Spindrift

 

Spindrift is the name of a local community newspaper in Victoria British Columbia that operated from December 1947 to December 1958.

A short post was included in the January 1948 edition to explain to the readers how the paper got its name.  Spindrift was to disseminate news and opinions much like a simmering spray of water arising from a crashing wave that then spins and drifts with the wind.

I surmise the paper’s creative name was a topic of conversation around many a dinner table in the community.  One spirited fella, Uncle Josh, wrote a letter to the editor about the subject. I suspect it was really written by the editor, but I have no proof. Nevertheless, the letters are a hoot and I’m letting Uncle Josh do the writing of my blog today.

January 1948:

Dere Mister Editor:

Seein’ as how yuh asked us all tu write a letter, I’m takin’ my pen in hand, as the poet feller says, to chew a’ few straws with yuh.

I don’t aim to be kritical the fust time.  Jest neighborly. Want tu say I like yore paper fine. Thought yuh’d like tu know that. A bit of praise always sweetens the calf, I always say. I only got one un-neighbor-like thing tu menshun. ‘Bout that name on yor paper, the “Spindrift” . . . can’t say it, and can’t spell it … ‘less I look back twice. Guess it means sumthin perty or’t wouldn’t be there.

Howsobeit, I never went further’n grade fore, and when I see a word I never heerd afore, why, mister, I get a mite akreemonious. But my neighbor, Zeke, (‘course that’s his pretendin’ name) looked it up in Doctor Abernathy’s Barnyard Almanack, so now we know what it means alright.

Seems it’s a kind of feller who spends his money too fast and ain’t thrifty, and goes and gets mixed up in the community too much. Well, that’s a good joke, son. Ha, Ha. Always like a bit of fun.

But jest so yuh won’t think I’m findin’ fault without heplin’ sum, here’s a name or two. Some of us old timers would like say, “The Calico News,” or maybe “The Hawse-Trade Echo.” ‘Course there ain’t no hawses much about nowadays but we’ll be ridin’ ’em again soon. Fer the serious folks I’d suggest somethin’ like “The Cordova Bay Oracle.”

Nope, that’s no good neither. People would get tu thinkin’ that that publisher feller, Mister Genn, was a oracle. And he ain’t no oracle. Why, I asked him (that’s when he was a-runnin’ fer office) tu look at the chestnuts on my pore old horse, Neb, and he turned tu me and said, “Are those the things yuh pull out of a fire?”

Up on Moose Crag where we live neighborly we don’t trust a man what doesn’t know about hawses and cows and pigs and chickens . . . and trees, too, but yuh’ll be hearin’ from me ’bout trees later. Guess I better be goin’ now, Mister, Thank yuh, kindly.

Uncle Josh.

He followed it up with a second one February 1948

Dere Mister Editor:

I didn’t mean tu be uppity in my manner of speakin last time. Them “chestnuts” I wrote of are the hard bare spots inside a hawse’s legs. They go way back in hawse history. Nobody knows what they mean any more.

And in a manner of speakin that is true of elections. Tu much freedom callin the other feller names. Leastwise it seems tu me so. Don’t want tu do tu much finger-pointin, but thar was a gentleman who got tu callin the other fellers a-runnin fer office “wolves in sheep’s clothin,” why, Mister Editer, I got a mite akreemonious. Tu much name callin, I sed, kin blow up a man, jest like tu many oats kin blow up a hawse full of water. When a feller gits to talkin’ politics, he throws away the dictionary.

Gess I’ll be goin now. Thank yuh kindly.

Uncle Josh

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Blackie

black squirrel

“Hi Honey.  Have you seen Blackie yet?” I asked walking into the house. I dropped my bag beside the foyer table and headed for the kitchen.

“Hi Sweetie.  Yes, she just scurried off with the peanut I gave her. Told her you’d be home in a minute. She’ll be back.  She knows your car from a mile away.”

“It does look that way sometimes.” I grabbed a handful of nuts and by the time I returned to the entrance, our cute black squirrely friend was sitting there, waiting for me by the door.

She had adopted us; we had adopted her.  Our property was her exclusive territory and she fearlessly chased away any usurpers who so much as dared to lay a forepaw on any part of it.  She was the tiny welcoming committee who happily greeted us at the end of each day.

“Come on Blackie,” I said walking down our entrance steps. The little imp followed, much like a puppy, heeling beside me.  Together we ambled over to the huge gnarly Scotch pine that grew in our front lawn.  I dropped the peanuts by the grey trunk and Blackie scampered up to them. She immediately began sniffing through her bounty.  I’m sure she did a count before carting them off, one or two at time to some unknown destination in one of our neighbours’ lawns.

But why am I telling you this story?  It’s because we discovered that our little urchin had a chummy side to her. She was partial to human companionship.

All summer long, whenever I was out in the yard weeding the flower beds, Blackie would stretch herself out on the grass beside me and keep an eye on things.   When I finished and got up to leave, so did she.

Evenings were extra special for me because that is when Blackie and I sat together on the porch and relaxed.  Every night I’d settle comfortably into my lounge chair to read a book.  Every night my fur-ball friend joined me.  She lay spread-eagled beside me.   I never offered her any peanuts and she never asked for any; we just de-stressed silently, keeping each other company until twilight turned to dusk.  As if on cue, Blackie would get up, stretch, look up at me, swish her bushy tail and wander off to her nest.   I would close my book and go indoors.

The Carrot Ranch May 18th Flash Fiction Challenge was to write a story in 99 words (no more, no less) that features a squirrel.  The prompt lead me immediately to Blackie.  She’s the only semi-wild or wild animal that Hubby and I have ever befriended.

She gave us so many memories that year.  Hubby and I were talking about her over wine the other night.

“Remember the time I was sitting outside and she jumped on out picnic table and started kuking, chattering and shaking all over?” I asked.

“I do. Something had clearly upset her.”

“It had, hadn’t it? She went on for quite a while.”

“And then scampered off once she got a verbal pat on the back from us.”

“That’s right.  And remember the time when…”

What a squirrel – who knew they could be so human, at times.

 

(So much for 99 words this week. 😌 )

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