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Blood of a Spud By Calli Strickland (Dedicated to Sandy Strickland)
Note: After becoming well known for blowing up baked potatoes in the oven despite stabbing them, my daughter submitted the following poem to her English teacher.She received an excellent mark for her effort!
His beady eyes
Ever so taunting
Watch me in silence
As I approach
Trying to hide my fear
Mustering all the courage inside of me
I raise my spear
And plunge it into his heart
Over and over
I scream bloody murder
As I puncture his skin
Until my victim
Is satisfyingly wounded
I send him off
When all seems well
And I feel as though I have finally won
He gives me one final look
Before he self destructs
Splattered over the walls
I sigh in defeat
At the loss of yet another
Oh mighty potato
I will conquer you
Mummers on the Mainland
Your article Mummers on the Mainland(December 2018) sparked a good memory for us from 1992. In August of that year I received a phone call from my sister saying they were going to be transferred again (her husband was in the Canadian Armed Forces). I thought to myself, so what, they were always going from place to place in Canada. Then she stated we are going to Hawaii in an exchange with the USA Forces. That got my attention and I blurted out that I hoped she had an extra bedroom because we were coming to visit. We made plans to spend Christmas in Hawaii. We took our two daughters, age 12 and 14, out of school early in December and off we went to Hawaii. On Christmas day we put the turkey in the oven and went to the beach for a few hours before having a great Christmas feast. Our wedding anniversary is December 28 and my sister planed a party for us at their house. They invited their friends and some of my brother-in-law's work buddies which gave quite the mixture of nationalities "from mainland USA, Hawaiian, and the other Canadians. There was a total of seven Canadians in the exchange and the funny thing was that four of the seven were Newfoundlanders. When the party was in full swing" Newfoundland Kitchen Party style, in danced four mummers. My brother-in-law and the other three Forces Newfoundlanders, had secretly dressed up and entered the party. The non-Newfoundlanders were speechless and in awe as they danced and sang through a few songs. It really made our anniversary something special and a memory we will hold for a lifetime. PS we also had the cops knock on our door twice that night investigating complains of noise. After the second time we figured we should call it a night. Newfoundland Mummering in Hawaii and a Newfoundland Kitchen Party doesn't get any better than that.
The Phone Call
Here's what happens when your wife and mom have the same name.
The Phone Call ...
I once received a phone call, not knowing where the call was coming from and a lady asked if she could speak to Bernice.
I said "Sorry, but Bernice is not here right now... Can I take a message?
Lady... "Are you her son?" Me... "No, I'm her man." Lady..."I'm calling to schedule an appointment for her because we will be coming to your area soon." Me..."Well, she's gone up to Fort Mac now and won't be home until Dec 12th."
Lady... "She's gone for a little holiday, is she?
Me... "No, she's gone up there working";
Lady... "Oh really, you've got to be kidding me"and then she started laughing.
Me... "No maid, She had a bad year at the fish plant and she needed more hours to qualify for her E.I. The sooner she gets home the better to because she's been gone since September and when she gets home we've got some serious catching up to be doin.
Lady... Starts laughing again.
Lady... "Would sometime in January be ok then?" Me... "Sure, as long as it's before the 15th."
Lady... She gave me the date
Me... "Let me check my schedule first... Great because I'm not working that day either"
Lady... "Oh, you work to, do you?
Me... "Yes maid, no rest for the weary."
Lady... Started laughing again and we said Good-Bye
Later on that day mom dropped in and I told her about the phone call I had for Bernice and the laughing lady.
Mom started laughing and crossed her legs to keep from peeing her pants.
I said to her "What's so funny"
She said "That call was meant for me, not Bernice
Then we both had a big laugh at it.
Mom was 88 at the time and the call was from the hearing aid company.
I'm 95 years young, when I was a young office worker a clerk in an adjoining office had the last name of "Pretty" A new clerk by the name of "Knott" was hired and when the introduction was made in our office he said "one is Pretty and one is Knott." True Story..
We were getting ready to go shopping, when I picked up my eye glasses one of the lens fell out. I took them to the centre for eye glasses, asked if someone could fix it. She looked at the problem and said, "There is a screw loose." I said, "Oh, it runs in the family." She was laughing so hard I was afraid she would lose the screw, but she fixed it! - Calvin Goosney
Dangers of Driving
My Uncle Adrian Hunt from Rushoon is a salt-of-the-earth guy, and was a hard-working fisherman all his life. He's also been known to make the occasional slip of the tongue, such as when he sang the following line in the traditional Irish song "Black Velvet Band" : "...and her eyes hung over her sho-oul-der!" (instead of "And her hair, it hung over her shoulder"). My favourite Uncle Adrian story, however, occurred when the family was discussing the dangers of driving on the Burin Peninsula. After hearing a news story on Here and Now about a car accident, my uncle (who never drove) got a pensive look, and made the statement, "Yes, b'y, driving is pretty dangerous...you can't take your eyes of the road for five minutes!" - David Roche Athens, Ohio (originally from Conception Bay South, NL)
My husband and I had a cabin in Howley, Newfoundland. After fishing, we would drive around the lake. On this particular day we saw a moose near the road. I had seen lots of moose before, but none this close. We stopped and I got out with my camera. The moose was only about 15 feet away. It looked at me, twitched its ear and pawed the ground. I turned and asked my husband, who was still sitting safe in the Jeep, "What should I do if he comes towards me?" My husband casually replied, "Try to catch the Jeep!" - Myrtle Byrne Corner Brook, NL
where's the hound
One night,while returning from a trip to the cabin,I came to a sudden stop as a red fox darted across the road in front of the car. As I started to move ahead again our granddaughter Brooke, who was about five at the time, said "but poppy where's the hound" Apparently the Disney classic which she had seen many times was very real to her.
My wife Cynthia and I had bought a stackable record player, dual cassette player, and CD player complete with speakers and a remote .We were quite excited to play some of our old vinyl and show the children , Isabella and Lily , this old great technology. We put on a record for the kids and used the remote to increase the volume. We thought it was great but the kids were less enthused. Finally a song came on that Isabella enjoyed. When the song ended she grabbed the remote and kept pushing a button. Confused, my wife and I asked her what she was doing , to which she replied , she was pushing the rewind button. After some badly repressed laughter we explained that she needed to lift the needle and move it back one song and put it into the groove. Her shocked face said it all, we were old now.
All aboard to Timbuktu.
I was walking home from having picked up my five year old step daughter Lily, at school. As usual, as we cut through the park, she wanted to stop and play on the swings and on the metal train. I agreed to take a train ride with her. She called all aboard and I boarded the train climbing up the several steps of the ladder. She asked where I would like to go and I very smartly replied "Timbuktu." She made all the appropriate train engine sounds and the trip was beginning to drag on a bit. I needed to get back to work and was trying to speed the journey up somewhat. Eventually I asked if we were at Timbuktu to which she very seriously replied that we were only at Timukone, thus extending our journey and time in the park some more. I burst into fits of laughter much to her dismay . Her reasoning was very sound, Timbukone came before Timbuktu.
Blushing at the Beach
On an unseasonably warm day in early June of 1996, our family decided to go on an adventure. We frequented Golden Sands and other nearby swimming holes, but on this day we decided to find something new. We travelled around the loop of the Burin Peninsula with the windows down and 80's rock blaring out the windows. When the heat eventually became unbearable, we pulled off at the next stop that promised sweet relief in the form of a lake to jump into. For the life of me, I cannot recall the name of this place, but I will always remember that beach!
The lake had a nice cool breeze coming off it and the beach was actually a mass of large rocks. It was a rather large body of water, surrounded by stones the size of your fist and enclosed with large evergreens, it was the perfect haven to explore. I had brought my new snorkeling set and was excited to see what I could find under the water. I set up my towel site, and stripped down to my swimsuit. The suit was a hand-me-down from an older cousin, in great condition and my 13-year old self thought it looked pretty good! It was an electric blue colour with black cut-ins at the sides and had a black zipper down the front. Now, even at thirteen, I was quite well-endowed, but I was very confident this zipper would keep me contained as I combed the bottom of the lake with my treasure bag.
I grabbed my gear and headed out into the water. If you don't know much about the climate in Newfoundland, I will tell you that early June is a tad chilly for swimming - even on a scorcher like that day was. The water felt ice cold and sent goose bumps tingling over every inch of me. I have since discovered that most children and youths don't mind any temperature water as long as they can be in it! I was no different of course, and splashed right in to that frigid water. You get used to it after a while anyway right? Or perhaps your body goes numb and you can't feel the cold as much. I soon found out the latter was truth.
I started out in the water just below where our family had set up camp, put my gear on and began to comb along the bottom of the shallow pool. I was about two meters from shore and the water was still less than knee-deep. I scoured along the bottom, breathing through my snorkel and unearthing rocks or stones that looked interesting. I had gone down the shoreline about half a mile when my freezing body wanted out. I emerged on the beach, and removed my gear. I noticed a group of about five older teenaged boys standing on the beach just a few meters from where I had surfaced. They were all staring at me - agape.
Oh no! I did a quick check and found that my zipper had only gone down about an inch - not so bad! As I stated before, I was already well-endowed and therefore can't see anything beyond my obtruding bust-line. What the heck were these guys staring at? Then my brand-new teenage ego piped up to inform me that they were staring at me! Oh yes! I was all that and a pack of chips - why wouldn't a group of boys stare in unadulterated, open-mouthed awe? I smiled to myself and batted my eyelashes at these guys, grabbed my gear and started to trek back to where most of my family was sunning themselves closer to the treeline. I turned back a couple times to see that the older boys were STILL staring and my over-inflated ego loved every minute of it- until I got back to my family.
I was standing in front of my mother and youngest brother, towel-drying the cold off me when my brother sat up, took one look at me, and began roaring with gales of laughter. I quizzically looked at him, but all he could do between the wheezing and snorting was point.
At my crotch. I bent the right way to see around my mountainous mammaries and looked down. I was so numb and frozen that I hadn't noticed one of those fist-size stones had somehow gotten into my swimsuit and settled itself firmly into the bikini area. There I stood with Double-D's and a brand new "package". The commotion brought the rest of the family upright to join in sniggering at the hilarity of my situation.
I however, was mortified when I came to the realization that the group of boys was not in fact agog because of me, but because of my new anatomy!
I grabbed my stuff and ran for the car; horrified and humiliated! At that point, I didn't much care about the heat - I needed to get out of there. It seems like the end of the world for a young teen when such an embarrassing event occurs, but trust me, you will be laughing about it in the years to come. Don't take yourself too seriously and try to see any situation from another perspective. Life is about finding joy - and joy is laughter.
When I was 26 (I'm 78 now), we bought our first home on two acres of land. I had plans to plant many trees and flowers. One day I planted a flowering tree and a neighbour suggested I put fish around the tree for fertilizer. We lived by a river, so I sent the kids down to catch some fish. When they returned I carefully placed the fish around the base of the tree. When my husband came home I proudly showed him my gardening skills. The first thing he asked was, "Why are there fish around the tree?" When I told him what the neighbour said, he burst out laughing and said, "You're supposed to dig the fish into the dirt around the tree, not just lay them on top!"
Soup from Scratch
My sister Bridget, who was only 12 at the time, always wanted to make soup, but my mother wouldn't let her because she was afraid she'd burn herself on the wood stove. One day while Mom was gone to the hospital, Bridget decided to go ahead and put on a pot of soup. When Mom got back she was a little miffed with Miss Bridget. But when we sat down for our soup, it was delicious. After a few spoonfuls, though, Mom said, "Bridget, there's peel on this turnip. You must have not peeled this slice of turnip." She looked at Mom and said, "You have to peel turnip" Good soup, but none of the vegetables were peeled.
The debate team
My husband Rick, who is originally from McCallum, NL was having a discussion with my brother and his girlfriend about arguing with the grocery store over a mispriced item. She asked my husband if he had ever been on the school debate team. My brother replied "no, but he was on de bait team!" As he used to go fishing with his Dad Karl.
I asked a friend for the identity of the person I should contact for historical information on a church he had pastored. He gave me the name of a women who had a wealth of information. I then asked if she had "e-mail." "E-mail!" he exclaimed. "She doesn't even have a "He-mail." Her husband died many years ago!