Sunday, January 27, 2008

Happy Birthday !!

This is the year where my circle of friends and I move into the fifth decade of life by marking our big 4-0 Birthdays ... I won't run through the inventory of those of us who have marked this aspicious chronological event ... Instead, I will simply note that around Chipperfields (the REAL place) the inspiration behind the character of Dani marks her 40th (or her 39th and holding) Birthday TODAY.

So to the real life Dani - I wish a HAPPY BIRTHDAY and may you have many more as you begin this year so full of exciting plans and dreams ...

Have fun girl !!!!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Promotion Ross Style

"I got an idea," Ross pulled out a chair and sat down at the table with J-- and a couple of the morning regulars who enjoying the warmth of the gas fireplace behind them and the sunshine pouring through the windows in front of the.

"An idea huh?" said J-- with a sly smile, "haven't we warned you to stay away from them?"

The regulars around the table laughed as Ross shook his head.

"No, this is a good one," he insisted.

"Let's hear it," said J-- placing the Brewit tea pot on his mug and decanting another shot of Organic Manitoba tea.

"Well, do you remember the old shampoo commercial where the young woman said "I told two friends, who told two friends, who told two friends ..."

"And so on and so on and so on," chimed in J--, "and then they showed the screen with more and more pictures of the gal ..."

"You've seen it?" asked Ross excitedly.

"Yeah sure," said J-- looking confused, "I saw it back in the 70's when it was on. But what does it have to do with your idea. Or is remembering it your BIG idea?" a grin passed over J--'s face as he lifted his mug up and took a sip.

"Wasn't that the commercial where the old guy came out and said 'I was so impressed that I bought the company?'" asked one of the regulars.

"Nay," replied the other regular, "that was a razor commercial, and it was the old guy who used to own the New England Patriots."

"Bet he's not as impressed now," said the first regular, "with the success the Pats are having."

"He's dead," observed the second regular.

"His Pats winning did him in?" asked J--

"Nay, he's been gone for a long time," observed the second regular, "but when he owned the Pats they couldn't win if the other team decided not to even show up. So this season would be a bit of a shock for him."

"What does all of this have to do with a shampoo commercial?" asked Ross confused.

"Huh?" said J-- with a stunned look crossing his face.

"What does talking about the Pats have to do with my idea?" asked Ross again, still looking confused.

"Nothing," answered the first regular, "we're just chatting about stuff. You're the one who brought up an old tv commercial."

"What's next?" asked J--, "Haul out a Marlin Perkins' double to do a spoof on Mutual of Omaha?"

"While Jim headed up river to wrestle the deadly Little Saskatchewan Man eating Alligator," said one of the regulars in his best imitation of Perkins, "I stayed behind and sipped the finest dark roast blend of coffee at Chipperfields."

"Don't forget the Carrot Cake," offered the second regular happily.

"Oh yeah," said the first regular, "just like the mummy alligator chomping down on its lunch, you can stop by Chipperfields to chomp down on a slice of delicious homemade carrot cake."

The three men at the table shared in a laugh.

"No, my idea isn't just remembering an old commercial," said Ross trying to reclaim and tame the conversation, "my idea uses the old commercial though."

"You gonna get one of the Chipperfield girls here," with his thumb the regular gestured over to the counter where JayDee was busy preparing a customer's order, "to go on camera and say - "it was so good I told two friends, who told two friends, who told two friends ..."

J-- and the other regular joined in the chorus, "and so on and so on and so on ..."

The other regular sipped his coffee before speaking, "I still think the Perkins idea could work though ..."

Ross paused before speaking, he glanced at the regular shook his head slightly then opened his mouth to speak as his face began to redden, "I wasn't intending to run a commercial or any thing like that," he paused and shrugged, "but now that you mention it ..."

The three men around the table began to laugh again.

"So, what's your idea?" asked J-- again, "or are you gonna make us guess?"

"Well, my idea is kind of like that old commercial," said Ross, "but instead of a tv commercial, I was going to encourage my customers to go and tell their two of their friends to come by and check us out, and then get each of those customers to tell two of their friends who will then come by and tell two of their friends to come ad check us out ..."

"And so on and so on and so on ..." J-- interrupted as he glanced around the shoppe, "so do you think you have room to accommodate the crowds that could result if all those folks showed up at one time."

"Not too mention the supply of coffee," added one of the regulars helpfully.

"Or the water," said the other regular, "I heard if you have too many five gallon jugs of water refilled at once you over tax the water supply."

Ross gulped, "I wasn't thinking every one would show up at the same time," he glanced over his shoulder nervously towards the office window where Bonnie was busily working beyond the blinds, "and the water thing only happened that one time when we filled 20 five gallon jugs in short order. And the water supply recharged in an hour ..."

"So do you think the word of mouth might actually work?" asked J-- intrigued.

"It couldn't hurt could it?" replied Ross.

"As long as it isn't another one of those schemes like the mail order Holy Water stunt you pulled a year or so ago," said J-- with a laugh.

"Hey that would have worked," offered Ross, "I just needed a little more time to get it off the ground."

"Yeah whatever," laughed J--, "let's not go there ..."

Ross nodded in agreement, looking visibly relieved.

"But I am curious about your notion of telling two friends who tell two friends," said J-- leaning in closer to the table, "and so on and so on. How do you figure this could work."

"Well, it's just using the old word of mouth thing," said Ross, "I want to encourage my customers to tell others about this place. Especially those folks in town who haven't darkened the door in our two and a half years of business."

"Sounds reasonable," said J--, "But don't you think if they haven't been here yet, they likely aren't gonna come in because everyone is talking about what a great place this is?" he waved his hand over his head in a grand flourish.

"Yeah, you can't make someone have good taste in coffee or tea," said one of the regulars.

"But you can through word of mouth," offered Ross hopefully, "encourage folks to stop by and check us out."

"That idea is crazy enough it just might work," said J--.

The two regulars stared at him with smirks on their faces.

"That's all I can hope for," offered Ross quietly, "That and everyone who stops by telling two more friends about us ..."

"I'll get started on it next time I'm bowling," said one of the regulars.

"And I'll tell everyone I meet next time I go down to Timmy's in Brandon," said J-- with a big smile.

Ross' eyes widened in wonder, "you serious?"

"Nay," said J-- holding the final syllable, "I would, but they're the wrong kinda people for a place like this ..." He paused to take a sip from his tea while he smiled like the Cheshire cat at Ross.

Ross just shook his head.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Dinner Time ...

Dani and Ainsley were standing behind the counter. The shoppe was unusually quiet for a Sunday night. They had most of the closing check lists done, so they took the lull to catch their breath and chat ...

"So, what have you done this weekend?" asked Dani, "aside from work."

"My family and I went to visit family up in Russell," said Ainsley, her face beaming with a big smile, "we left right after school and spent the night at the hotel there."

"Did you go swimming or skiing?" asked Dani sipping her coffee, her eyes locked on Alexis'.

"Both," said Ainsley, lifting her steamer to her mouth and taking a small sip before speaking, "we all went swimming on Friday night, then on Saturday we went skiing before the family supper ..."

"How was it?"

"It was nice," said Ainsley with a shrug, "but I prefer the hill here in Minnedosa. It's a little easier to navigate, and there are fewer hot doggers here."

"What about boys?" said Dani in a whisper, her eyes sparkling with mischief, "were there lots of boys up at the ski hill?" after a pause she smiled slyly and sipped her coffee as she winked at Ainsley over the rim of the mug as she spoke, "Bet there were lots ..."

"SHUT UP," said Ainsley, a red blush washing over her cheeks, "I don't want to talk about THAT ..."

"Oh there were boys ..." said Dani with a laugh, "otherwise you'd tell me."

"SHUT UP," said Ainsley, the red deepening on her cheeks.

"So," Dani, "what did you eat up there? When you weren't too busy flirting with the boys..."

"Shut up," Ainsley's face grew serious, but the grin pulling at the corners of her mouth and the twinkle in her eyes betrayed her mirth.

The two of them shared a laugh before Dani asked Ainsley again, "So did you guys go out for supper up there, or did you just eat at the hotel?"

"Oh we went to that pizza place that everyone talks about," said Ainsley eagerly, "Dad wanted to talk to the owner about advertising in Brandon, so we went there for dinner on Friday."

"How was it?" asked Dani, she reached up and adjusted the cordouroy hat perched on her head.

"It was good," said Ainsley, then with the snort of a stifled laugh she continued, "but get this. We ordered a pizza with a bunch of topping, but dad had an itch for fresh mushrooms, so he asked the waitress if they had fresh mushrooms to put on the pizza."

"Yeah?" asked Dani, leaning in slightly to listen, "and?"

"Well," Ainsley smiled as she continued, "She said 'oh yes sir, they are fresh mushrooms. I just opened the can when I came on an hour ago ...'" she paused and laughed, "can you believe it?"

"What did your dad say?"

"Not much," said Ainsley, "he was just shocked ..."

"I guess," said Dani.

"Dinner time with my family," said Ainsley turning to greet the customer who had just entered the shoppe, "it is what it is ..."

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

"Oh My God ..."

The usual assortment of regulars were gathered around the tables up front and handful of other patrons scattered throughout the shoppe. Bonnie was deep in a conversation with a young woman about the selection of tea available. Behind the counter Dani and Ainsley were busy filling orders for the customers standing by the counter.

It was by all accounts a typical winter morning, the shoppe was filled with the delightful chatter of conversation interspersed by the gutteral growl of the espresso machine. Suddenly the conversation stopped with a dozen pairs of eyes watching as Ross stolled passed on the sidewalk outside the front windows.

The espresso machine fell silent causing Dani glaced up with a perplexed look crossing her face as she wondered what had suddenly silenced everyone in the shoppe. She noticed that almost all eyes were cast towards the front windows of the store as though they were anticipating the arrival of someone or something grand. She was glancing about the shoppe when the door opened and Ross stepped into the shoppe with a broad grin across his face.

Dani's face lost all expression, though her eyes crinkled at the supressed smile and laughter she was fighting desperately to restrain.

"Morning," Ross offered his greeting to the table of regulars at the front by the fireplace.

They returned his greeting with smiles, shaking heads and quiet snorts as they glanced away.

As Ross rounded the corner of the counter two sounds greeted him simultaneously. The first was a loud shriek-like exclamation from Bonnie, the second was the sound of a coffee mug shattering on the floor as it dropped from her hands.

"OH MY GOD!!" exclaimed Bonnie as the mug fell, "What the hell is that?" she shuffled her feet as coffee splashed around her shoes. She glanced down at the remains of the coffee and mug uncertain what to focus on first.

"I got it," exclaimed Dani from behind the counter as she grabbed a cloth and dove into the clean up at Bonnie's feet.

"Thanks," muttered Bonnie as she wondered why Dani was giggling.

"No problem," Dani's words sounded choked and forced.

Bonnie looked back up at Ross as she stepped clear of Dani who was busily cleaning up the coffee.

"What?" said Ross, his jaw dropping as he struggled to comprehend his partner's reaction.

"WHAT ARE YOU WEARING?" Bonnie's words escaped her lips like a hiss as she clenched her jaw tightly, desperately trying to restrain herself.

"I was invited to go skiing this afternoon with J--," said Ross glancing down at the new wind suit he was wearing, "and my old suit didn't fit properly, so I when I was in Brandon I bought this one." His arms offered a Vanna White like motion over his purchase, which he was obviously proud of.

"You bought THAT?" Bonnie's eyes widened with shock tempered slightly with revulsion.

"It was on sale," offered Ross sensing something that was yet unspoken, "I got a good deal on it."

"It's not the cost that concerns me," said Bonnie.

"Then what is it?" said Ross obviously confused.

"It's just ..." Bonnie stood staring at Ross. She was at a complete loss for words as she tried to offer an explanation to her partner for her reaction to his clothing choice.

"OH MY GOD," Ainsley's voice cut through the moment of silence, "YOU LOOK JUST LIKE A TELETUBBIE!!" her laughter stifled further comment.

"That's it," sputtered Bonnie with a laugh.

"I gotta go," shrieked Dani as she gathered the shards of the mug and rocketed to the kitchen. The sound of her laughter was untempered by her exit.

"I look like a what?" asked Ross looking somewhat perturbed. His mood was not helped by the laughter of the customers and regulars scattered around him.

"You look just like the Yellow teletubbie," said Ainsley wiping away the tears from her eyes.

"What?" said Ross dumbfounded.

"In that yellow suit, you look JUST like him," Ainsley offered as she leaned on the counter beside the cash register to steady herself as she shook with laughter.

"I do not!" said Ross firmly.

"Yes you do," said Bonnie laughing, "I just didn't know how to tell you."

Ross turned and glanced at his reflection in the mirrors lining the wall of the shoppe, "OH my God! I do ..." his voice trailed off as he turned side to side and took in the vista of himself shrouded in the bright yellow fabric of the wind suit he has been so proud of a moment ago, "I hadn't noticed it at the store ..."

The murmur of laughter rolled through the store as Ross stared downcast at his reflection.

"I guess I shouldn't wear this then," he pulled from his jacket pocket a matching bright yellow knitted toque that he slipped on his head. The pointy top lacked a tassle, and instead the long knitted fabric had a knot near the end that made it look remarkably like the zig zag that sat on the head of the yellow teletubbie.

"OH MY GOD," shrieked Dani as she came back out of the kitchen, "now you really look like that freaky little Laa-Laa."

"Oh damn ..." Ross stood crestfallen as the entire shoppe roared with laughter.

The door of the shoppe opened and in strolled J-- wearing his bright purple windsuit complete with a matching purple hat that had a huge oversized purple tassle on top. The hat was perched on the top of his head with his ears poking out in an elflike fashion underneath its brim.

"Morning all," said J-- with a smile as he rounded the counter.

"Oh Look Laa-Laa," said Ainsley as she resumed her laughter, "Tinky Winky is here now."

Ross looked like we wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry ...

Dani erupted into another peal of laughter with the words, "OH MY GOD!!"

Bonnie shook her head and walked away, "Have fun you too ..." As she rounded the ice cream cooler she paused and glanced back at J-- and Ross and said, "Teletubbie 'Bye bye'" with a wave and a smile.

Happy New Year !!!