Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tiff Tolman and his Culinary Creations

Tiff Tolman is the son of Mary and Albert Tolman of 21 Blechmore Close in Cloverdale. His father submitted his name to the Guiness Book of World Records last week. Tiff’s record, if the Guiness people will consider it worthy of their publication, is the longest time someone has gone without eating a warm meal.

Tiff starting playing with his food as soon as he was able to hold a spoon. At first he rearranged the food over and over again. He tried different color combinations set against the background color of his plate. Soon Tiff discovered it was the shape of food that fascinated him. Take a steak or pork chops for example. He is lost for a good hour while he stares at the shape of the cut for a pattern that reminds him of a person, place, or thing. His eyes grow large and he breaths normally again when a solution to the geometric challenge manifests itself. Of course this is well after the food has reached room temperature. With knife and fork he begins to sculpt. A cut here and a slice there brings the once shapeless slab of meat into a something recognizable. It could be a household object, animal or famous film star. When the work is complete he takes a bite or two and leaves the empty table.

Once out of frustration, Mary decided to serve broth for supper. She thought its ingredientless nature would befuddle Tiff to the point where his overactive imagination would settle and allow him to enjoy one meal with his family. The bowl of beef broth was placed before him. He looked at it for several minutes. He picked up his spoon, put it in the broth and stirred. Mary and Albert watched. They wondered if their battle with Tiff was over. Had they finally found a food he was powerless against? Five minutes into supper Tiff stopped stirring. He looked at his mother and asked if there was anything else for supper. “That’s all Tiff,” she replied. “Now eat, its getting cold.”

Tiff knew the table rules. He couldn’t add anything to his food that wasn’t on the table. He seemed shaken. With most soups there were vegetables or noodles or chunks of meat. This broth had nothing. A sadness clouded his bright green eyes. The joy of meal time was replaced with a solemnness that brought both his parent’s spoons to a stop. Mary and Albert’s little boy was beaten. He picked up his spoon, put it in the bowl and brought out a helping of broth. It was still warm. He moved it toward his mouth. His trembling hand stopped just before the metal touched his lips. A tear fell from his eye and landed in the dark brown liquid. Mary knew her boy. She knew when he was happy and sad but she had never seen him like this. His eyes were tearing. His lips trembled. His spirit was broken.
“Stop,” she said in a whisper. Mary looked at Albert. He nodded. She got up from the table, walked to the counter and picked up a loaf of bread. A moment later she returned with a saucer holding five slices of wonderful Wonderbread. She set the bread in front of Tiff.

Tiff put the spoon back into the soup. “Thanks Mom,” he said as he wiped his tears with a napkin.
“You’re welcome Tiff,” Mary said. “You’re my artist so make something nice for your father and me.” Tiff picked up four slices of bread, closed his eyes and waited for inspiration to whisper a picture into his head.

Tiff hasn’t had a warm meal in many years. He may be a bit of an embarrassment at times when company comes or when the family goes out to eat but Mary and Albert have learned to accept their boy as he is and relish in that which makes him unique in this world of billions of people. Mary and Albert would have him no other way.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Rebecca Won't Speak

Classified Ads
Cloverdale Reporter. April 26, 2009

Please help. A dad in trouble with his princess. I bought the blue dress with white lace instead of the white dress with blue satin trim at Donaldson’s Department Store on April 25. My princess Rebecca is heartbroken. Wife is upset. I’m in the doghouse. Rebecca refuses to speak to me. Wife has revoked bowling night.
I’m looking for whoever bought the Sweetheart Line white dress with blue satin trim on April 25 after 2:00 P.M. to call Cloverdale 3254. I will pay you double what you paid and throw in a blue dress with white lace. Please help a dad restore a daughter’s love. There is only one day until the Cinderella Ball. I’m waiting by the phone with cash in hand.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Devin Dubbs and His Day of Duty

This is Devin Dubbs. Devin is a member of Cloverdale’s small congregation of Universal Unitarians. Although he understands the basic principles of Unitarianism he can't be bothered to give it more than a grumble of interest on a Sunday morning. Devin is like all other teenagers. He is more interested in sleep than church.

The picture was taken last Sunday morning while Devin stood outside Cloverdale's Drive In Theater collecting offerings as the Unitarians left Sunday service. The Unitarians can’t afford a building of their own. Renting a building is out of the question. The next best thing is to rent Cloverdale’s Drive In Theater. Going to church at a drive in theater is the one thing Devin likes. When not on collection duty he can sleep in the back seat of the car during the service.

Every Sunday Morning the Unitarians drive to church. They pull into the Drive In, park at an incline and attach the metal speaker to the inside of the front window. At 10:00 A.M. the leader of the congregation appears on the Snack Bar roof with microphone in one hand and a clip board with his sermon in the other. Music is supplied by tape recorder. The congregation is asked to leave their car windows down (weather permitting) so their singing can be heard car to car. Tail gating is encouraged, so many members arrive well before the sermon for an early morning Coleman stove breakfast.

After the sermon, and an assortment of hymns, the closing of service is announced and all are encouraged to do two things:
1. Attend next Sunday with a friend.
2. Make a donation on the way out of the theater, being careful not to back up or risk severe tire damage on the spikes across the exit gate.

Devin hated last Sunday because he had offering duty at the exit. Everyone hates offering duty. You have to dress up, and for a Unitarian that alone reeked of establishmentarism. Normally Devin wore a t-shirt and shorts to church. What difference did it make? He never left his car so who cared? But on offering duty a shirt and tie was required. Devin's mother took it one step further by making him wear a suit. Offering Duty meant standing in all weather while holding the wicker offering basket. The guidelines for obtaining a donation are:

1. Approach the exiting car with a smile and polite wave.
2. Move cautiously in front of the car thus forcing the driver to stop. Be prepared to move out of its way if the car won't stop.
3. Extend the basket toward any adult female in the car. Adults females are twice as likely to make a donation than males.
4. Be sure to thank everyone in the car for their generous support of the congregation.

Devin got up, showered, and put on his suit. He grumbled loudly when he discovered it was raining. He swore under his breath when he discovered he forgot his umbrella and nobody else could produce one. Why should they? They got to sit in the comfort of their cars while he stood at the exit drenched.

He got out of his car and ran to the exit at the final amen. After a few minutes he looked like a drowned rat. He tried to smile but couldn't tell if it was working because his cheeks seemed frozen in the cold rain. He approached each exiting car with chattering teeth and the basket in hand. Many felt sorry for this dedicated young boy and gave extra that Sunday morning. Devin was not happy about that at all. Returning with a full basket meant you had the ‘look’ and having the ‘look’ meant getting extra donation days. Devin heard of some boys and girls keeping donations in an attempt to avoid getting extra donation duty. Although Devin understood their motives he couldn’t join them. He was too honest.

Devin did well last Sunday. He got home, had a nice Sunday lunch and spent the rest of the day with his video games. He did his duty for his Higher Power and Country. Devin is a True Blue Dunce at heart and a proud member of the Cloverdale’s small yet growing Unitarian community.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Confederacy News Service Update.

Even the Queen takes homeland security seriously. She was photographed recently while on duty along the English / Scottish border. A sign on the side of her Land Rover read, "None Shall Pass".

Cloverdale Weekend Television. An Evening of Music. You're Missing

There is passion in living and in passing. This song celebrates the passion of loss when someone that was part of us is forever gone. What's left is an empty chair, clothes in the closet, pictures on the nightstand and a sense that the air you breath can no longer sustain you.

You'll see several of Bruce Springstein's videos on Cloverdale Weekend Television. His music is unique and for that reason alone belongs in a place that celebrates the uniqueness of our human condition. Here in our Confederacy we celebrate that which makes us alike and that which makes us different.

Take joy in the people around you. Stop long enough to reevaluate what it is about your loved ones and friends that causes you to include them in your life's journey.

You'll understand.

Dolf and Daisy's Front Porch Museum

Dolf and Daisy Dumbleman live seven miles outside of Cloverdale on the Coastal Highway. A passing motorist might comment on the sorry state of their humble cabin. It tilts slightly to the south. The wood is a few months from petrification and there are no visible signs of technology older that the 1860’s. The cabin is surrounded by some of the prettiest countryside on God’s good Earth. Emerald green grass surrounds the rustic ruin. An outhouse with a half moon carved into its door adds that post century feel. A two minute stroll off the front porch brings you to One Hop Creek. Its crystal clear mountain waters are known to heal troubled minds and sooth sore joints.

Dolf and Daisy squatted on this property over fifty years ago. The owner isn’t bothered. He purchased the land as an investment and holds it in a well diversified portfolio. One day the land will be sold. One day Dolf and Daisy will move, but not today. Today is another day to add new and precious finds to their Front Porch Museum.

A visitor to the cabin is greeted by Dolf’s dog Ratbait. Ratbait barks the alarm and begins the never ending process of attempting to break free of his rope and collar. Ratbait charges as fast as his fifteen year old legs will carry him. The barking is cut off in mid syllable with a yelp. Ratbait has reached the end of the rope.

The barking brings either Dolf or Daisy or both to the door. Your identity will be challenged with a “Who is it?”. It really doesn’t matter what you say. They don’t get out much so the devil himself would find a warm welcome. The coldest receptions are reserved for anyone selling door to door and Jehovah’s Witnesses. The warmest receptions are given to anyone inquiring about or bringing a treasure to donate to the museum.

A museum guest has a special chair on the porch. Your backside is cushioned by a twice folded blanket. It is wise not to look too closely. It was scheduled for a good wash back in 1984 but Daisy ran out of detergent. Your back rests against a green, white and black stripped blanket.

Daisy, the ever perfect hostess, serves hot tea in Silver Jubilee mugs adorned with the faces of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. The mugs were recovered from Cloverdale’s landfill in 1993 on one of the Dumbleman’s foraging safaris. The honey tea, both drinkable and digestible, is made from the pure water of One Hop Creek.

With drink in hand, Dolf takes the seat to your left and begins the guided tour of what he considers the most interesting items in his collection that exemplify the human condition. You’ll hear the story of the old washing board with a two roller ringer. You’ll marvel at the couple’s whisky bottle collection collected over fifty years. Dolf and Daisy enjoy a bit of the distilled mountain spirits before going to bed. It dulls the senses and helps them into a good night’s sleep. No tour of the Front Porch Museum is complete until Dolf tells the story of Chief Yellow Drum, whose bust hangs over the cabin’s front door. The Chief is their talisman, always bringing good luck, except for that bad bout of the flu they both suffered in January.

The tour ends when Dolf feels the urge. He has bladder control problems and finds he needs to relieve himself on a regular basis. Pictures are allowed of the collection but not of Dolf and Daisy. They prefer to dress casually. City clothes are worn only on those specials days of the year when they go into Cloverdale for a drink at the Kicking Donkey to celebrate a unique find for the Front Porch Museum.