Hugged By A Stranger

Have you ever been hugged by a complete stranger? Someone you’ve never laid eyes on before?

Well, I did barely lay eyes on his person as he hoisted himself from behind the steering wheel of his car and stood to his feet, and sort of laid eyes on him as he passed by the window in front of me. I didn’t know him from Adam – but he wasn’t an Eve, that much I could see.

Really my eyes weren’t focussed on him at all, but were fixed on something dark that had fallen to the ground as he stood up. Something that looked suspiciously like…

Oh, dear. I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me start again.

I was sitting at a table in a small corner of a bookstore, this corner they have set up as a coffee bar. I’d finished my coffee and was idly gazing out the window beside me when I saw this grey car drive up and park facing the store right in front of where I sat.

As I said, I saw this man get out of this car and stride purposefully toward the store next door. I saw something dark hit the icy asphalt when he stood up, so I jumped up and went out to see, because I thought it may be something quite important – like a wallet.

It was a wallet. I stuffed it into my pocket and hurried into the Dollar Store next door, looking for someone about his size, brownish jacket. I scanned the aisles and saw a good match but I wasn’t certain, so I approached him and asked, “Do you drive a grey car? Did you just park next door?”

“Yes,” he replied, looking puzzled.

“Did you lose something?”

He gave me a blank look, then slapped his back pockets. “My wallet!”

I pulled it out of my pocket and handed it to him. He moaned once and thanked me for it, then, in front of everyone in the store, he threw his arm around me and gave me a hug. Me, a complete stranger, someone he’d never laid eyes on before.

Can you imagine?!  😉

First published Aug 18, 2013

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Character-Building Coffee

Back when I worked at Fabricland, I happened to be the first one into the lunch room one morning so I made the coffee. As my co-workers drifted in and sampled it, their eyes popped open and they made remarks about the potency of my brew. When one of the managers commented about how strong it was, I told her I was going to follow the Canadian government’s advice.

“My coffee isn’t strong, it’s character-building.”

At the beginning of the 1900s the Canadian government had this vast tract of prairie land newly-opened up and they wanted it settled. But there were some issues. The present homesteaders were telling the folks back in the Old Country just how severe the winters were and how dry the prairies tended to be in summer. Hard to grow anything. A challenge to survive the winters.

“We can’t have this kind of talk,” the Dept. of Immigration decided. “Farmers will never be enticed to the area if reports like this circulate.”

The ad men of the day rose to the challenge. All hints of a cold,  dry climate were banned from Govt of Canada information brochures, distributed liberally in Europe to lure settlers to Saskatchewan and Alberta. Promoters were encouraged to substitute words that held more appeal. The climate of the “Northwest Territories” became invigorating and character-building; the severe winter winds were now bracing and great for the promotion of general good health. You could be a manly man in western Canada!

Our temperature this morning, -29 C, would be great for character building except that we’re wimping out and staying in the house where it’s warm. We’re very thankful we don’t have to hitch up our team of horses, drive ten miles to the river and chip through eight inches of solid ice to draw water. We actually thought it was a bit of a hardship when the back door lock was frozen this morning so we couldn’t open the door. Practicing prairie ingenuity, my husband defrosted the lock with my hair dryer.

Anyway, if my coffee pops my guests’ eyes open nowadays, I give the matter a positive slant: this is a rich, fervent brew. Invigorating and character-building, like our climate. Still, my coffee can’t stand up beside the pot a fellow who worked with a friend used to make.

How to Make A REALLY Aggressive Pot of Coffee

My coworkers grumbled about MY strong coffee and I used only about ½ cup of grounds. A friend was telling us about the way his coworker made coffee — if he got to the office coffee-maker first. (I understand his fellow office workers did their best to prevent that from happening. 😉 )

Here’s how he did it:
For a ten-cup coffee maker: put the little white paper filter into the basket as usual, then fill it level full with fresh coffee grounds (about 1¼ cups). Add the ten cups of water to the chamber and hit the ON switch. Dark, rich coffee will flow into the carafe. Full-bodied, you might say. (When your body is full of it your eyes will open wide.)

Try it sometime and let me know if your coworkers and guests find it invigorating.

Coffee

Bean me up, friend!

 

Beware the Christmas Bird

One day a few of the women folk in a certain family were preparing their festive bird. They sat the raw turkey on the counter ready for its stuffing, a big bowl of which had already been prepared. One sister began shoving the seasoned stuffing into back end of the large bird, though she thought she had made lots, the cavity didn’t get full.

“This isn’t quite enough,” she squealed to her two sisters. “Quick! Make some more.”

The other two threw more bread crumbs, onions, and seasonings into a pan and stirred it up with butter and water to moisten. “Here,” one of them said, handing her the bowl. She grabbed it and stuffed in more, but it still wasn’t enough.

“This turkey must have had an enormous set of innards,” she grumbled. “It still isn’t enough!”

One of her sisters walked around to the other side of the counter. “Don’t look now, but…”

The others hurried around and groaned as they saw dressing poking through the neck hole. A little pile on the floor bore evidence to the sister’s energetic thrust.

“Lesson 1 in Turkey Stuffing,” one sister quipped. “Be sure there’s a Stop at the end.”