At Last My Ship Comes In


Someone in the United Nations Headquarters must have heard that my birthday is coming up shortly and they wish to celebrate with me. Or else they have discovered that I am the most trustworthy person on the planet. Only this morning I received this amazing notification that a treasure-laden ship is about to fly into my airport — and MY name is on it!

Here are some details from the e-mail so you can all rejoice with me in my good fortune:

Office of Director of Payment United Nations
United Nations Payment Office Jakarta, Indonesia

This is to inform you about our plan to send your fund to you via cash delivery. This system will be easier for you and for us. We are going to send your contract part payment of US 5.2 million to you via diplomatic courier service. This fund was brought to us from America. It was meant for our local AFEM market. …

Note: The money is coming in two security proof boxes. The boxes are sealed with synthetic nylon seal and padded with machine. … The diplomat attached will travel with it. He will call you immediately he arrives your airport. …

I need your response because the boxes are schedule to leave as soon as you respond. Reply me immediately you receive this message. …

He wants me to send him some personal ID info so they can send the goods. I suppose they wouldn’t want to risk just anybody replying to this e-mail. The problem is that my dear husband has such a suspicious nature. He has never allowed me to send our banking info so I could claim all the millions of dollars and British pounds I’ve inherited at various times through the years.

Can you imagine the size of those boxes, each holding US 2.6 million in cash! I suppose it will all be in thousand-dollar bills? The US doesn’t put out million-dollar bills, do they? At any rate, I’d better call Brinks and arrange for one of their trucks to meet the plane.

One doesn’t wish to look a gift horse in the mouth, but I’m not too sure what we’re supposed to do with this diplomat. What if he has really expensive tastes, like caviar, fresh-caught squid and such like. But since this is the Canadian prairie, maybe he’ll want to try our buffalo steaks? Much more do-able. At any rate I don’t want to waste spend US $1 million just to entertain him.

One problem will be that our trailer is too small for hosting a real live diplomat — especially if he comes with an entourage. Still, he’ll likely want to drop in, get to know us a bit, so I’d best give the place a good cleaning. I’ve been wanting to anyway; this will give me a great incentive. And as soon as I hear when he’s arriving I’ll reserve him a room at the Bessborough Hotel — a famous historic Saskatoon landmark that’s housed diplomats before, even royalty.

I want to thank all of you, dear Yankee friends and followers, for your indirect contribution to my good fortune. You may wish to check into the normal disbursement of foreign aid dollars, but in this case, I assure you that the sum is going to a very worthy recipient. (Blush) Since there’s nothing in the letter to say what I should do with this money, I shall do my best to spend it prudently. 😉


Swallowed by Fog

We’ve been enjoying milder weather this past week, which has given us heavy fogs at night. We woke up this morning to a thick fog whiting out everything outside our yard. I thought I heard a train pass in the night, which gave me this verse — I believe this is called a tanka:

oh fog, how could you
swallow a whole freight train
in your opacity?
only the whistle escapes
to squeal on you

A Lively Drummer

Happy “First Day of Spring” to everyone in the Northern Hemisphere. Though it doesn’t look very much like spring here, a friend reports seeing a flock of Canada geese fly over. To celebrate the day, I’ll reblog this story from a few years back:

Once upon a time there was an old man and an old woman who lived in an old mobile home right next to the woods. This old couple had reached that phase of life so aptly expressed by the poet:
“Those difficult days have come and lit:
too tired to work; too poor to quit.”

One afternoon the old woman, ready for a nice nap, plopped her weary self into her recliner and closed her eyes. A few minutes later she heard a curious sound:

Scritch … Scritch … Scritch

Now this woman, in addition to being old and tired, was also hard of hearing. In this case her handicap made it difficult to judge where the sound was coming from. It seemed to filter in from some peripheral place — a hard-shelled bug tapping on the window, perhaps, or a bird hopping on the roof?


Now it could be a student shut in one of the trailer’s back bedrooms rooms half-heartedly pecking away on a manual typewriter. It would take him years to get an essay done at that rate.

Then the old woman remembered she was hard of hearing. Was the source of the sound a lot closer than she first thought? Had some brave mouse ventured out to nibble at the cat food sitting on the dining room floor? Her eyes popped open and she looked toward the cat food dish in the dining area. No mouse.

Now all was silent, so she reclined and shut her eyes. Such a tiny sound she could ignore. Zzz..


The old woman jumped from her chair. This was more like a chainsaw chewing rapid-fire through a drain pipe. She hurried through the trailer, checking every room, but saw nothing spinning or vibrating that could produce a sound like that.

Some madman must be chain-sawing his way through the trailer wall! What else could make such a racket? She rushed outside to let this fellow know he dare not mess with her. (Okay, a bit of fiction added to embellish the tale. 🙂 )

She saw no one, no reason for this awful noise. The only living thing she saw was a northern flicker on the roof peering down at her curiously. He was sitting on the chimney…


The flicker, deciding she was a wingless, harmless creature, went back to his task of drilling a hole in the steel disc protecting their chimney, producing an identical CLANK CLANG CLANK CLANG

Perhaps the bird was excited about his ability to produce such a rousing sound, but the old woman had never been a fan of heavy metal. Offering a harsh critique of his music, she persuaded him to do his drumming somewhere else.

“You Have Won A Free Trip”

This is an old news item, but hope it gives you a smile this morning:

An Iowa farmer received a suspicious phone call one morning—from his own cell phone.

A few hours earlier he’d been sorting hogs to take to market that day. During the process he took a few minutes to call the house and check if there were any messages for him on his answering machine. After getting the message, he stuck his cell phone back in the top pocket of his bib overalls and went back into the pig pen to continue his task.

The phone must have fallen out of his pocket and into the pen as he climbed over one of the fences. Later, when he was back in the house his phone rang. He said, “Hello?” and voices at the other end said, “Grunt, grunt, squeal, squeal, snort!”

Evidently his hogs had found the cell phone and managed to hit REDIAL. They say pigs are really quite intelligent creatures. Maybe they were complaining about the conditions in their pen, squealing on on unruly pals, or ordering in more chow?

But the farmer interpreted the message as:
“You have won a free trip to the barn, followed by a lively treasure hunt.”

Flashing Lights in the Night

We never knew why the train
came to a stop and idled so long,
blocking our crossing
a few hundred metres west —
and the highway a mile south.
We never heard the frantic horn,
the bang. We never knew
what the train hit. Or who.
But now we do — and we still feel
the impact three days later.

Flashing red and blue lights.
“Accident on the train track,”
people whisper as they arrive for
an evening at church. “Pickup hit.”
Half a dozen first responders
missing from our service — serving,
directing traffic, setting up lights.
Dense fog rolls in to muffle,
yet amplify, red and blue flashes
flickering on our windows for hours.

A night of tears for someone’s parents
and his young fiancée, newly engaged,
grieving over hopelessly shattered pieces.
A toddler who can’t understand why
Daddy doesn’t come home. And whatever
does it mean: “Daddy’s gone?”
Puzzling words that will echo on and on
through so many tomorrows.


I haven’t felt like posting for a few days; this verse will explain. The young man killed was an acquaintance; my husband knows the the young fiancée from his workplace and we’ve met the deceased at several staff Christmas parties. Such a pleasant young man, age 33 according to the news.

The north-bound train wasn’t going fast at all. Some have guessed that, since the pickup was heading west into the sunset, maybe the brilliance blinded the driver. But we can only speculate; the driver died in the crash. No doubt there’ll be a thorough investigation. Our hearts go out to the family.

Arms of Support


In every path of timber you
will always find a tree or two
that would have fallen long ago,
borne down by wind or age or snow,
had not another neighbor tree
held outs its arms in sympathy
and caught the tree that the storm had hurled
to earth. So, neighbors, is the world.

In every patch of timber stand
Samaritans of forest land:
the birch, the maple, oak and pine,
the fir the cedar, all in line.
In every wood, unseen, unknown,
they bear the burdens of their own
and bear as well another form,
some neighbor stricken in the storm.

Shall tree be nobler to their kind
than men, who boast the noble mind?
Shall there exist within the wood
this great eternal brotherhood
of oak and pine, of hill and fen,
and not within the hearts of men?
God grant that men are like to these,
and brothers, brotherly as trees.

Author unknown to me

Oh, Those Big Dreams!

Man reflecting

He used to dream of the things he’d do when grown to be a man,
beguiling boyhood days away with many an idle plan.
And now, when grown to be a man, he knows no greater joy
than dreaming of the things he’d do if still he were a boy.

Thomas Numan *

*This is the name I have as author but Google
can’t find this poem or a poet Thomas Numan.