New Diet Plan Fried

Here I am, back to do my duties for the Sunday Ragtag Daily Prompt, and today the word is ICE CREAM.

I picked this prompt a few weeks back when I thought the weather would be pretty hot, but we’ve had about the coolest summer I can remember here on the prairies. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this little tale.

THE NEW DIET PLAN

Ice Dr + chick.Andy M.
Image by Andy M at Pixabay

One evening Abby dropped in to visit her friend and noticed an unusual poster on the wall. “Hey, Terri, I see you have a new poster. But what’s with the chicken and ice cream cone?”

“It’s a great new diet plan. It’s called the ‘Death By Association Diet.’ You know how much I love ice cream, right? So the idea is, I look at this poster everyday and think of a chicken pecking at an ice cream cone. Then, by association, whenever I’m hungry for ice cream I’ll think of a chicken messing in it. That will kill my craving for ice cream.”

“Well… I guess that is a new approach to dieting.”

“So what do you think? Should work, shouldn’t it?”

Abby considered the poster a moment before answering. “I think it’s making me hungry. Why don’t we get some nuggets and fries at Chick-Fill-Eh?, then stop for dessert at Dairy Duchess.”

“Sorry I asked! You just fried my new diet plan,” Terri exclaimed, ripping the poster off the wall. “Now I’ll never get that association out of my mind.”

Another One Coming Down

It’s time for another Crimson’s Creative Challenge
Every Wednesday she posts a photo (the one below) and bloggers can respond with something CREATIVE:

  • An answering photo
  • A cartoon
  • A joke
  • A caption
  • An anecdote
  • A short story (flash fiction)
  • A poem
  • A newly minted proverb, adage or saying
  • An essay
  • A song—the lyrics or the performance

She gives only two criteria:

  • Your creative offering is indeed yours
  • Your writing is kept to 150 words or less

I’ve read various reports lately about statues coming down because of their association with past evil. While I understand this principle and don’t find fault with it, I recall what a wise man often told his children back in the early 1900s. Once people get started, will they know where to stop? Which gave the “seed” for this tale:

Another One Comes Down

“Here by this door,” Alix pointed. “Great place for another charge.”

Tonya eyed the structure. “Isn’t this overdoing things? I mean…”

“No way! These temples of opulent indulgence were built on the suffering of starving peasants, slaving to pay crushing rent to greedy lords. And think of all the wars plotted here…the blood shed to defend this place.”

“True. But still…the tourist revenue.”

“Money has triumphed over human rights too long,” Alix declared. “Just think of the debauchery that went on behind these walls. Lecherous nobs forcing themselves on helpless servant girls; wives enduring philandering husbands; unwanted babies hustled away to a nunnery; thousands of daughters pressured into wretched marriages to forge political alliances. And tourists are worshipping all this evil!”

“Not exactly. It’s the history…”

“Right! All these castles are coming down.”

Tonya shook her head. Didn’t Grandpa always say, “There’s no moderation in the human race”?

Limited Interests

air-balloon-festival-954908_640
TanteLoe — Pixabay

The Ragtag Daily Prompt today: WINDBAG
The Word of the Day Challenge: FUTILE

My response shall be this tale.

The Ornithologist

At the family picnic our cousin Devern’s new bride, Chloe was warmly welcomed by everyone in our extended family circle. At the picnic table I noticed that she sat next to great-uncle Herb, so I sat across from them in case she needed a little help. Uncle Herb wasn’t the greatest conversationalist.

As we all enjoyed our food, I heard Chloe ask Uncle Herb, “So, who do you think will win the presidential election this fall?”

Oh dear.

His noncommittal response was, “I won’t even try to guess.”

She seemed taken aback; nevertheless she made another stab at it. “At this point it’s pretty hard to predict, I guess. Who do you think Joe Biden will choose as his running mate?”

“I doubt it will matter much. Politicians are all about the same.”

Looking a little miffed, Chloe glanced at me and I gave her a sympathetic smile. She didn’t know Uncle Herb yet.

I leaned forward. “Say, Uncle Herb, I saw a bird in our yard yesterday, small and brownish with a lighter breast. It had a short tail that kind of stuck up. A wren, wouldn’t you say?”

“Oh, yes. Very likely, if its tail was short, somewhat blunt, and pointed up. A dusky flycatcher is small and brown, too, but its tail’s longer, more tapered. House wrens and duskies both have a ring around the eye and you may confuse the two by that, but the dusky is slightly larger, 5 3/4”. Also, duskies have a rather yellow belly and clear white wing bars, where the wren’s belly is creamy and its bars, on both wings and tail, are smaller black and brown. Look more like ripples. However, the upright tail will give the wren away every time. And its song, of course.

“Now, as to what kind of a wren… If its back was definitely brown and barred, it was a house wren. A sedge wren is much like a house wren, slightly smaller, only 4 ½”, but it doesn’t have that distinguishing thin ring of white around its eye. Also, a sedge wren’s throat is whiter and the belly more orange. Did you happen to get a good look at its throat or belly?”

“Um.. No. It was in the bushes and…”

“Too bad. Now, marsh wrens are slightly lighter in color and clearly distinguished by a line above the eye, going from the beak to the back of the head. Winter wrens are smaller than a house wren, though; a house wren is 4 3/4″ whereas a winter wren is only four inches. But winter wrens nest in the pine forests of northern Canada, so you’ll rarely see one here, except in migration. They don’t have a clear line above the eye, either.”

“I hope I get another chance to see it.” I also hoped to think of some topic that would stop Uncle Herb’s ornithological flow.

Suddenly he turned back to Chloe. “What kind of birds have you observed?”

She searched for an answer. “Er… Robins. I’ve seen robins.”

“Robins?” Uncle Herb looked puzzled. “Is that all? Surely you’ve seen other birds.”

Chloe got that deer-in-the-headlights look. “Uh… And pigeons. And sparrows. I’ve seen lots of sparrows.”

“Are you referring to native sparrows or English sparrows?” His tone was rather demanding.

Uh-oh! I knew where this was going.

Sadly, poor Chloe had no clue. “Is there a difference,” she asked.

“There certainly is.” The glare Uncle Herb gave her would have frosted the Sahara.

Seeing her wilt under his disapproval, I jumped up and said, “Want to come with me, Chloe? I think Mom’s ready to set the desserts out. I think she’ll need our help.”

“Sure!” She sprang from her chair and hurried to join me. We headed for the food table and stood beside it, since desserts weren’t being set out yet.

Chloe sighed. “I had no idea he’d be so passionate about sparrows?”

“Yeah. You’ll get the cold shoulder talking politics with Uncle Herb, but he’s a real windbag if you get him on the subject of birds. I guess we all know him by now and humor him if we can, or find somewhere else to be if he gets going full throttle. Don’t worry. You’ll catch on.”

Chloe chuckled. “Guess all families have them. Once my Uncle Tim gets started on state versus federal authority he can expound for hours. We’ve tried redirecting him but it’s futile. He has to wind down on his own.”

“I’ll keep that in mind.” I gave her a big grin.

Wren in shrub cropped

Living Blues

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is CERULEAN BAY

Since we lack oceans here on the prairies, we pretty much lack bays, too. We make do quite nicely with our lakes and rivers, though, and a larger lake may have a small dip in the shoreline one might call a bay. And you’ll find some small crescent (in England a “close”) in the city dubbed Xxx Bay.

We don’t lack shades of blue, though. Saskatchewan bills itself as “the land of living skies” because we have a whole palette of blues and grays with white added in streaks, layers and mounds.

At times I’ve read books that involve an ocean voyage, where the writer talks of a water spout. Narrow tubes of water going up from the sea into the heavens — I’d love to see one of those!

We have a similar phenomenon on the prairie: we call them dust devils. Mini tornadoes, sometimes only a metre wide, sometimes two. They skip over the ground in an erratic path, picking up and swirling dust and leaves. You may be looking at a field of grain and see heads start to swirl in a random path that zips through the grain — and you know a dust devil has touched down.

I like colour descriptions as a rule. However, when novel writers describe the hero or heroine as having cerulean blue eyes, to me this sounds poetic. We just don’t think or talk that way. After all, when was the last time your friend told you so-and-so’s eyes are “cerulean blue”? We may say bright blue, dark blue, gray-blue, maybe even denim blue. But when writers get into really creative shades of eye colour like mocha espresso, cottonseed brown, or tea leaf green, this is unnecessary exaggeration, in my opinion.

I googled CERULEAN and find it’s a cross between aqua and turquoise. There’s some variety. I borrowed these paint chips from the SICO website; neither are named Cerulean, but are about the right colour.

Limpid Lagoon 6151-63
Limpid Lagoon
Cayman Blue 6151-52
Cayman Blue

Great Balls of Fire!

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is FIRE IN THE SKY
and the Word of the Day Challenge is UNPREDICTABLE

First I should say that all bloggers are welcome to join in and write a post in response to the prompts. So if these prompt words give you an idea for a post, just click on the names (links) above for more details.

sundog-4454929_640
Michael McGough — Pixabay

A person could give various responses to the image of “fire in the sky.” A blazing sunrise or sunset would qualify. Here on the prairie we see some amazing sundogs, partial rings or halos on one side or both sides of the sun.

Of course one of the main displays of fire in the sky is lightning, which reminds me of a couple of stories I once heard.

My husband’s mother spent her first eight years in Manitoba and apparently the electrical storms there were furious and unpredictable back in those days. She says every time there was a thunderstorm her parents would gather the children all around in one room. After moving to Saskatchewan, they did this during the first few storms but soon decided our storms here didn’t pose a threat, so her parents quit this practice.

Visiting friends in Manitoba once, there was a wild thunderstorm, but no serious damage. In the morning they recalled another storm they’d had where ball lightning fell from the clouds and they watched balls of fire roll along the road by their place. So we understand why Grandpa & Grandma Letkeman took the precautions they did while they lived in Manitoba.

Weather patterns have changed a lot over the years, maybe due to settlement and many trees planted here on the prairie. Records show and old timers talk of wild storms, blizzards and heat waves like we never see these day — thankfully!

Lightning can have really unpredictable consequences. We read an account where a farmer had just built a new barn, the door of which had the standard Z of brace-boards across the back to fortify the vertical door boards. Nails holding this all together were evenly spaced all along this Z.

Soon after, an electrical storm passed over their farm. The next morning the farmer went out to do his chores and when he slid open the barn doors, the wood all fell in a heap at his feet. A lightning bolt had hit the barn and just jumped from nail to nail along the door, sizzling every one. One tug on the door and the whole thing gave way.