Aging · culture · Health · Humor · language · Relationships · Work

There’s a Dead Duck Out There

Robert was a rough-hewn character. He lived in a nursing home outside of Melbourne where I worked as a caregiver.  We heard him before we saw him. He walked with a cane which he leaned into heavily. “Old injury from the war,” he explained, when I asked about the limping hip. The cane tapped a beat on the tiles on the floor and the metal on the sole of his shoe kept rhythm. 

He wore the same shoes every day. “Worn ’em forty years, mate. That’s a good shoe right there,” he explained academically, tapping at the toe of his right one with his cane. “It’s been there for me through the good and the ill.” They were made of very old brown leather and he meticulously polished them every morning. Even the insides had a high sheen with a dark outline where his toes nested. His room had the distinct smell of the Kiwi shoe polish he used.

It was rough being an international uni student and not only having to work to fund my schooling but adjusting to culture shock as well. The job wasn’t much to speak of. A friend had recommended me for it and I’d decided to give it a go. I was grateful for it but it was certainly grunt work. The hardest part was thinking I spoke English but having to learn a whole new version here.

I tied Robert’s shoe laces, and chuckled as he told he about the ‘deadorse” and “wilted rabbit food” he was served for dinner last night. “Where’s the lamb around here? Or how about some roo for supper?” He complained. I liked this crusty man but would like him even better if he quit scratching his nuts  in front of me. He did it every time he put his shoes on, “Only thing is, these shoes make me itch my budgies.”

He loved to talk about his wife. “We raised chooks up north,” he said,  pointing to a grainy photo of  her in her bathers on his old dresser. “She was always full as a boot on the amber fluid.” She was a good distraction while I helped him get dressed, otherwise he’d tell me to nick off. He called me a stickybeak and a perve when I first started.

I shook my head as I left to attend to a buzzer going off in room 24. “I’ll never get over this place.”

Robert loved to walk outside after brekkie. I’d been there about 4 months when he came clicking by the nurse’s station one day. I was enjoying my job well enough and getting a good handle on this culture.  “How ya going Bob? Beautiful day out out there.” I said, replenishing towels from the laundry cart.

“There’s a dead duck in the parking lot,” he announced, adjusting his hat without looking at me. He kept walking.

“Oh dear.” I said, and went back to my towels, thinking it was a good thing the garbo would be here tomorrow.

All of a sudden, my cart was pushed by a nurse of larger build in a tight uniform, running faster than seemed possible for her size. I was thrown against the wall like a rag-doll. She was yelling orders as she ran outside and my fellow off-siders were running behind her in pandemonium, dodging wheelchairs and their occupants. “What was going on?” I asked after I caught my breath, frantically looking around and wondering if I should run or hide. 

Turns out a female resident had fallen in the parking lot and Bob had saved her hide with his announcement! So much for my cultural competence…

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/grainy/

Christian · Gardening · Humor · language · Relationships

The Hypocrite’s Goose-egg

If there’s anything the Lord made clear, it’s that he strongly dislikes hypocrites.

Last night I was one and I sure got what I had coming.

I am a gardening nut. I could garden all day and all night if I could. But life interferes. A few days ago, I helped a friend, who has never gardened in her life, set up and plant a garden. I felt like quite a gardenista, giving her all kinds of tips and sage advice. I wanted to set her up for success and a lifetime of great gardening. To do so she must survive many mishaps, let-downs, and challenges.

We were loading mulch into our wheelbarrows and carrying it to the garden. I noticed that whenever I returned to the mulch pile, the pitch fork was lying (not laying, pitch forks don’t lay anything. I guess they lay dirt…) on the ground with prongs pointed upwards. I just now learned that “upward” is interchangeable with ‘upwards’. Pretty cool. I’ve never been sure which one to use. But I digress.

She works in a trade so I’m sure tools are pretty important to her. Responsible garden dojo that I am, I promptly educated my trusting apprentice on the proper use and placement of the pitch-fork. “Stick it upright on the pile or in the ground so you can see it. That also saves you from having to wonder how long ago it was you got that tetanus shot as you do the ‘I just stabbed by foot with a manure laden tool’ dance.” She was impressed.

This woman will make a brilliant gardener, just like me.

Yesterday I worked in the yard after dinner. It was getting dark so I decided to haul one more load of mulch to plant my banana plants before turning in for the night. It was pretty dark but I could still make out forms. The last few feet to the hole were uphill so I had to really muscle that loaded wheelbarrow. It was all I could to balance it on the hill as every time I tried to set it down it threatened to tip over. I threw the pitchfork off to the side to get it out of the way. I strained and twisted my poor body, one knee raised to support the wheelbarrow, and one hand holding one handle. Gutteral grunting was helping a lot and when I stopped grunting the behemoth load pitched dangerously till I resumed the grunting.

I was in a lurch, I couldn’t park the creaking wheelbarrow but I couldn’t very well stand here like this all night. The darned thing decided to help me out as it swayed this way and then that. Finally it leaned over so far it staggered and toppled like a drunk. I quickly let go so it wouldn’t fling me across the garden in the dark.

I stood there tried to look dignified and glare at the foolish pile that was nowhere near where I needed it to be. At this point I could hardly see the hole but I could make out the broad starts. I was very miffed about this predicament. I stepped to the side of the mulch to the retrieve my pitchfork when out of the clear blue a golf ball at top speed clocked me so hard right in the forehead that I saw stars.

I don’t know if the bonk jolted me worse than the shock. I stood swaying like my drunk wheelbarrow. The strange thing is that the golf ball didn’t fall. My hand quickly went to my forehead for moral support and found, not a golf ball, but a long hard handle to my pitch fork still standing in place!

Of course I’d dropped it, prongs facing up, stepped on the prongs, and clocked myself in the head. I was still standing on it. I hadn’t thought of this consequence!

I nursed my goose-egg and my pride. I’ll get to the pile tonight.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/survive/

culture · Humor · language · Uncategorized

Clazy Making

I belong to the Kikuyu tribe which is notorious for many things. Among it’s highlights is what Kenyans used to call shrubbing. Shrubbing is taking English words and Kikuyunizing them (or converting them so they contain distinct traits of a tribal language.) It is no fault of mine that I frequently say “clazy”. It’s one of my favolite shrubs.

Kikuyus swap most of their “r’s” for “l’s” and vice versa, hence, “the rion is at the liver,” doesn’t mean that the king of the jungle is now eating the organ but that he’s slaking his thirst.  The trouble for outsiders trying to decipher our speech is that some Kikuyus swap the  letters 100% of the time while others are part-timers. There are also words or parts of words that remain unchanged, for example, “I leally enjoy brogging.” It’s always “leally”. Never “learry.” That would be lidicurous.

Of course one can never tell exactly what the admonition “Ret us play” is. If the minister says “Prease play,” you watch to see if he brings his hands together before you jump up, whooping and horrering; whereas if the teacher says, “Ret us take a blake and pray,” she’ll probabry open the door and ret the students out for lecess.

The most faburous thing, of course, is that we are notolious for doing this with full confidence and autholity. We are tluly an amazing tlibe. We lerish the aduration and adolation of the world and they are tickled pink at our verbal plowess.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/pink/