Adults say the darndest things

3 Comments

I had it made as a kid.  My parents were co-owners of a coin laundry, a bakery and then a Sub shop that also served ice cream.  There were a few arcade games in the sub shop and Defender and Asteroids ate many of the quarters that were once my allowance.  I was the living version of a kid in a candy store.

My dad also sold real estate during the same time period, so to say he had many irons in the fire is a gross understatement.  His office was located conveniently up the street from the sub shop so I would bounce back and forth from each business and soon became a runner for the agent’s ice cream requests.  I will never forget Ken Robinson.  He was in his seventies, had white hair like Santa Claus and a severe penchant for mint chocolate chip ice cream.  He and I became quick friends once I learned that he shared the same love for that minty, chocolate deliciousness as I did.

(image credit)

Every day, Ken would hand me his money and I would gladly run down the street to retrieve his afternoon treat.  I ran in to the office one hot summer day to find Ken’s desk unattended.  I asked the secretary where he was and she could not look me in the eye.  Instead, I was told to talk to my father.  Ken had died of a heart attack the night before.  I was devastated.  Ken had been the first person I had known who had died.  After many days of tears and avoiding the office, I finally gathered the courage to go back.  Carl was there with his ill-fitting sport coat and bad seventies mustache.  I will never forget how nonchalant he was when he spoke to the 11-year old me and said, “You musta killed him with all that mint chocolate chip ice cream.”

I carried that burden with me to Ken’s funeral and for many years after.   We went to the service as a family and I can still remember the dress I wore.  We paid our respects to his family and approached his open casket.  I was terrified that Ken’s wax-like body was going to sit upright, point at me at scream, “you did this to me”.   I could barely breathe.

Now, as an adult, I still have difficulties at open-casket funerals.  The logical side of my brain assures me that a deceased body cannot move, but the young girl and the writer in me still have that nagging doubt.

I can only hope that Carl eventually outgrew his horrendous mustache (and Herb Tarlek wardrobe) and learned to think before he spewed any further erroneous judgement on young, impressionable minds.  Either that or he has had ten children and countless grandchildren of his own and Karma has finally paid him a visit!

My catnaps are something completely different

5 Comments

It was a marginally illegal happenstance born of complete innocence.  Our Chef made the familiar turn onto our road and noticed the owner’s cat in the woods about a kilometer from their house.  He did what anyone else would do in his situation and he put Lulu in his car to bring her home.

Although the cat seemed mildly disoriented, she seemed to settle back in relatively quickly and made her way to Nanny and Poppa’s house.  Having just returned from south of the border, they were happy to see Lulu and reached into the treat bag they kept at the house.  The cat seemed content to stay there for a couple of days but was finally taken back to her home.   Upon putting the cat on the porch outside of the sliding glass door, Nanny realized that Lulu was inside the house staring back at her doppelgänger on the other side of the door.  Both cats immediately puffed up to twice their size and the interloper was brought back down to the lodge for her own safety.

tabby

The new cat, who I affectionately referred to as RuPaul, lived the Life of Riley for the next few days.  She sauntered around the property, drank lake water while standing on the sandy beach, joined a young conference who had an outdoor meeting session on the lawn and became one of the group.  She was fed, loved and seemed like she would fit right in.

It wasn’t until the next morning that I found out how RuPaul had come to the resort.  We realized the error that our Chef had made by erroneously abducting our neighbor’s cat and she was then returned to the property from where she had been cat-napped.

When the owner realized that Snipey had returned she called her husband immediately, commenting on how well the cat looked and that Snipey wasn’t even hungry.  After reading my message to her on Facebook, Sue called our resort and I told her the story of how her Lulu-lookalike became a part of our lodge family for a few days.  She was a great sport about the story and was extremely happy to have her cat-napped family member home safe and sound.

From now on, we’ll just have to make sure that our Chef sticks with the cat naps that I am used to and not the ones that can get him in to trouble with the neighbors!

 

Is the omission of truth really like telling a lie to your parents?

8 Comments

It is interesting to see how my life has evolved over the last twenty-five years.  I’m certainly not going to tout that I walked uphill to school both ways in the snow in bare feet but there are some long-forgotten truths about things that happened when we were surviving our impressionable years, some that our parents were oblivious to…..and for good reason.  Back in the days when not wearing seat-belts and driving under the influence were almost socially acceptable, there were some essential unwritten rules shared by siblings and friends.  The most important being – “Things that happen in your teenage years, stay in your teenage years”.

But, after the Earth had orbited the sun a sufficient number of times, I felt a little more comfortable regaling my parents with a few of the stories that happened in the good ol’ days since I had a nice cushion of “time gone by” and didn’t think I was eligible to be grounded anymore.  The sealed records had been expunged, the statute of limitations had expired and I was ready to open the locked vault that contained the evidence of our teenage shenanigans.

Running with scissors would have been a much more acceptable behavior and a much easier tale to share over a cocktail or two but my folks took everything in stride, just like I knew they would.  All things considered, after leaving a 19 and 15-year-old home alone while they went to Florida, they were not as shocked as I thought they would be to find out why the kitchen linoleum had tiny burn holes directly in front of the stove (it wasn’t the bacon) and why the giant satellite dish was perched at a precarious angle at the top of the steep hill behind our house.

My brother and I, for all intents and purposes, were respectful human beings and responsible kids.  My parents knew our friends well and we were trusted to roam about town in our pimpin’ ride – the Pontiac Acadian.  If I had to guess, I would say my brother had a Rum and Coke held firmly between his legs (maybe not so responsible) when the little blue car crested the hill.  It was winter and the steep decline was more than treacherous.  All of the defensive driving techniques my dad taught us could not have prevented the outcome of this evening.  The momentum carried them down the hill and my brother strategically maneuvered the tiny car as it tipped on its side and wedged itself between a tree and a telephone pole at the bottom of the hill.  My brother impressively “stuck the landing” and all of the occupants were completely unharmed.  The car, that only weighed about 100 pounds, was pushed out, righted and driven away with minimal damage.

acadian

(ours was a 4-door, but you get the idea)

After spilling the goods to my parents, a little bit at a time, they seemed unnerved.  I always wondered if they had known these things all along and were just waiting for us to come clean.  Was the omission of truth a lie?  Were we terrible children for wanting to shield our parents from the horrors of the real world?  Was it wrong to want to keep them in their safe little bubble?  Only time will tell.

Now that they have both passed and have access to all of the details of our lives, my brother and I may eventually be in for a long overdue time-out when we are all together again.

Nineteen going on romantic

7 Comments

I was having a conversation with a girlfriend about our first really memorable kiss (not together) and I remembered I had written this blog post last year.  I love this memory from my teenage years, so, since it is Throw Back Thursday,  I’m sharing it again.

~~

He held my hand during the movie.  It was sweet.  When he thought nobody would notice he leaned in for a kiss.  It was tentative at first, his lips slowly grazing the flesh of my cheek, but it drew my blood to the surface of my skin and I blushed in the dark.  His face nuzzled my neck and he kissed the skin below my ear.   The movie reel continued, scenes flashed before my eyes and the surround sound echoed throughout the theatre but I became lost in his touch and forgot the movie even existed.

I was 17 and my experience kissing boys was awkward at best.  Teenage boys were a kaleidoscopic combination of raging hormones and wandering hands and I didn’t expect this night to be any different.  I was well versed in a strategic line of defense when it came to thwarting enemy advances but tonight was different.  There were no ill-timed gropes and no need for the tactical measures that I had been prepared to use.

I turned my face to meet him and his lips found mine.  The kiss was soft with a hint of controlled yearning.  His mouth moved from my lips and he kissed both of my eyelids, knowing full well I was squeezing them shut to savor the feel of his mouth on mine.  He kissed the tip of my nose and, after a slight pause, our lips found each others once again.  Where I had expected urgency, there was tenderness.  Where I had expected roving hands on my body, there was only a gentle caress of his thumb on my hand.

19

I was afraid to lose myself in his kiss.  I was waiting for the stampede of teenage male hormones to ruin the moment and I had braced myself for the inevitability of something so sweet turning into something so uncomfortable.  But that moment never happened.  His kiss was his power.  He didn’t listen to the teenage voices in his head telling him to get to second base.  He just seemed to feed off of the energy that was created in the intimacy of a kiss.

His other hand gently cupped my cheek and he pulled me back to his mouth.  It was exhilarating.  I no longer felt the need for my defenses and I let myself get utterly lost in that moment.  In the maturity and wisdom of his 19 years, he got it.  He understood the magic of romance and how to build a moment into a memory.

That moment from so many years ago is still etched into my memory and the power of a genuinely passionate kiss will always differentiate romance and sex.  May we all love deeply and kiss intentionally.

Do you remember the first great kiss you ever had?

Ho Ho Holy Shopping Wars Batman!!

16 Comments

My father used to love to Christmas shop.  There was a certain spark in his eye, a unique scintillation that was only ignited when he was donning his overcoat and preparing to get lost in the churning vortex of people at the busiest mall in Toronto. His exuberance always makes me think of the childlike excitement of Darren McGavin’s character in A Christmas Story when he opens his prized “leg lamp”.   Blood would rush to his cheeks, there was a noticeable spring in his step and his baritone voice softly began to echo the songs of the season.  His melodic tone would lure us into his Christmas trance and we were transported into the beauty of all things festive and giving – until we got to the mall.

clothes fight

Taking a child to that mall during the Christmas rush is like taking a lone goldfish from its tranquil bowl and throwing it into a pool of piranhas.  I was honestly terrified.  On more than one occasion, my tiny hand was ripped from my father’s grip and I bounced like a raft down a cascading white water rapid, lost in a sea of angry strangers.

Never had I seen such a heinous display of the exact opposite of the Christmas spirit – it was full-contact shopping.  People pushed, they shoved, they elbowed their way to displays only to begin a game of tug-of-war for an article of clothing that would probably be returned on Boxing Day.  Many of the words uttered by adults were foreign to me, but they were said with such venom that I knew that my ears should not be privy to those descriptive bits of verbiage.

That shopping experience would taint me for the decades that followed.  For years after that nightmare-inducing display of bad will towards men, I adamantly refused to enter those revolving glass doors into Christmas shopping hell.  Even at that tender age, I had become summarily convinced that hand-made gifts would be more appreciated than something that had been plucked from the floor after the department store carnage in those late hours leading up to Christmas.  I was a pioneer, I was a rebel, I was 7 years old and I was scarred for life.

When the holiday season returned the following year and the threat of mall shopping reared its thorny head, I vociferously engaged in a battle of will with the sovereign of commerce.  Daughter vs father, I expounded on the virtue of hand-crafted gifts and chalked up a small victory as I watched his car pull out of the driveway on the path to the slaughterhouse.

Today, I am a proud supporter of local businesses, and for those gifts that cannot be found here, I shop online.  Parcels are delivered safely, with no malicious intent and I no longer feel the dread of shopping for the holidays.  The mall is now vague memory of a life once lived by a child who still wanted to believe in the true Christmas spirit but didn’t want to get “malled” in the process.