Month: January 2012

Max the cat

A few years back, my parents took in a stray cat. They do this all the time and they are still doing it. Anyway, they took in this little black and white cat with the red nose.  Mom said that if it was a male cat, she would have no problem with it, but she did not want any females. We all swore to her that it was a male cat. Four weeks later the cat had a litter of kittens.

We had no problem finding homes for the kittens, as they were the cutest little things. We kept Max. Max (poor cat was given a male name by mom who thought the cat was male) previously lived out in the wild, so naturally she was kind of wild and unpredictable. Her favorite game was to haul herself under the couch and then spring out and scratch anyone’s feet she could find, which made her very dangerous if you happened to be passing by the chair barefoot. I don’t know how many times she got me, but I am sure there are still scratch marks on my feet.

Max was quite the hunter, in her own way. One day, she left the comfort of my dad’s living room, crossed the road, and entered my aunt’s house. My aunt had this little white budgie bird in a cage sitting on an end table in the dining room. Max walked right into the house, and walked past anyone who was standing in the kitchen. She then went over to the dining room, opened the cage with her paw, and snatched the little bird, running home as fast as she could go.

Upon returning home, my sister grabbed her, and holding her by the tail (my sister was about 4 at the time), my sister patted the black and white cat with the red  nose on the bum to get the cat to release the yellow bird. This reminded us of the looney tunes cartoon where granny was tapping Sylvester on the butt so that he released Tweety. When she began saying “Bad Puddy” it was too funny.

Another time, I had this black tailed shark. I had purchased the tropical fish in St. John’s, and it cost me about thirty bucks. The shark was about four inches long, but acted just like the larger sharks, swimming with it’s fin sticking out of the water like a miniature Jaws. The shark shared the aquarium with neon tetras, and they got along great…except..

Except for the fact that the little shark liked jumping out of the tank. On several occasions, Mom had to put the fish back into the tank just in time before it suffocated. Of course, Max took notice of this, and every dying moment, she spent sitting next to the fish tank with her mouth open.We all wondered why the cat wanted to sit next to a fish tank with her mouth open, until one day the little fish leapt from the tank and went right into the open mouth of the hungry cat sitting beneath the tank. In one gulp, it was all over. Call it weird, call it bad luck, call it fish suicide, Max called it lunch.

Spam is funny

I was just reading my spam messages, and I have to admit, some of them are pretty funny. I just got this one from some  company that sells Halloween lingerie.  The comment was quite nice, stating that I should enter a blog contest online and they would vote for me, but when I reviewed their page, it was the next thing to a porn site. Can’t leave that on my blog, this is a PG rated blog you know!

I get other stuff too, like comments from the Bucket Truck Company of America, stating that bucket trucks are what I need to make my life complete. All this time, and I never made the connection: Bucket Trucks=happiness. Who knew?

Some of the spam is written in some foreign language that I not dare to guess, but if I could read it, it may just be a positive comment. Nice to see that those who speak foreign languages read my blog too. Hope my ‘newfenglish’ doesn’t confuse anyone.

 

 

2500 Hits…I did it

This goes beyond my wildest dreams, that 2500 people read my work. In the past, I used to have to force my writings on family members, so thank heavens for word press! People are actually reading my work on purpose! Who knew??

I would like to thank all those who have dropped by to see my daily posts. I hope you enjoyed reading them half as much as I enjoyed writing the stuff.

Do you want cheese on your steak and cheese

Today I decided to eat healthy (for a change). I dropped into Subway to check out their latest offerings. I have this thing where I always eat the newest sub they offer. I know, weird, but hey, I like variety. My missus eats the same sub every time we go to Subway, but call it adventurous, or just call it insane, but oh well.

The special of the day was the latest sub they had to offer, the Steak ‘n Bacon with Cheese. The picture looked great, and that’s the one I wanted, so I went ahead and ordered it. The thing I love about Subway is that you tell the ‘Sandwich Artist’ what you want and they make it for you, no questions asked. The guy must have been new because he annoyed the hell out of me while making my sandwich.

“Whatchuwantonit”, he said, in one word without breaking for air. I said I wanted the same sub that is on the sign over his head. He looked at the ad that hung over him and asked “youwanbacon”? “Is it on the sign? if it is, I want it” I replied.

“youwancheese” God, this guy had his tongue pierced and a huge marble ring attached to it, and it did hell for his linguistics. “Is cheese on the sign?” “youwanlettuz”? “The Sign…Look at the damn sign. I want that sub, so yes I want lettuce, I want cheese, I want bacon.”

“Youwansteak”? He asked “Steak? This is a damn steak, bacon, and cheese sub dummy!” “READ THE SIGN”

There is another sign on the wall, next to the one this idiot was not reading properly.

“Eat Subway, It’s the Healthy Choice”

What is healthy about a heart attack? Thats what this dumbass was about to give me!

When I finally got  my sub, I admit it was good, but all this grief when there was a sign directly above the guy..GOD!!!

The Fishing Trip

Back when I was a kid (pretty original beginning on this one…) my uncle asked if I wanted to go fishing with him and his son. I wasn’t planning anything that weekend, so I decided to ask mom if it was alright. Soon after I coaxed my parents and they actually allowed me to go, my uncle was at the door to pick me up. “Don’t worry about a tent”, he said, “I have plenty of tents”. So all I packed was my trusty sleeping bag and my camping pillow.

We arrived at a gravel pit, parked the truck, and proceeded to walk down a long road that led to my uncle’s favorite fishing spot, a salmon river called “Harry’s River” here on the west coast of the island. We then noticed that despite the fact that my uncle said he had ‘plenty of tents’, he had forgot to bring any of them. All that was in the bed of his pickup truck was a roll of felt and his twenty four been (commonly known as a two four). “Don’t worry guys, I can build a great ‘bough camp’ and we can use the felt for a roof. We were cool with that, as we were just fifteen year old kids, and we figured that he knew what he was talking about.

My uncle was known to drink a  lot, and this weekend, he packed a 24 of his favorite beer, Black Horse Ale. Black Horse was a strong beer that smelled worse than it tasted, so he had no worries about us kids drinking any.  The three of us hiked a mile or so from the area where we left the truck, found a nice spot to make camp, and proceeded to do so. My cousin was handy with an axe, and I carried the fir branches to the camp spot so that my uncle could form the basis for the bough camp. A bow camp is essentially a shelter made from tree limbs, or boughs. As we carried the boughs to the site, my uncle was quick to stack them together, and in no time at all, he had crafted a great shelter for the night. Besides, the weather called for clear skies, so we weren’t worried.

My uncle then took a half an hour or so to place his beers in the water along the river bank so they would be nice and cold when he set out to fish. He made a campfire, cooked a few slices of baloney, stirred in some left over potatoes and we had lunch. My cousin Ronnie and I set out to do some trout fishing in the salmon  river (not really legal, but we were just kids) and when we managed to hook a few big ones, we brought them back to camp. By then, My uncle already had a few of his beers, and he brought out his accordion and played a few jigs.With a burning cigarette tucked in the corner of his lip, he played away.

As evening approached, the sky grew very dark, and rain clouds formed above us. Although the forecast called for a clear night, we Newfoundlanders are all aware of how unreliable the forecast really is here on the island. The weather can change at the drop of a hat, and this evening was proof of that. Seeing the dark clouds, we asked our uncle if he could put the felt on the roof of the shelter, and the three of us worked to make it as waterproof as we could. My uncle cut additional trees and sawed them up for firewood, and in a little while, he had built a massive camp fire.

The clouds seemed to burst open as the rain began pouring down. My uncle asked if we wanted to stay outside with him, but seeing how it was spilling rain, we decided to go to sleep. I crawled into my sleeping bag, and with the rain hitting the hard felt roof of the shelter, it was not long before I was fast asleep.

Even though it was raining, my uncle remained sitting in his chair next to the roaring fire while he played Newfie jigs on the squeezebox. I was sleeping soundly until I was shaken awake by the loudest clap of thunder I have ever heard. “Don’t worry guys” said my uncle, “It’s only thunder, won’t hurt you”. My cousin and I both wondered how his dad managed to keep a fire going in the hard rain, and we discovered how in just a little while, as our sleeping bags grew heavy on our bodies. The sleeping bags were those of the outdoor camping variety, complete with a small shelter that stood over our heads, and only once the rain came down harder did we realize the my uncle was using the felt roof to keep his fire going.

Soaking wet, we climbed out of the roofless shelter and ran for cover in the heavy branches of a nearby white spruce, and we huddled together until the thunder storm was over. We sat next to the roaring fire until the sun came up the next morning.

We were anxious to get home, but first my uncle wanted to have a few tries at the salmon river. He was gone for about an hour, and when he returned, he had enough salmon to feed everyone  in his family, and a few for my family. We struggled to carry the water soaked sleeping bags out to the truck, and when we got there, we had to face another surprise.

When my uncle attempted to start the truck, he mistakenly broke the key off  in the ignition. I was amazed how he didn’t panic, and simply tied a few wires together and the old Chevy engine roared to a start. My uncle was very handy with cars, and he didn’t even sweat it. “Don’t sweat the small stuff” he used to say.

We were heading home on the Trans Canada Highway when my uncle noticed a Mountie had someone pulled over on the shoulder of the road. “Glad that’s not us”, my uncle said. “A pile of wires tied together to start the truck would not look too good for us, the cop would probably think we stole this fine truck” He said. Ronnie and I doubted that, as the tired old Chevy looked like it was on its last legs and nobody would steal it even if they had the chance.

When my uncle noticed the cops had the guy pulled over, he began blinking his high beams to warn  oncoming motorists of the road trap, and he was unlucky enough to warn another police car as it passed us. My uncle let out a loud swear and in minutes we heard the loud sirens signaling us to pull over.

“Trouble starting the truck?” The mountie asked. “And did I notice you signalling other drivers that we had a radar trap up ahead?” the officer questioned.

“The truck is a bastard sometimes, but I know how to get it going, but not sure what you mean  about me warning drivers”, my uncle pleaded.

“Your headlights blinked to several cars ahead of us, and then us as well”, the cop said.

My uncle got out of the truck, went to the hood of the truck, banged his fist on the hood directly over the headlights. “There, the lights come loose from time to time, and they blink away!” “Got it fixed now” My uncle added.

With that, the cops shook his hand, wished us a safe trip home, and we were on  our way home.

This story is true. My uncle Corn, as we call him, is still with us. He is 72 years old now, and a hard smoker all his life, he lost one leg to a blood clot, and is on the verge of losing the other as well. He still enjoys his beer, uses an ATV to get to the salmon  rivers, and still  has an old truck that starts with two wires tucked safely under the dash. Some  things never change.

me: a list

I have been blogging for about two years, made about 140 or so posts, most of them autobiographical.  I wrote some things that got lots of attention, and some that got none, it doesn’t really matter actually, I write because I love to write. In this post, I will link to a few of my favorites: the ones that got the least attention, but meant the most to me. Without further ado, here is my top eleven list of my favs.

  1. https://sightsnbytes.wordpress.com/2012/01/13/gordon/
  2. https://sightsnbytes.wordpress.com/2011/09/16/altzheimers/
  3. https://sightsnbytes.wordpress.com/2010/05/10/forgiveness/
  4. https://sightsnbytes.wordpress.com/2010/05/04/makin-hay/
  5. https://sightsnbytes.wordpress.com/2010/04/21/a-pot-of-tea/
  6. https://sightsnbytes.wordpress.com/2012/01/23/my-american-uncle/
  7. https://sightsnbytes.wordpress.com/2011/11/22/tree-fellers/
  8. https://sightsnbytes.wordpress.com/2010/04/13/love-my-grandmother/
  9. https://sightsnbytes.wordpress.com/2011/10/25/me-n-ricky/
  10. https://sightsnbytes.wordpress.com/2011/10/18/letting-go-of-the-seat/
  11. https://sightsnbytes.wordpress.com/2010/05/17/hey-you-drank-my-pet/

5 easy questions to answer

Working in a high school, I get a thousand questions thrown at me every day. Here is a list of some of the best:

  1. What do you want to be when you grow up? Grow up? I am 48 years old….Who ever said I wanted to grow up?
  2. What do you do all day, besides sit on your ass at the computer? (this one was asked to me by a kid here at the school this morning.) Besides sit on my ass? I get up to make tea a few times each day, other than that, I mostly sit on my ass in front of the computer.
  3. Do you really get paid to write the blog you are working on? Well, seeing how I am sitting in front of you, writing my blog, and still getting paid, I guess the answer is ‘Yes’
  4. Do you mind if we roll a joint in your office? While I don’t really give a rat’s ass if you kill the remaining brain cells in that thing you call a head, I don’t think the principal, who is standing next to the open door in this office, listening to you ask that question, approves of it.
  5. What do you do when you are not here at work? That one is easy, I sit on my ass in front of my computer at home.

My Uncle the Outlaw

You read about those guys all the time, they are always on the news, hell, they even make movies and write songs about them. Outlaws.

My Uncle Joe was one such outlaw. While he didn’t take to shooting anyone with a gun, he certainly lived outside the law, and while he may have broken a few (well maybe a lot) of laws, he didn’t hurt anyone and he was always a great provider to his seven kids and loving wife.

Joe’s name usually causes wildlife officers to break into a heavy sweat, and may just send a few of them into therapy, but he always had a good laugh doing what he loved most, and that was living the life he chose.

Joe liked to poach anything, rabbits, moose, and especially salmon, and he would share his catch with anyone who wanted a feed. He knew the best places to find salmon, both in season and not, and he always had a deep freeze filled with fresh moose and caribou.

Joe lived his life on the edge, partially due to a defective heart that caused him weekly, sometimes daily heart attacks, but he never let this stop him. He was born with particularly small veins, and they clogged from time to time, probably due to his smoking habit. His drinking probably didn’t help either.

I remember on one occasion, Joe had just returned from a hunt. Moose hunting season was about to take place in just two weeks, so I guess he decided to get his early. Someone from the community called the wildlife department to report a poaching incident, and they pointed out Joe as the culprit.

Living in a small community, and owning one of those police radio scanners, he found out early that they were coming for him. While he had a freezer, it was filled with meat from previous hunts in previous years, so he had no room for the moose he had just brought home. Knowing the police and wildlife officers were on the way to seize the moose he poached, and possibly lock him up, he stuffed the young moose in the attic, through a small door he had cut in the ceiling.

Just when all of the moose was hidden in the attic, a knock came on the door. It was two mounties and the game warden, armed with the usual handguns strapped to their side and a search warrant. As cocky as my uncle was, he not only invited them in, he also offered them a cup of tea and some hot molasses buns his wife had just baked.

You could say a lot about my Uncle Joe, but he was a friendly character for sure. The law enforcers refused the kindness of my poacher uncle and went straight through the house, searching in every nook and crack, looking for the moose.

When they finished their search, the officials ended up in the kitchen, standing in front of my uncle, and directly under the moose that was hidden in the attic. This was September, and it was hot, and in just a few moments, fresh blood from the moose began dripping from the attic, a few inches behind the officers. When my uncle noticed the dripping blood, he got so scared, he took a heart attack. Both the officers and the warden immediately reacted, carried Joe to the car, and rushed him to the Emergency ward at the hospital.

My other uncles then went to Joe’s house, and removed the moose from the attic, cleaned the house, and proceeded to pack the moose in freezer wrap and into their freezers for safe keeping. The officers returned the next day to resume their search, found nothing, apologized to both my Uncle and my Aunt, and sat and enjoyed the molasses buns they were offered the previous day. “We know you had moose here, we know you, you bugger” One of the officers said. My Uncle just laughed.

There was another time where Uncle Joe was out fishing in a popular salmon river in the area. The law states that you must have a salmon license, you must only use salmon flies, and you must release any salmon over a certain weight. Uncle Joe didn’t particularly care for those rules, so he made up his own rules.

Joe was on the river, wearing his hip waders and casting his salmon line out as far as he could. He had 20 lb test line on his reel, and a hook loaded with worms. He had a salmon license taped to his fishing hat, which was covered with various types of ‘legal’ salmon flies. Just as he hooked a beauty, an Atlantic salmon weighing over twenty pounds, he heard the game warden walking through the thick alders. My Uncle chose this particular fishing hole not only due to the amount of salmon he knew were here, but also due to the underbrush, tuckamores, and alders that act like an alarm for the keen ears of my uncle.

When he seen that the salmon was firmly hooked to his rod, he flicked the line towards the woods, letting go of the handle, and he watched the salmon, his worm filled hook, his two hundred dollar rod and even more expensive reel fly behind him and more importantly, behind the two oncoming game wardens. When they finally reached him, he had been sitting peacefully on the river bank, eating a sandwich and drinking a cup of water from the river. “We know you are here poaching, we know you well.” the wildlife officers said.  “prove it” said my uncle, as he offered them a bite to eat.

He got off again. Uncle Joe always took pride in fooling the game wardens, and he did it many times. In fact, he was never caught by any of them. He was like a Newfoundland version of the Dukes of Hazzard, and he was well known by everyone, including the game wardens in the area. Despite not being able to catch the man doing anything wrong, Uncle Joe considered the wardens good men, and even invited a few of them to parties he threw each year. A few of them went to the parties, and feasted on the moose they couldn’t catch him poaching.

He continued his outlaw ways throughout his life, and thousands of adventures and almost run-ins with the law later, he finally quit. He was snaring rabbits out of season in 2009 when he suffered a serious heart attack four miles from his home. He rode all the way home on his atv, while having a heart attack, crawled up the stairs to his home, and died at the feet of his wife. The community took this very hard as despite his outlaw ways, he was a great dad to his kids, a loving husband to his wife, a great uncle to me, and a very good provider of fresh meat, fish and anything else he could find that someone may have needed.

I spoke to a wildlife officer the other day, and I asked him if he remembered my Uncle Joe. The man began shaking uncontrollably. “That rascal, I chased him four miles down a woods road, on foot, while he carried a quarter of caribou on his shoulders. When I finally caught up to him, he was sitting on a rock, having a sandwich.” He said. “The bugger even offered me a piece, and it was caribou!” Sounds like my uncle.

our justice system and teens

http://www.vocm.com/newsarticle.asp?mn=2&id=20299&latest=1

This is western Newfoundland, not Halifax or even St. John’s, but this incident sends the message all too clear that our justice system needs work.

A 16 yr old chooses to shoot his pellet gun at a school bus filled with children, and the police MAY lay a charge of damage to property.  Damage to property??? What about reckless endangerment? What will they tell the kid? “Great decision to use a pellet gun instead of a Bazooka there Son”???

If a kid decides to shoot his pellet gun towards a tree or a target or even a building, at least nobody will get hurt, but the bus was filled with small children, and a window was shattered by the pellet, so I think a greater charge should be warranted, or the next time this teen thinks of shooting at a bus, he may just use a more powerful firearm.