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Mummering... or not?
This happened on Christmas Eve of 2021. I was sitting at home when my buddy and his family dropped in. Now, he and his family are all from western and northern Canada and although they have heard me talk about mummering from time to time I guess they never really understood the concept or tradition. This is where the confusion started. I opened the door and all five of them came in but they didn't say anything, not even a hello. They took off their boots and sat in the living room, again not saying a word, but they kept looking at each other trying to hold back their giggling. After a minute I asked if this was their version of Silent Night and then they all burst out laughing. I was still lost so I asked what was going on. His wife said to me, "We're trying to be Mummers." Now, twice as confused, I said loudly, "WHAT? How is this mummering?" She said, "Well, aren't we supposed to come in and be mum (silent) for as long as we can?" With that, I lost it! Obviously, they never understood the goings on of mummering as, I know now, it had never been fully explained to them. I had to give them a background on the history and tradition and showed them my stuffed Mummers I had on the TV stand, and then played The Mummers Song video on You Tube. One of the kids said, "But, isn't this Hallowe'en? They all have costumes on." It took a little more explaining as to why they were all disguised but after that we all had a good laugh at the whole thing.
Having some tests done at the hospital Dr asked me to stand up legs spread. As she was looking at my feet. She said you are from the east coast? I replied you can tell that by looking at my feet? She replied no your accent! Oh my.
Acting Like a Woman
My wife and I decided to attend a 'smoke sale' at Bowring Brothers on Water Street, St. John's. When we arrived at the store there was a long line, mainly women, waiting for the doors to open. As soon as the doors opened, there was a rush forward to get into the store to reach the clothes on sale. I was jostled by several women trying to reach the items they wanted. I soon realized that for me to get any of the bargains on sale, I would have to be as aggressive as the women. When I reached for a shirt, the woman in front of me turned around, glared at me and said, "Why don't you act like a man?" "Lady,"I replied, "I've been acting like a man all morning and I've got nothing. Now I'm going to act like a woman!" -Carl Smith CBS, NL
O Holy Night
When I was teaching in a one-room school, grades 1 - 8, in northern BC, during December one year, for our Art class, I asked the students to draw their concept of the Nativity scene. Most of the older students did very well, but I was intrigued with the drawings of one grade 5 student. He had depicted his version of a stable, complete with sheep and a donkey, and the manger with the Baby, Mary and Joseph, plus a couple shepherds, But, to the left of the scene was a figure which captivated my attention. I said: "Silas, I do not remember the Bible story having a snowman at the stable." He replied, "Sir, that is not a snowman, that is Round John Virgin." Orville Cole Dartmouth, NS
Coconut Santa Claus
When my son was a young lad and at the age when he doubted if there really was a Santa Claus, I overheard him tell his sister on Christmas Eve, "Leanna, there is no such thing as a Santa, and I'm staying up to prove it." They went to bed at their usual time. After giving it a lot of thought, I decided I was going to put a Santa under the tree. I draped a red jacket over a stacking stool, and laid a pair of black rubber boots (heels up) on the floor. I placed a large coconut on the stool and covered it with something red and white. In the dim light it really looked like the real thing. Early Christmas morning I took 'Santa' away. After the gifts were opened, I overheard my son say, "Leanna, there is a Santa Claus. I came out last night and he was under the tree. I tapped him on the head and his head was hard as a coconut." -Winnie K. Munden Burnt Islands, NL
Fear of saying Congratulations
I had a great work friend, who turned into a solid friend. We didn't see each other often as she was a married woman with several children and much responsibility; whereas I was young and single with little responsibility during that time. I ran into this special friend about a year after I'd last seen her and said, "oh my gosh, you look beautiful, congratulations, when are you due?" while simultaneously squeezing her gently. She said. "I'm not pregnant." I felt terrible and haven't said it to anyone unless they tell me they are pregnant. No guessing for me.
My brother in law threw his new laptop over his wharf
My brother in law was very nervous about using internet as it was brand new to him. He got a few pointers and decided to try it for himself. He was doing ok until a flashing message came up on the screen saying 'you have made a fatal error and it's irreversible' ...it was a computer generated voice and he couldn't stop the message. He panicked, ran with his laptop out to his wharf and threw it over. It was years later before he used the internet again
My neighbour came over for a glass of wine. I drink white and she drinks red, so she brought her own glass over. When she finished I said, I think I have a bottle of red wine in the fridge. So I poured her a glass and she didn't say anything but when I asked how it was she said it was very sweet. Then I remembered our son had made maple syrup and put it in a wine bottle! -Shirley Jaynes Amherstview, ON
My friend, the 'green' gardener.
My friend's husband, like me, is an avid gardener but he grows primarily root vegetables. He does not grow herbs, lettuces or spinach, and my friend especially likes spinach. She leaves the gardening to him as she does not like it she said, though I believe it is because she lacks confidence never having tried to look after any of it. As well she was always busy with work until her recent retirement. Since her retirement, we often now walk together. This week after returning from our walk, I brought her up on my back patio to look at all my herbs, lettuce, and spinach I have growing quite well in containers. She tried the mesclun lettuce and spinach and was quite impressed - after all it is still early June and we are in Central Labrador. She especially liked the spinach and thought that maybe she could try the same after asking me how I planted the seeds. She didn't waste any time shopping for seeds as the following day while out walking she told me she had went to the local stores that sold seeds and found some packages of the lettuce seeds. She was very disappointed though, she said, because she was unable to find only regular spinach seeds. She loved my spinach she said and was disappointed nobody had any 'baby' spinach seeds. I told her it was regular spinach seeds I had. She said but you have 'baby' spinach. I laughed and told her that is because they are young. She said she will go back and get them then but she still didn't sound convinced she will get her baby spinach from regular seeds. Joan Saunders
Father to be panics when baby comes early
My friend called the hospital when his wife went into early labor and when the doctor was on the line my friend told him that his wife was having the baby right now and he didn't know what to do. The doctor said I will help you so listen carefully. First of all is this her first child. My friend answered, no, this is her husband
Cod Liver Oil
Each morning before going to school, my brothers and sisters and I were given a spoonful of cod liver oil. It made my stomach turn over. One morning, after taking the spoonful of oil, I ran to the closet under our stairs and spit it into my fathers' old winter coat pocket. Not sure if it was discovered. I imagine it soaked into the pocket. I think most of the families used this as a necessity to keep us children healthy. This was during the early 1940s. Today I still take it but in capsule form. - Helen Curwin
When I was a child living in St. John's in the 1940's, I was with my father, a Salvation Army Officer, when he went one day in June to visit a patient at the Waterford Hospital. I was waiting in his car when a farmer came along with his horse and cart, which was filed with manure. Three men were leaning up against the inside of the fence. One of them called the farmer and said, "Hey, mister. What are you doing with that load of ****?" The farmer replied, "I'm taking that to my farm to spread on the strawberries." "Aw, sir," the man replied, "You should come in here... We haves cream on ours." - Orville Cole
My Most Embarrassing Moment
I remember the day so clearly. My youngest son was at school, my husband was at work, and my oldest son was on his way home for the weekend. I had the entire house to myself. While cleaning the downstairs, I put on the radio and when I started sweeping, the band AC-DC came on. They're my most favourite band. I started dancing and singing with my broom. I felt like I was part of the band. All of a sudden, I heard clapping. I turned around and my oldest son Ken was standing there. I was hoping the floor would swallow me up. I was in my late thirties back then. Now I am 75 and never forgot it. Martha (Devereaux) Snow Welland, ON
My grandson, who was four, made me breakfast in bed one Mother's Day morning. He brought it in and gave me my coffee first. I tasted it and said, "This tastes different." "Well Nan, I soaked the tea bag for a long time before I put the coffee in. It should be delicious!" I drank it. Coffee made with love. Vera Mullins Hr. Breton, NL
Young hospital employee asked me if I fought in world war ll
I have been working at the hospital on the west coast of Newfoundland for almost 45 years. Over time there are more and more younger people coming along as more of the older folk retired. Last week I sat in the break room next to a much younger co worker. He asked me if I fought in the Second World War and I asked him why he would think that . He shrugged and said, well, you look old enough.
Do you remember when we had a traffic cop in the centre of the intersection at Prescott and Duckworth Streets? Well, I tell ya, one of my most memorable moments for me and, I'm sure, for the police officer, happened on a sunny afternoon in the summer of 1987. I was going east on Duckworth when I came upon the intersection. The officer put up his hand to stop me. But after that, his arm movements became fast and confusing, at least to me. Not sure what I was supposed to do, I inched out slowly. Then it seemed like he was done with traffic in my direction, so I stopped. Within a minute, I had crept out to the point where I eventually ever so gently bumped into the back of the officer's legs with my car. He swiftly swirled around and slammed his outstretched hand onto the hood, yelling, "WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO DO?! PICK ME OFF?!" My passenger was rolling around on the floor of my vehicle laughing hysterically! I was never so embarrassed in my life! Traffic came to a standstill in all directions as I slunk across the intersection and carried on my way. - Kerry Singleterry
Deep and Dark
We were on a cross-Canada camping trip with a hard-top tent trailer back in '75. It was after dark one day when we reached a campground, and my four year old daughter really had to 'go'. Heidi's six year old brother, Jon, and I went to the nearest outhouse, gave her a flashlight and waited outside. She soon came out and said that the hole was "dark and deep." Jon quickly replied, "don't worry, Heidi, if you fall in I'll pull you out!" Dave Ward Centreville, NS
Lost in Toronto
My friend, Ray, told me that when he was living in Toronto, his niece visited from Daniel's Harbour. She went out exploring, and got lost in Toronto. She found a telephone booth (this was before cell phones) on the sidewalk, and called her uncle. He said: "Where are you?" She replied, "I don't really know. All I see is big buildings." He said: "Look at the signs on the street corners and tell me where you are." After a moment of hesitation, she said: "I am at the corner of WALK and DON'T WALK." Orville Cole Dartmouth, NS