Categories
The Landlady Zenishness...

A New Table to Sit At…

I have kind of/sort of duplicated Ruby’s kitchen table, complete with space heater underneath, in my own small way.

Ruby’s table was a safe space for me, and I miss it dreadfully. My table is much smaller, but I can feel her here in spirit, so I think it was a good idea, even if it did end up in a strange spot.

Emily Sarah – please note the crib board – we need to test out the card-playing vibe soon!

Categories
Amazon Products Artsy Fartsy Book Mentions Gift Shop Short Fiction Stories The Waitress the Whiskey & the Handcuffs

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.

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Movie Mentions The Landlady

Ruby’s Restaurant…

Traffic Jam!
Traffic Jam!
Taken Sunday September 14, 2014 with Samsung Galaxy S3

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.

Categories
The Landlady

Ruby Let Me Take a Photo!

Perogi Slipper
The Perogi Slipper
Taken May 18, 2014 with Samsung Galaxy S3

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.

Categories
Photography The Landlady The Walk-About

A Winter Dog Walk-About…

Kaylee loves to make snow angels...
Kaylee loves to make snow angels…
Taken January 12, 2014 with Samsung Galaxy S3

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.

Categories
The Landlady

The $5 School Cake…

Chocolate
“Chocolate”
© Les Becker, 2010
Taken November 21, 2010 with Nokia N97 Smartphone

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

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

Categories
Radio Les The Landlady

The Burglar Song

Image: The Burglar Frog

The Burglar Frog
Taken July 29, 2009 with Canon PowerShot A550

Ruby has this motion sensor frog ornament in her breezeway. I don’t like the thing, because I forget that it’s there, and every time I go to visit her it croaks at me and scares the shit out of me.

Every single time.

I once asked her why she had the horrid thing, and she laughed and said, “To warn me if a burglar tries to get in.”

Since then, I’ve always referred to it as “The Burglar Frog”. It would scare a burglar away, too; I’m certain of it.

I was over there in the wee hours of the night (possibly yesterday?), and we were sitting there having our coffee and working the crossword puzzle when the Burglar Frog “went off”. I waited for a knock on the door, but none came.

“Is someone here…?” I asked Ruby.

“Why?” she wanted to know.

“Your frog just croaked,” I replied.

“Huh. I never even heard it,” Ruby said, getting up and going toward the door. “I must have a burglar.”

I didn’t particularly like hearing that and got up to try and beat her to the door. I was over there later than usual, since my sleeping patterns have all been blown to hell. It was after midnight, and although Ruby is a night owl, the idea of her answering her door to a burglar kind of made the heebie-jeebies start in me.

She still managed to get to the door first, though, because she made me pause when she called back to me, “Remind me to sing you The Burglar Song….”

We discovered no burglar… the frog was playing tricks on us. I still wanted to hear The Burglar Song, though, whatever that was, and when Ruby sang it to me, I immediately wanted to know if she would let me record it and post it here.

She agreed.

I was a little surprised at how readily she agreed. I think she’s starting to enjoy the notoriety of being my Blog Star, such as it is. Just in case she changed her mind, though, I booted it home to get the recorder (encountering no burglars), and booted it back in less than three minutes. I love living this close to her… 🙂

I powered up the recorder and she started to sing. Half-way through the song, she realized she’d left out a verse.

Take 2: She got half-way through again, and had herself a coughing jag.

Take 3: She got half-way through, and suddenly couldn’t remember one of the verses.

Take 4: Success!

I came home, not in the least bit sleepy and decided to write this post…

And my F-ing computer told me there was no room for the audio file. I said my Dad’s Magic Word about then, I think.

I spent the rest of the night backing up old photos and video and clearing space on the hard-drive.

Later, having slept for most of the day, I was back at Ruby’s for more coffee and a fresh crossword.

“Did I sing to the internet?” she wanted to know.

I had to tell her that, no, I hadn’t got the post written, nor the photo ‘shopped, nor the audio edited.

“Oh,” she said, sounding disappointed. “Do you still have your thingamajig in your pocket?”

I pulled out my recorder, wondering what she was going to sing for me this time…

“I was hoping I could hear myself,” she said, and I obligingly pushed the ‘play’ button…

Whereupon, Ruby discovered that she’d left out an entire verse during Take 4. Again.

She said that just wouldn’t do, and after dictating to me the first line of every verse on her notepad, so she’d have something to jog her memory, she proceeded to sing the song again perfectly, without ever looking at her cheat sheet.

Give it a listen – it’s funny as hell. I’ve provided the lyrics below the player link, if you have any trouble with Ruby’s Canuckian accent (this means you, CardioGirl).

The Burglar Song – Ruby Daniel
Click it! Click it!


The Burglar Song

I’ll tell you a story of a burglar bold
Who went to rob a house.
He opened a window, and then crept in
As quiet as a mouse.

He looked around for a place to hide
‘Til the folks were all asleep.
And then, said he, with vehmeny,
“I’ll take a quiet sleep.”

So under the bed the burglar crept,
He crept up close to the wall.
He didn’t know it was an old maid’s room,
Or he’d never have had the gall.

He thought of the money that he would steal,
While under the bed he lay.
At 9 o’clock, he saw a sight
That made his hair turn gray.

At 9 o’clock the old maid came home.
“I am so tired,” she said.
She thought that all was well that night,
So she didn’t look under the bed.

She took out her teeth, her big glass eye,
And the hair all off of her head.
The burglar, he had forty fits,
While he watched from under the bed.

From under the bed, the burglar crept.
He was a total wreck.
The old maid wasn’t asleep at all,
And she grabbed him by the neck.

She didn’t holler, or shout, or yell.
She was as cool as a clam.
She only said, “The Saints be praised!
At last, I’ve got a man!”

From under the pillow, she drew out a gun,
And to the burglar she said,
“Young man, if you don’t marry me,
I’ll blow off the top of your head.”

She held him firmly by the neck.
He hadn’t a chance to scoot.
He looked at the gun and the big glass eye,
And said, “Madam, hurry and shoot.”

Categories
Other People's Stories...

The Accidental Fisherman

Muddy-Fish
Muddy by the Water

I have this buddy who is an incredible cook and a hot-shit photographer. My kid is very partial to him, because he spoils her with pickles. She calls him “Muddy”, and I think he’s rather partial to her, as well, because whenever we walk into his restaurant, he has a bowlful of pickles up on the chute before we even get to the table.

As it happens, Muddy’s restaurant is one of Ruby’s favourites, and that’s where she took us out for dinner the other night (Ruby is very partial to my kid, too – I only got to tag along because I have the wheels).

Once we had our bellies crammed full of comfort food (and pickles), I noticed Muddy had snuck out the back, so I followed him out to smoke cigarettes and talk (Photo)shop…

He had just come back from a fishing trip, although he doesn’t fish. At all. Has no interest in fishing whatsoever. When his pals go off a-fishin’, Muddy tags along with his camera…

This particular trip, nobody was having any luck. The fish weren’t biting. At all. The Muddy-Buddies were disgusted. So much so, that they decided to all wander off on a hike, trusting Muddy to watch the gear. Muddy figured he could handle this, although he only knows the business end of a fishing rod because it’s generally the one pointing at the water.

Muddy wanted duck pictures, anyway, so he was happy to “watch” the gear…

The ducks weren’t cooperating any more than the fish that day. They kept swimming so that the fishing rods, propped up against the rocks on the shore, lines still in the water, were between themselves and Muddy’s camera.

Muddy was determined to get his shot, however, and he finally decided to get rid of the rods….

Of course, this was not a matter of just picking up a rod and moving it. No… Muddy had to figure out how to unlock the reel and wind the line in first – which he managed – he’s fairly bright. Easy-peasy.

What he didn’t expect, while reeling in the line, was to nearly have the rod yanked out of his hands. Yup. The non-fishing photographer/cook caught himself a fish. Illegally, too, considering he didn’t have a fishing license.

He got around that one, though, by throwing it back – after yelling at one of his buddies to come back and take a picture first. I’m not sure how he convinced the guy to take the shot and not just throw the camera in the water; he was that mad that Muddy had caught a fish by accident when the rest of them couldn’t pull it off for trying…

I was rather impressed, though, and talked him into letting me have the picture… and posting it… and telling the story. Thankfully, he agreed to it all, ‘cuz I was tapped, story-wise.

I might actually have to go back to writing my own, if this keeps up.

Random Song-for-the-Day: “Trumpets” – Flipsyde

Categories
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