Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Language has always come easy to me. I always know what I want to say….I don’t always say the right thing….and often I do regret having spoken out of turn, or said something that might have been taken the wrong way. I do, however, love to make people laugh. I think, honestly, that some of the funniest people I know are definitely the most connected and intelligent people around. If I can make intelligent people laugh with wit and humor, I consider it a good day!

I have been teaching for 25 years. Some of my best memories are in the classroom. I have often told my students, “The smarter you are, the funnier I am.” This saying helps kids who don’t think they are very “smart” realize that humor is definitely a sign of intelligence. I love that we are the only creatures on the planet that can laugh. Laugh out loud. The best memories I have are those belly laughs, the ones that make your sides hurt and the tears roll down your face.

I look for humor everywhere, and surprisingly enough, I find it!. It is often in the most delicate of situations. I remember when my grandfather passed away. My sisters and I were standing around the casket. I looked at my grandfather and suddenly had a déjà vue feeling. When we were little he used to have a nap after supper. He would snore loudly, and then stop. We, as children were transfixed. We often waited, with baited breath, to have him continue breathing at the top end of his snore. Knowing we were hanging over him, he would snap to, open his eyes, and scare the living daily daylights out of us. Standing over the casket, I stood there, expecting his eyes to open and the familiar hope descended….i looked at my sisters……they all knew what I was expecting….I began to giggle…they followed. From the congregation’s view, we looked upset…little did they know!

Asleep at the Wheel

     My dad phoned for the second time that Saturday morning. I had become his “work wife” since my mom had passed away. I dealt with all the minor details of his life: taxes, his schedule, his upcoming wedding, and his stories. I desperately wanted a bubble bath…every microfiber of my muscles were stiff and sore. After turning on the bath, I went into the kitchen to grab a snack. I noticed that the dishes were sitting in the sink. After checking the dishwasher, noting that it was filled, I ran a sink to wash up the leftover dishes. The water was cold….on the hot setting….where was my hot water……then it donned on me….the tub! I raced into the bathroom and saw a flood of water all over the floor and into the bedroom.  I quickly turned off the tub, still talking to my dad! I could stay involved in the conversation by the occasional “really”, or “no kidding”. At this point, I had no idea where we were in the conversation., so I added my traditional ‘really”. 
     Asleep at the wheel…..wet ceiling tiles in my basement, flooded basement bedroom, but…not as bad as when I truly did fall asleep at the wheel, coming home from my son’s minor surgery in Calgary. We lived in Saskatchewan at the time. The trip home was 5 hours. A snowstorm began at the border and the flurries grew thick. It was two in the morning and I peacefully drove off the road, landing gracefully in a snow piled ditch, in between two road approaches.
The point is, being asleep at the wheel is dangerous. Consequences can range from replacing ceiling tiles, to being pulled out of the ditch, or even losing all that you value.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Isn't it Ironic?

     Irony is everywhere....and I revel in finding it!  Today proved to be a gold mine for irony.
     My husband and I got into the car to head off to church. We were late and it is a 15 minute drive. Sometimes we feel the urgency to get there as soon as possible, but today wasn't one of those days. As we approached Pitcher Butte, my husband commented.
    "Hey, I wonder what's going on up there?" I put down my mascara, (When you are running late, make-up application in the car is a time saver...in fact, I can't remember the last time I applied make-up in my house!) and looked up the road to see lights flashing.
     "Someone is being pulled over, for some reason or another, I guess," I replied. A fleeting thought teased "I wonder if someone else from our church is late?" Thanks to my husband's radar detector, we have been saved the embarrassment! We drove past them, trying to get a view of the driver....he looked familiar.  We drove into the parking lot, and the red crew cab 4x4 trucked raced in behind us. As we got out of the car, I saw the young couple race to the church entrance....her blonde hair blowing in the breeze, his suit and tie flapping unceremoniously...they had a greater sense of urgency than we did, that's for sure.
     Entering the chapel, we quickly found a seat and looked up to the pulpit. The 1st councillor was announcing the speakers and their topics.  A glance behind him revealed the young couple...their topic...."Follow the Prophet and Keep the Commandments."!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Ah Nuts!

This Mother's Day was an event to remember! My daughter, proud owner of a six month old male, lab-collie cross, called me in a bit of a panic just days before.
     "Hey, mom, Jasper's chewing everything...I think he needs to be neutered." I waited for the enevitable...and was not disappointed.
     "How much does it cost to get the vet to neuter a dog?" Translated "can you pay for my dog to get neutered".
     "It's a couple hundred bucks," I said ...wait for it...wait for it...my programmed brain chanted.
     "Mom, can you help me pay for it?" And there it was....the money grab.
     "Nope, I haven't got any extra this month....there is another option though," I baited the hook.
     "Really, do you know someone who can do it for free?" She asked with eager anticipation.
     "You do too, think about it sweetie. Who has a boot, a carpet and a leatherman's?" The image of my dad with a cat rolled head first in a carpet, the carpet in a boot and the leatherman's separating the cat from his manhood, made me smile and squirm simultaneously.
      "Grandpa can neuter a dog?" She asked in amazement. "I mean, I knew he can do cats, I've seen him do cats, but I didn't realize he could do dogs!
      "He's a cowboy, he's done thousands of calves, and they aren't built that much differently than a dog." I could hear the excitement in her voice.
      "Do you think he could do Jasper for me?" she was starting to make plans, I could tell. "When's he coming in town?"
      "He's coming in Saturday to take me out for Mother's Day. I could ask him if we could take a detour past your house." I responded frankly.
      "That would be great!  So Grandpa can do it...does he have a cone for the dog?  Will he need antiseptic...should I buy some?" she peppered me with questions.
       "I don't think so. He'll bring his own equipment."  \
     And bring his own equipment he did. Saturday morning he showed up with a lariat, a chained dog collar and his leatherman's multi-tool. We arrived at her place, she herded the dog into the back yard. My dad dismissed my daughter, telling her that she wasn't needed. She obediently, but confused, went back into the house.
     With a practised hand, my dad used the lariat to loop around the dog's shoulder and head. He flipped the dog over in submission  position and gave me the chains to hold his hind feet. The dog began a plaintive cry. A whimper-howl. I glanced to the kitchen window and saw my daughter. Her horrified look told the whole story. In a flash she was at the back door. The howling continued; my daughter crying, attempted to appease her dog.
     "Get back into the house, I gotta get 'er done, you're not helping!" My dad barked
     "But, he's hurting my dog!" She looked at me with a pleading look, hoping for my intervention.
     "What did you think was going to happen?" I responded, tightening my grip on the chains.
     "I thought he would have an anaesthetic! That's what the vets do!" She was approaching us, wanting to soothe her dog.  This would not go over well with my no-nonsense dad. I motioned for her to go back to the house. From the look in my eye, she could tell this gesture was non-negotiable, and retreated back to the kitchen window.
     Suddenly a voice from the next yard interrupted the whimpering howls, "What are you doing with that dog? Is it okay?" her head peaked over the fence.
     "We're fixing him!" My dad barked again, and with a slit of the leatherman's, and a snip, my dad tossed the balls, one at a time into the yard. He released his head, and instructed me to hold on tight until the dog was safely on the ground. I then unhooked the chains. The dog immediately began licking himself. My daughter reappeared, tear-stained face. Grumbling my dad led the way to my SUV.
     "If Animal Protection Services come by, deny you know anything" my dad wiped the leatherman's on his jeans and put it back into it's case on his belt and got into the vehicle. "Let's go, NOW."  I turned the key, backed out and started to leave.
     "Thanks Grandpa," my daughter waved with one hand, wiping her tears with the other. The dog's face appeared at the front window, seemingly unscathed, by the traumatic events of just a few minutes before.
     "So where do you want to eat?" My dad queried.....and my stomach churned.

And the journey begins...........

A raconteur is a storyteller, and "Racontouring with Karen" is a blog that takes the reader on a journey through storytelling. Writing has always been a passion, but storytelling is in my genes. My father is a storyteller, a tall tale teller, a cowboy poet and most of all, a character. I have heard it said, you can only write about what you know about...so my stories are based on experience and observations, and driven with poetic license.