Thursday, August 27, 2009

An Email from the Sea View Fun Park.

This is the last weekday Tamworth on Tide’s Sea View Fun Park will be open for the summer season of 2009. Next week, Sea View will open weekends only. Attendance numbers drop sharply when the Confederacy’s schools open.

I’m writing this while parked on a bench watching the setting sun. The Lady Belle’s Swings circle overhead, accompanied by melodies played on a real steam driven pipe organ. I'm seriously hoping one of the kiddies doesn't get sick and toss their partially digested hot dog and chips over my head. Talk about stomach acid rain! Speaking of upset stomachs, I rode the Lady Belle once today, that was enough. It made me nauseous so I decided to give this one a rest when the younglings demanded another spin. Don't know what's wrong with me. There was a time when I challendged the most fearsome rides at Sea View and won. Those times are gone, sadly to say. After one spin ride I'm seeing green, tasting green, smelling green, and looking green.

Now I'm finding enjoying with a new favorite pass time - people watching. You'll see many of us gray hairs on the benches engaged in this wonderful geriatric eye exercise (if we aren't chin to chest asleep). Right now I see Families lined up at the concession stands looking for something inexpensive for supper. Good luck! We all know how pricey and indigestible amusement park food can be. Aren't some parents spineless though? I see several who've surrendered to their whining kid's demands. Instead of a beef burger and chips, Junior and Missy got the Candy Floss and caramel apple. A pandemic of upset tummies later tonight will be the price to pay.

The cool evening breeze carries the smell of the sea. Parents are feeling the chill and calling it a day, walking toward the car park with children, coolers, towels and arcade soft toys in tow. Memories of a wonderful summer spent on the rides and in the arcade will remain as digital photos in the computer. Sea View is a magical place.

The Lady Belle is winding down. Time to give up my bench seat, gather the younglings and try to convince them to spend thirty minutes in Park Theater for the live musical variety show. They won't like it and I really can't blame them. Tonight is their last chance to ride the rides so I expect excessive whining. I'm prepared for it and won't buckle under. I'll bargain if I need to. If they attend the theater with me, I'll agree to buy them anything they want from the Sugar Shack outside the Wildemere Arcade. A reminder that I paid for their park tickets will add just the right amount of guilt to force them to agree to my terms.

So I’ll leave you with my warmest wishes.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ned Will Take your Tray.

Ned Helmsey was the head custodian at Confederacy Primary School in Cloverdale. He suffered a minor stroke last year while cleaning the cafeteria floor after a busy, messy lunch. A numbness went through the left side of his body as he mopped under table 4. The sound of the mop handle hitting the tile floor alerted the cafeteria manageress. She looked up in time to see him fall to the wet floor. Paramedics arrived shortly thereafter.

That day was Ned’s last day at Confederacy Elementary School.

Ned recovered well enough to walk with the aid of a cane. He has regained the use of his left arm and hand. He considers it a blessing and thanks God every morning he wakes for another day.

Ned is classified ‘Disabled’ by the Confederacy and receives a monthly pension from Social Welfare. A district nurse checks on him every other day. Ned barely gets by financially with his pension and a bit of savings set aside for old age. He can’t drive so there are no car expenses. His small two bedroom home is paid for so there are no house payments. He is a widower so there is no wife to support. Even at that there are some months when its difficult to eat and fill his prescriptions. He can’t work because of his age and disability but with a bit of creative thinking he’s found a way to cover at least one meal per day.

Ned leaves the house at 11:00 A.M. most mornings. With the help of his cane he walks slowly and carefully down the High Street. He takes one step with his right leg, then drags his partially mobile left leg into position where it can support some of his weight with the cane’s help. Once balanced on the cane and left leg, his right leg steps forward again and the laborious process continues, sending Ned forward ever so slowly.

Ned’s final destination is Cloverdale’s Wimpy Burger. He arrives just as the lunch rush begins. He smiles and waves to the manager. The manager gives him the thumbs up. Ned is good to start.

Ned sits near the door. The manager brings a glass of cold water to his table and pats him on the back.
“What will it be today?” he asks.
“Well, I’m partial to the grilled chicken sandwich meal for myself and, if its OK with you, a double cheese burger meal for a friend of mine that can’t get out much.” Ned isn’t one to share personal information, being a very private man. The manager doesn’t pry.
“Ask for me at the register when you’re ready to go.” The manager taps the table top with his hand in parting.

Ned watches as the lunch rush quickly fills the restaurant. He surrenders his table when no others are available for the paying customers. He picks up his cane, stands, and walks to the two trash cans near the south doors. The stack of blue plastic meal trays is growing. With his right hand he picks up several of them, turns, and delivers them to the end of the serving counter. Ned takes his time. He must be careful not to trip. One injury and the manager could get into trouble. He wouldn’t want that. The manager has been good to him.

Ned spends the next hour going from door to door gathering the meal trays and stacking them on the front counter. If its a slower lunch, Ned will sit and enjoy his cold water. He watches the trays from his table and is back on his feet promptly if any stack goes higher than five. As an added service, Ned alerts the staff at the cash register know when a trash can needs to be emptied. He would gladly do it himself but couldn’t manage a heavy trash bag with his bum leg and cane.

When the last of the lunch trays are returned to the counter, Ned calls for the manager. The manager taps one of the servers on the shoulder and points to Ned. Ned’s order is taken. A few minutes later Ned is on his way with two Wimpy lunches. One for himself and one for his new friend Eunice. She doesn’t get out much and so enjoys seeing Ned most days coming up her walk with a nice lunch in hand.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Jules and the Big Daddy Circus Sucker

Jules Patton has a good understanding of the ups and downs of life. This unusual knowledge could be the result of a never ending cycle of cause and effect.

Jules visits Dr. Norvelkan, the Patton family dentist. Dr. Norvelkan is new to Cloverdale, having arrived six months ago from Tamworth on Tide. His practice is situated in what was once the bakery department of the Piggly Wiggly. He chose the Piggly Wiggly, reasoning that if banks open branches in grocery stores than why not dentists? He imagined how convenient it would be for parents to have an in store dentist. They shop while their children get a check up. His reasoning seemed sound, besides, the Piggly Wiggly gave him a great deal on the rent with an added bonus of first pick from the merchandise with expired sell by dates.

Mrs. Patton gives Jules to Dr. Norvelkan’s receptionist. In exchange the receptionist give her a shopping cart. Giving his patient’s parents a shopping cart was another brilliant idea of Dr. Norvelkan. Once again, providing a service to make shopping and dentistry more enjoyable.

The receptionist promptly places Jules in a child’s walking harness thus giving him just enough freedom of movement to roam without becoming a danger to himself or to others.

Jules is removed from the harness and led into the examination room when his time is announced. The receptionist straps him into a child’s car seat This is when Jules screams bloody murder. That is why Dr. Norvelkan insisted on extra padding and sound insulation for his exam room.

Jules will scream and kick as do most children until Dr. Norvelkan enters the room. They shut up immediately once they see the Big Daddy Circus Sucker in his hand The sucker is placed over the child’s head in a specially constructed holder in the light above the exam chair. The child wants the sucker. The child is promised the sucker if he will be a good boy and follow the dentist’s directions.

Most children comply. They want the sugar and know what they have to do to get it. At the end of the exam the receptionist uses the store’s intercom and calls for the mother. Mrs. Patton arrives to collect a smiling young Jules. She is happy because he is happy. He is happy because he is holding the Big Daddy Circus Sucker (which sells for $3.49 near check stand 5). And finally, Dr. Norvelkan is happy because Jules is happy and mother is happy and the Big Daddy Circus Sucker is guaranteed to produce a minimum of 2 cavities on Jules return visit. Two cavities means money in the bank which means a home, car and money for movies.

It is cause and effect. Boy goes to dentist. Boy gets Big Daddy Circus Sucker. Boy eats sucker. Boy gets cavities. Boy goes to dentist. Cavities are filled. Money received. Money deposited in the bank. Boy goes to dentist. Boy gets Big Daddy Circus Sucker. Boy eats sucker. Boy gets cavities............ A cycle of cause and effect..

And now, the sun is setting on Cloverdale. Jules has an upset tummy and won’t be eating the healthy supper his mother prepared to counter the effect of the sugar. People are heading home from work and the 5:45 P.M. is pulling out of Cloverdale’s Train Station.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Cloverdale Weekend Television. Sunday Worship

At 2:05 GMT, immediately following The Sisters of Ever Increasing Hope’s presentation of “You Are Sin”, Cloverdale Weekend Television presents the choir of St. Thomas Cathedral singing Bach’s Mass in B Minor.

Tips for the Rabid Gardner” follows. Today’s show is entitled “Preparing you Garden for the Coming Nuclear Winter” hosted by Cloverdale’s physic gardner Madam Beufonte.

Madam Beufonte, Cloverdale’s physic gardner

Enjoy a full day of television enjoyment brought to you by Cloverdale Weekend Television.

And now, a preview of today's Mass in B Minor.