Cutting the Mustard

Good morning everyone. The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is MUSTARD — and yesterday’s prompt was HORN. I’ll touch on the two in one quick sweep.

I wonder how many prompt followers will think of the old song, “He’s Too Old to Cut the Mustard Anymore.” Probably not many, as this song was popular before I was born. I only dimly remember it, and my mom singing snatches of it around the house sometimes. In this song a fellow is blowing his horn about all the things he could do when he was young…but the frailty of old age has set in and his mobility is limited. Once the girls were all eager to spend time with him. Now “they push you around in a four-wheeled chair.” If you’re interested, you can read the lyrics here.

My Dad Vance would have identified with this song. Always a physically fit and active man, when he was in his seventies he’d walk the seventeen miles from Moose Jaw to Belle Plaine to visit his sister, no problem. But his one hand was starting to shake — the beginnings of the Parkinson’s disease that finally immobilized him. He hated the thought of being tied in a wheel chair, but for him it became a reality because he couldn’t get up and walk by himself.

Of course there’s the MUSTARD plant…and wild mustard. This is canola country and wild mustard, a close cousin to canola, is a real nuisance if it infests a canola field. Wild mustard seeds remain viable in the soil for many years, they sprout mid-spring, plants establish quickly, and anything that will kill it will kill its cousin, too. Worse, here in western Canada it’s developed a resistance to most weed killers. This picture is from Cornell University’s Agricultural Weed ID site.

For comparison, here’s a Pixabay photo of canola in bloom:

Image by GayleenFroese2 — Pixabay

I think that’s enough about old age and wild mustard. Monday morning laundry is waiting for my attention. Have a great week, everyone.

The Constant Sea

Image by K Moser — Pixabay

The salt smell of the sea, the foamy breakers, the incessant screaming of the gulls in their wild play. These familiar sights and sounds soothe old Matt as he walks along the beach. When life is out of kilter he wanders down to the beach again to watch that constant rolling reminder that life goes on. There’s something solid about the sea. The thought makes him smile. It’ll be here ’til the end of time.

He delights in recalling the days of long ago when he worked with his uncles on the Doughty Daisy before a vicious storm tossed her on the rocks. He sees again the line of fishing boats heading out to sea, imagines the wind, the spray, the thrill of it all when, as a young deck hand, he was part of the crew harvesting the sea.

He thinks of the wild storms that held them in port for several days – or worse, swept down on them while they were filling their nets. All hands on deck back then, fighting to ride the waves and keep the equipment – and each other – from washing overboard. Those were the days when you worked, boy!

The fishing isn’t good now, the new crews tell him. Too many fish harvested by the factory ships; stocks haven’t had a chance to replenish like they should. Cod are about gone, they say, and rarely do you find the big tuna anymore.

He turns to watch the gulls wheeling, ever on the lookout for some tasty gift from the sea, and squabbling over it when they find it. Ah, now they’ve spotted something further up the beach. A couple of gulls have landed beside it, one’s carefully inspecting it while the other argues “finders-keepers” with his mates in the air.

“Now what do you suppose those birds have found?” Matt slowly makes his way over to the spot. By the time he gets there the gulls have flown away. He looks down and laughs. A tube of Paradise Suntan Lotion – Economy size. Just what he needs. He sticks it in his pocket; there’s a trash can up along the walkway.

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: INCESSANT
Your Daily Word Prompt: SUPPOSE