Monday, July 31, 2006

Congrats to Boss and Ronnie !!!

Hopefully, the staff and regulars of Chipperfield's will be raising a coffee in celebration ...

Word just in that Ross and Bonnie are the proud grand parents to newly arrived twin boys who made their debut on Sunday in Winnipeg !!!

The little guys are hanging in the hospital for some extra care and support ... but no doubt they are enveloped with love and care from their family.

Our best wishes to Ross and Bonnie and ALL of their family ... this summer has found an assortment of grandkids in and around the Coffee Shop, and no doubt in a couple of years these two little fellas will make thier presence known ...

We hope that Ross got back from his "trip" to Cuba in time to get to Winnipeg ...

Congrats !!!!

Overheard at Chipperfield's ... part XXI ...

"So, my grandon found himself an old Remington type writer," said one of the regulars as he put down his coffee mug.

"Really?" replied a second regular, "does he like it?"

"Does he like it?" repeated one of the regulars, "He hasn't stopped typing since he got the silly thing. He's done a thank you note to the old duffer who sold it to him at the yard sale, he's done letters to his friends, and now he's working on some short stories and stuff. He's a typing fiend."

"Hmmmph," commented the other regular as he picked up his coffee and sipped it, "funny how old things become new again."

"Ain't that right," offered the first regulars, "I cheered the day the computer keyboard arrived. It made things a heckuva lot easier."

"Yeah, not as hard on the wrist and fingers," observed the second regular.

"You never break a sweat on a computer keyboard that needs some oil," agreed the first regular, "But the only thing I know is that my grandson is pretty happy typing up a storm. He really likes the 'ding' when you hit the end of the line and crank it back to the new line."

"Doesn't everyone," laughed the other regular, "like I said, 'everything old becomes new again,'"

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Overheard at Chipperfield's ... part XX ...

There was a cluster of regulars at one of the tables, and Bonnie was on the phone by the post behind the counter. Around here Jay-Dee and Kriss were busy getting orders ready ... the general hub-bub of the store was suddenly overwhelmed by Bonnie's voice. She didn't mean to be so loud, but it drew everyone's attention:

"NO, ROSS, I DON'T THINK IT'S A GOOD IDEA ..." Bonnie let out a growl as she punched the disconnected button with her thumb.

"Problem?" asked one of the regulars.

"Just Ross," answered Bonnie as she turned and offered a "fierce" glare to Kriss and Jay-Dee who had snorted with laughter behind her, "He's come up with an idea he says 'can't fail', and I always get worried when he comes up with those ..."

"What's his idea?" asked the regular, the others at the table listening in.

"Well, you know how he been "off" on that Stay-cation?" Bonnie asked, as most of the heads around the table were nodding in agreement, "Now he figures that he could assemble "Stay-cation kits" and sell them as a novelty item."

"Stay-cation kits?" asked one of the regulars, "what's a Stay-cation kit."

Bonnie pulled out a chair and sat down with the regulars as she started to share Ross' idea, "Well, he said what we need to do is get a tee-shirt, a cap, some post cards and a couple of novelty souvenir items from the destination for the Stay-cation. That way people can "come home" (Bonnie made quotation marks with her fingers) and wear a tee-shirt from wherever they pretended to have been."

"Like the Cuba tee-shirt Ross was wearing the other day?" asked one of the regulars.

"Exactly," answered Bonnie leaning over the table and holding her forehead with one hand, "He thinks that they will sell like hotcakes. People will buy them and send their friends the post cards and pretend they had an exotic holiday, all the while staying home and saving themselves money."

"Except for the $19.99 they give you,"

"$24.99 for a basic, $34.99 for a deluxe." answered Bonnie her head still down.


"Don't ask," answered Bonnie, "just don't ask ..."

"So, how does Ross figure this is a no lose idea?" asked one of the regulars.

"I dunno," aswered Bonnie, now slowly shaking her head, "he called me to tell me he came up with it while he was driving around in the back country of Cuba and he'd tell me more when he got back from his trip."

"Ross is on a trip?" asked one of the regulars, "didn't I see him in here early this morning?"

"He's on a Stay-cation," answered another at the table as he patted Bonnie on the shoulder.

"What in blue blazes is a Stay-cation?" asked the first regular.

"Ross got it from Corner Gas," answered the other regular, "it's when you imagine taking a trip somewhere while you stay home."

"He's imagining he's in Cuba right now," answered Bonnie, "and all his work calls are jaunts around the island."

"He talk to his customers in Spanish?" asked the first regular.

"I don't know, and I don't want to ask," answered Bonnie, "something are better left unasked."

"And sometimes we're better off not knowing," agreed one of the regulars.

All the heads around the table nodded in agreement.

"You know," one of the said quietly, "If Ross were an elevator, we'd have to say that he only stops at the odd floors ..."

"Some days that's truer then you know," said Bonnie as she stood up and headed back to her office, as she left she shook her head ...

Friday, July 28, 2006

Overheard at Chipperfield's ... Part XIX ...

It was early in the morning and Ross walked in the door, he glanced at the table full of regulars, nodded and said nothing.

"Morning Ross," one of the regulars offered.

Ross didn't reply. Instead he stepped up to the counter and spoke to Joanie; "un café por favor."

"Certainly sir," answered Joanie as she poured Ross a coffee, "would you like a muffin or something to go with that?"

Ross looked puzzled, "Estoy apesadumbrado que no hablo inglés."

Ross then placed a handful of Mexican coins on the counter and left the store ...

"What's up with Ross?" asked one of the regulars, "I don't know much Spanish, but I know enough to know he ordered his coffee and told you doesn't speak English in Spanish ..."

"He's on a Stay-cation," answered Bonnie walking out of the back room.

"A what?" asked the regular.

"A stay-cation," answered Bonnie shaking her head, "he was watching Corner Gas the other night and thought that Brent having a Stay-cation in Dog River was a great idea, especially now that he is so busy with work and travelling all over West Man and Saskatchewan."

"What the heck is a Stay-cation?" asked the regular, still not catching the drift.

"Well," answered Bonnie as she stood by the table, "it is when you go on a vacation in your head ..."

One of the regulars interupted her, "Isn't that what Ross does ALL the time?"

Everyone laughed, as Bonnie continued with a broad smile on her face, "There are days I wonder about that ... But, a Stay-cation is when you imagine you're somewhere else, and you enjoy being somewhere like Cancun or Acapoulco, or somewhere like that ..."

"Where's Ross today?" asked on of the regulars.

"The post card I got yesterday from him said he was heading to Cuba," said Bonnie.

"Did he "drive" there?" asked the regular making quotation marks above his head for emphasis, "Doesn't he know that Cuba is an island?"

"We never said Stay-cations were entirely realistic," answered Bonnie, "the Post Cards he leaves on the kitchen table tell me about the beautiful scenery he's been taking in while he's driving around ..."

"Does he talk to his clients in Spanish?" asked on the regulars.

"I don't even want to know," answered Bonnie shaking her head, "He seems to be happy in his little stay-cation world, and he's due to arrive back the day after tomorrow, so you can ask him then ..."

"Hmm," snorted one of the regulars, "sounds a little warped to me ..."

"Hey, it is Ross we're talking about," offered another regular.

"True enough," replied the first.

"The only thing I know," said Bonnie, as she turned to go back to her office, "is that it has been very quiet around the house lately. Ross keeps picking up frozen Mexican entrees for supper and isn't talking to me when he is in the house ..."

"Maybe you could send him on Stay-cations regularly," offered the first regular with a laugh.

"Oh the thought HAS crossed my mind, believe me ..."

With that Bonnie disappeared into the back, and the regulars quietly discussed Ross' stay-cation ... Joanie served another customer ...

Just an average day at Chipperfields ...

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Letters home from a travelling cap ...

(In the finest Monty Pythonesque fashion that we can muster:)

And now for something a little bit different:

Bonnie came out of the office with an envelope, "Does any one recognize the hand writing on this?" She asked her staff and the regulars gathered around a table.

Everyone had a good look, but no one could say who the envelope came from.

"Let's open it," said Kriss excitedly, "I like it when we get mysterious letters ..."

"Might as well," agreed J--.

Bonnie agreed and slit open the envelope and pulled out a letter carefully folded inside. She opened it and began reading it out loud;

"Dear Bonnie and Ross and Crew at Chipperfields: I'm having a fabulous time on my vacation. We left Minnedosa on Saturday morning and headed off down the Yellowhead Hwy. The last glimpse I had of "home" was when we stopped and bought some chipper-doodle cookies for the road ..."

Bonnie looked up with a puzzled look on her face, but gamely continued: "Our drive across Saskatchewan and Alberta was largely uneventful. We arrived in Edson late that night and watched a whooping thunderstorm roll in from the west. The sunset had been beautiful, and the thunderstorm was just awesome. The next morning we drove all the way through to a place called Langley just outside of Vancouver. The scenery through the mountains was just awesome. The mountains are beautiful, and we saw some wildlife. We didn't stop much, so I only got to look out the windows. But we stopped in a place called Ashcroft BC, where it was almost 44 DEGREES !!! It was hot sitting up on top of the guy's head ... but I did my job and kept the sun off his bald head ..."

The crowd around Bonnie snorted with laughter as Bonnie continued, "We drove on from there to Langley, and I got left in the car while everyone else went into eat supper. That was okay though, I wasn't really that hungry. The next day we spent most of the afternoon at a lovely swimming pool at a house near Langley, then we drove to the ferry docks to cross to Victoria. I got out of the car lots that day - it was hot, hot, hot ... and it was sunny. So every time buddy got out of the car, he put me on. I saw lots of cool stuff. I was a little afraid going across on the ferry though. It's a big boat, but it was really, really windy and the guy taking me on the trip has no hair to hold on to, so I was afraid I was going to blow overboard. But he kept me safe, and we got to Victoria safe and sound."

"Who the heck wrote this?" asked on Ross, listening in.

Bonnie continued, "We spent a day in Victoria visiting and sight seeing. Have you ever been?? It's a beautiful city. But the traffic is just crazy. Then we drove all the way "up island" (I'm not sure what that means) to a place called Port Hardy where we are going to stay for a couple of weeks or so ... It's nice here. There are eagles and a beach and lots of nice scenery. I think it will be fun. I'll write you more when I have more to tell you. For now, I'm happy on my holiday. Thanks for letting me go ... Yours truly, Chip the Chipperfield Cap ..."

"I know who really wrote that," said Joanie, as she returned to her duties behind the counter ...

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Minnedosa IS the centre of the Universe ...

In case you may EVER doubt it; Minnedosa IS the centre of the Universe ...

The list of people, famous, imfamous or otherwise who have come from Minnedosa is quite interesting ... We all know Izzy Asper the Media Mogul, raised a mere BLOCK from the Chipperfield Coffee Shop, then of course there is Ron Chipperfield who took hockey playing to new heights ... There are others, but with Izzy and Ron, you get the drift ...

Yet, it also seems that anywhere you go in Canada, particularly in the west, you WILL meet someone from, who lived in, or who is going to Minnedosa ... It has happened to many families including our own many times ...

Sitting in a restaurant in Golden on late evening - the man in the booth next to us says "Manitoba?? I got a good friend in Manitoba." The conversation then turns to locales, and he says his friend is from a small town north of Brandon called - yup, you guessed it: Minnedosa. And it turns out I know the friend ...

Standing on the ferry crossing to Victoria ... the couple at the rail notice my Minnedosa teeshirt and ask "are you from Minnedosa?" Turns out she was a school teacher and he an RCMP officer who have moved westward ...

Waiting for an elevator in an apartment building in the Lower Mainland. Again wearing the Minnedosa t-shirt ... the elevator opens and man steps out as you step in - "Hey, Minnedosa !!! I was born in the Lady Minto Hospital in 1947 ..." The elevator closes before more information can be gleaned ...

The stories are legion ... anyone who has lived in Minnedosa, even for a short time, has encountered someone somewhere who knows someone from, is related to someon in, or themselves were born or lived there at some point in their lives ... It takes the whole six degrees of seperation to a strange and wonderful new level ...

It is safe to say that for some unknown, yet cosmically significant reason - Minnedosa has become the centre of the known universe ...

... it makes travelling kind of fun ...

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Overheard at Chipperfield's ... part XVIII ...

"So, I was pumping my gas at the station in Hinton," a group of regulars at one of the tables was being entertained by one of their number who had just returned from a trip to BC, "and the guy in front of me looks at my license plate and sees Manitoba and asks, 'How were the gas prices coming out?' Well, I answered him honestly. I said they were high in Manitoba, higher in Saskatchewan and when you crossed the border they got a bit lower, but still too high."

"Ain't that right," agreed one of the other regulars.

"Yeah, but that ain't the weirdest part of this trip," says the first regular, "as this guy and I are talking he asked where we've come from, and I said 'Oh a little town up the Yellowhead called Minnedosa ...' and he answers me - 'Go on, that's where we're headed to visit my son ...' Turns out his son works down the street at that Internet Pharmacy, and his daughter in law works at the Hospital !!"

"Go on," snorted one of the regulars, "you're pulling our leg?"

The other three at the table nodded in agreement.

"I swear," said the first regular, "with God as my witness. It happened. The guy was heading to Minnedosa as we were heading out ..."

The four others at the table all shook their heads in bewilderment.

"Mind you," the first continued, "I've yet to have a trip anywhere in Canada that I don't meet someone who is from, going, or has just been in Minnedosa ... it's just that kind of town."

"It's the centre of the known universe," called Bonnie from behind the counter, "we just don't appreciate it because we live here ..."

"Ain't that the truth," offered on the regulars as he lifted his mug in salute to Bonnie's comment and our town.

"Absolutely," agreed the others, "it's a fine town," they offered.

"Well," the first regular, "it WAS really nice to get away, but it is always nicer to get home ..."

"Ain't that the truth," offered the regular who had said that twice before.

"Can't you say something other then, 'Ain't that the truth?'" pondered one of the other regulars.

The other paused, smiled then shrugged.

"Ain't that the truth," laughed the first regular as they all picked up their coffees and offered a faux salute ...

My kingdom for a ... good cup of coffee ...

One of the regulars headed off on a much needed holiday. On the way out of town he picked up some chipperdoodles for the kids, and hit the road running ...

On his return some time later, he had much to share ... but first and foremost was the enjoyment of the first cup of coffee on his return ...

"Boy, I've sure missed this," he exclaimed as he lifted the mug to his lips. He took a long slow sip and smiled, "yeap, I've missed this ..."

"It's good to have you back ..." said Joanie.

"It's good to be back ..." he agreed as he took another sip of his coffee, "it was nice to get away, but it is always nicer to come home. Especially when you have a place like this to come home to..."

Joanie turned her attention to some other customers who had come in, helping Anna and Kriss prepare a number of orders ...

Meanwhile, at the table the returning regular, mused about the dearth of enjoyable and even drinkable coffee on the road from Minnedosa to Alberta; "Sure you can get you caffeine quota, but if you want good coffee," He raised his mug for emphasis, "LIKE THIS ... you're pretty hard pressed."

"Tim's just don't cut it any more eh?" asked another regular.

"Nope," the first regular continued, "we still stop for donuts and stuff for the kids, and I take a coffee, but it just doesn't compare ..."

The crew gathered at the table nodded their heads in agreement.

"It's the coffee, the staff and the setting ..." the first regular mused as he emptied his coffee mug, and stood to get a refill, "you just can't beat THAT combination ..."

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Overheard at Chipperfield's ... part XVII ...

J-- was sitting with two other regulars at one of the tables along the wall.

"Hey you guys know old Stan McInnis up Strathclair way?" asked J--.

"Is that the old guy that collects all the books?" asked one of the regulars.

"Yeah, the squirrelly old guy in the big house on the outskirts of town?" ventured the second regular.

"Yeah, that's him," replied J--, nodding as he picked up his coffee.

"What happened to him?" asked the first regular, looking worried.

"Oh, nothing has happened to him," answered J--, "I just heard a funny story about him yesterday from a lady from Strathclair."

"A funny story about a half-crazy old man living in a house full of books," snorted the second regular, "who woulda thought that could happen?"

"So, what's the story?" asked the first regular, tossing a look of distain to his friend.

"Well, you know old Stan collects books eh?" began J--. His companions nodded in agreement, "It would seem that one day a lady from town, I can't remember her name ..."

"It doesn't matter, J--," offered the first regular.

"What?" retorted J--.

"The name," said the first regular, "her name doesn't matter. Just tell us what she did to Stan."

"Oh yeah," J--, laughed as he continued, "anyway this woman came to him and said her son really needed a copy of "Jake and Kid," or "Who has seen the wind?" or one of the old Farley Mowat books or somthing like that, for a school project. I can't remember which book it was ..."

"Some story teller," muttered the second story teller with a slight laugh.

"I never said I was a good story teller," replied J-- with a laugh and a smile, "I just said I like a good story or joke ... there IS a difference."

"Anyway, so what happened," snapped the first regular, getting a tad irritated.

"Well, she needed this book for her son, and she claimed the library at the school and the town library didn't have any copies in," J-- took a drink of his coffee before continuing, "So, she appeals to old Stan. And Stan says, the only copy I have is a first edition that is inscribed to me by the author. 'No problem,' says the lady, 'I'll take really good care of it ...' So Old Stan, being a trusting sort, loans her the book and thinks nothing of it. He doesn't usually loan out his books because many of them are pretty valuable, and he doesn't like losing them. But this woman said she was a friend and she could be trusted and all that sort of thing, so Stan loans her the book and leave it at that. He figures she trustworthy and she'll return the book."

"That it?" asked the first regular, "He loaned her an old book that was signed?"

"Oh no," replied J-- laughing, "it gets better. In a couple of months the woman finally returns Stan's book without so much as a thank you. So he takes it home and a couple of days later he opens it."

"And?" the first regular was leaning forward in his chair, anticipating the story going somewhere, or perhaps getting ready to bolt from the table if that was as far as the story went.

"So Stan opens the book and looks at the page where the inscription to him by the author was," J-- paused for a moment, "and it's gone."

"Gone?" asked the second regular, his mouth hanging open slightly, "how can it be gone?"

"It's not his book," answered J--, smiling, "it turns out the woman's father is named Stan, so she took the book that said, "Best wishes Stan ..." signed by the author and sent it to him as a birthday present ..."

The two regulars with Jim both scoffed as they laughed.

"That's just rotten," roared the first regular.

"As low as a snake belly," laughed the second.

"What kind of person borrows a book that is signed and returns one that's not?" asked the first regular, "that's just low down rotten behaviour."

"Yeah, that's what Stan thinks too," offered J--, "Oh I just remembered her name ..."

Friday, July 21, 2006

A little boy and a dinosaur ...

(Here's a story to go with today's coffee !)

He stood ankle deep in the water along the shore. The water lapped at his sneakers, but he didn't seem to mind, he was more intent on fishing. The rod in his hand was swung back and forth over his head as he cast out into the sparkling water.

At the end of his line was a tiny plastic dinosaur. It came with the rod. The rod was a advertised special from Zellers or Canadian Tire or somewhere like that. I was designed for practising not for real fishing. But to the eight year old boy standing ankle deep in the water, it didn't matter. He was enjoying the process of casting and reeling in, casting and reeling in, casting and reeling in ...

He stood for hours in the water casting his little dinosaur out, and reeling it back in over the sandy beach, only to repeat the action ...

This could have gone on all day. But then suddenly the line on his reel whizzed as it played out into the deeper water then the tidal flats he was standing on. His little hands tightened on the reel. His fingers twisted around the pole. He hung on for dear life.

Then the line ran out ... zing ... the line pulled tight. The pole strained under the pressure of the fish that had foolishly chosen the little plastic dinosaur for its lunch.

The little boy didn't know whether to laugh, or cry, or call for help. He stood, his face grimaced from the strain of holding the fishing pole. His knuckles turned white ...

Just as suddenly, yet strangely it seemed to happen in slow motion ... the line snapped with a loud 'twang', the wave ebbed just as the little boy fell back into the wet sand beneath him, and the tiny v-shaped wake left on the surface of the water disappeared as the unseen fish made off with its prize of a tiny plastic dinosaur.

The little boy sat up as the next wave crested on the beach, leaving him soaked to the skin and covered in wet sand. He looked around, then picked up his rod and himself and head up the beach to his father, who was heading down the beach as he was heading up dragging his pole behind him.

The tracks he left looked like some strange wet creature emerging from the surf. Two footsteps and a long trail from a tail dragging out behind ... the little boy didn't know whether to laugh or cry. In the twinkling of an eye his afternoon of fun was undone by the one that got away ...

"You know," his dad offered as he gave the little boy a hug, "the really good fisherman always have that happen to them."

The little boy looked up at his dad hopefully, "really?" in his eye the beginning of a tear.

"Absolutely," said Dad, his voice gaining confidence, "Every fisherman has a story about the one that got away."

"Really?" the little boy repeated.

"Absolutely," offered the Dad again, not letting go of his son.

For a long moment they stood on the beach in a hug. The little boy sobbed quietly as the loss of his dinosaur, and from the shock of falling in the cold water. Then the little boy turned and looked out to the water where his precious little plastic dinosaur disappeared. He drew a breath, his chest shuddering from the soft sobs.

"You know dad," the little boy whispered, "that musta been a HUGE fish."

The dad nodded in agreement and squeezed the little boy a bit tighter.

"It musta been a HUGE fish," the little boy repeated, "cause only a BIG HUMONGOUS fish could EVER eat a WHOLE dinosaur ..."

"Absolutely," agreeed the dad, "absolutely ..."

The two hugged each other a little tighter, and if the little boy had looked up he would have seen a tear in his dad's eye ... "Now," the dad spoke quietly, "you can tell EVERYONE about the one that got away !!"

"After it ate a dinosaur!" laughed the little boy.

"Absolutely," agreeed the dad, "absolutely ..."

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Overheard at Chipperfield's ... part XVI ...

(this is a tribute of sorts to the area between Minnedosa and Basswood along Highway 16 ... if you're from Minnedosa, or have spent any time here you should be able to catch it ...)

A group of older regulars were sitting at one of the tables telling tales and sharing stories.

One of them asked, "Did you hear about the guy who's care broke down last week on Highway 16, just this side of Basswood??"

There was a round of shaking heads around the table.

"Well, he was driving from Edmonton to Winnipeg, or some fool thing like that," he continued, "and at Basswood the car started acting funny, then about a mile or two past it just died. The care was just dead," he paused for a moment, "the poor guy got it over to the side of the road and got out and popped the hood."

He took a sip of his coffee before continuing, "He opened the hood up and poked around the engine for a bit. He tried to start it, but still nothing. He kept poking away under the hood, and car after car after car drove by him. Finally one old farmer in a pick up truck pulled off the road and walked up to help him."

He looked around the table before continuing, "The guy was pretty worked up, he wanted to get on with his drive and he had tried everything he could think of, and still the car wouldn't start. He was wound up pretty tight and was a little peeved. So when the farmer walked up to him and asked, 'Car problems?' The guy snapped back at him: 'You a Mechanic?'"

He again paused and took another sip of his coffee before he went on, "Well, the farmer pushed up his UGG cap and scratched his head as he looked at the traveller before answering, 'Nooo, I'm a McNabb. Do I know you ??' "

He paused and took a forkful of his carrot cake, but before he popped in his mouth, he said - "I don't know if ever got his car going though ..."

car was dead.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Can't say I didn't remember ...

A former prof of mine wrote a marvelous book a couple of years ago on anonymity. She was focusing on the place and purpose of anonymous characters in the Jewish Scriptures, but along the way she also mused about the anonymity that exists all around us ...

Her thesis in the book was that the anonymous characters are individuals in whom we, as the reader, or the religious believer, can step and take part in the story ... (it was a very cool book and was an interesting read ...) But she mused at one point in the book about how many anonymous people we meet every single day ...

The clerk at the store, the bus driver, the car passing us on the freeway ... the list is very long.

In the big urban centres it is more common then in a small town. In a small town you get to know people. Your neighbour runs the dress shop, and so you go there rather then into the urban centre - you might pay a dollar or two more, but you're helping someone with whom you've built a sort of relationship.

The check out clerk at the local grocery store is the sister in law of your baby sitter, or her mother is the grandmother of your daughter's best friend ...

The mechanic who works on your car his the husband of your accountant, and her son is your paper boy ...

The interconnected circles could go on and on and on ... But what is important, particularly in a small town is the ability to know the NAMES of the people you meet day in and day out ... The guy at the computer store is not just some guy - you know him by name and he greets you when you bump into each other at the grocery store. The clerk at the store greets you by name when you step into her line, and later when you bump into her at the coffee shop she again knows you as more then just a face ...

It's the strength (and in some ways the weakness) of a small town ... your name is known, and you know the names of others ... But even more importantly, as you learn names, you learn stories and as you learn stories you build relationships ... they can be casual conversation relationships, or they can be friendships that will endure and last ... The name is the first step to building community ... that's the point of moving beyond anonymity ...

If you know my name - you know who I am ... and we can build a relationship ...

That is one of the joys of a small town ... and being a regular in a place like Chipperfield's allows you to form relationships with the staff and the other regulars ... they become friends ... and that is another joy of a small town. You build your network (to use a rural development buzz word), and within that network you form friendships and casual acquaintences ... they become links in a chain, or strings in our life web ...

Today, I have to honour one of those links in the chain ... one of Chipperfield's staff is celebrating a momentous birthday, and she blasted me the other day for not updating this blog soon enough ... and I'm sure she's wondering how I could possibly have FORGOTTEN her birthday ...

How could I forget the birthday of one who has a delightful and rapier wit ... who can cut you down with a glare ... one who WILL exact her revenge ... I wouldn't dare forget the birthday of someone like that (to do so would be at your own peril) ... Sooooooo .... I didn't forget ... I was waiting ...

Happy Birthday !!
Happy Birthday !!!
Happy Birthday !!!!
Happy Birthday !!!!!
Happy Birthday !!!!!!

So, H---. Hope you had/have a Happy Birthday. Hope it was/is filled with joy and celebration. And I hope you appreciate that I (and I'm sure many others) didn't forget ...

Now, you can't say I didn't do something nice !!!!!

Overheard at Chipperfield's ... part XV ...

Two of the regulars were sitting at the table, neither had said much, they were just sort of sitting. Suddenly one of them, the younger of the two spoke.

"The world needs more tree forts," he announced, smiling slightly.

"What?" asked the other regular, bewildered.

"The world needs more tree forts," repeated the first regular, "with all the troubles in our world, all the violence, all the wars and conflicts, we just need to have more tree forts."

"How will tree forts solve anything?" asked the second, sounding more then a little skeptical.

"Well, didn't you have a tree fort when you were a kid?"

"Yeah," the second regular answered tentatively, "I'm still not making a connection here ..."

"What do you remember about it?" asked the first.

"It was in a tree," ventured the second, becoming more hesitant.

"Did you play in it?" pressed the first.

"For hours and hours and hours," answered the second, smiling at the memories that were being replayed in his mind, "my friends and I even slept in our tree forts on warm summer evenings."

"That's just what I mean," offered the first, "if we had more tree forts, I mean real tree forts people wouldn't be so serious all the time, and we'd have less violence and conflict ..."

"I'm really not following you," the second regular lifted his coffee mug up and took a sip, "I don't see how you can connect these things ..."

"Well," the first leaned in slightly, cupping his mug in his hands, "when I was a kid, my best frined and I built a tree fort in one of the trees in my back yard. It wasn't anything special, it was just a couple of two by fours nailed in, with some sheets of scavenged plywood put on top of that. But man ... we travelled the world in that tree fort."

He paused for a moment to glance out the front window and take a drink of coffee before continuing with his recollections, "One week the tree fort would be the control tower of an air craft carrier in the south Pacific, then the next week it would be a space craft hurtling through time and space on a voyage to Mars, then the week after it was a jet flying through the clouds, and the next week it was the tower of a castle under seige ... it took us everywhere, and we were always home in time for lunch ..."

"How would a kids' tree fort solve the problems of the world?" asked his now thoroughly confused companion.

"Easy," replied the first regular, "when you spend time using your imagination you feel calmer and more relaxed. When you climbe a tree and sit in a tree fort and imagine yourself travelling the world in a huge sailing vessel, visiting far flung corners, you can't get angry with anyone ... you just start to relax and unwind ... In a tree fort you can just sit and enjoy the sunshine, or the stars at night, you can listen to the wind, you can watch the storm clouds gather on the horizon, and if your careful you can sleep away the day ... tree forts are just a good way of living ..."

"I'm sorry," offered the second, "I'm still not making the connection here ..."

"Imagine if you put some of politicians up in a tree fort ..."

The second regular interupted, "I'd like to put them up in a tree, but not necessarily in a fort ..."

"IN A TREE FORT," continued the regular, emphasising each syllable, "You tell them they can't come down until they remember how to play like they were 8 years old ... Give them some plastic swords, and some costumes and TELL them to just play ... use their imagination ... remember what it was like to be a kid ..."

"Right," offered the second, the implication of his companion's idea suddenly dawning on him, "when you're a kid you don't have time for all the conflict and strife ..."

"Exactly," replied the first, smiling broadly, "you're too busy playing and being a kid, and doing kid things to worry about hating other people and wanting to blow them up, and trying to exploit them and so forth ... you just play ..."

"The guy in the other tree fort in the next yard ..."

"Is just another kid to play with ..." the first interupted, but continued, "You haven't got time for silly things like war and killing people ... you're too busy using your imagination ..."

"Hmm," snorted the second, "that's crazy enough it just might work ..."

"And with what it costs to equip a modern army," the first took a sip of his coffee, "you could build every kid on the planet a tree fort or two ..."

"You could likely educate and feed them too ... with money left over," mused the second regular, "yup, it's just crazy enough that it just might work ..."

The two men grew silent for a moment, neither speaking ...

"Too bad we couldn't get any of the politicians to listen to us ..." the first one reflected quietly.

"Not just them," offered the second regular, "the insurance people would get into the act with the lawyers and everyone would be afraid of people falling out and suing, and there would be law suits and fights and ... well, the whole mess would start all over ..."

"Life was simpler when I was eight," sighed the first regular.

"And a whole lot more fun," observed the second regular.

The two of them again fell silent, each lost in their own thoughts.

Kirss interupted them by asking from the counter: "Would either of you like a refill?"

They both shook their heads ...

"No thanks," answered the first, "my Grandson is coming tomorrow and I think I need to stop by the hardware store ..."

"Need some help?" asked the second looking hopeful.

"Know how to build a tree fort?" asked the first, a broad smile crossing his face.

"Absolutely," answered the second, "that's one skill you never forget."

"Well, let's go," the first regular stood as he spoke, "we might not be able to convince our politician to use a tree fort, but a couple of grandfathers and their grandkids won't take much to convince ..."

"Our wives might be different story," laughed the second regular as he stood and carried the mugs to the counter, "we'll just tell them that we're trying to change the world one tree fort at a time."

"Have fun," offered Kriss, "and be careful."

"Oh we will ..." they both answered as they left the store laughing ...

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Overheard at Chipperfield's ... part XIV ...

It still very early, the couch crew had just headed off to their day, Ross was grabbing a coffee for the road as he was getting ready to head off to work ... So, no one was expecting J-- just yet ... his "normal" arrival time was still an hour or more away ...

"Morning everybody," offered J-- as he walked in the front door.

"You're early," sputtered a shocked Jay-Dee.

"Yeah, I woke up early and decided I needed a Chipperfield's," offered Jim laughing.

Ross paused, a variety of work related paper work tucked under his arm, "Morning J--, I'd offer you a hand, but I haven't got one free ..."

"No problem," replied J--, still smiling, "Oh, Happy Anniversary ..."

"Thanks," returned Ross, a little confused, "but the anniversary was last week, not today."

"Oh, I don't mean the anniversary of Chipperfield's, I mean today's anniversary. Don't you remember what you were doing 30 years ago today?" a sly smile crossed J--'s face.

"Thirty years ago, umm ..." Ross hesitated, "I'm not sure what I was doing thirty years ago today ..."

"Oh Ross, how could you forget," J-- was now laughing, "It was such a momentous event. It was unforgettable ..."

"What happened thirty years ago today?" asked Jay-Dee, clearly exasperated by the exchange.

"Yeah," chimed in Joanie.

Even Bonnie was drawn by the conversation. Perhaps she sensed a pending moment of embarassment for Ross that she didn't want to miss.

"Oh, you are just sad," laughted J--, "I can't believe you forgot what today's anniversary is?"

"J--," Joanie's voice had a sharp edge, "tell us what happened 30 years ago today?"

"Yes sir," snapped J--, offering a military salute.

"Thirty Years ago today in Montreal at the 76 Olympics, Nadia Comaneci, landed her perfect score for her gymnastics routine. Remember?" the corner of Jim's mouth turned up in a mischievious smile.

"Um, no ... I didn't remember" offered Ross hesitently, "I'm impressed."

"You read that some where," offered Bonnie skeptically.

Jay-Dee and Joanie's eyes were wide with wonder and anticipation, both sensing this was going somewhere ...

"No," offered J-- with a dismissive wave of his hand, "I didn't read it. I am a HUGE fan of gymnastics. I just remember exactly what I was doing 30 years ago, and I was so struck by Nadia's performance that I have NEVER (he stretched out the syllables of never), forgotten her performance, or the fact that she went home to Romania with three gold medals, a silver and a bronze. How could you ever forget such an incredible performance." With a flourish, J-- raised his coffee mug in a toast to Nadia and took a sip.

"Wow," Ross was clearly awestruck, "I'm impressed. You learn something new about your customers every day. I never knew you were a gymnastics fan J--. And that you remembered something like Nadia Comaneci's performance to THE DAY, is just impressive."

"Yeah," J-- shrugged and offered a humble smile, "I'm a man of suprises."

"I'll say," replied Ross as he turned and headed for the door and his day of business visits. He was muttering, "Unbelievable, he actually remembered her perforance ... I can't beleive it ..." as he headed out the door.

Bonnie's eyes narrowed, "I think you read it somewhere this morning, and you're just trying to impress us ..."

"Oh," J-- feigned hurt, "I'm wounded that you would be so suspicious of me ..."

"Yeah sure," Bonnie laughed as she turned and headed back to the office, "you look wounded ..."

Joanie and Jay-Dee were still standing at the counter staring at J-- with smiles on their faces.

"You DID read that somewhere didn't you?" asked Joanie, her voice a slight whisper.

J-- leaned in over the counter, "Yeah," he answered in a whisper, sharing the conspiracy with them, "I read it in an almanac I was flipping through this morning when I was eating my toast at home, "I just like messing with Ross' mind ... and it seemed like a good way to do it today."

The three of them burst into laughter as J-- picked up his coffee and headed to one of the tables ...

"Thanks J--" Jay-Dee offered with a smile, "you just brightened our day ..."

"You're welcome," replied J-- as he sat down and awaited the arrival of the other morning regulars ...

Monday, July 17, 2006

Overheard at Chipperfield's ... part XIII ...

There's something strangely appropriate that the Thirteenth entry of "Overheard ..." would be announcing the return of the proverbial prodigal son ...

Kriss was busy getting a large order of coffees and carrot cakes ready for the various customers who had strolled in the door a moment early. They had all arrived on bikes that were now stacked five deep in front of the window. She looked out the window and turned to Anna who was working with her; "Think they don't trust people around here?" she asked motioning to the bikes out front.

"Likely not from a small town," observed Anna, "I heard they are part of a cycling group that are pedaling from Vancouver to Newfoundland."

"Where did you hear that?" asked Kriss.

"J-- told me," answered Anna, "When he was in earlier."

"Oh," replied Kriss, finishing up the order and getting ready to take it out to the tables.

"Think J-- will be in tonight?" asked Kriss as she came back behind the counter.

"Think the sun will rise tomorrow?" replied Anna in a dry tone.

"You don't have to be sarcastic," retorted Kriss, feigning profound hurt.

"Sarcasm?" answered Anna wryly, "I'll show you sarcasm ..."

"No thank you," snapped Kriss with a smile, cutting Anna off, "I'll pass."

The conversation was truncated by the arrival of the infamous J--, who strolled through the front door, cap on his head and a warm smile on his face. "Evening everybody," he called cheerfully.

"Norm," called out three of regulars perched around one of the tables not occupied by the cyclists.

"Evening Mr. Peterson," replied one of the regulars, causing the cyclists to look up from the various tasks they were busy with.

"Evening Woody," answered J-- with a laugh, "a pint of your finest beverage my dear," he asked Kriss and Anna behind the counter.

"Certainly," replied Kriss with a smile.

Anna fought hard to restrain a smile as she answered: "We don't serve your kind here ... I think we'll have to ask you to leave ..."

"Sure thing," laughed J-- as he picked up his coffee and joined the regulars at the table, greeting each one as he sat down, "It's good to be back," Jim concluded as he picked up his coffee and took a sip.

"It's good to have you back," answered one of the regulars, "How was your trip?"

J--, began to regale the assembled group much as a King would regale his court with stories of his valour and adventures. J-- had come home after a long absence ...

It's funny how every good establishment seems to have amongst its regular clientelle one or two characters who are truly favoured by the staff and customer's alike ... Like the mythical bar called Cheers, these figures who are very much like TV's Norm and Cliff, loom large on the horizon, and when they head off on a holiday or miss a day or two, we all miss their presence ... Chipperfield's is no exception ...

Our prodigal had returned ... J-- had been off on a Harley trip visiting family, and just getting away for awhile. Aside from emails and periodic phone calls, the place just seemed to be lacking something by J--'s absence ...

As J--, resumed his daily schedule of holding court and regaling the regulars and others who happen to stop by at Chipperfield's, it was observed that he had missed Chipperfield's as much as Chipperfield's had missed him.

He noted when Anna came by the table that his daughter in law had observed that he wasn't interested in getting home to Minnedosa, he was interested in getting home to Chipperfield's ... "Is there anything wrong with that?" he asked as the table erupted with laughter ...

Across the room the 18 cyclists who were making a sojourn stop on their cross country bike ride looked up puzzled ... perhaps small town Manitoba was an alien experience for them ...

Tonight as the sun set in Minnedosa order was once again restored to our little corner of the Force ... J-- has come home and is again regaling us with his stories and jokes and warming the place with his smile ...

There's a new energy around Chipperfield's ... J-- is home, and all is well with the cosmos ... like Anna observed, the sun WILL rise tomorrow ... so, now if you just throw in a large coffee and a slice of the Chipperfield Apple Cheesecake, things would be just wonderful ...

When you're in ask any of the staff for a coffee and a slice of cheese cake ... you won't be disappointed ...

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Exciting new developments at Chipperfield Chronicles ...

Yesterday I contacted a Blog site called "The Bestest Blog of All-Time", and offered this site for their site exchange, wherein we post their link, and they post ours ...

Well ... today we're on the blog link on their side bar, and in the last few hours this site has been visited by people from all over the world !!!

The first question by these visitors is likely - "what the heck is The Chipperfield Chronicles?"

How do we answer THAT ???

It is a place of story ... a place to come and sit a spell and enjoy the happenings of a small rural town on the prairies of Manitoba (that's in Canada). It's based on a real place, and there are real people who come and pour coffee and enjoy the community and fellowship that the Coffee shop offers ... some of them pop up around here ... but the names here are usually changed (to protect the innocent and the guilty). The important piece of this place is the STORIES of a small town.

All of us what to hear the stories of where we live. We want to know that our stories are heard and are worth sharing. We want to know that our lives are worth celebrating in story.

And so here, in this place we celebrate the joys and sorrows of a small town in story ... some are borrowed, most are altered, and most of them have a kernel of truth within them ... that's the strength of story. When we read them we say - "I can relate to that ..." or we may have had the exact same experience ourselves ... a good story is worth reading and sharing ...

So, that is what this place is - a place of story ...

Chipperfield's is real, both here in cyberspace, and in a little town called Minnedosa ...

Come on in, sit down and stay a spell ...

Overheard at Chipperfield's ... part XII ...

One of the regulars came in the door. He paused at the front counter and picked up a copy of the book "Trails to Rails" written by Bob Mummery (Trails to Rails is the story of Minnedosa's history as a railroad town - available for $30). He thumbed through it briefly before replacing it on the pile with an audible snort.

"Hi" Anna greeted the regular with a smile, "what can I get you?"

"A large medium roast and a slice of carrot cake," he grumbled.

"Okay," answered Anna, "I'll bring it out to you."

"Thanks," replied the regular as he sat at the table with his usual group.

There were good mornings all around amongst the retired railroaders assembled there. Then one turned to the newcomer and his response to Mummery's book: "So, you don't like Bob's book?"

"Oh, it's not that," answered the newcomer as he removed his cap and set it on the empty chair beside him, "it's just that damned station."

"What do you mean by that?"

"Well," the newcomer paused and scratched his grey hair, "it's just that everytime a group starts to do something new in town, everyone gets shirty about out."

"Like when?" asked the first regular.

"Well, remember when they built the hall?" offered the newcomer, "and all the hella-belloo over it. There were petitions to stop it. Everyone was complaining, no one wanted it. It was a real mess that divided the town right down the middle."

"I remember those petition," offered a third old timer, "they were circulating town. Even my neighbour wanted me to sign on."

"Yeah, there are still folks in town who won't talk to others over that ..." offered the newcomer, "and it all so darned silly."

"What do you mean?" asked the first regular.

"Well, I bet if we walked up Main Street today and asked the old timers we couldn't find a single person who would admit to signing any of the petitions, or even being against that Hall."

"True enough," the others at the table nodded in agreement.

"And here we are again," the newcomer continued, "a group of people have managed to pull together the funding and the enthusiasm to save the old CPR station, and now they've put out a book, and all over town people are grumbling."

"Remember when they did the beach?" offered the third regular, "lots of people in town were against that when Mr Chipperfield put the idea forward, but I bet you won't find anyone who admits to opposing it now."

"Or the Agri-steel move back in the 60's," chimed in the fourth regular at the table, "it wasn't the town fathers who did that. It was a group of local businessmen and people who could see beyond the valley and knew that we needed more then the trains to keep our town alive."

"Yeah," the first regular offered, "if you read Bob's book, there were times folks grumbled and opposed even the CPR. But I bet you won't find anyone in town who doesn't appreciate the money that the railroaders both past and present put into the economy here."

"Everybody grumbles about the new idea," ventured the fourth regular, "but at the end of the day, they embrace the outcome and are quite happy to pay their admission and enjoy it with the rest of us. Heck guys, think about this place. If you had said two years ago the old Chipperfield store was going to be a coffee shop, we would have grumbled and called you crazy. Yet here we are." for dramatic effect, he picked up his coffee mug and hoisted it in a faux toast to the memory of what once was.
"True enough," replied the newcomer, as Anna placed his coffee and carrot cake on the table in front of him, "every new thing in town has its critics, but when we get used to it ..."

"When we get used to it," the first regular interupted, "you won't find a belly acher anywhere in town. They'll have found something new to grumble about."

"It's a good town," offered Anna tentatively, "I like it here. With the beach and everything it's a good place to live."

"Yeah, but you're still young," laughed the newcomer, "you haven't heard the fights over things like the beach and the hall, and now the station."

"Speaking of the hall," offered a fifth regular now joining the group, "didn't you just graduate at the ceremony at the hall Anna?"

"Yes," she smiled shyly as she answered.

"That Hall," the fifth newcomer shook his head as he sat down, "I was dead set against that Hall when they built it. I even took one of the petitions door to door."

The others at the table snorted with laughter and turned their attention to their mugs as they lowered their heads and smiled.

"But let me tell you," the fifth regular continued, "I am one of the first to say that that Hall, even with its problems, is a real asset to the community. I guess we just weren't ready for the change. We wanted things to stay the way they were."

"Hmm," laughed Anna, a slight smile crossing her face, "you know what it means when something doesn't change or grow?"

"What?" answered the newcomer, the others looking up at Anna.

"Well, High School biology taught me that if something isn't changing or growing, it must be dead ..." she turned and smiled to herself as she returned to the counter.

There was a moment of stunned silence as the five regulars looked at one another and looked at Anna's back. At the counter, she turned and smiled at the five as she went back to her duties.

"She's right you know," stated the first regular in a matter of fact way.

"I hate it when that happens," said the last regular to join the group, "It's like the time when Chipperfield and his crew decided we needed the beach. 'Beach? What in sam-hill do we need a beach for?' I asked him one day just over there ..." his hand motioned to where the till once stood in The Chipperfield store

The other four smiled, shook their heads and picked up their coffees as he continued to recount his opposition to the beach ... Outside the sun was shining and out at the beach, people were having a grand time ... in their minds they could hear Anna saying: "If something isn't changing or growing, then it must be dead ..."

Each of them was thankful that their small town wasn't dead yet ...

In the distance a train whistle blew ... and across the street the station stood in the brilliant sunshine a reminder of the past AND the future ...

Saturday, July 15, 2006

If you're not from the prairie ...

As a transplant to the prairie I have, over the last few years come to appreciate the breathtaking beauty that surrounds us in this valley town called Minnedosa ...

When we came to Manitoba, a friend (who came form Saskatchewan) gave our kids a book entitled: "If you're not from the prairie ..." (It is widely available from fine bookstores, and online bookstores everywhere ...). In it through stunning paintings and exquisite words the author and illustrator convey some of the majestic beauty that one finds only on the prairie. The wind, the cold, the sky, the snow, the flat, the sound, the sights ... the book celebrates something that many chose to drive across quickly on their way from Alberta to Ontario, or from Ontario to British Columbia ... Today as we made the drive from Minnedosa to Brandon it was striking to consider just how beautiful the prairies are at the is time of year ... Allow me to share some of my reflections on the beauty of the prairies in the height of summer:

The colours:

Brilliant yellows of fields of canola ...
Blooming in the sunshine ...
riotous splashes of bold yellow
spreading across the rolling hills and
marking distant valleys ...
Colour that catches in the throat
and utters forth a "wow!!" for the beauty of creation ...

Soft, subtle blue of lavender coloured flax fields in bloom ...
shimmering in the summer sun ...
they look like vast lakes glinting in the glare ...
their surfaces rippled by the wind ...
the waves of motion cresting and breaking over distant hills ...
They tease and taunt
they whisper to our parched souls
with the promise of water where none is to be found ...

Rich greens and golds of grain ripening for the harvest ...
across the rolling plains of our prairie flow the fields of grain ...
under the blinding sun
greens and golds and colours that foretell of promise untold ...
in the heat of summer the drying of the green into rich yellows and golds
foretells the world that harvest shall begin ...
winds blowing and rolling across the fields
waves of grain undulate and tumble to the horizon ...

The wind:

Ever blowing ... softly ... harshly ...
rolling over hills and up out of valleys ...
sending waves after wave across vast unmown fields ...
splashing across the sloughs ...
bending trees and caressing cat tails ...
always present, never far ...
the wind blows across the land and through the sky ...
the wind is more then air ...

The land:

"It's too flat," says the urbanite ...
"It's too far to drive ..." says the west coaster ...
They seen, but cannot comprehend.
For them it is a place to cross, a distance to close.
They push the pedal down and roar along their highway,
eyes firmly fixed on the next road sign, marking distance nothing more ...
But the land rolls ever on ... an ancient sea bed left high and dry ...
Hills and valleys ... coulees and sloughs ...
The land marks the distance by hills to valleys, by bushes and trees ...
Gently rolling ever undulating ... the land is more then just distance ...
The land is a place of life ...
a place of community ...
a place that has a life an a story all its own ...

Pausing ...
to view the sky ...
Pausing ...
to walk the land ...
Pausing ...
to survey the horizon and hear the whisper of the wind ...
Pausing ...
we find ourselves in the centre ...
... not of a barren empty land ...
but of a land filled with promise ... movement ... colour ...
a land filled to bursting withe bounty of creation ...

Pausing ...
you find meaning and value ...

Pausing ...
your eyes are opened ... your soul uplifted ... your world expanded ...

If you're not from the prairie ... well, you might not understand ...
But if you taken time to pause on the prairie ...
you will hear what I say and know the truth of what I speak ...

A couple more blogs to cruise ...

I thought I was done for the day with the previous posting on Blogs worth visiting ... but then I found these two ...

The first one is just plain fun. The entry for Friday July 14th on vacationing with three children is tremendous - and painfully true ... I have found myself in the same place too many times to think about ... There are some fun postings at Ramblings and Reflections, nothing too grandiose, just reflections on life - and sometimes that's all you need ...

Check it out:

The other site is a cat-lover site that is just plain fun ... the pictures and graphics are cute, and some of the postings cause you to pause and consider them seriously ... the one about this year's University students made me wonder if it is time for me to find a walker and to stock up on the iron enriched daily vitamins ... I particularly enjoyed the graphic for Friday July 7th ... we have an orange kitty at home that can do THAT !!! Varieties of Life, is just plain fun ... enjoy:

Blogs to cruise over your coffee ...

One of the exciting new developments at Chippefield Coffee Company has been the installation of a wireless router that allows customers to bring in their lap top and cruise the internet, get caught up on emails, or let them do work while enjoying a cup of freshly brewed coffee right in the store ... For a modest cost, you can cruise the net while sipping your iced latte or refreshing flavoured cooler ...

So, in an ongoing attempt to help our loyal readers find places to visit on the web, we would offer some more blog sites worth a visit:

In previous posts (check out the archives on the side bar) we've listed some blog sites worth a visit or two, and today I would offer a site related to one of those we've already listed. The previous site FarmGirl Fare is a wonderful site with pictures, recipes and reflections on the life of a woman who gave up city life to live on a remote, rural farm (Can you hear the theme song for Green Acres playing???).

Farmgirl (Susan) has an offshoot of her first site where in she shares what is growing in her kitchen garden. The pictures are stunning, and her reflections are delightful. It's worth bookmarking - it's a fun and informative site:

Another fun site, that allows you to find your way throughout the universe that is Blogger, is The Bestest Blog of All Time. This Blog inventories, and highlights a HUGE variety of blogs - it's a good place to go if you just want to explore the Blog-universe and find out what kind of postings and stuff is out there. A warning though, some blog has pretty blunt and raw language and content - you run the risk of being offended by heading off into the Blogger-universe. Not all sites are family friendly, not all sites are clean and appropriate for all ages - so proceed with caution, and remember: We warned you !!! There are some wonderful and creative blogs out there - but once in awhile you may find something that is just plain yucky - just ignore them !!

And the last Blog I would offer for today is a blog by someone who may truly understand what this Blogger-universe is about ... I can't say enough about this site. It is informative and entertaining and my be the best site for commentary about life in the modern era.
Check it out:

Have fun ...

Having your cake and eating it too ... ... ... Carrot or Cheese?? ... ... ... ... Overheard at Chipperfield's ... part XI ...

One of the regulars stepped through to the doorway accompanied by his wife one evening.

"Good evening," offered Ross, as he looked up from the newspaper he was reading at the couches by the front door.

"Hey Ross," answered the regular, "nice night eh?"

"Yeah," replied Ross, "it's been a good day. I've been on the road for most of it, but I've enjoyed the sunshine and the scenery as I've done my calls."

"Good day for it," agreed the regular, "really good day for it."

Ross nodded in agreement, then asked, "Out for the evening?"

"Yup," replied the regular, "Had a lovely dinner at the Main Street Cafe, and now we want to have a cup of coffee and a slice of cake before we go home."

"Oh," said Ross, smiling, as he refolded the newspaper and stood up, "Carrot cake or cheese cake?"

"Hmmm, I'm not sure," said the regular, now turning his attention to the cooler behind the counter where the cheese cake rested.

"I'll have carrot," answered the regular's wife, "with a decaf coffee."

"Sure honey," replied the regular, as he stepped up to the counter, "and I think I'll have a slice of the Turtle Cheesecake with a cup of the medium roast coffee."

"For here?" asked Anna.

"Absolutely," replied the regular retrieving his wallet from his back pocket, "and throw a Chipper-doodle cookie on the plate too. Can't get enough of those Chipper-doodles."

"Enjoy your cake and coffee," said Ross as he stepped behind the counter to refill his coffee mug.

"Sure thing," said the regularly smiling, "what better way to end a dinner out then with a slice of cake and a coffee for dessert?"

"Hmmph," snorted his wife, "you said that about the slice of pie and coffee at Tracy's five minutes ago too!!" she patted her husband's belly for dramatic effect.

Ross laughed, "Talk about having your cake and eating it T-W-O !!!!"

The wife nodded in agreement.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

From One Red Paper Clip to Minnedosa ...

Today is a good day ...

At lunch today Ross came and told me to put out my hand and with some trepidation, I did ... he dropped into my hand one red paper clip and an enamelled pin from a small town in Saskatchewan called: Kipling.

Now, on an ordinary day this would have been just another strange offering from Ross ... but today it had added meaning and was a terribly exciting gift ...

Yesterday in Kipling Saskatchewan Kyle McDonald, the founder of the webblog: completed the trades that began a year ago with (surprise surprise) one red paperclip and through a series of ever increasing trades culminated in a gathering of folks, and media in Kipling Saskatchewan where he and his partner took possession of a lovely red and white house on Main St in the small rural town ...

The photos above are of the crowd gathered in downtown Kipling, Kyle and his girlfriend, and of the house that he managed to get after 14 trades and one years ... all starting with a single red paper clip (notice the BIG red paperclip to the left of the front step of the house !!)

Through happenstance (that can only happen to Ross), Ross happened to be in Kipling on a business call and arrived there just before the ceremony began ... Ross picked up a pin and a paper clip (a give away from the town of Kipling) and took some photos of the happening ...

So, I invite my loyal readers here (and there is an ever increasing number from far and wide) to check out Kyle's site, and to enjoy the photos I have added here ...

And for anyone out there feeling inspired by Kyle's accomplishments ... Let's see we're in need of a new (to us) vehicle ... I'll start with a coffee card from Minnedosa's own Chipperfield Coffee Company good for 5 free coffees ... anyone got something bigger and better to trade ?? (I'll even throw in a slice of cheesecake and a couple of Chipper-doodle cookies too !!)

Overheard at Chipperfield's ... part X ...

(Subtitle: What's in a name??)

"Um, Bonnie," Kriss' voice was sounding worried, "I was cruising the Web on my lunch break today and I noticed that Snickerdoodle is a registered trademark ..."

"So?" asked Bonnie, busily cutting and preparing a piece of cheese cake for a customer.

"Well, couldn't we get sued if we violate a trade mark?" asked Kriss.

"I suppose," answered Bonnie, working on another piece of cheesecake for the next customer in line (and who says the power of suggestion doesn't work in retail??), "but what's the issue?"

"Well, it's just that snickerdoodle is a registered trade mark, and we have a cookie called a snickerdoodle ..."

"So?" Bonnie put down the knife and looked at Kriss, clearly confused.

"Shouldn't we change the name of the cookie perhaps?" asked Kriss.

"To what?" asked Bonnie, returning her attention to the cheesecake.

"I don't know," answered Kriss, stretching out the last syllable, "we could call it comething like a Chipper-doodle!!"

"Hmm," replied Bonnie quietly, "Chipper-doodle ... it has nice ring to it, and it fits with the name of the store, and it has marketing potential."

"Chipper-doodle!!" chirped Kriss cheerily, "I like it ..."

She paused, then a big smile crossed her face, "We could even create a furry mascot and call him a Chipper-doodler, and he could march in next year's Fun Fest Parade, and we could hand out "Chipper-doodler colouring pages" for the kids, and we could get little plush Chipper-doodler figures made to sell ..."

"Kriss," Bonnie, halted Kriss in mid-stride, "Before you get too carried away, maybe you could help with the line up of customers here ..." Bonnie motioned to the line of customers that stretched across the counter ...

"Sure," answered Kriss cheerily, "no problem ..." Turning her attention to the first customer she asked, "Could I take your order?"

"A Chipper-doodle cookie with my coffee please," came the reply.

Bonnie and Kriss smiled ... "What's so funny asked Anna as she came up to the counter form the back room?"

"Oh nothing," commented Bonnie, "nothing at all."

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Hooked on Chipper-doodles ...

Marketing gurus will tell you, that if you want to promote a product you need to have a name that catches your attention, and a marketing campaign that people remember ...

Think about the old slogans for products that still roll around in our heads years and years after ... "plop, plop, fizz, fizz ..." "If I could teach the world to sing ...", "you deserve a break today ...", "good to the last drop ..." and so on ...

If you can get a slogan or a marketing campaign that people remember - you're off to the races ...

Now, I can't say that Chipperfield's has come up with a slogan or a campaign that will have international renown ... but they are managing to carve a little niche out of Minnedosa, one product at a time ...

There are a number of kids in town who "JUST HAVE TO GO" to Chipperfield's for a TWISTER ...

The Iced Lattes and Iced Mochas are becoming more popular, and with a wide variety of flavours to choose from it's hard to pin a slogan on them ... but who knows?

But my personal favourite is the cookie called The Chipper-doodle ... What a cool name for a cookie. The first time I heard it spoken was weeks and weeks ago in Chipperfield's when Triss was pulling a fresh tray out of the oven and with a broad smile, and her eyes twinkling announced: "I just baked some CHIPPER-DOODLES !! Wanna try some !!" How could one resist ??

And so, this past week my nine year old daughter has discovered Snickerdoodle cookies ... she was drawn by the name ... "What's a chipper-doodle?" she asked first, sensing perhaps some conspiracy over the name ... Then after her first try, she is hooked ... She simply must have a snickerdoodle with her ice cream cone or twister ...

Talk about a marketing coup ... if only it caught on with all the other nine year old girls in town ... Minnedosa's Chipperfield Coffee Company could become known as the "Home of the Chipper-doodle ..." There could be a mid-summer Snickerdoodle Festival ... they could have Chipper-doodle eating contests ... There could be a Ms Chipper-doodle pageant ... the town fathers could promote tourism to Minnedosa, highlighting our ski hill, our beach, our golf course, our many fine businesses and of course a stop at Chipperfield's to enjoy a Chipper-doodle with a coffee or other beverage ... The possibilities are endless ... we could even raise an enormous fibreglas Chipper-doodle on the outskirts of town where tour buses could stop and passengers could have their pictures taken with the World's largest (and only) Chipper-doodle !!

Of course, one could dismiss it and say - "it's only a cookie for gawd sake ..." But think about BC Ferries in BC and their Nanaimo Bars ... or Nestle and their Toll House Cookie ... or Famous Amos and his chocolate chip cookie ... Stranger things have happened in our world ... and to be honest, the Chipper-doodle is a better cookie then its more famous cousins ... and it has a name that is kind of fun to say ...

What more can you ask of a cookie then good taste, a funky name and a wonderful venue from which to purchase it ... Who knows, maybe one day Minnedosa will be graced by enormous roadside signs inviting travellers to stop in "The Home of the World Famous Chipper-doodle," and people will be lined up twelve deep out at the beach enjoying an iced latte and a snickerdoodle in the warm prairie sunshine ... or they could be out on the Back Nine of the Golf Course, with a flavoured cooler and a bag of chipper-doodles in hand while they ply the course ... or they could hit the ski hill, knowing that when their day of skiing was finished they could stop by for a hot chocolate and a chipper-doodle or three ... or after a day of browsing through the fine local stores and venues, folks will load up with a coffee and a couple of chipper-doodles before heading back down the highways that brought them to town in the first place ...

Maybe the Chipper-doodle could help revamp Minnedosa's tourist economy !!??

We can always hope. But for now, we'll keep this little secret to ourselves, and as loyal patrons of Chipperfield Coffee Company savour the taste of Chipper-doodles and the other delicious baked treats that Bonnie and her crew offer ...

Thanks Ladies.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

A place to sit a spell ...

It's not glamorous, but it's pretty darned nice ...

The couches are comfy ... the service is exceptional ... and the product on offer is extraordinary ...

Why not find a reason to stop by Chipperfield Coffee Company on Main St in Minnedosa and check it out for yourself ???

Who knows, maybe you'll become a regular ... and maybe you'll find yourself Chronicled here ...

You never know ...

It's a good place, filled with good people and good coffee ...

But don't just take my word for it ... come by and make up your own mind ...

Monday, July 10, 2006

Overheard at Chipperfield's ... part IX ...

"Hey, how's it going?" Ross asked as he approached a group of regulars sitting in at the table nearest the couch.

They all said "Fine," "Okay," or some other affirmative response.

"I got a question for you," Ross glanced over his shoulder to see where Bonnie and the other staff were, "I need your opinions on something ..."

The four regulars all leaned in, eager to join in something smacking of cloak and dagger ...

"Well, last week after Countryfest, I had to go into the hospital for something ..." Ross glanced back over his shoulder again as he lowered his voice, "it wasn't anything serious, but I noticed when I got home that my wrist band was a little odd ..."

"Odd?" asked one of the regulars, "how so?"

The other three were clearly intrigued, they all nodded.

"Well," Ross was looking a bit distressed, "well, you better look for yourself ..."

With that Ross pulled up his sleeve and showed the four the bright pink plastic wrist band that bore the clearly printed word: "BANANAS !!"

"Are they trying to tell me something?" asked Ross, looking increasingly distressed.

The four all tried in vain to supress their giggles and laughter ... but suddenly they burst into uproarious laughter ...

"What so funny?" whispered Ross, as he then pleaded with them, "Keep it down ..."

Bonnie came across from the counter and laid a gentle hand on Ross' shoulder. "What's up?" she asked cheerfully, though she looked a tad concerned at the goings on involving her husband.

"Oh nothing honey," offered Ross, "the guys and I were just chatting ..." Ross glanced at his watch revealing the bright pink wrist band and the clearly printed words: "BANANAS !!" Ross tried to pull down his shirt sleeve, but it was too late ...

Bonnie reached out a hand and pulled the fabric back up and examined the words herself. The four regulars had fallen silent, watching - even anticipating Bonnie's response ...

"Ross," Bonnie sounded like she was talking to a child, "when you were up at the hospital did they ask you if you had any allergies?"

"Yes," answered Ross quietly.

"Did they ask you if you had any food you really didn't like?"

"Yes," answered Ross even more quietly.

"And what did you say?" asked Bonnie slowly turning the plastice wrist band in her fingers.

"Um," Ross paused before he answered, "Prunes and Bananas ..."

"Did you notice the OTHER side of the wrist band Ross?" Bonnie asked as she revealed the clearly printed words "PRUNES!!"

Ross shook his head sheepishly as Bonnie continued and turned the wrist band so that the word "BANANAS!!" was again visible, "Or did you just assume that the Hospital staff was merely stating the obvious??"

With that two things happened:
One, Bonnie turned and walked back to the back room, shaking her head as she went, and two, The four regulars burst into loud prolonged laughter ...

"Sometimes she calls 'em like she sees 'em, eh?" offered one of the regulars as he continued to laugh ...

Friday, July 07, 2006

Did anyone get the license number of that bus???

Jay-Dee was in the back working on the latest batch of muffins and icing the carrot cake, while out front Kriss was busy tidying up the counter space, tucking away things and loading the dishwasher. It had been a slow morning. But with the warm temperatures and the sunny weather, there was little doubt that the beach crowds would soon arrive and things would get busy ... little could they anticipate ...

She came in the door quietly, almost like an advance scout for the Mongol hordes that were waiting over the next hill to sack the village.

As she stepped up to the counter Kriss greeted her with a smile and a pleasant, "Good morning, how may I help you?"

"Well," the woman offered hesitantly, "I have a fairly big order ... I would like nine twisters, four small, and five large, six coolers, three iced lattes and a jumbo Chipperfield's all to go ..."

"Pardon?" Kriss' mouth was hanging open, her eyes wide in wonder ...

The woman repeated the order, this time including the details of flavours, mixes and so forth ...

"Ummm," Kriss paused, "okay, coming right up ...."

She then turned to the back room; "Jay-Dee, get out here ... please."

The two of them set to work busily preparing the variety of items the woman wanted, as they worked more and more customers came in ... Bonnie ventured out from the office to help, taking the next order in line:

"I'd like four iced mochas please and a couple of cookies ..."

Bonnie smiled, and said, "Yes, sir coming right up ..." her teeth may have been slightly clenched, but no one would know just looking at her.

Bonnie called her two granddaughters who were busily playing computer games in the office, and asked them to help ...

On one level, what ensued looked like five whirling dervishes feverishly working behind the counter, spinning in time to some unheard music ... but in reality what ensued was a well orchestrated ballet ... the items were prepared, the order filled, and the customers went away happy and content ...

Person after person entered the store and placed orders:

"Three large coffees to go and an apple cooler,"

"One large coffee, three double scoop ice cream cones and a passion fruit Italian soda ... and oh, don't those muffins look good?? I'll have two of those please - heated."

"Three twisters, two coolers, and a Tibetan Tea, please"

and on and on the orders went ...

In the midst of it, Jeannie, enjoying a day off strolled in and ordered a large coffee and an iced Latte to go, and delighted in watching her co-workers scurry about preparing the various orders that customers were making ... "Have fun ..." she offered as she departed, "I'll see you tomorrow."

When the dust settled and the last customer in the rush was served ... the five of them looked at one another and breathed a well earned sigh of relief ...

"It feels like a tour bus just blew through," observed Kriss.

"Did any one catch the license number?" laughed Jay-Dee

"Good Job crew," said Bonnie as she turned and headed into the back room, "maybe we should let people know that we DO take phone in orders as well ..."

The four nodded in agreement ...

"But where's the fun in THAT?" chirped Kriss with a broad smile on her face ... Jay-dee, her cap askew on her head, and a tuft of hair hanging out from under its peak scowled ...

Kriss smiled and turned to the next customer; "How may I help you?"

"Six twisters please and a iced latte to go ..."

"Sure, no problem." answered Kriss as she noted three more customers coming in the door, and a small group of teenagers riding up on their bikes outside ...

Jay-Dee groaned, "Here we go again ..."

As the words left her mouth the phone rang ...

Congratulations !!!

It's been a year !!! It's hard to believe ... but for those of us who have come to rely on Chipperfield Coffee Company for fresh coffee, delicious baking, wonderful staff and a place to go and hang out and take a break from our day ... well, all we can say to Bonnie and her staff is a heartfelt:

Thanks !!! and From all of us to all of you - once again: Happy Anniversary, and may this be the first of many more !!!

And for those who stop by, today's specials include all all Mochas, all Lattes, all Coolers and all Italian Sodas are being offered at the special of the day price ... AND ... there is a special on coffee and carrot cake (I know a few who will be lining up for THAT one) and the coffee of the day price is Butter Pecan ...

Stop in and check out the anniversary celebrations as you are enjoying one of the many events for Fun Fest !!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Floats, Fun and Frivolity ...

Don't forget that tomorrow the Annual Fun Fest begins in Minnedosa ... Service Clubs, Community Groups and Local Businesses will be entering floats in Saturday's parade ... and over the next three days there will be a WIDE variety of activities and happenings to partake in.

Get your tickets on the Packed Auto Draw, the Rotary 400 Draw and the other special happenings that celebrate small town Minnedosa ...

And don't miss out on the Floats, the Fun and the Frivolity of the weekend ... there's something for EVERYONE !!!!!

It's been a YEAR already ????

Walking in the door of Chipperfield's I was startled to find myself confronted with posters announcing the 1st Anniversary of Chipperfield's !!

Could it be that Chipperfield's has been in business that long??
It hardly seems possible - yet, on July 7th the staff of Chipperfield's will mark one year in business in Minnedosa ... they took an old institution in town and with some work, sweat and dedication turned it into a wonderful business venture ...

For many years Chipperfield Store was THE place in Minnedosa to come and pick up clothes and other items. Eric and Jim, the two brothers who ran the place were institutions themselves. They served on a variety of board and community committees. They raised their families in town and helped to make Minnedosa into the town it is today. This is especially true of Jim who as mayor oversaw the waterworks that provides us with tap water in our homes, and who also envisioned the Tourist and town attraction the Beach would become ...

Historians debate whether great man create history, or history creates great men ... In Minnedosa, the legacy of many great men and women from the railroaders through to the likes of Jim Chipperfield reminds us that the towns we live and work and play in, are the creations of generations of folks who have worked hard to leave a legacy of family, friendship and community.

Today in Minnedosa, thanks to the renovation of an old store into a delightfully quirky coffee shop, we can enjoy the gathering of community that happens in Chipperfield's while we remember and celebrate the legacy of men and women like Jim Chipperfield, who have helped make Minnedosa what it is today ...

Happy Anniversary Bonnie and all your staff - you've done a good thing !!!

Just a typical day ...

"Good morning," offered a cheery Jay-Dee to the customer who stepped up to the counter, "How can I help you?"

"Hmm," murmured the customer as they checked out the selection of baked goods displayed before them, "is the strawberry cheesecake any good?"

"Umm," Jay-Dee paused, "absolutely, otherwise we wouldn't been offering it."

"How about the muffins," growled the customer, "are they any good?"

"Yes," Jay-Dee kept smiling, "all of our baked goods are baked right here, and are very popular."

"Hmm," replied the customer, "I'll have a sunshine muffin." as she picked it out of the basket and a cup of today's speciality flavoured coffee, Chocolate Raspberry."

"What size?" asked a cheery Jay-Dee.

"Large." snapped the customer, "and it's for here."

"No problem," replied Jay-Dee pouring the coffee, "would you like the muffin heated up?"

"Umm, no thank you," the customer's mood was softening in the wake of Jay-Dee's cheerfulness, "I'll just have it on a napkin."

"That's fine," answered Jay-Dee , "would you like sugar or cream in your coffee?"

"No, just black," answered the customer, now smiling, "and thank you" she offered as she turned to find a table.

"You're welcome," replied Jay-Dee, "have a great day ..." As the customer moved to a table, Jay-Dee turned her attention to the next customer in line, "Hi, How may I help you?"

"I'd like something cold. It's too hot outside today," said the second customer in line, "what would you recommend?"

"Well," said a still cheerful Jay-Dee, "we have a selection of iced items. There are those on the board behind me there, and there are today's specials of Iced Irish Cream Mocha or Iced Raspberry Kiss Latte or if something with caffeine is more your speed, we have Apple Coolers or Apple Italian Soda. "

"Hmm, they all sound so good," replied the customer, "it's hard to choose ..."

"They all are very good," answered Kriss, as she walked up to the front counter carrying the strawberry swirl cheesecake, "and they all go well with the cheesecake ..."

Jay-Dee nodded in agreement ...

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Brushes with greatness ...

Ross was sitting on the couch perusing the newest edition of the Winnipeg Free Press, on the front cover was a photo of the newest addition to the Winnipeg Zoo - the cheetahs.

One of the regulars approached the couch opposite him.

"Kind of cool," Ross said as he motioned at the photo of the Cheetahs.

"Yeah," replied the regular as he sat down with the daily special Iced Latte in hand "I was there."

"Really," replied Ross, sounding skeptical.

"Sure," replied the regular, smiling slightly, "the kids and I went into Winnipeg yesterday for the day and kept having brushes with fame."

"How so?"" answered Ross, his skepticism giving way to interest.

"Well," the regular began, "we went to the zoo and arrived at the Cheetah compound while reporters and tv cameras were everywhere filming the first day of the Cheetahs' on display to the public. It was a mini-circus. Then we drove into the Forks via Corydon, and I commented to the kids, "If Italy wins in today's World Cup match, this street will explode with excitement and parties." Twenty minutes later Italy won and traffic on Corydon stopped for the night ... Then at the Forks, we wandered through the open air plaza behind the Johnston's Terminal as one of the new stations was interviewing people about the warm sunny day ..."

"So, how is that a brush with fame?" asked Ross, looking confused ...

"Well, we were just a step or two off the pace of being interviewed or caught up in the excitement ..." answered the regular earnestly, "had we been there a little sooner or a little later we might have hit the evening news ..."

"How is that a brush with fame?" asked a now thoroughly confused Ross.

"How is it not?" replied the regular, claiming the paper for himself, "Can you say 'I was there when ...' about any momentous event?"

"Well, no ..." offered Ross hesitantly.

"Well, my kids and I can say we were there on the first day of the Cheetah's display at the zoo and we were almost there when the World Cup party started on Corydon ... and we almost got interviewed on tv about the warm sunny weather," said the regular not looking up from the paper, "I never said we became famous, only that we had a brush with fame ..."

Ross sat dumbfounded and stunned ... "I guess you had to be there ..." he ventured as he stood up and headed back to the counter for another coffee, shaking his head as he went ...

"I guess," agreed the regular, a broad smile on his face, which was hidden behind the newspaper ...

Overheard at Chipperfield's ... part VIII ...

Jay-Dee and Kriss were tending shop earlier in the day and reminisicing about their adventures working at Chipperfield's ...

Jay-Dee suddenly started laughing ... "What's so funny?" asked Kriss, looking concerned about her co-worker's grip on sanity, "you're cheese slipping off its cracker or what?"

"Oh," said Jay-Dee wiping away the tears of mirth, "I just thought of when we introduced the Cinnamon Wedges and I kept calling them wedgies ..."

"Oh," replied Kriss as she narrowed her big blue eyes, knowing where this was heading.

"I just remembered," continued Jay-Dee as she regained her composure slightly, "the time I made the cinnamon wedges and took them out to cool before I went for lunch ... then when I came back I asked you "if you had had a wedgie?" ... and you answered, "Why? Was I pickin' again?" as you looked down at your butt ..."

"Yes, it WAS hilarious," Kriss' voice was dripping with sarcasm, "very funny ..."

Jay-Dee for her part was rolling with laughter as she again wiped tears from her eyes ...

(for the record - the Cinnamon Wedges at Chipperfield's are YUMMY, as are the many variety of muffins and cookies that are on offer ... and if you're looking for a seasonal treat - try the Strawberry Swirl cheesecake ...)

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Overheard at Chipperfield's ... part VII ...

Boss and Ronnie have come back from Countryfest ... a little red from too much sun, a little tired from a weekend and fun and ... well ... it would seem that Ross is still lovable old Ross ...

One of the regulars sat down on the couch across from Ross. Ross was reading the morning Paper, checking out the headlines and the latest on the World Cup ...

"Good weekend Ross?" asked the regular as he tucked into a fresh muffin.

"Yeah," replied Ross now reading the comics.

"Went to Countryfest eh?" asked the regular.

"Yes we did," answered Ross as he folded the paper and looked up.

"How was it?" asked the regular, as he lifted his coffee and took a sip.

"Great," replied Ross, "the weather was sunny and warm. There was the odd storm and some light rain, but otherwise it was beautiful. The camp site we had a pretty good. There were lots of other campers, but they were all pretty well behaved where we were, so we didn't have too much noise or too many distractions. The food was really good - a regular cornucopia of selections. The beverage vendors had a wide selection of refreshing beverages from beer to pop to juice. I met up with a tonne of people who I haven't seen in months. I even crossed paths with some of my customers and some of the business associates. I was able to do a bit of networking and business entertaining. It was just a great weekend of relaxation combined with business opportunities, coupled with good food and great beverages ... all in all it was a grand weekend. I'm glad we took the time to go ..."

"How was the music?" asked the regular, looking a bit perplexed.

"Music?" offered a clearly confused Ross, "they had music at Countryfest?"

"Oh Ross," groaned Bonnie from behind the counter, as she shook her head in distain ...

Monday, July 03, 2006

Tying one on ...

"Gee, didcha hear about that yahoo in Ottawa taking a leak on the War Memorial after the Canada Day Celebrations?" asked one of the regulars.

"Yup," replied another sitting at the next table, "there's a young person we can all be proud of!"

Both men snorted with derision ...

"Hey, did you notice the yellow ribbons up around town?" asked the first regular.

"Yeah," the second replied setting his coffee down in front of him, "The Trib invited everyone in town to tie one on in honour of Corporal Scott Collen who is heading off to Afghanistan with the 2nd Battalion of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry out of Shilo."

"Hmmm," answered the first regular, picking up last week's Tribune, "maybe Scott and some of the boys who have been in Afghanistan should go and teach that yahoo in Ottawa some respect for our fallen soldiers ..."

"Not a bad idea," replied the second, "But guys like Scott are too busy getting ready to head overseas to be bothered giving yahoos like that a tune up. Besides, it sounds like the esteemed members of the Royal Canadian Legion are up for THAT fight ..."

"And well, they should be," answered the first regular, "In the mean time - Have you tied a yellow ribbon on at your house??"


And to all those friends and family of Corporal Collen who tied a yellow ribbon all up and down Main St:

Thanks !!! And our thoughts and prayers with Scott and ALL our Soldiers overseas, especially the members of the 2nd Battalion of the PPCLI ! Stay Safe and Come Home soon !!