Thursday, December 29, 2005

Blue Christmas

"I was talking to Bill the grocer the other day," my dad said to his friend Ruthie at the Railside Cafe. "He says, 'It's my anniversity today.'

"I says, 'Oh yeah? How many years?'

"He says, 'Thirty.'

"I says, 'Oh yeah, I've been married thirty years too.'

"He says, 'Oh yeah?'

"I says, 'Yeah. Fourteen to the first wife, and sixteen to the second. Fourteen and sixteen is thirty. I've been married thirty years.'"

Ruthie shook her head disapprovingly. "He's an idiot," she said.

Why is Bill the grocer an idiot? I've met him. He's not. He's not the one sitting in the Railside Cafe telling pointless stories. Apart from his questionable decision to move to the seedy little village of Cardinal, he seems pretty sharp. I suspect Ruthie just doesn't like city slickers like Bill the grocer, who used to be an ad man in Ottawa. Ruthie is just old. She's 76.

And Ruthie is sick, too, which happens when you're 76. She's very frail, and my dad takes it upon himself to look after her, to his credit. But he wasn't there on Christmas Day when she fell in her bathroom and laid there for four hours until someone came to check up on her. I think there's probably something wrong with her circulation, because her nose is blue. I sat there staring at it, thinking, "You should be on the front of the Canadian dime, Bluenose." It's never a good sign when a woman's skin is blue.

Take Mystique from the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Her problem? Evil mutant. Or take Violet Beauregarde from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, who turned blue from a mishap with experimental chewing gum. I was just watching this film with my sister Amanda a couple of days ago, in fact.

"I went to school with a girl who was blue," I mentioned as we watched Violet Beauregarde swell into a giant blueberry.

"Really," Amanda said with a dubious look on her face.

"Yeah. I think something was wrong with her heart. She died not too long after graduation. I saw the obituary in the Alumni Review."

Amanda winced. "That's terrible. Don't tell me stuff like that."

But it's true. It's how I know being blue is not a good sign. And it's why I don't expect to see poor Ruthie again next Christmas.


Blogger JPW said...

Ruthie must have a less deadly strain of blue than the girl you want to school with. Benign, I guess. Whenever I see Mystique I think: "She's pretty hot for a varicose vein."

12/29/2005 03:22:00 AM  

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