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If I Had a Time Machine

POPS AND HIS MUSCLES

Pops Sporting His Six Pak

As I pondered questions posed by fellow bloggers, I decided that if I had a time machine there were a few sporting events I’d love to go back in time to see. I would journey to the 1930’s when my father was in his early twenties.  There was no television back then and my dad and his friends spent their play time doing gymnastics.  He was in wonderful physical shape, sporting a six pack where I lug what looks more like a keg.  His favorite routines utilized the parallel bars, pommel horse and rings.  The rings were his favorite. An uncle told me that dad was the guy who could make a perfect 90 degree angle, pointing his legs straight out in front of him and then hold the position forever.

I didn’t get into gymnastics like pops did, although he was relentless in his efforts to get me to straighten up as I stood on his hands. He wanted to lift me up and then stand up himself. I think I was afraid of what might come next if he got me up there. He could walk all over the house on his hands…he did hand stands as easily as head stands. Trying to get me to do it, he’d hold me by my ankles and coax me to take a few steps but I failed dismally every time.  And that was long before I grew a  keg. I wonder if I love watching the Cirque du Soliel perform because it brings me closer to my dad.

Pops was also a long distance runner. He told me about winning a 20 mile race which earned him a bicycle. Surprisingly, he was a winner even though he smoked from the age of nine until he was in his 50’s. And what a terrific swimmer he was! He tried over and over to teach me but I didn’t learn until I was about 10 years old, at camp and on my own. I knew how, I suppose, but was afraid to try. He came out to visit after I had been there a week but because I hadn’t swum my four lengths of the pool, neither one of us could go into the deep end. Pops was pissed. After he went home, I asked the counselor to let me try my swimming test. I did it without drowning. But there were no more visiting days before my two weeks was up. My fellow campers would never be privy to the most perfect swan dive I’ve ever seen.

Pops Sporting his Bathing Suit

Pops Sporting His Bathing Suit

Over the years Pops and I played street-league softball and he took up bowling after I had already been on the lanes for several years. I enjoyed the sport and was good at it. He was obsessed. He bowled 10 pin three or four nights a week and after that practiced on the 5 pin alleys, just to improve his accuracy. When he began beating me, I quit for a time. It wasn’t fun any more. Especially when he’d flaunt his score sheets. He was extremely  competitive and so was I. Pops also loved to curl and was usually the skip. I subbed for his lead man one afternoon but burnt a rock I was sweeping down the ice (nudged it with my foot). A screaming match ensued and I stormed off the ice.  That is one game I want to go back to.  I’d like to do it again so I could show him the respect he wanted so badly. Respect he deserved.

In his 60’s, he bought a pair of roller skates so he could go to the rink with my oldest daughter. Then I heard the stories about how he used to do all kinds of stuff on skates, including dancing and who knows what else.

My dad had no fear, or so I thought. I remember taking him on the backside of the racetrack one morning to show him my new newly-acquired racehorse. At one point he stood against the wall on the walkway at  the corner of a barn. He was calm as can be as one horse after another pranced by, some within inches of him. “Weren’t you afraid?” I asked. “I was scared to death,” he replied. So he knew fear, but never let it get the best of him. Unlike myself. I’ve always taken the easy way out.

I took part in most sports as a kid and usually excelled. I loved baseball, basketball and football and more often than not played on teams a year or two older than me. Marksmanship was my best event. At 14, I out shot seasoned adults from the first day I lay prone with a 22 rifle. About a year later, after a trophy the size of the Stanley Cup was delivered to our door, Pops came home with a Mossberg 22 complete with match rifle sights. “I won it in a raffle,” he said. Yeah, sure. Hockey was a different story. I skated on my ankles and could never make the team. I still blame the ill-fitting second-hand skates my parents bought me and to this day I hate the game.

I wish I could take my daughters and especially my grandchildren back in time so they could watch me playing baseball, football and other sports — when I was at my best. Although my father lived to 87, he and his great grandchildren never met. I would so love for them to see him in the gym, on the beach or the bowling lane. If children could see and even understand a little of the past, it might well change their future in some small, positive way. I’m convinced it would put Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in a whole new light.

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2 WRITING TICKET FOR BLOG
Going to pay an ex cop or lawyer to fight your traffic ticket? Unless your offense is much more serious than speeding, odds are you can do it yourself.

Toronto’s traffic court system works like a well-oiled factory assembly line. You can, however, often improve your lot without spending a huge amount of money hiring a lawyer or an ex cop to represent you in court. That’s the good part of the scam system.

Has this happened to you? You get caught in a speed trap or just plain speeding. You’re sure you weren’t going THAT fast and you certainly don’t want another three points tacked on to your record. Personally, you don’t believe that they actually caught you on radar doing 80 in a 60.  I mean…sometimes you gun it a bit just to get by a slow moving truck and the police catch you at your upper most speed (at which you stayed for a second or two).  That’s what happened to me.

I waited until the last minute then mailed the ticket (which allows you three options: plead guilty and pay the fine; meet with the prosecutor; or plead not guilty and be assigned a day in court.  I checked the box “meet with the prosecutor”.  It takes a month or two to receive a reply. I went for my meeting — in the crowded zoo that is the York traffic court.  A fellow in a suit somehow found me among hundreds of milling, bewildered traffic criminals because of the papers I had clutched in my hand and asked what I’d like to see as the result of the meeting. Naturally I told him I was not guilty and would like to see the charge go away. “You’ll receive a court date in the mail,” he replied. Several months went by and I finally received my “court date” in the mail. There was a quick flutter in my gut.  I had been told that the prosecutor would probably have reduced the charge had I just asked. Now I had to face the judge. Total time, ticket to judgement day — nearly nine months.

2 TRAFFIC COURT

About 40 alleged offenders were let into the court room a few minutes early. In walked a good if not harried-looking young woman who went right to the front and sat down. The guy I recognized as the cop who gave me the ticket took a seat next to her. I knew I was in trouble. They appeared to be a team. Both began to page through their notes waiting for His Honor to arrive.

I quickly learned that offenders were on the books in alphabetical order. A few had lawyers, most did not. The lawyers went to the head of the list. In almost every “normal” case, the offenders were like me. “The cop didn’t understand,” they told the judge, who quickly shut them down, telling them to talk to the prosecutor. As we went to the front one-by-one, the prosecutor asked if we wanted the charge reduced. Frustrated, many of them finally said yes. Speeds were dropped from 80 to 70, or 60 to 50. In my case, when she asked me if I would like the charge dropped from 80 in a 60 to 70 in a 60, I quickly said yes, please and thank you. The fine dropped from $95 to $45 and three points to no points. The latter was what I was after and walked out a happy commuter.

In years gone by, I had gone to court twice, both times in Winnipeg with lawyers who did the work pro bono because they were good friends. The first time the cop showed up but all he could remember was my recently-permed hair (the chemicals worked way too well) and not where he had been parked. “Not guilty” said the judge, ruling that despite remembering my Afro (which was pretty hard to forget), the policeman should have known exactly where his hunting blind had been situated. I think I really got off because of the entertainment my curls provided (the whole courtroom was in stitches) and because my lawyer was a highly regarded QC.  The second time, the cop did not show up and the prosecutor quickly dropped the charges when my lawyer spoke with him.

Prevalent thought among time bandits is that if the policeman who issued the ticket doesn’t show up, they will get off. In my case, he was there, as big as life, spit-shined round-toed black shoes and all…except for the uniform. To my surprise, pretty much every defendant  in court that morning had that same cop’s name at the bottom of their citation. In the case of the few that wanted to come back for a real trial, the prosecutor first asked the officer if a certain date was okay for him, (about five months in the future) then asked the offender if it suited him. It was all done lickety-split. Like an assembly line. Wham bam thank you… Everyone who stayed paid a fine but left knowing they saved some money and points. The conviction rate is huge! Not to mention it saves the courtroom time for more important cases, or at least for more speeders.

What niggled at me, though, was a comment by my brother-in-law the paralegal just after I got caught. Stunned, he said, “I can’t believe the cop didn’t reduce the speed when he gave you the ticket!”  That has happened to me several times over the 22 years I’ve lived in Ontario.  But in this case, it did not. I was a cop for one year (1969) and it seemed to me that this officer would likely be paid overtime for going to court if it was his day off. He didn’t even have to give evidence. Or wear his uniform. His presence alone would be enough to make most offenders acquiesce when offered a lesser charge. So why should he reduce the speed at the scene of the crime and let speeders pay the cheap ticket with no points? No fuss no muss. No overtime!  But what the hey. That’s just the way it is.

After all this rambling, my point is…(drum roll please)…you may not need to pay $350 for an ex cop to go to court for you and get the charges dropped (or just reduced, as is usually the outcome and what I like to think is another scam a guy on a pension making easy money (and boy do I wish that was me), or a lawyer who will cost a whole lot more. My thinking is that if you are given three choices on the ticket, pick the one that says “Meet with the prosecutor.”  What have you got to lose but a couple of hours and some gas money? Ask for the charges to be diminished or dropped and see what happens. If you do not get satisfaction, try it in court. If it’s no dice with what will probably be a different prosecutor there, ask for another court date and come back with the big guns. Or, just pay the ticket.

This poem is just for fun. Kinda juvenile. Sorry. I banged it out in the ’80’s on a Vendex Head Start computer, my first. It had no hard drive, just two floppy disk slots, one for the program I would be working in and the other to use as the tabula rasa. At any rate, I don’t know whether the “F” keys still do the same thing on current computers.

•••

Old Computer

When words all melt together, “Find the cursor!” laughs the screen.

But when they’re helter skelter, disc error‘s what they mean.

They continually defy me, make me delve into “the Book”.

Dictators, they deprive me, but let’s take another look.

F2 will justify them, “Flush Right!” the sergeant screams.

F6 promises to hide them, but F8 wakes them from their dreams.

Arrows send them hiking onward and can call them back in line.

Page Up lures them to the barracks, Page Down drags them back, quick time.

Cap Lock stands them at attention, Scroll Lock makes them dance a reel.

Num Lock transforms their essence, Ctrl can bend their will.

Shift will make them sit or stand. Print Screen can make them tell.

And if they give me trouble, I’ll Delete them all to Hell!

Procrastination

pro.cras.ti.na.tion \ p(r) -‘kras-t -,na-sh n\ n

[L procrastinatus, pp. of procrastinare, fr. pro-forward + crastinus of tomorrow, fr. cras tomorrow]

vt: to put off intentionally and habitually: postpone; vi: to put off intentionally and reprehensibly the doing of something that should be done

pro.cre.ate

pro.crustean bed

Pro.crus.tes

pro.cryp.tic

proc.to.log.ic

proc.to.lol.o.gist

proc.tol.o.gy   I don’t like where this is going. Perhaps I should take my thumb out.

March, ’89

With apologies to an old Webster’s dictionary which I no longer have.

Webster's Dictionary

Bucket List

Because I am reeling from my recent hit by the big 65, my bucket list has for a few minutes taken precedence over wishes, hopes, ambitions and all else that I might have planned to do in the future. Future being the key word. Of course the list changes constantly as some become less important and others grow in stature. These drops in the bucket are pretty current but are by no means in any kind of order.

My “B” list involves travel to a large degree. For me, sometimes it’s the journey not the end that counts. It also involves music.

1. Visit my daughter Keri-Lynn, her husband Raymond and grandchildren Iva, Cody, Tristan and Benjamin. They live in Kelowna,  BC and I haven’t seen them for three years! They might not wish to see me, however, as I am always late with their Christmas and birthday presents. I sent their Christmas presents two weeks late and in the box I put some clothes I had bought for Ben’s third birthday. He’ll be four in less than a month. (Late flash…Keri called and they fit!) (I finally got there on March 1st and spent two great weeks with the family. It had been SIX years!)

Kelowna Grandkids

Kelowna Grandkids

 

2. I want to see New Orleans during Mardi Gras, although I’d gladly settle for anytime. I would head straight to a venue that offers Zydeco. That squeeze box makes me feel like dancing!  

3. I would like to tour Ireland. My interest has been sharpened by the books of Fr. Andrew M. Greeley. I found his Nuala Anne McGrail novels, which take place both in modern and historical Chicago and Ireland, fascinating and hilarious. I might consider inviting Michelle along, herself being half Irish. But, in order to make the ticket, she’d have to learn to make cabbage rolls and plum perogies from someone on the Ukrainian side of her family.

4. While in the vicinity, I would certainly go to Scotland and visit the Mull of Kintyre, made famous by Paul McCartney’s beautiful song which draws tears every time I hear it.

5. Speaking of Scotland, I have always wanted to learn to play the bagpipes. I love all kinds of music, but the driving Scottish pipes and the haunting lament of Irish Uilleann pipes fill me with a rush from above my nose to the end of my toes. In my 20’s, I used to haul my stereo outside and crank up Farewell to the Greys, by the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, much to my neighbors’ delight I might add. Especially at 8:00 am after they’d been up partying ’til 4:oo.

6. An absurdly impossible dream, but I’d love Joan Baez to sing her version of Amazing Grace when my family tosses my ashes to the wind.  Or, her cover of The Band’s The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down while I’m still on the way out.  That song tugs pretty hard. Joan Baez is one of my faves.

Joan Baez

Joan Baez

7. Afognak Wilderness Lodge, Seal Bay, Kodiak Alaska. I made some friends several years ago while working in the booth next to that of Shannon Randall and her sons Josh and Luke at various International conventions.  The Randalls own and operate this fabulous lodge which offers photographic opportunities and hunting and fishing purported to be second to none. I salivated whenever they spoke about their lodge and have wanted to visit them ever since. I was awed when Luke described his crab fishing adventures in the Bering Sea years before “Deadliest Catch” aired on TV.   Someday soon.  NO NO! I don’t mean I want to go crab fishing.  www.Afognakwildernesslodge.com

8. I want to reclaim the passion I need to write my best. I for one cannot write without a muse, or at least, passion. 

9. Visit New York City Absolutely fabulous. Been there a few times now, but that’s another blog.

10. Holiday in Maui  Best holiday ever. Whale watching was my favourite pastime. That and drinking Kona coffee and reading on the lanai with my binoculars at my side. I could have done it all day long if it hadn’t been for Michelle dragging me off from one beach to another in an effort to find the most powerful undertow and challenge it to a fight to the death. I think she found it at Big Beach. After a long, drawn out battle she won but it took two young fellows to pull her to her feet. Still, I’d go back in a heart beat.

11.The one that meant the most to me –  getting a hug from my beautiful autistic granddaughter. I sobbed like a baby.

Grandpa and Cyndi at the Cottage

Grandpa and Cyndi at the Cottage

12. I would like to learn to speak Spanish, if for no other reason than as a tribute to the late great Ted Labanowich, the Hamilton Spectator’s horse racing reporter who constantly walked up and down the press box muttering phrases he’d just learned.

Ted Labanowich

Ted Labanowich

That’s it for now. If I don’t stop here, its constant state of flux will make more work for you and me. Thanks for coming!

I joined the ranks of Canadica for this post. When Americans and Canadians join forces to write about each other a good time is had by all.

Welcome to Canadica!

As a citizen of Canada, I should be waving the Maple Leaf but aesthetically I prefer the Stars and Stripes. In fact, there are a lot of things I prefer about the USA. Don’t get me wrong, I love the beauty of the Canadian landscape and I appreciate Ontario’s health care, which has improved dramatically for me since turning 65, as well as the gorgeous women of Winnipeg. But…
I love the patriotism shown by Americans, the school spirit instilled in students from a very young age and the NFL. Their Canuck counterparts are general apathy and crappy football. And the American Rockies, the Grand Canyon and the National Parks in Utah boast scenery second to none.
I think the governments on both sides of the border suck ― each has its own brand of dirty politics ― but because I have been watching the local politicians change policies, causing…

View original post 600 more words

Silver Threads

Silver Threads was written for the same creative writing class I mentioned in De Baiting Game but it was also three years into the many Philosophy classes I had been taking. Many delved into religion, and Philosophy, right from Intro101, shook my very foundations. I emerged with this new world view and hautily thought that I was the first to come up
with it. Ha!

So why write poetry? You do it for yourself. It’s an outlet for all that passion, good and evil, that builds up every once in a while.

Silver Threads – by Paul Turney  March 18, 1989

Struck down in the midst of youthful wandering

by the realization — I’ve been squandering

the gifts so subtly placed beneath my feet.

That years wasted in delusion,

Spirit strangling in occlusion

Were all part of the illusion so replete.

Early images conjured up laugh at my pathetic grin,

Sardonic wrinkles the platform on which they stand.

Knowing well I’m on the outside, forever looking in,

Ironically echoing the question, “Ain’t life grand?”

Now, standing at the crossroads and facing my obsession

With the truth and all the rancor that implies.

Can I be sated with depression

And the odd past-life regression?

Should I choose the easy path to my demise?

Or, should I venture out and boldly hunt the Reason

Behind the galaxies … and for my finite being?

For methodic, yet chaotic, is this season

Of realities. What is it that I am really seeing?

I think I’ll search within myself, hoping there to find

Silver threads conjoining each and every soul.

In silent song, the blissful Om, the One omniscient mind

In timelessness, one focus, just one goal.

Should I find this silver cord, will darkness turn to light?

Will voices rise to welcome me? Will I regain my sight?

Will my quintessential essence reveal that all’s not lost?

Or must I forfeit precious gifts?

No gain without some costs?

My Ego battles Karma now, creating this confusion

But I can see, the wool’s removed, and so is the delusion

It has taken all of forty years to find the starting gate

But now I know I’ll join the race, my fears will dissipate.

And should I get lost along the way,

as I have done before

I’ll have silver threads to pull me back

To set me straight once more.

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