Saturday, March 27, 2010
It was a sad day in Cloverdale Thursday last when service technicians from Confederacy Telephone and Telegraph (CTandT) pulled up in front of Cloverdale’s only laundry mat ‘The Kleen-0-matic" in their blue and white van. They sat in their van and waited for the village Constable to arrive. He was scheduled to meet them at 8:00 A.M. sharp to handle crowd control but got distracted by a hot sticky bun and cup of coffee at the Moss Wonderland Bakery. CTandT was worried their removal of Cloverdale’s last surviving coin operated rotary dial pay phone, hanging on the wall of the Kleen-o-matic since 1942, would illicit angry mob action. Threats were issued against CTandT by phone and by letter when news of the phone’s removal was published in the Confederacy Times three days earlier.
“Future Shock” read the headline in the newspaper. The well researched article documented the history of the phone from his construction to its installation. The article included quoted several stories from the village’s oldest citizens telling of the times they used the phone.
“I used that phone back in 1953 when I discovered I had a flat tire on my 51 Buick. I had a load of laundry in the trunk and no way to get it home. Luckily, because of that phone I was able to call the service station on Highway 1 for help, and someone was there within the hour. I’ll never forget what that phone did for me.” wrote Preston Guardly of 32 Whispering Pines Way.
“I used that phone in 1963 to call for an ambulance when Mrs. Daftly Spears collapsed to the floor while drying a load of laundry in our heavy duty big load dryer. She was going into labor. I panicked, being the only one in the laundry at the time. I picked up that very phone and got her the help she needed, mind you, it arrived shortly after the baby arrived, but got there it did,” wrote Miston Trump of 443 Lazy Day Way in Cloverdale.
The newspaper article contained nearly a dozen essays from people that urged CTandT to leave the phone on the Laundry mat’s wall as a reminder of better days long past.
The next day CTandT took out a full page ad in the Confederacy Times explaining the need to modernize Cloverdale’s outdated phone service, starting by making everyone switch to push button digital phones.
“You wouldn’t want your dentist or surgeon to use equipment from the 1940’s on you would you? Then why do you want to continue to use a communication device built from the same time? Be Modern. Be Cool. Be Well Liked in the Village. Switch to touch tone dialing and cut your dial time in half” read the text above a picture of an old rotary phone and the newest model of touch tone phones offered in the CTandT catalog.
Three people arrived to protest the removal on the appointed day. They held signs comparing Niles Leery, Charmian of CTandT, to Hitler and Stalin. The CTandT representatives watched and waited nervously in the van, hoping the three wouldn't get violent. At 8:32 A.M. Constable Truly arrived. He shooed the rude threesome away from the door so the men could enter and do the job.
CTandT repairman have been back every day to repair the damage done to the new touch tone pay phone. The laundry mat’s costumers have found new ways to protest, by jamming fake coins into the phone’s receivers.
“The future is sometimes difficult to comprehend because it is in the future and things in the future will be different than things today,” said the Chairman of CTandT in an interviewed aired on Cloverdale Weekend Television two days ago. “I urge the unhappy citizens of Cloverdale to live for the future and embrace change,” he concluded.
Today things at the Kleen-o-matic have calmed somewhat. Mrs. Maple Thorpe was the only protester yesterday. She held a sign that read “Down with the Future” while she did her laundry and watched her soaps on the 12 inch black and white TV handing from the ceiling, one of the little extra perks one finds at the Kleen-o-matic.
CTandT was right. Given time the people of Cloverdale would get use to touch tone phones. Given time this little village on the edge of somewhere and nowhere would find its way into the future.
But not quite today. Maybe Tomorrow.......
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Mercy Meyer, a student at Cloverdale Primary School, won the “All School’s Sales Competition” in the school’s end of winter Otis Spunkmeyer Cookie Dough fund raiser. The fund raiser was the most successful ever, bringing in twice the amount as last year’s end of winter event. Last year, the students sold left over Christmas wrapping and bows from their December fund raiser. The event was called “The Early Christmas Sale”. Yes, it was eight months before Christmas and nobody seemed interested in purchasing the wrapping and bows nobody wanted a few months earlier, but the school needed to clear the shelves in the storage room for the Start of Summer Swimwear Fashions Fund Raiser.
Mercy Meyer’s father is the regional manager for the PiggyMart Convenience Stores and Gas Stations. PiggyMarts are found in all the villages and hamlets throughout the Cloverdale district. Paul Meyer is responsible for the hiring and firing of staff, staff training, inventory and sales. Each PiggyMart store manager is responsible for ordering product (what’s sold on the shelves) and ensuring the underground tanks are always full of gasoline.
All PiggyMart’s sell freshly baked cookies. Every store has its own Cookie Bake Oven (an industrialized version of the EZBake Oven). Cookie dough is delivered weekly by refridgerated truck from a central warehouse in Dibley in the Downs. The employees are responsible to thaw the dough during the night and bake a tray of cookies every hour throughout the day. A window light is switch on every time the cookies come out of the oven signaling to the public that another tray of hot, delicious, home made cookies are fresh out of the oven. This sales gimmick was the brain child of Mercy's dad.
Mercy nearly fell out of her chair when she heard the school would be selling cookie dough for their End of Winter Fund Raiser. After school she rushed down to the PiggyMart near the school to pick up her usual Slurpee and cookie, compliments of PiggyMart. Actually, no one would dare question anything Mercy did in a PiggyMart. She was their District Manager’s only little girl.
Percy Plum, the afternoon supervisor, was at the cash register checking a teenager's fake ID. He was trying to purchase a case of beer and looking very uncomfortable about it. The word "Guilty" was written across his face in pimples.
“Nice try. Get lost before I call the cops,” Percy said, tossing the fake ID in the trash under the counter. The teen rushed out the door and into a waiting 1974 VW Bug. The car took off at a speed one would expect from an clapped out Bug maintained by delinquent teens.
“Your usual then?” Percy asked Mercy.
“Percy, who makes the cookie dough you sell?” Mercy asked while looking through the window into the Cookie Bake Oven.
“Don’t know. Why?”
“Well, you’re about to know. My dad will be telling you to start pushing cookies on every customer. More details to follow. Bye.” Mercy ran out of the store and down the street for home.
Mercy anxiously waited for her father to get home from work. The fund raiser materials were laid out on the kitchen table. Mercy had her speech written and waiting. She grabbed him by the hand and led him into the kitchen. Mercy's mom made a quick escape to her bedroom. She gave her husband that look they pass to each other when Mercy is about to 'Insist' on something. He knew from the look that all hope would be lost if his answer was "No" but he would still try and hold out for as long as patience would allow. One hour later, after an exhausting debate that included threats to run away or get straight F’s or never to speak to him again, Mercy got her father to agree to require all his stores to purchase cookie dough from Mercy.
Needless to say, Mercy’s sales far exceeded everyone else’s combined in the school. Mercy won the cash award, the bike, the computer, the skateboard, the Ipod and the ride around town in a limo. The other students grumbled and swore they’d never sell anything else for the school again. Parents called and complained but there wasn’t anything that could be done. Mercy won fair and square and she was very happy about that.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
The Pumpernickel Roadside Diner was always a favorite stop of mine along the highway leading from Cloverdale to Captial City. They had good service, good food and a family friendly atmosphere.
A month ago I noticed a roadside sign in front of the diner that read:
Morris and June Thank you for the past 30 years. We are Retiring. The Pumpernickel is under new Management. You'll find us at the beach!I pulled into the diner, parked in my usual place and went in to enjoy my usual, a chicken pot pie washed down with a glass of ice cold milk followed by a slice of June's famous Dutch Apple Pie.
The diner was half full with people that looked like they were on their way to a funeral.
"Can we get some service here?" I heard a trucker shout from one of the north booths.
I walked to my usual table and found a message written in ketchup and mustard from the previous occupants.
I turned and walked out, leaving behind many years of motoring memories. I remembered a Wimpy Burger four or five more miles down the road. Fast Food along the highway wasn't my thing but sometimes one has no choice.
The Roadside Diner may be extinct in the years to come. A sad commentary on today's society.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Margaret Newman was recently crowned Cherry Blossom Queen at the Nearly There Home for the Elderly and Infirmed in Cloverdale. She won the hearts of the judges with her recitation of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address for her talent. One of the judges wrote “Margaret’s voice and diction was perfect. Way to go Margaret!”
When asked what she wanted to accomplish during her year reign Margaret replied,”Well, I hope to stay alive. That is my number one goal. Secondly I’d like to help new residents adapt to living at the Nearly There. It’s never easy to be put in a home. Oh, I’m also excited to get a new pair of dentures. Been lookin forward to that for a couple years. I’ve also set a goal to stay up until 8:00 P.M. to prepare for any speaking engagements that might come along with my selection as Cherry Blossom Queen.”
Those residents still awake politely clapped as they looked around for the matron that usually summoned them for supper.
The Nearly There Home for the Elderly and Infirmed hosts many activities like the Cherry Blossom Festival for our residents. Are you above 60? Are you looking for that final resting place before the FINAL RESTING PLACE? If so, consider Nearly There, where you’ll find the finest care available in Cloverdale for the aged and senile. Call us for more information at Cloverdale 3426.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
“While you test I’ll be preparing new and innovative things to teach for the upcoming chapters,” he explained to the class before passing out the test booklet and bubble answering sheets.
What Leland and Toby didn’t take into consideration in their planning for the perfect cheat was the cell phone camera and proximity of the one person in the class they couldn’t intimidate - Monica Ginger Mops, the class brain and teacher’s pet.
“Busted,” she whispered to herself as she snapped the picture. A few quick finger movements later and the picture circulated school wide, passed from student to student on the Shire's only 3G network. Moments later the picture buzzed through to the teacher's phone. He picked it up and saw exactly what the boys were sure he’d never see, cheating by two of the school’s most popular student athletes.
Monica is pleased with herself. The boys will spend next week in detention planning how to dispense revenge....served cold, of course.