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Sunday, October 3, 2010


Two welcomes in a row. It reminds me of a story, but first welcome to Mauro, who will be firmly in my memory, since the name is so similar to that of my own child.

So... the story. Well, it takes a turn and twist, not in the narrative itself, but in my own mind as I jumble it out of the storeroom of souvenirs and memory, and try to get it ship-shape and Bristol fashion for this particular regatta... or picnic - my mind being a great deal like La Grande Jatte .
My mother moi croidhe (mom-in-law, in my parlance ) used to have an expression "Collie will you lick!"  The word "collie" referred to a border type dog, the same breed we all know, but it was pronounced with a long "O", not a short "o" as we pronounce "collie" these days. So "collie" sounds exactly the same as "goalie", as in hockey or soccer.... excepting the first consonant, of course.
I was always able to figure out some sort of meaning for these expressions - me mother macree not being much into analyze and explain every nit, tib, scrub, and hatch that blew along the cornfield - like I was and so many others of my generation: we questioned endlessly and learned nothing new.
Anyway, the way she did explain it was that it was Rough Times and the mistress of the house went to the cupboard to get her doggie some food, and as the cupboard was bare, she extended her alabaster hands and invited the hound to lick them, potentially drawing sustenance from her own breakfast of hardtack and water.
A nice story, sort of Old Mother Hubbard, but what was the point of it? Why did she say it when she did? I remember once hearing it when there were cold cuts and fresh bread on the table, so I did not quite "get it".

So yesterday we were in Stratford, Ontario, taking in a production of Peter Pan. The last time I was scheduled to go to Stratford was 9/11/2001, and maybe now I shall remove the jinx, curse, and malocchio from the world. Who knows?
Anyway, it was raining, and we were coming out of the Bijou Restaurant behind the Stratford Arms (there is no such hotel, but I do like the name "Stratford Arms"; it is so Raymond Chandler or Donald Duck - can't make up my mind. I think the hotel is the Stratford Hotel.) A significant other was helping the elderly and the handicapped exit the doorway into the teeming rain, holding the door while they fiddled with their umbrellas (leading me to wonder whether Nero fiddled with his umbrella while it rained in Rome?).
As I exited, the oaken door was let loose to slap and inconvenience me to no end.
So I said that it was a fine thing that a person could be so helpful and polite and courteous when all these others were making their way out, but when it came my turn to get through the door and dodge into the rain, hopping lightly over the puddles, it was "Collie, will you lick!" , and the cupboard of courtesy was bare!

And I got it! It made so much sense that I laughed aloud. Whooped also. Did a bit of a dance... or a jig. When I have these "Ah-ha" experiences, I usually don't sit there and say "Ah-ha!", but sort of convulse in a not altogether uncharming way... somewhat like Darby O'Gill, it was. I finally understood what it all meant, and what that collie felt like.


Ruth said...

I see ya there, Darby, and I'm-a laughin' too! And not jest after the last bit eeder.

Montag said...

It took all of 13 hours. It would have been quicker had I not made a wrong turn, ended up going through London where it was homecoming weekend at the U. of Western Ontario.

A newish route for me, and the municipality deems it not necessary to post signs saying "Hwy 402 this way". I asked some locals why no signs and they just laughed.