He Had It All Planned

Last week’s Crimson Creative Challenge was the picture of an old bridge with a tunnel underneath. See it Here. I wrote this story in my head, but only now have I got it in a proper file.

It’s a modern romantic tale — a bit silly perhaps. Sadly, it violates Crimson’s 150-word limit by almost 600 words, so I’m going to use a different picture and post it as my response to today’s Word of the Day prompt: CAREFUL. Nevin’s plans were carefully made, but he didn’t factor in one little unknown that made all the difference.

 

Tunnel.Nuremberg

THE TUNNEL OF LOVE

“Here we are.” Nevin and Wendy got out of the car. “Let’s get us one of those paddle boats and sail away.”

Wendy’s eye sparkled. “I love paddle boats.”

Ten more minutes, he thought, smiling. Everything’s set up and the operation will be in full swing before she catches on.

But Wendy had stopped and was staring toward the dark opening. “Umm… Is that the tunnel you want to go through? It’s so…dark.”

“That’s the idea, sweetheart. Couples do a little smooching in the shadows before they come out the other side.” He kissed her cheek. “And I’ll be right beside you.” He took her hand and tugged her toward the paddle boat rentals.

She turned to him, her face pale. “Uh… I don’t think I can do this.”

Nevin raised his brows in surprise. “Why? You’re not scared of the dark, are you?”

“No. It’s just that when we were children my brother and I explored a cave one day. We didn’t know bats were roosting in it and our light scared them.” She shuddered. “We were so terrified. All those bats flying around us…and that awful squeaking. I’ll never forget it.”

“But there’s nothing to be scared of here. You can believe the River Council won’t allow any bats to roost in their tunnel. Come on. You’ll like it inside.”

They walked closer to the tunnel’s mouth and Wendy peered in, just as several high-pitched squeals drifted out of the tunnel. “Ack,” she shrieked and jumped back.

Nevin groaned. What’s he doing in there anyway? Tuning the thing? I’m gonna have some sharp words for him about his rotten timing.

Wendy was clinging to him now. “I’m sorry, Nev. I just can’t go in there.” The desperate note in her voice tugged at his heart.

Nevin pictured his careful plans sailing south. “Okay, I don’t want to force you to do something that terrifies you. You go back to the car, Wendy. I have to make a phone call.”

He pulled out his cellular as Wendy walked back to the parking lot alone, probably still thinking about bats. He kicked at a protruding cobblestone. Once he knew she’d be out of hearing, he dialed and waited for Cole to answer.

“Plans blew up,” he said. “Who knew she’d be scared of dark tunnels. And bats.” Nevin gritted his teeth. “It didn’t help that she heard some squeaks from the tunnel at the worst possible moment.”

“Hey, man, so sorry about that. I had no idea. Just doing a bit of…never mind. I’ll still get paid, won’t I? It’s my time. I need the cash.”

Nevin blew out a sigh. “Yes, you’ll still get paid. We’ll work something else out.” He ended the call, shoved his one back in his pocket and headed for the car.

“Who knew,” Cole grumbled, replacing his violin back in its case. He brushed the strings lovingly before closing the lid.

“Women!” He yanked at the balloon strings he’d wrapped around a loose stone. And what was he supposed to do with these? The neighbour kids would probably like some balloons. They wouldn’t care about the writing… But they couldn’t be left floating around; he’d best just pop them.

He frowned when several strings pulled loose. Before he could grab them again, a capricious breeze swept the two bobbing balloons out of the tunnel. Cole shrugged and took a better hold on the others. Picking up his violin, he headed out the other exit.

“Look, Nev!” Wendy, standing beside the car, pointed. “Those balloons just blew out of the tunnel! Hey, there’s even some writing on them.”

Nevin slapped his forehead. He was so going to have words with Cole. Maybe I’ll only pay him half what he asked for.

If the breeze would at least move the things away, but no. The balloons dipped down and bobbed toward them; now Wendy was racing to catch one. Talk about the best laid plans going awry.

She succeeded in grabbing the end of a dangling string. “It says… Oooooh,” she squealed. “It says, ‘I love you Wendy. Please marry me’.” She turned to him with a huge grin. “Oh, Nevin, you’re so romantic!”

“At least I was trying to be,” he replied. “Things didn’t work out as planned.”

“Oh. You had these in the tunnel…and I spoiled it. But these balloons popped out at just the right time. And my answer is yes!” She flung herself into his arms. “I would be delighted to marry you.”

He grinned and wrapped her in a tight hug. “Then we have a perfect ending.”

Montréal Métro

I read a short verse this morning that flipped my mind back to our days in Montréal and how many times we rode the métro across the city. My nostalgic journey has inspired me to write the following verses as a tribute:

Montreal métro
a swift whistle to the chaos
of Berri-UCAM

middle subway car
the first one on wakes up
at the end of the line

fruitful trip
to the Jean-Talon Market
squashed on the ride home

Montréal métro
all trains stop — riders whisper
another sad exit?

Montréal métro
“merci d’avoir voyagé”
lingering ear worm

All My Kin

Today’s Word of the Day prompt is the word KINDRED. Something everyone has, whether they know it or not.

I’ve written before about my adventures on Ancestry.com — and now I’ve built another family tree on MyHeritage.com, so I’ve got lots of information coming at me in regards to my forebears. Basically my Vance great-great-great-grandfather David had his origins in Gallowayshire, Scotland, and moved to Wigtownshire, married thirteen-year-old Agnes Jones and had a large family, mostly boys. He was killed at age 34 in a storm, after which several of his sons left that area hoping for a better life in Canada. They emigrated circa 1835.

David’s son, my great-great gr. Joseph, married Sarah Shannon and had one son, then she passed away. He brought his son John along when he came to Canada. En route to Oxford County he met another Sarah, the daughter of Samuel Russell and Sarah Jane (nee Powers) Allen of upstate New York. Joseph and Sarah were married and their first son — and possibly their daughter as well — appear to have been born in Quebec. The two offspring, true to form, were named Joseph and Sarah Jane.

This tendency to name the oldest children after their parents sometimes helps matters and sometimes confuses the issue. My great-great grandparents named their children after all of Joseph’s brothers, plus Samuel after Samuel Allen, I’m supposing, and the youngest one was William, some other kinsman’s name.

Joseph’s oldest son Joseph name his two oldest children Joseph and Sarah Jane; so did Great-uncle George and James, if I have it right. To add to the confusion of all the same-name cousins, I also discovered that three of my great-grandfather’s brothers married Margarets. Wouldn’t that have given some interesting family gatherings?

Samuel, my great grandfather, was the second youngest of Joseph and Sarah’s six sons, born after they were settled and farming in Oxford County, Ontario. Most of the kindred settled in the Tavistock area and from there have spread out in every direction. Great-grandpa Sam and his brother James came west; at least two of his brothers went to Michigan when land was opening up there; some moved farther north in Ontario, to Huron and Lambton Counties.

Great-grandfather never had a girl to name after his mother, but he named his oldest son Allen, so that family was represented. Maybe he figured there were already enough Josephs in the clan, as his second son was William James after his two brothers.

Grandfather Allen Vance kept up the tradition: his older sons were Samuel Charles, William Steven, and Joseph Daniel. My father, the youngest, was Wilfred Allen, but his dad died when he was a boy and he started calling himself Allen Wilfred. My brother is James Allen. Looks like that’s where the tradition will end.

And that’s enough — probably a lot more than you wanted to know — about my kindred.

Global Storming

Good morning everyone and happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians.

I want to extend sympathies to our suffering next-door-neighbours in the province of Manitoba, as residents there recover from a major snowstorm. They took quite a bashing at the end of last week.

News reports say that heavy wet snow, up to 60 mm of precipitation, fell across the province, leaving 32,000 residents without power, including most of the city of Portage-la-Prairie and 2000 in Winnipeg. Manitoba is asking for help from utilities in their neighbouring provinces and the state of Minnesota to help restore their system after power lines and pylons were damaged or downed.

The Mayor of Winnipeg and the provincial premier, Brian Pallister, both declared a state of emergency yesterday, according to today’s Winnipeg Free Press. This gives city employees and Manitoba Hydro work crews more authority to enter private property for assessment and repairs as well as and giving both governments access to additional support.

In addition to lack of power, Winnipeg’s emergency response manager Jason Shaw reported that, “At least 30,000 city-owned trees have been impacted by the storm, with a significant portion completely felled or damaged to the point where they may need to be cut down. There is no estimate how many non-city-owned trees have been damaged.”

Twenty years ago we were hearing so much about Global Warming, and since then we here on the prairies have seen some of the coolest, wettest summers in memory. My husband and his relatives were talking not long ago about the hot summers they remembered when they were young, back in the late 50s – early 60s and I can recall summers in the late 60s that daytime temps over 100 degrees F were common. In our old age none of us want to go back there, so we were giving thanks that climate change has been good for the prairies, with our cooler summers and more abundant rainfall. 🙂

I also recall that when I was a teen, weather forecasters were predicting a coming ice age, since globally temperatures were dropping. Considering that they had the 1930s stats factored in, that’s not so surprising. Summers on the great plains of North America were fiercely hot, winters fiercely cold, and all seasons fiercely dry. Temps had moderated a lot by the 1950s. As I recall, the idea of global warming swept in around the late 1980s. The world would get hotter and drier.

I’ve since read that the “proof” for global warming came from juggling weather statistics and omitting those that didn’t fit the theory. While I have a very small — and very regional — understanding of  world climate, from what I gather the globe really hasn’t gotten much warmer. Consequently the concept has been replaced by “climate change” — supposedly being responsible for the increase in severe hurricanes and storms we’re seeing in the news nowadays. Considering what our neighbours in Manitoba have just been through, “global storming” might be a more apt expression.

Weather history includes some really wild storms, like the freak thunder storm in July of 1935 that left a good strip of southern Alberta covered with 20 cm, or 8″, of hail.

I’m definitely against polluting the environment, but whether there are actually more — or more severe storms — in our day, I just can’t say.

The Winnings Disappear

Here’s Sammi’s latest writing challenge. You can check out the rules at her blog HERE. Many thanks for hosting this, Sammi.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My 89-word tale is a take-off from an account I read on another blog. The writer was the one watching the frustrated lotto winner waiting for the check that never came. Be careful out here. As someone once said, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

The Winnings Disappear…And What Else?

“Unbelievable! Great! See you there.” Gord hung up and turned to Marlyss. “We’ve won big, sweetheart! They’re bringing our check to CrackerJacks. Let’s go.”

“We’ll replace this furniture,” Marlyss said as they dashed out.

“We’ll replace this house,” Gord amended.

Two hours later, frustrated, Gord ended the call. “Three times I’ve given them directions. I can’t believe they can’t find this place!”

Another diner leaned their way. “Better check what’s happening at home. Maybe better take a cop along.”

Exchanging looks of horror, the couple dashed for the door.