The Cuss Cash Jar

“Shitski! The remote died!”

As the Machete Mania show segued into The World’s Best Hamster Clips, Jeannie levered up from the sofa and went for batteries. She returned to see a bunch of jittery rodents running along a zip line over a realistic chasm full of cats. Her husband Elroy slouched on the couch oblivious.

As she turned to announce ‘bedtime’ for her 9 year old son, there he stood grinning, holding out the Cuss Cash jar. “What, you want me to count it for you?”

“You talked dirty and owe a buck.” Tommy grinned wider and shook the jar.

“I did not. Perhaps you mis-heard my recollection of the name Shitski. Your cheesy smile brings it all back to me. I was out walking Roscoe, my beagle/bloodhound mutt, and there before me a shaded park bench beckoned:

I plopped and Roscoe laid across my feet. No sooner had I closed my eyes than somebody that smelled expensive sat right next to me. I looked over and he stuck out a beringed hand.

“Madam, I am Ivan Shitski.” He nodded toward the fuzzy Chihuahua thing he had on the blingy leash that attached to a blingy collar. “This is Katerina the Great.”

At the sound of his voice, Roscoe woke up barking and slobbering. I had to jerk hard on his leash to keep him from having a taco snack. The Russian leaned away from us and the rat dog jumped into his lap. I jerked Roscoe’s leash again and said, “Shut it!”

The evil eye that Russky gave my now peaceful hound prompted me to make a wager. I said, “Sir Shitski, I’ll bet you $100 my dog is smarter than yours.”

He turned his nose up and said that he wouldn’t want to take my money because his darling had won shows. I asked if he was scared old Roscoe would bust his supreme confidence.

He said, “Ha! Fine, I’ll bet a dime.”

Elroy asked, “Dime bag?”

“Shut it, Elroy. Now, back to the vivid memory.”

The Russky stood up and placed the rat dog on the ground. When he unclipped Kate the Great, he showed the thing two fingers that he twirled around twice. The fuzzy runt got on her hind legs and walked around old Ivan twice, then sat all perky right in front of him with goggle-eyed adoration.

I stood and showed Roscoe an L-shape, just finger out and thumb up you know, and unclipped him. That mutt ran fast enough to make grass fly up behind him. As Ivan laughed, I pulled my Ruger SP-101 from my inside back holster with the safety already off. “Ivan, that dog is smarter by an order of magnitude because he knows not to be anywhere near me with a loaded gun ready to fire.”

Jeannie peered straight at her solemn son. “Ivan silently picked up his tarnished treasure and gave me that same cheesy smile as you. He didn’t even pay up. Now go to bed.”

“Yes, Ma’am.” He replaced the jar, laughed and trotted to the bathroom with a spring in his step. Had he glimpsed cats chowing down on clumsy hamsters?

She snuggled back into Elroy’s arms.

“Jean, don’t you think he’s going to figure you changed that Russian’s name to suit yourself when you saw him with that jar?”

She pinched his arm. “No, he won’t figure nothing because he takes after you.”

“You made that up?”

“Shit yeah! Plus his head will be too full of kitties and hamster parts.” She dug for Elroy’s wallet and put two dollars in the jar, then clicked in search of any show without rodent carcasses.

Honeysuckles, A Kid’s Delight

Honeysuckles!

IMG_4350Walking around the woods, the honeysuckles are about over now. They have beautiful flowers and strangling vines; woe unto the bush they get near. Another rampant Asian import! Of course this one is pretty, as are many of the others. As choke-worthy as they are, few folks have them in their yards by choice. As I have many acres of dense woodland as my front yard, I let ’em rip.

I remember as a wee child dodging the honeybees servicing the honeysuckles on the narrow woodsy footpath we used to taken to the Winn-Dixie. The massive display of flowers and the heady scent made Ma hurry (hay fever) and made me linger. I never worried abut honeybees becauseI mowed the grass with a gas push mower since the time I could reach the IMG_4351handle, and I always went barefoot unless in school or church. I counted 17 bees stepped on one summer. My feet didn’t stay swollen for long at a time, not enough to impede my rambling in any case. I digress.

I don’t recall where I heard about it from, but it was probably a book – go figure. I recently checked the Audubon Guide to Eastern Wildflowers and that authority actually mentioned it. Just pluck a flower and pinch off the green trumpet tip. Suck the honey out! I reckon that’s how they got their name. The process was a novelty for me, as the amount of honey in one of those is miniscule. Still, how many jillion folks go right by these vines every IMG_4353durned day and never dream of tasting them?