Bits and pieces of this and that …

Every once in a while when I try to sit down to plan and write this old column, now into its 30th year, my mind goes a little blank

Every once in a while when I try to sit down to plan and write this old column, now into its 30th year, my mind goes a little blank, and I have a tough time putting pen to paper. Quite often in the middle of the night I will wake up with an idea, jump up, and scribble it down on paper, but my dear wife calls that a sign of getting older, a touch of senility, forgetfulness, and a few other choice words that I have often received when I don’t listen or do something wacky, which is great fun by the way.

To solve the problem I just call on the ‘Hammer’s hotline’, start chatting about all sorts of subjects that are either funny or have a good message, then just start writing for another week. So here we are this week with just a few of my off the wall word quickies.

Snow mountains

I am totally amazed about all of our amazing and humungous ‘snow mountains’, that have been popping up everywhere as a result of our ongoing snow invasion, and can be found looming in most parking lots, dump grounds, fields, and wherever they can find a place to put them where it won’t pollute or flood the neighbourhood when they melt somewhere between April through June? My question is, where will they put it all, how much, is left to come. Whatever the case it a great place for kid’s sliding and snow forts, but please play safely, and quit complaining nature’s ambitious winter wrath on those hardy souls who are out there 24-7 trying to clear it up and stay under budget.

There were worse winters

Well known Red Deer Historian Michael Dawe claims that the Central Alberta winter of 1919-1920 was one of the most devastating. Crops were ruined by killing early frosts in September, snow began falling in October, there was a metre of snow by November, and along with gale force winds the temperatures dropped as far as minus 50 and it stayed bitterly cold until April. Of course the sudden arrival of winter was hard on everyone, including animals, and many people were not yet prepared with enough coal and wood in the bins.

Then were many entrepreneurs in that era, and one was Red Deer Doctor E.W. Delong, who went out and  invented the very first ‘Go Devil’, a snow machine made out of sturdy 1919 Ford chassis, and equipped with two runners in the front and back tires with chains. It enabled the good Doctor to travel over the toughest of winter terrain to attend to his patients and assist others, and was likely an early milestone in the ongoing battle against the Alberta elements.

By the way, Mr. Dawe has also explained that this year’s snowfall numbers are already the highest recorded in the area since 1942, and could be heading for a record.

Now there are user friendly appliances??

The world’s biggest appliance and electronic gadget convention was held in Las Vegas, and has unveiled a wild new line of ‘user friendly’ appliances for all rooms of your home. Apparently it won’t be long before we can give verbal instructions to our stove to prepare the meal, to our vacuums to clean up while we are away, and for everything else to turn on and off at our command.

They will have fridges programmed to meet and greet, and entertainment systems that can be controlled from the office, on the way home in the car, or even thousands of miles away while we are away on holidays. This will definitely not be on the agenda of this 71 year old not very organized senior, who must have a plan or a lot of frig notes to get through the day, and will most certainly not be carrying on a conversation will a flashy modern new machine that talks back.

I am not a very good cook, but I am learning, and the vacuuming, dusting, and all the rest will always be a part of my daily contributions and exercises, simply because I can sit down and have a nap, take a break, or do something else when I wish. On the other hand, I really do enjoy watching change taking place, as long as it is not too complicated, and that my beloved siblings will always be around to help dear old grandpa adjust and have a little fun without getting to grumpy.

A few tid-bits

• I must admit, again, that I got stuck again the other day. Thank goodness one kindly lady suggested that I take my floor mats out of my car and place them under the tires for traction, which worked, after three more nice ladies came along to push me out. I will get smart and keep some old mats and a shovel in my trunk for the rest of the winter.

• I heard on the radio the other day where one wild Albertan had just been presented with his 17th impaired driving charge. My question…why is he still behind the wheel, and why have the police and the insurance companies not made sure that he will never be a menace to the rest of us out on the road again???

The sun isn’t shivering so much this week so please get outside, take down your Christmas decorations, enjoy this much deserved ‘balmy winter break’, and have a great week, all of you.

− Hammertime