-tee
Now, now, now

She gave me my hat
And she showed me the door
Ristle-tee, rostle-tee
Hey, donnie-dostle-tee
Knickety-knackety
Rustical quality
Willow-tree, wallow-tee
Now, now, now

Ristle-tee, rostle-tee
Now, now, now

Ristle-tee, rostle-tee
Hey, donnie-dostle-tee
Knickety-knackety
Rustical quality
Willow-tree, wallow-tee
Now, now, now

I called Ruby, accusingly, and she sang most of it to me, but without the “ristle-tee, rostle-tee”, after telling me that she never said she’d made it up. She’d just changed the words of a song her uncle used to sing.

Anyway… that’s it. Slow day.

Random Song-for-the-Day: “Captain Vegetable” – The Eddie & Andy Muppets of Sesame Street

Categories
Radio Les The Landlady

Knickety-Knackety Now-Now-Now…

Almost Edible
Almost Edible
Taken July 1, 2008 with Canon PowerShot A550

Ruby wanted me to post a picture of snowshoes for this post. I would have, too, but I couldn’t find any snowshoes to take a picture of, and the ones stealable online were all too small to suit me. Besides, Ruby’s cherry tomatoes are gorgeous, aren’t they?

Ruby and I got talking about snowshoes in the spring (I know, I know – I’m SO behind in these posts!), when I mentioned that another winter had gone by, and I hadn’t bought snowshoes for the kid and myself.

I used to snowshoe in school, and on Cockburn Island with my Dad, but Ky would never even entertain the thought of going with me, until this year, when she took it up in school herself. And fell in love with it, just like I did. We never managed to get ourselves any equipment before the snow melted, though. Sigh…* Next year, maybe…

Anyhoo… The mere mention of snowshoes got a story going…

We used to snowshoe all the time in Northland, you know. We used those old catgut snowshoes – ever see them?

Me: Yes, I have. I used catgut snowshoes, too. My Dad had them on Cockburn, and I think that’s what we had in school.

Well, they don’t make ’em like that anymore. Now, they’re those lightweight aluminum things. Don’t take nothin’ to get those things going. The ones *I* used were heavier than *I* was!

Me: Yup. And if you don’t bang the snow out them every so often, you’ll get bogged down with the weight…

That’s right! You have be careful how you bang ’em, too, or you’ll end up on your face.

(I laughed hard at this – I remember ending up on my face more than a few times.)

I think we spent the whole winter on snowshoes, now I think of it. We wore them for syruping, too. Imagine hauling pails of sap with snowshoes on…! We did it, though. We worked hard, now I look back on it, but I don’t think it occurred to us that we were working. We were having too much fun!

Me: Did you ever just snowshoe for the sake of snowshoeing?

Of course! We snowshoed all winter. Everybody did – even the teacher. He boarded at our house, you know. Slept with my brother.

Me: Your school teacher boarded with you?! God, you must have hated that!

You’re telling me I hated it! I didn’t like that guy much. He thought he was funny, always joking around… Any time a man walked into our kitchen, he’d yell at me: “Ruby! There’s somethin’ in the kitchen with pants on!” He used to make me so mad!

(Let’s all take a break here, while I try to stop laughing…)

I teased him back, though, I guess. I got in big trouble with him over that once.

Me: What’d you do?

Well, he got sweet on this girl in our class one year. He wasn’t much older than us, after all, and he took a shine to this pretty thing that had her nose in the air all the time…

Me: Uppity, was she?

Uppity?! She wouldn’t even talk to the rest of us girls, that’s how uppity she was! Anyway, the teacher was sweet on her, and one day when us kids were all out snowshoeing on the ice, this girl was with us, and we started teasing her about the teacher. She got mad at us, and sat down on the ice and wouldn’t speak to us at all.

So we thought, “Oh, to heck with her,” and off we went without her. Well, when we come back around again, she was gone. We could see two sets of snowshoe tracks making off into the bush, and we knew the teacher had come by and they’d gone off alone together. We made fun of them back and forth to ourselves all the way home. I could hardly keep a straight face at the dinner table that night, with him sitting across from me, let me tell you!

Anyway, that night, my sisters and I were upstairs getting ready for bed, and I got singing…

“She sat on the ice, and she wouldn’t talk
Knickety-knackety, now-now-now.
When the teacher came along, they went for a walk,
Knickety-knackety, now-now-now.”

(At this point, I must interject with the news that Ruby actually began to recite a ditty she’d made up over 70 years ago, and probably hadn’t thought twice about since…. I was flabbergasted. I daresay Ruby was too.)

Well! Didn’t that teacher hear me from down in the kitchen! He came barrelling up those steps – scared the bejeezus out of me! Told me right off, and I got mad at him! I said, “Oh, but it’s alright for you to say, ‘There’s somethin’ in the kitchen with pants on,’ every time somebody comes in!”

And he turned right around and never said another word.

I finally had the sense to dig out the digital recorder. I turned it on, fully expecting her to balk, but…

Ruby sang! When I asked her if I could blog it, she actually agreed. “But,” she said, “You should put up a picture of catgut snowshoes. I’ll bet most people that read your blog have never seen snowshoes!”

Ruby’s tomatoes will have to do, though. I’m more excited to share her voice with you. Check it out.

“Knickety-Knackety” – Ruby Daniel, 2008
Click it! Click it!

Random Song-for-the-Day: “I Kissed a Girl” – Kerry Perry

Categories
The Landlady

Don’t Say “Tapioca” to Ruby.

My Dad calls this "Fish Eyes" Taken October, 2007 with 6275i Camera Phone
My Dad calls this “Fish Eyes”
Taken October, 2007 with 6275i Camera Phone

After my Saturday Walk-About to my parents’, I trotted back chock full of stories: “Aunt Blanche” stories… “Jimmy Prentice” stories… stories, stories, stories. I think my parents may be jealous of the “Ruby” stories getting all the blog-time around here, because I get one memory after another now, without even asking. I was all set to tell my mother’s “Aunt Blanche & the Peddler” story, or if not that one, her Jimmy Prentice & the Radio” story, or even my dad’s “Let Me Tell You About the Time I Fought the Bear and Still Have the Scar to Prove It” story, but Ruby blew them all away because of tapioca.