Thursday, August 19, 2010

New Ammunition . . .

. . . In Pinky's War

Only a few know that Lady B and I have been at "war" the past three years with a formidable enemy, a probably 20-pound 12-year old Chihuahua who involuntarily took up residence here after a tragic motor vehicle accident that claimed her former owner's life.

Why Pinky is at war with us, we do not know and we don't know either why there is a war. We do suspect her late owner either initiated the war or fostered one going back to another former owner.

Pinky is a human food eater. Has been for a long time. Must have
luke-warm chicken or pork, maybe sometimes meat loaf, sometimes bacon or sausage, done not too hard. DON'T FEED ME STUFF FROM A BAG OR A CAN.

Pinky's late owner pan-cooked everything that went into the little blue dish on the floor in the corner. She will accept plain ole tap water.

Over the years nearly every brand of bagged food for little dogs has been purchased, placed in the little blue dish and left uneaten for days
unless there has been absolutely no cooked food available. Even then she'll go hungry.

Lady B and I patronize the local all-you-can-eat mall restaurant once or twice a week and admittedly break the no-take-out rules by ordering one extra piece of chicken, liver or pork and squirreling same into a baggie in Lady B's purse to take home a "present" for Pinky.

That little lady is wily I must say. Her war is expanding. SHE'S DISCOVERED NEW AMMUNITION IN HER WAR --- the dog food that's been coming at her in bags.

Up to very recent times, Pinky has been lifting various dog food pellets from the little blue dish and scattering them on the carpets in every room in the house. Sort of a ' I gotta get rid of this stuff somehow.'

A few nights ago Lady B brought from the store a new brand of bagged food pellets that look like pieces of liver but are hard and with sharp corners or points. Pinky tried one and just gazed at us intently until she stared us down.

That evening after we retired and fell asleep, I rolled over and felt a jab in the ribs, another in one leg. In the morning after awakening I pulled back the sheets and found - - - two pieces of the latest sharp-cornered dog food.

Of course I knew instantly what it was - but how did it get there? The next night and several more after that the same happened.

So we switched beds after figuring out Pinky was hauling in dog food and hiding it - like telling us "I don't like this stuff." We had one peaceful sleep in our substitute bed.

Today I did a search. Found dog food pellets in THREE beds. Removed all the food and then rested on the master bed a few minutes. As I rose and stepped to the floor in my bare feet, a sharp jab in one foot. Yes, dog food.

And then I caught her hiding food in our master bed. Problem discovered but a solution? Who's got an idea?

Pinky, you may starve the rest of the week if you don't learn to eat bagged or canned dog food 'cause THERE AIN'T NO CHICKEN, LIVER, BACON, MEAT LOAF OR PORK LEFT !

- 30 -

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Strange Happenings . . .

. . . A New Batch Today

Last week I closed this topic with a question as to who might have more to relate . Enough material has turned up for a number two blog of strange happenings.

Just yesterday came a phone call from Florida that provided fodder for today's writing but first let me explain something that forecast this happening.

Every morning in the newspaper, beside my crossword puzzle, there appears a column of horoscope readings. Some people believe them religiously.

About a month ago one said that thinking of long ago happenings, jobs, friends and other stuff would bring along a surprise telephone call from someone only vaguely remembered from the past.

Guess I don't have to tell you what I am about to relate now.

From St. Petersburg, as I answered the phone, I heard "I was browsing around the Internet and I saw a comment on a picture page about Randy Trabold. I recognized your name and thought 'hey, he's still alive' and decided to find out if you were."

And then : "Are you the Charlie that ran a rock shop on Park Street in Adams and worked for The Transcript?"

Of course my answer was yes and then for more than half an hour I listened to a fellow named Steve relating how as a youngster now 59, he spent all his allowance money buying crystals from Grandma Shasta who really ran the rock shop. I gradually began to recall who he was but not what he looked like.

He went on to tell me that he later also worked for The Transcript and still had some good friends there. "How is Ron? he asked and was taken aback to hear from me that Ron, a Parkinson's Disease patient, has passed away.

Steve related things I did not know about the paper's ownership. The owners (now deceased), he said, who had sold the newspaper to a conglomerate which they felt ruined the paper, tried desperately to buy the firm back and restore it but failed.

He was dismayed to learn of the passing of others he knew and then suddenly told me that the son of one of the former owners, Robert Jr., was an employee of The Boston Globe.

Steve plans further communication with me, closing with the fact he still knows folks I know in the Northern Berkshire Mineral Club. BTW Steve says he is a computer geek now.

Another of the "Strange Happenings" bit, several instances in fact, came along from daughter Yarntangler, a nomad with husband Geezerguy and canine friend Clancy in a motorhome currently parked in Kanab, Utah, where they are working as camp hosts, storytellers, gift shop employees , tour guides and researchers. People like them are called WorkKampers.

A visiting couple got into conversation with Yarntangler, who has a bit of my reporterial genes in her. She elicited the information they once lived in Ferndale, Washington, where she lived and the male half of the duo often helped their son, Skooba, work on his hot rod.

Next she learned the couple now live in Canada , "in a little town in Ontario." Next question: "Ever heard of Bancroft?" Quite surprised, the duo together exclaimed "that's where we live!"

At this point I must explain, I'm putting words into all their mouths for the purpose of this blog but of course I was not there for the conversations.

Yarntangler wrote the e-mail addresses for she and Geezerguy and for me after then asking the folks if they knew Hing and Winnie, friends we all had met thirty or forty or so years ago while rockhunting in Bancroft, the self-proclaimed rockhound capital of Canada.

"Oh, yes, we know them, they still have a rock shop there." The folks took the e-mail addresses back to Bancroft and I have already heard from Winnie and Hing.

Now here's the stunning windup of the Yarntangler-Canuck duo meeting.
The conversation disclosed that Mr. (name not disclosed by Yarntangler)
went to school in Massachusetts with Yarntangler's MOTHER, Grandma Shasta !

Before this "Strange Happenings" series came to mind, one of the blogs written perhaps last year related the strange tale of the travels of "Mrs. Mike." It's too long to repeat here, but I might later. If you scroll back through "older posts" you'll find it.

There will be, no doubt, a third installment before long of "Strange Happenings" because I have found some scribblings on the desk about who I met in England once, (my fourth grade teacher) something about Niagara Falls and an ammonia leak in the travel trailer and --- this one bothers me --- a note that says, "2:30 am, I'm writing in the dark, but do a blog about Boy Scouts."

That brings to mind an experience once covering a lecture on blind people and being challenged to put on a blindfold while making notes and having the newsaper (by prior unknown arrangement) publish verbatim the story done in the dark.

- 30 -

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Reducing Greenery . . .

. . . To Clinking Coin

(Hobbs, New Mexico. 9/7/10, in the shade 101*)

Yesterday afternoon about 3:30 I heard Lady B say "let's go to the fair."

I quickly checked my wallet to determine the funds therein and agreed since there was a good bit of greenery contained among the ids and business cards.

We arrived at the fairgronds in Lovington and thoughtfully parked near a street entrance, remembering a past experience when it was nigh on impossible to get out of the place as the fair ended and attendees clogged all entrances of the parking lot.

Admission was $5 each. Had we arrived before 3 p. m. we'd have gotten in free but anyway this fee included the rodeo and a concert by a "well known" singing artist whom I've never heard of before.

Lady B was most interested in hearing the oldtime fiddlers jamboree (her dad was a fiddler) session at 5 p. m. so after a few wanderings around the grounds during which we bought and consumed a funnel cake, six bucks, we sat in the Yucca building for the jamboree.

Heard a few fiddles tune up and then for 45 minutes watched a group set up mikes, amps, stools, wires and lights, (all of which I thought could have been put in place hours earlier). We could have been visiting other fair attractions.during tha wait.

We heard some nice music, of course but realized about 7:30, we had missed the first half hour of the rodeo. We made our way to the arena and found many thousands of people crowding the bleachers.

Seeing no readily accessible seating, we just grabbed the first available spots in the lowest range of the bleachers and sat, eating double size hamburgers just purchased in the food alley, ten bucks.

My lack of good eyesight diminished my enjoyment of the rodeo events, coupled with the fact that for at least three quarters of an hour, the action took place behind a large pole just in front of me and which several times was the spot where a number of men gathered to chat and smoke while leaning argainst the pole and an adjacent fence.

But I did have a bit of unexpected amusement before we found a few higher up seats. Because of the extreme crowded condditions a lady took up a position near me, standing and leaning on the opposite side of a chain link fence.

In her hand was a gadget with a keypad and a screen that displayed words I could read from where I sat. I saw first "hi" and then "where you? and next "room 26."

Somebody passing by jostled the lady and I missed a message or two I guess but then saw "shall I come ?" and "sure" and "which motel? I must assume I was privy to a conversation between two women, maybe one of whom had just arrived from out of town and was registered at a motel on the highway, or . . . oh, well, there was action in the arena and when I next looked back, the lady at the fence was gone.

Lady B and I saw out the rest of the rodeo, changing seats to higher bleachers several times, and squirming constantly on the hard, ribbed, steel seats.

We were late then for the concert but followed the mob out to the concert area where we found, that even with tickets marked with our seat rows and numbers, we were maybe three hundred feet from the concert area with a few thousand fans pressed together ahead of us.

Shaking our heads in a "no way" fashion and commenting to each other "doesn't sound like we'd enjoy that screeching anyway" we turned into the food alley again to leave when Lady B murmured she would like something to drink.

We settled for plastic glasses of lemonade at three bucks a throw ---lemonade? --- actually three quarters of a glass of ice and SOME lemonade.

With glasses in hand and our backs aching, we found our way to the Toyota Matrix, by which time the lemonade was gone.

Lady B took to the wheel of the Toyota (I don't drive at night anymore) and made like a New York taxi driver, squeezing out of the parking lot and between two threatening pickups in the oncoming traffic in a flat minute or two! An eye-closing moment.

Had a good night's sleep 'til about nine this morning. Then went dfowntown to the Farmer's Market, got two pounds of green string beans, four dollars, just about as the place was ready to close .

As I walked away I heard the farmer say to someone in his booth, "time to close up. She could have had the whole bag (looked like another five pounds) for five bucks."

This weekend in Hobbs is the annual "Hobbs August NITES" festival but there were a few activities going on, mainly the food booths and some of the craft tables. Tired, we sat in a tent's shade for a bit of relaxation and listened to a band playing gospel music before heading for home.

Casey's in the Mini Mall, best hambuger joint in the city, was on our walking route back to the car and since lunch was on our mind, we made a stop there.

Casey's was mobbed as the last my wallet's greenery parted company with me, ten bucks for lunch, plus change and that's where the COIN in my headline above comes in, the 92 cents in the final bill had to be coin!

This afternoon another blog came up suddenly on the phone, prompting another "Strange Happenings" blog.

I'm on a roll but I'll make it a separate blog, maybe later tonight but maybe tomorrow.

- 30 -

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Holy Communion . . .

. . . And Horse Manure

What a combination !

In the dim recesses of an aging mind, there are stories that pop up in the middle of a sound sleep and this one that broke through this morning's sound doze is an odorous one.

There's a cast of characters to be introduced, all of whom but me are now deceased. First is Father Michael J. O'Reilly, the pastor of the now-disbanded Immaculate Conception Church in Taunton, Massachusetts, my old hometown.

Next comes Dick and Jim Powers, owners of Powers Riding School and Stables and their sister, May Powers, a local school teacher. My mother, Annie, was in the lineup too.

And then there were bunches of church parishioners. The cast winds up with me, a faithful altarboy of about nine or ten years of age.

It was Sunday morning. I overslept and was late for my daily job of the time, mucking out the stalls occupied by the steeds used by Dick and Jim as they gave riding lessons to the city's debutantes every Sunday.

I threw on my work clothes and my grubby boots and headed out the backyard of my 5 Pleadwell Street home to the stables across the back lots.
I got to work fast with my shovel and wheelbarrow but soon found the horses must have had a big feed the day before and had deposited much more . . . er . . . stuff . . . than I usually had to shovel on a Sunday morning.

I knew I had to work fast but I wasn't fast enough. Mother phoned to May and asked her to have Dick tell me I had to get to church for the nine o'clock Mass and it was getting late.

I was just about finished when Dick told me what time it was.

Church time was in six minutes and the church was a quarter mile away.

No time to run home and change clothes. I ran and puffed all the way to Alger Street and ducked into the vestry, pulling on my black cassock and white surplice just as Father O'Reilly was heading out to the altar.

He waited a few seconds and the Mass commenced. Father O'Reilly glanced at me a couple of times as I recited my Latin responses and then it came time for the Consecration and Holy Communion.

I dutifully took my place beside the priest, holding the Communion plate under the chins of the Host recipients, noting funny glances by everyone as we served at the Communion rail.

Father O'Reilly was a jolly old Irishman. Communion services over, he exhibited unusual grinning smiles as he performed his other priestly duties before time for his sermon.

Sermon time began differently then on other Sundays

Father O'Reilly solemnly announced "Before I begin I would like to tell you that next week we will be making a small change as we transfer our altarboy here - - - pointing directly at me --- to the ten o'clock Mass so he will have time to change his manure job clothes before arriving at church."

"And now, today's lesson . . . well, I guess we've had enough for today. God Bless Us All."

- 30 -