Humph! Day #16 At the Border

For those of you who have been around long enough to have read this post, I apologize.  For my new followers, I’m repeating a previous post.  A while back a realized that some of my posts weren’t posting correctly and after saying Humph! a few times, I decided to revisit my older posts on Wednesdays.  What better day to have a Humph! day than a Wednesday?  🙂

At the Border

Bill and I have always enjoyed traveling to Canada.  We’ve had a few funny things happen at the border…

We were once pulled out of a long line of cars for inspection.  This wasn’t just a quick look in the trunk.  This was a “take everything out of the car and go over it with a fine-tooth comb” type of inspection.  Once the car was empty, they started going through our things.  They pulled our cassette tapes out (now you see how very long ago this was!)  They emptied my Advil bottle and inspected every pill.  They even emptied out our box of Triscuit crackers!  After all was said and done, nothing was found.  Once we packed everything back in the car I asked the border guard why we were singled out for such a thorough inspection.  He told us it was because we were driving a Saab Turbo.  Apparently, that car was a preferred model for drug runners.  Sigh…those tapes never did play right after that, and the Triscuits certainly didn’t taste the same.

Another time we were crossing over and we were stopped for a quick inspection.  It was one of our first trips over and we didn’t realize that we could only bring a small amount of beer back from Canada.  We had outdone ourselves in the beer department.  I think we had six cases!  We were driving a small Nissan wagon and it was easy to see exactly what we had back there.  The border guard took one look and told us that they charge duty on that much alcohol.  We didn’t know that and we must have looked pitiful because he let us go, but not before he helped us repack the car so that the alcohol didn’t show.  Why did he do this?  Because he said that even though he was letting us go, it was illegal to travel in the state of Maine with that much alcohol!  Imagine that happening today?

Then there was the time I thought I wouldn’t be let back in the States because I bought too much yarn.  Yup, you read that right…yarn!  Ok, so I did buy a lot of yarn.  I won’t deny it, but it wasn’t like I was trying to run guns or anything!

Yet again we were singled out.  I guess that Saab Turbo really was a red flag no matter what crossing we took!  This one was about 150 miles away from home.  Anyhow, we had to show our driver’s licenses before the inspection started.  The guard took a look at Bill’s license and said: “are you Archie’s boy?”  Bill nodded.  The guard grinned and said: “go on then, and say hi to your Dad for me!”

Humph! Day #14 Linda with the Geese

For those of you who have been around long enough to have read this post, I apologize.  For my new followers, I’m repeating a previous post.  A while back a realized that some of my posts weren’t posting correctly and after saying Humph! a few times, I decided to revisit my older posts on Wednesdays.  What better day to have a Humph! day than a Wednesday?  🙂

Linda with the Geese


Many years ago I kept chickens.  I didn’t keep them to eat them.  I didn’t even care if they laid eggs.  I just liked chickens.  Like many things in my life, they became a collection of sorts.  Everyone should have a chicken collection at least once in their life.  But I’m not here to talk about chickens, I’m here to talk about geese.

Since I was keeping a coop anyhow, why not have a couple of geese?  We found a place not too far away that bred Pilgrim geese and I was hell-bent on having some.  The cool thing about Pilgrims is that you can tell the sexes apart.  The males are white and the females are gray. I picked up my goslings, one gray, one white and named them yin and yang.  I brought them home in hopes that they would flourish.  And flourish, they did!

These geese terrorized my poor husband Bill.  He would get out of the car and they would be right there hissing at him with their necks extended.  He was not a fan of the geese, and the feeling was mutual.  In an effort to win them over, he would feed them bread a few pieces at a time.  It didn’t work.

Bill and the geeselate summer 2008 (2013_02_23 22_24_41 UTC)

Let me just make it clear that I realize Bill is dressed rather oddly here.  It’s not often you can see a man feeding geese while wearing a postal uniform shirt and red shorts that look like skorts.  Oh, how I hate those ‘skorty’ shorts.  He says they are perfect for bike rides.  I think they are the perfect contraceptive fashion statement.  We won’t even talk about the moccasin slippers, but hey…Look at those socks!!!”  How can you NOT look at those socks!?

To be fair, that shocked look on his face is there because he didn’t expect me to take a picture of him.  That face is very much like the face he gave me when I showed him the picture and told him I was going to post it.  He truly is a long-suffering husband.

Obviously, I’ve digressed.  As you can see in the photo, he would tear up the bread and feed them the small pieces.  I have since learned that his feeding ritual wasn’t always so peaceful.  Apparently, when he fed them those bread bits, the geese would often hiss at him and sometimes even charge at him!  My mild-mannered husband would then take the slices of bread, ball them up into goose-seeking projectiles and proceed to take his shots!  The geese were not amused.  I think it’s safe to say that goose-bombing did not improve the Bill/goose diplomacy issues.  He tried to win them over and failed.  He tried to bomb them and failed.  All that resulted was an escalation of force.

You will notice that there are three geese in the top pic, and they are all gray.  That’s because my white gander ended up in a fight.  Somehow a skunk got into the chicken coop. The gander obviously was not happy with the unwanted interloper.  In the scuffle, the chicken door closed behind the skunk, and suddenly and they were in a cage match to the death.  From what I found in the aftermath, it was quite a skirmish.  The combatants were serious.  Dead serious. Neither survived.  I’m glad I wasn’t there to see it.  As it was,  I thought I’d have to put 9 chickens through psychotherapy because they were never the same.  Psycho Chicken…ok, let’s not go there.

I was down to one gray goose.  Yang was gone and Yin was a lone widow goose.  At least she was until the morning I looked out the window and I was seeing triple.  There were three gray geese out there!  Three!  We asked if any of the neighbors were missing two geese.  Truly we asked one neighbor.  There is only one house close enough to make a goose pilgrimage feasible.  No missing geese, however, it was postulated that people up the road had a pair and perhaps they ummm “lost” them on our lawn.  That might be true because one of them had a wing deformity as you can see in the pics.  Perhaps they only wanted mint condition geese.

These three geese, named Yin, Winger, and Goozilla, were well known by all who traveled our road.  They loved the side of the road, especially when it was raining.  If we met someone new and we were trying to describe the place we would always start out with “white cape with the rose hedge….” and by that time they would interject with “You’re the people with the geese!”  I always interpreted that excitable tone to the fact that they liked geese, too.  Bill pointed out that perhaps they had some car-swerving-to-miss-goose excitement near our house and that was the cause of the excitable tone.  What did they know?  I just saw the geese as fun moving lawn ornaments.  Who doesn’t love a moving lawn ornament when it’s fun?

Then the unthinkable happened.  Ok, Bill said it was very thinkable.  Everyone thought it was very thinkable, except me.  I was shocked when Yin was hit by a pulp truck.  She was standing between the rose hedge and the road and had nowhere to go.  I picked up her limp body and placed her on the lawn and went looking for a shovel so I could bury her.  Shovel in hand, I came around the corner of the house and there she was, walking across the lawn!  I won’t say she would have passed a sobriety test because she was pretty wobbly, but she was walking!  By the next day, she was fine.  I never did find out how the pulp truck fared.

This last bit will seem rather far-fetched, but I swear it is true.

I had an online friend who got a kick out of my descriptions of rural life.  He lived in Atlanta and he couldn’t wrap his head around the workings of a town as small as Cornville.  I proposed a test.  I told him to send a postcard addressed like this:

Linda with the geese, 04976

That was it.  No number, no street, not even a town.  That last part was particularly impressive because our town doesn’t have a post office or its own zip code.  Our mail comes out of the next town over.  That meant that a mail carrier, in another town, had to figure out who I was.  I got the envelope in two days.  Not bad from Atlanta.  That wasn’t bad even if it had been properly addressed!  I guess my geese really were famous!

I told my friend I had received it and he asked what the message was inside to prove that I truly got it.  I read it back to him and it said:  “If you get this, I will be astonished.”       Yup, he was astonished.


Quick Apology And Then On With The Show!

I haven’t been reading or commenting much the last few days and I just wanted to apologize for not being as “present” as I usually am.

My elder Great Dane Levi was ill again and I’ve been playing nursemaid.  After a fever of 103.6 and three days of not eating, I am happy to report that his antibiotics have kicked in.  HIs fever is gone and he had something to eat tonight.  I’ve been bribing him with wet cat foot to get him to take his pill the last couple of days and even then it was difficult.  Now he’s gotten used to that and I gave him his food tonight and he just looked at me as though he knew I had a can of cat food at the ready.  Of course, I did!  Smart dog!

Anyhow, I’ll be posting a great Guest in Jest soon and I hope things will be back to normal.

From Mushrooms to Moonshine

It all started when I came home from work and found a butterscotch-colored VW microbus in my driveway.  I pulled in and as soon as I got out of my car, the door of the microbus swung open and a most interesting character appeared.  He was short with salt and pepper hair with a beard to match.  He wore jeans and cowboy boots and his swagger completed the look.  I couldn’t for the life of me guess what he might want.

He ambled over and pointed to a spot on my lawn next to the road.  “Do you mind if I take those mushrooms?” he asked?  I won’t lie.  I was a little dumbfounded.  I didn’t even know there were mushrooms over there.  I certainly didn’t know there were edible mushrooms over there.  Then I began to wonder just what kind of mushrooms they were. Was I growing psychedelic mushrooms unknowingly?  Sure he could have them.  He gathered them up and drove away in his microbus.

I have to admit that I was literally shaking my head as I thought about the odd exchange.  This guy looked like he came out of the 60’s.  He wasn’t really a hippie, but he had the microbus so that gave him a bit of a 60’s vibe right there.  He was kind of a hippie cowboy.  I didn’t even know those two words could go together!  Anyhow, I thought that was the end of it, but it wasn’t.

I don’t remember when he came back, or why.  What I do remember is that Bill was playing his guitar when he came to the door.  He said he played, too and he’d be right back.  Sure enough, in a few minutes, he was back with his own guitar.  It did not escape me that his quick return meant he lived very close by.

We learned that his name was Bill, too.  That’s where the similarity ended.  It’s going to be very difficult to keep the Bill’s straight in this story so I will call my husband Bill, and the other Bill “Other Bill.”  Original, huh?

This microbus-cowboy boot-wearing Other Bill was not one to be one-upped.   He wanted to hear Bill play.  Bill obliged by playing a quiet piece by Bach.  Other Bill smiled and proceeded to play with gusto. l admit now that I couldn’t remember the title of the song.  It might have been Spanish Flea or Spanish Fly, but it was some sort of Spanish insect.  Spanish Fly sounded about right after the whole mushroom episode.

Bill informs me now that I was wrong, it was Spanish Flang Dang.  My insect theory was dashed, but at least it was Spanish!  What the hell is a flang dang anyway?  I’m not sure I want to know.  Other Bill also played something that was very fast and impressive.  I can’t remember the name of that song either, but he was obviously very proud of himself.

I have to admit, he was really good.   He very much wanted us to think he was amazing.  He left sporting an air of arrogance that was undeniable.  After that, I figured he’d probably had enough of us mere mortals.  But no, he wasn’t, not by a long-shot. Apparently, playing those songs weren’t enough to prove his superiority indisputably.  Why he felt he had something to prove, I’ll never know, but it irked me.  It irked me a lot.  I don’t do well with blowhards.

It was Christmas Eve when he invited us to his house for a bit of Christmas cheer.  My mother was visiting us so she tagged along.  My Mom was a Baptist deaconess, but she was pretty much a live-and-let-live kind of person.  Little did she know what was in store as we were heading up to Other Bill’s house.

As he opened the door all I could smell was burnt coffee.  He smiled and pointed to a spatterware enameled coffee pot.  It looked like it came out of a Western movie.  I suppose it matched his cowboy boot persona.  Seeing that, I wasn’t surprised when he asked us if we wanted some “cowboy coffee.”  It had been boiling on that woodstove all afternoon and was about as thick as molasses.  He offered us a cup.  Bill and my Mom were smart enough to politely decline.  Not me!  I’m not smart at all as you’ll see as this story unfolds.

Seeing Other Bill try to one-up my Bill in such a dramatic fashion with those guitar songs had not been forgotten.  If he could drink that sludge in a pot, so could I!  Did I mention that his superiority complex irked me?  This cowboy was going to have a little comeuppance if I had anything to say about it!

Other Bill seemed surprised that I survived the coffee, but he wasn’t done.  He brought out an array of baked goods.  They all looked yummy, but every single one of them was laced with a LOT of alcohol.  Brandy and rum were high on the list of ingredients for these potent pastries.  I think there was some whiskey in there, too.  Again, smart people that they are, Bill and my Mom nibbled a bit and smiled like appreciative guests.

I am so stupid when I think I have something to prove.  There was some irony there and I knew I wasn’t any better than he was by trying to bring him off his pedestal.  That didn’t stop me.  If he could stomach this stuff, so could I.  I refused to be outdone.

His round oak table was covered in these treats and I tried them all.  Nope, he wasn’t going to outdo me in the pastry department, even though my alcohol level was probably high enough to make a breathalyzer melt.   It didn’t matter.  I watched his face as I matched him bite for bite.  I didn’t have to win this stupid game of one-upmanship.  I just needed him to realize that he wasn’t as great as he thought he was.

I thought at that point we would just exchange some pleasantries and be on our way.  Oh no, it couldn’t be that easy.  It was then that moonshine came out.  I’d never seen a mason jar of real moonshine before but I had an inkling it might be my undoing.  He was practically gleeful as he told us just how potent it was.

Saying it wasn’t enough apparently.  He cleared the table, poured a pretty good splash of moonshine on it and set it on fire.  Yes, we were sitting there while the table was burning.  His eyes were twinkling as he looked for a reaction.  Bill and Mom stepped away like sane people, but I didn’t move a muscle.  I was committed at that point.  I was now beyond irked.  I waited for the inevitable.

The fire burned itself out and Other Bill poured two shots.  He wasn’t even asking Bill or my Mom anymore.  This was between us.  My eyes were like slits as we went back and forth, shot for shot, till the mason jar was empty.  At that point, he had nothing more to offer.  We were at a stalemate and we said our goodbyes.

I would like to leave the story at that say that I went home happy knowing I stood up to that arrogant ass.  The truth of the matter is that once I was home, I walked in the door and headed straight for the bathroom.  I revisited every bite and every drop that I’d swallowed that night.  But you know what?  It didn’t matter.  He didn’t have to know that. All he knew was that he hadn’t won.  It was a vomit of victory!

Humph! Day #11 “Pennys” from Heaven

When I found out that a number of my posts were buried away in the archives rather than published in order, the first word that came out of my mouth was Humph!!! I decided I would reincarnate some of my old posts in a regular weekly series and I’d call it Humph! Day.  What better day of the week should I have Humph! Day?  Wednesday, of course.  My apologies to those who have read this one before.

“Pennys” from Heaven


A few years ago I bought an old Saab 900 Turbo convertible.  She is awesome!  Even though she’s officially an antique, we drive her every year.  Each spring we liberate her from the barn where she hibernates during the winter.

When I bought her I knew I had to name her Penny.  It was a few months after my Mom died and she loved the name Penny.  She also loved the color green and that happened to be Penny’s color.

During my childhood, many things in my life were named Penny.  I think every single boat my Dad had was named and he had a lot of boats.  Even my guinea pig was named Penny!  I never really thought about it then; having the name Penny everywhere was just normal.

It wasn’t till I was an adult that I learned how Mom’s fondness for all things Penny started.  It seems my parents were on their honeymoon and they stayed in what was known then as a “housekeeping cottage.”   My Dad was an ardent fisherman and my mother was ardent about making my Dad happy.  So my fisherman Dad and my city Mom went off on a fishing honeymoon.  They both had a ball.

As my Mom was telling me this story, I kept wondering where the Penny part came in. Come to find out, the people who rented out the housekeeping cottages had a dog named Penny.  I said “That’s it?  That’s all there is to this long line of Pennys?  There was a dog you knew for one week in the 1950’s and we’ve been naming everything Penny since then?”  I was a bit nonplussed.  Ok, I was a lot nonplussed.  Then I started to wonder why I wasn’t named Penny.  I guess even my Mom didn’t want to name me after a dog, but I suppose it would have been an honor, all things considered. That Golden Retriever had such an impact on my Mom.  She must have been one hell of a dog!

When we first got Penny, she had wonky lights.  I’d open the back and the trunk lights would blink.  I’d touch the brake and the inside lights would blink.  I was convinced my mother was haunting me through Penny.  It was a happy haunting.  It pleased me everytime it happened.  It was like she was winking at me from beyond the grave.

Penny had a problem though.  The driver’s seat wouldn’t go back all the way.  I lived with it for a while but finally took it to the mechanic to see what was up.  He took the seat apart and fixed it.  When I asked him what was causing the trouble he showed me a badly crushed coin.  It was a penny.

Humph! Day #10 Put It Away!


Put it away!


Walter sitting couch back

When I found out that a number of my posts were buried away in the archives rather than published in order, the first word that came out of my mouth was Humph!!! I decided I would reincarnate some of my old posts in a regular weekly series and I’d call it Humph! Day.  What better day of the week should I have Humph! Day?  Wednesday, of course.

Walter, is my crazy Great Dane puppy.  I know, you’ve heard about him many times before, and there will be more in the future.  He’s THAT crazy!

Anyhow, Walter has a tendency to be rather immodest.  He will often sit in such a way to show off his manly dog parts.  When he does this, I will say “Put your penis away!”  One day my friend Wendy was over and suddenly Walter decided to expose himself.  When I said, “Put your penis away!”  Wendy chuckled.  We both practically died laughing when we heard my husband from the other end of the house say “Yes, dear.”

Humph! Day #8

My Martial Arts Prowess

When I found out that a number of my posts were buried away in the archives rather than published in order, the first word that came out of my mouth was Humph!!! I decided I would reincarnate some of my old posts in a regular weekly series and I’d call it Humph! Day.  What better day of the week should I have Humph! Day?  Wednesday, of course.

I was probably ten or twelve when I saw this awesome show on TV about the martial arts.  These people were beyond belief!  They could chop boards in half, they did all of these really tricky kicks and hand movements.  I was enthralled.  Then I noticed one of them taking his opponent down by pushing against his shoulder and kicking the back of his leg at the same time.  It was beautiful AND, it was something I thought I could do!

I crafted my cunning plan.  My Dad was outside shoveling.  It was one of those really heavy snows and the road was a mess of gritty slush.  I walked out there and I just knew I could take him down!  Now rest assured, this was not something that came out of the blue.  We were always trying to best each other in something or other.

I gave him fair warning.  I told him I’d just seen this cool move on TV.  He told me to give it my best shot.  That when I executed the move perfectly…in my head.  Another part of me became aware that I was sitting in slush!  It was like trying to move the unmovable!  I retreated to the sound of his laughter with my cold, gritty tail between my legs.

Humph! Day #6

When I found out that a number of my posts were buried away in the archives rather than published in order, the first word that came out of my mouth was Humph!!! I decided I would reincarnate some of my old posts in a regular weekly series and I’d call it Humph! Day.  What better day of the week should I have Humph! Day?  Wednesday, of course.

Fishing Lures of a Certain Speed

My Dad was a great fisherman.  He not only enjoyed the act of fishing but also the research and acquisition of fishing gear. When I was small, I used to love poring over the catalogs with him trying to figure out what might land that big rainbow trout.

One day he turned a page in one of his catalogs and started to laugh.  When I asked what was so funny, he tried to change the topic.  I was not a child to be left out of a good joke so he finally gave in and said that fishing lures could have fast action or slow action.  I guess it was how fast they spin, I don’t remember that part.

What I do remember is that this particular lure was called  The Half-Fast Lure. Obviously, the lure wasn’t too slow or too fast.  I was probably seven or so and I didn’t understand why that was so funny.  Much to my mother’s chagrin, my Dad had to explain the concept of “half-assed” to me.  Anytime I hear that phrase I always think of my Dad and smile.

Quid Pro Quote #8

This quote is a personal one from houstonphotojourney 

Let’s send her some positive thoughts as Harvey bears down on Houston!

“My quote is a simple one I got from my daughter when I asked her what the ink on the back of her hand was about??? It just looked like this:
She said she was having a rough day and it was her reminder to Be Positive 🙂
I’ve borrowed it about a million times since! 🙂
Take care and love that ya keep me laughing!!!

Humph! Day #5

When I found out that a number of my posts were buried away in the archives rather than published in order, the first word that came out of my mouth was Humph!!! I decided I would reincarnate some of my old posts in a regular weekly series and I’d call it Humph! Day.  What better day of the week should I have Humph! Day?  Wednesday, of course.

I’m Married to a Fruit Bat

My husband Bill is the most health-conscious person I know.  I swear “organic” is his middle name.  I have never seen anyone scour product labels like he does.  “Too much sodium!” “Too much sugar!”  “Not enough fiber!”  These are just a few of his proclamations as we go through the grocery store.

Bill is healthy in the exercise department, too.  He was a mailman for a third of a century and his route was 10-12 miles a day, depending on snow conditions.  Even in retirement, he walks five miles a day.  He snowshoes, hikes, bikes and does everything right.  Yet, he suffers.

In spite of Bill’s adherence to this very healthy lifestyle, he has a bad back.  It’s probably from all of those years of carrying a mail satchel.  After all, he walked the equivalent of the circumference of the earth 4 times over while carrying those heavy loads.  This thought gives him no solace.  One way or another he was going to beat this back thing!

Bill searched far and wide for back-relieving products.  Being the healthy guy he is, he won’t take prescriptions.  Instead, he takes supplements.  Some of these are pretty interesting. Many of the bottles lining his shelf are food-related.  One of them is a derivative of grapes and red wine.  Others come from cranberries, cherries and other fruits.  In spite of all of this, his back still bothers him.

Then he discovered the inversion table.  You lie down on it and then tip it till your head is lower than your feet.  When you hang that way, it takes the pressure off your spine.  If you are really intrepid, you can become perfectly vertical.  I have become used to seeing him hanging there, totally upside down, and marvel that he is so comfortable doing it.

It’s all becoming clear to me now. Fruit is his favorite snack; even his supplements are fruit-derived!  Quite clearly, he’s batshit crazy.  Not only that, he hangs upside down.  It’s obvious.  I’m married to a fruit bat!

The photo was obtained from