Snapshots of Today

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is ABUNDANCE

Well, we have an abundance of snow, with more coming this evening. We may soon have an abundance of ice. We do have an abundance of fluctuation these days.

Yesterday morning the thermometer read -30 C. At 7:30 am this morning it read 1 C. Plus 1, that is. We had Sewing Day at church yesterday and one lady asked if an abrupt change in temp had any noticeable effect on a person’s body. Another woman replied that when the temp changes so drastically, she gets a headache. She’ll need a Tylenol today for sure.

The topic of designer fashions came up, and the question, “Does anyone actually ever wear the designer fashions you see on European runways?” Maybe, but I’m inclined to think fashion designers make their mark with the very edgy, then can put their name on more practical clothing and it sells because of the name. Or what do you think?

I had cause this morning to think about avant-garde trends and looked the term up in the dictionary, which led me to the word intelligentsia, because they are considered avante-garde. Merriam-Webster defines the avant-garde as “Intelligentsia that develops new or experimental concepts especially in the arts.” INTELLIGENTSIA are “Intellectuals who form an artistic, social, or political vanguard or elite.” The trouble is, be it fashion, political, social or artistic, TRENDY tends to walk so close to the edge of SILLY that it often slips over. 😉

Here’s my haiku on the subject:
cutting edge
the farthest
out to lunch

This morning I was reading some haiku verses and found them disappointingly avant-garde. In my opinion. I’m not a connoisseur, not really a fan of, “The verse can mean whatever you wish it to mean.” Then I checked out another online haiku journal and found quite a few verses that, though brief, are clear and make sense.

kudzu vine loving fiercely
can make perfect sense to you if you know how kudzu vines entwine around a tree and often smother their host. Would you call this a terse verse? Or a verse of any kind?

I’ve gotten the urge to work on my manuscript again and feel like I need to nail terse, one current trend in writing, so I was up late last night reading James Patterson. That writer and his ghosts have terse to a science. Not my genre at all, but I borrowed a couple of his books, one about the Kennedy clan, from my online library and read a bit from each. Here’s hoping the style will rub off.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on trends, avant-garde, micro-poetry, and terse stories. Please share them in a comment below.

Funny — Or Cruel?

One day the Daily Prompt asked what tricks someone could play on me that would truly scare me. It shouldn’t be hard, as I’m a timid sort and easily frightened. (My reason for avoiding heart-stopping suspense and horror stories.) But what pleasure would it give someone to know they’d terrified me? Is that not cruelty?

My mind goes back to something my husband’s distant cousin, another Bob, told his teenage son one day. “If you’re going to pull a prank, use your brain. Don’t do something stupid that you’re going to be embarrassed about later. Do something you’ll be proud of. Something unique or spectacular.”

He explained that when he was in his teens a group of guys had gotten together one night and dismantled some piece of equipment — or an old car? — and carried it piece by piece up to the top of a prominent building. There they’d reassembled it so that in the morning everyone passing by could see this bizarre object sitting on the roof. Now that was a novelty people chuckled over for a good while after.

My husband remembers that when he was a boy an old wagon appeared, through similar circumstances, on top to the town hall in Craik, SK one Nov 1st. Seeing it there gave local folks a chuckle, but no one was terrified or injured.

Though I’m not a fan of tricks, I believe Cousin Bob had a point. Some young folks think it’s fun to destroy things. Why? Does some anger in their own heart seek an outlet in being nasty to others? Often they choose the most helpless as their victims, someone who can’t retaliate. They don’t want to risk someone bigger and stronger catching up with them and punishing them for their misdeeds.

One young man talked of how his uncle would tickle him and his brothers when they were boys — and keep on until they were in tears and screaming. Uncle called it fun; his nephews called it a kind of torture and avoided him whenever they could. “Funny” that humiliates or hurts someone or some creature is a very perverted humor.

“Teach The Children Well”

Since I’m going to be away from home today, I’ll re-post two short items from my DropBox. Hope you enjoy them.

Stubbornness Doesn’t Pay

Back in 1928 a family had taken a holiday on the Hebrides island of Lewis, in the north of Scotland. Dr MacLeod had brought his family back to the village where he’d been born and they’d visited around amongst various of his friends and relatives. As they were motoring home the children in the back seat got into a discussion that became rather heated. Son Iain, who felt himself in danger of losing the argument got rather huffy about it. After all, he was right! “If no one is going to agree with me, “ he declared, “I’ll get out right now and walk home.”

His words were designed to make the others give in; of course he had no intention of carrying them out. But his father decided the boy needed a lesson, so he stopped the car and silently opened the door. Iain had no choice but to get out and walk back to their village. It was a long, long walk and well after midnight when he finally arrived at his home, exhausted and thoroughly chilled. He found the door unlocked for him, but everyone was in bed and all the lights were out. Quietly he crept into his own bed, scolding himself for his foolish words and attitude.

His parents never mentioned the incident again, but Iain had plenty of time to consider on his long walk and decided that from now on he’d be stubborn only in issues of serious right and wrong, he’d give more consideration to the other fellow’s point of view and recognize that he could be wrong. This lesson stood him in good stead when in later years he became a politician.

(It wouldn’t be safe in the world we have today, but back then it must have been.)

Another Long Walk

A single mother in our community dealt with her son’s problem in a somewhat similar way when he was put off the school bus because he wasn’t “able” to sit still. The driver said he wouldn’t be allowed on the bus again until he could.

She could have made excuses for the boy, she could have said, “He’s ADHD and cant help himself.” But she rather told him the next morning, “Get your coat on; we’re walking to school.”

The two of them set off early and it took them several hours cover the miles to school. That night she was there again. “Are you ready to walk home or are you going to sit down and behave yourself on the bus?”

Yes, he was ready to apologize to the driver and sit still from now on.

This mom felt her son needed to learn respect for authority; when you’re told to sit down and behave yourself there are no excuses. She knew of another lad in that same school, knew that when he defied the authority of his teacher his father, a cop, took his part against the teacher and threatened her with legal action when she tried to rein in his son. That young man, as an adult, had issues with obeying authority and landed up in jail. She didn’t want that to happen to her son.

Dumb Crooks Unlimited

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is CHA-CHING

Even Mr Webster with his zillion words couldn’t help me out with this one. CHA CHA is all I got from M-W and Lexico. So I’m going to guess that “cha-ching” is the noise a cash register makes opening and closing.

One night Theresa was working at Robin’s Donuts. Her job is normally to decorate the doughnuts, but also serve whoever comes in between 11pm and 6 am. Not usually a huge crowd.

This was a new store and we had a nice new computerized cash register, which was comprised f two parts. There was the computer keyboard that sat on the counter and had all the basic selections listed: coffees small, med + large, cappuccino, ice capp, milk, donut, 6 donuts, dozen, pop, sands, etc. The cash drawer nestled in its own slot under the counter, connected to the computer by wires. Hit ENTER and bingo — or CHA-CHING — the drawer popped open.

You get the picture. Well, some wanna-be thief came in at some indecently early hour that morning and ordered coffee. Theresa took his money and rang in the sale. When the till went CHA-CHING, he grabbed it and ran out, tearing off all the wires in his haste to be elsewhere

The police caught him red-handed not long after, walking down the street with our keyboard under his arm. No doubt headed someplace where he could open it and hear that delightful CHA-CHING as the loot spilled out.

Alas! The only sound he heard that morning was the click of handcuffs.

Trip To BC, Anyone?

The RAGTAG DAILY PROMPT today is SKOOKUM

I’ve never heard this word used as an adjective. Rather, I immediately thought of Skookumchuck, a town in British Columbia that I have heard of. So a bit of research was in order.

Skookumchuck is a small town — 90 or so residents — on the junction of the Kootenay and Lussier Rivers. The town is located in the southeastern corner of the province, 54 km or 33.5 miles north of the city of Cranbrook. As the crow flies — if crows fly over mountains — it’s about half way between Lethbridge, Alberta, and Kelowna, BC.

On the western side of the main Rockies range, the town is near a few different provincial parks — Premier Lake, Whiteswan, St Mary’s, Skookumchuck Narrows. Googling the locale I can see how it would be a gorgeous place to visit.

Here’s a picture of the Kootenay River hoodoos, shared by Brigitte at Unsplash

Whitewater Rafting Anyone?

SKOOKUM means strong, powerful or turbulent; CHUCK means waters. The Kootenay River flows through Skookumchuck Narrows and spills into the Sechelt Rapids, one of the areas prime attractions. Water speed can exceed 30 kmph in this stretch, forming some amazing whirlpools. The RDP claims that SKOOKUM can mean “evil spirit.” I don’t find this anywhere in the info, but maybe the Chinook tribe that named that part of the river thought of spirits as they watched the rapids and whirlpools boiling through the tide plain?

Perhaps the locals there can tell us if those rapids are safe enough for rafting, but I’m an onlooker only when it comes to that sort of sport.