Categories
Blog-Family Michigan Real Life U.S.A. Vicarious Tourism Zenishness...

Say “Apple”.

Axe Murderers Don't Wear Plaid - Click to see normal size and more of this gallery.
Axe Murderers Don’t Wear Plaid
Taken March 21, 2009 with Canon PowerShot A550

I know this post is so late that it’s near unforgivable. Here I am at last, though, having killed Photoshop and reanimated it so that I can use it again.

Our Detroit trip shrunk a little… thankfully. My sad attempt at “pre-planning” failed miserably enough that we ran out of time to get all the way to Detroit and back in the few days left of my RTO, so I was ecstatic when Cardiogirl emailed me with, “How about meeting half-way, Betch?!”

She and Mr. C. had decided that an overnight with their three girls as far as Grayling would be a nice little surprise for the family. Imagine being 8, loaded into the car to go to McDonald’s for supper, and ending up miles away in a strange hotel, face-to-face with a couple of whacked-out Canuckians. Surprise!

Ky and I decided we’d go a day early and stay over in Gaylord, simply to experience a certain Chinese restaurant we’d heard nice things about. That stay was worth it, just for the meal, which the hotel paid for. They also gave us our breakfast, a fabulous pool and mittsful of free DVDs to watch. I think we may have fallen asleep in the middle of Movie #4…

On to Grayling….

Check in was for 3 pm, and we were early, so we decided to drive around town. I happened to park directly in front of Ky’s idea of Heaven:

Heaven:  A Whole Store Dedicated to Jerky - Click to see normal size and more of this gallery.
Heaven: A Whole Store Dedicated to Jerky
Taken March 21, 2009 with Canon PowerShot A550

We got back to the hotel at around 1:30, where they let us check in early, and we wandered the most kid-friendly place I’ve been in. Ky started to get nervous over meeting CG’s three girls.

Ky loves kids, but as she says, “You never know if they’re going to be annoying, and what if they are?”

My nerves were shot, too. What if, even after all the blog-comments, and emails, and phone-calls, it turns out that I meet my best Shetbag face-to-face and… we have nothing to say?

What if her husband, whom I really know nothing about turns out to be an arse?

What if her kids are all run-amoks and she just lets ’em go until I want to stomp on them?

What if everybody at work is right, and these people turn out to be mass-murderers who troll the internet as a hobby, looking for stupid Canadian people (like us, for example) to entice into the States, and then they chloroform us and we wake up in the dark somewhere, drugged out, packed in ice, and missing important organs? I mean, they are from Detroit…

In CardioGirl’s post about the trip, she mentions her own misgivings, but she was a little more succinct. “What if she’s lame?” I guess maybe that’s what my own concerns boiled down to, but Canadians do tend to wax eloquent, eh?

Anyway…

After pestering the poor Front-Desk Man over and over, he promised he would have CG call us upon their arrival, so we went back to our room and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And then the phone rang and I climbed up onto the ceiling and clung there, afraid to go meet them. Ky managed to peel me off, dress me up a little, and we went to the pool area, to find CardioGirl, et al, waving and grinning and yes, I even got a hug from the non-hugging Betch, can you believe that?!

And her first words after “Hi!” were: “Say ‘Apple’.” Apparently, the Canuckian accent is funny as hell. And when “Eh?” slips your lips, an American will laugh really hard. Every time.

We spent a most wonderful less-than-24-hours, half-naked in a hot-tub drinking beer (yes, that would be my favourite part), watching Ky have way too much fun with the most well-behaved, articulate, cute, non-fighting little girls I have ever met; shared two meals, and generally got pruney soaking in chlorine.

And that pic up top is the only usable photo I managed in our entire visit.

We are going again.

Soon.

And this time, we’ll make it to Detroit.

(And this time, I’ll buy the beer, Mr. C.)

Random Song-for-the-Day: “Heart of Glass” – Blondie

Categories
The Father Chronicles

The Bear Hunter

Bear Claw
Bear Claw
Taken March 1, 2008 with Canon PowerShot A550

I found this bear claw in a box full of little trinkets and treasures in my father’s closet nearly a year ago. It was in the same box with his pocket watch, along with some other neat stuff.

This was during my Walk-About days, when I would hoof it all the way across town once a week, to see my parents at The Old-Age Home, have a visit, a meal and a story, and then hoof it all the way back. I had a tight ass, then, dammit. Not even a year ago. Man, things change fast.

Categories
Little Bits of Stupid Movie Mentions Video...

Just for the Laugh…

Saving Grace. My New Favourite Movie. This bit is the funniest movie scene I’ve ever played over and over and over again… which I continue to do. Gotta love Craig Ferguson!

Not-So-Random Song for the Day: “Little Green Bag” – George Baker Selection

Categories
J.O.B. Zenishness...

Sometimes, Wishing is Enough…

“What Lies Behind…”
“What Lies Behind…”

Taken October 9, 2007 with Canon PowerShot A550

My boss called me today.

Asked me to come in to work to “have a little talk.”

Scared the shit out of me.

I LOVE my job. I want to keep my job. The only thing I don’t like about my job is my seeming inability to negotiate gracefully between day shifts and night shifts, which I’m beginning to despair of ever getting a handle on.

All I can manage to do is sleep. House is a wreck. The Idiot Child must feed herself or go hungry – not to mention, wash her own laundry (as well as mine), and Sheikh the Cat has begun spending his awake hours sitting next to my head, intermittently placing a paw on my face and sliming kissing me, wondering why my eyes are always closed.

This despair of accommodating the fluctuating schedule got me wishing for a work routine that I’ve only experienced once, Way Back When, remember that? I wasn’t particularly fond of the “job” part of that job, but the schedule was perfect: it was the same. damned. schedule. every. day. With weekends off, to boot.

My house was clean. The cats were happy. The Idiot Child was still a teenager, but I think she preferred the sameness, as well.

I have been wishing I could approach my boss and appeal for a Same-Damned-Shift. Even if it was the night shift. I dreamed of the conversation being short, sweet and successful.

Me: “Hey, how ’bout I work nights? All the time. Just nights. Cuz nobody else seems to like nights.”

Him: “Yeah, great idea! Thanks! I’ll just go ahead and change the schedule right now! How ’bout I give you more shifts with that? You want more shifts? There’s more money in more shifts. How ’bout I give you more shifts, too?”

There are a bzillion reasons why I couldn’t do that. I mean, I could do that, but he would either laugh, thinking I was joking, or take me seriously and still say no. Several reasons for the “no”:

1) I’m still The New Kid on the Dance Floor. Yes, others have come behind me, but I’m still new enough that I can get away with “I’m New Here” to cover a mistake I’ve made. Much longer, I’d have to use “I’m Old” for an excuse. That’s probably more apt. 😉

2) Nobody has a Same-Damned-Shift schedule. Nobody. Why should *I* get that lucky?

3) It’s obvious to all and sundry that I’m having trouble adapting to the shift changes and if they coddled me (cuz I’m old, maybe?), it could possibly cause a revolt.

So, I’ve been schlepping along, loving the job part of the job and hating the schedule part of the job, wishing for the impossible, and for shit’s sake, my boss calls me today for “a little talk”.

I knew I was fired. I wanted to ask if I was fired, but Boss is not the kind of guy that does that over the phone, I’m pretty sure. I settled for asking, oh so casually (yeah, right) “Sure, what’s up? Something wrong?” the whole while repeating the mantra, “don’t-let-it-be-bad…don’t-let-it-be-bad…don’t-let-it-be-bad…don’t-let-it-be-bad”, which, for the record, has never once worked before. In my experience, if it feels like it might be “bad”, it’s generally much, much worse than “bad”.

So, yeah. I knew I was fired, even when he said, “Oh, no. Nothing to worry about. Just wanna go over something with you.”

Uh oh. What horrible thing have I done? Shit, he read about me finding cocaine on the dance floor! No, wait, I told him that story myself and he laughed really hard. Can’t be that.

Or maybe, I didn’t do something that I should have done? It’s not like I forgot to lock up, or anything (once did that while working for Louie, and nobody even noticed, can you believe that?) – I mean, we’re open 24/7. I’m not even sure there is a set of keys for the place.

Not that it would matter what the “little talk” was about, I still had to have it. So, I pulled on my boots and crossed the street.

And my boss said to me – no word of a lie, here, either, I swear – I’m not even exaggerating in the slightest little bit:

“I’m hoping I can change your schedule. Would you be willing to work straight nights, with weekends off? You’d be guaranteed five shifts that way, (employees who have been there longer, of course normally get more hours, unless they book a shift and hand it to me) and if I need you on the weekends, I’ll call – you’ve never turned down a shift, so you’re the first one I call. Would that work for you?

Well, gee, lemme think on that….

I’m dumbfounded. I agreed immediately, though, and he was all thanking me as if I were doing him a favour. Maybe I am and just don’t realize it, but it’s like he read my mind.

Or my blog….

Hmmmmmm…..

So, he hands me my newly-minted hours, starting Sunday end, or S/M if you read the little date box on the schedule, and I trotted back home to write this post, and marvel over never having to wonder when I’m working “next week”… and there followed shortly a call requesting me to work an extra shift tomorrow. Already, I’m booked for overtime. I love my job.

Now, I have to clean a cat-box. Maybe then, Sheikh will quit sliming kissing me in the middle of my version of night.

~ Just about to hit the publish button when I get another call from work – this time from the assistant manager: apparently some deer-hunter I was joking around with a week or so ago (told him he should bring me some deer parts, since my dad was gone, and nobody ever brings me deer meat anymore), just dropped off a venison roast for me. Can I please come pick it up, as it’s grossing her out? ~

Well, gee, lemme think on that….

Excuse me while I go pick up Free Dead Wild Animal.

(Did I tell you how much I love my job…?)

Random Song-for-the-Day: “Surf Wax America” – Weezer

Categories
Little Bits of Stupid Photography

What to Post When You Can’t Keep a Train of Thought on Its Rails…

Image: Trojan Moose
Trojan Moose
Taken July 7, 2008 with Canon PowerShot A550

Yeah, yeah, I know I said I *hate* these things not two posts ago, but…The Best Memes in Life Are Stolen. Elle said that, so it must be true.

Stole this from Elle, who stole it from Angelika, who stole it from Why Are You Stalking Me?, who stole it from someone else. 😀

1. Do you like blue cheese salad dressing?
— No.

2. Favorite late night snack?
— Mashed potatoes. And beer.

3. Do you own a gun?
— No.

4. What’s your favorite drink at Starbucks or other specialty coffee shop?
— Here in Canuckia, it’s Tim’s, and it’s either a black coffee, or an English Toffee something-or-other.

5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments?
— Not anymore.

6. What do you think of hot dogs?
— I try not to think of them, or it puts me off them. Have eaten them. Will most likely eat them again.

7. Favorite Christmas song?
— Gramma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning?
— I wish I had the nerve to say beer. It’s coffee, though.

9. Can you do push-ups?
— I can… but will I? HA!

10. What’s your favorite piece of jewelry?
— It’s a toss-up between my Grandmother’s little silver “broach-watch” thingy, or my father’s wristwatch. I wear neither of them, though. Or any other jewelry of any other kind, for that matter.

11. Favorite hobby?
Digital Photography.

12. Do you have A.D.D.?
— Probably.

13. What’s one trait that you hate about yourself?
— I procrastinate. A lot. I probably stole this meme weeks ago.

14. The last disease you contracted?
— Wrinkles.

15. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment.
— I can’t possibly be expected to untangle THREE of them considering I might have A.D.D.

16. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink?
— Coffee, coffee and beer. Although ‘regular’ on beer has become more ‘few and far between’. And that’s a shame, if ever there was one.

17. Current worry right now?
— None. I refuse.

18. Current hate right now?
— See above.

19. Favorite place to be?
— I haven’t been ANYPLACE, yet. I’ll have to do something about that.

20. How did you ring in the New Year?
— I seriously cannot remember.

21. Like to travel?
— I hope so.

22. Name three people who will complete Sunday Stealing this week:
— No.

23. Do you own slippers?
— Yes, I do.

24. What color shirt are you wearing?
— Black.

25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets?
— Haven’t the foggiest. Probably not.

26. Can you whistle?
— Can so.

27. Favorite singer/band?
— Impossible to attempt to decide.

28. Could you ever make it 39 days on the show Survivor?
— I’ll betcha I could. But what the hell for?!

29. What songs do you sing in the shower?
— I don’t. The Idiot Child does though. And in the sauna. And in the “bathroom”. And in her sleep sometimes.

30. Favorite girl’s names?
— Kyla.

31. Favorite boy’s names?
— Hmmmmm…. Matthew for my father, maybe?

32. What’s in your pocket right now?
— Nothing right now, but a few seconds ago there was a hand in there!

33. Last thing that made you laugh?
— How fast “Hand in My Pocket” started playing in my head after I typed the above answer.

34. Like your job?
— I do.

36. Do you love where you live?
— If you mean my apartment – yes. If you mean this town – not like I once did.

37. How many TVs do you have in your house?
— 1

38. Who is your loudest friend?
— “Real Life” friends – The Fly-Girl. “Imaginary Friends”, as my mom calls anybody I know online, I haven’t a clue yet. But it’s probably Suzi, now that Sheikh is gone… 😀 / 🙁

39. Do you drive the speed limit or speed?
— I always drive the speed limit. Unless I think I might have cocaine in my pockets.

40. Does someone have a crush on you?
— If so, I hope it’s a movie producer in need of new scripts…

41. What is your favorite book?
— Can’t say… too many. I like anything by Madeline L’engle. Or Douglas Adams. Or Robert Heinlein.

42. What is your favorite candy?
— Just gimme the candy.

43. Favorite Sports Team?
— At one time, it was the Edmonton Oilers, but then Wayne defected.

44. What were you doing 12 AM last night?
— Dancing in the parking lot.

45. What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up today?
— I haven’t yet woken up today.

So, steal it if you want it. 😀

Random Song-for-the-Day: “Gyasi Went Home” – Bedouin Soundclash

Categories
It Helps If the Whole Family Is Crazy Oh Mother...!

The Chamber Pot

Kyla Nora Maude Becker - 1998 - JK - photo
The 1998 Version of My Aunt Blanche…

No, really, let’s compare, shall we? If only to piss off my daughter – who tells me she’ll kill me if I post this, but then laughs out loud when she looks at this photo of herself, so I think I’m all good…

Blanche Van Every - 1920-something - photo
Tell me that’s not eerie…

Yes, kids, it’s time for another Aunt Blanche story…

Categories
Little Bits of Stupid Photography

If a Car Hits a Tree in the Forest…

If a Tree Falls in a Forest
Will My Dad Find Out?
Taken August 9, 2008 with Canon PowerShot A550

Of course, my Dad found out. He always found out everything I was up to, and he always gave me a chance to own up to it, relating the dirty deed to me in a manner designed to make me believe he really didn’t know who had done it. You know, in case I wanted to get it off my chest. Which I never did. Even though *I* knew that he knew…. nope. Wouldn’t admit to it. Never.

Like that time when I was five, and the kids up the street and I set fire to the empty field behind my house. Somehow we managed to stomp it out before it got away from us, and we all went home for supper, absolutely certain we were in the clear.

And then, my Dad read the “Police Report” out of the newspaper (yeah, the one that had been printed before we found the matches, but I was five and that was beyond my scope) out loud….

“…The POLICE are VERY worried about the three children, 2 boys and a little girl, who were playing with matches in the long grass, today. They are VERY worried that these three children don’t know any better and could have been BURNED TO DEATH, because they don’t seem to understand that fires can very quickly get OUT OF CONTROL and BURN CHILDREN TO DEATH before their parents can get to them. ESPECIALLY if their parents believe their children SHOULD KNOW BETTER. The POLICE hope these three children, 2 boys and a little girl, have LEARNED THEIR LESSON, and NEVER DO SUCH A STUPID THING AGAIN…”

And he turned to me and gave me that chance to own up: “Do you know who those three children are…?”

Me: “No,”

“Well what do you think of what those three children did …?”

Me: “I think they’re very lucky they didn’t get caught and go to jail.”

Right up into my teens, I would stubbornly stick to the “Wasn’t Me” defense, even when handed unequivocal evidence that it was so me.

Like that time when I was 16, and was accused of stealing a magnum of Champagne out of the wine-cellar, drinking it, and hiding the empty bottle under my bed, I said, “Wasn’t me.” Even though the evidence was found under my bed… with the date of the crime etched on the label… along with the signatures of myself and the friends I passed it back and forth with.

“Wasn’t me.”

But about that tree….

When I was growing up, we spent almost the entire summer on the boat. We traveled all over the Great Lakes on one boat or another – at first, sleeping on the boat, which was cool, but then my parents built their camp on Cockburn Island (That’s pronounced “Co-Burn”, remember. Suzi, stop laughing.).

By the way, a “camp” is what Northern Ontarians call “The Cottage” – for those of you who might picture tents, or a lumber camp. The “camp” is now owned by my sister Tootie and her family, and it’s a bona-fide second home. It ain’t “camping” by any stretch of the imagination.

It was a slow build, though. The first year, we lived in the woodshed (huge by woodshed standards) while the main house was being built. We had an outhouse, kerosene lamps, and a woodstove. The refrigerator was a propane unit, and my Dad built a pump system for the water that pulled it from a cream can under the sink with the push of a button. He didn’t think my mom should have to lift a pail to the sink. He was a nice guy, my Dad.

Everybody on Cockburn drove old beat-up trucks and cars. When you bought a vehicle for “The Camp”, you either had it ferried over on a barge in the summer, or drove it across the ice in the winter. These old things could live forever over there, it seemed. Didn’t need a safety, either, although that was still illegal, but since nobody was gonna check…

And it was on Cockburn Island that everybody learned to drive. The unspoken rule seemed to state that once you hit the age of fourteen, you could drive on Cockburn. Everybody did it. That was my argument to my parents, anyway, when they wouldn’t let me drive over there. Their return argument was… well… inarguable: “Well, YOU’RE not gonna.”

But I was determined to be like everybody else and drive, dammit.

So, I went to the camp across the road and lamented to the Neighbour-Lady all my woes. Neighbour-Lady was a nice gal. She always had her long blonde hair wrapped around her head with pins in the mornings after she washed it, because she didn’t like the natural curl it had. She always wore green eyeshadow. And she always had a beer open.

Neighbour-Lady had cancer, but wouldn’t take treatment. Much of the time, she was “tight”, as my mom would say – not “falling down drunk”, but she generally had a buzz on. I guess it was one way to deal with cancer.

Anyway, I was over there complaining to Neighbour-Lady, and smoking her cigarettes. She wouldn’t give me a beer, but she gave me cigarettes all the time. And that day, she solved my “can’t drive” problem for me, by loaning me a car.

Now, to this day, everybody in my family thinks I stole that car. I did not. Neighbour-Lady loaned me that car. Never mind that the car did not belong to her. Or that I didn’t have a license. Or parental permission to drive. She handed me the keys and said, “Take it. Don’t smash it up.”

I was half-way up the road while she was still popping open her next beer.

Ahh…. the freedom! I drove up the long side road and turned right on the “main” road that would take me down to the Government Dock. There was a guy on the Island that summer, that I had a crush on. On the Mainland, this guy ran in a different circle, and wouldn’t give me the time of day, but on Cockburn he would talk to me. Probably because there weren’t many teenagers on the Island at a time. And I was there. So…

I decided to go to the dock, because he would likely be swimming there. I had to sort of “happen to run into him”, of course, so he wouldn’t know I had that crush, you see, or I would have gone to his camp to find out where he was.

As I came up the road, it was fairly obvious that the dock was deserted, so I decided to make a left, and go to the other side of the Island to the sand beach. Maybe he’d be there. And I could drive there, because I had a car. I was cool.

I was so cool that I could light a cigarette while negotiating a left turn, having never driven a car before, and not end up in the ditch.

Or not.

It worked out okay, though, because the ditch was adjacent to a government building where large logging machines and road-maintenance equipment was stored. I found a guy with a grader that yanked me out of the ditch, and promised not to tell anybody. Oddly, I don’t think he did, either, because no one has ever brought the ditch portion of this story up to me.

So, on the road again, I re-lit my smoke without incident, and drove to the beach. And, oh joy! My crush was there! With his entire family and then some.

We swam for a bit. Talked for a bit. And then I tried to convince him to let me drive him back home. Because I had a car. I was cool.

But he would not get in that car. I think his reasons included the phrase, “death wish”, and the fact that he didn’t have one.

I’m not sure how I finally convinced him, but he did reluctantly agree to a lift. Apparently, it was just so he could wax derisive of my driving skills, though, because he wouldn’t stop wincing, advising, and clinging to the dashboard.

I finally got tired of the exaggerated terror he was exuding and decided I’d show him what scared was, and floored it. Of course, I chose to do such a thing while going up a steep hill, forgetting about the curve in the road on the other side of it.

For the record, I missed the tree the car was trying to hit. But I over-corrected, and hit a tree on the other side of the road, dead on. Very hard. Poor tree.

And poor car! The front end was smushed in. The driver’s door wouldn’t open. I still have a faded scar on one elbow – the only injury sustained in the accident – unless you count the car. Or the tree. And I’m sure my crush didn’t speak to me for years after that. He probably felt bad, because it was his fault I hit that tree. I mean, if he hadn’t been putting down my driving in the first place…

And what are the chances that the first vehicle to drive up that lonely road to happen upon us would be my father’s truck…?

Pretty good, as it turns out. He didn’t speak to me for a while, either.

When I turned 16, though, the first thing Dad did, was register me in Driver’s Ed. I passed, and got my license. And not once would my father loan me his car – not even when I was grown and on my own, and had a perfect driving record.

Except for the tree incident.

Which happened on Cockburn.

And what happens on Cockburn is supposed to stay on Cockburn, dammit!

But still my Dad always said no. Followed by, “Remember that tree you hit on Cockburn…?”

It’s the only time I couldn’t get the nerve up to try “Wasn’t me.”

Random Song-for-the-Day: “Cannonball” – Damien Rice

Categories
The Landlady

Where’s the “Beech”?!

Ruby - Bathing Suit - 1956
Parade Girl – 1956

It didn’t show up in the photo, so Ruby’s sister, who took the original picture back in 1956, wrote what the sign said with a ball-point pen, on the copy she made for Ruby. Yes, that’s Ruby with the mask, goggle eyes and bathing suit. Ummm. Yeah. That’s a bathing suit.

Ruby had no qualms whatsoever about handing it over for bloggery mischief – in fact, she hunted it out on purpose for me in March of this year.

Sorry, folks. This post is a few months late.

* * *

Did I ever tell you about the time I marched in the Community Day Parade on the Island?

Me: No! When was this?!

(laughs and claps her hands together) Wait’ll you see this!

She disappears into her spare room and comes out with the above photo, at which I, of course, laugh.

Me: ‘Splain to me this, Ruby.

Ruby (eyes just a twinkling): Do you think that Mushy-fella will like this?

Me: I think he’d rather no mask.

Ah, well. He’ll have to suffer the mask, then.

Me: So, what’s with the sign? Were you protesting?

Kind of. But we were more making fun, I guess.

Me: Who were you making fun of?

The Town Council, that’s who! A couple years before this, somebody on the council got the bright idea, that if they made a sand beach along the waterfront on one side of the Island, that the tourists would come in droves. There was fighting and voting and more fighting and more voting than you ever would believe over that beach mess, let me tell you!

Me: Looks as if the town wanted it, by the sign…

Nope. Just the opposite. Most people in town didn’t think it would work at all. They figured Lake Huron would just wash the beach away in a couple of years, and wouldn’t that be just a waste of sand and money?

Me: I guess it would.

Your darn right it would! But Council won out, and they must have spent thousands trucking in sand in big trucks and dumping it. They made a right nice beach, too.

Me: And….?

And the very next Spring, Lake Huron melted and hauled the whole works away to God Knows Where! (laughs for a long time) Town Council was pretty red-faced about that, lemme tell you!

Me: And so you marched yourself down Main Street in the Community Day Parade with that get-up and a sign, just to make fun of the Council? I wouldn’t have thought you to be so mean, Ruby!

(I said this ADMIRINGLY, though, you must understand….)

Ruby claps her hands together in laughter again….

Yup! And….

I won First Prize!!

Random Song for the Day: “Nobody Told Me” – Puddle of Mudd

Categories
Cartooning Les Becker Designs

That’ll Teach You to Play Rough…

Cartoon: Inanimate Objectivity - Potatoes

For Sale at Les Becker Designs!

Categories
Little Bits of Stupid

You Want Fries with that Burger…?

Les and Goldie, 1971
Ain’t I Angelic… “looking”?

Ah, yes, appearances can be deceiving, though, can’t they? The dog knows differently, you can tell by the look on her face.

This picture was taken by my father in 1971. I would have been around 5 at the time. The dog (her name was Goldie), was 4, and I think my dad might have loved her as much as, if not more than, he loved me. He never once forgot her name, whereas I still get referred to as “Vel-errr…Kar-errr… Lisa! No…. Diddly-Do-Over-There”. He does that to all his kids, mind you, so it’s not like I’m singled out. He had too many kids, and just the one dog.

Goldie is in nearly every photo taken of me by my dad from the time she was brought home to the time she was “put down” when I was about 13.

She was old and had been through some tough times – surgery for removal of an “India Rubber” ball she accidentally swallowed (my dad still has that – ask him where my first tooth is, though) … rheumatism resulting from being accidentally run over (by my dad!!!!)… poor ol’ dog.

My parents didn’t tell me they’d put Goldie down until 4 days after the deed was done, because I was in the middle of a monstrous school project. They were worried I would be so upset that I’d get a bad mark. I cried. A lot. Not because the dog was gone, so much as I felt guilty that I hadn’t wondered where she was for 4 days. Some friend I turned out to be.

ANYWAY…. that’s not what this post is about. It’s about an incident that happened around the year this picture was taken – and probably the reason I hate cooking so much…

I think we were on Cockburn Island (stop laughing, Suzi), but it could have been one of a myriad of other islands in the North Channel that we “boated” to. I know there were other families there –

1) because my dad (along with several other dads) was three sheets to the wind (ummm… for those not in-the-know, “three sheets to the wind” is Sailor-Talk for Drunk.), and it took other dads present for such a thing to happen, and

B) because My Brother the Trespasser wouldn’t play with me, and it took other kids present for such a thing to happen.

So, all the other kids, being older, were… I don’t know…. gone, and I was left all by my lonesome 5-year-oldness to amuse myself. Under the arguable watchful-eyedness of a bunch of drunks. I could hardly help but get into trouble.

We were BBQ-ing that night. Well, the other families were BBQ-ing. Ours was “Hibachi-ing”. My dad loved his little Hibachi, because it didn’t need any dismantling for storage (we lived on a boat in the summer, remember?), or have to be strapped down on the deck.

hibachi
It looked exactly like this.

Yes. Very small. Very low to the ground. About up to a 5-year-old’s shins. Reachable, in other words, to both a 5-year-old girl who only looked like an angel, and a 4-year-old dog who would eat anything within reach provided my dad wasn’t yelling “UUT! Oh, NO YOU DON’T!!” at the time. As I recall, that worked on both dog and girl equally well.

But, as you will recall, my dad was three sheets to the wind. And he did a silly thing. He told me (ME!) to “keep an eye on the Hibachi and make sure Goldie doesn’t get into the hamburgers.” Imagine that! And then he went back to his lawn chair, his rum, his buddies, and Nat King Cole on the 8-track.

So, I picked up the spatula and “kept an eye on the Hibachi”. As well as any 5-year-old who’d never wielded a spatula before could….

Now, this is about the point where the way my parents tell this story and the truth part ways. Ahem…*

To my knowledge, my parents don’t read my blog… in fact, I’m pretty sure that My Brother the Trespasser is the only member of my family who ever has, and I’m not even sure of that, truthfully… but if I get in trouble for the following admission, I will be forced to inform my parents who it was that taught me how to remove a locked wine-cellar door from its hinges quickly and silently, and put it back the way I found it, equally quickly and equally silently. Not to mention the party I swore I’d keep quiet about in exchange for such a valuable education. I swear I’ll tell. Fair warning, oh Brother Mine.

My parents maintain that I was “playing house”. That I “didn’t know any better”. That I just “had quite the imagination as a child”. Ri-ight. Goldie would have ratted me out in a heartbeat if my dad had thought to offer a milk bone. As it was, I think she may have scored the whole meal.

I was trying to flip the hamburgers over. I knew it had to be done; I could smell them burning. No amount of arm-waving, or sleeve-pulling, or “excuse-me-ing” could get my dad’s attention, and truthfully, it never once occurred to me to go to my mother because this emergency pertained to The Hibachi, which was most definitely my father’s turf.

And he ignored me.

And I saw my chance to finally be The Hero, and save supper.

So, I gingerly slid the spatula under a hamburger patty, and attempted to deftly flip it over, whereupon it promptly flipped off the Hibachi. Into the sand. Of course. May I remind you at this point, that I was 5.

You may not be aware, unless you’ve dropped a hamburger patty into the sand, that sand does not scrape off a hamburger patty. Completely.

But it can be disguised.

With more sand.

On all the other hamburger patties.

You can fit about eight hamburgers on an Hibachi grill. It takes approximately ten minutes for a 5-year-old girl-that-looks-like-an-angel-but-who-has-an-imagination to drop seven hamburger patties in the sand (on purpose!), scrape as much sand off as possible, and return them to the grill, sand-side-down.

They didn’t catch on until the second bite, as I recall, but they haven’t let me forget it, since. I believe we had bologna sandwiches for supper that night. Goldie ate sandy hamburger.

Not-So-Random Song for the Day: “Ramblin’ Rose” – Nat King Cole