‘Funny the skills you accumulate over the course of a lifetime: driving a nail, mending a mitten, riding a horse, baking an apple pie, tap dancing, writing a blog. Many of them you don’t ever think about, but now and then a learned skill might catch your notice as something that sets you apart from the pack.
In my case, being able to insert four fingers in my mouth and rip off a loud, shrill whistle has always seemed to me to be one of those things that elevate me to a place most girls don’t get to. It’s good for calling a crowd to order or summoning a dog, not to mention the fact that people are impressed.
And although you often hear somebody say, “I smell a rat!”, I really can. This doesn’t happen very often, but yesterday, in the barn, there it was: my nose, and the unmistakable aroma that falls somewhere between piss, vinegar, and old sneakers. I’d forgotten all about rat-smelling as part of my skill-set, but yup, sure enough, I, my friends, have it.
It’s funny what life in the country can teach a girl. And now I need to impart that knowledge to the cat.
Anyone familiar with the “Go ye Heroes” song from Pirates of Penzance? The women sing words of cheer to the men marching off to war:
MABEL: Go, ye heroes, go to glory,
Though you die in combat gory,
Ye shall live in song and story.
Go to immortality!
Go to death, and go to slaughter;
Die, and every Cornish daughter
With her tears your grave shall water.
Go, ye heroes, go and die!
GIRLS: Go, ye heroes, go and die! Go, ye heroes, go and die!
Meanwhile, the men start marching off to war… but make a U-turn around the town fountain and march back to the women… who keep singing cheerfully about them heading off to die. So off they go again, only to make the same U-turn and return, obviously not as enthusiastic about their bloody demise as the women seem to be. After about three times around the fountain, and the women exclaiming, “YES, BUT YOU DON’T GO!” they finally do march off the stage – as the women sing “At last they go, at last they go!!!”
My point? Winter is behaving like those poor schmoes in Pirates: Yes, but you DON’T go!!!”
When my mother was a kid attending a 1-room schoolhouse, she was in a pageant or show put on for the parents. Her part was to be a woman in a sewing circle, and the “ladies” in the circle each had lines that rhymed. My mother’s started thus: “Mrs. Kay the other day had the audacity to say… ’tis a common supposition that one in her position…”, and the gist of it was that someone had made an unkind reference to her age. My mother’s brother bet her A QUARTER(!) that she didn’t have the nerve to change her lines.
On the night of the show, he was standing on a chair against the wall opposite the performers when my mother looked him square in the eye and said what he’d bet her she didn’t have the nerve to say: “Mrs. Kay the other day had the audacity to say THAT MY FACE LOOKED LIKE IT WORE OUT THREE BODIES.”
My home Internet connection wasn’t working this morning. I tried the old turn-it-off-then-turn-it-back-on trick, but still no Internet. I called tech support.
After half an hour of testing and resetting, the serious and methodical “Simon” and I found the problem. At the end, he asked if he could send me an email which I would use to rate his performance. I spelled out my address, but when he read it back, he had substituted “b” for “p”. I tried to correct him, saying “P, not B” but he didn’t understand me. So I clarified:
“P as in Paul.”
“B as in Ball?” he replied.
No, I said, “P, as in… Punjab.”
He began to giggle, and then the two of us just howled with laughter. Have a great day, “Simon”!