Placing my box proudly on the floor, I anticipated my Husband’s inspection.
“That’s a lot of alcohol.”
“Yes, it is. It’s not for you.”
“Well who is it for? Why do you have to buy something for everyone?”
“I didn’t buy something for everyone. That would require several more boxes.”
He starts unpacking my box, bottle by bottle, quizzing me. “This? Why would you buy 2 bottles of Beaujolais?”
“One is for Halina, one is for William.”
“Huh. Well who is this for? No one drinks this stuff anymore!”
“Asti? Lucy likes it.”
I was getting annoyed. “The Shiraz? Really? We like it, your parents like it…” I trailed off, shaking my head.
“Ok, who do we know that drinks this Kim Crawford stuff? Red and White? Are you kidding me?”
“Janice and Bruce.”
“Naked Grape? Three bottles?”
“I like it. It’s to bring when we go visiting.”
“I hope it was cheap.”
“What about this Malbec?”
“That’s for Tony.”
“You better take this one back!”
“This Frances Ford Coppola Pitagora Red Blend crap!”
“Crap, huh? Why should I return it?”
“Who’d you get it for?”
“That one is for you.”
“It is?” He looked so confused. “Why”?
“Because,” I say with a matter-of-fact smile, “I know you will let me share.”
You may find yourself thinking… And wondering… And asking meaningful questions, as so many great Philosophers before us have done.
Can you imagine, for example, that there are still those among us who believe that the world is ROUND?
And can you fathom, that you may know people who actually believe in Dinosaurs? Seriously? Giant lizards that roamed the earth for millions of years? Pashaw!
Where do people get their ideas? Perhaps they open random books and only read a line or two… J
Why else, would people believe in giant lizards, but not unicorns?
It’s a scientific FACT that what we call “horses” ARE actually unicorns! They just don’t have enough calcium in their diet anymore, so they can no longer produce a viable spiral horn! If they ARE lucky enough to be born with one, it ALWAYS falls off.
I could rant on forever about this nonsense, but instead, I shall thank the Philosopher Mr. Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951), who said “If people never did silly things nothing intelligent would ever get done.”
Please allow me to introduce myself: My name is Michelle. I was a nerd in High School. A short nerd. Still am! Short, that is. I could stand upright in a locker, and would just offer to get in, no need to shove me, thank you very much! I could actually stand in there quite comfortably!
This week’s writing prompt really excited my husband. Its not that I was an ‘angel’ – I always stayed out much later than my curfew, I experimented with green and pink hair, and at one time had 8 holes to wear 8 earrings. 5 in my left ear, 3 in my right. I pierced them myself, responsibly, with a sterilized needle, of course. But I never really did anything dangerously stupid.
My husband Mike however, was a fountain of information and inspiration for this topic. When I explained to him what I needed to write, he enthusiastically told me several things I wish he hadn’t. He started by telling me that he and his friends used to ride their bikes down concrete stairs, under a tunnel, not unlike ours here in Alliston. When that got ‘boring’ they’d jump their bikes down, hoping to land on the ground and not half way down the stairs. “And we used to see who could ride his bike the fastest toward a brick wall, stopping just before we crashed!” I furrowed my brow, not sure why anyone would do this. On purpose. “Who ever got closest and didn’t smash into the wall and ruin his bike, or get hurt – was the winner!”
I shook my head as he continued… “Then there was the time I tried to make gun powder in my bedroom! I started a fire on my desk!” He laughs. I had nothing to say, except, of course, “Why?!” And he shrugged his shoulders. “To blow stuff up!” Still laughing, as if the answer should have been obvious. “What stuff”? I asked, as if any answer here would be a good one. “Nothing in particular” he says, having stopped laughing, but still reminiscing, enjoying the memories, and I am at a loss.
What takes the cake for me though, is his pool story. He told me of how when he was in high school, he and 2 or 3 friends would go to his place after school for a swim. They would climb up on to the roof of his house (thankfully it was a bungalow) and jump into the pool from there. He proceeded to tell me that it wasn’t as simple as just jumping. “We had to jump far enough not to hit the edge of the pool” he says. That goes without saying, I thought to myself. “But there was a Hydro wire running diagonally across the pool. From the house to the street pole, you know?” Yes, I understood. He smiles as he added, “so we had to make sure we went underneath it, which meant some fancy jumping and ducking! It was awesome!” When I ask if his parents knew, he quickly replies, through laughter, “are you kidding me? This one time my mom came home early, and we were still in the pool, and she could see all the water dripping off of the roof, and the roof itself was all wet, just full of water.” When asked about it, all the swimming boys dutifully responded “I don’t know”. So Mike’s mom was in a panic when Mike’s Dad arrived home, assuming that the solar heater on the roof had been leaking! The sun eventually dried everything up, like it usually did before Mike’s parents got home, but that afternoon found his Dad on the roof checking all of the pipes for the pool’s solar heating!
He grinned, an evil grin, as I made notes. “We have three boys. You have no idea what you are in for”. He walked away and I found myself wondering if I should have found any of this out before we decided to have children.
I started this thinking that I would write a poem… And I wrote 2, that didn’t really work. Not on any level.
Then I thought I’d write about the numerous “Unknown Soldiers”. Those that are buried, without their identity marking their final resting place. More specifically, I became interested in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and the Ceremonial Guard, and all of the symbolism that encompasses
Next I turned my thoughts to the poppy, and its symbolism. And then I started reading, not writing.
I sifted through a lot of information; and I read things that I had not known before. Things that I was not taught in school, nor had a previous inclination to lean about.
Most everyone knows that the poppy inspired “In Flanders Fields”, by John McCrae, a Canadian surgeon. He wrote it on May 3rd, 1915.
But… I didn’t know why so many poppies grew around the dead bodies. I didn’t know that it has tremendous historical significance. I mean, of course – most everyone knows that poppies grew where the soldiers died. But that’s all I knew. I was suddenly curious as to why this was the case.
During the Napoleonic wars in the early 19th century, it was documented that “bare land was turned into fields of blood red poppies, that were literally growing around the bodies of the dead soldiers”.
Then, in 1914, poppies sprung up again, in fields in Northern France and Flanders. Apparently, the poppy is the only plant that would grow at all, in those horrid conditions; in those otherwise ‘barren’ battle fields. It has something to do with the earth being “turned up” and seriously disturbed. The seeds germinate when finally exposed to light… So, they must already be there, waiting, to be “upset” – in order to grow. Also, somehow; very symbolic: the beautiful flower that rises and reaches for the sun, the light, as it floods the battle field with blood red poppies.
I read about the continuing controversies surrounding the use of wearing artificial read poppies. More so in other countries… The debates surrounding the “appropriate” use of the poppy wasn’t my primary interest, so I read about the significance of the use of other poppies.
I read about the (often controversial) use of artificial white poppies, apparently used to “promote” peace, and recognize civilian deaths… I read about artificial purple poppies, worn to acknowledge the animals that died in Service. (Apparently, this has transformed into a purple paw print that can be worn all year-round.)
I just kept reading and reading. Instead of writing. But, I am now a little more well informed about our historical, and current; relationship – both actual and symbolic – with the beautiful red poppy.
Joyce has a short story in the September 2016 issue of the Briar Crier “The Secret Life of Potatoes”
And an interview in the November 2016 Issue.
Joyce is an amazing writer!
I wake up to the familiar tap-tap-tap on my fingers and toes. I live in a smallish town, in a century home, with my family of five and seven other people. I have three young boys, (four, if you include my husband, though he is not so young) and among the seven are a young girl, and a sickly grumpy old man, who actually doesn’t bother us very much, he spends most of time in the hallway when I am in the kitchen, he never comes in though.
The little girl on the other hand, spends her time in the playroom with my three boys. They are often together, she prefers to be in the playroom with them, yet she often comes to say hi to me when I am in my bedroom or in the upstairs washroom.
Because the house is old, the floors creak, cupboards often don’t close properly, lights often flicker, and light bulbs often burn out before you think they should.
In addition to all the folks in our house, we have 4 cats, a dog, a bunny, a duck and an aquarium. Yes, I said a duck. He’s a crotchety old thing, and he has his own heated duck house outside.
The busy-ness and the noise in our old house doesn’t faze me. It’s when the house is quiet that I start to really hear things…
The upstairs floor creaks as if someone is walking down the hall, when no one else is home? It’s probably Miss Kitty looking for a snack, she is almost as big as one of my five-year-old’s.
The lights in the dining room are flickering? There is probably ice on the wires. Yes, even in the Spring, it wouldn’t be the first time!
The light in the downstairs washroom is burned-out again? Blame the old guy. He is usually around when it blows. He never replaces the light bulbs though.
A child whispering “mommy!” wakes me up every few nights? Not unusual, I have 3 little boys!
Little fingers tap-tap-tapping on my fingers at night when I am sleeping? I have trouble explaining that away, because there is no one there when I open my eyes. Or is there?
Michelle Dinnick, 2017