In the Summer Time

“In the summer time when the weather is fine, you can reach right up and touch the sky, da da da da do do dad a (cant remember the words) …………………….you got women, you got women on your mind, do do do dah dah”. Hey you remember that song? On the weekend we had such great weather here I found myself humming that song, hahaha good times.

When I was in high school, I would try to sit in direct line of sight of the teacher that way I was invisible. Think about it. That would be a good position for most of the year but during May and June when the weather would heat up, I wanted to be seated close to the window so I could gaze outside, I loved to look at the heat vapour rising from the ground. Of course I got into a lot of trouble for not paying attention.

On Sunday I found myself reminiscing about the old high school days again. One the extra curricular activities were the Cadets. I am not sure exactly how I got involved but I found myself in the Cadets. This was light military style group. The equipment for the cadets was stiff kaki shirt and pants, huge heavy belt and boots like boat anchors. In my mid teen years I was a skinny boy, probably weighed 75-90 lbs. The equipment was at least 1/4 of my weight. Have you ever seen a dog with socks on its feet, the dog would lift its feet really high when it took step. That was me. I still remember my parents dying of laughter as I left the house. I would have to walk from my house to Springfield pasture, quite a distance.

The activities at the weekly gatherings included marching together, left/right, left/right, about turn and sometimes with a 10-15lb rifle. It was not fun for me, at the time I thought it was all the weight I was carrying around that cause me to be so bad at it, I easily learned to suck it up. As I grew older I realize the problem was in my head, I simply march to a different drummer.

1/20 of Kittitians in Calgary, but the only couch potato.

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I am sick

I remember when I younger, the first few years after I got married, whenever I got sick my wife would be like a great nurse, there to nurture me and feed me and help me to feel better, of course I often milked the situation. On Friday I got sick, well I got worse I had been feeling bad all week, when Jo came home from work of course I got 10 times worse hoping to get some sympathy, who wouldn’t.

She reminded me that he has a new job and her day was really hard, she does not want to catch what I have and I must suck it up.

The next morning she got up and went to spend the day with my daughter and grand kids. Did I mention how long we been together?

Hmmm, I am really ill have not slept in 4 nights, I went to the doctor yesterday and he … See Moregame my some meds. Isn’t it weird how you get worse at nights when you are sick? Jo does not seem to care, she tells me I am a big boy now and she does not want to catch what I have. She won’t even let me drive her to work. I won’t forget.

My wife and I met at work, I was her supervisor. She has the ability to do 3 peoples work comfortably, so working with her was easy for me, she is a super worker. She pursued me relentlessly. She is French and her English was very poor back then so I suspected she must have misunderstood my intentions. Well she won. She obviously has a good eye for a good man. I left that job, got another and hired her again. We even had a home based company for years. We spent most of our waking hours together. Today, I get up at 5 to drive her to work, pick her up later, we make dinner together and then we usually spend the rest the evening together. We are always together. Oh, we take separate vacations once a year, a break of sorts; she usually goes home to her mom. I look forward to her leaving then I miss her, not sure what to do with myself.

I can’t say enough good things about Jo, she is a carpenter, a plumber, an electrician, a painter, oh and a great cook and an excellent mom. How can one person be so many things!!!! I remember when she was 6 months pregnant with our second child; she got the silly idea to paint a room in our house with 18 foot walls, when I was at work. To this day I don’t know how she got the paint; we didn’t have a second car at the time. Well you guessed it, she fell of the ladder, Eric came out ok, although he has red hair and pigeon toes. You know they say if you want a job done give it to a busy person? Jo, you can’t change to be like that, you just are.

Yesterday I dragged myself out of bed, went to the hardware store to get some stuff to change the air vents on the side of the house. The damn birds have found their way into the vents. Of course the people that did the initial work 14 years ago was incompetent. I could not figure out how to replace the old vents. Grrrrrr. Jo came home took a look at the situation, returned the stuff, bought new stuff and replace the vents. Keep in mind I was not feeling well. You have to admit with her talents she must have spent a lot of time deciding what a good man should be like: one without an inflated ego, I make a great assistant, ask Jo.

I do not get sick very often, I am petty healthy, except for a few missing parts, I got circumcise when I was 21, a vasectomy when I was 40 and a colonoscopy at 50, (does that count?), and I have an annual medical check, I was told I have a Vitamin D deficiency. So here I am felling totally out of sorts and my Jo is not looking after me. I can’t even get back at her, when she is sick she does not complain.

Today I’ll cut the hedge, I am good at that.

1/20 of Kittitians in Calgary, but the only couch potato.

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My mom, everyone called her ‘Morm’

Last week one of my dear and old friends Em made a comment on my FB wall about my mom which got me thinking about her today as I couch potate {https://www.facebook.com/tonyscouch). I smile a whole lot when I think about my mom. At an early age, she insisted we learn to ‘fly’ and would always encourage us to jump off the cliff and soar. So today I am sitting here thinking about Mom.

 Most people called my mother, Morm. Total strangers would approach her and call her Morm. I bet not too many people knew her real name.

You may recall that one of my chores as a kid was to help care for the many animals I grew up with (if you don… See More’t know what I am talking about go to my wall and read my previous postings). After school I would have to go get food for the rabbits and guinea pigs, mostly up La Guerite. I would always have a friend with me; back then it was very far. We would save the grass that we picked in a crocus bag.

This one day, not sure exactly how old I was, but pretty young, after we had gathered the feed, we saw a train going by packed with sugar cane. We dropped the bag, ran after the train and managed to pull a few canes. It was quite dangerous, but you know kids are invincible. Now the smart thing to do would have been to gather the bag of grass and leave with our cane haul. Instead we decided to sit on the ground and enjoy the cane, that way we didn’t have to share. We weren’t there very long when my friend shouted, ‘run’ and in a flash he was gone. I looked up and coming straight at me was the watchman. I made my second mistake that day, rather than running, I decided to get the bag of grass first, I was just too slow.

The watchman cornered and grabbed me. After he scolded me in a stern way, he asked me who I belong to. If I was thinking I would have said Mrs L, we looked like family, but instinct took over and I shouted Morm. To my surprise he release me, told me he would deal with me later, I think he must have heard me wrong; I grabbed my bag and the pieces of cane and ran off laughing.

Later that afternoon I happened to be sitting on the front steps when the watchman showed up at my house. I asked him how he found me; he said he knew Morm well, damn. I won’t tell you what happened to my butt, it was not pretty.

My mom read a lot, novels, Readers Digest, but mostly the Bible. If you have little kids you know it is not easy to have quiet time and enjoy reading. There are 4 of us close in ages and we would all snuggle up to her while she read. I guess like baby chickens hiding under the mother hen wings. She would sometimes read to us but mostly it was about being close to her. She would often use the time to teach us about life. My mom had words of wisdom from the bible and sometimes from famous men to handle every situation. I guess that was one of the attractions to her by the villagers. Everyone came to her for advice and words of inspiration (for my niece Carol).

A side bar, scene setting.

At the bottom of Cardin Avenue where I lived there was a house that was surrounded by a high stone wall. The Ryan’s,  lived there ( I always wondered what he did for a living).The wall was so high that it was impossible for a kid to climb, besides on the other side there were angry dogs. Also on the other side of the wall were lots of fruit trees, mango trees. My favourite. I don’t think the family liked mangoes, but the gardeners would take all the mangoes and not share. Quite a dilemma if you wanted some mangoes.

Back to my mom. We went to church every Sunday, the Methodist Church at the top of Cardin Avenue. The non church going villagers must have thought we were a humorous looking family on our way to church. Some of us (me not included of course) did not really want to go so we would lag behind my mom, walking very slowly in the middle of the street single file, everyone wanted to be last. Pitiful sight, but we went.

As you know ministers would always tell you to take the story from their sermons and apply it to your life, especially the Ten Commandments. They didn’t always take into consideration that there were also talking to little kids. Mostly I would tune out until the singing, the best part of church. One Sunday the minister’s sermon was about Joshua and the walls of Jericho, he managed to get my attention, I am thinking ‘now there is a solution I can apply to one of my many problems’. Remember I was a dreamer.

A couple days after that interesting sermon and after much thought I told my mom I was going to try to ‘bring down’ the Ryan’s wall. I had mangoes on my mind, besides who needed a wall like that. My mom was a real multi-tasker so as she read her book and without looking up she uttered one of her favourite quotes:

‘Nothing beats a trail but a failure’. Not sure exactly what it meant but to me that was a go ahead.

I made up a chant which included the song “Joshua fit the battle of Jericho, and walls came a-tumblin’ down.” and added a line about my rights to the mangoes. When I had it down pat, I walked around the wall’s perimeter 3 or 4 times and chanting softly of course, didn’t want people to think I was crazy.

50 years later I suspect the wall is probably still perfectly in place.

Of course I went back to my mom to report my failure and again without looking up and not even a smile she said:
“If at first you don’t succeed try, try, try again”

My mom also had a great sense of humour, probably her most endearing quality. Her name was Catherine in case you were wondering, god rest her soul.

Thanks Em. These things are getting longer, i may have to find another way to express myself.

1/20 of Kittitians in Calgary but the only couch potato.

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