Hello everyone, everywhere,

Here we go again. It’s spring, and it’s snowing. And I mean snowing. Yesterday was 10 above, today it’s a snow storm. Welcome to Alberta.

Tomorrow I’m back to yoga and swimming. I haven’t been going because of my arthritis, but it seems to have let up, and I’m back in action again. Even though playing through this was a bit difficult, I would once again like to say, my good friend Don Swift, who makes sure I have these rubber drum balls that go on my sticks. If you are a drummer and you’ve kicking around as long as I have, either your hands are broken or you haven’t been doing your job. This man gave me back at least five years of playing, because there’s no pressure on my hands. I love these things.

Other than that, I’m just about whooped out; it’s been a long day, so it’s time to go. Have a great week. That’s it.

And now it’s time to close our eyes and our thoughts…if only for a moment…and rest.



Hey, you guys…yeah all of you, all over the world…I’m going to tell you a tale of Esther Flannigan’s magnificent adventure. Now Esther lives in Heatherthorpe. It’s a nice little place, I’d say about 1500 people. Kind of quiet, but we like it that way. We take care of our own monsters.

Heck, I’m jabbering away and I haven’t even introduced myself. My name is Foster Spence. I own the grocery store on the corner of Second and Flagger Street. I’ve been there for thirty-five years; I got it from my father Ferron Spence. He was a stickler for details, I’ll tell you that. Now, I’m not a gossip you see, just vigilant. Yes, that’s how I see it. Anyhow, this is about Esther, so here we go.

Esther Flannigan was born in ’55. I’d say she’s about 5’7, big blue eyes, moppy red hair, nice shape. Some say she’s too thin. Esther is some sort of designer. She works at home and uses a computer I guess. Now Esther, she’s kind of different, least I think she is. I wouldn’t say she’s slow, just….ohhhh twenty minutes behind. Esther has some kind of phobia. (That means you’re scared of something I guess). Esther’s phobia is that she will only go out on the first Saturday of the month.  (I’m rolling my eyes and whistling but, you can’t see that—come on, play along).

According to Earl, my delivery guy, this is how the story goes. Esther met this guy on one of her Saturday outings. Well apparently. They met at the town square outside of Sales and Such. Esther really liked this guy. They told each other their names. Hang onto that thought folks. This guy told Esther (as it goes) he had to leave, but could they meet up two weeks Wednesday afternoon.

Esther thought that was a great idea. Except, (this is the good part, everyone) she fogot that she only goes out on the first Saturday of every month. By the time Esther realized, she was supposed to meet this guy two weeks ago (on a Wednesday).

Well, she scurried down to the town square, and lo and behold, he wasn’t there. Esther, get this, had lost him,.I don’t mean broke up. I mean she had really lost him.

Earl, my delivery guy, took her groceries, you remember. So he said to her, “Well, what’s his name? Then we’ll find him for sure.”

Esther looked at Earl with earnest (that’s sort of like having a scowl on your face) and said, “His name is Harry or Larry Burton or Blouski—I’m almost sure of it.”

Earl turned away and said to Esther, “I’m on it Esther, we’ll find him.” (I bet).

Esther turned and smiled and said as only she can, “Earl we’ll find this out because I always say, I might be a little under control but you can’t over control me.”

Earl looked at Esther nervously, because he never gets her, if you know what I mean. He left, saying, “Miss Flannigan, I’ll be by with your groceries tomorrow. We’ll talk then okay?”

After Earl left, Esther started talking to her relatives–well their pictures anyway. The thing is, Esther had bought the pictures at a yard sale a couple of years ago.  She hung those pictures and started talking to them. So every time poor Earl would come by, she would tell him all about them. She told a great story. Unfortunately (that means it doesn’t look good)  Esther had no idea who these people in the picture were. But heck, Esther named them anyhow. Good for Esther.

The first Saturday of the month was approaching. (That means coming at you!) Earl went up on Monday with Esther’s groceries. (You remember Earl, the delivery guy). Moving on.

Esther welcomed Earl in with the groceries. She glided across the room with the grace of a ballerina dashing towards a passionate lover. Of course, though, she stopped at the pictures.

“Oh sheesh” Earl said under his breath.

Esther excitedly grabbed Earl’s arm and said, “I haven’t caught you up with everybody. Please sit, Earl.”

Earl was getting quite perplexed—that means look out Jack, I’m steaming. And he said to Esther, “Miss Flannigan, as I have told you every time I come here, you got those pictures at a garage sale. Miss Flannigan, once again, you don’t know them!”

Esther flopped her mop of red hair, rolled her big blue eyes and said to Earl, “If that’s all that’s bugging you, don’t give it a thought.”

Earl looked up and said, “Fine, miss, tell me all about them.”

Esther did just that, and I might add, of course, it is Earl’s recollection. (That means this is all I got and I ain’t got no more). After the family reunion (so to speak),  Esther said to Earl, “You know Earl, Saturday is coming and I think if I retrace my steps I sincerely believe I can find my man.”

Earl looked at Esther and said, “What’s he look like?”

Esther wrapped her arms around herself, you know like a hug, and said to Earl, “Oh I’ll know him when I see him.”

Earl backed towards the door. His eyes were rolling a bit (shhh about that part) and he said to Esther, “Miss Flannigan I wish you luck on that. I have to be going. You know Mr. Spence. Earl, he’ll be saying, cut the malarkey. (That means I know you know so don’t hide the peanut butter).

There are deliveries to go. So you see, Miss Flannigan, I have to cut a rug, as Mr. Spence would say. (That means, get your but moving!)  Good night and see you Thursday.”

Thursday night came as regular as tick tock tick tock and so on. Groceries for Miss Esther Flannigan.

Esther hugged Earl (which really gets him nervous) and said, “Earl, you have to sit, ’cause I’ve got great news.

Earl was not sure how to behave. (Keep cool man, no panic). “Oh great what’s up?” he coughed out.

Esther, with her great beautiful smile said, “We can only be where we belong. I like his smile, and his eyes–well they drew me in like a ten year old getting a free ride at the fair. In other words—Saturday I will find Larry or Barrie Burton or Blouwski. This I am sure of.”

Earl, as usual, was stunned by this whole conversation. (That means Earl is thinking—yikes!)  He said to Esther, “Well Miss Flannigan, Mr. Foster Spence, my boss, said,”Do it girl!” Yeah that’s his exact words.” (That means his lip is still, eyes are distant, and what’s done is done).

Esther said to Earl, “I’ve got my long purple skirt with the yellow flower on it, and listen up, I’ve got my high black boots that I got at a flea market.” (That doesn’t mean there’s any fleas, that’s why I stopped going). There is no stopping the Esther Blester.  Get it? Come on play along.

Earl said with some fortitude (that means I got it don’t you?),  “I will be cheering for you, that’s for sure.”

Esther smiled at Earl and said, “Two days to go, I’ll talk to the family and Saturday I’m gone.”

Now Saturday morning brought a little rain. But a go-getter like Esther would say, “We’ll be all right and so will the sun.”

On the other hand, Mr. Foster Spence, grocer, (that means he knows where they keep the lettuce) thought, “Hmmmmm, that girl Esther Flannigan, well she’s hard for me to figure. She’s always dancing and smiling. My father, the late Ferlan Spence used to say that smiling too much will may your teeth cold. Yep, old dad was a stickler for details.”  (That means my way, or the highway).

Anyhow, I didn’t need to know what was going on. I’m just vigilant you see. (That means, well…darn it). But, I thought maybe Earl should stay by just in case Esther found her man. Not that I needed to know about it, I’m just vigilant you see.

It was about noon Saturday and Earl and I are staring through the shutters waiting for Esther.bEsther did not disappoint. About 12:30 p.m. she came dancing out on the sidewalk wearing her corduroy purple skirt with the yellow rose shining like a crest of arms. (That’s like a cub patch). And as we looked down, there she wasin her shiny black boots. They were actually gum boots. You know…rubber. Nobody would ever mention that to Esther—she didn’t mind.

Off she went and Earl somewhat behind.

Esther thought, “I’ll go to the movie theatre. I’m sure we were there.”  As she got close she saw the owner, Mr. Green. He was a tall black man. Esther liked him; he was nice.

When they met, Esther kept walking around him in circles, until Mr. Green said to Esther, “Girl haven’t you ever seen a black man before?”

Esther smiled, looked off into space for a couple of minute, and said with some reservation (that means I might be right…I think I’m right… yeah go with that), “No, now that you mention it, you’re my first time seeing a person of colour for real.”

Mr. Green looked at her and said, “Girl why don’t you just take a damn picture then!”

Esther kind of blushed and said, “I already did.”

Mr. Green huffed and said, “White folks.”  And that’s how she met Mr. Green. He was so nice.

Next Esther headed for the drugstore. Mr Nestor Phelps owned the store and he was always watching everyone. He thought they’re going to steal a chocolate bar or turn the sign to closed when it was supposed to be open. Esther liked kidding Mr. Phelps,  but he didn’t seem to laugh at all. She always said to him, “Why Mr. Nestor Phelps, are you open? Because your sign says closed.”

Nestor always ran to the door yelling, “I’ll bet those kids don’t know it’s only 11 a.m.”

Esther always smiled and said,  “Oops I must have been wrong.”

She couldn’t help leaving poor Nestor Phelps walking around mumbling about the forties and scratching his head. “Oh well”, Esther thought. (Bye Mr. Phelps).

Earl, if you remember, I had sent to keep an eye on Esther. “Be vigilant”, I had told him. You know my boss would say that. (I bet). (Vigilant —in this case that means: Earl don’t screw this up).

Fine, Earl thought. I’ll be viv, I mean vigale, uh I mean I’ll follow her. (That’s a bet).

Earl found Esther sitting in the town square at her favourite restaurant, Nibbles for a Buck. She seemed a bit distant. (That means you’re talking to someone, you’re looking at them, but they’re still a phone call away).

So Earl walked up to Esther and said, “Miss Flannigan, are you stumped?”  (That means…oh well, you’ll all figure that one out).

Esther looked at Earl and said, “Earl, the only place I haven’t gone is Sales and Such. I feel like I’ve seen him there before. When I was chatting with “the family” this morning it felt like I’d seen this man of mine before.”

Earl smiled and gulped, and thought to himself , “Sheesh, not the pictures again!”

Esther jumped up and said, “Earl at least we’ll try Sales and Such. If he’s not there you’ll have to come home with me and explain to “the family” why we screwed up.”

Earl almost choked on his water and said to himself (oh no, not the family, oh no, oh no) but he glanced up at Esther and said, “Of course we will, let’s go!”

Off they went, Esther in the lead, and Earl following. Even though by now, Esther, most everyone downtown, and I’m sure some people who hadn’t even shown up yet, were watching Earl.

Anyhow Esther climbed the stairs to the Sales & Such.  Earl was about five feet behind her with his head down and he was  humming. (That means, I think by now our Earl is not a very good spy).

Esther was casually walking around when she spotted a polka dot hat.  “This is great!  I’ll buy this hat!  Can anyone help me?”  And lo and behold, Esther looked at the salesman and it was him.

He swooped her into his arms and said, “Esther I’ve been searching for you for two weeks.”

Esther said, “I remember you now. You are Larry Blowsky I’m sure!”

Her man smiled and said, “You’re close my dear, it’s actually Norm Muncher.”

Esther laughed and hugged Norm (not Larry) and said with glee, “Norm I have to go now. I don’t have a phone so let’s make a date right now!”

Norm looked at Esther—“Two weeks, Tuesday morning, eleven. Do you want to write that down?”

Esther said to Norm, “No I can remember.”

Now Norm hugged Esther and said, “Well I’ll see you then.”

Esther smiled and said, “You bet. I won’t forget.”

Now folks, if you were listening, and believe me, Earl was, Norm said two weeks Tuesday. Are we following this?

Esther went home to tell “the family” all about it. (Oh boy here we go again!)

Earl came back to my grocery store and said, “She’s safe, and my spy days are over…if you don’t mind sir.”

I laughed and thought, Well, Esther Flannigan’s magnificent adventure. How could it be anything else but destiny.


By jamesghutcheson

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