Finders Keepers

Wasn’t it the cartoon character Snagglepuss that went around singing this song?
“I was strolling through the park one day
…in the merry, merry month of May
…and I got a strange surprise…”

Back when we lived in Moose Jaw, SK, my husband and I were strolling through Crescent Park, located right near the heart of the city, early one morning. And we did indeed get a strange surprise…

In the center of the park is a cenotaph, a memorial to those soldiers from Moose Jaw who were killed in action in the two world wars. This marble pillar with its bronze plaques was encircled by a flower bed in the shape of a big star. So think five points of the star planted to flowers and between the points lush green grass. This flower “star” was encircled by a sidewalk round-about, with several lanes or paved paths going off to the south, west, and north, leading to other park attractions.

As I said, we took our walk soon after sunrise — and it was early spring, so the bedding flowers hadn’t been planted yet. Thus the points of the star were bare black earth awaiting the bedding plants. Bob and I had come up the south path and were following around the main circle when we stopped, amazed.

There, nicely laid out in one of the star points was a pale blue nylon nightgown.

We stood there eyeing it for awhile, contemplating the possibilities. It obviously hadn’t been just dropped there; rather, it was spread out as if on display. Across the street from the park were several three- to five-storey apartment buildings. Had it blown off someone’s balcony when they’d hung a few things outside to dry?

Or was this simply someone’s idea of a practical joke?

I stepped into the flowerbed and retrieved the nightgown. It had a few dirty spots from its tumble on the dirt, but wasn’t that soiled. I held it up. It was sleeveless and double-layered, the outside being sheer nylon, the inside opaque. Not bad. I took it along home and washed it; the fabric proved to be in good condition with hardly a snag.

There was at the time a small paper put out locally, called “The Shopper” that was full of ads anyone could place for free. We decided to give the owner a chance to claim her lost property by placing an ad in this paper, but Bob suggested giving the ad a humorous twist in case the whole thing was a joke. So we sent in the following:
Found in bed (flower) in Crescent Park: one blue nightgown. Free to the person who can come up with the best explanation of how it got there.

Nobody answered the ad. Seeing as the nightgown fit me just fine…I decided, “Finders keepers.”

Originally posed at Christine’s Reflections — May 2015

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Never Mess With A Wooden Leg

The Young Entrepreneur

Al had been enjoying the park scenes for awhile and now sat down on a bench in the shade with his magazine. He relaxed and stretched out his two legs — one real and one wooden. He noted that his one sock had slid down, so he bent over to pull it up, pulling up that pant leg in the process.

A young boy, walking past right then, came to a sudden stop and stared at the funny-looking leg. Al chuckled to himself; his wooden leg had attracted the interest of many a child over the years. Most adults were too polite to stare outright, call attention to the odd appendage, or ask questions that might embarrass him, but not the boys he met.

This one couldn’t resist, either. “Hey Mister, why does your leg look so funny? Is it real?”

“Nah. It’s a wooden leg.”

“Really!” The youngster moved closer. “Does it work just like a real one?”

“Pretty much, if I’m careful how I stand on it and move it.”

Al rolled up his pant leg as far as he could and the boy came very close. Al guessed him to be about eight, just the age to be curious about everything.

The boy inspected Al’s leg for a minute, then reached out and gave it a little knock. “Does that hurt?”

Al grinned. “Not at all.”

The two of them exchanged a few more pleasantries about walking on wooden legs, then the boy turned around and dashed off. Al went back to reading his magazine. But before long the boy was back, leading several other, mostly younger children.

“Hey Mister, can you show me your wooden leg again?”

Al frowned. He didn’t particularly feel like being a circus side show. “You’ve seen it once. That’s enough.”

“Awww… can’t you show me again. Please. My friends want to see it.”

“I think you should just run along and play with your friends now.”

One of the younger children started to wail. “You promised! You owe me a quarter.”

“I want mine back, too,” another boy grumbled.

Al looked over his magazine and began to listen to this exchange.

One little girl marched up to the boy and glared.“Yeah, Fred.” She waved her finger in his face. “You promised and if you can’t get him do it, you need to give all of us our quarters back.”

Al leaned toward the delinquent Fred. “What’s going on here? Why did you take their quarters?”

“Please, Mister, can’t you just show us your wooden leg. I, uh, promised them you would.”

The assertive little miss piped up. “He charged us a quarter each to see it.”

Fred seemed sulky at the prospect of refunding his fee. “Can’t you show it to us for just a minute. Pretty please,” he wheedled.

“No! Now beat it or I’ll kick you with it!”

The thought of being kicked by a wooden leg was enough to send all of them running. “Kids!” Al grumbled as he went back to reading his magazine. But a minute later he chuckled. “That boy will probably go far in the business world.”

Al Capp, creator of the comic strip, Li’l Abner, lost his leg in an accident when he was still a boy. Going through life with a wooden leg led to some interesting situations, including this one. This story would be classed as creative non-fiction, something he related with a chuckle in an interview sometime in his later years.

Blabber-Bell!

There once was a bumbling detective
whose reading of clues was defective
but located his crook
secreted in a nook
with a cell phone call very directive

News item: Police were searching the house for a criminal who was well concealed behind a wall panel. They may never have found him if his cell phone hadn’t started ringing.

Who Needs School

Luanna was finding her first year of school quite a problem. She didn’t like getting up so early to get ready and then sitting for twenty minutes on the school bus every day. In class she struggled to remember all those sticks and balls and which one said which sound, all the shapes of the numbers and how many circles to draw for each.

So much work! Why did she have to know all that when her Mom already did and was so good at reading stories to them? She liked colouring and recess, but really she’d far rather stay at home and play with her little brother.

One day she was at Grandma’s for a cookie-bake and tea party; as they sipped their tea she told Grandma all about it. “So you see, Grandma, school is too hard. I wish I didn’t have to go.”

Grandma tried to encourage her. “Try your best, Sweetie, ’cause someday you’ll be big and you’ll want to get a job and earn some money for yourself. Then you’ll need to know all these things.”

Luanna puzzled over that for a minute, then her little face lit up. “I know! I can just stay at home and get a pension like you and Grandpa.”

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Found the perfect solution, Grandma.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Originally posted on my poetry blog, Swallow in the Wind.

Multitasking Motorist Woes

Officer Chan Forbister noticed a car ahead weaving erratically and crowding the cars in either lane. Turning on his flashers he came up behind it and saw the driver writhing in her seat. A moment of panic hit him. “Was she having a heart attack? A seizure?”

But when he pulled alongside the other car, the woman straightened up in her seat and gave him an embarrassed smile. One of those multi-tasking drivers again. He sighed and signaled her to pull over.

Standing by her car, Chan eyed her critically. “Are you okay, lady?”

“Of course I am, Officer.”

“I thought you were having a seizure. What exactly were you doing?”

“This is so embarrassing! You see, I snagged my pantihose leaving the house and now I’ve a huge hole. I can’t show up at the office looking like this, so I was trying to take them off.”

“While driving?” Chan rolled his eyes. “May I see your driver’s licence and registration, ma’am.”

He walked back to his cruiser, spent a few minutes on his radio confirming the registration information, then returned, ticket in hand.

“I see you had another driving infraction last month?”

“Quite a minor offence, really.”

“Blowing up balloons while driving ten kilometers over the speed limit on a main street is minor? Now that’s funny.”

“They were for my granddaughter’s birthday party and I was running late.”

Chan put on his sternest cop face as he handed her the ticket. “From now on, lady, when you’re driving forget about multi-tasking. When you’re driving, JUST DRIVE! We don’t want to see you in the morgue.”

“Yes, officer,” she answered meekly.

He climbed into his cruiser and watched her drive away. Then he chuckled, remembering the reactions at last month’s staff meeting when Officer Vennie told them about the ticket he’d given this balloon-blowing grannie. Chan shook his head. Just wait ‘til the guys heard this one.

Notoriety

This story was originally written for a Friday Fictioneers prompt and posted Feb 8th on my original site. I’m transferring older posts from that site now, so hope my long-term followers will bear with the reruns and new followers will enjoy this tale. Since the story’s no longer connected to that prompt, I’ll edit it a bit and use a different photo.

 

Blue car tilt.jpg

“There,” Phil said. “Took some doing but I’ve Photo-Shopped Uncle Elbert out of this crazy prank.”

His wife, Vannalee, looked over his shoulder. “Too bad. Uncle Elbert looked so proud of himself draped on the hood of that old car.”

” I know. Shame to lose that smug grin of his, but my folks insisted. They say he was always up to something that would shock people. And from such a straight-laced clan.”

Vannalee grinned. “I can imagine how dear old Uncle Elbert besmirched the family name by taking up robbing banks — and Grandpa’s bank first of all, to add insult to injury. Mind you, I wouldn’t want our bank robbed, if we had one.”

“It was a humiliation Grandpa never lived down. Dad says when Elbert’s notorious career was terminated by state lawmen one fateful day, Grandpa refused to attend the funeral.”

He set the picture down. “Well, I’ve successfully deleted Elbert from the family photos now, but you know what must have old Grandpa turning in his grave? At family gatherings his great-grands mention him being a successful banker. But they talk about Uncle Elbert’s wild capers for hours.”