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Dundee’s Own!!

Breaking News!!  Alright…so here I am being like the coo’s tail (a’ ahent) but…to borrow from Gaberlunzie…”The time is right, the time is now……..”.  The long-awaited memoirs of Three Dundee Wifies an’ Boab has hit the streets…okay, well, the mailboxes.  Three women and a lad, none of whom have ever met (except in cyber space) got together and penned 96 poems about their fair city, childhood, families and back greenies. 


When did you last “ha’e a peh”, natter on the plettie, sail on the “Fifie”, walk the “dreels at the berries” or even thought of Champion The Wonder Horse at the old Arcade? If you are an ex-pat, it’s been a while…if not, not so long ago unless you’re under thirty-nine (real or imagined..lolol). There have been a number of Dundonians written about our fair city and their memories of her but I don’t think one quite like this one. A bonnie wee book of poems penned by four co-authors, covering two generations. Half aren’t related and one hasn’t even met the other three except in this cyber world (that would be me, the ex-pat). Yet we all share the same or similar days of childhood…which is what brought us all together. Share the memories of that auld toon that used to be…as I remember it growing up over fifty years ago…and even the memories of what took it’s place for a lot of that is now gone, too. The book has, so far, been well-received following readings to elders of the local Dundee community…folk who “lived” and shared our memories. The poems are mostly written in Dundonesian dialect (could be Greek to anyone unfamiliar with that!); most of them droll, humorous.

There are approx 100 poems and, dare I say it, better than McGonagal, despite the fact that he seems to have always had a cult-like following. Say what you like about him…I don’t think there’s a Dundonian born who has never to himself hath said (with apologies to Sir Walter Scott for paraphrasing…) “The Tay, the Tay, the silvery Tay..it runs between Perth and Dundee every day” and, perhaps sniggered, rolled our eyes or laughed but…we DO remember it! We’re not McGonagal…we are twa chicks, an auld hen and one handsome cock sparra who found each other strolling down memory lane of days, times, customs and traditions, many of which are now gone and enjoying every minute of our sentimental wanderings. I do believe you will too for they are not just ours…I guarantee they ARE yours every bit as much. The book is printed by the well-known and even much-loved David Winter, all the time-consuming prep work completed by one of the “chicks” (along with keeping a household, raising and enjoying a family of five plus grandchildren…and she has done an amazing job of it). The rest of us just “poemed”. Did I say the same busy “chick” did likewise? And we all did it for one reason….our love of Dundee where, it appears, we spent a most memorable childhood. Myself, I was raised in 46 Shepherd’s Pend, about the middle of the Hilltown. Fifty-five years after we moved from there I remember the names and faces of all of the kids there who shared my happy days, their parents, grannies and in which houses they lived. We may not live in the Dundee of our youth any longer but she lives in us. Och, meh Mum wid be proud!!!  Read the book, have a laugh, maybe even a wee greet…and pass it on to your children, grandchildren. Better yet, buy them a copy too!

We’ve been lucky. Been on the peninsula for twelve years and hurricanes have, thankfully, passed us by. Sure…we’ve had tropical storm conditions a few times. The first year we were here we had our restaurant and retail store. An horrendous day…walls of water being built from the sky downward, winds Chicago would be proud of. Stores closed, town was empty…our retail store was closed too and were in the process of closing the restaurant and I decided I had to walk the one block to the boardwalk and see the surely incredible waves.  Donned the weather gear and took off.  I’m not sure I walked that block…more like crept, crab style…bent over at the waist, three steps forward five back, drenched through but I persevered.  I wanted to experience the roiling, boiling waters crashing up to the boards.  Finally made it to the corner and when I tried to step around to the boardwalk, was blown off my feet….rain pelting so hard I couldn’t even open my eyes so…saw nothing.   At five feet tall, doesn’t take much to do that but still……..it was a wild day.  Oh and I didn’t really have to walk back that block…the wind pretty much picked me up and pushed me.  Now, a few months before when we had just arrived, there had been a Nor’Easter blow through and it had been bad.  We arrived about five days after and still there was much flooding;  Coastal Highway between Dewey and Ocean City had barely reopened but still there was standing water all over the road.  We were told that it had been totally closed the few days before.  People in Bethany and Fenwick Island, should they needed to head north (or is it west??  lol) could not take the most direct route but drive around for the highway is between the bay and the ocean.  All there is…for miles…is sandy shore on one side of the highway,  marsh land on the other and both bodies of water had come crashing to a “belly bump”.  It made us think then and, since, at least once a year about evacuation.

Here’s the deal and what I think should occur when we are in a serious possibility for a major storm…particularly at this time of year when vacations are not quite over.  Evacuate the tourists, even if only a medium category Tropical Storm.  Oh, I know we residents are always complaing about the tourist season and how happy we’ll be when it’s over and we can get back to our quieter lives, much less traffic etc. but this idea seems to us to be more logical than that.  We live here…we few of us have anywhere else we can be but should an evacuation be called for how do we get out of here?  We have two major highways to clear the DelMarVa Peninsula.  I heard Ocean City expected 200K people in town over Labor Day weekend (before any threat of hurricanonium…something like pandamonium but hurricanes instead of pandas…);  Lewes, Rehoboth Beach, Dewey, Bethany and Fenwick more than likely would total as much if not more between them.  Evacuation orders given out, how does anyone think that all of those visitors PLUS residents of all the areas could clear the peninsula safely?  If you happen to think of sneering at that you haven’t seen or been on Route 1 on a July Friday afternoon (coming into the area) or Sunday evening (going out)….and that’s with no-one panicking.  Get the tourists out first…several days before, rather like what they are doing on Assateague tomorrow but maybe sooner.  Then, should the worst happen, the rest of us might stand a chance BUT, at the same time, if nowhere else to go or for whatever reason can’t go, the hotels could surely be set up as emergency shelters.  Look at this way…most of the business owners live in the area and we are here year round…we help keep what little economy there may be flowing every month of the year so hotels, motels don’t have to shut down. 

What are you doing for preparedness?  Us…not a whole lot.  Take down and store the missiles…such as windchimes (aww…do I have to???), bird feeders, bird houses; stack and secure patio and deck furniture, tie the dogs tails to each other (well…they will STILL have to go outside!  And just making sure you are paying attention..lol) then put a long rope on the lead collar, other end tied around us both.  That way, on any of their “must go” forays outdoors, we’ll jam the rope in the doorsill of the back door while we stand on the inside and if the wind picks them up to blow them away…not a chance.  It’d have to take us through the door, first…or the house with us.  I’m going to the store tomorrow…nah-nah-nah, not because I’m “preparing” but because I always go on a Thursday since it’s Teeter’s senior day and I get an additional 5% discount.  But I will get some gallon jugs of water…don’t really need anything else since my other half tells me our pantry, cabinets and fridges/freezers are in a perpetual state of readiness (though she isn’t quite sure for what…).  Candle…we..or at least I…am a child of the sixties and since that decade never been without an array of wax in almost every room.  Batteries…we’re electronic gadget geeks so the butter section of the fridge always has a stack of assorted batteries.  Coffee…well, if the power goes out we do have a gas stove and I have a goodly supply of Starbuck’s Vaio and, power being off we need to boil the milk before it goes “off” so white coffees will be the order of the day.  But we aren’t budging.  Why?  Pets are verboten in emergency shelters and, aside from that, how do we move sixteen of them (six in big cages).  I’m not sure Ringling Bros would get here in time.  Odds are it won’t happen…if it does and we go, we’ll all go together.  But I still think getting the tourists out first and ahead of time is the practical way to conduct an evacuation emergency.         

This is week #75 on Top Sites Tuesday… Let everyone know your two thoughts!

Sorry, but I have to start this blog now if I’m going to post it in a timely fashion for Tuesday’s Challenge.  See…”The Real Housewives of New Jersey” reunion show is tonight and I don’t plan to miss it!!  Do I see you laughing?  Tut-tutting or maybe just a snigger??  Yeah…me too.  Personally, I don’t really believe I not only watch this but can’t wait for Monday nights to tune in.  For one thing…I detest reality shows and, as far as I’m concerned, the tv powers-that-be are getting money for old rope by the preponderance of so-called reality shows not even in any given week but on any given night of the week.  But the collective “housewives” shows, I must admit, are my dirty little secret.  In the beginning I did try watching ‘Orange County’ version but the blonde trophy-wives assortment was too much for me.  Then there was NY city housewives followed by the NJ crowd.  Maybe Atlanta came between those two, I’m not sure…but after two episodes of them I turned off, also.  NY and NJ won out, though…and recently there’s the DC wives…jury is still out on that one, maybe an episode more..or two…but who knows.

NY housewives…you know, the reality is I really don’t like any but one of them and that’s Bethany Frankel (Hoppy).  She could put any really good comedienne to shame which might be her saving grace for me.  NJ wives…don’t like any of them much although if I have any respect at all for any of them it would be Jacqueline.  Danielle…probably one of the few who feels sad for her (on occasion!).  What I really want to know is where does the “real” come in?  The NY bunch appear to be nouveau riche and have the class associated with that…NONE.  My mother always taught us that one cannot buy breeding…I don’t imagine birthright automatically confers it either.  Aside from Bethany, the rest appear to enjoy the status coming from greed, self-agrandisement, outsize egos.  The NJ bunch…all but one (so she says) have had…as ‘they’ say…work done.  Take a look, you’ll know it when you see it.  (See…watching their shows is making even me catty….meowwww).  I wonder that any one of those women dares turn her back on another.  And the bottom line is…where is the reality?  Of course, if Bravo were to do a series on REAL housewives of any city, any State, would anyone watch?  So let’s take Delaware.  I’m a real housewife…of sorts, anyway.  As are some of my friends.  We struggle out of bed of a morning complete with bed-head, some of us not unentangling it until around noon (speaking only for myself).  Wearing scruffies or pj’s we vaccuum, sweep and mop floors, let dogs out, in, out, in and out again.  Take out the trash…sometimes after the trash bag so overfull to flowing tips over on the already cleaned floor before getting it tied up and coffee grounds, remains of last night’s dinner scatter…and that being so, round all the dogs up and get them out again before they vaccuum IT up.  Dog toys, cat toys, significant other’s shoes, trinkets, fishing gear stuck in corners, here and there.  Washing machine and dryer going at full bore half the day, I eat breakfast standing up while loading/unloading dishwasher with two cats fussing at each other on the island above my head.  Go to prepare dinner…if I can get the basket out of the freezer (after taking a knife to the ice solidified around the handles) and when I open the cabinet doors to get the cooking pans, my feet and ankles are assaulted by an avalanche of bowls, pots, a colander or two and some storage  containers.  I’ve dusted, paid bills, done some research, folded clothes, made beds, breakfast/lunch/dinner and finally sat down for the evening…in between letting dogs out, in, out, in, out again then settling them for the night.  And at around midnight, drop into bed to watch…what?  “Real Housewives Of….????”  Being of an older age I’m not even your typical housewife (not that I believe there is such a thing except ordinary housewives are more typical than those whose fantasy lives we watch) for I’m way over the age of having to also deal with children.  No Merc or Bentley or BMW for me…a fourteen year old Corolla.  We don’t spend $2,000 a year on clothes, let alone a week or month…although the ???? dollars we spend feeding and amusing our own sixteen animals, a raccoon family of six plus a couple of possum and who knows how many assorted birds and squirrels surely puts us in the poorhouse category.  There’s the day…running around in barefeet as usual…I slip and go down like a ten pin catching two toes in the gate behind which is my audience of critters…laughing.  Or the night I took the garbage out and slid down seven deck steps on my back.  Can’t forget the time cartwheeled down the same steps, running to work one morning…briefcase flying several feet to land in the driveway but so proud of myself because I was still holding my coffee cup, nary spilling a drop.  Only the other night we were dressing the paw of one of our dogs…she had jammed her dew claw and we’d been trying to keep her from chewing the irritation.  We had to resort to a bandage with some nasty stuff called Fooey! (sp) sprayed on top to keep her mouth off the bandage.  I was holding her from behind and soon as it was done…before letting her down on the floor…I reminded her it tasted nasty.  First time ever she slung the bandaged foot behind her, smacking me in the mouth…that’s how I know to tell you that the Fooeey REALLY is nasty business!  Of course we Real Housewives of Delaware all live varied lives and experiences, don’t have time or inclination to round up a posse every time we are invited…or not!…to a dinner, charity event or go for a pannini.  We don’t have the time to read many  books let alone write them and to my knowledge there are very few who get paid $3300 a week  for an outside job, let alone housewifery.  Nah…I don’t think Bravo would be interested in us….too dull and boring. 

That was my first thought.  Second on a more serious note.  Apparently there is a stat been released that approximately 40% of school children are using cell phones to cheat during exams/tests.  I was asked what my solution might be.  Make sure the school board are aware of it and that they DO something…like ban cell phones in or on school premises THEN take (better not even give!) cell phone from my child/children.  It was pointed out to me…though the person doing so did agree with my thoughts, also…that many parents would cite Colombine as a reason for their children having a cell phone to school and she suggested those cell phones specifically designed for the aged…really only for emergency.  I’ve checked them out and there is one designed for kids which is parent controlled…with only the numbers the parents authorize to call in or out.  I like that idea except for one thing…too many parents who would balk at their kids not having their ‘rights’ or freedom to do (call) as they want.   And the thing is, most don’t just have a simple cell phone any more but a Droid, Blackberry, iPhone…a veritable treasure trove of information (answers!) at their fingertips.  What would you suggest? 

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