The things I did not know. Well, one of the things I did not know…
I may have mentioned the lady who lives a couple houses down the street from me. She’s an active elderly woman who has lived in the same house nearly 60 years. I suppose she’s witnessed a lot of things in our neighborhood in that time. I usually see her in her yard or over at the gas station purchasing lottery tickets (her, not me). We wave as we pass each other on the street and once in a while we have an actual (sort of weird) conversation about something.
It seems that over the years she has taken in old pets. I’m not sure of the circumstances… perhaps they were unwanted or they were towards the end of their life span and the owners did not want to get rid of the pet themselves. This remains unclear. The stories she would tell about this always went something like: She takes the pet in. It could be a cat or a dog. There’s some period of time where things are going okay and then there’s a fateful day when Rover or Muffin eats a final meal, looks up at the neighbor with some mournful glance… the neighbor tells the pet she loves them and has done all she could for them… the pet keels over and dies on the kitchen floor. Sometimes, in a pool of the pet’s own juices.
Yeah, kind of graphic but this is the way she tells the story. One day the ambulance was over at another neighbor’s house. It seems that another older woman had passed away. Later, I found out that the PET neighbor had also been checking in on this ill, elderly woman. Thoughts of how the pets met their maker came to mind. Yeah… kind of graphic again. Sorry.
So… tonight there’s a knock on the door. It was dark outside so I flipped on the light. There was a man and a woman standing on the sidewalk. The man was holding a five gallon bucket of cucumbers. I heard the woman say “I don’t think this is the right house.”
The man told me he was looking for a particular woman but I did not recognize the name because he had mispronounced it. When I realized who he meant (the pet lady) I told him that it was two houses down.
He then told me that she was the “PICKLE QUEEN” of the town. “The pickle queen of the town?” I asked.
“Absolutely,” he replied “We give her all of our cucumbers just so we can get at least one jar!”
Well, there’s something I certainly did not know. I live two houses away from Pickle Royalty. I might just have to question her on this as long as I stay out of her kitchen. Then I wondered if this is the same kitchen where all of those pets met their demise. I also wondered if these people just had way too many cucumbers and this was a good way to get rid of them.
Creepy Friday morning update:
I noticed that I had a voice message waiting on my phone. The message went like this… “Hello, this is (the pickle queen of the town), your neighbor. I understand that someone stopped at your place last night looking for me and wanted to drop off some cucumbers. My number is xxx-xxxx. I do make pickles.”
Okay, what? How did she know? Do you suppose she reads the blog?
Even creepier, when I came to the part where I told you I had a voice message, I was going to write that I dialed into my voicemail to hear the message. No one dials into anything anymore… do they? Several years ago I was shopping at a thrift store with my son. I found an old rotary phone for a couple of bucks.
On the way home, my son was fooling around with it pretending he was on a call as we passed other cars on the road. He asked me how this phone works… how do you use it? I told him that using whatever number you wanted to call, you would stick your finger into the coordinating hole on the dial and turn it clockwise until you came to the stop on the lower right. Then, you would remove your finger and allow the dial to return to its original position and proceed with the remaining numbers.
He looked at me and said “Is this why we say ‘dial’ a number? No one dials a number anymore… we all push buttons on the phone.” Exactly. Pushing your buttons kind of refers to something completely unrelated to calling someone.
Beyond that… when was the last time anyone called an Operator? Are there still operators?