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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Fwd: A How to Trick-er-Treat on November 1st



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Begin forwarded message:

From: Bob Niles <selinbob@gmail.com>
Date: 31 October, 2013 4:30:15 PM PDT
To: selinbob@yahoo.com
Subject: A How to Trick-er-Treat on November 1st




                        A How to Trick-er-Treat on November 1st

"Trick-er-Treat!" A common cry heard round all the neighborhoods on the eve of October 31st. But, on the eve of November 1st is when all the cool stuff is to be had from door to door.
You don't have to settle for the tiny little bags of treats that so commonly fill Halloween baskets on the 31st. Your aim is much greater! On the 1st of November competition is minimal or non existent at best. Home owners filled with guilt after trying to eat all the leftover candy are more than willing to rid their home of any and all chocolate, salty, or sweet treat. Why it's been my experience they go through the house and bring out the big bags of goodies too. Guilt is a wonderful thing to work off of.
The tricky part of trick-er-treating a day late is to do it with confidence and to sell it. In previous years I have gone as that rabbit from 'Alice in  Wonderland'. "I'm late, I'm late, I'm very very late!"
This year I'm going as Kanye West.
Location is also important to door to door deception of the afore mentioned eve. Find a housing group or community (perhaps gated) with mostly seniors in it. October 31st-November 1st it's all a hurried blur to a permanent dirt nap. They'll answer the door defending their thoughts that a year has gone by and even  mention 'Where  has the time gone! Seems like yesterday you kids were trick-er-treating round here.'  At this point cause a distraction. Jingle your Unicef Box at him and tell him it's for Brad and Angelinas  kids. Don't really want to have them fully cognizant before you make your escape to the next house.
If someone calls you on it and mentions " Halloween was yesterday Dufass!" Just do exactly what you saw and heard from all the elderly you collected from earlier. As if waking from a slumber "Oh, oh, ah, ya right.' start to leave, turn back, then jingle Brad and Angelina's box. "Collecting or the kids." Justify your off night call.
Yes boys and girls it's there for the taking. I wish you luck!
Happy Halllo-after-ween!

Bob Niles

superiordribble@blogspot.com


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Christmas Trees, Pumpkins and Spent Nuclear Fuel (cartoon)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Christmas Trees, Pumpkins and Spent Nuclear Fuel

Christmas Trees, Pumpkins and Spent Nuclear Fuel

"Grandpa, I want the biggest pumpkin we can find!" screeches my granddaughter as she's set free from her four point harness in the grandpa mobile. It's all I can do to restrain her four years of constant muscle building from running out into traffic. I hold tighter to her hand and promise her it will be the biggest one there, hoping my 58 yrs. of muscle decay can lift it. We don't want a repeat of last year when I went to lift the pumpkin ( and it wasn't the biggest one!) and my body said 'Fat chance fat boy!' and then backfired!
Squatting like some Sumo wrestler, with your chin between your knees, which are trying to spread wide enough to encompass this great orange gourd, you inhale,turn your face a lovely beet red, pop a few veins on the forehead and the only thing to move, is air from somewhere inside you, out to the great outdoors!
Well there's a Halloween moment the wife will never forget. And she takes full opportunity to share her love of a good laugh with her friends at my expense!
The biggest pumpkin is then followed, less than two months later, with the biggest Christmas tree! It's got to be the straightest, fattest, waterlogged Spruce ever offered to mankind. It's enough to make me change religions. Oh sure before the celebrated event occurs they are a harvested thing of beauty. But after the candy's handed out and the presents given, they're as worthless as chicken poop on a pump handle.
Now you have to rid yourself of this once heralded growth of wonder to the garbage heap.
"Garbage Heap!?" My seven yr. old granddaughter (the one with the education) exclaims and questions. "You cant just throw Alexica ( she named the pumpkin) away, you have to recycle it!"
Well I sort of do recycle it. I leave it on he back fence and watch its once finely chiseled face start to melt like some Hollywood 'A Lister' who refuses plastic surgery. I tried to take it to Value Village one year so it could go to a good home, ......but no luck. Nobody wants my pant-splitting, vein popping, wind breaking giant orange gourd. But at least it's easy to return to nature.
Unlike the Christmas Tree, which looks great in the house till Fathers Day.....I think. That tree is a pain to rid yourself of. Oh sure you could put it on the roof of your car, a g a i n and take it to some distant point and have a fireman chip it to smithereens for a donation. But I'm still upset at the original cost of a dead tree called Christmas. I'm not spending any more to kill it some more. Some years I wish it would catch fire and burn! It's easier to build a new room than dis-cabobbling it in all it's splendor, putting decorations back in boxes, dragging it down halls knocking off pictures, and then through three doorways that do their best to remove every needle that this tree ever had. My eight foot epic Christmas monument is now the size and girth of a Charlie Brown tree. The rest is in the couch, easy chair, rugs and floors.
Maybe a deposit on these things. I could bring them back and get money and be happy. My memory would of completely forgotten I had already paid for me to come back to get the money I had already given you. Knowing me I'd just save them up till it was worth a trip.

"I'll take 'Garbage' for $200 Alex"
"Christmas Trees, Pumpkins and Spent Nuclear Fuel"
"What are three things my wife doesn't want to see in our backyard come the Spring, Alex."
"No..,I'm sorry. It's what is a Fir, Kin, Waste

In our house both answers were correct.

Bob Niles

superiordribble@blogspot.com


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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Oh How Sweet My Sundaes Were (cartoon)

Oh How Sweet my Sundaes Were

Oh How Sweet my Sundaes Were

Words and music by Bob Niles.

My Dad now looks over at his four boys sitting quietly in the pew, shirts stuck to their backs, hair plastered to their heads soaked in sweat. His little army for the Lord all taking notes on the sermon of which he himself had no idea what it was about. Content that we were finally well behaved he reaches into his pocket and pulls out a gun.
Three hours earlier:
"Boys! Gordon! Supper!
It was 5:30 on any Sunday Night, and my Mom was calling her family for a quick dinner before church. We were a Sunday go to two meetings kinda Christians. Church, and traveling to and from church was our Sunday. With a half hour commute either way, traffic willing, and going to two services, it took up more than two hours in travel time alone. This combined with a preacher, that I'm sure got paid by the hour, and who liked to make a few extra bucks on a Sunday, it became a day that was not one of rest. As well, our hire by the hour pastor wanted a half hour of pre-service prayer before every service. Because of all this Mom wanted an easy to prepare dinner, and one she felt would be a treat for her four boys.
Solution? Ice-cream and cookies!
What a great idea! Let's load four pre-teen boys up on sugar and then make them sit.....sorry, try and sit still in church for a couple of hours. And then let's do it every week because her boys just loved ice-cream and cookies.
In my Moms defense it was the sixties and the effects of sugar on four hyper boys had never been tested,.......unless you count us.
I loved being a Christian! Ice-cream and cookies every Sunday. Us boys figured all the preacher had to do to win souls was just to let all them sinners in on my Moms recipe for a pre-service meal. Hell-fire and damnation! No! Ice-cream and cookies! And you get to go to heaven, filled with enough milk and honey to make ice-cream for all eternity.
The only bad thing about our Sunday meal was that it was Moms one chance to pray for the food during the week. She seemed blind to the fact that ice-cream will melt if you pray long enough. This being her one kick at the can for the week she made sure she thanked God for all he had done since last Sunday, and everything she hoped for till next Sunday, for everyone and everything. All the missionaries in far off countries, all her family, all my Dads family, the neighbors that needed salvation, her friend at work with the dry patchy skin, the lady two doors down that had lost her cat.....on and on she went thanking God for her beautiful garden, the lady in the lost and found at church who located her umbrella, and there's my ice-crane evaporating in front of me. It's shrinking! My precious Sunday meal, the reason I'm a Christian, is shrinking! Doesn't my Mom, a true friend of God, pray during the week? Why did she go on and on and on?
Then I hear it, the word that ends all prayers, my four favorite letters. 'Amen'. It's Christian for let's eat!
My once rock hard mountain of ice-cream now renders to my spoon like mash potatoes. No chance of a brain freeze here! If only Mom could trade for Tuesdays she could pray all the way to 8:30 if she wanted. Cold meatloaf is as good as hot meatloaf.
Dinner done and it's in the car. Off to church.
Our arrival at church was at about the same time the sugar in our blood stream was pulling into crazy town. We couldn't wait to jump out of the car, we were like hound dogs on the trail of a late night possum. My three brothers and I would run all the way into church, howling as we ran. Dad always parked a few blocks from church, it gave time for Mom and him to take a nice leisurely walk to church while his boys feverishly chased the trail of some imaginary game.
Into the church burst four boys as if chased by the devil himself. Crisp white shirts stuck to our backs with sweat. If we had run all the way in the rain we wouldn't have looked any different. Only difference, we would have been steaming. Zoom! Off to the prayer room for a half hour of pre-service prayer. Now our church encouraged lively prayer, and that's just what they got from us four boys. I think the church elders were quite impressed with the high level of energy my brothers and I brought to pre-service prayer. Stand-up, kneel-down, hands raised, swaying back and forth, jumping up and down and all the while loud hallelujahs ringing off the rafters was what we gave them. But to most people looking on I'm sure it looked more like four crazed hounds howling at the moon.
The Sunday Evening Service would usually start with lively songs of praise, which were easy to enter into by us boys. We would clap our hands tap our toes and sway to the music in a rhythm slightly faster than four-four time. Our cheeks and ears were a brighter red than Christmas candy. Sweat covered our foreheads and trickled down our backs, we gave off more BTUs than the old boiler in the church basement. Lots of movement with our arms and legs, singing and clapping was what we needed to release our build up of energy. Slow songs and equally slow sermons were our downfall.
On a slow worship song we were louder, several words ahead (and usually not the right ones) and out of tune. We had to sit on our hands to stop from out of tempo clapping through 'Amazing Grace'. Our Dad had a whole bag full of stern, don't you dare embarrass me looks that would shut us down and keep us in line. Now what we needed was a new way to burn off a sugar buzz.
Pain was found to be a great reliever of hypertension. Pinching your brother beside you and refusing to squirm was a great detractor to a sugar high. It was always the first one to move or bleed was the one that lost. If you were standing in quiet praise, squishing your brothers thumb on the pew in front of you till you were sure it was going to pop was an all to frequent past-time. Or, putting your full weight on his little toe was also a great way to turn sugar energy into parent pleasing calm that if done correctly could do permanent damage to the little piggy that went 'wee wee wee al the way home.'
But the hardest time to get through was the sermon. Here clapping was frowned upon totally. You could shout out the occasional 'Amen', to release energy but here you would have to pay attention to the placement of your personal approval and more often than not you became an embarrassment to your parents. No, the sermon was a cold-turkey moment, we were expected to at all costs squelch our sugar high, which was about as likely as pigs singing in the choir. We were four boys sitting shoulder to shoulder in reverence giving their full attention to the preachers sermon. Thankfully sugar was now slowly starting to ease it's grip on the possession of their souls. Yet, still with enough energy when we four sat in a row we could get the pew to vibrate with enough force to make the washers on the bolts that held the pew to the floor to loosen and sound like coins dropping in a offering plate. Not an all to unhappy sound given it's surroundings. Dad would flip us a look that would confirm death was eminent when we got home if silence was not obtained immediately. Mom fearing for our lives would separate us or spread us apart while questioning under her breath that she was sure she had no idea what was wrong with her boys.
Three scoops of chocolate swirl and four double fudge cookies........I'm thinking.
About half way through the sermon sugar had all but released the hold it had on our bodies. Our shoulders had dropped, muscles in our legs, back and arms had relaxed and our bodies had become tired and sleep would try to overtake us. But! my Mom wouldn't allow this, nodding off would look like the preacher had bored us. The thought of a message of eternal salvation, delivered by a man of God, a leader in the community would somehow bore her children was not an option my Mom would accept. She would give us paper and pencils so we could draw. She was convinced that to the preacher it would look like that we were so interested in the sermon that we were taking notes, which we could refer to the next day at school when we were testifying to our school mates just before we get beat-up.
My Dad now looks over at his four boys sitting quietly in the pew, shirts stuck to their backs, hair plastered to their heads soaked in sweat. His little army for the Lord all taking notes on the sermon of which he himself had no idea what it was about. Content that we were finally well behaved he reaches into his pocket and pulls out a gun. Oh not a gun of steel and gunpowder, but yet a gun of equal destruction, one of sugar......Candy! One by one he offers that gun to each child in turn, and each child in eager acceptance not knowing that soon an all to common chain of events were about to unfold. Events that would cause husband and wife to question the legitimacy of their own children. Events that would embarrass my parents enough to maybe look for a different church next week. Events that would make a father grab his son by the shoulders and on bended knee look him straight in the eye and plead more than ask "What in the wide world of sports has gotten into you?"



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Friday, October 25, 2013

Moms Leftovers (cartoon)

Moms Leftovers

Moms Leftovers

"SUPPER!" Echoed off the neighbours houses. "SUPPERTIME BOYS!" was the invite my Mom would rattle the windows with. She would stand at the open door and collect her brood of four boys from across the neighbourhood with this echoing invitation.
Mom stood all of (with thick socks) five feet tall. The mother of four noisy, rambunctious males with as much as a twelve year age difference. Because of this, she was a woman of mixed emotions. Proud and happy on graduation day, and 'Oh my gosh here we go again', on registration day for grade one all in the same year. Potty training and dating advice had to be administered at the same time, being careful not to mix them up. Nothing worse than telling a girl you like her and then dropping your pants and running to the toilet. On the bright side you did get a sticker either way.
Every family on our block pretty much had the same form of letting the kids know it was supper. Some loud noise from an open window or door, banging a pot, ringing a bell or just hollering the fact it was time to get in. Time to come home and sit down as a family together sharing a meal. Supper, 'Old School' style.
Now we were not your Norman Rockwell kind of perfect family all gathered around the table. Not even our table with three metal legs and a short wooden one with the folded cardboard under it was what we'd say an inviting scene. All four boys, two on stools, one in chair and one in a high chair with a big age difference all sat at the same height. With Dad on the end of the table and Mom in the middle, close to the stove, this completed our Rockwell moment.
Prayer was offered up before every meal in our home. Dad did the Monday to Saturday meal prayer and Mom, who seemed to store up a weeks full of thanksgiving laid bare her heart on Sunday evening. I think she could of won, if ever a prize was given, the longest blessing over dinner that ever was said. If I believed my brothers would have kept their eyes closed I could of gotten up, gone to the bathroom, gone outside rode my bike around and still made it back in plenty of time for the 'Amen'. But brothers are always looking for a chance to get the other in trouble. Direct Mom and Dads pent up anger away from ones self by finking on a sibling.
After thanks was given for our daily meal, Mom, whose hands had just been blessed (...'and bless the hands that prepared dinner'. Didn't Dad know who had made dinner?) forked out the food. It was a ravenous affair. She would stand on her chair and stab a meat-by-product of some form or other from off of the platter, and to the best of her ability with the fork and wrist motion, propel it to the desired recipient. Loud accusations of a brother receiving a larger piece than the one you got ensued. Knives and forks of different patterns attacked the steaming flesh. This allowed a more civilized delivery of potatoes and veggies. Me,...I really didn't care if I got veggies at all. I had been snacking on the lead paint chips from off the window sill for a good part of the afternoon anyway.
Dinner, or the food part of our dinner was mostly complete by the time Mom started hers. If any extra food was available, it was given to the first finished. This resulted in a very hurried intake of the evening meal.
We all had to wait for dessert while Mom finished her meal. This was a period of time where some families tell of their day. We would try and tell things on the other brothers so to get them in trouble. Guess what Ian did. Guess what Dale did. Guess what Trevor did. To this, my parents never did guess what ....?...did, they were enlightened immediately before a chance was given. The only way a brother could escape from the truth being told was to hand over his allowance for a required amount of time equivalent to the sin committed. Every meal was like third party confessional.
Mom now finished dinner, dessert could be served. This was always something Mom would bake. And she was the Queen of substitutions. If a recipe called for butter and she didn't have any....no problem. Oil, margarine, lard, any petroleum by-product would do. She could make the same dessert every night and with a different substitution it was totally different every time. She would substitute substitutes. Apple pie made from Ritz Crackers was substituted with bread and Saltines. But no matter what was served we always had enough money to put a scoop of ice-cream on it. My Dad figured he could eat dirt if it had ice-cream on it. Mom would probably substituted the dirt for chocolate pudding.
Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, and Birthdays were all celebrated by Mom putting on a special meal. Turkey, Ham or whatever the Birthday Boy wanted was provided for supper, with a scoop of ice-cream on something at the end.
Most people, myself included, remember their mom for that. The special times. But I also remember, now, the week to week grind of feeding a family of six on a small budget. Trying to make the most from nothing proved to be the harder meals, and they were prepared much more often. We never had the luxury of eating out, Mom cooked everyday, stretching what little we had.
A chicken dinner was always followed by soup for two days. Turkey and soup took a week and a half. All accompanied with fresh biscuits or buns. A tough old pot roast on Monday would be Tuesdays some sort of tender beef hash, with a killer gravy. Meal after meal all expertly done. But did we appreciate it? No! We'd complain if there was mashed potatoes instead of fried, and fried instead of mashed. The only vegetable we wanted was corn, anything else was met with disappointment.
And then after the complaining was done, and a brother thrown under the bus, we'd pushed ourselves away from the table with not as much as a thank-you and we're out the door. Half a day of preparation, a week of planning and five minutes of devouring was a Monday night meal. Six days till she gets to say how she feels in the envelope of saying thanks for all she has over dinner
It's not that she waited till Sunday night dinner to pray, she prayed everyday and it seemed continually. Always going about her house work humming or softly singing a hymn. Reading her Bible was how, and still is, how she starts her day ( now, she just cramming for finals). I don't think she's even ever said anything bad, or gossiped about anyone. She has accepted what she has and longs for no more. Content, and always has been, even with birth.
Mom had wanted girls. God gave her four boys. So she substituted the girls with boys. She wanted sweetness and charm in her recipe but went with loud and uncaring. Not what the original recipe called for but she'd make it work.
Four boys, four tough pot roasts thinking they had all the answers, as pot roasts do. But given time and a Sunday night prayer over us daily what was left of the original pot roast combined with her special style of biscuits, buns and gravy we became better than what was originally planned.
I can say that this once tough old roast is here today because of her. I'm now a tender grandpa of four because of her prayers. I'm still not beyond my best sell by date, and if given the choice I still would rather have corn. And when my end comes I want to go out with a scoop of ice-cream on my coffin. If I'm going to eat dirt I want ice-cream on it!

Bob Niles


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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Trash Talk Cartoon

Trash Talk

Trash Talk

"Honey! It's garbage day tomorrow, you have to prepare the trash! If you're looking for your glasses I last saw them on top of your head! I'm heading out."
She knows I need my glasses to prepare, not take out, but to arrange and properly place unwanted articles and food waste in their respective bags and boxes. I need my glasses to find that dad-blang triangle on the plastic containers. Lord forbid if I get the wrong numbered triangle in the recycle box. If they could make the numbers bigger or colour them it would certainly make my life easier. I have to twist and turn them trying to get the light right, running my finger across the ridges trying to caress out a single digit number. I look like I'm trying to strum some instrument made of recycled garbage. The wife's jealous of her plastic salad box, complaining it gets more loving attention on the way to the Blue Box than she does all week.
Now the plastic's taking care of, it's time to wash the bottles and try to remove labels from the glass. I say try, because usually that's all it is, is an attempt. If they (the garbage police) want labels off, why do they (again the garbage police) let companies crazy glue them on. They are at one with the glass! Hot water, soap and razor blades are needed to try and hide the fact that it was once a pickle bottle. It seems anonymity is very important to the people down at Bills Brought Back Broken Bottle Bin. Where their motto is 'Be an un-labeler enabler!' I think Bill drinks what's left at the bottom of the bottles.
Onward to the papers! For this I refer to my 'Recycle With Confidence' section of my recycling bible (provided by our fair city) which I now find out got mixed up with the recyclables last week! And thrown out! So now with anything but confidence, I attempt the next to impossible. The house receives and brings in a lot of paper. And for this we have two different bags with which to recycle our papyrus. So do I use the blue bag or the yellow bag for a non-glossy insert flyer with removed plastic window made from cardboard with a newsprint insert. I hum and haw over this one for some time, and then with little confidence place it in the yellow bag. I then get off the floor and phone Tom next door to see which bag he used. No answer.
Newspaper after newspaper checked for hidden paper infractions. Cardboard boxes flattened, and staples removed. Egg cartons squished. Plastic windows removed. Tearaway all traces of my name and address on any envelopes. Become like the pickle bottle. Find interesting article in 'Time' magazine and waste ten minutes determining if your spouse is cheating on you.
Now, not only am I not sure I've got the right paper in the right bag, I now lack confidence the wife is staying true to our wedding vows! I'll try Tom again.
Still bothered by the flyer made of cardboard with the newsprint insert, I complete all paper products and move on to food scraps. Confidence builds. Either cooked or non-prepared foods all go in the kitchen container and then the green cart. What my wife can do with a $30 dollar roast is criminal. I just throw it out before it becomes a crime scene. For Christmas one year I got her a serving platter with the white chalk outline of a roast. Like the police do with a dead body. In response, she used my suit pants that day as a pot holder to remove the turkey from the oven. Asked why, my now ruined expensive suit pants became a pot holder, she replied 'Thats what you use them for!'
I search fridge and freezer for all past and future offending food scraps. Careful to leave the frozen fruitcake from Aunt Tilley that's been there for three years, then away for two, only to be re-gifted back to us for an additional four years more.
Now waving and clapping my hands I make my way to the kitchen container. I look like a blessed, praising church - goer as I enter a small cloud of fruit flies. I affix both hands to its smooth exterior, careful not to slop any residue on my skin. It'll stain, burn and stink on contact, immediately, and for an extended period of time. Eye protection is a must! Now down a flight of stairs, opening two closed doors I reach the green cart outside. I clear a ten ft radius to pour the offending odor into the green cart. I open the lid of the kitchen container and my fruit fly herd triples in size as they try to escape my wifes meat loaf. I carefully pour out this offending odor, turning nose and eyes away, noticing all the lights at Toms house are off. Now it's off to the end of the driveway for tomorrows pick up.
I see Toms Blue Box is at the curb already. I go through his yellow and blue bag to see which one he used for the flyer ( I'm sure we both got one in the mail) made of cardboard and newsprint. No luck! It's not there. I try his phone again.
Several more trips to the end of the driveway conclude garbage eve. All garbage has been prepared and expelled less than one week from entering my abode.
The digital alarm clock shows the score all tied up at a dozen apiece as I lay in bed looking at the ceiling. I lay there wondering where my wife is and thinking back to my youth.
"Honey! It's garbage day tomorrow have you taken out the trash!?" My Mom would ask my Dad.
"I'll do it during the commercial!" was his reply. Two minutes done! Which is why I guess we are where we are today.
And then I think............., and then toss and roll and notice all the 2s on the clock. The wife's not home yet. I get up, put on my housecoat, outside to the Blue Box and retrieve my worrisome flyer. Back to the house, crumple it up and flush it down the toilet. Problem solved! Tomorrow I'll wipe up the water from the toilet over flowing and unclog the throne from its offending flyer.
I lay there, now at peace wondering why I never thought to separate the papers from the flyer. Silly me. S l e e p y...I hear a car...next door....Toms car....my wife tip toes into the room. I sit up and turn on the light, "Honey it's 2:30 in the morning! Do you know which bag Tom used for that stupid flyer!?"


Bob Niles


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Friday, October 18, 2013

The Paperboy Knocks Twice (C)

The Paperboy Knocks Twice

The Paperboy Knocks Twice

Somewhere in the sixties.

'KNOCK' 'KNOCK'...."Collecting for The Sun!"
"Yap Yap Arff Arff Yap Yap"
"Who is it?"
"Yap Yap Arff Arff Yap Yap"
Whapp Whapp Whapp "Yelp Yelp Oww Oww Yelp."
"Whose there?"
"Collecting for The Sun! The Vancouver Sun. You know your newspaper you get delivered to your door six days a week, rain or snow. The very same paper I'm sure you just beat your dog with. The Vancouver Sun........that paper.......Hello. ........Hello? " 'KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK'
'Yap Yap Yap Yap' Whapp Whapp Whapp ' Oww Oww Oww!'
"Who is it?"
(Oh my gosh) "I'm collecting for The Vancouver Sun! I'm the kid you give heck to for leaning my bike up against your fence. I'm the little red headed kid that brings your paper every day. I'm the one your dog chases out of the driveway, (the dog hates me because I bring to the door the very thing she beats him with) six days a week."
"Why didn't you say it was you Petey." ( That's not my name, she apparently has called the last three paperboys Petey) How much do I owe you?"
"Two dollars and fifty cents please."
" TWO DOLLARS! AND FIFTY CENTS! IS THAT FOR THE WHOLE YEAR?"
"No Mrs. Miller, just for he month of November. Plus you didn't pay me last month so it's another $2:50 besides. If that's okay......?"
"Well its not okay. I'll have to go to the bank. Could you come back tomorrow night!?"
(Ya sure! I hadn't planned on passing Grade 7 anyway. Homework! Who needs homework.) "O k a y.... you'll be home tomorrow night? Thursday?....Thursday night? Around seven?
"Thursday! Thursday night! I'm not home on Thursday. That's Bingo down at St. Paul's! Comeback next Wednesday. I'm home that night, I like to watch Manix on channel 8 on Wednesday. Now if you'll excuse me Petey, I'm on the phone with my sister in Saskatoon, ...... Be careful of the stairs down Petey! The lights not working." (That lights never worked. Her dog Precious likes to wait for me in the dark.)
Mrs Miller and I had never talked face to face. It was always between her two front doors. When I did manage to collect the two fifty from her, she paid through the mail slot. I don't think she trusted Petey. I know her dog hated him!
Mrs. Miller wasn't my worst customer. The worst were the ones that passed away before I could ever collect from them. I wouldn't be lying by saying I had asked a dead lady for $2:50 once (I didn't know she was dead). I had many of my customers show up in the obituary section. I had a seniors palliative care home on my route. I saw things that retuning Vietnam Veterans hadn't seen. Stuff like that stays with a 12 yr. old paperboy!
I was just one of about 20 paperboys my age at the paper shack. The paper shack was where all the papers would be dropped off for our area from the printer. It was managed by a kid a few years older than us. His job was to make sure we got our papers, and made a timely exit to deliver them. The manager was usually the oldest one of us that got the position because of the previous managers untimely death. We didn't like authority in the 'shack'. We were like all the kids on that 'Lord of the Flies' Movie. That paper shack was the roughest place on earth. Biker gangs wouldn't dare ride down that alley. Nobody could take on 20 kids all going through puberty at the same time. We were an angry, hyper, thorny (didn't mean to type the 'T') lot . We all had a Mrs Miller or three on our routes. Dogs that were as big as us that would chase us out of the yard over to the next Cujo. Weather that was constantly blowing or lissing ( aw gee I meant to hit the 'P' not the 'L') rain on our papers. Newspapers that if were not perfect, I would have to endure a phone call from one or more Mrs. Millers. We were a gang of low paid, always wet, non-homework doing, bike riding, non- filter smoking 12 yr. olds that had the answer to everything. We knew all the swear words and what some of them meant. We were always trying to see who could fit the most filth into a single sentence.
We delivered the daily paper to the doorstep of everyone who owned a dog it seemed. A blood thirsty, newspaper beaten dog that could do no wrong to a paperboy in the eye of the owner. An owner who was never home when we delivered the paper. And a dog, that lived outside on a chain just long enough to keep people away from the door. That same door I was expected to deliver the perfect copy of the daily news to. Every day I came home with wet pants. And some days it didn't rain! Somedays it blew! I remember more than once both the dog and the paper chasing me down the driveway.
Now, gone are the 12 yr. old paperboy gangs of the late 60s. All the paper shacks were gone through by bomb squads then destroyed. Papers today are delivered by a large assortment of walks of life. Nice people, that do it for exercise or an extra income, not for smokes and firecrackers. I hope home delivery of the printed newspaper stays with us for many more years. Its miserable work at times, so please remember that, especially, with Fall and Winter almost here. They do pretty much the work of a postman, but for a lot less money or benefits. So appreciate them please. Oh, and that Mrs. Miller, she's still around. I'm her now, complete with dog. But, I am trying to do better.The dog, he's to fat and lazy to chase anyone, but he belts out a bark loud enough when the paper arrives to make it rain.

Bob Niles



bobby did this

If You're Going to Pee in the Pool...Jump in First (cartoon)

If You're Going to Pee in the Pool....Jump in First!

If You're Going to Pee in the Pool....Jump in First!

"Swimming Lessons!" my mother spurted, "Why when I was a kid your grandpa rowed me out into the middle of the lake and threw me in was how I learned to swim!"
"Mom, grandpa wasn't trying to teach you to swim."
Needless to say swimming lessons weren't on the table, or in the pool for me. Why I don't think lessons were even available when I was a kid. Swimming wasn't popular till the invention of the bikini. At least, that's when dad starting taking us to the beach. And I don't think teaching us to swim while at the beach was his main concern. You need flotation devices not binoculars dad!
I learned to swim on my own in the wading pool at local park (which is now the parking lot for people taking indoor swimming lessons). I would lay on my stomach and with my hands under me on the bottom of the pool and walk-float myself to deeper water. I know. I know. "That's not swimming Bob!" And that's exactly what Karen Mc Manus yelled at me, laughing so hard she nearly feel off her bike. She was the cute girl in grade six. But that compelled me to let go of the bottom of the pool and do this sort of dog-paddle kicky thing which freed me from this gravity laden earth we walk to the freedom we experience in the near weightlessness of the liquid life we were born into. I might of overstated that. It wasn't pretty. I was no David Hasselhoff. But what you could see of me through all the splashing and thrashing was my confidence building in the fine art of looking cool while swimming. I soon graduated to the big pool with the diving board. Fifteen cents gets you in to look at all the girls in bathing suits...I mean swim. Hey, I was a pasty white, freckled, red headed kid in the Beach Boy generation. This was as close as I was getting to a meaningful relationship.
But be it my drive as a pubescent boy, or the joy of cooling off in the community pool, I did master the art of swimming and diving.
Years pass and now I'm taking my granddaughter to swim lessons at the local pool, (I can't remember how my kids learned to swim.....Must of been the wife?....Oh right, I had the binoculars!). My daughter signs her up for classes and I drive her down there. Park on the very spot I learned to swim. This day was momentous! I tried to point this all out to my 3yr. granddaughter but it fell far short of anything but "Can we go to Mc Donald's after?"
I walk inside. Sign in. And then am instructed to just go through the men's change room to get to the pool. "Uh Uh I mean no, I'm with her!" I respond as I lift her little hand over her head. Too many questions grandpa doesn't want to answer from the most inquisitive kid I have ever known in my life. Every sentence from her starts with 'WHY?' If I take her through the door with the 'Mens Changing Room' sign on it.....well..there just isn't enough hours in one day to complete her inquisition on why did that man.........????well you know.
The understanding girl behind the desk offered use of the staff washroom to change in (I think she was dragged through it as a kid). And, that I could use the staff door to get into the pool area. "Great! Works for me!" I said.
Next week it was as easy as just catching the understanding girls eye (something in my youth I was never able to do at the pool) to enter the staff door into the pool area (we changed at home, I mean she. We didn't change at home. I mean I don't put on my speedo to go watch my grandchild at swim class. I do that for ballet class). Anyway......upon entering the staff entrance I get this whistle happy Bay Watch shut-in emptying his lungs into the aforementioned wind chime hung around his neck. He's pointing and yelling about ??? I can't hear him. Whatever it is it's not about me...I'm not running. But surprise surprise, it was me in his sights. "Staff Entrance! Only Staff!" he starts out. I lift Charlottes arm over her head (we're attached at the hands) and mention I'm not taking her through the men's change room. And on and on I go and he shuts down pretty quick. I think he was in there as a small child too.
Weeks go by and we repeat this performance at least one more time with a whistle blowing door monitor. Charlotte changes after swim lessons in a corner of the parents viewing area. All in all, I don't think we'll be back for any more lessons at the local pool. I think I'll get Karen McManus to tease her in a wading pool. Hey, worked for me!
So in conclusion (thank the Good Lord for that) what happened to all the wading pools in Town? Gone are our public watery washrooms with which to swim and relieve ourselves in. All the splashing and dunking, play fighting with your friends thinking to yourself if he only knew what's in the water, and he's thinking the same. Kids in third world countries still play in them, only they're called open sewers. But kids are kids. It was a water source to get comfortable in. With swim lessons it took seven one hour sessions for Charlotte to stick her head under water and blow bubbles...but with confidence they'd retort.
Bring back our local kiddie pools I say. Parents watch your kids. Drain them at night. Kids learn much quicker goofing around as kids. But watch them. All we have now are mean water parks that bully our kids. They spray freezing water all over them as they run to try and avoid it. Squirt them without warning! Shoot them anywhere....I get it. They're training them for high school. Sad isn't it.

Bob Niles



bobby did this

Girl cartoon

Why Did The Little Girl Cross The Road?

Why Did The Little Girl Cross The Road?

She screamed like a little school girl (cause she was) as she dashed back across four lanes of early morning traffic, trying again to avoid the creepy would be, or could be attacker.
Two minutes earlier.
I was standing out in front of my house waiting for my buddy to pick me up for work. It was early. About 7:15 on a cool morning in October. I like to be early for everything I do, including waiting to be picked up. Gives me a chance to look at the birdies, smell the early morning freshness and listen to the neighborhood as it starts another day. I stand right at the curb so my buddy can just pull up and stop so I can quickly hop in, as I live on a busy 4 lane street.
I was looking at my abode noting that the front door should really be painted, when I realized something just didn't look right. Something about the front of the house looked off. Different. Something missing..... The hose! Someone had stolen the hose right off the front of my house! That hose wasn't a year old! One hundred ft. of hose with a nine pattern spray nozzle. (Picture me angry and confused here)
Well, there was nothing I could do now, my ride was coming. Besides, even if I reported to the police what could they do? Bring over a pile of green hoses so I could identify mine. Probably don't have a pile of green hose recovered from criminal master minds anyway. What to do? What to do?
I was pondering this question as I stood right by the curb facing traffic when I heard the tiny beep, beep of a car horn. I looked to see a car had stopped ( not my ride) and the driver was motioning me to cross. He thought I was standing by the curb to cross. I politely waved him off, but again he gave me the universal sign to cross. An open hand lateral motion softly pushing the air to the side. Again I counter with the universal sign that I'm just standing here thinking, and I have no intention or need to cross the road at this time of day. I turn my head back and forth and with open palm upright, twisting, like I'm wiping poop off a screen door (it could happen). He won't move! Now the driver in the next lane has stopped as well!
Crap!...I cross the road. It was just easier. Easier and more polite than doing anymore universal sign language cause my next hand signal wasn't going to be nice.
Now to the screaming school girl. This happens a little quick here so stay with me.
She was walking about half a block down the road when I had crossed over to her side of the street,.......and stood there. Creepy right? So creepy, that as soon as an opening in traffic came she crossed the street not ten yards behind me. The very same time I crossed back across the street to catch my ride. We got to the opposing curb about the same time. Okay she was quicker, but I was carrying a hammer and drywall axe for he job that day. She no sooner had her one foot touched the curb when she did a 180 and headed across again. Screaming, as I said, like a little school girl!
At this point I had not totally taken in what had just transpired, and to why her reaction. Whats her problem, I was the one who had a hose stolen here, not her.
It took a few seconds for my un-caffeinated brain to process what had just went down. And at that point I was hoping my ride got here before the police did. The ride one out. He stopped I got in, he asked me "How's it going?"
I said "Good! Did you see the game last night?" Cause that's what guys do.

Bob Niles


bobby did this

Thursday, October 10, 2013

"Honey!..If You're Going Trick-er -Treating Take the Kids With You."

"Honey!..If You're Going Trick-er -Treating Take the Kids With You."


"TRICK-er -TREAT!"
"OH MY! Superman, Batman and a Hobo are at my door looking for candy. And here it is past 9:30. Well here Superman, a shoe horn, and Batman gets an umbrella with a broken handle and for the Hobo,......let's see,....how about a pair of womens black pumps. Now kids, as I told you last time you were here it's late. Im out of candy. And you've already been here twice already! Wearing your capes backwards and smearing more dirt on your face doesn't fool me into thinking you haven't been here before. And, when all the lights in the house are out, and I'm answering the door in my Fruit of the Looms chances are pretty good you've gotten me out of bed. And you mister Hobo, aren't you my second oldest child Ian? That sports jacket you're wearing, with the elbows you've so cleverly cut out, I wore that to work this morning."
"You're right Dad it is me Ian." ( I lied. Thinking when it came judgement time it would be him that got the pain)
"Now back my car off the front lawn! Put it back where you found it. AND!, remove the Batman fins off the trunk, and my two rifles you've tied to the front hood. I'm not driving to work tomorrow having my Volkswagen Beetle look like that! And besides, I don't think you have a license to drive that car! Aren't you only 14?" (Ian was 16 I was only 12. Close enough! Two years less discipline)
"Dad, Batman was driving....."
"Enough!" he cried as a door suddenly appeared in front of me with a crack of thunder.
And with that announcement and some other inaudible, what I can only imagine to be as words of encouragement, Halloween had ended.
Superman and Batman were both glad they weren't me (or if I'm lucky Ian) that night. Why my Dad hadn't recognized these two superheroes as his two youngest was certainly a stroke of luck for them. So Batman, Superman and a hobo pushed and pulled the Batmobile back on the driveway. All the while analyzing the pros and cons of dad not actually telling us to get to get inside and into bed, but for the sake of our older brother it was probably better for him if we did.
I didnt know it at the time but that was the last year I went out trick-er-treating. The annual festival of all you can collect free junk food I had held so dear, had ended. The next year would find me in Grade 8, wanting to act like the kids in Grade 10, who wanted to act like the kids in Grade 12 who would still go out trick-er-treating but wouldn't be caught dead acting like a punk kid in Grade 8. A whole school of wanting to do.....but not. Cause let's face it, if you're giving out free candy I'm there. "Kids or no kids honey I'm off trick-er-treating!"
This for many was the first time of wanting to do something that you would be allowed to do by your parents that wouldn't be done. Your introduction to the guilt that comes with 'I would of, could of, should of done things different.' If only you'd known It was your last time trick-er-treating it would of been momentous! Or if we knew it was grandpas last Christmas, we should of had the family's all together. Or the hand shake could of been a hug and a kiss good-bye. If only you could of stopped in to see if the elderly widow next door was okay. Or you should of danced more when she asked you to dance to her favorite song. If only you could of known that it would be the last picture ever taken together. Or the trip we should of gone to Disneyland but was never taking because the Cancer was so aggressive.
Every day events taken for granted, totally unaware of the meaning they hold tomorrow. Events that are handled with enough attention at the time but fail, and fall short in our memories.
Over and over we're reminded of this very issue. We need to hug and kiss that loved one. Tell them that you care the specialists say. I did that to my Dad one time. Awkward! In hindsight I should of waited till he was out of the shower.
"There's a time and a place for everything! And that wasn't it!" he hollered as he grabbed for a towel.
Thing is though, there is only a time and a place for everything in yesterday. I know what and where I could of, should of would of done, said and been in todays past. And, we tend to beat ourselves up over it in the here and now.
With Thanksgiving, Remembrance Day and all the celebrations and holidays around Christmas, plus now Halloween becoming so big, it's a season full of 'To Do'.
It's at a time like this I could quote my Dad. 'Enough!' ( I won't slam the door though). Enough,...just do enough to where your comfortable at this coming busy season. Life is not remembered by the breaths we take, but remembered by what takes our breath away. And that's something you can't plan to do. Enjoy the moment. Celebrate the past.
"Trick-er-treat!"
"Oh look honey,...a hobo. ..........again. What's it been Bob 40 yrs.?"
"42 I Think. Love what you've done with the entry Carol......"

Bob Niles



bobby did this