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Thursday, November 21, 2013

by Bob Niles

by Bob Niles

Old Man Gordon and His Christmas Promise

"911 what's your emergency?"
" The neighbour next door has fallen off a ladder on to the sidewalk! 6580 Elm Crescent. He's in and out of consciousness, knows where he is.............He's 85! .......He was hanging Christmas lights. Same old single string of lights he hangs every year.......His name? Ah, Gordon, Mr Gordon. Don't know his first name never did. Lived in the same neighbourhood all my life never new his first name. Just Old Man Gordon. ........He's having trouble breathing! Hurry! ........Yes I'll wait."
That was six weeks ago in early December when Mr. Gordon was taken to the hospital. He died two weeks later, just before Christmas, due to complications because of his advanced age and failing health. Doctor said he would of died right on the sidewalk had I not seen him fall and and called 911. Big deal. Three extra weeks of life, barely conscious, alone in a hospital at Christmas. And your only visitor is a man that has know him all of 58 yrs., and only by Old Man Gordon.
In my defense, he never took to anyone. He and his wife stayed alone. My Mom said they never got over the tradgety of their young daughter dying. And after his wife died he was barely seen at all. Outside of cutting his lawn, the only time he was seen was going for groceries, to church and to put up his, 'every year the same', Christmas decor.
One old energy sucking, fire starting string of 14 multi coloured lights that he hung just over the front door. And in the yard, year after year he placed the first Christmas, manger scene. Ever since I was a boy, he set up and arranged his plywood Christmas scene. And year after year it got more and more faded, chipped and warped. He just let it age. Never bothered to refresh the paint or nail the pieces that were separating from his Biblical characters that were parting like the Red Sea.
And as long as I can remember the Baby Jesus was not even part of the scene. It was just three wise men, a shepherd, two cows, one sheep, a camel, Joseph and Mary. All looking at the ground!
As kids we would always find something to place on the ground that was drawing their attention. An old bike, a wheelbarrow, a basketball, my sisters Barbie, or one time a baby snowman. Us kids all got a good laugh as to what had drawn this collection of plywood people to 'Old Man Gordons' yard.
It became tradition for kids in the neighbourhood to carry on the sinning we had started as kids. Old Man Gordon just left there whatever we left there. If he had of removed the baby snowman we would of replaced it with something just as stupid.
And then about ten years ago Mary never made it out to the front yard to look at an old red lawn mower the kids had dragged there. Now it was just a bunch of faded, warped guys and farm critters hanging out in the front yard. Could of been any front yard in Alberta. (sorry Alberta I couldn't spell the province on your right)
At the funeral I had mentioned that very fact to Old Man Gordons ( who's real name was Lloyd Arthur Gordon) sister. She clasped my hand and with a pained smile thanked me for my help tomorrow.
It was early that next day I had walked over to find a car in Mr. Gordon's drive. It was Myrtles ( Mr. Gordons sister) car. I had promised her to help clear out her brothers house and yard.
We started on the carport and yard. She had rented a large dumpster to clear away a life of living. Memory after memory, item after item, garbage after more garbage started to fill the giant bin.
Carport complete, I started with the plywood guy-fest in the front yard. It fell apart in my hands! The camels head ripped off. Joseph's staff crumbled into tiny pieces. A sheep with no legs, and ancient men of wisdom, minus heads, and gifts we're all cast into a dumpster of Mr. Gordons life.
This is how I'm going out too I said to Myrtle as I sipped my coffee in the carport. We had stopped for a break in what was going to be a long day.
My house is filled with so much of my stuff that I should throw out, but, just don't. She shook her head in agreement and accused us all of the same crime.
This was followed by a long uncomfortable pause, broken only by lips vibrating over the top of hot coffee.
" Why did he never replace the Baby Jesus in his Christmas scene?" I asked. (to fill the carport with something other than silence)
She turned and bent her index finger several times and said "Follow me."
She opened an old screen door and then even an older back door, that both had something to screech about. Then she picked her way down a cluttered hallway of books and papers. We past rooms filled with his old belongings and now forgotten memories. Ben-gay, old carpet and cat urine filled my nose. I didn't even know he had a cat! Now I'm thinking a dead cat! Is this what I'm going to become? An old man with a cat, in a stinky house.
"Watch your first step down the stairs here. The basement is where he spent most of his time. His wife Effie had the main floor for her needs and Lloyd kept to the basement, even after she died ten years ago."
Each stair mentioned its age as I tread carefully down a steep incline, all the while thinking, I'm going to have to carry Myrtle back up this ladder disguised as a staircase.
"Let me get the lights." Myrtle said from somewhere in the dim.
Before she could say 'There we go.' out jumped a four ft. tall artificial Christmas tree, electrified in bright happy splendor. Kneeling to the right side of the tree was our long lost Mary from the front yard. And placed at her knees just under the tree was Baby Jesus. Both beautifully painted and cared for. Our once faded Mary, all tattered and torn, now shone with what looked like a new purple cape and beige dress. She'd dyed her hair and got new head gear too. All thanks to a new coat of paint and glue. The Baby Jesus whom I'd never seen, but was neighbourhood legend to have been, was as if brand new. Both Mary and her baby lovingly cared for by an old man who seemed to care about nothing.
What...Why said my face and hands as I tried to make sense of such a loving well cared for scene.
"Effie and Gordons baby was taken from them at a very young age." Myrtle started. "She died a crib death in her first year. After that, Lloyd was never the same. It was to be their only child. It was that next Christmas he removed Baby Jesus from the front yard."
" If I can't have my baby, God can't have his." I blindly stated.
"Not in any way!" Myrtle pointed out. "It was more ...., God, I know you're taking care of my only child in Heaven, so I will care for yours here on earth. And then when his Mary died, he vowed the same thing again for his Mary. I'll promise to take care of yours, and you take care of mine."
A tear that was cleverly disguised, and past off to my allergy of cats, was wiped away with the back of my hand. I choked back an out of place chuckle and marveled at the love he must of had for his only child. And again silence filled a space we both shared. I thought the moments silence was appropriate. It was after some time, and several failed attempts, that Myrtle and I got out of the basement, and then back to ridding the neighbourhood of the memory of a man nobody knew. A man that cared for nothing here on earth. Someone I felt sorry for, because he had died alone in a hospital. But, I now know he is where he always wanted to be, holding his only child and wife together forever.
When we die our families and friends treat us as Mr. Gordon treated Mary and Baby Jesus. They take our cardboard cut outs (pictures) and place them in books held with high esteem. Displays of our lives, that are so cared for that if the house were to catch fire that would be the one thing that would make it out safe. We guard and hold strong to that memory, knowing with certainty that God is now taking good care of them in heaven.
I asked Myrtle if I could keep Mary, Baby Jesus, Sparky ( the string of Christmas lights) and the stray cat, that I named Gordon. She, I guess also allergic to cats, clasped my hand and mentioned that her brother would of liked that.
There was one more thing I took of Mr. Gordons, a film reel marked Christmas 1963-1969. On it was Old Man Gordon and his wife filming us in the dark, laughing their heads off as we attempted year after year to fill that void in their Nativity scene. He knew each of our names and kept saying how Mary would of loved to have been a part of the shenanigans.
Old Man Gordons only child lived on in his heart each Christmas just as we should remember Gods only Child this Christmas and every Christmas.

Gordon Niles January 30, 1924 - December 20, 1996









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Thursday, November 14, 2013

How to Fill Two Birds in Ones Home. (cartoon)

How to Fill Two Birds in Ones Home

We are the winter stopover for about 100,000 Snow Geese every year. And, every year they eat, poop, and turn all the school grounds and parks into mud holes. The following story is a solution to mine and the citys problems .


How to Fill Two Birds in Ones Home

Well I finally got rid of my fruit flies. I caught two Snow Geese that now live full time in my kitchen.
Snow Geese are fairly easy to catch. To do this, put a green garbage bag over your head, (remember to cut holes for you arms and head) and then one over your lower extremities, and paint a white line from head to toe. You disguise yourself as a field goal line and just lay on the grass and wait for the geese to come.
Should a soccer game begin before the geese arrive its best to clear yourself of the field. Those little kids have a mean kick!
When the geese arrive look for two of the gray ones to capture. They are the young ones and they will adapt to home life a little easier. You can train the young ones to stand completely still when the wife enters the room. This will extend your lie that she's just hearing things and, you'll get points for adding to her kitchen ceramic goose collection.
Don't worry of any backlash as you walk home with your newly acquired fruit fly eating fowl. Walking with one under each arm you're treated as more of a hero, than a poacher.
Don't ask the wife if you can bring a couple of geese home either....cause she's going to say "NO!" And, try to hide the fact as long as possible that geese are living in the kitchen. This will require many nights of eating dinners out. Plus you will also have to develop a cold that has a cough with a honking quality. And you will cough a lot!
Upon her discovery (and she will eventually catch on) of your kitchen marvels, make sure you section off a part of you house that has access to the kitchen and a bathtub. You don't want them running the house! Always have water in the tub, as geese like to swim. And let the wife know which tub is occupied. Getting into the tub already occupied with geese is apparently upsetting.
This writer knows that they will try to trick you into taking them for a walk. Don't do it! I fell for it twice. Each time I had to go back to he field and brave territorial marking dogs, poopie geese and Pee-Wee soccer players to collect two more kitchen helpers.
It's expensive, and a bit troublesome, but remember your getting rid of the fruit flies in your kitchen. No price is too much.

Bob Niles
superiordribble@blogspot.com

Please note
No dolphins were hurt during the development of this story. And to be truthful, no geese were either. I never could find a green garbage bag big enough to fit me!


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Monday, November 11, 2013

Anchor (picture)

by Bob Niles

by Bob Niles


The Neighborhood Anchor

I drove past our favorite tree early this morning. With the car window rolled down, and elbow protruding, as if to hold the window there, I breathed in deep the sweet perfume of Autumn. The bright soft green leaves of early Spring now lay crisp on the frosty ground. The bold reds of the Canadian Maple blanket the hatless acorns of the mighty Oak, as sunlight filters through the evergreen splendor of the towering Redwood Pine.
It's our tree! The one we all share separately together. On our way to work, in the neighbors yard, back in a quiet corner of the park. The one we all know as the neighborhood anchor. Houses and neighbors come and go, but our tree remains a living constant. It's location and Autumn splendor are different for everyone of us, but it's so familiar in how it brings that moments pause in our daily hustle at this time of year.
We were all born in different places, grew up with different families and traditions. From our diets to interests, religions, educations and location we all share an uncommon upbringing that is united in its beauty and wonder.
As a child you played under that tree. A few years go by and on a double dog dare you conquer it's lofty height. Then with your first love, under her dappled shadows, you steal your first kiss. Then it becomes a backdrop for our wedding photos. And then in a flash of a moment its a canopy that protects a picnic with the kids. And then again, all too soon, your final wedding vow is fulfilled, and time finds you alone with all your memories, as you sit on a bench in its cool shade on a warm Summer afternoon.
Our tree. For one more beautiful Autumn, its deep rooted continuity in our lives has again brought us to pause and marvel.

Bob Niles

superiordribble@blogspot.com


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Friday, November 8, 2013

Tick Tock Tick Tock Tick Tock Drip Drop

Tick Tock Tick Tock Tick Tock Drip Drop

Are you like me? Have you got that one clock in a room, somewhere in your house, that you just don't bother to 'Fall Back' or 'Spring Ahead' with? A clock that makes that one room in your house a time zone unto its self.
It's a clock that for 6 months of every year is an hour off. In my case the old digital clock is always on daylight savings time. I've long forgotten what buttons to push and in what order to do it in to move it ahead or back sixty minutes. About ten years ago I got it on Standard time where it sat for probably three and a half years. Till one day my wife had some relative coming to stay in that room while the Daylight Savings Event was on. So, after some lively encouragement from the wife, I spent the better part of two hours and 'Sprung Ahead' old Digit.
Now a days all my wifes relatives get a motel when they come to town. My sleep walking and bed wetting worked. (Okay I've got issues).
So old Digit just stays at the time where he can squeeze the most sunlight out of each day. Oh I guess I could wake up at midnight and quickly unplug and then plug him back in again, but that seems like killing him and then restarting his heart again. What if I can't bring him back? My little room all unto itself serves me just fine. It's like a time machine right in my basement. Walk in the room, and you are magically transported one hour ahead. I wish I had a room like this as a kid!
"Go to your room and do your homework for an hour!" my Dad would yell. "Heck, I'll do an hour and ten Dad!" I always did an excellent job on title pages for Social Studies and the extra ten minutes should have it covered.
Walking out of the aforementioned room with the magic digital clock you go back in time. Upon exiting the room you now know what rooms to avoid from your homework pushing father, cause you were just there! Back in time!
My wonder working clock with its four sets of red numbers from 0-9 was given as a wedding gift (But now it's mine. Not hers! She said I could have it!). It use to be an answering machine as well as a clock, but as it got older it became like me, and realized it didn't have the answers anymore. And I unknowingly became like Digit, always a little off of the time, with the rest of the household.
Me and my ticking digital clock, together for all time!
Oh!....Hang on its not ticking. It's the faucet in the bathroom basement counting off the seconds. I should get around to that........Nawh! The wife says the basement is my world. I'm King Here! A kingdom where faucets will keep time to clocks that are wrong for half of the year and ruled by a king that can wet a bed from four paces (well not now).
BeepBeepBeepBeep
Oh, time for my pills..........or was that an hour ago?

Bob Niles
superiordribble.blogcast


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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Hello (cartoon)

"HELLO! HELLO? EXCUSE ME! HELLO!"

"HELLO! HELLO? EXCUSE ME! HELLO!"

RINGRINGRINGRINGRINGRINGRINGRINGRINGRINGRINGRINGRINGRI
"Excuse me......Hello?....Excuse there,....yes you, ah, Santa...........Oh no, no problem, I guess you couldn't hear me cause of you ringing them bells.........Oh and a Merry Christmas to you too! And a Happy New Year. I was just wondering, could I just get around you there?......Oh yes it is quite a big job, LOL as the kids say.......Could I just step past you there?............Yes it is very crowded with all this Christmas display....very pretty. ......where has the year gone eh? Well you know there's just about two months left in the year so we're really only 10 months into the year..........Yes, yes so much to do before the 'Big Day'.....If you could just stop ringing for a moment, I need to get around you....well yes if you could just step aside that would be great!.......Yes of course be careful, don't want to break anything with only 2 months before your big night.......Yes, it's right behind you there that I need....No, no not the Christmas decoration.....Yes, that's it the box with all the poppies, I want to purchase one..... Well, maybe that's best, why don't I just hand you the money, there seems to be too much Christmas in the way of me and my poppy..... .....Thank-you......Yes I do wear it proud.....It's on November11th, Remembrance Day,......Great! You'll be there. Good for you! But, maybe next year, and here don't take this personal, it's okay if you and Christmas don't hit town till the 12th. I hope this doesn't put me on the bad list? I mean I love Christmas, but if you could just wait, hold off all the Christmas noise till we have our moment of silence to remember the fallen. They that paid the ultimate price, to be remembered.....Greatly appreciated! RINGRINGRINGRINGRINGRINGRIN RINGRINGRINGRINGRIN

Bob Niles
superiordribble@blogspot.com



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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

I Wish You a ....

I Wish You a ....
by Bob Niles

"Make sure you wish Mommy a happy birthday when she brings your cereal." I said to my 4yr. old granddaughter.
My daughter and granddaughter live in our suite downstairs. Both Charlotte (granddaughter) and I get up early, and she likes to come upstairs and watch Sesame Street together. I greatly enjoy this time as I do look foolish watching Sesame Street by myself. Unlike Jeopardy, I get all the questions right here though.
After about 30 min. of the letter 'S' and the number '12' mom comes upstairs with the Fruit Loops.
"Happy Birthday!" I proclaim as I draw out the birthday part.
Crickets. All I heard were crickets creaking (well if I had any you could of heard them) as Charlotte just sat there looking like she had fallen asleep.
"Ah thanks! 29 for the third time." mom says. "Charlotte hurry and eat up. Mommy's got to get to work and you've got to get ready.......Okay?"
"Okay Mom!"
Mom heads back downstairs, and I poke her in the ribs with a "What's with that I told you to wish Mom a happy birthday."
"I did!" she defends.
"When? Earlier this morning?"
"No just now. I closed my eyes and wished. If you say a wish out loud, it doesn't come true you know. You told me that."
True enough that conversation had happened when on her birthday she was just about to blow out the candles on her cake. "Make a wish. But don't tell anyone or it won't come true." I told her.
Now, we all know that unwritten rule that silence is golden when it comes to wishes. So I ask, have we been doing it wrong all these years by vocalizing and singing festive wishes? Have we placed the chance of having a 'Happy' or 'Merry' anything in the dumpers by verbal acknowledgement of ones day, year, holiday or event?
And now with the magic of the inter-webby-thingie and the book of faces with people twittering, tweeting, inter-texting and many other 'ings' everybody from grandma to the paperboy you had four years ago, types out a public wish to ruin your chance of a happy or merry anything.
This is why the world is so screwed up! No ones wishes come true cause everyone let's everyone know what they are! People are standing around wishing pools and wells proclaiming their wishes as if it were a God given right. Why the once magical kerplunk of the coin is now drowned out by the cries of deal making people that are owed a wish

Four hour later

Okay I've taken my meds and cooled down now. And going out on a limb like that I guess was silly too. ( not the first time I've fallen out of a tree though. As a kid in a cradle the wind came up while in a tree top. Which explains a lot)
All tongue in cheek. But I found Charlottes answer very interesting. Told what to do, and with her knowledge of a wish and how they work, it was executed perfectly. It was me that had it wrong!

Bob Niles
superiordribble@blogspot.com


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Friday, November 1, 2013

125 Minutes to write 60. (cartoon)

It Took Me 125 Minutes to Write About 60

It Took Me 125 Minutes to Write About 60

Lucky us! We are given 60 minutes this weekend. It only happens twice a year! 60 free minutes to do with whatever you will. It's like God reaches down his hand and says "SAY, DO YOU HAVE A MINUTE FOR ME? NO? WELL I'LL GIVE YOU 60 OF THEM ANYWAY!" ( I think he'd talk loud so I used loud letters)
Now what do I do? Do I spend, invest, or give away my 60 minutes?
Do I go to the mall and spend them? Or blow them at the driving range? How about if I just wasted them and watched TV? I know I'll go to the spa and spend them on me. Me Me Me Me! They're mine! They were stolen from me last Spring and now I'm going to enjoy them! Me deserves them 60 minutes. Plus, I'll borrow some from work on Monday and make a day of it. They have a lifetime of my minutes and I want some back! Naaa, I talk big but I won't do it.
I've got so many minutes of my life invested in my job. Twenty-five years of minutes invested in the warehouse. Someday it'll pay off though, and I'll have a nice job upstairs in the office. The kids in the warehouse say I'm just wasting time down here. They say I need to march upstairs with my portfolio of invested minutes and prove to them their time is being wasted with me in shipping. It hurts when you invest so much of your time, for them, and now it's they who are wasting it.
When I was young I had plenty of time to waste, for I knew I had much more tomorrow. Now, time for tomorrow seems an uncertainty. The time I've invested and the time I've spent won't buy me tomorrow.
Invested time, is time with, and for others. At an early age it starts with family, then you buddies at school, girlfriends ( here, there was much interest in this investment) and then a wife. Kids hopefully become part of the investment in time, and then on to Grandkids.
This person has found invested time is much more rewarding than spent time. And, I find it easier to remember invested time. Always someone there to help you remember times together. You invest with them, they invest with you. Together you build interest.
But sadly for us all time runs out. We've all experienced family or friends that this has happened to. Imagine what they would give to have just but 60 minutes more. What would they do with 60 minutes more? Go to the mall? Driving range? watch TV? Or get a much needed cleanse at the spa? ( if you were dead, then not dead, I think it would be important).
No I think they would give it to you. Time given is selflessness. They would give each second of each minute to the people they loved for that hour. Not a moment wasted! Given time is easily forgotten by you, but greatly remembered by others. Time given is the greatest way to experience a moment
So come this Sunday morning when you wake up with that extra hour in your daytimer, and consider its fate, use it to the best of your ability. Enjoy it, share it or give it, but don't waste it. Time flys so quickly, and soon you're out of it.

"Yesterday has gone. Tomorrow has not yet come.
We have only today. Let us begin."
Mother Teresa

Bob Niles
superiordribble@blogspot.com




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A How to Trick-er-Treat on November 1st. (cartoon)