Month: November 2012

Commas and overuse

I had an English teacher once whose pet peeve was commas. Well not really commas, but the total misuse of commas..she said that people spread them around like salt from a shaker. In some aspects, she was right. Until that class, I was one of those people, but learning when to use commas was relatively easy if you used her method. I will share her secret with you…

Her secret was to speak the sentence as you write it, and only insert commas where you pause. She went on to say that if you recited the entire sentence and you became winded, you probably didn’t have enough commas. Now writing in her class made us seem like a crowd of nuts, each speaking the sentence as we typed it, but in no time, we were writing great sentences and only using commas where they were needed. To Mrs Darlene Oake, I thank you.

Easiest Job Ever

A client just called. She couldn’t get her Blue-Ray player to work, and thus, her Netflix didn’t work either. She said that she had three or four of her friends attempt to fix the problem, but none of them could figure out what was wrong.

I went to the entertainment unit where she had her Television set and her blue ray player. I noticed a cord hanging next to the power bar, plugged it in, and Voila! everything comes on. She couldn’t believe it. “You are a genius, four people couldn’t figure this out and you bend down and it works. You have to tell me, what did you do different than the others?” She said.

I looked at her, not wanting to insult her or her friend’s intelligence and said “I plugged the cord in Ma’am”

Easy money for sure. The fix was followed by a cup of tea and some home made cookies, and I was on my way home. It was so simple that I didn’t want to charge her, but she insisted on paying me my hourly rate, so $30 was relatively easy to come by tonight.

Footprints in the snow: A Christmas Story

Jack and Sandy went out looking for a Christmas tree again this year. Each year, they were the ones chosen for this task. Jack was always the one who planned ahead, the one who scouted out the best looking Christmas trees all year, and also the one who put small orange tags on the trees so that he could find them once winter arrived. Sandy’s sense of direction made her an excellent choice to bring on any kind of an outdoor excursion; out of all the LeBlanc children, she could always find her way, even in the worst whiteouts and winter blizzards.

The family anxiously awaited the return of their two oldest children, who had gone in search of this year’s Christmas tree. With two gone from the house, it gave Cindy, the mother of ten children plenty of time to prepare the traditional Newfoundland Christmas Eve dinner. The head of the family, Charlie LeBlanc, had been out all day trapping rabbits and other small game, managing to gather enough food for this year’s meal; and with all those mouths to feed, Charlie had his work cut out for him.

The day had been an unpredictable one, with tiny gusts of wind stirring up the dusty snow that had fallen throughout the night. At first, it was doubtful if the weather would clear so that a Christmas tree could be found, but given that it was just one day before Christmas, risks had to be taken.

The smaller children played noisily, and mom had to calm them several times; her mind was somewhere else, perhaps on her two eldest, or on all the work she had yet to do in order to prepare tonight’s feast. The little cabin was extra hot this evening, as father had stuffed the little wood stove with freshly cut birch and a few spruce logs. The faint smell of the wood oils mixed with the scent of fresh cinnamon buns mom had in the oven made the home both fragrant and festive.

As Sandy and Jack trudged through the banks of freshly packed snow, the two noticed many trees, none of which bore the marks that Jack left the last time he walked through the forest. “It’s off here, to the right” Jack said, as they moved through the thick pine and fir trees that covered the landscape. “You know how badly you are with directions”, commented Sandy, as she suspected that they had drifted far off the beaten path.

The entire forest now looked different. The winds had become much stronger, and visibility was now close to nil. The two vowed to stay together, despite Jack’s attempts to split up and seek different paths. “Staying together is our only chance out here tonight” said Sandy, as the evening sun quickly disappeared into the dark cover of the cold December night. In Newfoundland, winter days are short and night approaches quickly.

The two were lucky tonight, as the sky quickly cleared and revealed heavenly stars and a full moon that lit up the forest like a giant candle. The air became difficult to breathe as the temperature dropped. It was one of those evenings where you could see your breath in the air, and your nostrils stuck together from the coldness around you.

“I see a tree!” exclaimed Jack, but Sandy was doubtful, given the current visibility. Jack hauled Sandy by the hand, as he swung the axe over his shoulder. “Over here, the perfect tree”. The two headed towards the towering spruce, and were surprised when Sandy lost her footing and fell down a steep hill.

Landing hard on the bottom, Sandy was lucky not to have any limbs broken, but in the fall, her leg felt twisted. She had difficulty standing on her foot. Jack felt badly about causing his sister to fall , but she reassured him that it was nothing. She was always the brave one. Lucky the snow was not hard packed, the soft snow drift acted as a barrier between Sandy and the frozen ground beneath her. Jack carefully climbed down the hill to join his sister. Tired and worried, the two settled on a white spruce that stood just a few feet before them.

Jack attacked the tree with a vengeance as he swung the razor sharp axe into the base of the tree. In just a few swings, the tree fell, snow flying everywhere as the limbs smashed to the ground. Sandy pointed out that they only needed a few feet of the tree, and Jack obliged by cutting an eight foot length from the top to the middle of the tree. He then marked the remainder of the tree with an orange ribbon he carried in his pocket, with plans on returning later in the week to salvage the remainder of the tree for firewood.

The two shared the work of carrying the tree home, wherever home was. The night sky this time of year can be quite amazing, and the two were rewarded for their hard work with a light show from the heavens. In late December and early January, the Northern Lights often adorned the night skies, and luckily for these two, this was a night when the angels had painted the sky with colors of red, blue and white.

Off in the distance, the northern lights shone on the hard crusted snow, illuminating small indentations. The two noticed that these markings resembled footprints. “We are completely lost, not a road in sight, no markings in the trees, and the new snow filled up the footprints we made on the way in, and somehow it looks like someone was here earlier today” said Jack. Sandy agreed that the markings looked a lot like footprints, and given the fact that neither of them knew exactly where they were, following the footprints was their only hope of finding their way out and back to the little cabin where their family lived.

As the two approached the markings in the snow, there was no doubt that they were indeed footprints. The tracks, made by someone with huge snowshoes became more evident now, and they were easy to follow.

Back at the cabin, Charlie and his family grew impatient. Looking out the ice coated window, the snow was blowing a gale. Charlie sat in his chair by the stove, cussing about his bad leg. He had broken his leg when a log he had been cutting rolled back on him, crushing the entire left side of his body. Being a great provider, he managed to hunt and trap small game to feed the family despite the pain. He had been out all day hunting, and the pain in his leg was unbearable by evening. “If I hadn’t broken my leg back in February of ‘59, it would be me out in this storm, and not our two kids”, but Cindy reassured him that everything would be alright. She was always so optimistic, and this was a good time for her positivity. “If they aren’t back in an hour, Charlie Jr. and I will go and look for them”, she said. Charlie wondered how she could remain calm while the kids were out in a snow storm.

Choosing to live so far back in the country was a decision that Charlie LeBlanc had often regretted, but he figured that since many generations of the LeBlanc family, right on back to his aboriginal forefathers lived in the same area, what right did he have to break tradition? Sure, it was hard for the kids, but life here on the island in the 1960’s wasn’t much better anywhere else, and at least the kids were safe here. Plus this is the only life that he knew. His father and his grandfather were both trappers, and they made good money doing so.

As the two teens followed the mysterious tracks in the snow, they grew very hungry. Sandy noticed what appeared to be a large picnic basket under a fir tree. Covered with a festive blanket, probably made by local Indians, was a basket filled with home baked goodies of every variety. “It’s getting late, and we have to be home soon, Mom and Dad will worry” Sandy said, “And we really don’t know who put this food out here, or if it is even safe to eat” but Jack was so hungry; he would trade a bit of worry for something to eat. “Load up your pockets, we can return tomorrow and refill the basket with some of mom’s preservatives” Jack said. Soon the two were on their way, heading for the mountain that stood just behind the cabin trail.

“Is your leg okay?” Jack asked his sister. “You won’t believe it, but I think it is better!” answered Sandy. They both wondered how such a terrible fall didn’t result in a much worst injury, but they passed it off as luck as they continued on their way. As they walked along the footprints left by the stranger, they wondered about the person who must have traveled right past their home earlier today. “I know I didn’t see anyone passing the house” Jack said, “and even if someone did, why weren’t his tracks covered with snow like ours were?” Sandy wondered.

Despite their questions, they continued along the well beaten snowshoe path, right on back to the road that led directly to the log cabin that their grandfather built while he was still a young man, and where the two teens had lived every day of their lives. The tracks continued on the snow covered road, and the two LeBlanc teens followed.

Charlie, who had dressed his leg well enough to travel, had just decided to go against the wishes of his wife, and look for the kids. Just as Charlie was about to open the door, a weak thumping was heard outside. Charlie opened the door and his two tired children fell helplessly through the opening, out of the frigid cold and into the warmth of the little cabin. A burst of ice cold air entered the cabin as Charlie quickly closed the door behind his two frozen children.

The two were so tired that upon entering the cabin, they fell to the floor. Mom ran to their rescue, and in no time, she had the two chilly kids sitting next to the stove, covered with the warmest quilts. Dad had gone outside to bring in the tree, and the younger kids gathered the decorations, anxious to finally trim the Christmas tree that they had waited all for all evening.

Charlie was amazed by the tree his kids had cut. Standing just over eight feet tall, the limbs were perfect; it was like a tree you would see on a postcard. Once the tree was stood in the living room, far enough away from the stove to prevent the needles from drying out, the family members worked to decorate the fine Christmas tree that the two heroic teens had brought home. Sandy and Jack watched, while they sipped on hot chocolate with real cinnamon sticks that their mom fixed for them.

Dad asked the two how they found their way home on such a blustery night. Jack and Sandy looked at each other, confused because the night they experienced was clear and bright. “The sky lit up with lights of every color” Jack reassured his dad. “And those footprints, they are the reason why we are here right now” Sandy added.

We sure didn’t see any northern lights from here”, Dad said, and he added “Footprints?”It was so stormy last night, you would be lucky to see a hand before your face at any given time, that’s why we were so worried”

“They were there, let me show you” Jack said, as he took his curious and doubtful dad by the hand to show him the finely beaten path the two had followed to safety just a little while ago.

“Wha…?” Jack said. “There are only two sets of tracks, mine, and drag marks that Sandy made, but she walked just fine, never dragged her feet once, and there were big snowshoe tracks that we followed.” Jack said, confused. “They were there when we got to the cabin, that’s how we got home!” “Where are they now?” Jack questioned.

Charlie LeBlanc had been outside all day, and if a stranger had passed, he would have been the first to know about it, but someone had to make those tracks. “Everyone knows that footprints don’t magically appear out of thin air, but then again, this is Christmas, so who knows” Charlie concluded.

“What did you guys eat?” their Dad asked. “You two were gone for hours, how did you have enough strength to walk all the way home?”

“We found a picnic basket the Indian family down the road must have left for another day” Jack said.

“A picnic basket? An Indian family?” “Jack, are you feeling alright?” Charlie asked. “The Indian family that lived down the road have been gone for years, before either of you were born” Charlie added. Jack looked his dad and said “I stuffed some of the food here in my pocket, look!” When Jack reached into his pocket; all he found were a few pine cones and a handful of needles from a fir tree.

Tired from the day’s events, and confused by their dad’s questions, the two weren’t long before they were fast asleep in their beds in the attic above the living room area. The rest of the family slept as well, and the next morning, the entire family was up early to admire the fantastic day that was rewarded to them.

Not only did the family have the most beautiful tree, fresh rabbit pie, home baked cookies, and many wonderful gifts that their father carved for them, but they also had an amazing story of their own Christmas miracle, a miracle that fed and looked after the two teens, and that brought them home safely through one of the worst winter storms of the entire 1960’s.

………………………….

I wrote this winter tale last Christmas, but since I only finished it after Christmas, I chose to wait until this year to publish it on the blog. I sincerely hope that everyone enjoys this little Christmas story

The Man

He was sitting high on his pedestal when the call came in

Strongest man in the crowd, a leader and a friend

He was there for everyone, never made any demand

But he fell to his knees when he heard about the Man

The man was tough; he was straight to the point

A hero and a fighter, he’d never disappoint

To Tommy he was a father, the only one he’d ever knew

Tommy’s father ran out long ago, his mother left him too

The news came sudden; it was quick as a light

They say he had a heart attack, he died through the night

It was the hardest thing Tommy had to face since his dad ran out

He didn’t think he could deal with it ‘til his friends came about

They buried him at ten, Tommy couldn’t even stand

He was on his knees holding the hand of the Man

Tears and sobbing, he helped put the man in the ground

Then Tommy stopped crying, you couldn’t hear a sound.

Tommy was but a shell of the guy he once was

He never spoke a word, never made a fuss

He kept to himself, drove everyone away

Until his friends came over, they had something to say

They were all together knocking at the door,

It took Tommy a few minutes to get up off the floor

He had been drinking, trying to deal with the pain

They all came in, and this is what they were saying

They said Tommy you were there when we needed you most

Now we are here for you, to help deal with what you lost

Because what is the world without your best friends

We will always be with you, friends until the end

Well he is slowly getting over this but he will never forget the man

Who raised and loved him, and now we understand

He taught Tommy what was right and the best way to live

And that was to offer strength, and give when you can give

Be as strong as you can be, and give credit where it is due

Always be there for your friends, you need them and they need you

Customer Support Woes

One of the things I do around here is to offer computer assistance to people who are not computer savy. Charging $30 per hour, there is good money in this little side-business. Yesterday I advised my customer on the purchase of a new PC laptop. Today they asked me to help them with their slow internet.

When I got to their home, I was surprised to find that their ‘high speed’ internet was actually slower than dial-up, and I spent the entire day either on hold with the internet company or waiting for programs to download. Here is what happened:

Customer Service (CC): My name is Bibtwidea (or something like that, couldn’t understand a damn thing she said anyway) how can I help you!

Me: Yes, I am at a client’s home, attempting to set up their Internet, but the modem is not working.

CC: How may I know your name?

Me: WTF? How may you know my name? when I tell you, that’s how

CC: How may I know your name?

me: WTF?

CC: your name sir, what is your name?

me: Ted, call me ted

CC: Okay Tim, what do you need?

me: As I said earlier, the modem isn’t working, my client has no internet service.

CC: Why I talk to you?

me: because the homeowners have no clue about the internet and explaining it to me once should be easier than explaining it to them five times!

CC: okay. there is nothing wrong with modem, problem is you.

me: WTF? Me? did I hear you right? I need help to reset the modem and see if it will work…you brazen philiFUCKINGpino or whatever the hell you are

CC: I have fixed modem while you ramble on. you Canadian people always ramble

me: WTF I said that alot during this call. Now I need to download your internet security program that my client is already paying you $5 per month for. Is this program compatible with Windows 8?

CC: Of course it is, our software is always up to date. follow this link and download the program. There will be a password in your email.

me: That simple? I am afraid!

CC: Is there anything else I can do right now?

me: nope, thanks

I went to the link, (it took forever) and began the download. She promised me that the high speed modem was working properly, but a 180mb file took four hours (READ THAT…4 HOURS) to download.

When the program was downloaded, and after four hours of staring at the screen, a windows error popped across the screen stating that the program was NOT COMPATIBLE with Windows 8!

I was mad enough to fire the computer through the window, but it wasn’t the computer’s fault, it was Bibtwidea’s fault for misinforming me that their software was all up to date.

I called tech support. A nice English speaking lady answered the phone, but immediately transferred me to Tech Support…in EAST INDIA.

TS: My name is BRRRRASHA. How may I know your problem.

me: Oh No, not again! My client is paying for your internet security anti virus program and it is not compatible with Windows 8, how can we fix this?

TS: Sir, you are mistaken, it works fine with windows 8.

me: obviously it doesn’t, I have the error message in front of me. Get me your supervisor!

TS: Sir, no need for that, just go to this link and download the newly updated program.

Me: the internet connection is too slow, it will take forever

TS: No sir, we updated your connection speed, it is now superfast.

I went to the link and begun the download. This time it was faster, it only took 3 hours to download a 160mb file. I clicked on the install button…

ERROR 153218098930809
PROGRAM NOT COMPATIBLE WITH WINDOWS 8

I called the customer service dept again, this time mad enough to kill, and I got the same person again (What were the chances?)

me: I don’t care who the hell you are, you told me that the program was compatible, and it isn’t.

TS: Sir, you must have download wrong, it is easy, just click link.

me: Listen here, I am mad enough to invade your country right now! Your program isn’t working. Please transfer me to the business office so that I may cancel payment on your antivirus program…and do it now.

TS: one minute sir.

An english speaking woman appeared on my line. I begged her not to transfer me to India again. She laughed.

Billing Dept (BD): My Name is Thelma. Don’t worry sir, we won’t transfer you. How may I help you?

me: your antivirus isn’t compatible with Windows 8. I tried to download it twice and it doesn’t work.

BD: I could have told you that, a ton of our customers have the same issue with the new OS. I imagine that you want me to remove the program from your bill.

me: Finally someone who listens! Thelma, do you think that maybe you and the tech support department might get together to swap notes? It bothers me when the billing department knows more about tech support than the tech support dept does.

Thelma: Ya, I think you are right sir. If I were you I would download Norton or something.

In a conversation with my client, we discussed the possibility of them changing Internet servers. They are making the call in the morning.

Drivers beware

Here’s proof that we Newfoundlanders are too trusting.

I was just driving up the highway towards my home when I noticed this guy, totally dressed in Camo, and holding an axe. He was hitchhiking. When I drove on past him, he looked confused to why I never gave him a ride. HE HAD AN AXE!

A few other cars passed, and he had the same look on his face. (like what is wrong with you people, haven’t you ever given an axe wielding maniac a ride before) Finally, someone did stop and give him a ride.

Note to drivers: Never, never give a guy with an axe (or any other possible weapon) a ride.

Kevin

Having just wrote a memoir post about my first car, it got me to thinking of my youth and the friends I had back then. One of my best friends was a geeky nerdy guy named Kevin.

I met Kevin one evening while parked on The Food Center parking lot. This was (and still is) a place where you parked your ride and showed it off, and maybe picked up a few girls and went crusin’.

I was sitting in my ’68 Beaumont, paint job still fresh when this beat up old Toyota rolled into the lot. Propped high in the car was this ‘beatnic’ looking guy with a goofy smile. He was proud to show off his latest ride. I personally wouldn’t have been caught dead in this clunker, but being the car guy that he was, he was proud.

He recognized my car as a rare one and we commenced talking. The guy did know his cars, I will give you that one. Kevin walked with a limp, and when I asked him about it, he admitted to being sort of a klutz. He said that he accidentally drove his Suzuki motorcycle into a large Buick. He said that he went right through the passenger side, drove through the car, left his bike somewhere in the back, and headed straight through the back window of the large car. When he showed me the cuts and scratches on his arms, I believed him. He spoke of this as nothing, and said that the only reason why he was driving this piece of crap was that he accidentally burned his father’s garage down while welding, and this was all he could find to drive. How could I not be friends with a guy like this?

One night Kevin phoned to say that he was coming to town in his dad’s old Chrysler. Sure enough, he wound the beast around a few of the Camaros and Mustangs, doing a burnout while he parked the car. In a storm of rubber and smoke, the biggest ass car I ever seen appeared out of nowhere, with Kevin driving. This car even had seats.

Kevin’s dad was a mechanic, so he always had a ton of cars lying around, so Kevin ‘borrowed’ this one. The thing had a 426 hemi under the hood and went like hell. He asked if I would like to go for a spin (him driving of course) and knowing what a maniac he was (and how clumsy and accident prone he was) I tried to say no. “You don’t trust me? I will take my time, promise!” he said, so I went.

Along the way Kevin noticed one of the guys from the car lot hitching a ride, so he pulled over to pick him up. I jumped from the front seat to the back so that our passenger could get in quick (well the actual truth is that Billy smoked so much he wreaked cigarette smoke and I wanted no part of that awful smell).
Apparently Kevin forgot about his promise to drive slow, he floored the giant and tore through the little community at about 100 mph. Poor Billy was terrified, and so was I. When we got to where Billy wanted to get out, Kevin slammed the brakes on, the car took a 360 spin and we stopped. I thought I was going to vomit. When the guy got out of the car we checked the dash where he held on, and his finger prints were permanently embedded into the dash. I bet that guy never hitched a ride again. I never rode with Kevin again either; I had a life to live.

I never seen my old friend again for a long time. About ten years later he called and asked if I would do the music for his wedding (I work as a wedding dj from time to time) and I did. The wedding went well, and we had a bit of time to talk about old (and crazy) times.

Just last year I worked at the high school here in town. My job was to facilitate different activities for students to partake in during lunch and after school. One of the kids who frequented my office was this thin but very familiar girl named Vicky. She used to spend her time telling stories about her klutzy dad. On this particular occasion, she was telling her friends how her dad accidentally set fire to his brand new pickup truck. She went on to say that just yesterday while he was mowing the lawn, he slipped and accidentally cut off two of his toes with the mower blade. I had to ask.

“Your dad wouldn’t happen  to have a name like Kevin, would he? I asked, totally doubting that I was right.

“Do you know him? He often talks about a guy named Teddy, and how the two of them had all this fun back in the eighties, are you that guy? she asked.

What a coincidence. Who would have thought that my old friend had gone and got married, had a bunch of kids and one of these kids would find her way into my office? She got her dad to give me a call one day, and I must say, somethings never change. He showed up with bandages on all fingers, his arm in a sling, and burn marks on his cheeks. I never even asked.

Me and the girlie magazine

Adolescence is a scary time in a boy’s life. At least it was scary for me. Being raised devout Catholic, we were raised strict. Hell I wasn’t even allowed to watch PG movies, with risk that a half naked body would be seen.

Of course, being a kid of fourteen, I had my ways of seeing things. I remember one day at school seeing a large crowd of my friends gathered around some guys car. We were out for lunch during school and some guy had an old Chevy truck parked near the school. Hanging from his rear view mirror was a picture of a half naked girl with enormous boobs. We all squeezed together so that we could have a good look, and we would have all been late for classes if Sneaky Suzie hadn’t told the nun who was on duty what we were up to. I did miss class, as did ten other kids, as we spent the remainder of the day, and each lunch time for the next two months in detention.

Of course my fascination with naked ladies didn’t stop there. My uncle, he was a rascal. He had this little convenience store up the street and he traded comic books, hunting magazines and you know it, girlie magazines. My aunt would be sitting in the store, cussing at him for reading stuff like that, ‘The Work of the Devil’ she used to say. I was at the store one day shuffling through the ‘comic books’ when I seen it. A naked Nun. The priest at the parish would have burned this book and all the others, and probably permanently banned me from church services for life if he knew that I was gawking at a picture of a naked nun. Of course this gal was anything but a nun, I KNOW they don’t look anything like this, at least Sister Kotex didn’t. I quickly flicked through the magazine to discover that this gal didn’t stay a sister very long, as the habit (I have been told that a ‘habit’ was a nun uniform) was strewn across the floor and there she was, in all her airbrushed glory, lying on a big water bed, legs wide open. All my Catholic upbringing was out the window. I was in love!

My uncle peered over, he knew what I was up to. Why else did all the kids spend their summer days searching for ‘comics’ only to be really looking at the girlie books in my uncle’s store?

“You want a loan of the book? I can do that, won’t even tell your mom! But for the love of God and all that is holy, don’t let her catch you with it, she will disown me as a brother and probably castrate me, and nobody knows what she will do to you!” he warned. I always loved my uncle.

I tucked the magazine into the front of my pants, pulled my t-shirt over the top and headed home for the safety and privacy of my room. There I could actually get a good look at the book, and not feel all guilty like I did at the store.

I hoped that when I got home, mom wouldn’t be there. I knew she had some shopping to do, so I casually strolled into the front room of the house, and then made a quick beeline for my room. On my way there I passed my mom, who was only now getting ready to go to town.

“Why you in a hurry? Why are you walking funny?” she asked, the woman with no idea that the rolled up book had fallen further down my pants, and actually down my leg. I must have looked like a robot, walking with stiff legs, praying that the book didn’t fall out my pants leg. Stupid Bell Bottoms.

“Nothing Mom, not feeling well, think I will go for a nap!” I lied.

“A nap? On a nice day like this? You sure you are alright? You sure have been acting weird lately!” she quipped. All of a sudden I had this weird feeling that somehow she seen right through me, and right through the not so well hidden magazine that featured a naked nun on the cover. I was going to hell and my momma was gonna send me there…after a good lacing across the ass that is!

She didn’t say anything else, she went on her way and I continued to my room.
I took out my prize possession and just when I began reading (well not really reading, I didn’t bring this book home to read it, I was more interested in the pictures and the naked ladies to actually read. Why the hell did they put stories in those books anyway?) when just then the door slams open.

“Whatchareadin” he asks.

My little brother was in inquisitive one. “Hey, why is there a nakid lady on the cover?” he continued.

Being seven years older than my brother gave me an advantage in this one.

“This is what is called Biology, I have to take biology this fall in school, I was just brushin’ up on my biology” I lied, this time beginning to feel horns start to grow on my head.

“Wow, I am telling mom that I want to take B-logy too!” he said, his excitement growing.

“Nope, you can’t tell mom. The school said that Biology is a big secret that only 14 year olds should know about. The principal said that seven year olds will get the strap if they are caught learnin’ about such things!” I advised, all the time only thinking of him and not of what mom will do to me if he tells.

“Why don’t you go play, I got some ‘studying’ to do” I asked.

He went outside to play with all his friends, the ones who usually drove me crazy and bugged the hell outta me. Then I got down to some serious ‘lookin’. This was amazing. Not a blemish, those women were perfect. And they were kissin’ each other. That part was a little gross, but given the fact that I have never laid eyes on anything like this, I felt like I had to go on. I felt like Christopher Columbus when he explored the new world. Then I heard mom  come in.

“Teddy, can you go and bring in the groceries for me? I am beat after all that shopping!” she said.

Quickly, I took the book and tried hiding it. “Can’t put it under the mattress, that’s the first place she will look, can’t hide it in my sock drawer, another bad place.” I thought. Then I thought of it, the perfect place. I took my old Monopoly game down  from the top of the closet, and removing the playing board and the little cardboard box that contained the playing pieces, I slid my forbidden treasure to the bottom of the box and replaced all the parts. I made sure that the game was put back exactly where it was, not even a piece of dust out of place and headed down the hall to help mom.

When supper was over, I lied about having a headache and returned to my room. When I was sure my little brother was not in the room, I quickly grabbed the monopoly game and proceeded to take it apart. When I got to the bottom of the box I grabbed the magazine and returned to my bed, anxious to look at the nakid ladies again. Startled and amazed, I threw the magazine to the floor. A sickening feeling came over me, and I almost vomited. I looked to the floor, hoping to see my naked nun look back at me when I saw it.

Somebody (Mom, I know it was Mom, or maybe the blessed lord) found my magazine and replaced it with a ‘Sainte-Anne de Beaupre’ magazine. Sainte Anne magazines were books handed out by our church, and featured stories from Catholic churches across the land. On the cover was a nun, but she wasn’t nakid, and she was nothing like the big boobed blonde who lay on the big water bed, instead she was all holy and sacred.

My secret was out, but the worst thing was that mom never mentioned anything about it. My uncle was practically banned from the house for months, but mom eventually forgave him. He got a laugh at how sneaky I was, and said that I reminded him of himself at my age.

We were sitting down for a chat yesterday, when my lady pointed out that any day now she expected our little guy to begin asking sex questions. Mom surprised me when she said that I figured the stuff out myself by reading girlie magazines. Even at 49 years old, I began to blush. “How do you know that?” I asked.

“Let’s just say a little bird told me. He said that maybe some little boy was hiding magazines in the bottom of a monopoly game. I fixed that by replacing the book with a church book.” she confessed. “I never punished you, I knew that the shock of seeing a church book instead of that horrible book…(with a naked nun at that!) would scare you straight. It worked, I never seen another book like that in the house….until your brother was fourteen, but he was much more clever…and sneaky.” she added.

My lady laughed and I turned even redder. Ah Childhood…I miss it sometimes….

 

The Car

When I was sixteen, I bought my first car. An old man from town parted with his pride and joy, a 1968 Pontiac Beaumont. For those who are not familiar with the name, the Beaumont was essentially a Chevelle with a GTO interior, a split grill, and a few cosmetic changes. Unknown to me at the time, the cars were of limited production, and given the fact that we Canadians suffer from harsh winters, not many of those cars made it very far without rusting out.

I read today how a car identical to the one I had sold at a Barret-Jackson auction for over $26,000. The car was restored with a new engine and tires. At the time of purchase, the car I bought for $350 was actually in better condition that the one at the auction.

The old man who originally owned the car had the entire interior covered with see-through vinyl. He had the floors covered in the stuff as well, with tape holding the edges closed so that salt and water didn’t find its way into the interior. Of course being a kid, I removed all that plastic. My ass stuck to the stuff in summer, and in winter…my ass froze. The black Naugahyde vinyl wasn’t much warmer, but at least I wasn’t sliding from side to side whenever I made a turn.
Although I sold the car years ago, I still have some great memories of the car. Being a teenager with your own car was something special back then, and with the 283 four speed, I was king shit, or at least I thought I was at the time. Girls liked my car, which I customized with a set of old Cragar five spoke rims I picked up at a swap meet. I always had the back seat filled with girls, and no matter how nerdy I may have been, they just loved cruising in the car.

The car’s paint was beginning to flake when I bought it, so a friend of mine who had his own garage opted to paint it for me. We laid on a few coats of sky blue metallic, and digging around his garage we found some gold metal flake clear coat and he laid the stuff over the blue paint. Hey, this was the early eighties, and back then gold metal flake clear coat was cool.

I used the car winter and summer. The wide 60 series bias tires were like skis, and often I felt like I was skiing across our snow covered roads.

One evening, while bringing a girlfriend home, the car took a slide on a sharp turn. I headed directly into the oncoming car, which was sliding as well, and on my side of the road. I remember jumping from the car, not worrying about my health, but for the health of my beloved car. The front grill was smashed in. His car wasn’t even hurt, and even if it was, it was only a damn k-car.

We both went to the local police detachment and reported the accident. He was  a local businessman from the area and I was a dumb kid. Of course they didn’t believe my story. I had to pay for his damage, and then fix my own car.

This was when I discovered how rare that car was. It was impossible to find a grill anywhere in Canada, and since the car was only produced in Canada, there were no grills in the states either. Remember, this was decades prior to computers, internet or ebay, so word of mouth, a phone book and luck was the only way to find anything. I had no luck.

Dad and I modified an old Chevelle grill to fit the car, and although we did our best and Dad found it looked great, it just wasn’t the same. I lost interest in the car. I decided to sell the car. I put a sale sign on it and in just three hours a guy came to buy the car. I wanted two grand for the car, but after a bit of haggling, I let it go for $15oo. At the time I thought I did pretty good. I purchased the car for $350, drove it for three years, met lots of girls, and then sold it for $1500. Good thing I didn’t know how much I could have gotten for it some thirty plus years later or I would have never sold it. I had access to my grandfather’s barn, a few bales of hay would have kept the old car in great condition….

oh well…hindsight 20/20 I guess. Still wish I had it though! Maybe when I win the lottery I look up the ad, maybe the car is still available.

photo courtesy of http://www.barrett-jackson.com/application/onlinesubmission/lotdetails.aspx?ln=676&aid=304