Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom… and Whimsy

Posted on September 14, 2022 under Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom with 3 comments

My kilt shrunk


“Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer,

Those days of soda and pretzels and beer.”

Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer – Nat King Cole.

And red wine. And ice cream. And patio bars. And barbeques.

I’m back!

So, Len. What did you do on your summer hiatus from writing?

That’s an easy one. I got fat.

I might as well get right to the shaming part of this piece. A few weeks ago, I was pressed into service to perform at the Antigonish Heritage Museum at one of their weekly summer ceilidhs. As it turned out, on that particular night, there was a group of Airstream travelers staying overnight at Whidden’s Campground and many of them decided to come to the ceilidh. Many of these people, mostly from Ontario but also from Washington State, Missouri, North Carolina and Texas, enjoyed some fiddle tunes along with some Celtic and Maritime songs.

The following Thursday, the P.D. MacDonald family performed at the final ceilidh of the summer at the museum. My sister, who produced the set lists for the singalong, asked the male MacDonald’s to wear their kilts and a white shirt, a seemingly simple request. My wardrobe closet (what a misnomer) is pathetic in the extreme. I discovered the day before the concert that I did not own a white shirt. This required a trip to Mark’s. As fate would have it, my other two brothers had the same idea and we showed up well coordinated. The shirts were on sale. Scots rarely miss a bargain!

Now, about the kilt. Having spent three years in the north, where temperatures can reach -60, there weren’t many opportunities to wear a kilt. I honestly couldn’t remember the last time I had worn mine, but it was several years ago. Forty-five minutes before show time, I hauled the kilt and the black belt with the shiny silver buckle that goes with it, out of the closet. Something was terribly wrong. I wrapped it around my stomach and when I tried to affix the small belts that keep the kilt in one piece, I was unable to perform this menial task. At first (deluding myself), I attributed this to my bad back. Even putting on a regular belt through the loops of my shorts requires some effort. I tugged and grunted as small drops of perspiration appeared on my forehead. Try as I might, I simply could not attach the small buckles.

I was perplexed. Was it possible that my kilt had actually shrunk over the past five or so years? Maybe the combination of the dark closet and neglect, had caused the fabric to shrink. We all know the reason the kilt wouldn’t fit. The clock was ticking, and an impending sense of doom passed over me. Fortuitously, I had a friend visiting me that day. I sheepishly asked for a bit of assistance. She tugged and she pulled as I sucked in my gut. It resembled the tug of war at the Exhibition. The kilt was on me, but I could barely breathe. I went from a bass to a tenor in a matter of minutes. I grabbed the large ceremonial Scottish belt. It laughed at me as I tried to put it on. Forget about attaching it. The ends wouldn’t even meet. It was a very humbling experience.

I am happy to report that the concert went well. One my way into the museum, someone asked me if we had practiced before the performance. “Yes. For 70 years” was my cheeky reply.

The kilt is now back in the closet where it shall remain for the foreseeable future… maybe forever unless I lose some weight.

BTW. The Town of Antigonish is having a Bulky Waste pickup day next week. I was wondering if they might stop by my apartment?!

Ah, the joys of aging. Several weeks ago, my neighbour accepted an invitation to visit her friend who lives in the adjacent apartment building. She exited her apartment and was making the two- minute stroll when she was met by another resident of our complex. They had a nice chat on the sidewalk. She then climbed one flight of stairs and rang her friend’s doorbell. She waited for the expected footsteps but heard nothing. A second attempt rendered a similar result. Understandably, she was somewhat perplexed at this sudden turn of events. While pondering her next move, she looked up and noticed a very familiar wreath hanging on the door. She then realized that she had rung her own doorbell. The chat with her neighbour on the sidewalk had distracted her and she ended up going back to her own apartment, which, by the way, is in the exact location as her friend’s in the nearby apartment building.

I had a good chuckle at her expense when she told me this story.

“He who laughs last, laughs best.”

Not long after this incident, I was in the parking lot getting ready to head out for groceries. I own a 15-year-old Prius which is a hybrid. It runs on gas and electricity. When the car is in neutral, you can’t hear the engine running. I started the car and was waiting for the air conditioning to kick in as we were in the middle of a heat wave. I noticed another resident backing up and I had something I needed to tell her. I left the car running and hopped out to have a chat. When I returned to the car, I was appalled to discover that I had locked myself out. I wasn’t terribly concerned because I had a spare set in my apartment, but I was mad at myself for being so absent minded. Disgust quickly morphed into humiliation as I realized that I had been trying to get into my neighbour’s car which was parked beside mine. Both cars are gray and look alike at first glance. I looked up to the second floor of my building to see if my neighbour (the one who had gone to the wrong apartment) was giggling.

My 7th book will be heading to the printer in a few weeks’ time. I’m excited to have this project completed.

Have a great weekend.

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Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom (And Whimsy)

Posted on August 17, 2022 under Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom with 2 comments


The rocky shoreline at Black Brook Beach


“It was an itsy bitsy teenie weenie, yellow polka dot bikini,

That she wore for the first time today.”

Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie, Yellow Polka Dot Bikini – Brian Hyland

Ah, summer.

Beaches, barbeques, beer and bikinis.

Timothy found love in the late innings. After countless searches on various dating sites for older folk, he finally found the woman of his dreams. She was intelligent, curious, mischievous, playful, and quite attractive. They both loved the outdoors, spending quality time on long hikes. As long as there was a beach nearby to cool off after one of their adventures, then all was right with the world.

Maud loved to swim. No one had ever referred to Timothy as a fish, his swimming talents modest at best. A fish out of water, possibly?!

One minor inconvenience in this budding relationship was the fact that this couple lived several hundred kilometers apart. Getting together in the winter months wasn’t easy but the summer presented more opportunities with long evenings enabling one or the other to drive home after a visit.

Face to face visits were sporadic. Most of their communicating was done by e-mail, texts, and FaceTime

The romance was going swimmingly.

On one excursion to the beach, Timothy noticed that Maud was wearing something on her feet as she crossed the rocky shoreline and entered the ocean. He was quite sure that she wasn’t a mermaid and upon inquiry, discovered that she was wearing aqua shoes. This was something new to Timothy. Aqua shoes are a type of footwear that are typically used for activities where the feet are likely to become wet, like kayaking. They are usually made of mesh and have a hard sole used to prevent cuts and abrasions when walking in wet, rocky environments.

In Timothy’s youth, he had been a bit of a beach bum and as such, never needed fancy footwear on the beach, the soles of his feet as tough as the hide of a leatherback turtle. But now in his golden years and trips to the beach few and far between, the bottoms of his feet had the texture of unroasted marshmallows. He saw the wisdom of Maud wearing these shoes and commented on her common sense.

A knock came on Timothy’s door. It was the day after his birthday. A pleasant man from Fedex handed him a package. His heart swelled when he saw that it was from the new love of his life. “How thoughtful” he mused to himself. Maud would be arriving in a few days to celebrate his birthday belatedly.

He grabbed a pair of scissors and opened the package. In his senior years, Timothy found that much of today’s packaging of products required a degree in engineering to pry open.

He grinned as he extricated a pair of black aqua shoes. “What a sweetheart” he thought to himself. It was a generous and considerate gift and oh so practical. Now, when they walked from the cottage to the shoreline, he wouldn’t have to tiptoe like an intruder in the night. He immediately tried them on and did a lap around his apartment. They were perfect.

There was a second article in the package. It too was black and for a brief moment, Timothy cheekily thought that she might have purchased him a sexy, black Speedo bathing suit to go with his new footwear. He would cut a dashing figure on the beach. He fumbled with the packaging and soon discovered that it was NOT a Speedo. Timothy would not be wearing this article of clothing any time soon. It was a bra.

At first blush, Timothy was puzzled. But he quickly put two (cups) and two together and realized that her playfulness was on full display. He was already starting to think about their weekend together. Besides being mischievous, Maud was also a hopeless romantic and this gesture was surely a sign that love was in the air.

Or should I say love was an error.

He immediately went to his laptop and tapped out a message, thanking Maud for the aqua shoes and the bra. He teased her about the provocative and suggestive nature of the second part of the gift.

“You opened the package?” was her curt reply. “Didn’t you read the label on the package?”

On hearing this revelation, Timothy felt like a boob.

Men are not the most observant member of the species. When they receive a package or a gift, they usually just start ripping and tearing and leave the niceties of the sender until later. Timothy, indeed, had not carefully read the label. He had taken a cursory look at it and all he saw was Maud’s name. Yes, Maud had sent the package from Walmart, but she was the recipient of the package. Her plan had been to open it when she arrived for the weekend.

This was an honest mistake and oversight on Timothy’s part, and he apologized profusely but that still didn’t answer his lingering question about the bra. As it turns out, this had nothing to do with titillation. You see, among Maud’s many wonderful characteristics, prudence and practicality are two of her strong suits. In order for her to get free shipping for the aqua shoes, she needed to make another purchase. She opted for a new bra for herself. A Speedo had never entered her consciousness.

Timothy was forgiven for his transgressions, and he promised to keep abreast of things in the future.

Have a great weekend

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Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom (And Whimsy)

Posted on August 10, 2022 under Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom with one comment



“Slip slidin’ away,

Slip slidin’ away,

You know the nearer your destination,

The more you’re slip slidin’ away.

Slip Slidin’ Away – Paul Simon

Yes, indeed. It sure feels like the summer is “slip slidin’ away”. It has been a hot one too. I can’t ever recall so many days being above 30. Many days, it was suffocating with high humidity ever present. Trust me. After experiencing -53 in the north, I can hardly complain about the heat.

So, let’s cool things down a bit.

Some summer silliness.

Here are a few things that caught my attention in recent days that either made me smile or left me shaking my head.

I was heading to the city last week. I know that some of my readers are not intimately aware of the geography of my hometown of Antigonish, Nova Scotia. This is irrelevant. I was travelling south on West Street. That seems like a contradiction. There’s a set of traffic lights at the intersection of West Street and James Street. I stopped at the red light. Across the intersection, there was a guy travelling north on West. Without warning, he made a left turn on the red light. Now, if the hospital or the liquor store had been on James Street, I might have given this guy a pass. Why the big hurry, you might be wondering? He was rushing to get into the mammoth lineup at the drive through at Tim Horton’s which, by the way, is directly across the street from the RCMP station. This man was risking a fine in the hundreds of dollars so that he could sit idling his car for several minutes to get his precious double double.

I try to be a charitable man. I know a handful of people who have never uttered a bad word about anyone in their entire lives. I greatly admire people like this even if I think that they secretly seethe at stupidity. Several words popped into my head as I witnessed this act of lunacy. Some of them are not fit to print. I came to the conclusion that this unfortunate soul must have had a challenging time in high school. His three most difficult years were grade 9.

Several weeks ago, before I went on my summer hiatus, I declared openly that I was no longer a Costco virgin, having taken out a membership at the Dartmouth Crossing outlet. I travelled to the city last week and with time on my hands, I decided to meander over to Costco to pick up a few things. I sadly report that one of these items was a new (and slightly larger) belt. It appears that the heat and humidity had caused my regular belt to shrink. If you believe in that, you also probably bought some crypto currency when it was cruising along at $68,000 per bitcoin last November thinking that it could only go higher. It’s around $31,000 these days.

Because I had had an early start to the day, I was a bit peckish when I arrived at the store around 10:30. It’s never a good idea to shop on an empty stomach especially when most of my purchases that day were food. I am utterly embarrassed to confess this, but I went to the food court and bought one of Costco’s famous large hotdogs and a Pepsi for $1.50. I am almost certain that I have never (knowingly) consumed a hot dog and a soft drink this early in the day.

I was talking to a buddy of mine the other day. His girlfriend was cat sitting for a friend. He was on holidays at the time and his girlfriend invited him to spend a few days with her. Being a true gentleman, early in the morning of the second day, he was in the kitchen making coffee for his beautiful friend. Smelling the coffee, she emerged from the bedroom. “Good morning, sweetheart.” My friend had his back to her, but her words were sweet music. He was feeling quite chuffed at her admission of affection. He thanked her for her loving words which elicited a huge guffaw. “I was talking to the cat, you fool.”

I now own a 15-year-old Toyota Prius hybrid. It was purchased in the U.S. It was a gift from my brother. Recently, he asked me how the car was performing. After all, the mileage was quite high when I acquired it. At 243,000 miles (391,000 kilometers), the car could give up the ghost at any time. I told him that the car was running perfectly, and it wasn’t even burning much oil. He told me that many cab drivers in Vancouver drive Prius’s and can often get up to 500,000 kilometers before trading them in. This prompted a discussion that went sideways rapidly. I told my brother that I could head for the coast and open my own taxi business. The best thing about this is that my expenses would be incredibly low because the only place I could afford to live was in my place of business – my car.

My brother thought that Len’s Uber Service had a nice ring to it. (LUS). I couldn’t resist the temptation to put my own spin on the name. I decided to go with Len’s Urban Service Taxi or LUST. He had an interesting idea for a slogan. I will keep you in suspense (mixed company). You can private message me with your slogan!

From the ridiculous to the even more ridiculous. There is a new sport making waves in (where else) southern California. Dog surfing. Let me repeat this. Dog surfing. Competitive dog surfing. I will keep my comments to myself for fear of barking up the wrong tree.

Hope the rest of your summer goes well and see you in September.

P.S. It is painfully obvious that I have had far too much time on my hands this summer!

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