Life Is Like A Bowl Of Prunes,


imagesHave you ever wondered if you have that multiple personality disorder? You know, that mental disorder where a person has more than one identity. I don’t mean like the guys that stalk you on Face book, accumulating all your information, until they put together enough stuff to fake being you, to other people. One of my nieces actually had someone try to do this— pretending to be her good friend on Face book (Scary thought for the day!)What I’m talking about is when within yourself, perhaps after some type of trauma or extreme stress, you start to exhibit an alternate personality, a totally different entity from yourself.

It must have been my other identity who wrote this piece for me today, because the one that is conscious right now doesn’t ever remember spending a summer in a trailer park. I do remember that yesterday was an extremely busy day, and that I had so many urgent matters to attend to that I didn’t get a single thing written. I like to give myself a little lead time when I can, by writing one day ahead of posting. For me to not do that is pretty stressful.

My kids know that one of my favourite expressions when they were in school was. “Don’t leave that project until the last minute! You never know what can happen! What if you break your arm?” To be honest about it, I only ever needed to say this to one of them. Carrie grew up with the skill set of a time management consultant, with one hand on a calendar and one eye on the clock. Steven, on the other hand, was always far more laid back, a bit of a risk taker when it came to deadlines.

I remember sitting in front of my computer screen last night, like one of those bobbing birds people used to put on top of their TV sets to amuse themselves during commercials as it dipped its head in and out of a glass of water. That’s how my head was as I tried to stay awake. That’s all I remember. Then this morning, this story magically appeared on my computer screen when I turned it on.

I don’t remember living in a trailer park ever. It is as far out of my comfort zone as you could take me; there just isn’t enough space between me and my neighbour. I like wide open spaces, but then maybe Yvette lived there once.

No Yvonne, I didn’t put it there! Stop pestering me! I’m exhausted and trying to get some sleep!

Well, from whoever wrote it, here it is. Maybe tomorrow I’ll be back to my usual self.

It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood, as Mr. Rogers would say. The sun was shining brightly on our little trailer park home away from home, and everyone was out and about.

Dawn was earlier than usual that morning, rousing us with a bang sometime around 5:00 A.M. Dawn’s unpredictable arrival time was a well-worn topic around the camp. Sometimes it was 6:00A.M, the next day 7:00, even as late as 10:00 when she passed through camp on her bicycle, pitching papers up against our doors.

Chatty Cathy the park manager’s wife was zipping around like a bee going from flower to flower, collecting her morning gossip.

“John’s been busy all morning because of the Prune Festival.” she said offhandedly, glancing in the direction of the washrooms and office. “There’s even been a line up at times. That poor guy’s been sitting in there all morning, missing out on all of this great sunshine. His push for the prune is taking everything out of him. Besides that, everyone in camp wants to put in their two cents worth before it’s too late.”

John was Cathy’s husband and the park manager. He had been sitting in his office all morning preparing to pitch his park’s potential for a prune festival to the political pundits.  Pushing for the prune rather than the plum option, posing the possibility of plum pests or plum perishability problems, proved an unpopular position with many of the younger park patrons.

The trailer park was in the midst of a prune plum orchard near Niagara-On-The-Lake, and this latest marketing whim could get John and Cathy out of a jam, financially, should the plans congeal. Park people could profit too, if they sold the surplus of the pop bottle whirligigs, and woven bread-bag sun hats they had left-over from last years craft sale. “How is the planning committee working out?” I asked Cathy. “They should be helping John get his presentation prepared.”

“Well, Harry’s not here; he went off to town, to the esthetician’s, to get his back waxed.  The pool is opening for the season tomorrow and I guess he’s got quite a winter coat going on there. Dawn was earlier than usual this morning, when she finished up with her papers, and she had time to tell me all about it.

Remember Nick, the barber? How last summer he accidentally took that piece out of Harry’s ear, while giving him that crazy buzz cut? I guess he and Harry haven’t been on speaking terms since. Did you know that Nick used to shave Harry all over whenever Harry needed it? After the shop was closed up for the night of course. Now he has to get a wax job instead. Of course he doesn’t want anybody to know about it. Maybe he could get his car washed while he’s in town too, and then he could just say he went in for a wash and a wax and he wouldn’t be lying.”

“Why would Dawn tell you all that? I’m sure Harry would die of embarrassment if he knew she was blabbing that all over the camp.”

“Oh well, I guess she’s not hitting it off too well with Harry these days. She says she wishes he were more spontaneous. You know…like Randy.” she explained.

“Oh.” I answered dumbly, wondering what Randy had to do with it.   .

“What about the rest of the committee?” I asked, changing the subject.

“None of them are getting along. Max says that they should pull out all the stops with this thing. He wants all the bells and whistles—fireworks, pit spitting, a rock band, a beauty pageant, and everything. He doesn’t want it to be a prune festival either. He’s still arguing for a plum festival

Les said that Max’s ideas are too over-the-top. He says we should downplay all the usual touristy stuff and keep it low key, something that wouldn’t cost so much, and that would appeal to older people.

Art needs a much more highbrow name than “Prune Festival” to make him happy. Art says he knows there’s money for the taking from the Canada Council if we go about it right.”

“Grant’s always a big help.” I said. “Why don’t you tell John to go talk to him. He just pulled in a few minutes ago. You know he works for the government.”

“Maybe.” Cathy answered. “But he’s not an auditor or anything is he?”

“I don’t think so.” I said. “ But what about the women on the committee? Don’t they have any opinions? What does Blanch think?”

“Oh she pales at the idea of any confrontation. She’s not much help. She doesn’t want to get into hot water with anyone.” Cathy answered.

Just then a few loud garbled sentences came over the loud-speaker. “What’s that all about?” I asked Kathy.

“Oh, that’s just Mike testing out the P.A. system again. I guess I’d better get going to see how John’s getting along. Otherwise this Prune Festival is going to be just the pits.” With that she turned and was on her way.

Well, I thought to myself. Life is like a bowl of prunes—sweet but full of wrinkles!


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