11 Feb

Talk to His Wife to Check His Story

My old neighbor from Saskatchewan, Ed, couldn’t believe I was taking curling lessons. The lessons are sponsored here through Elder College and the University of the Fraser Valley, as one of a host of courses, for those over 55. Ed questioned taking curling lessons in BC. He asked, “Why wouldn’t you have learned to curl in Saskatchewan where we curl best?” All I could say was that it was better late than never to be curling here.

Ed told me that there had been a good response to family curling nights at the Melville Curling Club. We both agreed that a family playing a sport together was a worthwhile activity. Of course, Ed had to ask how many curling lessons I was taking, and how much they cost me. When I told him six lessons for $35, he was impressed. He was sure that it was a real senior’s price, worth paying. He also wanted to know what other stuff I could take and wasn’t satisfied until I had read him the whole list of courses offered. When Ed heard that I was also taking lessons in improv comedy, he was certain I was kidding. He insisted on talking to my wife on the phone. She confirmed that I was truly taking classes in curling and improv comedy. My old neighbor was positive that I could not come up with quick-witted, off-the-cuff remarks that would have people in stitches. I told him not to worry for when I didn’t make a funny remark, others in the group did, and the laughs kept coming. Ed said, “Yea I bet they do!” Instantly, I said, “Are you calling me a liar?” He changed the subject.


3 Feb

Not Guilty, Nor Innocent, of Everything.

Ed, my old neighbor from Saskatchewan, has a knack of stretching the truth into more than, the bare truth. Last week Ed said, “Everyone exaggerates the truth, at least, a little. The pure facts may need a little flavor added to them like food needs salt and pepper to season it into something tastier.”

I had told him that I had been bowling and that my games scores were terrible. “That is the kind of truth you don’t share as there is no stretching it into something interesting,” Ed said. Then he asked, “I hope you weren’t one of those kids at school who told the truth when the teacher asked, ‘Who did it?’” I assured Ed that I learned to say that it wasn’t me even before I went to school.


25 Jan

Talk Pure and Simple and We Will Be in Like Flynn

Ed, my old neighbor from Saskatchewan, was not interested when I told him about an article by Richard Lederer about words and phrases that are no longer commonly used today. My old neighbor dismissed old words, and expressions, except for a couple he has used. He claimed that he never used phrases like; “Jumping Jehoshaphat! Heavens to Betsy! Heavens to Murgatroyd!” My old neighbor assured me that he never called anyone a knucklehead, never said that someone was driving an old jalopy, never accused anyone of having cooties, or said that someone looked like the wreck of the Hesperus. When Ed told me he had been innocent of all these old expressions, all I could say was, “Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle!”

Time never stands still, and there is a fine kettle of fish full of what folks used to say once upon a time, but not anymore. The kettle has a large selection of leftover words and expressions, bigger than a bread box, all lost, and without hope of making a comeback into current speech. Ed said that it was good that the expressions of the past are now dead and gone, and that they should stay that way. He said that they have been hung out to dry and that I should give the talk of words of the past, a rest. Fiddlesticks, if only it were that simple!


23 Jan

No Need to Exercise After You Hit Seventy!

Ed, my old neighbor from Saskatchewan, has a dim view of those who waste their money on gyms or fitness centers. Several years ago when I had a membership at the CN gym at Melville, I showed Ed all the machines and weights, etc. in the gym. He could not understand my enthusiasm for the facility. He thought it was silly to pay money to sweat and strain when anybody can sweat and strain at home without paying a cent to do so.

When I talked to Ed last, he was not surprised to hear that I was going to a fitness center here. He, of course, thought it would be both costly and unnecessary at my age of seventy. He compared it to a child playing in traffic, an accident waiting to happen. I tried to tell Ed that I should not stop fitness workouts because I’m growing older. My old neighbor seems to think that after seventy exercise is stepping on the scales and sucking in my gut. It is a little activity but as effective as sitting and reading or watching television. Bowling and curling in the winter and golf in the summer are Ed’s answer to every exercise need anyone could have.

Green Tea

14 Jan

Tea is a Poor Relative of Coffee

Ed, my old neighbor from Saskatchewan, called me last week, and when I answered I had Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata playing near the phone on my desk. Ed thought that he had the wrong number. He demanded to know why I wasn’t listening to country music. “I still listen to country music, but I like a little classical music now and then,” I informed Ed.  My old neighbor could only sigh deeply and ask what other nonsense I had been up to lately.

I told Ed we had been out walking a couple of hours that morning going through second-hand stores, antique shops, thrift stores and pawn shops in our downtown. I told him it was like going to yard sales in Melville. The classical music had cost me fifty cents for the CD. I told him we had stopped at a tea shop and bakery and had tea and a lemon square. Ed wanted to know why we hadn’t gone to Tim Horton’s and had a coffee and donut. I knew I would hear him say, “Tea is a poor relative of coffee, a miserable disappointment, only to drink when blindfolded and held for ransom.” Precisely his words uttered.   

First Quake

10 Jan

There is a First Time for Everything

Ed, my old neighbor from Saskatchewan, was impressed when I called him last week. I experienced something that Ed has never run up against – an earthquake! Ed’ s immediate response was, “There’s a first time for everything.”

Thankfully, I underwent being jolted and shocked by a small earthquake (magnitude 4.3) rather than a serious one. The small earthquake left me wondering what in the world had just happened. It was nearing midnight on Tuesday evening when it felt and sounded like something hit the apartment above ours. I was sitting at my desk typing a sermon, and the wall and window before me shook and trembled so that I wondered what crashed loudly in the apartment above that would shake my wall below. Other people knew that it was an earthquake that could be the start of a larger quake or the coming of significant aftershocks. I was clueless about what had happened until the next day when I learned it was an earthquake the night before.