Happy Mother’s Day

Every Sunday our guest columnist not only pens these memorable words and provides the punchy pictures, he writes the headlines, too. So today, I must echo: What Paul says. Happy Mother’s Day! Take it away, Paul.

Paul Curran

Your Barista – Paul

Welcome to the weekly coffee and tea garden. My name is Paul, I’ll be your barista today and I’m happy to be here at Mark Bialczak’s Little Bitty in Syracuse, New York. Please come in and go through to the living room. Mark, his wife Karen and their pooch Ellie B have prepared a nice, warm, comfy place for us so I can tend to your needs for a cuppa, and sweets. The weather this morning is cloudy with showers and a high just over 50 F. As usual, I’d be pleased to bring a pot of whatever beverage you prefer – we have a wide range of teas and coffees to satisfy our worldwide readership and adult beverages for those who wish something stronger to warm up. We can relax with a cuppa while we discuss the affairs of the week both personal and/or worldwide. Ellie likes to be patted, so please indulge her when she greets you. How has your week been? Have a piece of cake (or any of the sweets on the next table) – electronic sweets are all calorie free!

If We Were Having Coffee

A few years ago my Mum had business in Ottawa and came to visit over Mother’s Day. I arranged a special day by buying tickets for the Mother’s Day lunch on the Wakefield Steam train. This refurbished steam train from the 1800’s ran about 40 miles through the Quebec countryside to a small town called Wakefield, where there were many boutiques geared to visitors. Then after shopping, the passengers could ride back to Gatineau – where the train was based – while listening to a history of the train and to the music of the time period.

Wakefield Steam Train

This took up the majority of the day, and we arrived back at supper time. My Mum had seen a movie advertised and wanted to go and see it while she was in town. We grabbed a quick meal and went down to the theater where it was playing. This is a privately owned theater that plays obscure movies, foreign films, philosophical and controversial pieces as well as the odd Golden Oldie. It has a byzantine schedule that is indecipherable – playing about 10 films arranged in blocks of three or four that repeated in some obscure rotation that meant no start time was ever the same. Between my Mother’s PhD and my Master’s we thought we knew what time our movie was playing. We arrived to find a different movie playing and already started. It was entitled “The Rape of Europa,” and I was sure it was going to be an X-rated film, but Mum wanted to see it – and so we paid and entered the dark theater, sitting beside an elderly woman in a rear row (so we wouldn’t disturb the patrons). The movie was about the Nazi’s theft of art and valuables as they marched through Europe in WW2 and it was fascinating. In fact it was so fascinating that Mum didn’t even put away her wallet and purse (she had insisted on paying since I had paid for the train ride), just set them in her lap.

The Rape of Europa

When the movie was finished we were both amazed at this film and chatted as I dropped her at her hotel. I had turned off my cell phone in the theater and forgot to turn it back on as I headed home. When I got home, I figured I’d have a beer before going to bed. There were three cold bottles left in a case of 24 and it was a warm night, so I threw the case into the back seat of the car and sat having a smoke while I drank (I wasn’t allowed to smoke in the house and cigarettes and beer are made for each other). When I was done, I locked the car, leaving the case of empties in the back seat. I went to bed and as I was doing so, plugged in my phone and realized it was off. I turned it on and it beeped for a message. I checked and it was my Mum and she was upset. She had lost her wallet and wanted to go back to the theater. I accidentally erased the message and in so doing lost the hotel phone number. I called directory info and they said the number was not listed as the hotel had VOIP. I did not have access to the internet so I figured I’d call the non-emergency police line – given it was about a stolen wallet. So I did that and explained that I could not find the number and could they help – my Mum would be worried. The dispatcher checked the internet and told me he could not find the number either. I thanked him.

Just Empties Officer

Would you like another cuppa? Perhaps a sweet? Anyway, thinking my Mum would call back, I lay down and shortly there was knocking at the door. Dressing, I answered the door and two female police officers were standing there – both looked very nervous. They asked if I had been drinking and, surprised, I told them I had three beer – not a lot at 250 pounds. They grilled me on the empty case in the back seat and I explained it had only had three in it. I was totally befuddled by this inquisition. Then they wanted to come in and I told them they had to stay in the entry way (some of my fellow boarders smoked pot and I did not need the hassle). They tried to walk past casually and I told them to stop or leave. They stopped. Both officers were very serious and much shorter than me and in the small entryway I had to look down at them. One appeared younger and she was playing with a flashlight in one hand – obviously thinking of the metal cased light as a weapon in case of a fight and kept dropping it. I knew better than to argue or disrespect them because they were on edge already.

Similar to the Right Two but No Smiles

Finally they got to the point – when my Mother couldn’t get hold of me, she had called the police and asked them to come and see me. They were sure that I had stolen my Mother’s wallet and used her credit cards to buy beer which I then consumed: all 24 in two hours’ time. I looked at them quizzically and asked if I appeared to have drunk 24 beer in the last two hours. Then I told them about the phone and accidentally erasing the number and then calling their dispatch. I could not go to the hotel because three beers was too many to drive and I had not been expecting to drive. I insisted they call their dispatch and verify that he could not find the hotel number either – apparently the hotel had just switched to VOIP. They did not believe me but did call and were surprised by the confirmation of my story. By this time they were calming down some and the young one hadn’t dropped the flashlight in 10 minutes.

They asked for ID and I provided it as they made notes. My wallet had disintegrated over the years and I had all my cards and money folded in my back pocket. When I pulled the stack out I apologized as I sorted through for my license. Now they were quite relaxed and laughed at my embarrassment. They had my Mother’s contact number and I dialed it. I told her the police were with me and gave a short version of what happened. I told her the wallet was likely on the floor in the theater but I couldn’t drive after the beer. She asked me to give the phone to the officer and she asked the officer to have someone check the theater for the wallet. They agreed but without enthusiasm. It was not nearly as interesting now that they weren’t chasing a drunken thief who had stolen his Mother’s wallet (at one point the two officers told me what a bad son I was for stealing my Mum’s wallet on Mother’s Day – eek!). Now that it was a lost-and-found assignment all the fun had gone from their night. Of course my Mum has been known to take the fun out of my night before as well – Ha!

Wishing me farewell the two officers departed chatting about what they had done for Mother’s Day. The next morning I picked up my Mum to take her to the airport. The police said they had looked for the wallet but had not found it. My guess is that they didn’t look – but who knows? Anyway, security became an issue – no identification. It took us a few minutes of frantic calling to get faxed hotel receipts – with a credit card imprint and a faxed copy of some spare ID kept by Mum’s friend in BC. Armed with this and the story, she managed to clear security.

Mum’s Theory

It was my Mum’s theory that the woman sitting beside us had deliberately stolen the wallet. I pointed out that we sat beside her, she did not come and sit beside us. If she did take it, it was a crime of opportunity not planned. I believed the wallet to be lost not stolen. The wallet contained credit cards, passport, about $300, identification and other items. It was not a terrible loss but it was annoying and inconvenient. Anyway, off she went back to Vancouver. About a week later I was in Toronto and my phone rang – it was my Mum. She was ecstatic. The theater had called and while doing their weekly thorough cleaning had found her wallet jammed between two seats. I still believe that if the police had actually looked they would have found it. Anyway, it turned out that not one penny or card was missing – it was all there. She told the theater owner to please give the cleaner who found it a $40 reward from the wallet and to courier it to her collect. It arrived intact two days later.

Returning Wallet

As it turned out there are still honest people out there that would not spoil an otherwise excellent Mother’s Day. Oh, and if you cannot figure out a movie theater schedule, you are in good company.

That’s about all we have room for this week folks, so it’s time to settle in with another cuppa and pat Ellie B. Sweets anyone? Please join me in thanking Mark, Karen and Ellie B for their invitation to tea. We are all honored that you dropped by today to visit. I hope you’ve enjoyed yourself and the conversation and please look around at Mark’s other posts while you’re here. Have a great week.

Oh, I saw this commercial for the first time this week and I laughed so hard I almost fell out of my chair. Gibber has one of the same breed. Have you seen this?

28 thoughts on “Happy Mother’s Day

  1. Just three beers and there they were, giving you such heck about it. I tell you if I were the director of that movie, I would have left “rape” off it altogether. I would have thought what you all thought when you went inside. I did leave my wallet in a theater over 20 yrs ago, and I remembered it just as I exited through the door. I rushed right back; it can’t have sat there for more than three minutes, and there it was, minus all of my cash. !! Your mom was ever-so lucky.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Kerbey! Awesome to have you visit.Yes she was lucky. The folks who make these types of movies are truly emotional about it and so are their target audience. Hence the title. Don’t get me wrong, the movie is quality and not over-dramatized – just passionate. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and I hope you come back again to visit. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I like the idea of your mom wanting to see a philosophical and controversial film. It says something about you. The apple never falls, etc.

    My high school job was usher/ticket ripper/janitor of a movie theater in Cleveland. We used to find wallets on a semi-regular basis and always turned them in un-emptied. But I wasn’t TOTALLY honest. We’d also find bags of weed which we kept for ourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Mark! Thanks so much for dropping by. That is funny that you found weed. I don’t suppose you could turn it in as it wasn’t legal. ha! You could get accused of distribution of pot -Ha! I do enjoy the philosophical and controversial films. It makes one think -like the art exhibits and theater that you enjoy. Thanks for the visit and comment.


    • Hey Colleen! Your words are very kindly, thank you very much. She had stopped the credit cards but they were able to be re-instituted. The passport and other ID had not yet been replaced – so it all worked out. Thank you very much for dropping by for a read – I am honored. Happy Mother’s Day!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Not sure which is funnier the running dogs or your story. Sure sounds like an I Love Lucy episode as good as the one where she stomps grapes or works in a candy factory.
    Oh, the death grip on the flashlight! I guess the two had far too many experiences with ne’r-do-well sons. How lucky someone could send your mom suitable ID. What a mess.
    Thanks for the Mother’s Day smiles

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for dropping by Phil. Yep, the running dogs was hilarious. I don’t know how much ketchup it will sell, but it was great. The advertizing world has agreed that the best commercials sell very little product. It is the ones that repeat the company name over and over and have little or no other story, that sell the most. I worked for a big bakery when I was young and my Dad was in management. The company decided they wanted to create a commercial to compete in the yearly awards given for most creative, etc. That bakery was running continuously since the first settlers in the 1700’s. So they did this really amazing commercial showing a baker arriving at the British fort – the Citadel – before sunrise in the fog with a wheelbarrow load of raisin bread for the troops in the 1700’s. It won a slew of awards and received critical acclaim in the ad industry. It did not sell one loaf of raisin bread.. Such is life. Thanks again for the visit Phil.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I bought mustard and ketchup. All those little doggies! (bakery is a tough business especially for small ones. There was one in a small town where some of family was – it was remarkable and always a stop. Got bought by a national company – for the baking secrets and almost ran it into the ground/closed the local one. Luckily former owners saw s breach of contract they had purposely written in and regained control. It’s back. You can go on computer now and order long distance rather than having to call and wait until someone could answer. Shipping has probably saved them. Word of mouth is still the only advertising.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Now this was a good fix on a Sunday afternoon. Delightful story. I felt bad for the cops accosting you like that – who navigates right way to theft, and doesn’t properly help out with the alternate theory of simply having lost the wallet in the theatre?

    On another note, I’ve not heard of this movie before. Must check it out if I can find it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for dropping by Trent – I am honored. i often find that female officers – cops, customs, security, military, etc – seem to react in a competitive way with males. i don’t want to compete with them nor do I value them any different than male officers. I used to run across that a lot when I hauled across the border – I know they often are viewed as less by rednecks and that there is a socialized tendency to devalue their contribution, but it is just a pain in the ass for me.

      Hope all is well ith you and yours this weekend – i am very pleased to see you writing more on line. It is such a joy to read you stuff – it transports the reader to another existence. Keep the good stuff coming.


      • The honour’s mine, for sure. You have such a way of telling stories, I feel like I’m next to you. Plus you have much better life-stories than I do.

        Thanks for your notes on my stuff. I’m trying to put out stuff I wouldn’t normally have, it’s just great to get real feedback. Helps me evolve. No idea where I’m going exactly with the style of writing, but definitely enjoying the trip.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. There’s nothing like a happy ending for a Happy mothers’ day story. Thanks Paul! Loved the commercial — I’m sure Duncan would jump on board that one too. The recipients would be less happy about it, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ha! I bet puppy Duncan would fit right in there. 😀 Thank you so much for coming by for a read and comment. It was cool that it all worked out in the end. As much as I try to expect the best of people and will consider all other options before turning to theft as an answer, still when a wallet is gone a week, you start to lose hope. But all’s well that end well. Thanks again for the visit and I’m glad you enjoyed the story. have a great weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great story, Paul! Had to laugh at the cops showing up with their assumptions in hand 😉 And for a change, I am reading this post the day it was posted. not days or weeks later 🙂
    The Heinz ad cracks me up – I had seen it before, and since I like Heinz ketchup, it def caught my attention! Here’s to a great Mother’s Day & week ahead!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sadie! Wonderful to see you here – WELCOME! yeah the cops were a ball of laughs – @#$%^! Ha! I found out later that they had worried about coming in and did not want to – they stayed outside for about 15 minutes before getting up the nerve to come knocking.Now, granted my entrance was down a dark side of the house with a huge hedge and no light (it was broken) – and… the young guys who lived there with their Mom had a really,really rough reputation that had included taking on the cops a few times. Ha! they had never, to my knowledge, started any fights but they finished very many. And when you mix a cop with a chip with those lads, flames erupted. Plus there were weapons registered to our address as well. ha! I can tell you this – I felt very safe in that house, no one would set foot on the property, even the gangs gave the boys a wide berth. One new gang followed them home one night and attacked with bats and night sticks. The two boys fought off 5 gang members – putting three in the hospital and beating the crapoutof the other two. They smashed the Chrysler 300 the bangers were driving so bad there wasn’t a window or light left on it. The cops arrived and there wasn’t much left to do. because the bangers had threatened the lives of the boys on their own property, there were no charges laid – in fact the bangers tried to lay charges and the cops laughed at them.

      Anyway, the cops knew all this and hence their nervousness. Hard to blame them, ha!

      Great to have you drop by Sadie. have a great Mother’s Day.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I am so glad it worked out and your Mum got her wallet back. Poo on the police for making such horrible assumptions. And the commercial with all those little Dachshunds is brilliant.
    Tell your Mum – Happy Mother’s Day!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much SD for dropping by for a read and a comment.It is a pleasure to have you visit. Happy Mother’s Day to you and yours as well. Yes it all worked out in the end, it makes me feel better about humanity. I saw the Heinz ad for the first time this week and I just had to share it. have a great weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. One cuppa with creme coming up Gatorette! With all your family close by, Mother’s Day must be busy for you. Are you cooking for a Mother’s Day Dinner? Thanks so much for dropping by for a cuppa and a read. Have a wonderful Mother’s Day Gatorette!


    • Thanks so much for dropping by Beth – I am honored. Yes, it did all turn out well. It reinforces my faith in humanity. Have a great Mother’s Day – you’e worked hard for it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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