the History of Misery

A miserable man and a young girl meet accidentally to find that the past is always beginning.

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Lucky Pig!

“Lucky pig. Not for eating” read the label on the huge jar on the counter. 
Kim and I were in Savanna where this caught my eye. It was full of little pink rubber piggies.  Apparently, so the label continued, “Glucksshwein” was a German saying that dated back to hard times and having a pig meant you were very lucky indeed. Hey! Everyone likes to have luck right? So I bought one and we carried it home back to Windsor, Ontario. 
We left Savanna and drove to Tampa Bay to visit with Kim Dad for the holiday. That night he was taken to the hospital with chest pains. Heart problems. Fortunately he was out the next day but told to take it easy while they arrange a date to have a heart valve repaired. 

I had come down with a nasty cold and on the way home Kim caught it we are still trying to get over it. 

The first morning home there was a knock on the door. It was the buildings plumber, there was a leak in the storage rooms hallway below us. Could I check your bathroom? The seal in our tub had dried out and the water was leaking through it.  I paid him cash and closed the door wishing him a happy new year and please - don’t come back. We both laughed and waved goodbye. 

The second day, Kim had gone to the mailbox and found that her income tax had been reassessed. She had 17 days to pay it with incurring more interest charges. Bummer. 
The following day I got my reassessment. 
Lucky Pig? 
We decided it was time to take the pig for a walk. Out in the cold wind we went, walking briskly to the Detroit river which was just in front of our condo. I place piggy on the railing to get my gloves off and darn if a sudden gust of wind didn’t blow him over into the river. We watched as he floated quickly away. I swear I saw a fish come up and all that was left was the ripples in the water. 
I wished the fish lots of luck but had at the time a suspicion it would soon be caught and the fisherman will laugh at his surprise of finding a little good luck pig inside. If he only knew…….

Jesus asks A Favour.....

I was sitting on a park bench 
Having a coffee, reading my paper,
Looking for a deal! 
When a familiar looking stranger came walking (over) to me. 
He said: 

“My Name is Jesus 
Can I ask you a question? 
Can I sit beside you? 

I’ve been doing this for a long, long time !
I was there before they crucified me !
I have always been and always will be !

I’ve been doing this for a long, long time....
We all believe but we all deceive 
I’ve been doing this a long, long time 
But I see no changes from what used to be.
I’d like to take a day off , take a small holiday, Do you think you could fill in for me?
I’ve been doing this a long long time."


 I Like Christmas.

I like the idea - you know - Peace and Goodwill to man 
(and women ) etc., But lately I can see why some go stark raving at the commercialization 
crazed guzzlumption - a guilty-like daze to balance the lack of love, actions, sayings, attention, 
(you can continue to add to the list here…..) 
When Christ said Redemption is close at hand I don’t think he meant 
“reach for your credit card.”

(read as fast as you can)

I want to go fast! 
I want to Get There 
I need to Get Things 
I need things Done 
I want to go

I want to go fast! 
I got to get me there 
I got to get this and that
I need Say hi to you 
Then say good bye to you

I want to go fast! 
I’m late by a minute 
I’m late by a mile 
I go early and never leave  last 
I want to go fast! 

I got to go





Middle Man 

I am the middleman 
Not too high not too low 
Not too right not too left 
Never too happy 
Never too sad 

I am the middleman 
I’m not the smartest 
I’m not the dumbest 
I’m not too quiet 
I’m not too loud 

I am the middleman 
Between mortal and immortal 
Between right and wrong 
Conscious and unconscious 
Between life and after 

I am the middleman

I was raised on a 160 acre apple farm. Around us were chicken farms, dairy farms, pigs, and crops of every kind. My mother made the most of it; her mother, a Victorian lady, had instilled all those traits so necessary for those times. Baking, preserving, cooking and so on and so. Mom was was a great cook, we never went hungry and she made the best pies ever. Crusts made from scratch absolutely, absolutely the best. 
Once I came home from school with a great report card, my mother so proud of her little Jimmy would ask if I could have something special as a reward - what would I like? 
My school - a one room school, named Balacalva had a flat playground, a small baseball diamond and lots of room for others to run and be kids. In the winter the wind blew the snow off the grounds and over the fence into the gravel pit that was fenced off next to the school. 
Kids being kids we noticed the biggest neatest drifts that jutted out from the edge of the pit which dropped down some 15-20 feet. 
Over the fence we went and after cautious probing we soon were running, jumping out into the drifts and plunged through to drop slowly to the bottom, and then running with delight back to the top to do it again. 
I had noticed farther away a really big drift poking further out into the gravel pit and decided to jump there. I sprang out into it with a shout and plummeted through. Instantly I felt a jab in my hip and I cried out in pain. At the bottom I twisted around to see to my horror - blood. I had landed on a broken bottle neck. 
I was home for a few days, the doctor came - I got stitches, I was in a miserable sore state. My mother hoping to make me feel better asked is there something I can get you to make you feel better? (Okay say it with me) 
So it began, successes, and misfortunes of my life, rewarded or nurtured, with Pie! If at some miserable point in your life - or some wonderful time I tell you everything will be fine or that's great. Have some pie. You now know why.

Life is a List 

It would be nice to be able to control the chaos that constantly churns around my life every day. 
If it’s not the weather – it’s my family – if it’s not my life in general – it’s the future, the past, or the present. 
Is there a centre of peace – calm – tranquility? A haven?   
The centre of a tornado I’m told. 

Isn’t that just what it’s like at times. 
Meditation a likely answer? 
Or I could just stop all input. 
No news, no people , no commotion. 

My quota for unexpected chaos is usually sustainable. 
I can handle it. 
It swells and dissipates. 
Waves – crests and troughs, troughs and waves 

I don’t want to hide. 
I like life. Life is chaos. Always something needing to be done. 
Life is a list. 
Now that’s true.


Vampire Peacocks

The Culture Vultures preen
Marching their bands of brands
Always happening - always seen in the scene
Huddle like puddles of diamonds
While worshipping pretenders form an outer shell?

The younger, want to be older
The older to be younger
Both unaware of the inversions to come.
from more of best
to less of the rest.


The Friend I never Had

I found this nice little picture frame for 10 cents at a garage sale. (this was before the Damn Panic) I often have small sketches that I use to work out pieces and parts of a painting I‘m developing and thought this frame might hold one of the better ones nicely.

The man, according to an inscription on the back of the frame is a Mr. Theodore Arsenault, born 1853. I asked the lady at the garage sale if he was a relation to her, but she said no and had no idea who he was, or how the picture had come into their possession.

I’ve had this little picture frame sitting on a shelf, where I have picked it up and made ready to dismantle the picture and then slip in one of my sketches. But I haven’t yet! I would look at the image and wonder is this the very last remaining evidence of Mr Theodore Arsenault, who I was about to remove and throw into the garbage.
So it returned to the shelf to wait until then next time. I didn’t have the heart to dispose the last evidence of Mr. Theodore Arsenault.

“Look at this way” - I pondered, “what if it was me in this little frame and someone a hundred years from now picks it up, and decides to use it for a baby picture.” My image, my last existence from the past, soon to follow the endless dissolution, the disappearing humanities, the generations of forgotten individuals. Poof! No more! A forgotten thought!

Today he again sits on the shelf, unaware of my contemplations and unknowingly has become “the Friend I Never Had.”

Luddites and Disruptors

Against Change or FOr change?

In the early 1800’s the luddites set out in a rampage to destroy the wool and cotton mills. 

New machines, new ways of thinking, new social customs have regularity occurred to upset the normal way of things. There are many instances where new inventions and fads have led to a major upheaval in the ways of life, sometimes many times in a one generation. 

We can’t go backwards. 
We can’t go forward. 

I watched a video on the internet where a group of discontents went on a rampage. 
Protesting the wearing of masks. 
Protesting the closing of facilities 
Protesting the interruption of their lives. 

I shake my head at the realization that hundreds. perhaps tens of thousands of individuals are merging and clashing this very day all over the world demanding that their lives stay the same - or move along with the change of time. 

I wondered if this is the same thing? Luddites smashing the machines? 

It is too much for me to comprehend any solution, so I put on my hat and jacket and escape outside for a stroll around the block. 

At least this small act feels likes some kind of progress.

Weave and Cleave

A Strange Dream

Well soldier, there’s the enemy, he pointed down a slight slope covered with tall grasses and shrubs. What’s your plan?
This was my first chance to show my skills in sussing out the enemy. A half circle of new recruits fanned out behind us, watching this demonstration by newly promoted me!
SIR! I’m going to Cleave and Weave!
The Sargent, his face turning red. “CLEAVE and WEAVE!” He shouted.
I hope you’re not planning to knit a sweater for them?, What the hell is Weave and Cleave?”
“SIR!” I replied, I held my right arm out ,my hand turned sideways, I began to chop down and then slowly push the imagined debris to the right out of the way. I did that a couple of times. “I’ll CLEAVE the enemy, separate them away from each other, isolate. Then with my left hand held straight out in front, palm facing the ground I moved it slowly left to right and back and forth, wiggling my fingers slowly. “THEN I’ll WEAVE amongst them unaware and take them by surprise!
“I can hardy wait” was the reply.
I flattened myself out on the ground and crawled and slid into the grass, my head popping up occasionally to take bearings. Eventually after what seemed like an hour but probably was only 5-7 minutes I found myself up against a wall. Wall? I could go no further down, No enemy.
I began crawling left following the wall and in a couple of minutes came up against another wall heading up to the top of the hill in a straight line ending some distance to the left of the recruits.
“What the heck” I wondered. I took a quick peak up and saw an individual walking down the hill towards me. I could see no others so I stood and shouted out “STOP!” I slowly walked towards him, now both hands straight out in front of me. Each hand with a small hat pin held between the thumb and index finger.
As I got closer I suddenly realized this enemy was no other than the prime minister of Canada. Justin Trudeau. “He must be taking part in the demonstration I thought.
The hat pin in my left had was slightly pink and I stopped to figure out why.
AT that moment I woke up laughing, CLEAVE and WEAVE, Oh my god, I half fell out of bed and stumbled into the living room to find a pen and paper, CLEAVE and WEAVE, I was laughing at the sound of it and imaging it as an actual military maneuver.
Crazy dream. And so my day started.


How the Expression -'Out of his tree' originated

I can tell you exactly when that came to be:
In my youth I like’d climbing trees. This is fine, I suppose if you do it once in a while. I guess most people climb a tree at least once a year, but I usually end up in a tree at least once a day in some way or other.
I particularly liked climbing maple trees. You can get quite a ways up in a maple tree you know, - the view can be rather exceptional at times. But anyway, I would climb this tree – I had a favourite tree – and I would sit up there for an hour or two watching people walk underneath. People really look different if you view them from the top.
When I was younger – (this “habit” can be traced a ways back ) – I would sit up there in any tree for a while and have quite a good time, but after a couple of hours even that got boring, so as a result I turned to different ways of having fun. I began to spit on people who walked under and then just as a safety precaution I would whistle like a bird. (You see you can pick up some useful tricks by hanging out in a tree for a couple hours a day). But anyway this protected me from being discovered because if you’re under a tree and suddenly you feel this wet deposit and then hear a bird you don’t have to look up to see what that might be. IN fact you have a pretty good idea and you really don’t want to look up because you’re afraid you may get a second missile landing in your face.

So you see I felt pretty safe up there in that tree. But as fate would have it eventually I was discovered. I had a friend, (once,) and I thought maybe he’d like to see how I spent my time so the two of us climbed up into my favourite tree and I showed him all the different fun things you can do to amuse yourself in a tree.
However my friend left to go home before I did, Actually he fell. I forgot he wouldn’t be as sure footed as I was and he slipped, bounced from a few limbs and then ran home crying. (remember – I was just a youngster)

Well that would have been fine but unfortunately he had a mother and she wanted to know just on earth why he was up in a tree. The story quickly spread through the neighbourhood. The dirty bird in the tree was really me. People began avoiding walking under the tree and I soon became bored with the lack of activity.

This caused a little soul searching on my part. (I was fairly introspective in my younger days) I was born in Ottawa, moved to Burlington before I knew that I was living in Ottawa but shortly after knew that I was in Burlington and we lived in 3 different homes in Burlington before moving out into the country out outside of a small village known as Freelton and then after about 8 or 9 years we moved to Carlisle which was just another village a few miles from Freelton and then right there – you remember I was doing some soul searching  -  I decided that I could apply this lesson to the present situation and I did. I moved into another tree. And it wasn’t a maple either.

Well people were still avoiding the old tree and they didn’t know I had moved so they didn’t worry about walking under the new tree I had chosen so I had lots of unsuspecting people to spit on. I was pretty accurate by this time too and remembering the lesson I learned I even changed my bird whistle.

This went along successfully for quite a while, but then one day as I was climbing up my tree I found a small box wrapped and tied with a pretty ribbon and on the box was a little card that was addressed to the “the tree dweller." I 'd been situated in this tree for about seven weeks now and I hadn’t seen anyone else in the tree so I figured that the package was intended for me. I opened it to find a nice big juicy dew worm in the box and it was then I realized I had to get out of that tree. When I got to the bottom a couple of people who knew me saw me jump down and right away one of them said ”Look – he’s out of his tree!”

Well for the next 3 or four weeks everyone who saw me would wait until I was some distance from them and then they would turn and say to each other ”he’s really out of his tree.”  It was a little more polite than actually saying “he’s the crazy kid always up in the tree”
Today this expression is still used by anyone referring to someone else who be might be  thought of as being just a little odd and it all started with my being up in a tree.