Monday Morning Musings

Posted on August 30, 2021 under Monday Morning Musings with 2 comments



Writers in crime


Lennon and McCartney.

Simon and Garfunkel.

Carroll and MacDonald.


The first two writing duos are well known and well loved. Some of the greatest songs from the 60s and 70s were penned by these talented artists.

After writing 1247 posts, I thought it was high time to up my game and bring in a real writer to help me with this post.

I would like to introduce you to my friend, Shelley Carroll. I met Shelley for the first time in 2018. We met at the funeral reception for my mom. She was (is) a friend of my brother Gerard. They have run together, cycled together and probably quaffed an ale or two together.

For some reason that I still can’t quite fathom, Shelley started following my Week45 posts. This is where I really got to know her. Over the past few years, we have exchanged numerous messages. A while back, Shelley asked me to review a story that she had written. I loved it and I have read many more. She has a keen wit and has a great turn of phrase.

I don’t know what the eff Len is talking about. Sure, I have loyally followed his blog for the past few years, but then today, out of the blue, he shows up at my cottage with a bottle of wine and his laptop, sends my partner Hal out for errands, and tells me to punch up his article so that the masses can be entertained. OK, I think. Whatever. He did bring me that wine and looks like he intends to stick around for a while. I see his guitar perched over there in the corner, so I guess we’ll make a night of it. May as well feed him. Hope Hal feels like cooking…

But in all seriousness, Len is a kindred spirit. This is the third time I’ve seen him in person and we are getting along just swimmingly. I’m honoured that he has invited me to share his space – both literally and figuratively. Let’s see what we can accomplish with this tag team writing initiative.

A sponge rubber ball. More specifically, a red, white, and blue sponge rubber ball. Surely those of you of a certain age have played with one of these. Pretty well every Easter for decades, someone in our large, unwieldy family would get one of these gems with their Easter gifts. There were simple pleasure like playing catch with a sibling or a neighbor. There were about 100 kids on our street so finding a playmate wasn’t hard. It’s a little harder finding a playmate at 70! We played baseball with the rubber ball. Some of the bigger boys could hit the ball a mile. Being one of the younger ones, I was usually the retriever. We would also lob the ball over the roof of a small shed with kids on either side.

For me, a glimpse at the image of the rubber ball that Len sent to me instantly took me back to 1992 and the Barenaked Ladies album Gordon. Not that we didn’t play with balls (or outdoors) as a child, but the image struck me musically rather than playfully. Nostalgia is a tricky bugger in that way. Much like perspective. Regardless, his prompt took me back to a simpler time. And I think that may be where this piece is going…

And, speaking of balls…we had a game of sorts that might have been more “girl friendly” than “boy friendly”. We’d put a tennis ball (or heavier) in a sock or nylon stocking, stand up flat against a wall, and swing that sock for all its worth up and down and all around and hope to the heavens that one didn’t knock it up against a cherished but misunderstood body part in the process. (Any boy who played that game was nuts or nutless). LMD

I attribute my modest baking skills to Easy Bake Ovens which were popular Christmas gift. In addition to the cake mix which came with the oven, the only other requirements were water and a stable electrical outlet. We’re cooking, Shelley.

Ah yes, we’re cooking with Bisquik and water, having long run out of the mixes that came with the oven purchase. With the right amount of butter and milk, this will go down easy.

Many times over the past 2 years, I have stood in a playground holding one end of a skipping rope. This is weird enough at the age of 69 but doubly weird when you’re doing it when the temperature dips to a balmy -40.

I can’t imagine doing ANYTHING other than burrowing under several warm blankets in those kind of temperatures! But I do fondly recall spending what seemed like an entire weekend in my driveway as a kid. One end of the skipping rope was secured to the garage door handle and each of us took turns manipulating the other working end of the rope while we all skipped and sang along to the tune of the transistor radio.

I taught art. Let that sink ink. The stick man wizard has no artistic ability. I even sucked at Etch-a- Sketch.

I was similarly artistically inclined! My forte was most pronounced in using it to write inappropriate messages to my younger brother that I could quickly erase by shaking the contraption after he ratted me out and before Mom could catch me red handed.

Shelley and I grew up in vastly different eras. I’m old enough to be her father. She has insisted on checking the paternity. We agree on one thing. When we were growing up, we were forced to be imaginative because we didn’t have many organized sports and fancy gadgets to rot our brains. We spent a lot of our youth in the outdoors. And when we ran out of things to do, we could always pick on a sibling.

Like I said earlier – Len is a kindred spirit. As such, friendship and connection transcend age. I’ll drink to that! Because we’re both older than 19.

I don’t think Lennon and McCartney need to feel threatened, but they probably didn’t have nearly as much fun as we did, swapping tales, having a drink, and looking out at the Tidnish River. I’ll give Shelley the last word. I have found that the survival of the male species demands that women have the last word.

Len is a smart man. Ya hear that, single ladies?

Thanks for inviting me to collaborate on this piece with you. It has been a lot of fun. Now, let’s crack open that bottle of wine and talk smack about Gerard.

Please check out some of Shelley’s stories at

Have a great week

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