Some of you may recall a recent USA electoral kerfuffle in which even the winner wasn’t allowed the privileged of being acknowledged as the winner by the loser, who quickly became the whiner – no that’s not true, he was a whiner from the first time. He did win that first round but proved to be as bad a winner as he was a loser.
The united in the USA is dubious notion as each state is fiercely autonomous as demonstrated with the continuing & persistent lack of mask & vaccine uniformity – rules change from state to state. In some it is permissible for bars to ban anyone wearing a mask; in others you can’t enter a bar if you aren’t wearing a mask. How do you keep track? I guess there’s an app for that.
I sometimes feel the conflict comes from the ‘you can’t tell me what to do’ even if what is being ‘suggested’ is for the good of all. Or a sort of stubborn toxic male pride – you know the sort of pride that keeps men from asking for directions or from even looking at map. A real man is never lost he’s just not going where you thought he was going.
That’s the art of spin – where being lost becomes a matter of interpretation not what has happened. So losing an election is a misreading of the votes. After in editing drawing X through paragraphs, even pages, means it is to be deleted, discarded. So the fewer ‘x’ you get on the ballot the more people approve of you. Congratulations! Welcome our glorious leader.
The archeological pandemic basement deep cleaning unearthed several items of interests. The oldest of which is this still working Royal typewriter – carbon-paper dating puts it to mid-1950’s. This was one of the typewriters that I used while living in Sydney, Cape Breton. Some of the keys always jammed. When my father’s company closed its office & had one it’s more modern Remingtons to use. Though when working on the final draft for my Distant Music book I rented a space-age electric.
This was the era of white out – making corrections was a pain, ribbons had to replaced with some regularity but nothing matches the satisfying ding at the end off a line & the quick, by hand, rotation down one line. Enjambments were a dream to create & one would have a rewarding pile of paper to show for their work.
When I moved to Toronto I didn’t bring a typewriter with me. Too much weight for one thing & I figured I could get a decent 2nd hand one here. But before I could do that my brother was driving to Alberta (for some reason) & my dad said he’d send my typewriter along. I was expecting the sleek Remington but, as you can see, I got the Royal. I did use it for many years but was sure happy when we got our first eMac with its dot-matrix printer. No more whiteout – no more retyping a whole page to fix a single typo. No more carbon paper.
This Pearl of a washboard was the one my mother used when I was a baby to wash my diapers down by the stream 🙂 Just kidding. This is from my partner’s former career in jug bands – really – when he was a teacher he & a some fellow teachers formed the group to play at various student functions. He played washboard & also upright washtub bass.
Another couple of mummies unearthed are these action figures. Both that surfaced as Xmas gifts to be quickly relegated to a safe spot for their value to increase by keeping them in original packaging. Aragon I bought at a FanExpo from a pile of similar figures reduced to clear by Silver Snail (I think) so I’m sure it’s worth more than the $1.99 I paid for it several years ago.
As the pandemic purge continues what remains takes on a little more ‘importance.’ Getting rid of curtains that have been stored for over 40 years in the basement was an easy decision though. When did we ever expect to reuse them? Even the fabric, whatever it may be, can’t be repurposed.
This ear mug hasn’t been used ever in over 40 years either but I won’t be tossing it. It was a Christmas gift the second year we were in this house. A friend was so delighted with the inventiveness of the handle, with its ear stud, he knew I would delight in it too. I did & still do. It hasn’t been used because it is too small – maybe it would make decent espresso cup but for a real cup of tea I have better options.
These a few of my tea mugs. They hold approximately 20 oz each. teapots without spouts 🙂 I’ve been acquiring them over the years. Each gets used for a month then goes to the back of the line. The ones with NaNoWriMo stickers are actually from Starbucks. The Friends mug I picked up at Winners & it only comes out for December use. I heart Tea was a Christmas gift. The plain white I bought at Kitchen Plus on the Danforth. I’m always on the look out for this size.
The polka dot mug is another Starbucks but too small for regular use. I love the dots. It’s a ceramic sort of travel mug with a lid insert but more for not spilling in the office while you drink, not for carry around as it doesn’t fully close. Thanks to pandemic even real travel mugs aren’t being refilled by coffee shops in Toronto.
This tiki glass is a favorite that during the hot months gets a lot of use. I bought years ago at a Cargo Imports (or some such) which vanished. It holds about 20 ounces, it also weight almost that much 🙂 Thick glass, with smile on one side & frown on other – comedy & tragedy. It is my iced-coffee mug when Toronto hots up. The straw is stainless- steel – I picked some of them up at Kitchen Plus a few years ago.
I make my own iced-coffee with brewed coffee ice-cubes – yes coffee freezes! I discovered that a few years ago & since then have made my own. I started when after having a Starbucks iced I saw that it was half plain water ice cubes – wtf. At that price I want cold coffee not caffeinated water. I brew a pot, let it cool, make a tray of ice-cubes & keep the reminder cool in the fridge.
A guy I saw decades ago once joked ‘How long before I show up in one of your poems?’ He never did but he was aware that writers, poets in particular, often write about their lives – it is a way of processing our experiences & a way remembering them. I didn’t tell him that poetry is a fiction that reflects the truth without telling it – reflections are often distorted by the light, by time & the surface that sends back the reflection.
Some of my pieces are composites of real events that I’ve experienced or that friends had told me about. This is one of those composite pieces that reflects that balance between lust & opportunity. One would think with changes in cultural mores men (or women) wouldn’t feel so bound to fulfill the roles of husband or father but many still do.
Whether out of a sense of not letting down the folks, or maintaining their ethnic standards they find themselves in domestic relationship boxes – often though, as in the case of the married man here, he felt little conflict in maintaining two lives. He also enjoyed the ‘sneak’ of meeting up to spending time with me – overtime, going to the gym tonight, etc.
Things between us developed beyond this stage as we talked about our lives outside the bedroom. Not that he was going to leave the missus or anything stupid like that but a mutual fondness was strong. But fondness is no mask in these pandemic years. So I haven’t seen him in over year now; we email occasionally but, to be honest, if we never meet up again, life will go on. He’ll be a sweet memory not a heart ache. He texted that he’s had his vaccine so I know he’ll call.
For a birthday, or maybe it was Christmas, my niece Betty Rocksteady sent me this framed piece of her art from a series she did of posters for an imaginary side show. A signed original that according to eBay is worth nearly $12,000. (just kidding). Flanking it as two travel mugs ordered from her online XX store. They are not all that functional 😦 Some sort of lined metal that doesn’t hold heat from long & the lid son both don’t form a tight enough seal to keep from leaking. But they look great.
Betty is an accomplished & well-regarded horror writer. Check out her out at bettyrocksteady.com or better yet buy some of her books on Amazon. I would highly recommend her story in the Looming Low anthology.
Betty is a major fan of Ernest Bushmiller’s Nancy & envies me my Nancy mug. I bought this decades ago in Stratford Ontario. At one time there was a great gift shop at the corner of Erie & Ontario Street (Worthington’s?). It was full of collectables, tee-shirts etc. I spotted Nancy on a wall of mugs. Turned out it was not a mug but a music box! The fact that it played the Theme from the Godfather !! meant I had to have it. It is a treasure.
The Queen Mother thimble. Niagara-on-the Lake, I think.
I bought this sailboat mug at a dollar store decades ago because the boat reminded me of the Bluenose. Solid microwaveable crockery it is the perfect size for hot chocolate. At one time it was also my Loyalist workshop mug, it reminds of those good time. It has no maker’s markings. I love the Japanese quality of the boat design.
Another of my favorite objects is this KFC Colonel Sanders mug. I bought it at a yard sale decades ago. I may have paid a dollar for it. The high-gloss, very dark, surface makes it hard to photograph – I’m just point & click. It is a fired dark terra-cotta (I think) & is a finer, if that’s the right word, crockery than the sailboat mug. I’ve never used it for liquids – hot or cold. It is a treasure.
One of the best features of our house is the dining-room with its beams & plate rail. As you can see this side is fulfilling its display potential. At one time it was even fuller with endless mugs from recovery conferences I’d attended but day I thought ‘enough is enough’ & got rid of nearly all of them. They had no emotional resonance for me so I didn’t even take photos of them. I did keep a couple – in the corner by the Bunnykins.
This is what remains of my Royal Dalton Bunnykins collection that was broken in transit. If you are familiar Bunnykins is a collectable children’s china & figurines that set the stage for Hello Kitty & Sailor Moon. Innocent & kitch – the detail work is fascinating with lots to catch & keep anyone’s eye. I do love the artist with his palette.
Beside the B’Kins is this charming ‘grace’ plate – made in USA, decorated in Collingwood, Ont. Mid-50’s, I’d say. Picked it up at some 2nd hand shop in the 80’s. What isn’t there to love about this plate. The inculcating of children with Christian moral values & guilt- those poor hungry children. I love the ‘see Dick run’ graphics that reminds me of school book readers. The color palette & the attention to details around the bowls is great.
Now we jump to something much less innocent – my Jimmy Buckle memorabilia. As some of you may know, & as many of you will now discover, I find short guys very sexy. It goes back to a midget wrestling circuit that used to tour the Maritimes. The Shriners sponsored the show in Sydney. My Dad being a Shriner took me to see some matches. Was Little Beaver one of the wrestlers? I was enthralled.
The story is that when I first moved to Toronto I went to some of these touring matches & met Jimmy Buckle, had a very brief tumble with him & because he was on tour it didn’t develop into anything. He was married, to a woman, anyway etc etc. You like that story? Sadly it isn’t true. The mug was a one-off mock-up a friend did for me as a Christmas gift. But I can dream can’t I of undoing Jimmy Buckle’s buckle 🙂