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gram’s soup

I had a dream last night that I was eating a bowl of soup at my grandmothers. Gram always made the best soup. Well actually, everything she cooked was delicious. For whatever reason, her soup was always my favourite. Maybe it was because she only used vegetables from her garden, maybe it was because the chicken or the beef came from their farm. I actually believe it was because she made it with love, her secret ingredient.

The dream was so vivid, I could almost smell the soup as I lay there in my bed. Even though my grandmother passed away in 2012, I thought for a minute I was actually in her kitchen. I miss you Gram.

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Make Believe Flowers

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PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

He showed up  in the evening
when his wife was fast asleep
with a bouquet of flowers
that were only make believe

He gave them to his lover
and she put them in a vase
she knew he didn’t love her
she could see it in his face

Then one day she asked him
to leave his wife for her
he laughed in her face
said it would just create a stir

She said if you cannot chose between us
then you must be on your way
she couldn’t believe he left her
and she begged for him to stay

This sad story of a love gone astray is my entry into this weeks’ Friday Fictioneers.

 

Getting to where we are part 1

When I was 16 I graduated from High School. I didn’t do well, but High School was such a nightmare for me, I was not going back there, in fact, I had no plans to ever go back to any school; and I did everything I could not to go back.

My first job was a student job in my community. We used chainsaws to clear land for a playground. Although the other kids were using the chainsaws, my dad made me promise I wouldn’t touch one. I thought it was because he thought I would hurt myself, but that wasn’t the reason. When I asked him why he said this, his reply was that I was too good to be a pulp cutter like him.

My dad worked at any job he could find. He didn’t have a lot of education, or confidence in himself. That being said, he was (and still is) a very hard worker. I remember Dad coming home from working in the woods all day, his clothing wet and filled with mud and balsam, and him being beat out from the hard work. God I wanted to be just like him.

After this job, and a lot of preaching, my parents talked me guilted me into returning to school, this time at a local community college to do an accounting course. Did I mention I have always sucked at math?

At 16 years of age, I was the youngest student in the Clerk Accounting class. I was young and green, especially around girls. I felt like a kid (because I was) in the class. I did horrible on the tests, mainly due to my lack of math skills, the other reason was my overall hate for school in general.

One day the teacher called me into his office. He said my writing was atrocious. Well, I was so proud. No teacher ever praised my work like that. In fact, back in high school, I was actually asked to print, as my writing was unreadable.

I had to go home and brag to my parents and friends about the wonderful compliment the teacher gave me. My buddy heard me bragging and suggested I check out the dictionary, to see what the word meant. He didn’t think it sounded like much of a compliment at all.

I shouldn’t have looked in the damn book.

a·tro·cious

ADJECTIVE

of a very poor quality; extremely bad or unpleasant.

Well, maybe my writing skills had not improved. Upon realizing this, I lost all interest in my future as an accountant. Even so, I had to do a work term at a local building supply company. What a nightmare. They didn’t trust me because I looked so young. I only just turned 17, duh.

I sat in a cold office all day staring at an old ledger. I wasn’t allowed to mark in it, just stare at the numbers. I was so bored. I could not imagine doing this for a living, even if it paid well. After two weeks, I was ready to quit. I went home to talk plead to mom and dad, I had to get out of there.

My dad’s advice was to never give up. “You are working in a warm place with a roof over your head. I have never been that lucky. Stick it out, don’t give up, think of how hard I have to work.”

Once the work term was done, it was back to class. The only thing I was now interested was the bookkeeping class next door…all girls. I did so poorly in accounting, I got another call to the teacher’s office.

“Ted, you are not going to pass this program. We don’t want you to quit. Instead, we want to put you in the bookkeeping course. You can earn a certificate in bookkeeping, maybe make a few buck doing taxes or something.”

I didn’t hear anything past “we want to put you in the bookkeeping course”. The rest was just’ blah blah blah’. I was overjoyed. For once, I wanted to come to class. I was the only guy in the class, and unfortunately, the youngest person in the class. No matter, it was me and a crowd of girls.

I didn’t get the bookkeeping certificate either. I sucked in math bad enough, I couldn’t even achieve a certificate. The program ended after the grad. I may not have graduated from the program, but I did meet friends I still stay in contact with to this day.

Well, after that I knew school wasn’t for me. I applied for jobs but without an education besides a high school diploma with a 50% average, the jobs were not plentiful. Most of my friends were now heading for Toronto, where there were plenty of jobs. I had no desire to leave home, I knew where I wanted to work, if only I could convince my parents.

 

 

 

5 cats + 3 dogs + 2 birds + two crazy people = One Happy Family

Everyone warned me, but I didn’t listen. “Don’t get involved with the SPCA, you will end up with a house full of animals” they said. I didn’t listen, I knew better. Hell, I already had plenty of pets…Two dogs (Boots and Marley), Two cats (Chance and Misty), and Two budgies (Kiwi and Angel), perfect group of pets.

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Little did I know my wife was such an animal lover. We fostered a litter of three kittens for the Southwest Coast SPCA, and of course one was so cute, “We HAVE to keep him” she said. now we have 2 dogs, 3 cats and two budgies. We name this one Milo.

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We fostered two little orange kittens who were found in a mud puddle, abandoned by their mother. My wife has to bottle feed the smallest one. He comes down with kitty flu three times, almost dies each time. Of course he isn’t going anywhere, he is my wife’s baby. she names him JJ.

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2 dogs, 4 cats, 2 budgies.

We get a call. there is another litter of kittens looking for ‘TEMPORARY’ home…what a joke. one of the three ‘melts’ my wife’s heart. “What would you like for Christmas dear?” I ask. “Cider” she responds. “Cider, like the beverage? ” I ask, foolishly, “No, Cider the kitten” she says. I should have known.

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2 dogs, 5 cats, 2 budgies.

FIVE CATS? What the hell?

My oldest cat, Misty passed away in March, she was 13. This little cat was terrified of most  people and animals, and spent her entire life in the basement. She came from a terrible home where she was kept in a box away from everyone. My heart was broke.

2 dogs, 4 cats, 2 budgies. Our numbers are going down.

I should have learned to keep my mouth shut.

Three more little kittens come in for fostering. They are so cute. One of them claims ME! She sits on my shoulders everywhere I go. This one is on me. I call her Mia.

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2 dogs, 5 cats, 2 budgies.

Now you are thinking we must be out of our minds. You are correct.

Someone called to say they had 15 Husky Sheppard Mixed puppies, only 6 weeks old. The owner turned them in to the SPCA. Of course one of them finds her way into my arms. I fall in love immediately.

This time the wife says “We can’t keep her, unless we both fall for her” We agree to foster her, and she finds her way into our hearts. Of course she stays.

When she came into our lives. she was a charcoal colour, now, she is beige. Whatever she is, she sure is cute. The vet estimates she will grow to around 65-70 lbs. lots to love.

 

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so now, 5 cats 3 dogs and 2 parakeets. we are done. Ava is a piece of work, spends most of her time driving the other pets crazy. And of course I love her. our crazy family.

If you have lots of room in your heart for love, why not offer to foster a rescue? You won’t be sorry….just ask me.

Rushing Waters

Hilda complained as Wilbur recited words from his newest novel, Rushing Waters.

“..As the cold water passed across the rocks…”.

“Now Wilbur, stop this, you know what my bladder is like, I need to pee now!” complained Wilbur’s wife Hilda.

“…steam formed above the river. As the melting snow seeped into the riverside, it ran..”

“I CAN’T WAIT NO LONGER. PULL OVER!” Hilda screamed.

“..down the ditch, washing away everything in it’s path, even some lady taking a pee.”

Wilbur watched as his nagging wife was washed down the river.

“This really is Thanksgiving” he said, as he drove home.

dales-waterfall
PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson (Many thanks for the gracious loan of your photo.

This chilly tale is my entry into this weeks’ Friday Fictioneers. hope you like it. A big Happy Thanksgiving to our American Neighbours.

PDG Pretty Darn Good

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PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

Philip Donald Gabriel (or PDG as everyone called him) was quite the case. Nothing bothered him. Not losing his leg in a sawmill accident, not losing his job, not even losing his wife to his former boss. When asked how he was doing, his reaction was always the same: PDG…Pretty Darn Good.

One night, after a few too many beer, PDG ended up coming home with his wooden leg missing. Once he sobered up, PDG looked everywhere for his missing leg, without much luck.

When asked how he was doing, his response is changed to NTG…Not Too Good.

This little tale of the missing limb is brought to you via Friday Fictioneers. hope you enjoyed reading it.

Humans 1 – Nons 1

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PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

For centuries, alien visitors known as the Nons (or Non-Humans) attempted to live amongst humans, but something in human DNA caused the aliens a painful death.

After years of research, a discovery was made. The cure was so simple: one part Human DNA, one part Non DNA.

How will we convince them to take it? asked a Non.

“Humans hate being sick” said the other Non. “They take meds for colds, so when we tell the world of the  Swine Flu, people everywhere will demand the shot.

And thus, the H1N1 flu vaccine was administered to half the Earth’s population.

This little conspiracy theory of the H1N1 flu shot is my entry into this weeks’ Friday Fictioneers.

This story has been banging around in my head for quite some time, I was just waiting for the right photo prompt to show up. I hope you enjoy it.

Four legs and Fur

I admit, I haven’t been keeping up to my goal of writing something each day. I used to write every day, mostly if I was feeling down or depressed. Writing was my escape from life I guess. I wrote every day, and like therapy, it seemed to be working. That was, until writing lost its importance to me, then it became boring.

I am happy to say I have found a new therapy.

Last May, my wife asked if I would be interested in animal fostering. At first I wasn’t too interested, all I could think of was the work involved, the kitty litter to scoop, or even worst, the puppy poop to pick up around the yard.

When the local SPCA showed up at our door with two little puppies, Labrador Husky mix, things changed. Yes they pooped lots, but that was ok, as I grew attached with both pups. The most difficult thing was letting them go.

A week after the puppies went, my cousin called. She had set up a group to rescue cats and kittens. She found herself with 13 kittens, way too many for the small room she had set aside in her home. We took three kittens off her hands, and of course fell in love with all three.

We found homes for two, and adopted one for ourselves. That made for three cats and three dogs in our home.

We were soon asked to join the SPCA, as board members. I accepted as I love being part of anything that helps out.

That was last year. Since the first three kittens were fostered in our home, we have had some 135 more come and go to wonderful homes all across the province. My position on the Board of Directors of the Southwest Coast SPCA turned in to a Co-Chair position, which gives me more work which I love.

We are now taking in sick kittens and nursing them back to health. Throughout the past year we have learned so much that we want to share the knowledge with others.

I am changing the name of my page from Sightsnbytes (which I originally wanted to feature a page dealing with photos of Newfoundland Scenery (Sights) and Bytes (food, recipes, and maybe some computer Jingo) to 4 Legs and Fur, a site dealing with the rescue and eventually adoption of rescue animals.

Stay tuned, I have some amazing stories to tell.

the night the lights went out

I remember sitting in our living room, watching TV when it happened. The house went dark. We had power outages before, but this one was different. It was so quiet. No more roar from the electric heating system, or from the fridge, hell even the lights made some noise, but not anymore.

We hoped it was like before, half an hour without power and it would all be over. Our teenager complained because his X-Box stopped working. “I’m bored” he complained, but it was no use. “Get the generator going, I want to go back online with my friends” he said. The generator purred for a few hours, at which time we tried the radio, but that too was dead, no broadcasts from anywhere. I even pulled out my old two wave, set it to any country with a voice, but that too was silent. Of course the X-Box idea never worked, no internet.

The folks with cabins fared the best, as they had wood stoves to heat the place, and the owners were used to the silence. We weren’t so lucky. Our furnace burned oil, but the fan was powered by electricity. We almost froze the first night, mostly covered with blankets and huddled together.

That was five years ago. The kids didn’t last long, most took their own lives. Couldn’t live without their games and imaginary lives I guess. Our kid was no different. We found him one day, huddled up in his bedroom next to his game system, so depressed he just didn’t want to move on. It took his mom almost a year to get over it, but she knew if we were to survive, we would have to do like the others, and leave our old lives behind.

It wasn’t the same after that; she grew hard. No more sweet smiles in the morning from my lady, it was ‘get up and go’ all the time.

Packing wasn’t as hard as we thought it was. No picture albums, all our photos lost with the computers. We didn’t realize how dependent we were on those things. The hardest thing to give up must have been the phones. These damn things were our communication, our pastimes, our cameras, our compass, we were totally dependent on them, but not now, never again.

A few of the people we met seemed confident they could build machines, use generators, but whatever took out the electricity did something to the earth. Some believe the magnetism of the planet was upset. I don’t know, I am just a computer programmer in a world without computers… I felt useless.

 

see the world

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PHOTO PROMPT © JS Brand

 

Harry was a cheapskate who lived with his wife Thelma in a small rundown shack. Harry’s main pastime was seeing what he could scrounge and sell, hopefully for a profit.

One day, Harry came running into the living room yelling “Honey, we are going to see the world!”

Without a word, she began packing for the vacation.

“Where you going, honey?” asked Harry.

“You said we were going to see the world!, I am getting ready for our trip.” she replied.

“What trip? Local cable just gave us a free TV package, which includes The Travel Channel” he said, proudly.

This is my entry into this weeks’ Friday Fictioneers.