Dude Ranch Makes a Burger: a study

Dear Beaver,

A little about Dude Ranch’s habits every Tuesday and Thursday, and alternate Sundays.

He enters, post-workout, through the side door like he’s an electrician. He darts to the fridge and pulls out fresh ground beef. Fresh as in not frozen, and not freshly killed, though now that I think about it, how would I know? I never ask him about his experiences in the past with stock yards, cattle ranches, or burgers at rodeos, as in, Continue reading “Dude Ranch Makes a Burger: a study”

Ebola Might Not Be a Sneeze in the Park

The recent outbreaks of Ebola in the US brings me back to another contagious time when people were actually doing something about it.

Despite massive preparation (mostly just worrying) on my part, I got H1N1 while driving from Montreal to Boston (my then regular weekly commute).

I’d heeded the calls.  I’d read the posters.  I didn’t dismiss the email from the scientist, old as dust, that MIT circulated admonishing us to do everything to avoid getting the flu.  He’d apparently barely survived Continue reading “Ebola Might Not Be a Sneeze in the Park”

Franco follies

The Director almost laughed when our visitors announced they were from L’Isle.  It was what I used to call the town where I spent some quality time as a youngster myself… the chicagoland version, that is.  But I was a sad imitation, whereas they?  They were four hearty, healthy, good-looking youth who spoke English better than I spoke French.

It was the first time we let out our home.  We usually just stuck guests upstairs in our ramshackle atticle.  Where everyone but these bitter, hungover French people from Lyon enjoyed their stay.

The L’islians tried to build a fire last night.  “Watch they don’t know how,” the Director paced.  “Leave them alone.  Maybe they’ll just talk outside, relaxing if they can’t make it,” I said.

“Who wants to just talk?” the Director said.

Continue reading “Franco follies”

Flipping the Bird

image of a bird in a tree

 

Ah, I didn’t pay attention to the bird chirping differently when I tossed the ladder under the staircase.

Then a series of smaller cries erupted right in the ladder / decrepit fence material area. Shit, I thought. Shit shit, I thought again again.

The Robin on the pine branch kept at it.  I tiptoed closer to the pile, lifting junk with my pinkies raised, and saw a moving chicken part with some yellow fuzz on it. Then more: a disoriented baby flapping its new parts and hobbling.

I looked up at the discreet nest in our 2nd story staircase to confirm: bobbing fur in the nest, baby bird down. Baby was nestled in between the steps of the shorter ladder that I didn’t use.  Nice. Too many siblings flipping the bird out of the nest and onto a metal ladder, only to get nearly pummeled by another ladder.

I got some stale bread and balled it up into bits before tossing it to the mother.  Who didn’t take the bait. She just stared me down.  I went back inside to consult with an expert.

Continue reading “Flipping the Bird”

Roadtrip with an angel

angel painting

We took the roadtrip slow through the ugly Eastern townships.  A few weeks prior, I’d been busted for scooting along a little fast, 70km rather than 50km, which in dog years is slow.

“You’d never know from this stupid road how nice the towns are,” I told rider X, next to me. He smelled like patchouli, which I hoped would not set off the border guards. They seemed to consider that, in the 2000s, the Beatles’ hair was too long. Continue reading “Roadtrip with an angel”

Riding in the car, mesozoic version


The street was lined with bricks, and the car, being from the Mesozoic era, made special noises driving over them. Riding in the car with my father, I sat in the front passenger seat, no seatbelt. I opened and shut the metal rectangle attached to the door handle – the ashtray that my parents never used because it was too small. It was not the usual way home so the car didn’t often make the sound. But sometimes it did because the street or streets were nearish enough. Bumpy bumpy, the car went, but it was musical too. I set my ears up like a dog to a whistle.

Continue reading “Riding in the car, mesozoic version”

I Feel Awful: How Not to Make Falafel

Falafel

“Turn it up,” Lola yelled from the kitchen.

With the Hosers International tv show blaring, Lola felt able to turn inward.  She was devising a way to get the falafel to be both crispy but not grimy.  Baked things meant to be fried didn’t always translate.  Lola guessed that with a few tablespoons of coconut oil remaining she would have to suck it up and use canola – which as many helpful doctors on the internet advised was poison.

She turned on the exhaust fan. Continue reading “I Feel Awful: How Not to Make Falafel”

Fragments of the world, cowboy edition

banjo

“Gonna need to stop for a squirt of gas,” I said, sheepish.

Gas was more expensive than in the US and for me, every centime counted.  In my emails to Banjoman, Fritolay and Genome Project, my riders for that Tuesday morning, I harped on like I always did, no matter if someone was a repeat offender of mine or someone totally new: “NO Canadian money.  It’s $40 US only, which you can get at the ATM when we stop for gas in Vermont.”

You never knew which fragment of the world would be showing up for a lift, and more importantly what currency they’d try to pin on you.

But there I was stopping for gas in Montreal, and I could really use some capital input.  I turned to Banjoman.  His lips were red and supple.  I wondered if he wore kilts in his spare time. Continue reading “Fragments of the world, cowboy edition”