Friday, September 24, 2004

Halloween, then and now

Well it is early Friday morning. I catch a ride with my wife Nadine, on Fridays. She works at 5 am and I start at 7am. so that gives me a few hours before work to reflect on things, surf the net for whatever my latest obsession is, right now it is Halloween effects for a party coming up.
When I first came to Canada in 1965 I had never even heard of Halloween, let alone trick or treat.
Imagine a little English boy with a strong accent. His school mates tell him that there is a day where you can go from one house to the next with an empty sack and ask for treats and candies from complete strangers and they will give them to you!
Yeah Right. What is this Eutopian world you are living in.
My first Halloween took place in Toronto, Willowdale actually. We lived in a highrise, at the time it was the tallest, a whole 13 stories. Soon to be shadowed by the surrounding developments.
My parents knew little of the Halloween traditions, the certainly didnt have money to buy candies to give to strange children.
We had no costumes and knowing that there is a need for children to fit in my mom was very ingenious and wrapped me up un a toga made from a sheet. Julious Ceasar was reborn. Although a Nero's violin and a burning town in a redwagon would probably have made more sense for halloween, it was hardly practical in those days. I could pull it off now, after seeing all the halloween effects. I have to include this link
We went down the hall of the ninth floor of the apartment, donned with our costumes and our little paper grocery bags. By the time we were at the end of the hall our bags were overflowing and a neighbour gave us a green garbage bag to continue!
We ran home dumped the bags so mom had some candy to give out to the other kids that called and hit the streets running.
I have no idea how much candy we got that night. I do remember still eating the molasses halloween kisses around Christmas and Newyear. I also remember thinking to myself, "This is the land of milk and honey" I am sure glad my parents brought us to this country!
I guess it is time for me to get back to the Halloween effects pages. I am trying to figure out how to make writing appear on a mirror while you stand there watching it. I think I figured it out while writing this! Funny how as I get older I am more into the tricks than the treats. I have already figured out how to make Linda Blairs face superimpose over your reflection :D If you happen to hear whispering in the bathroom when you look in the mirror, it is just me!
What a warped mind I have.
Ciao for now!

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Antiques. The last of my archived Sadgoat letters

Back in the late seventies I was fresh out of school. Jobs were abundant then and I was greedier than most. I had three.
One of my favorite jobs, perhaps due to the whopping four dollars an hour, but more for my fascination of old things, was working with an antique auction company.
Once a month the company would wheel into Victoria with a few semi containers packed to the rafters with antiques from England.
We would spend the first night unloading the trucks, and unpacking boxes of not so antique products, and setting them up for people to view on Saturday. The main auction took place Saturday night.
Over the years my friend and I developed a rapport with the auctioneer. He would wink at us as we lifted “tiffany” style lamps into the air for the bidders to view. We would be sure to get rid of the cardboard boxes that said made in California.
He would announce. “We are not too sure of the ages of these pieces but they are indeed beautiful works of art”.
The same would go for the horse brasses that word made in the far east from melted down artillery casings. They would put the horse brasses into piles of manure to speed up the aging process, dust them off and ship them to North America for decorative sales.
The rapport with the auctioneer didn’t stop there. We would have to lift items into the air for the public to see from the back of the auction hall.
He would grin widely as we hoisted up marble top washstands into the air. Old wooden cabinets with slabs of marble on the top, heavy marble, an inch thick rock over two feet wide. The auctioneer would slow down the bidding at this point, Making people realize the value of these wash stands.
The bids would slow down too. And there we were holding the heavy slabs in the air, sweating, muscles twitching, sinews ready to snap like brittle twigs under the immense strain.
He would finally shout “SOLD”. Our signal to lower the merchandise and move on to the next wash stand, with him grinning at the podium like a Cheshire cat.
One night when we had finished the sales we were helping customers load items into their vehicles.
A lady had just spent a hundred dollars on a Barrister Bookcase, the type of bookcase with glass doors. Each bookcase module stacked on the next and was locked in place.
Did I say locked in place. I should have said “Should be locked in place”.
You know how antique glass has ripples in it. Who would have thought that was the feature this lady wanted most out of the bookcases. Who wouldn’t have accepted an apology and a new piece of glass from two meek humble lackies that hoist heavy objects into the air.
Oh well, I didn’t make quite as much money that night. I did learn lots about antiques, reproductions and scams. Buyer beware!
It was a great job, I got an education, strong muscles and $4.00 an hour. I was the envy of all the people my age!
Carl Hird-Rutter Chilliwack BC

Yes there is a Santa Claus

I have portrayed Santa now for about ten years, Maybe it was my size or my hearty laugh that got me started. My boss at work asked me if I would be Santa for his wife's daycare. He had a suite A red felt suite from Sears, white faux fir around the edges, a plastic belt and a rather cotton wool like beard. They had placed the gifts in a large red sack and tucked them in the back of a truck just outside the house. I donned the gay apparel and scooped up the bag of toys. The children were thrilled. The room was hot and my glasses fogged, the children were amazed that Santa would take time from his busy schedule to pay them a visit. But Santa was blown away when he received a gift from the children. Twelve tiny angels, each one with the name of one of the children, all packaged up in a decorated box from Auntie Faye.
This became a tradition for me, the next year I purchased a better wig and beard. More gifts from the children and Auntie Faye.
The following year I was approached by a brownie group to see if I could be Santa for a Christmas party. I asked Faye if I could use the suite and she said "of course, that's what it is all about"
Well I never went to Santa school so even though I was a father and very experienced with children I was not prepared for what was to happen that night.
Each of the children and their siblings came and sat on Santa's knee. We went through the usual "Were you a good boy or girl?" Like Santa doesn't already know that!!!! "And what is happening at your house?" a good way to find out if the child has both mommy and daddy living in the same household.
Then the big question, "What would you like for Christmas?" Now for anyone who has never played Santa you may think that its a piece of cake. But Santa does not know everyone's financial situation, so if a child asks for an X-Box you don't just tell them there will be one under the tree, you fish around and get them to talk about less expensive things, dolls and cars, puzzles and books.
A young man sat on my knee. He must have been around five, the two front teeth missing. He told me that mommy and daddy said he was a good boy this year. I thought to myself this is easy the battle is half won. I know he is good and mom and dad live together. Now all I needed to know was what he wanted.
"what would you like for Christmas?" Santa asked. "I would like a bed Santa." he replied. No toys, no books no puzzles.......just a bed I thought to myself, as my heart sank deep in my chest. "I sleep on a cushion on the floor" he said."Is there anything else you would like?" Santa asked. skillfully trying to avoid the issue. "No just a bed" My heart almost stopped, he gave me a hug hopped off my knee and sat down. Before I could get my head around what I had just heard another child was on my knee. The next few children came and went a blur of questions bouncing in my head I have no idea what they were asking.
Then a little girl sat on my knee, she was about seven. Once again I asked the question." What would you like for Christmas?"
once again I heard the same haunting answer. "A bed!" Was I losing my mind? it was surreal like a Dickens' novel. It was the sister of the young boy who sat on my knee. The rest of the night was a blur, I was moved deeply by the events of the night. The next day I told the story to my boss, he relayed the same story to his wife Auntie Faye. Next thing I know there is a phone call from Faye. " Can you find out who these children are" she asked? I dug around and found out they were children of one of the leaders from the brownies. I told Faye I knew who they were.
Faye went to all her relatives and told them the story. They all chipped in and went to Sears to buy the children a set of bunk beds. Faye asked if Santa could deliver the beds, I had to decline, you see I knew the people who would be receiving them, Friends of a friend. I told her I would make the call but they would have to make the drop.
Who knows why I would be in a situation where I could pass a message on to just the right people? Faye doesn't have a daycare anymore. I still have the original suite she lent me. Since then my wife made me a lush suite of crimson velvet with real rabbit fur cuffs and collar that we rescued from an old fur coat.I still need to don the suite to really get into the Christmas spirit, but none have every been as memorable as the year it all came together for a family in need and a family who wanted to give.
Yes Virginia there is a Santa Claus.
Carl Hird-Rutter AKA Santa Claus Chilliwack BC.
Merry Christmas

Canada's Marshal Art, CBC Roundup Letter

A "Sadgoat" letter for Jan 15 2003, you have to love CBC's "Roundup"

The call goes out for a Truly Canadian Martial Art.
There can only be one. It would be CanDo

A secret art practiced by many but mastered by few. There are several moves and stances that could only be Canadian,

THE MOOSE: Stand with both feet firmly planted shoulder width apart. Place the thumb of each hand on the your temples, fingers outstretched like the antlers of the noble moose. When your opponent comes within striking distance either bellow like a rutting animal or stick your tongue out and scream "Neener Neener Neener"!

THE CANADA GOOSE: With both arms down by your sides crane your neck back and forth, as you stretch your neck back ready to strike your opponent will surely turn and try to flee, at this point take your hand of choice and rapidly and firmly pinch their buttocks letting out a familiar Honk of victory!

THE BEAVER: This is a close quarter move, and should only be done in very tight spaces. As the opponent is coming along side of you swing your tail around and knock them off balance. If the maneuver is executed properly the resounding smack will notify other CANDO masters of inherent danger.

THE LOONIE: This is a last resort maneuver. Should your assailant be relentless and all of your other maneuvers have failed...... throw loonies in the direction of the assailant and run the other way.

There are always rules of etiquette to be followed in any art. Remember to apologize profusely, offer assistance when the opponent is down and out and after all other negotiations fail, offer to take them to Timmies for a donut and a cup of coffee, we are after all the most civilized of all nations.

Carl Hird-Rutter Chilliwack BC

Thursday, September 02, 2004


A comment, a comment, MY KINGDOM FOR A COMMENT!!!

I once had a thought, that I could write publicly, somewhat like the scrawling on a bathroom wall. But attached to that thought was a thin wisp of an idea, feedback. If I could write and get feedback then my writing would improve.

But I fear the wisp is broken. Either that or no one has reached this page from the obscurities of the net. The modern partyline of the century. Drop me a line!