09 December, 2017

Cows in distress . . . or was it?

09 December 2017

R. Linda:

I've encountered another New England first. Yes, I have and while I felt like a bloody fool the night this "first" occurred, I have found I have lots of company that thought the same as me! Yes, indeed, I be not alone THIS time.

Last Tuesday evening around 9:30 I let the dog out and I was standing on the deck waiting (not really thinking of anything, but that I should have had a jacket on because it was rather chilly). I looked up at the cloudy sky realising there was to be no super moon viewing for this guy. No, the clouds had rolled in so no giant yellow moon looking like it was closer than usual. Yup, I was thinking that when I started to hear something nearby in the woods. It sounded like cows, not one or two, but a heard of cows. They sounded like they were in trouble, the mooing was very distressed it was, and I grew concerned until I realised I live in the middle of a forest and there are no cows. But it sounded like cows, and it sounded like something was amiss so I ran inside and got me Mam since Tonya was putting the kiddos to bed.

"Listen there." I instructed her as she (who had the good sense) shrugged into her coat.

"Ooh my," she said, "dat sounds like cows it duz. Due ye tink dey are got loose and are lost?"

"I wouldn't be surprised by the sounds but we have no cows around here."

"Ooh ay dere be down dat way on da Mass boder." And she pointed in a southerly direction.

Well, this be news to this Irishman, I was not aware there was a dairy farm nearby, but then I found out it is not nearby.

"Ay, dere be dat farm ye go by down where da Turners live." She said.

"Turners? They live way the hell down by the river, we aren't near there. We are like a million miles from there."

"Yer exaggerating dere Gabriel, not a million miles."

"Okay, you don't have to get exact on me, I be just saying they aren't close."

"Dose are definitely cows. Ye need to call 999."

"999 is it? Have you forgot where you be? You live in the United States of Trump or did you forget that? Though how you could forget THAT I don't know." I mumbled to meself.

"All right! 911 den, jus call and tell da constables wot you're hearin'."

"What WE are hearing." I said getting me phone out.  I was about to dial when a car pulled in me driveway. It was me neighbour next door. The mooing was loud and still going on. She got out asking me the ridiculous question if I could hear the noise. She is a selectman, so she was out looking for the "cows" but she couldn't see them from the road. They sounded like they were in the field behind me house, thus the visit. I got me torch and she got hers, and we both went down to the field and flashed it but nothing was there, but we could still here cows mooing.

Eventually the mooing sounds faded away to grunting sounds. Do cows grunt? Neither she nor me Mam knew the answer to that, but then the grunting faded and all was quiet. We Mam left us to go onto the town web page and it was lit up like a Christmas tree about the cows in the woods! Seems the entire town heard the cows and that encompasses a lot of area. How could that be everyone heard the cows at the same time, around 9:30 at night? Everyone thought the cows were in their yards and many, like me, went out to have a look around and nothing turned up. The next day the town over from us also had the same cow phenomena, but those citizens did us one better and called their local police (of which they have two to our one) and those two minions of the law went looking, but couldn't find the cows!

How was it possible that 23 miles of our little town and 6 miles of the other town, all heard the cow phenomena at the same time? How many cows were there? And with that much area there would have to have been a huge amount of distressed cows on the loose! How was it no one saw anything?

The next morning I took the wee one to pre-school and all the mother's and some dad's were hanging out at the front door with their coffees as they usually do. The talk was the COWS! Everyone in creation must have heard them, everyone but Tonya, who when Mam and I told her about cows in the woods, laughed and said we must be "tippling the Bailey's too much." Ha! Right you are Tonya, us and everyone in town. Geez!

Before we parents all dispersed, Charlie Baits showed up in his camo with huge mug of coffee. He was greeted as he always was, with "how's the huntin' Charlie?" and he laughed and said last night he wished he could hunt after dark.

"Hunt what cows?" One of the father's laughed. "You did hear the cows last night didn't ya Charlie?"

"Oh yeah I did. I would have loved to track down one of those bulls, I bet the rack was big from the sound of those grunts. Must of been two bulls I surmise each from another direction and those ladies they had to be west of the bulls calling like that. Was quite a sound show."

Well, we all stood there, jaws agape trying to figure out what the hell Charlie meant. Bulls? Racks? There were bulls in the woods with the cows? No way. Then by degrees it dawned on us when Charlie said, "Oh don't tell me you all thought those were dairy cows? Tell me as New Hampshire natives you've heard moose in rut. Oh come on now all of you, those were moose. Just ask Russell Jacks, he heard em' too. We were talking over our phones to each other when all that calling was going on."

Did we all feel dumb? Of course that  made more sense and Charlie and Russell would know being avid hunters. But one of us tried to pooh pooh that.

"Yeah but Charlie how could the folks here and in the next town over hear that?"

"When cows go into heat their calls ring out across the forest. Easy to hear. The bulls grunt in response and that was what that all was. You ever go outside at night and listen? It is stone quiet, you could hear a pin drop. Well, sounds carry in a forest more than you know. Come on, think about it moose in a forest make more sense than loose dairy cows." Charlie pointed out.

That cleared the great cow phenomena up quickly. Since Wednesday morning, there have been moose sited in the woods, no moo cows, just moose. Though me Mam still thinks it was cows. I was treated to a siting yesterday but still she refuses to believe me.

Right in our wood line, here be the proof, one cow moose taken through the screen window-- no way was I going out there.
Yes, yes that did make sense. Did we all feel foolish, you betcha! This is New Hampshire, moose country, why didn't one of us think of THAT? Goes to show how citified and transplanted most of our town is. The only native of the place was Charlie.

Everyone, with the moose sitings, have come over to Charlie's side, everyone but me grey haired, apple cheeked little Mam. She insists dairy cows were loose. No amount of explanation of a logical nature has so far prevailed.

"I don't know what your excuse is, I be from Ireland and we don't have moose, so really Mam?"

She just sits there over her cuppa mumbling how it all sounded like dairy cows. I can't let her get away with that, I have sent her sound clips of moose calling and rutting, and I know she knows now but she's too stubborn to admit it. Every time the subject comes up and I say moose, she corrects me with dairy cows.

Oh and to make you really happy, it be snowing. I know that will fill you with delight that we are about to get hit with 6" of the white stuff.

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

30 November, 2017

Short Stories In A Life Made Chaotic By Circus Performers (of sorts) . . .

30 November 2017

R. Linda:

Big Tony and his lovely dragon lady wife came up for a visit. The visit had a purpose, it was called WE MADE A WILL AND THIS IS WHAT'S IN IT. Normally, the subject would be rather morbid and no one would want to discuss it but we had little choice. I offered to leave Tonya and her parents to discuss away while I took meself out and about, but no, I was to be included in said discussion.

Well R. Linda, it was like Barnum and Bailey had taken the floor, the circus came to town quite literally when we were joined by Bruno (Tonya's brother), his wife Jasmine, one of Tonya's sisters who is married to a guy referred to by everyone as THE Giordano. The other sister was not about the place because she's the smart one and one brother was doing his duty in Afghanistan.

So there we were, the usual suspects sans me Mam who had the good sense to be out and not anywhere in the house.

It started off all well and good that the kids of the Dragon couple would get equal shares of all the Dragons had accumulated throughout their lengthy life. But then it came to the house in Cape May, New Jersey and that too was to be split up evenly. But no, hold on, Tonya's sister who is married to THE Giordano pipes up she lived in that house the longest and so she should have a larger share. You could have heard a pin drop, yes indeed, everyone was gobsmacked. I, for one thought I wasn't hearing right and did mutter, "what?" Then everyone was looking at me! I shut me cake hole and pretended me coffee needed a refill and I took meself to the kitchen.

While in there me phone rang and I saw it was Weasil calling. I reluctantly picked up the call and he says, "Can you get fat eating nothing but hot dogs for a week?" And I hung up.

I reluctantly shuffled back in over a heated discussion on "entitlement" and the youngest or baby of the family thinking they were more special than the rest of the brothers and sisters, and oh me lord it was the family circus for sure.

I won't bore you with the gruesome details but after two hours of raised voices, tears, stomping around, throwing tantrums, it was sorted out. Me and THE Giordano were smart enough to say nothing, as we pretended we were spectators at the circus and not part of the show.

I was very thankful everyone had a plane to catch or someplace other than me abode to go, so when they all left it was like I had been holding me breath the entire time, and was finally able to exhale. I was alone in the kitchen unwinding when me Mam came in from wherever she had been.

"Wot's da motter?" Mam asked concerned. I guess me face betrayed the day I had. I wasn't about to go into it again, it wasn't worth me energy.

"Ok I need amusement, no clown hats though, I already live in a circus," I said with a sigh.

"Wot be the circus oop ta taday?" She asked, less concerned.

"They are bending over backwards doing tricks to make everything seem like they aren't part of a circus. The worst part of it is I feel like I be the audience watching the circus show, BUT they throw in audience participation and then I BE part of the circus show."


"Trust me, the big top was in town and parked in me living room . . . all afternoon!"

"Well, be it Dragon who's . . . "

"Oh yeah well she lives on another planet, and has a whole side show of her own. Half the time I think she's the carnival inside the circus because the circus stays stationary but the carnival which is Dragon, moves around a lot."

"Ooh my, sounds like ye need sumthin' stronger. We probably both due." Mam asked pouring us tea and eyeing the Baileys. "Ye should av' ad' da day I ad'."

"Why what happened?"

To make a long story short she offered to take our old neighbour to pick up his car at the mechanics. There was some problem with the starter so since she was in the area she offered the ride and he accepted.

Prior, me neighbour's dog was put down last month. He was 14 so quite old in dog years and he could not walk and his quality of life was nil. Though me neighbour said at his age (70+ years), laying around doing nothing sounded like bliss, but that's beside the point, the dog left this earthly place for doggy heaven. Anyway, they got to the mechanics to find a glitch was found with the starter and the mechanic needed to keep it another hour. Me Mam, having not much to do and certainly did not want to be around the abode with the Dragon family, offered the suggestion since it was near lunchtime, they go have a bite and by the time they finish his motor should be ready and they'd head back. Well, lunch was delightful, but for the call from the mechanic the part was ordered but would not be in until the next day.

On the way to dropping the neighbour off at his house, they were driving passed the veterinarian's and he asked if she could stop off so he could pick up the dog. She was thinking he lost his mind because he had the dog put down and looked at him askance but said, "sure."

"He won't make any mess of your seats or any noise. He'll play dead all the way home." The neighbour assured her as he went into the vets while she waited in the car.

Meanwhile, while she was waiting in the car and I was waving bye d' bye to the Dragon family, Weasil was texting me non-stop about dogs of another variety. I had ignored him for the most part, but as the Dragon limo was pulling out of me driveway, I saw it move over to let that infamous red Mustang by.

"Oh here comes your best bud," Tonya patted me arm and left me for the safety of the indoors while I stayed where I was watching the limo get back on the driveway and continue on and the Mustang roll closer. I could see the Weasil arm out the window waving at me and in the hand of the Weasil was a hot dog, one of those foot long dogs.

He got out of the car and bought in a tray of hot dogs with mustard and relish, a few with kraut, a bunch of icy Coke a' Colas and cheesy fries. I helped him bring it all in as he jabbered on about how he ended up at a hot dog emporium over Dunks, because Dunks had the audacity to not serve him a green donut.

Seems he had seen the advert, this one:

He even took this picture to prove that green donuts do exist!

And he, for some unknown reason had to have the green donut. BUT the Christmas donuts weren't available as of yet. What infuriated the Weasil was the Dunk's worker saying back at him through the speaker, "Green donut? We don't have green donuts."

His reply was, "Yessie yer do."

"No we donut." There was laughter coming through the speaker, than she said, "No, we do not."

"I drove me five miles outer me way fer dissy here donut." Says he. "I missed da turnie off and hadda drive all da way backie. So ten miles outer me way."

"Huh? I can't understand you." Says she with a snicker. "You have an accent with something else going on."

Oh yes he does!

So he gets frustrated and pulls into a parking place and goes inside where he can see for himself there is not a green donut in sight. As he comes out he sees across the street something called Bruster's and they are having a hot dog festival. Stressed as he is, he is of a mind that a "batch" of hot dogs, greasy cheesy fries and soft drinks would be the way to relieve his so far very tough day. I tell ya.

He takes himself across the road, orders up a "batch" of everything and then realises what he is about to consume might be fattening. And he's got a weeks worth of all of that heart attack food to eat on his own. Thus, the phone call to me!

As he gets to his car, there is a woman who is parked nearly on top of him. She has opened her driver side door and gone to the other side of her auto, and is rummaging around on the passenger side and he is standing there because he can't get to his passenger side to put the food inside the Mustang. She, is oblivious that he is patiently (if you can call it that) waiting for her to finish rummaging and coming around to get in her car, close her drivers side door so he can get into his passenger side and relieve himself of a ton of unhealthy food.

She came around eventually, as his fast food was getting fast cold, and when she sees him and realises by his facial expression he had been standing there for a while, she blurts out, "It figures, the one day I leave the door open . . . "

"Well geez lady, it's a parking lot," says he finally losing it. "Wot did ya expect!"

With a dirty look she got in her car and didn't wait for him to open his door, or even offer to help him since he had his arms full, no, instead she starts her motor up and pulls the hell out of Dodge. Just as he goes to open his door, another motor pulls in! So there he is waiting for that person to get out of their car so he can finally open his door and drop the stone cold fare on his passenger seat.

There you have it, how I came to be the lucky ducky who was forced to share cold hot dogs, and greasy cold cheesy fries with a watered down but very cold coke.

At least the circus (or I should say parts of it), headed down to Boston and the rest to New Jersey and parts unknown. I like that last . .  . I should move to parts unknown, where none of these circus performers including the ring master, one Weasil, can't find me.

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

19 November, 2017

Stilton the stink bug and how he came to be a temporary member of the family

19 November 2017

R. Linda:

Oh the price we pay to save a few hard earned dollars, let me tell ya. I can picture it all happening in me mind, I can. Yes indeed, me Mam has complained about the high prices in this country and she's always looking for a bargain. And she has got quite good at finding such. Oh yes she has. Until the other day.

It all started with Weasil, who has recovered from his hot wings experience, and dropped by to show us he was no worse for wear for it. I wasn't home, so he was in the kitchen commiserating the high cost of living with me woebegone Mam when I walked in to hearing her complain long and loud about the problem of owning a black vehicle.

"It gits so durty ye noo," she was moaning, "I hate payin' fur a woosh eveah week, I due."

"Wellie, there iz a wash jus' the next townie over an it iz $13 not $20 a pop." Weasil said leaning on an elbow as he grabbed a scone.

"Ooh yeah?" Says she. "I should goo dere I should."

"Yup ya should an dey give yer a free air freshener." Weasil said munching.

Well, I paid this no mind really, I was more concerned the Weas would eat all those delicious homemade scones, so I sat it down and joined the afternoon tea party which went on to other subjects. When he was leaving I did hear him tell me little gray haired, apple cheeked Mam where the car wash was and so I thought no more of it.

The Saturday before last, me Mam decided it be a nice day, she will take her motor to Weasil's recommended car wash and off she went. That was me opportunity to go out to the kitchen, put the kettle on and eat the leftover scones.

Meanwhile, me Mam pulls into the new car wash place, and sees the signs that read: We hand wash the grim off your car, no harsh detergents, or machines to ruin your paint job. Our power wash rinses the soap off and we hand towel your car dry!

Well, it doesn't get any better than that does it? So she is thinking she can go inside the little building and wait for her car to be cleaned like in the "old days." She can sip her cuppa and maybe peruse a magazine or two and then get in the cleaned vehicle and go home.

She pulled up, handed over her $13 buckaroos and started to get out of her car, but the man said she can stay in and watch the process. Well, not what she had in mind and her dimpled little cheeks must have shown her disappointment, so the man wants to keep her a happy customer and reaches around behind him and produces a box, yes a box R. Linda, of lemon scented air fresheners. He tells her while her car is in the rinse tunnel she can open an air freshener and hang it on her mirror. Well, okay she is all good with that because it isn't often you get anything for free and here she had one over the Weasil, he got one air freshener, she got an entire box, whoo hoo!

She watched them get the grim off black beauty and she was set for the rinse. She had the motor in neutral and it slowly started to pull into the tunnel as the water jets came on. She decides to open the box and enjoy to fragrance of a lemon as she drives through, hoping to fill the car with that lemony freshness that seems such a clean smell. Rightho!

As she is nearing the rinse, she pops open the box and inside are a dozen packets of lemon air freshener to fill the car. But that wasn't the only thing that filled her car, there were "hundreds" of stink bugs on the bottom of the box that once opened made their escape. Oh yes they did! And I should tell you me Mam has an aversion to said stink bugs, or any big armoured look bug and well, it must have been like when I took me Sudanese co-worker though the wash for the first time, she went berserk! She couldn't get out of the car because she was in the middle of that rinse tunnel and the jets were powerful and she was belted in so she couldn't climb over the backseat, and well it was just a horrible thing to happen, with moments of bug related panic. Finally, she took the top of her cane and started to smoosh the buggies that had all gathered on her windscreen. As you know, just picking one of those bugs up they omit an odour like rotten grass and well need I tell you that smell overpowered any lemon that might have wafted out of the bug box.

She had presence of mind to put her hair in order (as she was quite a bit frazzled from the unexpected experience) so when she came out of the tunnel she'd look like nothing bad happened. She was too gobsmacked to think about chewing the workers out because she wasn't sure she lived through the bug attack or not. The interesting thing was it took her a few moments to come back to the reality of it all. This happened when the men with the towels were polishing and rubbing at the windscreen from the outside thinking the smeared mess was on their side of the window. It took a few moments before they looked at her quizzically and she rolled down her window and explained the mess, but she couldn't quite get it out being very upset. In her lap were dead stink bug bodies, oh yeah there were. When she saw them in the daylight (it had been dark in the tunnel) she screamed and jumped out of the car. She so frightened the workers they screamed too not knowing why but they did because the horror on her face was contagious.

What anyone around the scene must have thought, I'd pay a penny to know. There they were, three towel guys and me little Mam jumping around outside the dripping vehicle. Well, it was once they all comprehended what was on the seats, the windows, and dead on the ground (where fifty or more dead buggies had fallen to the concrete from Mam's lap), they all stepped away from the car. The manager was intrigued, probably more than he let on and came to find out what the ruckus was. In halting words all of them tried to explain but pointing to the creepy crawlers in the car and the dead ones on the ground explained in an eye blink what the trouble had been and still was.

It ended well (sort of) with the car being pulled around by one brave soul to a shop vac that sucked up the stragglers still crawling around in the car looking for a way out. Many apologies were given with three free car washes and her choice of fragrance next time around. I doubt there will be a next time. I say sort of ended well, because all the way back to the abode, me Mam felt itchy and would pull over and open all the doors just in case the vac didn't get all the horde out. She immediately came in threw herself in her shower and her clothing in the wash, but sat around all day in a fog scratching. Since then I have been driving her car and she mine, because her car makes her itch she says. She still can't get it out of her mind the bugs are gone. I vacuumed her vehicle twice and nothing.

Except the other morning I had her convinced to take her car back, but she told me one more day and it's a good thing. As I was driving into Boston, there slowly lumbering across the windscreen, pretty near the lemon freshener I stuck on the rear view, was a stink bug! Oh yeah, he was just taking his time, enjoying the sights of Boston coming up in view and there I was thinking how wonderful, I will be driving her car for the rest of me life, because she is going to tell me that somehow the stink bugs mated and are now hatching in her car. Oh yeah I know she will come up with that.

Knowing that bug would stink up the car, I left him be, yes he, I had named him Stilton after the stinky blue cheese we Brits are famous for. I have found meself talking Stilton up on me drives to the city. I have asked him if he has a family hidden in the car, perhaps they are in the backseat and shy? But I did mean to be rid of him, after three days of only seeing "him" in the vehicle. I got home yesterday, me supposed last time being the driver of black beauty, and carefully took a tissue to Stilton to gently remove him, but he wasn't having any of that, he saw me coming and those wings came out with that awful buzzing sound they make as I tried in vain to catch him. I opened all the windows in the hope me hand chasing him around would make him fly out. But no, he wasn't going anywhere. I waited and he landed on the back of the passenger headrest. I slipped into the drivers seat and quick as I could I mushed him in that Kleenex, but the bad part of this be me Mam had pulled in the drive with me car, and saw me! There was no masking that tell-tale odour of rotting grass, I tell ya!

So you know I be still driving that car which the stink bug stink overpowering the lemon air freshener. I now have seven lemon air fresheners trying to mask the Stilton stink, and I can still smell Stilton even when I am not in that car! Meanwhile, me Mam is busy signing over ownership of black beauty to me and wanting me to sign me Saturn over to her!

Stilton Stink Bug RIP
Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

02 November, 2017

Weasil takes the hotter than hell hot wings challenge and mets Montezuma after

02 November 2017

R. Linda:

I was all set for this year's Halloween lunch at an Irish pub in Manchester. Joining the usual suspects was the Weasil, who has a penchant for making his visits memorable AND he more than outdid himself this time around. Yes he did.

There we were looking at the menu and Weasil picks up that there is a hot wings challenge, you get 10 very large wings covered in a hotter than hell hot sauce with ghost powder, in which you have 5 minutes to consume the wings off the bone, with no drink. You must sign a liability waiver before you start and this was what he wanted to do. If you consumed it all you won bragging rights in the pub, a tee shirt and I think you won a bottle of Fireball Cinnamon Whisky. I think you would have been right there with him, since the wings were made with Fireball and I know you like that stuff.

Everyone at table thought he was joking, but no, no he wasn't and I was the only one that knew he was serious. This was right up his alley and well being the Weasil, he was all for it. He asked me if I wanted to share an order of jalapeño chips before the challenge to get him ready so to speak. I thought, why not? So we all ordered appetisers and when the chips came I saw they were nothing more than sliced jalapeños dipped in a hot batter and deep fried to a crisp. There was ranch sauce to dip them in and so not really thinking I took one and it went down without me thinking a thing about it but by the third I was beginning to feel the heat. Problem was, if you stopped eating them you really felt the heat so I kept on. Yes I did, stupid I know, but then I realised the wings would probably be twenty times hotter than what I was consuming so I told him if he decided he was really going to take the challenge, that once he got started, not to stop because he'd feel the burn and that would end that.

Yes, ever helpful, that's me.

The waitress brought the waiver over, he didn't bother to read it but I be sure it said if he went into cardiac arrest or his guts fell out the pub was not responsible for the challenger's stupidity to attempt the challenge in the first place. Well, he signed it without reading it and she took off for the kitchen while the Weasil continued to munch on the jalapeño chips. It wasn't long before a plate of wickedly hot hot wings appeared and was placed in front of the Weas. The waitress stood back, and a pub man, the official who would either award Weasil for his cast iron stomach or would simply walk away with a "better luck next time mate," stood at the ready to watch this catastrophe, which looking at those wings could very well be. Jayus, Mary and Joseph, R. Linda, they were bright red, like the devil.

Tonya set her phone clock for five minutes. We all stared at the plate, watching the steam rise from the wings. The bright red colour was a warning to me at least to not touch those things, and there were chips of hot pepper in the sauce on top that boded stomach pumping. Oh my.

Yup indeed!
Tonya hit the start and Weas was off and eating, ripping the meat from the bone with his lovely white choppers, chewing, swallowing, ripping off more, the lad was doing ok on the first two wings, but suddenly his whole body started shaking, I was like WOW Weasil, what be going on? He shook and he got even shakier but he kept on ripping and tearing and partly chewing, swallowing and the shaking was so bad he could hardly hold onto the wings. But he got five down before the clock alarm went off.

We cheered him on the entire time, hoping he'd make the challenge, because if there was ever someone to do something this insane it was Weasil. Well, he was disappointed, but he did complain the chicken was the size of a turkey and the meat was stringy so it was hard to chew. The pub official walked away to officiate another day and the wings sat in front of the Weasil half consumed sadly.

"Do you want me to leave those for you?" The waitress asked knowing full well what the answer was.

"Hells no, bring me something to drink quick, water anything!" The defeated lad said.

He was brought four slabs of butter and a huge glass of milk.

"The official said to eat the butter first than down the milk and that will help." The accommodating waitress smiled at him.

The rest of us were grossed out over the big slabs of butter. Wouldn't that grease add to the internal fire in Weasil's stomach? It was like what they tell you not to put on a burn because it be like putting grease on a fire it will make it worse. But Weasil did as told without listening to us tell him why he probably shouldn't.

By this time Weasil's face looked rather red, his eyes were very bloodshot and I almost thought steam would come out of his ears, but he at least had calmed the shakes.

He ordered another glass of milk and had drunk both glasses down in huge gulps after swallowing some more of the butter. I could only imagine what his stomach felt like, as the chips I consumed were nothing compared to those wings.

We had ordered our mains and I had done what I usually do, ordered the bangers and mash. Me Mam no longer does that, but foolish me, having been to the pub before and had the bangers thought they were the same as prior, but no, they suspiciously tasted like you know what, YES that Polish sausage!

They didn't even look appetising to be honest with you because when they arrived, Weasil was able to mumble, "That looks like dog shite on a plate."

I couldn't tell what kind of sausage that was. It did not have the Kielbasa consistency, but it tasted off from what I be used to which be the real thing. I now know since the Coat of Arms in Portsmouth has closed it's doors forever, that I will not be ordering bangers and mash at an Irish or British eatery here in the U.S. ever again. So not only was the Weasil disappointed, but so was I.

I looked over at everyone else, they had stuck to more sane dishes, like hamburgers and chicken tenders.

What I should have ordered
We finished up with the Weasil eating nothing more than what he had, poor fellow. I almost felt sorry for him, but me own stomach was feeling a bit queasy. I had heartburn like I had eaten an entire Mexican menu, which be another thing I learned, do not order Mexican fare in an Irish pub. There is a reason it be called Mexican, so I will be going to a Mexican restaurant for jalapeños from now on. At least there I be used to that burn, an Irish/Mexican case of heartburn be not normal. But that wasn't all that was the bother.

We made it home but not before we stopped at Dunks for Vanilla bean coolottas to cool our stomachs, Weasil and meself that is. It took us four hours to drink them by the way. By 6 in the evening we were looking at each other knowingly that something be not right.

"I know where the wings are in me body." He said pointing to his upper abdomen. "They took forever to slide down from me oesophagus. And don't ask about the burping I've been trying to squelch. The heartburn is the worst."

"Ock! The heartburn be me worst trouble." I agreed. "I don't feel the burn now, I guess that's a good sign." I said unluckily because later I'd have the worst case of diverticulitis ever! But Weasil was doing the loo waltz, and told me his posterior was burning like all get out. He was standing a lot between runs, and when I told him to sit down for a wee spell, he told me it hurt to sit down. Lucky for him, me Mam had an inflatable doughnut she had brought from Ireland that belonged to me Da when he had a bad case of hemorrhoids, which I know Weasil will probably have as well from being so pigheaded about that challenge.

I know, too much information, but it was that kind of day. I won't mention the word that goes with 'it was a ----- day', but you get me drift.

I did ask him if he would go back and do it again, and he surprised me with a resounding NO! What be happening to our Weasil? Is he growing up or is he just too old for all the antics that come so easy to him. I did inform him that next Halloween we be going to a Mexican restaurant if he cares to come along. He looked kind of uncomfortable as he shifted on the doughnut. "I dunt know." That was all he said and every time I brought that subject up he told me to hush, he was done talking about it.

So now I am too.

A footnote of sorts: Weasil left us accompanied by Montezuma. I do wonder how long it took them to get to wherever they were going. There aren't too many service stations up here. I have to wonder too, just where he might be, because something tells me he's still travelling with Monte, quite literally.

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

31 October, 2017

The Missing Man - Annual Halloween Story

31 October 2017

Halloween R. Linda! 

"A time of ghouls and ghosts, of spooks and spectres, of whispers in empty rooms, of menace and mayhem. Listen as if your life depended upon it. Because tonight . . . it might."

I have a story for you from the 1890s. One of a ghost dog with no eyes, a coffin made out of snow, yes, strange stuff it be.

It all begins here in New England, Vermont to be exact, when there was a particularly bad winter of nor'easters that brought almost continuous snow. It all started one October around Halloween time. The white fluff slowly built and built and built. It was so high at times it was difficult for the residents of one small village to get out for essentials. This particular year one Michael McBride left his wife and three young children to go to work. The snow was falling heavy and thick, large flakes usually meant the snow would end soon, and with this in mind Michael ventured out. However, as he trudged through the cold white snow, the flakes became smaller and more intense and he knew too late the snow would accumulate even higher.

He made it to his work at a leather harness shop and toiled all day with an eye to the window as the snow continued to pile up. A few times he went out and shovelled it so customers could come in, but no one came. He told himself the walk home would be a trying one, but it was payday and he needed his pay to feed his young ones for the coming week.

Michael stayed a little longer than he usually would, hoping the snow might stop. When it did not he left with a bad feeling in his bones. Michael's way home was through the woods along a ridge by the river Middlebury. In places the river ran fast and somewhat deep, but the sound of it rushing over the rocks was one he listened for to keep himself on the path since it was hard to see in the dark.

Along the way he came upon two men who seemingly came out of nowhere. They stepped in his path
as he came up to them, giving him a strange feeling like a chill rippling along his spine.

"Halloo," he said as he met them.

They did not move, nor could he see there faces because they had wrapped scarfs just enough for their eyes to show. Their eyes did not look friendly in the dim light.

"May I pass?" He asked sidestepping but one caught him by the arm and the other came up behind him throwing his arm around Michael's throat and pulling tightly.

Michael swallowed, his adam's apple hurt from the man's pressure. He could not speak as they rifled through his pockets and found his pay. The man stuffed it in his own pockets and the other took a knife and thrust it in Michael's side several times. Then he threw him over the ridge where Michael, still alive, rolled down into a culvert near the edge of the freezing water.

Without even a backward glance the two murderers took off ignoring Michael's groaning pleas for help.  So badly were Michael's wounds he could not crawl to get himself out of the bloody culvert. He lay there bleeding for a long time, not a soul in sight to help. Soon the ebbing of his strength gave way to the cold and a numbness took him.

Meanwhile, at his home, his wife Mary looked out the window at the ever piling snow, worried he was late. Was he delayed, or had he lost his way? She was concerned but put on a brave face for the three children who asked too frequently for their father. Even their dog, a white boxer was whining and this made Mary more fretful. Unable to bear the dog's whimpering she opened the door and let him out. She watched as he ran like a flash in the direction her husband would come, faster and with more need than she'd ever seen him. He leaped over the snow like a deer until his coat blended in with his surroundings and she lost sight of him.

The dog somehow sensed its master was in trouble that night, as dogs do sense things we do not. It ran the long way to the river like its life depended upon it. As it neared the edge of the woods the two murderers were just coming out when they saw the dog. They knew who's dog it was and called it to them. The boxer stopped six feet from the men growling. The dog could smell his master's blood upon them and it lunged at the one with the knife. He had got the knife out but dropped it as the dog leaped and knocked him down, ripping at the man's hands as he fought to fend the boxer off. The other went for the knife and with a terrible force brought the blade down without looking and put out one of the dogs eyes, this caused the dog to yelp in pain and pull off but the other man held him, and once again his partner brought the blade down and took out the other eye. They let the dog go as it staggered about dying, its left paw pawing at its face, blind and bleeding.

"I'll finish it off," the one with knife said, and it was easy because the dog was blind and so straddling the animal he brought the blade down and under into the heart killing the boxer. They threw the carcass behind a huge boulder and left the scene.

It wasn't long before the snow covered the blood and there was no sign of any footprints or a struggle. Mary, meanwhile at home was left to get the children abed and fret with worry as she sat alone by the window waiting until dawn's light. The snow had reached blizzard proportions and for the next few days no one went about. Mary was able to get word out of her missing husband and his dog a week later. She had the hopes both had found the snow deep and impassable, and had the common sense to hunker down at a neighbours.

That turned out to be wishful thinking and as the winter progressed and the snow continued to pile up neither dog nor master returned. All sorts of scenarios went through Mary's mind. Had her husband left her? Taken his dog and gone forever? Had he been waylaid by robbers? Yet, no one reported any crime nor body found, but what about the dog? Where did it go in such a hurry? What did it sense? Was Michael not far and calling to him so they could leave together? Was that why the dog took off so quickly? She didn't know and these thoughts bedevilled her for months.

The spring finally came and still no word. Mary's worry turned to anger.

As the year past, Mary lost her home and had to give over her children to a magistrate. She had no money, she couldn't properly care for them and herself. With the loss came bitterness toward her missing husband. She moved south to Massachusetts to live with a sister as she could not abide Middlebury any longer.

It was three years past before Michael's body was found, nothing more than blackened bones caught in old sticks at the river's edge by two young boys out to fish. It was determined he had been murdered for his pay. By who they thought they knew, two vagrants that haunted the river at the time and knew Michael's movements and even worse when he got paid. They disappeared after the storm the year Michael disappeared and many wondered but no one voiced their suspicious until the body was found and the inquest finished.

They were never caught, Mary was told and relieved in a small way. She spent the rest of her life guilt-ridden about giving up her children and the ugly thoughts she had of her husband. She died of fever not long after, so it is hoped she found some peace.

But our story doesn't end there. No R. Linda, there is a footnote.

The little cottage that Michael and Mary lived in is still standing. It was used as a summer place through the years but not until recently was it redone over with modern plumbing, new electric lighting and some modern amenities. A young couple newly married bought it and fixed it up. They enjoyed their spring and summer there but when late October came they noticed a change in the feel of the place. A coldness seemed to fill the house and the newly refurbished fireplace could not take the chill away for some reason. Odd that. But odder still was the sound at the screen door at night. It sounded like a dog scratching to come in but there was no dog. Yet the screen was torn at the bottom of the door and there was no explanation.

Something wants in
When the snow came something strange appeared slowly by increments on their deck. The snow would build, and build, and build and with it a white coffin would appear on the top of the table.

At first the young couple wasn't sure what the snow was building until it became obvious what the shape looked like. Each time Tom, the young homeowner, would go out and shovel it off it would reform. Once they left the 'coffin' alone, something more bizarre would happen, the scratching at the door at night stopped and a dogs howl could be heard in the woods. Tom's wife Annie thought a few times she saw a white dog prowling at the edge of the woods, but she wasn't sure until one day she went outside with her two little ones to make a snowman in the falling snow. She was snapping pictures of them and their snowman when she spied the dog creeping along the woods edge. She put her camera on zoom and took these.

Definitely a boxer

She also took a picture of the coffin at night and then during the day.

Can you imagine seeing THIS at night?
Day shot just as unnerving
A postscript for you, the cottage is for sale. No explanation given.

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

26 October, 2017

New Hampshire buildings in the fall - no matter how hard I tried, those trees manage to get in the act every time

26 October 2017

R. Linda:

I don't know if you were being sarcastic or what, but because you seemed to complain I have too many pictures of colourful trees featured in me last post, I decided to post buildings this time, and I wish I could not include the colourful trees, but guess what? I can't not.

So, I braved the downpour we have had for the past three days, thinking that the rain might enhance the colour of the leaves, but those leaves would be beaten down from the raindrops and that might make you happy. BUT no, that hasn't completely been the case. For some strange reason, hard rain and all, the leaves persist to hang out on the tree limbs.

My biggest problem of not taking pictures of the trees is there be precious little to take pictures of since there aren't a whole lot of buildings up here. I talked me wife into accompanying me in me endeavour since she takes better pictures than me, so for your viewing pleasure of New Hampshire's buildings in the fall, here it be.

A Tonya picture of the little lighthouse down the road - this counts for a building right?
Sticking with the water theme, a dam with a pumpkin in the stream - Tonya again
Village centre - sorry trees are in the way, but I tried
Souhegan River runs through a few places (can't get away from the water either) - I think they used to ford sheep here in the olden days which I know your remember, LMAO
Here's one with a tree without leaves, I thought to include it for you.
Last one, does a covered bridge count? This is down the road from the abode.
So there you have it R. Linda, buildings such as they are and sorry the trees are in the way, but like I say I literally live in a forest and I can't find a single shot where there aren't those pesky beautiful trees, but I tried. A for effort right?

Just a few more days and your annual Halloween story hits the blog. Enjoy the pictures while you wait, heh-heh.

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

23 October, 2017

It's been a late autumn in New Hampshire - will summer never end?

23 October 2017

R. Linda:

If you can view the video this is what I was looking at for most of September. I was rather taken aback that we were having pine needle showers and no colour change. This be what I see from me office window.

In the lead-up to me annual Halloween story, I thought to entertain you with the autumn photos of this year's New Hampshire tree crop. I would like to say that the leaves did not turn colour until recently, very late actually and I think the early leaf peepers did not get to enjoy the fall season as in years past, last year in particular, being rather spectacular. I am told because of the unusually warm weather and lack of rainfall, the seasonal change is proceeding at a snail's pace. I be fine with that I be, because I rather enjoy the long fall with the summer-like weather letting yours truly enjoy the outdoors later than usual. By September we have colour change but not this year. At this rate, we are told the leaves should still be on the trees into November. I'll lift me mulled cider to that!

So it was a slow start. Here are a few shots of early fall. Late September down the road where the lake dwellers live.

Our little lake community on down the road on September 28 well beyond when colour should have popped
The following week on October 4th, not much change, this be a nearby field
On October 16th things were looking better but still not quite up to the usual autumn beauty.

If you compare this shot to last years, well it be sadly lacking in colour.
Then we had one cold night and the next day it was like autumn arrived in all her finery. If this could only last into mid-November I'd be a very happy sort I would.

The wife took this shot, it looks like a painting. The bog down the road.
Beautiful morning with the sun streaming between the trees.

The copse of trees between the fields.
Our road, not as pretty as last year.
Getting there.
Then just yesterday autumn's queen arrived in the shape of a beautiful red maple with the compliment of a blue sky that made the season perfect.

Nirvana! Finally.
This be all fine and good, but the amount of pine cones and the largeness of the acorns, give me pause that we are going to be hit with one hell of a winter.

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

28 September, 2017

Small Village Life In New Hampshire

28 September 2017

R. Linda:

I thought things were backward in Ireland, but nah, living in New England be a similar experience. In Ireland you wait for things to be done. Oh for sure you can tell the electrician you need something done and six months later he'll show up like you called yesterday. And so it goes with everything else. Here, in the sticks of New Hampshire, the pace of life be laid-back and slower than say Boston. How do I know this? Well, having lived in Boston for a few years I got used to the faster pace, the convenience of being able to order or buy what I needed instantly, and so I was a wee bit spoiled I was. Then I moved to New Hampshire where it all went pear shaped. Yes, I could order fuel and be told it would be arriving in a few days, not the same day. Why not today? No, no can't do that the truck is filled with just enough for the days deliveries, and to add one more, well then the driver would have to go back to the filling station and refill and best to wait. An electrician, same as Ireland only instead of six months wait, maybe three.

I think I told you the first time Jersey girl Tonya went to the Mall of New Hampshire she had got dressed to the nines like she did in New Jersey going to say the Willoughbrook Mall or Livingston Mall. Yes, there she was hair done, nice outfit, jewellery, the whole nine yards and everyone at the mall? Old jeans and flannel shirts. Makeup? What's that? And jewellery? None of that. She couldn't wait to get out of there. And since she's never done that again.

I think I told you weddings up here are rather different to put it mildly. Our first wedding, I was in a suit, and Ton in a gown (the invite had said formal) and everyone else? The men wore khaki pants with blue shirts and the women, capri pants and tank tops. We were mistaken for being part of the wedding party too many times to count. Every wedding we have attended up here has been this way. And I refuse to get the man's wedding uniform of khaki pants and long sleeved blue shirt!

One last dress code. Tonya and I had met the kiddos teachers after enrolling them in school. We met Guido's teacher who stands out the most to us. There she was dressed in a sparkly Harley Davidson tee with cut offs and open toed sandals. Me wife said to me on the side, "If she was teaching in New Jersey she'd be fired for that mode of dress." That aside, I will say the woman's young charges love her and she is one of the most popular teachers. Guido has done well under her guidance so I can't complain, and I be not really, just saying how different it is up here.

I should have known something was up when I first moved in and the Realtor leaned over to me at the closing and said, "At least you are on the townline, the town next to you has Internet, so you should be able to tap into that." That took a good few minutes to sink in. "What you mean tap in? Don't we have Internet in this town?" Answer was NO. No cable, no Internet. Notta. That we have flush toilets instead of outhouses, I guess we can count ourselves lucky.

Story goes the horsey people of our little village refused FREE cable because they didn't want it messing up life as they knew it. REALLY? I only found this out a few months AFTER I moved in. I've been here almost four years and I found out only three weeks ago, if you want to know what be going on with this village, you have to sign on to Facebook and hope your satellite connection keeps you on long enough to get to the site and then stay on the site long enough for one to peruse the news.

No buried cable, but satellite dishes. Yup, I ask you which is more unsightly? So much for preserving the integrity of the village. One bad rain, snow or wind and ice storm and there is no telly, no so called Internet, there is nothing but one can go to the local library for a book! But that is an experience in itself.

I got tired of a cloudy or foggy nights interrupting me telly service so the next day I went to our local one room library to get me a card so I could take books out. I get down there and right away I walk into a bake sale in the small hallway. Right next to the door is a basket full of money. I be thinking if this was Boston, that basket would have been out the door and long gone. I felt like I should stand there and guard the money so that didn't happen. I got the attention of the lady arranging goodies on a small table and said as much and was told it was just fine where it was. I felt like I needed to buy something so I selected a cookie, but then found I needed change. The nice lady told me to make my change from the basket. I was flabbergasted and really didn't want to do that. So I dropped a fiver in and left it without change. I know I could have had a free cookie and a few twenty dollar bills but that's not  me. So putting me cookie in me pocket I go inside to the library desk. Right away, the bake table lady comes in behind the desk. I thought double duty, desk and bake sale. Ok.

She asked what she could help me with and I told her I wanted to get a library card. She asked to see my license she could take me info off that. So I am standing there watching her when it dawns on me she is using a TYPEWRITER to type me info on a piece of paper. Carbon paper and all. I looked around and there was no computer. Well, why would there be with no Internet. So I asked her how she knew what books were outstanding and she points to a long wooden file box and says everything is there. That's all the outstanding books. I asked her how she looked overdue books up, and she said she has to go through the NUMBERS one by one in the file box. OMG. And the numbers are all the Dewey Decimal System. I didn't know anyone used the DD System anymore so I was really taken aback at that. But like I say, no computers so figures.

Once outside and hoping I was in the real world again, I noticed a small sign over a hut. It said Police. There was a jeep parked there so I decided to drop in to met our local constabulary. Well, that too was an eyeopener. There is one man, he is police chief and he be the only policeman. He has no police car, little village like ours doesn't need one he said. He told me if I needed any assistance day or night I was to call 911 and the folks two towns over would respond. He'd get to me once they PAGED him. I was like OK.

I am finding that America isn't all its hyped up to be. Oh sure there be a lot of stuff and opportunities, but not all of it is like that. Where I live the tourists think they are back in time and find it all quaint. Quaint to them be inconvenient to me. Did I tell you we are somehow being absorbed into the backwoods life style? Yup we got us some chickens. Not for eating for eggs only. We didn't intend to raise chickens, but the woman next door thought we should have some. I think I told you about THAT. Anyway, we have what they call free rangers who are all over the place. I keep thinking some wild animal will spirit them off and we have lost one. But they seem to know how to hide their eggs and then we have more chickens. We started off with nine and are up to seventeen dirty birds. I whisper in me Mam's ear we should have a few for dinner but she thinks the kiddos would find out our dirty deeds and we'd be persona non grata. When we get up to thirty chickens I will be mailing you a dozen to start your own egg farm in Denver.

A few of our chickens -- BUCKAHHHK!!!
Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

21 September, 2017

A Dark Afternoon Tea ... With A Weird Ending

21 September 2017

R. Linda:

It was a day just like this one, gloomy, dark and rainy. The kiddos were in school, Tonya was at work, and I was off taking care of me Mam who had taken a bit of a tumble and was sore and achy. We were sitting in the living room watching the wind and rain while sipping our tea. I asked if she'd like a light on to brighten things up, but she said no, why not light a candle instead.

"Atmosphere, ye knoo." Said she.

I did that, two big pillar candles in fact, but they did little to give much light. We continued sipping staring into the darkened fireplace as though there was a nice cozy fire going. It was too warm for that, but we contemplated the hearth as though there was one.

"Ye knoo dere be a man in dis hoose, besides yerself," she threw out.

"Wot ye mean?"

"Well, I see him upstairs a lot he opens and closes me door he duz." She took a sip and looked at me over the cup's rim.

"A dark shadow do ye mean?"

"I do. Never a figure but a shadow and it be dark and fleeting. He spends most of his thyme in me rum he duz." And she sighed and took another sip.

"I've seen em' too. A dark shadow out of the corner of me eye." I said, now that she  mentioned it I had seen something like what she described.

"Ye knoo I found out that the first owner and builder of this hoose, died up dere in me rum. Dey had em' laid out right here in dis ere' rum in front of the hearth." She nodded at me and took another sip, all knowing.

"Where'd you ere' dat?" I said getting very Irish, which happens when I get nervous.

"Frum da neighbour next door." She made a face as if it was a repugnant thought that a shadow was inhabiting her room. "I close dat door and he opens it in the middle of the night. I hear em' do it, wakes me right up. An' if dat ain't enuff, he blows on me face to wake me!"

I knew about the door she complained long and loud over kiddos getting up in the middle of the night opening it and waking her, but they swore up and down they didn't and well when they were all on an overnighter the door opened and Mam then realised it wasn't the kiddos playing tricks. I even looked the door over because in me old abode all the doors opened by themselves because nothing was plumb in that old house. But this house is new, and constructed of steel beams so there should be none of that going on.

"I sit in me sitting rum opposite me bedrum, and I see it flit from me powder rum to the bed itself. Even me cats sit at the door and stare at it. The one, Molly will yowl at it sum times." Another great sigh.

"Do ye remember when ye first came to visit me and we were livin' at the old abode, and it was September and ye remarked how it felt like Halloween in that house?"

"Oh yes," she nodded.

"Well, it's September here and we have all that shadow activity goin' on up dere. Must of been September when the owner passed do ye knoo?"

"Likely it be," she said, "but it was September when the man next door shot his head off."

"No, he hung himself I heard. Back in the woods, the neighbours won't go there or show me where it was." I said.

"I heard he shot emself." She had a frown on her face. "The lady on da utter side of us won't tell me where either. I asked her and she tole me not to go in the easterly direction if I wanted to walk in da wuds." She sat silent for a moment and then added, "The man . . . I can hear his stomach rumble and I knoo it ain't mine because it be from across me rum. I also git woken wit em' sayin' a word ta me. I don't remember wot he says but he talks to me."

Oh my I thought, I wouldn't like that.

"Do ye tink he's da one oop in yer rum?"

"Oh my noo, dat utter is oot dere in da wuds. Dere be two spirits."

"Do ye wish to change rooms?" I asked not sure who would swap with her.

"Noo, it be fine he don't scare me nun."

"He's harmless is ee?" Well really what can a spirit do but scare the bejesus out you and not much else. Then I remembered that for the past two rainy nights there had been some kind of crash and the dog went crazy barking in the wee hours of the morning. I had even got up to look out the windows but I saw nothing. I asked her if  she'd heard it too.

"I haf. I got oop too and saw nuthin'. I heard wot sounded like sum one roonin' a stick against the porch railing and noon did I see. Dat were two nights agoo."

"How do ye feel breath on ye?" I asked a chill running up me spine at the thought.

"It be sum one breathe' up here just by me temple on the side. I can't do that so I know it ain't me dooin' it and da waken me oop wit a single word, well dat dere does fill me with anxiety. Dunt knoo why it do, but it do."

"Maybe its the guy frum next door." I offered.

"Noo, dis be da one dat built dis hoose. Dat utter be out haunting' the wuds like I say."

I wonder. I since made some enquiries and found that yes indeed the builder and first owner did die in the house. That there was a large wake held in the house with him laid out in the living room. He was well liked by all and the mourners came from all around. The other one, had some kind of blow up with his wife and went out back and either blew his head off or hung himself. Depends on who you talk to and he did one of these acts near me property line, but again, no one will tell me exactly where. They just say, "You don't want to go there." In truth I don't really, but I am curious where to not go.

"Mam, ye don't tink the ghost of John from the old abode came wit us?" I asked.

"Ooh noo, dis be sum one new." She was emphatic about that.

I have talked to some friends about this phenomena that seems to have more power to it than the one we left behind. No one doesn't not believe me. That's disconcerting right there that everyone believes we have activity. But this is New England and for some reason ghosts abound.

"All dis ghost talk be giving me da heebie jeebies, especially on such a dark day." I said taking a sip me tea to steady me nerves.

"Well den, dis will take yer mind off it. I wuz doon the rood talkin' ta Mrs. McGilicutty an' admirin' her flock of barnyard birds which she keeps as pets she duz. She tole me her muddeh-in-law visited recently an' said to her son dat she had a peeckishness for a nice roost turkey dinner. So the vera next day dere wuz a ploomb turkey all plucked an' reedy fur da roostin'. It wuz so tasty da muddeh-in-law expressed a roost chicken dinner made her peckish too! Next day dere was a nice ploomp chicken an' da Mrs. roosted oop dat an' da mudded-in-law says, "All dis good eating' could we finish oop me stay wit a nice roost duckling?"An' sure snuff, da next day a lovely duck waitin' fur da pan."

"What duz dis haf to do wit anythin'?" I asked puzzled.

"I be gettin' dere. So's after da muddeh-in-law left da Mrs. went oot to her barnyard fowl an' since her in-law's visit she hadn't been oot to coo over her birds. "Where be Harry Turkey?" she asked herself, then she noticed Mrs. Cluckingham Jones the big chicken was missing an' den vera suspicious she looked for Quarkers da large duck and well lo and behold dey were all a missin'. Seems da mistah beheaded dem all so hiz mam could haf juicy eats." With that she took the tea things and left me sitting in the dark with candles flickering wildly, like the dead fowl were protesting their demise. Not another word, notta, nothing. WHO DOES THAT?

So I be doing the same to you because I know you read every last word! Misery loves company.

Mr. & Mrs. Cluckingham before the disappearance of Mrs. Cluckingham
One buff duck Quackers, gone! They all look shellshocked one went missing
Yes, me Mam had pictures of remembrance thanks to Mrs. McGilicutty. She's as bad as Amanda sans shrooms!

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

19 September, 2017

Mushrooms, they'll do it to you every time . . . if your name is Amanda that is

19 September 2017

R. Linda:

Ah mushrooms! They be great on steaks, add a bit to perk up a salad and in general they make a great sauce. This has been me experience with them. However, there are people that take the appreciation of this wonderful fungus a step further.

Let us admire one from me yard first, just to show the glory of a mushroom, most likely not an edible one, but a mushroom just the same.

No clue what kind it is, but it's lovely & probably deadly
What brings this on you ask, this mushroom fetish if you will. Well, it was an event that happened in me very own abode it was. Me resident visitor the Weas was here and he and I were sitting in the living room sipping coffee when he excused himself to go off to the loo. He had left his mobile phone on the table between us and it started buzzing. I yelled to him his phone was ringing and he shouted back I should answer it. And so I did.

"Hello, the is Weasil's phone, but he is indisposed at the moment, may I help you?"

"OMG! Just when I need him the most."

"Amanda? Is that you? It's Gabe here."

"Yes, Gabe it is me I am at a Phish concert and someone stole my cd collection."

"Uh, they still play?" I asked more to meself. "Sorry I don't think I heard the last part of what you said." I was thinking she said cd collection but that's impossible no one has cd's anymore.

"Yes, they still play . . . at least I think they do. I said my cd collection was stolen right out of the back of my jeep!"

The tears started and Weasil was returning to the living room so I quickly gave him a rundown of what Amanda was about with an opinion that she was not making much sense and worse she was in tears.

"She never does make any," he said in perfect English which disturbed me because you know how he talks, like he's from the Scottish ghetto. Anyway, he took the phone and asked her what was up and she told him the same thing I told him. He asked me in a whisper if Phish was still touring. I told him I didn't think so. Did she tell him about the cd collection? Yes, he said, but she doesn't have one he told me, nor a jeep.

Me eyeballs were near bugging out of me head. What was wrong with her? Well, the poor darling thought she was at a Phish concert in Colorado of all places. She thought she owned a white jeep and a vast cd collection. The second it seemed was stolen. Uh huh.

"Where in Colorado are you?" Weasil asked.

"I don't know, in the mountains."

"What mountains, what town is close?" He tried again.

"I don't know I just followed the Phish signs."

"Manda, you don't know where you are? Are you sure you are even in Colorado?"

"It LOOKS like Colorado."

"Oh that's helpful." He muttered.

I was floored when I heard that. How could he not know where she was and how could she, who lived in Steamboat for many years, not know where she was?

He was frustrated and put the phone on  speaker and sat down signalling me he needed something stronger than coffee to drink. I poured him a double Jameson.

"You have to come and get me. I can't find the jeep now." Amanda said on speaker. "There must be like 70,000 people here and I can't see it for the people."

"Manda, Ima not in Colorado, Ima in New Hampshire and we don't own a jeep." Weasil patiently explained rolling his eyes.

"Oh and someone stole our tent but didn't take what was inside it. WHO DOES THAT?" She whined.

Who indeed I wondered.

"Does this happen often?" I asked him in a soft voice and he shrugged. So who knows?

"Are ya with anyone?" He tried again.

"I was with some friends, but they are in the caves smoking weed."

"Caves? Rifle Falls?" He muttered and then shook his head no, couldn't be.

"And what were you smoking?" I asked out loud not meaning to.

"Shrooms." She said brightly.

"Shrooms?" I repeated looking puzzled at Weasil.

"Mushrooms. You were smoking mushrooms?" He asked incredulously his voice hitting a high pitch.

"No, eating them. They make me feel very funny like I am floating and seeing things. Lots of pretty colours."

Seeing things like white jeeps, cd collections and the band Phish I thought to meself.

"What kind of mushrooms were you eating?" Weasil asked getting scientific.

"I dunno, mushrooms. Some yogi kind of guy had em and he told us they would enhance our listening pleasure. So I ate some." She explained in a dreamy voice.

"How many?" I asked, getting into the mix.

"I dunno, a few . . . ok a lot."

"Manda, Ima like seventeen hundred kilometres from Colorado. It ain't like I can get there in a few minutes." Weasil said exasperation creeping into his voice.

"Oh here's Charlie and Krista now." She said and we could hear voices just as zoned out as her own and not able to make out any of it.

"Gotta go now." She said.

"NO! Wait hold on." Weasil said suddenly sitting up and forward as if he could reach out and stop her from hanging up the phone.

"You know this Charlie and Krista?" I asked Weasil.

"Nopers, never heard of em."

"Oh good," I said, "your wife is someplace in Colorado (she thinks), eating psychedelic mushrooms, oh excuse me, shrooms, and thinks she owns a white jeep, she doesn't, and owns a vast stolen cd collection, which doesn't exist according to you, AND she's listening to the band Phish with people you don't know, AND her tents been stolen."

"That about sums it up." He said taking a healthy swig of the Jamesons.

We could hear arguing faintly but couldn't make it out.


"So what?" He asked me.

"So what are you going to do. This is worrisome is it not?"

"Well, sorter." He said looking at the Jamesons like he'd never seen it before. "I'd call 911 but where would I tell them to go?" He asked looking straight at me.

"Amanda, it's Gabe, can I speak with Charlie please?" I asked since Weasil seemed stymied.

"Uhhh . . . he's arguing with some bearded guy right now." Her voice drifted off.

We could hear what sounded like slaps or punches and grunts and scuffling about. I raised me eyebrows at Weasil who downed the Jamesons and poured himself another.

I poured one too because the sounds from the speaker phone were rather concerning. I could hear a woman shouting, "If you hit him again, I'll brain your sorry ass." And then SLAP and then a clunk like a boat oar coming down on someones noggin. Weasil's mouth was an O and mine was too, as we looked with big eyes at each other.


"Beating the crap out of this loser who hit Charlie with a cd. WAIT A MINUTE THAT'S MY CD. HEY JERK FACE THOSE ARE MINE!" Amanda shouted and we could hear her feet running and then nothing.

"Hello? Hello?" Weasil said into the speaker.

"Hello, who's this?" A woman's voice said.

"Ima Manda's husband." He said.

"Oh hi, this is Krista Sloane how are you?"

He looked at me like WHAT? Really? This was happening? His wife runs off after someone with what we thought might be a boat oar and Krista is making small talk?

"Uh Ima fine. How are you?" He says back and I couldn't stand it so I punched him in the arm and mouthed where is Amanda at?

"Ow where is Manda?" He asked holding his arm.

"Oh, she's fine, she's probably going to get the kayak ready for the rapids down the river." Krista said in a dreamy voice. "The good news is we may have located her 250 cd's."

I stood there shaking my head no at him.

"Not gonna happen Weas, you better do something and do it fast." I hissed at him.

"Wait Krista was it? I heard her run after some fellow about a cd." Weasil tried.

"Oh yeah she did and she hit him a good smack, he's lying on the ground out cold. She got the cd and now she's headed for the river. We think the guy in the first kayak has the rest of the cd's and that's where she went."

"Holy Shite dude," I said to him, "THAT isn't good. If she's high on shrooms and headed for the rapids . . . in a kayak yet, AND if she clobbers the guy she THINKS has her so called cd's, well law suit, are you crazy?"

"ME crazy? She's the one eating shrooms and headed for the rapids in a kayak." It was then he realised the enormity of the situation. "Gabe, what should I be a doin'?"

"I . . . I . . . I . . . dunno." I said stupidly because I didn't.

"Krista, you still there?" I said into the speaker.

"Yup, on my way to the river, got the oars." She said like everything was hunky-dory.

"Can you stop Amanda from going on the river?" I asked starting to feel a little fright at the thought of Amanda high as a kite, in a kayak with a stolen cd, paddling in rapids somewhere in Colorado with people who were as sketchy as she was.

"Sorry guy she's already gone I can just see her caught in the Big Catch." Krista said the sound of oars falling to the ground loud and clear that she was getting ready to go in the rapids too.

"What is the Big Catch?" I asked.

"Its a particularly rocky basin that runs deep and the currents are treacherous at best, it used to be called Devil's Pot. But someone got killed there and they changed it to the Big Catch. I think someone was high on drugs when they renamed it."

"Ya think?" I threw at Weasil. I shrugged, I had no clue what to do.

"Too late to do a damn. She'll be fine." Weasil said. Then into the phone he said, "Have a safe trippy Krista," and he hung up.

"DUDE!" I said just then realising I was using the old hippie Colorado lingo I was hearing in the background of the phone call.

Weas poured another Jamesons, I think it was his sixth and sat back relaxed. He closed his eyes and said, "She's got a insurance policy if anything happens."

"That's all you care about?" I was flabbergasted.

"No, but she does what she does and I can't do a thing about it," and he sighed as though he were Pontius Pilate and washed his hands of the whole affair.

I sat down in me chair, me mouth agape staring at him. We sat in silence for a good long time. The time to turn on lights came and neither of us moved. We did finish off the Jamesons though. Tonya came in and turned on the lights asking why we were sitting in the dark. Weasil grunted something about "oh is it dark?" and I asked "what time is it?" and she decided when she saw the empty bottle that we were useless, and we were, so she left us to it. I think we both passed out after several times biding one another good night, because we both woke up in the chairs were had been sitting in the day before. To say we were both walking like herons hunting fish is an understatement. I am still sore of back and limb from the long night of horrible dreams of Amanda using cd's like Ninja Stars she aimed at the back of some hairy man in a kayak as they both bumped and flew down the rapids. I woke up to her on a rocky shore beating the fellow over the head with her kayak. Thank God I woke up it was not a pleasant dream. Weasil looked like he had pretty much the same dream as I.

In case you're wondering news came three YES COUNT THEM THREE days later from Amanda herself that she was just fine and dandy. When asked about the concert she didn't know what we were talking about. Cd's? No one has cd's anymore. Charlie and Krista who? Mushrooms, oh yeah there was some vague memory of eating a few mushrooms, but no, no can't remember beyond that. My question was where did you wake up three days ago? Three days ago? She must have been tired she slept for three days and woke up at her hotel in Glenwood Springs.


"Looks like you won't be cashing in on her insurance policy anytime soon." I said to Weasil.

"Nope, nope, nopers, not this timey." He said looking wistful.

"Are you going to tell her about her embarrassing phone call?" I asked.

"Nope, let her little brain believe she was sleeping for three days. I think she'd be horrified if she knew the truth and well . . . there is always next time. And Gabe, there will be a next time."

Well, if that's the case I hope she calls him someplace other than me abode. Took a lot out of me to think she was in dire straits and not being able to do a thing about it. Unlike the husband who seemed to now find it all amusing. I tell ya!

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