Saturday, April 17, 2010

Cloverdale's Josh of Few Words

Josh of Few Words

Fourteen year old Josh Arnold lives in the two story Tudor cottage on the banks of the Clover River. He is an honor’s student at Cloverdale Middle School. He has a keen mind but struggles with his self concept and identity awareness.

One day, while enjoying a sack lunch outside the school’s commons, Josh watched and listened to a conversation between other students his age.
“That show was so tight,” one of them said referring to a movie they’d seen the night before at the Grand Theater.
“Oh, man it was sick. Dude what about when that dude’s head split open!”
“No, that wasn’t the best part. It’s when that slayer dude broke through the bedroom door and went all medieval on that babysitter. It was blood, guts and hair everywhere. It was so sick.....”

Josh was struck by the meaningless nature of the conversation. They were each expressing thoughts but, in Josh’s opinion, their conversation was a waste of the calories burned to express the words. It was just a menagerie of words passed between two people. Josh changed his focus to a gaggle of girls standing near the exit door. They were discussing something one of the cool boys said that upset one of their members. They illustrated their words with contorted facial expressions and the abundant tossing of hair.

Josh spent the rest of the day focused on everything everyone said around him. He listened to every word spoken within ear shot. By the end of the day Josh calculated that 70% of everything he heard was meaningless. It was all various collections of vocabulary strung together to occupy dead air between people. He reasoned that silence was the vacuum people used words to fill. This urge to babble seemed natural to everyone. Almost driven by genetic coding.

That day Josh decided to reduce his vocal emissions. His days of darkening the sky with his lung’s excrement were over. If he spoke it would be to express true feelings and thoughts that were pertinent to the situation. There would be no filler talk or the useless overuse of language. He would try living simply with few words. He wanted to declutter his vocabulary.

Since then Josh hasn’t spoken much. His parents worry. He talks to them but the conversations are curt and pointed. His sentences are fuel efficient. Instead of saying
“Mom I’m going to the park to hang out.” Josh will say “Park” Then he will tap his watch and say “When?” A cue to his mother to state the time he is expected home for supper. Many translate his lack of vocabulary substance as rudeness, but those of us who know him understand it isn’t rudeness. Josh is just a young man who thinks too much. We are all sure he will grow up to be the nation’s top efficiency expert.

Perhaps one day Josh will grow out of this phases and find something else to occupy his overwhelming drive for simplicity in thought, deed and possessions - but until then people must adapt and appreciate Josh's talent of expression on a budget.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Muffin and Dolly, Cloverdale's Sylvester and Tweety.

Muffin lives next door to Dolly the Parrot. They are Cloverdale’s very own Sylvester and Tweety. Muffin has one purpose in life and that is to remove Dolly from it. Dolly, seemingly unaware of the danger that lurks outside her window, is oblivious to the plotting and scheming. She sings all day to the delight of her owner, 74 year old Mary Verchellie.

Dolly is never allowed outside unless Mary is with her. On warm days Mary will work in the garden. She sits Dolly’s cage on the patio table while she works. Muffin has an uncanny ability to sense when Dolly is outside. Muffin knows how to manipulate her owner into opening the back door to let her out. Minutes pass while Muffin stalks her prey. Dolly’s singing awakens primal instincts in Muffin. These urges motivate Muffin into taking risky actions with Mary so close by.

Once Muffin made it as far as the cage itself. She had her paw on the door and was in the process of lifting the door to gain access to Dolly when the bristle end of Mary’s patio broom caught her from the side, sending her flying across the patio and into Mary’s prize rose bush. That day Mary declared war on her neighbor’s cat.

Because of her love for birds, Mary is Cloverdale’s leading cat hater and Muffin her number one target. Ever since that first encounter Mary has schemed ways to coax Muffin outside and into her back garden. Once there, Muffin is subjected to a Mary’s tricks and devices intended to cause pain and anguish.

The picture above was shot by Mary’s great niece just before Mary dumbed a bucket full of ice cold water on Muffin from the upstairs bedroom window.

Poor Muffin. She is a very determined cat that will never get her bird but it won’t keep her from trying.

Cloverdale, a village of harmony.......... in most cases.

Cloverdale World Service. Today on Radio 3. Simon and Garfunkel

Be Sure to tune in to Radio 3 this afternoon for the greatest hits of Simon and Garfunkel starting at 13:00 hours.
On Radio 4 during the same time enjoy "Cooking with Wanda" Today's discussion, "Yesterday's supper, Tonight's Casserole".

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Myrtle's New Camera

Stew Callaway, taken by his Wife Myrtle outside the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Cloverdale

82 year old Myrtle Callaway lives with her 84 year old husband Stew in the bungalows near the Clover River Bridge. Over the past sixty years Myrtle spent a fortune on film for her cameras. And every one of those sixty years Myrtle lost a fortune on developing pictures that showed everything from the lens cover to half heads to sidwalks to overexposed and under exposed snapshots to close ups of noses, eyes, beards, toes, etc. You name it and she tried to get a picture of it. Her good picture success rate was the worst in the village according to the One Hour Photo Lab technicians at the Piggly Wiggly.

Last week Myrtle was shopping for this and that (actually just an excuse to get away from Stew. They have a good marriage but Myrtle needs time without him dragging behind on her heels) when she stumbled into the camera department.
"What are these?" she asked the assistant at the cash register.
"Digital cameras," was his reply.
"What's the difference between these and my old camera?" Myrtle asked.
"These don't use film," he answered.

You could of knocked Myrtle over with a feather. "No Film!" she shouted. "Show me."
One hour later Myrtle was writing a check at the check out stand. She was the proud owner of a new Fuji Digital Camera. She could take all the lousy pictures she wanted and not have to pay a penny for them. If she didn't like a shot she could push the ...... ah...... um........ well she'd forgotten already but she knew there was some way to delete them.

Myrtle was free to take pictures again and not worry about the expense of developing film and the being the object of the Piggly Wiggly's photo lab employees whispering, strange looks, and giggling. Of couse she'd forgotten everything the Donaldson's sales clerk taught her about the camera by the time she got home but it didn't matter. She could take as many pictures as she wanted and not worry about the cost of developing.

Of course, that strategy worked until the camera's screen told her the memory card was full. She tried to read through the directions in the instructional book but it was all Greek to her. Necessity, and a desire to take pictures, motivated her to pay an unusual visit to the Senior Citizen's Center. Myrtle doesn't get along well with the members of "The Lady's Guild" at the Center. Their conservative politics is more than her liberal upbringing can tolerate, so she stays away and keeps to herself caring for Stew and enjoying long talks over tea with her wonderful neighbors. But the Senior Center offers a special service she was in desperate need of. Every Saturday afternoon two teenagers from the Comprehensive School come to the Center to help the old age pensioners with their electronic devices (computers, cameras, Tivo's, dvd layers, tape players, microwave ovens and food blenders). Myrtle swallowed her pride and drove to the Center to ask for help. Myrtle returned two hours later understanding her camera a bit better.

Today is Sunday. Myrtle put her new technical knowledge to the test. She took the camera to church with her. On the way home from services she took it out and snapped pictures of the tulips along the Church's sidewalk. She did well. Of the 23 snapshots taken she ended up with 12 pictures of tulip stems, four of the blossoms and seven of the people's shoes who happened to be walking by at the time.

Before getting into the car she took the camera out to get photo of Stew. She positioned the camera just right, told Stew to freeze and snapped the picture. She took one look at it and said,
"That will do Stew, That will do." Myrtle got half his face. The best snapshot she'd ever taken of her husband.

They drove home together, enjoyed a lunch of sausages and mash, and watched an afternoon of Cloverdale Weekend Television. At 8:00 P.M. they'll both be asleep in their chairs and remain that way until one of them wakes up and gets them both into bed.

Cloverdale Weekend Television. Your Sunday Weather and Songs of Praise!

Cloverdale Sunday Weather:
The sun is abundant today. Clouding perhaps in the late afternoon but limited and intermittent. Spring breezes will be light making for a cheerful day. A day out would be in order or perhaps a barbecue in the back garden.

Today's Songs of Praise is brought to you by the Cloverdale's Wesleyan Methodist Church on the corner of Elm and 5th Avenues. The Methodists of Cloverdale invite you to worship with them every Sunday at 10:00 A.M. A children's Sabbath school follows giving adults time to socialize over coffee in the church hall.

Today's Sermon. "All that I Have is Yours".