Grave new world or pop goes the weasel
Dearest Duck and I were driving across the Tilton barrens to visit Pa’s Tara in Spaniard’s Bay when we heard the news from Placentia.
I was expounding in depth about the autumnal splendor and the abundance of crimson dog berries and their ominous foretelling of winter weather when Dearest Duck turned up the radio and said, “Harry, my loquacious love, hush up for a minute.”
“My Duck?” said hushed voice.
“They’re making a big announcement in Placentia. Just listen.” So I did. So they were. Making a big announcement, that is.
The Dunderland Deities, along with a partial team of Husky Energy honchos, the whole crowd pissin’ their pants with excitement, had descended from the canvas-draped tower atop high Dunderland Hill to mingle with mortals.
And behold, parchment had been unfurled and a decree had gone out to the populace: A well-head drilling platform for the White Rose off-shore oil project would be constructed in Argentia.
The deities beamed I bet. The populace cheered.
Ah, new prosperity was coming to the abandoned erstwhile naval base.
“Harry,” said Dearest Duck, “that’s good news indeed.”
There is no denying that the announcement brought good news.
But part of a single word had caught my ear, and I poked at the radio buttons until I found the newscast on a second station. I listened carefully but just as Deity Dunderdale spoke a crackle of static scrambled her speech and all I heard was, “grave…Ksssh…dock.”
“What’s that?” said about a grave?”
“Graving dock,” said Dearest Duck. “They’re going to build a graving dock.”
I feel no shame is saying my ignorance is boundless.
A graving dock was beyond my ken. Unless it was a wharf of some sort to which souls were moored to await the ferry ‘cross the Styx. I didn’t need Dearest Duck to tell me that made nary a wit of sense. Mr. Google knew though. The moment we parked in Spaniards Bay, even before handing forbidden candy to our granddaughters, I dashed off to Mr. Google’s house.
There I learned “graving dock” is simply a spruced up name for a dry dock. Not such a grave thing after all. Simply something new in my imperfect world.
Days later at The Mall I sat on the bench outside The Bank while inside at a wicket Dearest Duck shuffled her pension cheques. I sat back-to-shoulder with several other curmudgeons.
This time we didn’t talk about our various surgeries. The recent announcement of plenty was the subject of discussion.
“That’ll only cost us money,” said one old codger, scrubbing a hand across his facial liver spots.
“T’will,” agreed his bent-boned companion.
“Drive our whiskery wag. So the banter went. As it is wont to do, my loosely tied mind drifted. To thoughts of childhood nursery rhymes.
Pappy used to recite this adaptation of
third an old English rhyme: “Up and down the Southern Shore, The monkey chased the weasel. Every time the monkey jumped, Pop goes the weasel.” There were variations on this theme. This next verse in particular is the one that burbled in my noggin outside The Bank, on the bench with the gaggle of grumblers, the universal sourpusses: “Every morning I get up, Breakfast on the table. That’s the way the money goes. Pop goes the weasel.” Dearest Duck just called from somewhere within earshot. “Harry, are you alright? Am I hearing Pop goes the Weasel?”
All slippered and concerned, she followed her question into my ‘puter room, and glanced over my shoulder.
“Not a grain of sense,” she said and scuffed away again. Might be some sense here though. Prosperity and plenty arrive on any scene like newlyweds, or something equally shiny and bright. Their radiance blesses the multitudes. That is a good thing, eh b’ys? Sadly, however, like the iconic clutter of rusty tin can tied to the newlyweds’ limousine, grave distractions follow. The worst of those grave things is crime, I s’pose. The least grave thing is a bunch of old men griping at The Mall.
Better they talked about their operations, eh b’ys?
Kurt Vonnegut, my favourite dead writer, says this to shrug off worry about inevitable events: “So it goes.” I say: “Pop goes the weasel.” Any of the above make a grain of sense? Thank you for reading.