Saturday, September 30, 2006

Overheard at Chipperfields' ... Part XLIII ...

J-- and The Rev were sitting in the corner chatting and laughing when one of the other regulars strolled in the door.

"Morning," the regular said to the four folks crashed out on the couches at the front of the store, as he rounded the corner he greeted Dani behind the counter, "Good morning,"

"Morning," Dani replied, "what would you like?"

"A medium Colombian, and a cinnamon wedge please," answered the regular, "can you bring it to the table?"

"Sure thing," said Dani smiling.

The regular sat down with The Rev and J--, as he did Joanie walked in the front door with her mom.

"Hey stranger," J-- smiled as he stood up and walked over to Joanie and gave her a hug, "How is school going?" He asked.

"Great," replied Joanie, "I'm having a good time, and it's actually kind of fun."

"That's good," said J-- smiling as he sat down, "will you join us? Just pull up a chair."

"Sure, let me get a coffee first," Joanie said as she turned to the counter and greeted Dani and Bonnie with a smile, "Long time no see."

"Well, I DID talk to you on the phone last week," laughed Dani, "when I meant to phone Bonnie about something and called you instead."

"Really?" said Bonnie, looking shocked, "Did you get the answer you were looking for?"

"Absolutely," laughed Joanie, "I haven't been gone that long ..."

"So, how's things?" asked Bonnie, smiling.

"More or less okay," said Joanie, knowing that J-- and The Rev were listening too.

"More or Less okay?" repeated The Rev, "what does more or less okay mean?"

"Well school is great," said Joanie, "but I have some whack job out there who is kind of stalking me."

"Gee, that seems to be a recurring theme around this place lately," laughed J-- as he picked up his coffee and took a sip, "Just ask Ross about his son's problems."

"Well, it's not that he ..." Joanie paused as Bonnie handed her a Latte, "It's not that he is stalking me, it's just that he, and I'm assuming it's a He. It's just that he has been visiting my web blog that I set up every half an hour all day long ..."

"How do you know THAT?" asked The Rev, clearly intrigued.

"I have a visit counter on the blog that tells me who has been there, where they are from and how long they've been on ..." answered Joanie as she sat down, "I know where the guy lives, and so when I check the meter I can see how often I've gotten hits from that place."

"Could be a coincidence," offered J--.

"Could be, but I doubt it," answered Joanie, "the guy ain't well, and has issues and ..."

"You don't want to be one of them ..." interupted The Rev.

"Exactly," answered Joanie, "but so far there isn't much I can do about it, other then to know that out there somewhere a whack job is obsessing over my blog ..."

"I can appreciate that," laughed The Rev, "so long as the aliens don't tell him you're their queen or anything like that ..."

Joanie nodded her head in agreement.

"You should post something on your blog about him," said the regular between mouthfuls of cinnamon wedge, "just to let him know you KNOW he's out there."

Joanie's face clouded, she looked worried, "I don't know if I'd want to do THAT." she said nervously, "It's bad enough that he's on my site a dozen or more times a day, but I dn't want to do ANYTHING that might encourage him even for a moment."

"That's true," said the regular, reconsidering his comment, "I hadn't thought of it that way. I just thought if you wrote - 'to the visitor from Toronto: I know you're out there ..." He might take the hint and move on."

"Oh he might take the hint and move from basically a harmless whacko to something worse," observed The Rev.

"Yeah," said Joanie nervously.

"Oh I hadn't even considered that," said the Regular, "I think I'll just go back to my cinnamon wedge now and keep my opinions to myself."

The three others around the table chuckled.

"You know, there are always crazy people around," observed J--, "heck, in all of my time living here in town I've seen lots of them come and go. And by and large most of them are harmless. But all of them sure have been entertaining."

"Ain't that right," agreed The Rev as he lifted his coffee and took a sip, "but when they decide to take a run at you, there is no entertainment then ..."

"True enough," said J--, then taking note of The Rev's biking helmet and gloves sitting on the side of the table, said, "Oh, you're riding your bike again today?? Still haven't got your license back yet for that DWI??"

The Rev laughed, "Ha ha. And speaking of non-entertaining crazy people," he paused to set down his coffee mug, "Whoever started that rumour needs some serious help. I'm coming up on 40 and I want to lose some extra padding ... and so as I bike around town everyone decides to listens to some brainless yahoo saying - "Oh The Rev got nailed for impaired. That's why he's biking everywhere." Really nice ..."

"Ah, the non-entertaining side of rumours and crazy people," laughed Joanie, "you just have to drive up and down Main St like the teenagers with the music blaring so they know you're driving."

"He does that ALL the time," laughed J--, "that just gets them going more. They see him and say - 'Oh look, he's even driving without a license ...'" J-- concluded with a shrug.

"Sounds like you just can't win for trying," said Joanie.

"Exactly," agreed The Rev, "I don't mind people talking about me, I just prefer that they keep it in the realm of truth and reality ..."

"Rumours. Truth. And Reality," said J--, "Now there are three words that just don't fit together."

"Got that right," laughed The Rev, "especially in the lives of people who would obssess over blogsites."

"Now, that is very true," agreed Joanie as she smiled.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Overheard at Chipperfields' ... Part XLII ...

Too bad about the internet pharmacy eh?" said one of the regulars at the table in the back conrer, as he folded up the newpaper and set it on the table in front of him, "But we all knew it was coming."

The other men at the table nodded in agreement.

"It was too good to last," observed the second regular at the table, as he set down his coffee, "it was one of those too good to be true things, but everyone hoped it would last forever."

"Or atleast until everyone got their mortages paid off," observed a third regular.

"It's gonna hurt the town," said the first regular, "we're gonna see some folks leave. It's a big hit, especially with the loss of those Government jobs too."

"Hopefully we don't dry up and blow away in the summer winds," said the second regular quietly.

All three men stared at their coffee mugs and said nothing for a long moment.

"You know, there were some good things about having the Internet Pharmacy here while it lasted," observed the first regular, "they did offer support of our sports teams and they made an effort to support the golf course. And the folks employed there spent their money locally and helped out in town."

The other two men nodded.

"It's too bad though it had to come so suddenly," observed the second regular, "but between the US Government, and the Big Drug companies, anyone could see that the days were numbered for them. And yesterday the number came up."

"So, you think we'll find anything to replace it?" asked the third.

"Oh sure," laughed the first, "they'll get a new industrial park build out by the ethanol plant with spin off industries using the by-products. It'll employ thousands ..."

"It's not out of the realm of possibility," observed the second regular, "they laughed when the old Agri-steel plant moved to town, and they laughed when Morris took it over."

"The difference was," observed the first, lowering his voice, "we had men like Old Man Chipperfield who were willing to dream big and take chances rather then scoff and say 'it's not possible,' and hope someone ELSE would do something."

"True enough," observed the second regular, "but you know, I think our mayor and council are made of sterner stuff then they may get credit for. I think they'll rise to the ocassion and pull this one out of the fire before our town is a ghost town."

"Let's hope so," said the first."No," said the second, "let's encourage them to DO IT."

"Absolutely," said the third, "Absolutely

J--'s Trivia 'n' Tidbits ... Part 6 ...

"Did you know that the world record for the number of children sired by one man is a mere 899 children?" J-- asked as he approached the table, a coffee in one hand, and a piece of paper in the other.

"That so?" answered one of the two men sitting there.

"Absolutely," replied J--, as he sat down, "Anna gave me this yesterday. It's from her homework assignment for the courses she's taking."

"What kind of courses is she taking that tells you stuff like that?" asked one of the regulars looking dumbfounded.

"899, you say?" replied the other regular, "Did the guy have time for anything else in his life?"

"Had to be wealthy to support them all," observed the first regular.

"Don't know nothing about that," said J--, looking down at the paper in his hand, "this is from one of Anna's medical text books or something."

"What kind of medical text book tells you a guy fathered 899 kids?" asked the first regular, still looking confused.

"I duno," said J--, "she's studying to be a nurse, or an ambulance attendent, or something like a brain surgeon ... I can never keep it straight. But she knows where she wants to be, so I guess that's all that's important."

"So, 899 you say?" said the second regular, "I guess I got some work to do to hit that number before I die ..."

"What?" said J-- shocked.

"You heard me," said the second regular taking a drink of his coffee.

"Some work?" said J--, "that's an understatement if I've ever heard one."

"That's like saying 'I got some work to do before I become a brain surgeon'" observed J--, "I haven't even started down that road ..."

"Yeah, Good luck with that," laughed the first regular, getting up to get a refill on his coffee, "I still want to know what kind of course you take to learn stuff like that though. They never taught us things like that when I was in school. If they had I would have stayed in longer ..."

"Yeah me too," said J--, nodding his head.

"Likewise," said the second regular, "all we learned about was math and how to do grammer and stuff like that. If we would have learned stuff like this in school, I coulda gone places educationally."

"Yeah like the principal's office for harassing the girls," laughed J--.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Overheard at Chipperfields' ... Part XLI ...

It was a cool fall evening when the two grade five teachers from Tanner's Crossing school came in from their walk around the dam. They paused to have coffee before going back to thier respective homes to get ready for the next day.

After ordering their coffees, they carried the mugs to the couches at the front and sat down. They then began chatting about life stuff.

"I think I'm going to have to start exercising more," said Carla, "I find I'm so tired by the end of the school day."

"Yeah, me too," said Debbie, with a broad smile, "You're just lucky to still be single, you don't have added pressures of a partner to contend with."

"There are down sides to being single you know," laughed Carla.

"Sure, whatever." replied Debbie, "So you want exercise more?"

Carla nodded, "More walking I think would be good."

"More walking?" scoffed Debbie, "You walk EVERYWHERE now ... how can you walk more?"

"More intentional walking," replied Carla, enunciating the syllables like she was talking to one of her students.

Debbie looked at her with a serious glance before breaking into a broad toothy smile. "I get it." she laughed, "I'm not one of your students."

"No, that's true," answered Carla taking a sip from her coffee, "they're much smarter then you."

"Nice," snapped Debbie with a smile, "any you claim to be my friend."

"So, getting back to the subject at hand," ventured Carla, "The other thing I want to do is watch what I eat more carefully."

"Yeah, that's a good idea, you're sooooooo out of shape and overweight," scoffed Debbie.

"That's not what I mean," said Carla, "do you realize what is in lots of our food today. I want to go organic all the way. I want to eat healthily."

"Organic?" asked Kriss as she was cleaning off the table next to the couches, "why would you want to go Organic?"

"To avoid the chemicals and pesticides and all that," said Carla, "one of my kids brought in an article that talked about the bad stuff in our food. It was scary."

"That's why I'm becoming a vegetarian," said Kriss.

"You want to grow your own food and avoid the chemicals and stuff?" asked Debbie.

"And cut down on the cholestoral that comes from meat?" asked Carla.

"No, nothing like that," said Kriss, her blue eyes sparkling, "I just really, really hate plants and it's my way of getting revenge."

Monday, September 25, 2006

Prayers for One of Own ...

This is one of those moments when we move from the fun of fiction to the harsh light of reality ... But this is something that HAS to be said:

Tonight I was having a coffee at Chipperfields(the Real Chipperfields) and as I was about to leave I noticed the mother of Minnedosa's own Scott Collen coming in. Lots of people come and go in Chipperfields, but I noticed mom's arrival because her son is one of the wounded now being treated in Canada after the horrific bombing that claimed the lives of 4 Canadian Soldiers, while leaving 8 men to be flown home for medical treatment.

Scott Collen is a member of the 2nd Battalion of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry based at CFB Shilo. Scott and his family call Minnedosa home ...Scott is a husband, a father, a son, a brother and a friend to many ... Scott is a soldier, but more importantly, Scott is a man who was born and raised in Minnedosa, and who proudly came home when the 2nd Battalion of the PPCLI were moved to Shilo a couple of years ago.

In Scott's honour, and in honour of his fellow soldiers many of us tied yellow ribbon up when he and his troop mates shipped out ... we have prayed for him and all of the men and women who are serving in the Canadian Military ... Tonight I heard from the trembling voice of a mom who watched her son unloaded from a military transport and taken to a hospital room how fortunate she feels that despite his horrible injuries, he's alive and he's home ... Others have not been so lucky ...

But tonight, I felt the urge to post this note on all of my blogs and ask all of those who read my words (I have to wonder about you all - but that's for another day ...) to remember Scott in your prayers tonight and tomorrow and in the coming days. Scott is simply lucky to be alive ... he is severely wounded, and he was within 12 feet of the bomber who killed 4 other Canadian Soldiers ... Tonight Scott and his family need our prayers:

Remember Scott as he continues his recovery and faces surgeries and rehab.
Remember his wife Pam and their three children.
Remember their extended families.
Remember the others who were wounded.
Remember the other families who have lost loved ones.
Remember the soldiers Scott and the others have served with who are still there ...
Remember all our soldiers ...
And Remember the families of all our soldiers ...

We are at war ... it's not pretty ... and today I learned first hand how ugly it can be ...

So tonight I say a prayer for Scott and his recovery of Mind, Body and Spirit ... Be strong, be well and get home to Minnedosa soon. And to Pam, the kids and all of your family members - we're praying for you too ...

J--'s Trivia 'n' Tidbits ... Part 5

"Did you know that they consider Sir John A Macdonald the greatest Prime Minister that Canada has ever had?" J-- asked as he approached the table, a coffee in one hand, and a paper back book in the other.

"That so?" answered one of the two men sitting there.

"Absolutely," replied J--, as he sat down,

"Not Mulroney?" asked the second regular at the table.

J-- chuckled, "No, I don't think Brian even ranks on the best of list, but that's just my opinion."

"So, how do they determine that Sir John A was our greatest Prime Minister?" asked the first regular, "wasn't he a big drunk?

"Maybe that's why he was such a good Prime Minister," offered the second regular, "Didn't they say that they'd rather have Sir John A drunk, then any of his enemies sober?"

"I've heard that," said J--, "but what I like about him is the stories of his rapier wit."

"That so," said the first regular, "a politician with a rapier wit. Next you'll be waxing eloquently about Pierre and his reign."

"I wouldn't go THAT far," laughed J--, "but you have to admit that both of them had a certain panache when it came to holding office."

"Fuddle Duddle," commented the second regular, laughing.

"Exactly," said J--, sipping his coffee before continuing, "That's the kind of panache I'm talking about. Apparently, one time some heckler yelled at Sir John A, 'I wouldn't vote for you if you were the Angel Gabriel' and Sir John A replied, 'you're absolutely right sir, because if I was, you wouldn't be in my constituency.' "

The two regulars stared at J-- in dumb silence.

"It's brilliant," said J-- enthusiastically, "absolutely brilliant. It's like the time Sir John A was hung over from a long night with the demon gin, and he was throwing up before making a big speech, his opponent said 'why would you vote for this man? He's an embarassment, just look at him,' and Sir John A retorted with an apology saying, 'I'm sorry, but it is just whenever I hear a Grit open his mouth and start to speak I just want to throw up ...' You NEVER hear that kind of rapier wit in a politician any more."

"Um, J--," one of the regulars said softly, "I think you might want to cut back on the coffee intake, you're getting a little strange lately."

"Yeah," agreed the second, "you know way too much abou Sir John A for your own good."

J-- shaking his head laughed.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Overheard at Chipperfields' ... Part XL ...

The Rev came in the door. It was a quiet night, a couple were playing Crib at the front table, a lone teen was text messaging someone from a table off to the side, and Ross and J-- were pouring over some 45s sitting on the table infront of the juke box.

"Evening gentlemen," offered The Rev, as he approached the counter and ordered a large decaf from Dani.

"I'll bring it out to you," said Dani cheerfully, as The Rev laid his change on the counter, "I'm just brewing a new pot. You take it with a touch of cream right?"

"Absolutely," replied The Rev as he turned to join J-- and Ross, "So what are you two up to?"

"Getting ready to re-stock the Juke Box," answered Ross.

"With some GGOOOODDDD music," answered J--, stretching out the word GOOD with a smile.

"Good music?" asked The Rev as he said down, "define good music?"

"Oh you know," grimmed J-- like the cat that had swallowed the proverbial canary, "Country."

Ross chuckled softly and shook his head.

"Good and Country are two words that don't belong in the same breath," muttered The Rev as he picked up one of the 45s spread on the table, "so where did you get these?"

"Flea Market at the Ukrainian Hall," grinned J--, "the whole selection for two bucks." He waved his hand over the two dozen or so vinyl records sitting on the table, "and EVERYONE of them a country classic ..."

"And you're letting him put them in Juke Box WHY?" asked The Rev looking at Ross.

Ross snorted with laughter and just shrugged, "He told me he'd lead a boycott if I didn't" siad Ross smiling.

"I'll lead a boycott if you do ..." said The Rev, laughing.

"Tough call," laughed J--, "so don't let the door his you in the butt on the way out ..." He reached across the table and offered his hand as he smiled.

"Yeah, whatever," snorted The Rev, "I'm not going anywhere ... and unfortunately it would seem neither is this awful music."

"Got that right," said J-- as he stood up to head to the counter for a refill on his coffee.

Dani set the coffee down in front of The Rev, "Do you need anything else?" she asked.

"Nope," answered The Rev, "I'm good. Thanks though ..." He lifted the cup and took a sip, "good coffee as always."

Ross nodded in agreement as Dani returned to the counter to help Anna.

"So, how are things with your son?" Asked The Rev, "still having hassles with his stalker?"

Ross nodded, "Yup," he offered glumly, "now the woman is telling people that he's lost his license for drinking and driving, and is going to lose his job because of it."

"Did he?" asked The Rev, concerned.

"NO," said Ross firmly, "turns out it was her husband who lost his job for drinking and driving, and she was picking up his bottles of vodka out of town so no one knew he was a drunk ..."

"Sounds like she's got issues," observed The Rev.

"Gee, you think?" laughed Ross, "How do you say it at church? Her issues are Legion."

"Hmmm, the underlying message of demonic possession," observed The Rev, smiling.

"Demonic what?" asked J-- as he returned to the table with his coffee in hand.

"Demonic Possession," observed The Rev, "Ross was just telling me the latest about his son and the cyber stalker that's chasing him."

"Oh, in that case Demonic Possession may be on the money," said J-- as he sat down, "Did you tell him about what the woman pulled yesterday?"

"No, I was just getting there," said Ross shaking his head sadly.

"What happened yesterday?" asked The Rev intrigued.

"Well," Ross drew a breath before continuing, "my son rolled into work at his normal time of 9 am and was greeted at the door by two members of the RCMP."

"Really?" asked The Rev. J-- was giggling softly to himself in the background.

"Yup," continued Ross, "they tell him that they needed to talk to him about the threatening emails he's been sending from the office."

"The what?" asked The Rev.

"The threatening emails," Ross was enunciating the syllables like he was talking to a child.

"I'm not an idiot," observed The Rev.

"Coulda fooled me?" laughed J--.

"Didn't ask you," snapped The Rev with a smile, "carry on Ross ..."

"Well, it turns out that dozens and dozens of emails were being sent every single day from the webface of the internet server for the office," said Ross, "It seems that the stalker had the codes to access the email account from home and was sending emails to dozens of people ever day and signing them from my son."

"NOW, that's something you can get charged for," observed The Rev.

"If you can prove it," said Ross, "the problem is that there is no evidence connecting her with the crime. And she's denied everything, and she's still blaming my son for the mess in her life."

"He force her hubby to drink?" asked J--

Ross shook his head.

"Well, until they deal with that issue it's thier fault and only thier fault," J-- offered a sly smile, "this is something I've learned a bit about in my day."

Ross and The Rev nodded in agreement.

"It's always easier to blame someone else rather than look in the mirror and see our faults and foibiles," said The Rev as he picked up his coffee, "and when you throw alcohol into the mix it is seldom pleasant."

"And it's always someone else's fault, not mine." observed J--, "Ross, tell your son to hang in there, crazy people who have out of control lives usually crash and burn sooner or later, or they run away because of F.E.A.R."

"FEAR?" asked Ross, "what's FEAR?"

"Mmmmmm, Everything And Run ..." said J-- smiling, "every alcoholic and every enabler gets there eventually. It's sad but true."

Ross looked perplexed, "Mmmmm, everything and run ... I get the 'everything and run' bit, but what's the 'Mmmmmmm' bit?"

"You serious?" asked The Rev, "you don't get the "Mmmmm" and the 'F'?"

"Think eight minutes," said J-- dryly, "just think 8 minutes ..."

Ross looked at J-- and back at The Rev as the penny dropped, "OH !!" He exclaimed, "Oh, 'Mmmmmm' Everything And Run ... Now I get it ... Eight minutes ??"

J-- and The Rev both laughed as the Juke Box began to warble an old country song about spending the night drinking whisky, losing your job, shooting the neighbour's dog and watching as your wife walked out on you ...

J-- listened to the song for a moment, then with his eyes closed and his head tilted back, he smiled and observed - "Now, that's music ... when you think you got troubles, there is nothing like a good country ballad to put it ALL in perspective ..."

"I think I'm gonna practise a little bit of F.E.A.R. tonight if you keep playing these so-called 'GOOD' 45s," observed The Rev with a laugh, "especially the R ..."

J-- and Ross laughed and joined in the chorus of the song ...

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Overheard at Chipperfields' ... Part XXXIX ...

Ross was sitting at the one of the tables with a laptop open before him, he was looking about the room nervously, like he was up to something. J-- approached the table with a coffee in hand and sat down.

"Watcha doin?" asked J-- as he settled in the chair.

"Oh nothing," said Ross quietly, again glancing around the shop.

J-- leaned over and looked at the screen. It was opened to a wholesale imported liquor site. The feature item was bottles of Cuban Rum.

"Hmm," said J-- as he settled back, "you know being embarassed to buy locally is a good sign you have a problem ..." He observed casually.

"No," Ross' voice snapped, "it's nothing like that. I'm looking up stuff for a business idea."

"The Stay-cation idea again?" asked J--.

"Um, yeah ..." offered Ross hesitantly, as he looked around the room, "but don't tell Bonnie. She's still not happy about the whole light and ladder incident, and she thinks this is a disaster in the making."

"Oh," replied J--, "I see ..." He was shaking his head.

"Hey," Ross' voice increased in volume, "I think this could fly. This could work."

"Well, good luck with it," said J-- with a laugh, "but I wouldn't want to be the one to sell the idea to Bonnie."

"Yeah," said Ross, looking downcast, "for every good idea there is a realist that needs to be sold on it ..."

Friday, September 22, 2006

J--'s Trivia 'n' Tidbits ... Part 4

"Did you know that if the sun stopped shining right now, we would have a full 8 minutes before we even knew about it?" J-- asked as he approached the table, a coffee in one hand, and the newspaper in another.

"That so?" answered one of the two men sitting there.

"Absolutely," replied J--, as he sat down, "Says it right here in this little article in the paper."

"Really," replied the Ross, also sitting at the table.

"Yeah," laughed J--, "when I read it, it got me thinking about what I would do with that last 8 minutes before the sun snuffed."

"What did you come up with?" asked Ross, sipping his coffee.

"I'd get the Harley out and head out for one last spin in the sun," answered J--.

"I'd just go and sit in the sunshine one last time," replied the regular.

"I'd go home and make love with Bonnie one last time," said Ross.

"Really?" smiled J--, "well, you got more then enough time ..."

"Yeah," laughed the regular as he sipped his coffee, "7 minutes of 'please Bonnie, please ...' and ..."

"That's enough of that," interupted Ross ... as his two companions laughed.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Overheard at Chipperfields' ... Part XXXVIII ...

The last rays of the setting sun were filtering their way through the blinds on the front windows. On the couches at the front a number of teens were checking their text messages, half heartedly playing chess, and just hanging out with a variety of beverages ... At the table in the back corner Ross was busy selecting new 45s to put in the juke box.

"Got any Johnny Cash?" asked J-- as he approached the table and sat down.

"Dunno," replied Ross looking at the shoe box full of black vinyl in front of him, "I'm not even sure what's in the box ..."

"How about some good 80's rock?" asked The Rev, as he approached the table.

"Good 80's rock? Isn't that an oxymoron, you moron?" asked J-- with a laugh.

"You gotta problem with rock music?" asked The Rev as he sat down at the table.

Rock?" scoffed J--, "you need country. We're on the prairies."

"Nay," replied The Rev, "we need rock." He turned and looked at Jay-Dee behind the counter, "Right Jay-Dee? We need more rock music don't we?"

"Um," Jay-Dee smiled nervously, "I'm a country girl ..." she paused before adding, "Sorry."

"Poor girl," laughed The Rev as he turned back to the table, "no taste in music, but atleast she's cute with a good personality."

Ross and J-- laughed as Jay-Dee blushed.

"So, what's new with you guys?" asked The Rev.

"Nothing much," answered J--, "same old same old ... just the way I like it."

"How 'bout you Ross?" The Rev asked again.

"Oh not much in my life," answered Ross, "but my son's life has gotten interesting."

"The new grand babes," asked J--.

"No," answered Ross, "His life is just busy. It's my other son. The business man."

"Oh?" answered J--, "what's up in his life?"

"He's got a cyber-stalker following him," answered Ross, still sorting through the 45s.

"A cyber-stalker," questioned J--, "what's a cyber stalker?"

"Oh, some obsessed nut case," answered Ross, his face looking serious, "He had to let an employee go, and now they're pretty sure it's her who keeps sending him spam emails and plugging up the inbox at the office, and she's been spreading rumours about him and his business."

"That's not cyber-stalking," commented The Rev, "atleast not how I understand it."

"Well, that's just the tip of the iceberg," commented Ross, his hands resting on the 45s, but not moving, "He's found that she keeps visiting his websites a dozen times a day or more, and she's been leaving anonymous comments and so on, and the topper is she keeps phoning and hanging up both at his house and his business all night long."

"Call display?" asked The Rev.

"Absolutely," answered Ross, "and the RCMP already have file."

"Woman needs a new hobby," commented J--, sipping his coffee, "she's got too much time on her hands."

"She dangerous?" asked The Rev.

"Nay," replied Ross shaking his head, "just nuttier then a fruit cake. Can't deal with reality. "

"Hmm," replied J--, "there always seems to be one in every crowd."

"Ain't that the truth," answered The Rev, "atleast now your son knows why she couldn't work in the business."

Ross nodded in agreement.

"I wouldn't mind having a stalker," said J-- with a smile, "so long as she was cute and not nuts."

"Good Luck with that," answered Ross, "I'll tell my son."

"Just don't pass on my email address to his stalker," laughed J--, "I have enough hassles in my life. I don't need one like THAT."

"Okay," replied Ross, as he lifted out a 45 from the box, "Found Johnny Cash!"

"Really?" asked J-- excitedly, "Johnny Cash? Is it 'I walked the line'?"

"Nay," answered Ross turning the record over in his hand to read the label, "I think it's a show tune ..."

"You're kidding right?" answered J--, his face losing all expression, but shock, "please tell me you're kidding?"

Ross just laughed ...

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Overheard at Chipperfield's ... Part XXXVII ...

It was a quiet evening when The Rev, strolled in the door of Chipperfields. Clustered around the couches at the front were a number of the local paramedics along with Kriss and Anna. Spread across the table before them were piles of binders and textbooks. The Paramedics were helping Anna with her homework, Kriss was sitting with her fiance.

"Evening all," The Rev offered as a greeting as he walked by the couches.

A variety of greetings returned his, then everyone's attention returned to the books and binders on the table.

Behind the counter Bonnie was getting an order ready for a customer who was leaning on the counter, while Ross was busy behind the ice cream cooler assembling the third ice cream cone for a cluster of kids who had come in.

As Ross finished the order and handed it to the last kid, he looked up as The Rev sat down at the table in the corner where J-- was sitting, "Your usual?" Ross asked.

"Absolutely," returned The Rev as he watched the kids head out the door burdened with double scoop ice cream cones. His attention returned to Ross as he said, "Chipperfield's with a touch of cream ..."

"I got it," laughed Ross with a smirk.

As The Rev sat down, a sly smile had crossed J--'s face. He waited a moment then spoke, "So, I hear the Church is starting to rebuild this week?"

"Really?" answered The Rev, "that'll be news to the building committee and the architect."

"That so?" replied J--, as he took a sip of his coffee, "according to the gossip on the street, the Church is all gun-hoe and want to be in the new building by Christmas."

The Rev laughed, "Christmas of next year maybe," he stretched out the last word, "and of course we all know how accurate the gossip on the street is?"

"Yeah, did you hear I'm running for mayor?" Ross added as he came over set the coffee in front of the The Rev, and sat down himself at the table.

"Well, congratulations," laughed J--, "Does the current Mayor know?"

"Well, my guess is no," said Ross, feigning seriousness, "cause it came as a surprise to me too."

The three of them laughed, then The Rev spoke, "You know gossip and rumours are awful things aren't they."

"They can be fun," said J-- hopefully.

"But too often they are just malicious and hurtful," said Ross.

"That's true," said J--, "but they're fun when you know they aren't true and people are telling you that 'they heard it from so and so, who heard it from so and so, that this is what really happened ...' Then it's kind of fun to play along."

"As long as nobody gets hurt," added Ross.

"True enough," agreed J--.

"Too often though the gossip starts because somebody has an axe to grind, or just wants to make themselves feel important," said The Rev. "and truth becomes irrelevant."

"It's like all those stories in town about you?" laughed J--.

"Really?" asked The Rev. as he looked over his coffee, "Like what?"

"Oh, there's ssssoooo many," replied J-- smiling broadly, "I just don't know where to begin."

"How about with the truth?" said The Rev, with a smile.

"Yeah," said Ross, "that's a good place to begin."

"It's foreign and hostile territory for gossips though," said J-- still smiling.

"Ain't that right," said Ross.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Blogs to cruise over coffee ...

I was delighted this week to find out that Jodi has come back on line with her blog ... She got busy over the summer and with computer problems, wasn't able to do much on her blog. But there's been a flurry of activity lately ... check it out - the link is on the sidebar here, or you can click below:

Thanks Jody ... you keep a fun blog.

Another new blog I've discovered is one posted by a Catholic Priest outside of Washington DC. Father Joe keeps it as a personal space where he reflects on a wide variety of things. Recent postings got me laughing ... check out the Road Rage photos he's posted lately and you'll see what I mean ... I found this site looking up the "Panda Porn" story found below ... Father Joe sounds like quite the guy ... check out his site:

And as always there's a bunch of fun and very thoughtful stuff over at the blog called At The Half Note by Katie ... Her entries are articulate, intelligent, poignent and funny ... It's one of my daily stops ...

And don't forget to cruise over to The Prairie Preacher blog ...

So, pour yourself a cup of Java (I like Chipperfields custom blend myself), pull up a chair, and enjoy ...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

J--'s Trivia 'n' Tidbits ... Part 3 ...

"Did you know that the Giant Panda Bear is a gravely endangered species,?" J-- asked as he approached the table, a coffee in one hand, and the newspaper in another.

"That so?" answered one of the two men sitting there.

"Absolutely," replied J--, as he sat down, "Says it right here in this article."

"Really," replied the other regular at the table, "simply fascinating," his voice dripped in sarcasm.

"It actually is quite fascinating,"J-- paused to take a sip of coffee, "They have a huge breeding programme in China to try and save the Giant Panda from extinction. They put the male and female together and ..."

"Let nature take its course?" asked one of the regulars.

"Well, that's just it," replied J--, "it says here in the article about the Panda mom who accidentally crushed her baby last week that they are having real problems getting the pandas to do what should come naturally."

"Really?" replied the second regular, his interest being piqued.

"Yeah," continued J--, "but they've come up with a solution to the problem."

"A solution?" asked the second regular hesitantly, "what kind of a solution?"

"Turns out," J-- referred back to the article, "that they have had great success when they show the two of them a video of other pandas doing what nature intends ..."

"Panda Porn?" the first regular said, dumb struck.

"Yup," said J-- smiling, "Panda porn !!"

"Some things are too strange NOT to be true," said the second regular with a shake of his head.

Overheard at Chipperfields' ... Part XXXVI ...

It was a slow and lazy afternoon around the shop. There were no customers, and Kriss and Jay-Dee had finished the clean up chores they had to do. Bonnie was working on the computer, and Anna and one of the part timers were just hanging out at the counter.

"We need music," Kriss announced, "let punch something up on the Juke box."

"Sure," answered Jay-Dee, "what should we put on?"

"Nothing geeky," answered Anna, looking over her glasses with a look of disdain tempered by a smile, "put something we can dance to."

"You gonna dance?" asked Jay-Dee.

"Of course NOT," answered Anna, the last syllable dripping in sarcasm, "but ..."

Before she could continue Kriss dropped her quarter into the machine and made her selection.

"Oh Yeah," Kriss exclaimed as the 45 was lifted onto the turn table, "this will be good." As she spoke her hips swayed slightly in anticipation to the music she has selected.

"What did you pick?" Kriss asked smiling, her eagerness giving way to a wave of mild concern.

"Oh," Kriss exagerated the syllable, "you'll see ..."

There was a whirl and click and then the sound of static and suddenly the voice of Chubby Checker warbled out of the speakers: "Come on every body ..."

The space of the shop was filled with the Rock'n'Roll classic "The Twist ..." as the song began Kriss began her karaoke complete with a dance to the music.

"Come on everybody," Kriss offered with a broad smile, her hips beginning to swing to the music, "Come on everybody ..."

Jay-Dee rounded the counter and joined Kriss as together they offered thier rendition of teh Twist. As they rocked back and forth between the tables the blinds in Bonnies office were parted.

"What are you doing?" She asked.

Kriss and Jay-Dee stopped and looked at each other sheepishly.

"Nothing," answered Kriss. She was clearly feeling guilty about being caught by the boss.

Bonnie came out of the office, "I don't care about you dancing," she said as she stepped through the kitchen door, "I just wanted to know what dance you THOUGHT you were doing?"

"Um," Kriss was slightly confused, "we were doing the Twist."

"THAT," Bonnie was smiling, "Wasn't the twist. I'll show you the twist."

"Alright," Kriss' face was crossed with a smile, "Bring it on Bonnie."

"Okay, it goes kind of like this," Bonnie started rocking to the music, and started dancing between the tables and the counter.

The song came to an end just as Bonnie was, much to the delight of her staff, showing the how to do the Twist properly.

Everything stopped, a sense of self consciousness washed over them.

"Don't worry," chirped Kriss, "I put in a whole dollars worth and it's all the Twist !!"

"Come on every body ..." broke through the static again ... And with the beginning of the music, Bonnie was moving to the music and invited her staff to join her.

"Come on," she said laughing, "you do it like this ..." and she showed them how to Twist.

Jay-Dee and the part-timer joined Kriss and Bonnie. The four of them looked at Anna.

"Come on and join us ..." invited Bonnie.

Anna was leaning on the counter her face bearing sly smile, "I don't think so," she smirked, "I don't think so."

The other four laughed and continued Twist-ing amongst the tables as Chubby kept singing ...

Monday, September 11, 2006

J--'s Trivia 'n' Tidbits ... part 2 ...

"Did you know that 23% of a Dragonfly's body weight is directly related to the moving of its wings to fly?" J-- asked as he approached the table, a coffee in hand.

"That so?" answered one of the three men sitting there.

"Absolutely," replied J--, as he sat down, "Imagine having almost a quarter of your body devoted entirely to flying?"

"That would be alright," replied another of the regulars at the table, "The places I'd go. The people I'd see ... I would be a total blast!"

"Yup," laughed J--, "You got that right. It would cut down on travel costs, and it would help keep me in shape," as he spoke he reached down and patted his tummy, "But I still prefer my Harley." As he concluded he made handle bar motions with his hands.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Overheard at Chipperfields' ... Part XXXV ...

It was late in the evening when J-- strolled in the front door of the shop. The door hadn't even closed when he called to Kriss and Anna ...

"My regular please," he said, "and a slice of carrot cake."

"You're kind of late for your morning constitutional aren't you?" asked Kriss looking up at the clock and noting it was just after 9pm.

"Yeah, I guess so," said J-- with a sly smile.

"So, where have you been all day?" asked Anna, "no one has seen you?"

"I've been off on a grand adventure," answered J--, his smile broadening.

"With a woman?" asked Kriss.

"A couple," answered J-- as he sat at the table with his coffee and tucked into his carrot cake that Anna had just put before him.

"So, are you going to tell us aout your day?" asked Anna, "or do you not kiss and tell?" Her laughter was light and cheery.

"Well," J-- took an enormous forkful of carrot cake and ate it quickly. It occured to Anna that he looked hungry, but couldn't imagine J-- missing any meals.

J-- began his story: "I decided to go up to Clear Lake for lunch with a lady friend. She had invited me and was supposed to give me a ride home. About an hour before she was to pick me up she called me and said that something had come up and she would still like to meet me for lunch, but she couldn't drive me because she was having dinner with a cousin from Alberta who was at the Resort."

J-- paused and took another couple of forkfuls of cake, which he devoured quickly, "So I kind of dug in my heels ..."

"I can't imagine that," interupted Anna, "that would be ssssssoooooo unlike you ..." her voice was dripping in sarcasm.

J-- smiled as he continued eating the cake before continuing the story, "So, I said to her, 'just pick me up and I'll make arrangements to get home ...' And she picked me up and we went and had a lovely lunch up at the Resort. Her friend showed up for dessert, and we had a lovely chat. Then at about 2 they wanted to head off to the golf course and have a round before dinner. They dropped me off in Erickson in front of the used book store."

J-- paused and cleaned up the last of his cake. He set down his fork and lifted the plate with both hands, he looked plaintively at the plate then up at Kriss who was still behind the counter, "Please miss, could I have some more ??" J--'s face had softened into a pathetic pout.

"Sure," said Kriss with a smile as she lifted the glass cover on the cake plate, "one or two ?"

"Better make it two," said J--, "I'm hungry ..."

He waited until Kriss set the next two pieces of carrot cake down in front of him before he continued, "So, I'm standing on the side of the highway and I put out my thumb to hitch hike my way home ..."

"You hitch hiked?" laughed Anna, "how did it go?"

"Well, I did it before in my life lots," answered J--, "when I was in training before I went overseas I used to hitch hike my way home to see my wife every chance I could get. It was great. When you stood on the side of the road in a uniform cars would line up to pick you up. And since then I've done it innumerable times. I've met some of the greatest people that way ... I'll have to tell you about some of them another time." As he was talking J-- was continuing to put forkful after forkful of cake into his mouth.

"So, anyway," J-- said with a smile, "I was standing on the side of the highway with my thumb out. I don't mind people passing me, but I get a little ticked off when it's people I know and when they see it's me, they hit the gas and speed up ..."

"That didn't happen," said Kriss.

"Maybe it did," said J-- with a sly smile, "maybe it didn't ... I'll never tell."

The three of them laughed, and J-- continued to relate his tale; "So a dozen or so cars blow past me, and then a young mom from Minnedosa sees me and pulls over. She puts down the window and say - 'what the heck are you doing out here hitch hiking?' I tell her I'm just trying to get home, so she tells me she's heading to Minnedosa and that I should get in. Never one to turn down a lovely woman, I hope in and we head down the highway."

"Um," Anna interupted as she looked at her watch, "you said that was two in the afternoon," her eyes narrowed in a conspiratorial fashion, "what did you do for the last seven hours?"

"I don't know if I should tell you," J-- said with a chuckle, "I don't know if your young ears could handle it!"

Anna blushed slightly and smiled.

"So, I get in the car for the ride home and we're chit chatting and at Mountain Road she decides to come home through Clanwilliam, so we turn left at the top of the hill and head down to the top end of the beach road," J-- finished off the second piece of cake as he paused, "we turn south on the gravel and we're talking and all of a sudden - the car stalls and stops ... She gets it over to the side of the road and tries to start it. Nothing. 'Oh,' she says, 'I must be out of gas. I thought $25 dollars worth would get to and from Dauphin today ...' "

"Not at a dollar a litre," said Anna.

"Exactly," agreed J--, "Turns out both her cel phone and mine were dead, or out of range, or something. And so I, being a valiant gentleman, offer to walk to the closest farm and see if I can get some gas. I set out and the first four farms I get to have no one at home. I tried to see if I could find a gas can and some gas in the yard, but everything was locked up tighter then a drum. So I keep walking, finally after over an hour I find someone at home. They say - 'sure, no problem and drive me to Erickson to get some gas.' We passed the car on the way and told Mary what what up, and she was fine with it."

"You left her sitting on the side of the road?" Said Kriss shocked.

"She was fine," said J-- laughing, "so we get the gas and come back and fill the car up and head back up the road to Erickson to get a full tank. And that was fine. We had a cup of coffee and a glass or two of water at the coffee counter before heading back. This time at the hill, Mary says she'll stick to the highway. I agree. But then just at the bottom of the big hill the car starts shuddeing and making a funny noise. Turns out the front tire blew."

Jim paused and took a long sip of his coffee, "Then as though that wasn't bad enough, the spare is flat too. So, we have to wait until someone will stop and help us out. It took about 20 minutes before someone would stop. Do you know how many cars there are in 20 minutes on the highway??"

The two women shook their heads.

"Alot," J-- answered, "eventually one of them stopped and we got a ride into town to the Tirecraft th both tires, and the crew there fixed the tires and gave us a ride back to the car. But by this time it was almost 6:30. Then we had to get the tires on the car and get to Minnedosa. But as we hit the junction with the duck, Mary remembered that she was supposed to pick up her daughter at her mother's in Neepawa. So, we just went over there and got the little tyke before coming back here fifteen minutes ago ..."

"Sounds like quite a day," laughed Anna.

"Gonna go hitch kiking again soon?" asked Kriss with a smile.

"Nay," said J--, "I think I'll stick to my truck and my Harley. It's less complicated and it takes less time ..."

"You want a refill?" asked Kriss as she went behind the counter.

"Absolutely," answered J-- a broad smile crossing his face, "and another slice of cake. I'm not sure why, but I'm hungry."

"Can't imagine why?" commented Anna.

Friday, September 08, 2006

J--'s Trivia 'n' Tidbits ...

Today, I want to start a new entry item ... of late the real life J-- has been sharing his pearls of wisdom and his trivial bits of information ... It's been delightful ... But I've been thinking about doing something with it ... they are different from the Overheard conversations, but worth playing with ... so today ... I want to try something new ... I dedicate this to the real life J-- and his incredible sense of humour, and the friendship and support he offers to soooo many people ... he's an awesome guy ... If you visit the real Chipperfield's I'll guarantee you'll meet him ... and I think you'll like him ...

So ... here it goes ...

"Do you know why the male lion lies around sleeping all the time?" J-- asked as he approached the table in in the back corner.

"No idea," answered one of the three men sitting there.

"Well, it turns out," J-- sat down as he spoke, "that the male lion can DO IT 50 times a day."

"Do it?" asked Kriss as she was wiping down the table next to them, "Do what??"

J-- grinned, the others at the table snickered.

"You know," J-- said winking, "Do it !!"

"Do what?" Kriss repeated.

"Better draw her a picture," laughed one of the men at the table.

"Easier to show her," snorted another.

The table erupted in laughter.

"You could always buy her one of THOSE magazines that shows her," offered the third.

"WHAT?" Kriss' face was confused, then the penny seemed to drop, "OH !!" She exlaimed, "OH!!" She repeated, "J-- !!" She exclaimed as her cheeks reddened, "I think I'm going to ignore all of you now," she turned to retreat back behind the counter.

"Poor naive girl," laughed one of the regulars. The others nodded in agreement as they laughed.

"So, about those lions?" one of the regulars tried to reclaim the conversation from where it had fallen by the way side, "Fifty times you say?? Really??"

"Pretty impressive," one of the others added.

"No wonder the lioness looks sssssoooo happy all the time," retorted the first.

J-- smiled as he ended the conversation, "I never believed in reincarnation until I read that about lions. But now, if there is such a thing, I know what lion I'm coming back as ..." he offered a sly grin as he lifted his coffee and took a sip ...

Just made my day ...

I's sitting with my lap top enjoying a coffee and a muffin at one of the tables ... I'm having a good day ... but it just got better ...

On the couch are a couple of people who have picked up the binder Ross and Bonnie have put together of my entries on The Chipperfield Chronicles ... They are reading aloud some of my previous entries and laughing themselves silly at the words I WROTE !!!

Can there be anything MORE rewarding then THAT???

I write because I just feel the need within me ... I don't think about what people will say or think ... I just write ... Today, being a fly on the wall has given me a good feeling ...

Just AWESOME ... just awesome ...

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Memories for a quarter ...

Sitting ... simply sitting ... enjoying the moment with a cup of coffee at one hand, and the lap top opened on the table before you ... in the background music if playing on the juke box.

Some music is soft, romantic ... other selections are harder, louder and rocking ... the sun is shining through the front windows ... it's a beautiful day ...

Kriss strolls over to the juke box and drops in a couple of quarters ... First Boney M warbles over the speaker singing about Rasputin and his exploits with the Russian Queen. Next a Beatles tune carries across the room ...

"Hmmm," Kriss wonders to herself, "maybe I should punch in The Twist by Chubby Checker, maybe Bonnie would show us how to do The Twist properly again ..." She smiles as she leans over the machine.

What to choose ... so many selections to chose from ... Elvis, The Beatles, Billy Idol, the selections range from classic rock through to those bands who released thier tunes on the last of the once ubiquitous vinyl 45's ...

Now the stack of 45s sits waiting in a machine, tucked in a corner of a coffee shop nestled in slow paced town lying in a valley in the middle of the vast Canadian prairie ... the stack of vinyl waits to be played ... it waits to echo forth from the juke box, filling the space of the shop with a joyous cacophany of sound and music that helps to call forth glorious memories ...

Memories of moments in time ... a summer of our mis-spent youth ... a school dance ... a movie ... a date ... sitting enjoying a soda in a cafe ... The memories that are sealed with music ... Memories made sweeter by the sound track of our lives ... and all those memories may can be unlocked with the thunk of a quarter in a coin slot ...

It can be shiny and new ... or it can be old and covered with dirt and scratches ... it makes not a whit bit of difference to the machine ... 25 cents is 25 cents ... for a mere quarter a memory can be recalled through music:

... a first date ... a first dance ... a first kiss ... a first boy or girl friend ... with the drop of a quarter in the coin slot you can be transported back to those firsts ... those moments when life was fresh and new and being experienced anew for the first time ...

For a quarter you can call up the sound track of our lives ... a few notes and we can remember and find ourselves transported back in time and space ...

For a quarter we can play the music of our lives ... relieve and remember the moments ... we can laugh ... or cry ... or just smile as we remember ...

At Chipperfields' over coffee, you can recall alot of memories for a quarter ... it is still a bargain at twice the price ...

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Overheard at Chipperfields' ... Part XXXIV ...

The early morning crew were camped out on the sofas at the front of the store, Jay-Dee was busy behind the counter getting things ready for the day. She looked up when the door opened. She was suprised to see Bonnie strolling in.

Jaydee looked up at the clock on the wall, it read 8:00 am. She was sure that the staff list said Bonnie wouldn't be in until 3:30 today. Somewhere in the back of her mind, the girl who used to work in a less friendly environment cried out in warning.

When the boss shows up unannounced, at a time when you're not expecting her, that can seldom be good. Jay-dee's mind went back to the day in a place of previous employment when the boss showed up unexpectedly, a half an hour after lunch was supposed to be over and found a number of the staff still off. He had not been pleased and by week's end a number of folks had been let go.

"Hi Bonnie," Jay-Dee offered as cheerfully as she could muster given the nervousness that just gripped her soul.

"Hi," Bonnie replied as she rounded the counter and headed into the back.

"What's she doing her?" Jay-Dee wondered to herself. She watched as Bonnie picked up an apron and returned to the front and began puttering behind the counter, "She's just messing with me," she thought. Then a more ominous thought popped into her head: "Did I do something wrong?"

Just then the front door opened and Dani strolled in. She greeted the early morning crew on the couches at the front, and turned towards the counter. She saw Bonnie behind the counter and her footsteps faltered slightly, she looked at her watch then the clock on the wall, then back to her watch, her face blanched slightly as nervousness gripped her too. "I'm only two minutes late," she thought to herself glancing again at the clock, "Bonnie can't be here because of that ??" Then after a pause she let out an audible gasp as she thought to herself, "Oh my gawd, she knows about that time last month that I was a half an hour late unlocking the store ..."

At the gasp Bonnie looked up and a confused look crossed her face. "Good morning Dani," It was more of a question then a statement. Bonnie then looked at Jay-Dee who was standing by the sink tryng not to stare back at Bonnie, but clearly looking nervous.

"What the heck is going on?" thought Bonnie.

Then she broke the silence that had settled in behind the counter, "Why are there three of us here this morning?"she asked.

For a long moment neither Jay-Dee nor Dani answered. Taking thier silence as a clue Bonnie turned to the cooler where the staffing timetable is hung and read it ...

"Damned," she whispered, then her voice took on a deeper throatier tone, almost a growl, "ROSS!" She said loudly. Without saying a word she snatched up the portable phone and punched in her home number ...

"Ross," Bonnie's voice was level and calm, "what day is today?" She paused for the answer before continuing, "and what does it say there for my work hours?"

"Yes," said Bonnie after a moment, "and what time is it?"

Again there was a pause. Jay-Dee and Dani looked at one another, neither feeling adventurous enough to speak in this moment.

Bonnie's voice took on a sharper tone, "Sorry won't cut it Ross," she snapped, and then after a pause she continued, "Don't tell me you fell off a ladder and hit your head. I was there remember. I saw it happen and I know you didn't hit your head ..."

Jay-Dee's eyes began to glint, and Dani was fighting back, unsuccessfully a smile as Bonnie continued, "You are in some serious trouble with me," she continued, "I could have slept in this morning, but you told me I was down to work at 8 am ... you read the wrong day again Ross."

Bonnie paused to listen to Ross' pleas before concluding her side of the conversation, "I will NOT give you a two minute head start before I come home. I'm coming home right now !!" With that Bonnie pushed the disconnect button and slammed the phone into it's cradle.

She turned to Jay-Dee and Dani, "I'm going home, I'm not supposed to be here ..." she said as she turned and headed towards the door. Her head held high.

The two women watched her go and offered a faint, "Good bye," to her ... as the door closed they looked at each other and collapsed into peals of laughter.

"I wouldn't want to be Ross about now," laughed Jay-Dee.

"Poor guy," agreed Dani.

The early morning crew were shaking their heads as they came up to the counter for refills.

Monday, September 04, 2006

A Tip of the Cap ...

Chippie is back from his grand adventure, and what an adventure it has been !!
He's been to the beaches of BC, to the Glaciers of Jasper and Banff.
He's watched whales and eagles.
He's played.
He's flown in the wind.
He's been swimming, albeit briefly.
He's ridden in a car for days, and sat in the sun for hours.
He's been to and fro ... and it's been good.
It's all been good ...

And so today, I offer a tip of the hat to Ross and Bonnie and all their staff, and some of their customers too, for letting me continue to play and to tell stories spun from the place on Main St that has become so much more then just a coffee shop ...

Chipperfields' is a coffee shop ... but it is a place filled with laughter ... a place filled with friends ...
And for the record, the real flesh and blood Ross is not the incompetent fool I've portrayed around here ... he's a good guy, and a better friend, and he has my respect for letting me use him as my favourite literary foil ... and having shoulders broad enough to take a little good natured teasing ...

The others here ... well, in every good story there is a tiny pinch of truth tempered by alot of love and respect and admiration ... My characters are simply that - characters ... but the real people are so much more wonderful then the words on the page ... and I feel privileged and blessed to call them friends ...

So, Ross, Bonnie, and all those who pop up around here ... I tip my hat to you, and say - "thanks for letting me play ..." You're the best!!!

Thanks ...

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Overheard at Chipperfields' ... Part XXXIII ...

Anna was getting an order for an iced latte ready when the lights and power suddenly flickered out ...

"Oh, Oh ..." Ross' voice carried from the back of the store.

"Ross !!!!" Bonnie;s voice boomed like a tolling bell through the store, "What did you do??"

"Um," Anna, who for the first time looked confused and uncertain of what to do next flashed a very brief smile at the customer in front of her and then said, "I don't think I can finish your order right now." As she spoke, she began regaining her composure and continued, "If you want to have a seat I'll bring it right out to you when we get our current problem fixed ..." She ended with a charming smile.

"Sure thing, and um ... thanks," said the customer as he and his wife headed to the sofa's at the front, he seeming to shepherd her out of harm's way as they both of them glanced back nervously to where Ross was still standing on a ladder in the back.

"Ross," Bonnie's voice was a tad above a hiss, "What did you do?"

Before Ross could do any more then open his mouth to speak, Bonnie continued, "I was in the middle of month end reports when you do SOMETHING to cut the power to the whole building ..." she paused very briefly, "what did you do?"

Ross opened his mouth to speak, then glanced up at the flourescent light fixture over his head and back down at Anna who was standing at the front counter looking up. "Is she laughing at me?" Ross thought.

"Ross," Bonnie's voice had a level almost ominous tone, "Ross, what did you do?"

"Um," Ross gulped and then started to speak, "I was trying to fix this light fixture, and I noticed this loose wire here and ..." as he spoke he absent mindedly reached up and touched the wire.

In an instant four things happened ... First there was a blinding flash of light ... Second Ross was flung from the ladder as though a fusillade had suddenly been unleashed over the kitchen and he had become it's unwary victime ... Third, Bonnie gasped in horror as Ross flew over her head and landed with a thump on the floor behind her ... and fourth, Anna burst into an uncontrolled fit of laughter watching Ross flung haphazardly from the ladder ...

"Oh my gawd," Bonnie whirled to look where Ross had landed, "Ross are you alright?"

A loud groan was the only sound Ross could manage.

"Ross?" Bonnie kneeled beside Ross, though she was careful not to touch him for fear that some lingering electrical current might still be pulsing through his prone form, "Ross, are you okay?"

"Ooooohhhhh," Ross again moaned.

Bonnie looked up and cast a withering glare at Anna who was standing in the door way, smiling while at the same time looking somewhat concerned, "Can I help?" she offered cheerily, "should I call an ambulance?" As the last syllable left her mouth Anna burst into laughter. She covered her mouth and beat a hasty retreat saying "Sorry ..."

"Oooooohhhh," Ross repeated, "that really hurt ..."

"Yes, dear" affirmed Bonnie, and again she asked, "are you alright?"

By this time the few customers who were in the store on a Sunday afternoon were crowding in the doorway of the kitchen to get a better look at the tableau before them ...

"I'm okay," Ross moaned as he started to sit up.

"Should you sit up?" asked Bonnie visibly concerned, "that WAS quite a fall?"

"And spectacular," said a young boy in the door way excitedly, "could you show us again Mister?"

Bonnie glared at the boy. Ross grimaced as he tried to smile.

"Are you okay?" Bonnie again repeated.

Ross was sitting up by this time, "I'm fine, just a little winded is all ..."

"So, what did you do?" Bonnie asked as she ran a hand down Ross' back, partially out of affection, and partially to see if there was anything visibly out of place ...

"Well, I was trying to fix the light fixture up there, and I guess I hit that wire and ..." Ross pauses as he looked up, his neck creaked to the action, "I guess that blew the breakers ..."

"Oh Ross," Bonnie shook her head. Her hand was moving across his shoulders, again checking for obvious injuries, "Didn't I say to get someone to look at that?"

"Yes dear, but I thought I could do it myself," Ross said still looking up at the light fixture where there was now a dark black smudge where the tiny wire protruded, "but I thought I could do it myself." Ross' tone sounded hopeful almost childlike, "I'm sorry."

"It will be okay," said Bonnie as her hand moved slowly down Ross' arms, still assessing him for injury, "I'll take care of it ..."

"Okay," said Ross softly as he gingerly stood up and moved out of the kitchen. As he approached the door, the people clustered there moved back slowly, not moving their eyes from him.

As Ross left the Kitchen, Bonnie looked up at the light fixture above her head and sighed, "I guess the month end reports will HAVE to wait now ..." she picked up a pair of pliers and a screwdriver and began climbing the ladder, " ... I'll just have to do it myself."

Ten minutes later, the light fixture was back on, the power was restored and Bonnie was punching in the selection for Helen Reddy singing "I am woman" on the juke box.

"Do you have to?" asked Ross, his voice a whine, as he sat at the table beside the juke box, "that's like pouring salt in my wounds ..."

"Yes, I have to..." answered Bonnie as she punched in a dollar's worth of the song ... "Yes, I have to ..."

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Overheard at Chipperfields' ... Part XXXII ...

When J-- walked in the front door of the store, there were no other customers. Dani was working behind the counter, while her youngest daughter Karen was busily working at her colouring book in the corner by the jukebox. Anna was busily wiping down the tables and gathering the cups and debris from the customers who had just left.

"Morning Ladies," J-- offered cheerfully, "Hi Karen," he called as he waved to her.

Karen looked up and smiled, but turned back to her colouring.

"Good Morning MISTER J--," Anna offered, stretching out the 'mister' with a smile, "How are you today?" She glanced out the front window and noticed that J--'s car wasn't in its usual place by the curb out front. She looked around and didn't see his car or his Harley anywhere nearby, "You walking today J--?"

"Oh, I'm okay, I guess," J-- said as he crossed the floor towards the counter, pausing briefly before continuing, "and yeah I'm walking today."

"How come?" asked Anna, again busying herself cleaning the tables.

"I got a problem with my car port," answered J-- as he stood at the counter.

"What's the problem with your car port?" Dani asked as she turned to face J--. As she turned she gasped, "Oh my God J-- !!"

It was in that moment that she had noticed the bandages on J--'s hands and neck, and the obvious red welts on his cheeks and forehead.

Her attention drawn by Dani's gasp, Anna rounded the counter and looked up at J--. It was then that she too noticed J--'s battered appearance.

"What happened to you??" Anna asked, her voice also a gasp and her mouth hanging open slightly.

"Oh just some wasp stings," J-- answered cheerfully.

"That's more then just some wasp stings," replied Dani, "what happened?"

"I tried to be funny," said J-- as he took the cup of coffee Dani slid across the counter to him added cream and continued speaking, "and it kind of back fired."

"What did you do?" Anna's eyes narrowed as she looked at J--, "Is it connected to the problems with the car port?"

"Well, Yeah it is," J-- began, "This morning my son came over with his kids to pressure wash my drive way and the deck and patio furniture and so on. We were busy doing it. I would get the kids to carry the stuff out on to the lawn and he would clean it. Things were going along just fine all morning, and then I made a comment about the damned wasp nests I had in the yard. There was one on the peak of the house and another one under the eave inside the car port."

"So, what happened?" asked Anna, her face softening out of concern.

"I'll get there," said J-- as he took a sip of coffee, "So I mention those nests to my son, and he says 'No problem Dad, we'll just hit them with the power washer and knock 'em down and they'll be gone.' It sounded good to me, so I showed him where they were."

"And the wasps stung you when you tried?" said Dani, interupting him.

"Oh, no nothing that simple," said J-- with a laugh, "if we had just hit them with the power washer and left it at that it would have been fine. But I had to try to be the jokester. Just tried to be funny ..." J--'s voice trailed off as he laughed quietly at the recollection.

"What did you do?" said Anna, now leaning on the corner of the counter, her chin resting in her hand.

"Well, my son went over to the first wasp nest, the one on the peak of the roof and turned the power washer on," J-- continued, "and poof it was gone ... One good blast of the power washer and the nest was just gone. So then he goes into the car port. He has to squeeze past the car and manouver his way underneath the stupid thing. He gets in a good spot, he can get a clear shot at the nest and knock it down. And the wasps are just doing their thing, so he gives the hose a tug and gets ready to spray it, and I decide to make him laugh ..."

The two women stood silently, waiting ...

"Just as he pulls the trigger and starts blasting the nest with the stream of water, I decide to take the hose and fold it over to cut off the water supply." J-- says with a smirk.

"NO?" gasped Dani in horror, her eyes widening, "you didn't?"

"I did," laughed J--, grimacing in the pain it caused the stings on his face.

"You're horrible," said Anna, clearly delighted in the tale.

"I had to really reef on the hose to double it over and cut off the water supply," said J-- taking another sip of his coffee, "But I did it, and it leaves my son standing there with a tiny dribble of water coming out of the end of the power washer wand ... He clicks the trigger a couple of times and says 'Huh?' as he looks at the wand in disbelief. And then all hell broke loose in the garage. "

"No!!!???" said Dani now clearly horrified.

"So what happened?" asked Anna, now completely delighted by the story.

"The wasps were roaring out of the nest, like a tornado, " said J--, " and they were making a straight line for my son. So he starts waving the wand around trying to beat them off. He kept pulling the trigger trying to get the water going, and was swinging the wand around and screaming 'Run !! Run !! Run!!" all the while he's caught by the car and can't just run out of the garage. And I'm standing in the doorway of the garage laughing and laughing at the sight of him waving the wand around desperately trying to beat back the cloud of wasps ..."

"Did you let go of the hose?" asked Dani.

"Oh no," answered J--, "I was laughing so hard I just forgot ..."

"Is your son alright?" asked Anna.

"Oh yeah, he's fine," answered J-- as he continued, "we both got swarmed by the wasps and we got stung a few times. And in all the confusion with all the swinging and waving, he had broken the end off the wand by hitting something. But, fortunately, we managed to get away from them ..."

"Oh my God," uttered Dani in horror.

Anna was laughing, and saying nothing.

"Yeah, I guess it was a good joke idea that went kind bad," offered J--

"You think?" sputtered Anna amid the laughter.

"Yeah, I guess so," said J-- sipping from his coffee, "but it could have been worse ..."

"How?" asked Dani.

"I dunno," offered J-- with a sly smile, "Isn't that what you're supposed to say when stuff happens."

"Only if it's true," interjected Dani.

"I guess you're right," agreed J--, "the worst part of this though, is that my power washer is busted, my son isn't talking to me, and I still have that damned wasp nest in my car port ..."

"And you have to walk?" stated Anna as she wiped away tears of laughter from her eyes.

"Atleast until the wasps calm down," observed J-- as he picked up his coffee and took another sip and walked over to his usual table and sat down.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Visitors both in cyber space and for real ...

I find it fascinating to hear people's reactions to this place, this blog, and the stories we share over coffee both in cyber space and around the tables in the Cafe ...

There are hits from all over the world on this blogsite, and recently one of our cyber visitors from Victoria stopped by to visit the real life Chipperfields' ... he noted that it IS everything I have described here ...

Now that was an incredible compliment ... couple that with an email from a friend who said - "your writing reminds me of John Irving" (I LOVE John Irving's writing ... from Hotel New Hampshire to The World According to Garp to Widow for One Year and my personal fav: A Prayer for Owen Meany - I count Irving as my favourite author. To be compared to him is quite a compliment ... I was awed.) It is such moments that make all of this worthwhile ...

Many times I wonder - "is anyone reading this?" or "does anyone really enjoy this?" and suddenly I hear from one of those who sign on and read my words and I think - "wow ... people are reading this ..."

And then yesterday I had the delight to be in the store, the real Chipperfields' when the real life Anna, took the binder filled with my entries and showed it to a friend with the words, "you should read this ..."

A visitor from afar ... a comparison to Irving ... and having someone say of my writing to another "you should read this ..." It's been a good week ... it makes all of this more fun to do.

Thanks to my readers, whoever and WHEREVER you are ... you're the best ...

Overheard at Chipperfield's ... Part XXXI ...

The other evening, Ross was sitting at the tables in the corner of the shop, before him were spread a variety of glossy catalogues and pamphlets. The jukebox behind him was playing some 60's rock music.

"What are doing?" asked one of the regulars as he sat down with a cup of coffee. He picked up one of the pamphlets and looked at it. "Playground equipment?" he enquired.

"It's for my grandchildren," offered Ross, "you know we have new twin Grandsons don't you?"

"Yeah," offered the regular hesitantly, "aren't they a wee bit young for this kind of stuff," he was holding up a pamphlet on wooden play houses with swings and slides.

"It's never too early to plan," said Ross hopefully, "besides there are the older grandkids to think about too ..."

"You planning on building a play ground in your back yard?" asked the regular as he set down the pamphlet and sipped his coffee.

"Well, getting it built ..." said Ross as he looked around nervously, his voice lowered to a whisper as he continued, "Bonnie doesn't like me messing with power tools, especially after the incident last summer."

The eyebrows of the regular arched in wonder. He wanted to ask about the incident, but thought better of it. Instead he changed tack slightly, "Did I ever tell you about the time we built the swing set in our yard?"

"No?" Ross' eyebrows arched, "what happened?"

"Oh nothing happened," said the regular, "I'm just really proud of the good deal I got on the slide I put on the play structure."

"Really?" said Ross, not intrigued.

"Well, I went looking for one of those fancy twirly slides," said the regular, "and at the big retail outlets down in Brandon they wanted 5 and 6 hundred bucks for the stupid things. I looked at them and thought 'they're nice and all, but I'm not paying 6 hundred dollars plus tax for a slide.' So I gave up."

"Then what?" asked Ross, eagerly.

"Well, I needed to pick up a couple of things, so I went to that little out of the way lumber place out in the south end -----&------." said the regular.

"I've been there," interjected Ross.

"So anyway, I'm in there picking up some other stuff," the regular continued, "and I see a pamphlet lying on the counter with pictures of playground equipment. I ask the guy serving me if they carry any of it. He says they do. So I ask about slides. He punches in some stuff on the computer and says 'the slides are regular $375, plus tax.' I do a quick calculation in my head and think - 'forget it'. Then before I can answer he says, 'you need it in a box?'"

"A box?" asked Ross.

"A box," answered the regular, "the guy asked me if I need it in a box. 'What do you mean?' I asked. And so the guy answers me saying, 'Well, the boxed one we have in stock is $375, but we have one that was on display out in the entrance way for $250 tax included.' I was shocked. I asked him, 'what's wrong with it?' The guy answers, 'Nothing, it just was out and assembled and we lost the box, so we can't sell it as new.' I asked if it had the manual, all the parts and so forth. The guy says it does, so I said 'sure I'll take it' and in blink of an eye the deal was done. I drove around to the back of the store and three guys loaded all the pieces in my van one at a time, and when they finished the first guy handed me the bag of nuts and bolts and things, and I drove home to put it all together."

"So?" Ross asked as the regular sipped his coffee.

"So, nothing," replied the regular, "I got a good twirly slide for real cheap."

"That's it??" asked Ross exasperated.

"That's it." said the regular smiling, "isn't saving money enough?"

"Hmmm," replied Ross looking at all the pamphlets before him ... "I guess it is ..."