Tuesday, December 19, 2017

#206. or, The Duke of Argyll

  Hey there, thanks for swinging by, sit down, get comfy. Maybe loosen your pants a bit, grab a coffee. I'm going to try to tell you a story. Most likely I'm just going to leave you confused and wondering what the hell was that? But I'm going to do my best. My ability to spin a yarn is a little rusty.

  Ok, I need to explain something here. Like, at least a month back, my wife decided it might a nice thing to broaden our alcoholic endeavours. No wait, that's not right. Expand our knowledge on the subtle nuances of different variates of distilled liquor. Ya, I like that better. Anyway, scotch in particular. Now, I have a suspicion this particular choice may have been due to my wife's new fondness for all things Scottish in nature, fueled by her passion for Outlander, which we sorta binge watched together. Or, she could have been trying to prove to me that wonderful things can, in fact come from peat, other than wild buckwheat and sub par barley.

  I've always been a fan of scotch, so I was all in, and we sampled some varieties. Learned that it's best undiluted with mixes, but if you must, cutting it with a splash of water can reduce the harshness without sullying the complex undertones. Also, we learned that scotch is freaking expensive and that we can't afford that habit. One of those expensive varieties is Chivas Regal. That distillery is owned by the Duke of Argyll. He lives in the top floor of his castle and you can tour the lower floors if you were to ever visit Scotland.

  That last bit is important.

  Fast forward to this past weekend. We were in the city, doing some Christmas shopping, looking at lights, saw a movie, stopped at a restaurant for supper. We were in that in-between time. You know, after you've ordered your meal but before you get it. The time where the phones come out and you check to see what you might have missed while you did real life things. It was then, as the food arrived at our table, my wife turned her phone to me and showed me a photo of a castle. She said, "It's in Scotland. You can visit it, you remember? The Duke of Argyll?"

  Ok. Now I have to explain something. Ten years ago or so, I damaged my hearing doing dumb shit. Which now that I think about it, was also alcohol related and that's kinda ironic, but unimportant. My hearing somewhat recovered but left me with a thing where if I'm in a crowded noisy place, sometimes I'll hear something, but it will be all tangled up with other sounds and I have to let that confusion of noise wrap itself around my eardrums and trust my brain to sort it all out. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

  She said, "It's in Scotland. You can visit it, you remember? The Duke of Argyll?"

  I didn't catch, Duke of Argyll. The only reference I had was a photo of a castle and I didn't want to be accused of having a conversation while not paying attention, which I have been guilty of and try not to do anymore. So it was up to my brain to step up and save the day. My mildly ADD brain. Somewhere in my cerebral cortex, synapses and neurons began to fire. The wheel of the giant Rolodex of retained knowledge I posses slowly began to turn, and from between the card that says Wilma Flintstone's maiden name is Slaghoople, and the one that says you can treat foot fungus with a mixture of formaldehyde and water, my brain plucked a card and went with it.

 She said, "It's in Scotland. You can visit it, you remember? The Duke of Argyll?"

  My brain grabbed onto the only rememberance remotely similiar to what she had said and belched out, Doukhobor Val?  Cleverly, I raised the inflection at the end to indicate either interest OR a question.

  Ok. Now I have to explain something. Fifteen or so years ago, our family toured a Doukhobor settlement in the interior of British Columbia. They're kind of like Mennonites or Amish. They reject personal materialism. I don't know? It's in my brain. Like I said, sometimes my brain doesn't do a good job of sorting things out.

  She said, "It's in Scotland. You can visit it, you remember? The Duke of Argyll?"

  Doukhobor Val?

  And then my wife nearly spit out her fish and chips.

  Part of my brain. The smart part. The part that makes sure I don't do dumb things like accidentally drink anti-freeze,  knew that was not the proper response. That part of my brain was also now aware that my wife had started to snicker, which in turn drew the attention of The Boy, who actually hadn't been paying attention. The smart part of my brain carefully took stock of the situation as my wife's snickering escalated into a state of not being able to breathe as she tried to stifle full on laughter in the middle of the Saturday night restaurant crowd. And, while the dumb part of my brain was trying to reconcile why a Doukhobor person named Val, who had renounced material possessions would own a castle and sell tours on the side, the smart part of my brain scanned the restaurant for a portable defibrillator just in case my dear wife went into a state of hysterical cardiac arrest.

  I didn't get to use the defibrillator. Even though I'd really like the chance to.

  So now, even though the space is rather limited, my grey matter Rolodex has a card in it and the only thing on it is, Doukhobor Val. Because there is no such person, that I'm aware.

   The dumb part of my brain is also wondering if the Duke of Agryll could also be the Master of Fancy Socks?

  ..........I think I better add that to his Rolodex card.









14 comments:

  1. It is always a welcome time spent here in the tractor!!! I miss your writing, friend!
    Merry Christmas to you and yours!!!

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    1. Hello, my friend,
      So happy to have you along. I miss writing my writing. You'd think it should be an easy thing to sit down and do then, wouldn't you?
      Merry Christmas to you and your family as well! :)

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  2. Hahahahahahahaha, Doukhobor Val! That's the funniest story I've read in a long time! Gosh, y'know, the Sons of Freedom have been quiet all these many long years. When I was a kid, they ALWAYS seemed to be in the news.

    I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas. And keep binge-watching "Outlander" -- we love it too.

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    1. Hey Debra!
      I am so happy that you enjoyed reading it. I hadn't thought about it for some time, but I do now recall hearing about them protesting in the nude when I was a kid. Hardy people to do that in Canada, I think?

      Hope your Christmas is wonferful as well. And we do love urselves some Outlander. But now we wait.

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  3. Classic marriage moment. My wife and I were in Scotland this summer and there was SO MUCH SCOTCH. It was great. And each bottle has another weird name, none named Doukhobor Val though, although, it could work.

    Lang may yer lum reek!

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    1. Hey dbs,

      We would love to visit Scotland, but it's difficult for us to get away in the summer for any length of time and I'm unsure if Scotland in the winter is touristy thing? Guess we're stuck with those awful tropical destinations until I retire or get a different job.

      I had to google that phrase, not sure if I rolled the R's enough when I said it in my head.

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  4. That is awesome! I totally understand.

    I have had a life-log affliction of not being able to hear what people are saying. However, I rarely know that I can't hear them because my brain just fills in the blanks.

    Occasionally, I will catch on that I did not hear correctly when I know that what was said makes absolutely no sense. But quite often, I don't realize I misheard and my answers provide plenty of amusement for those around me.

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    1. Hi Brett.
      It seems to happen to me more often these days. It's not a huge leap to imagine myself as the old guy with his pants up to his nipples, giant cone up to his ear trying to catch the conversation and muttering nonesense in the retirement home. I'll probably fit right in.

      I'm sure there's people out there that think I'm challenged because I spend a lot of time smiling and nodding.

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  5. Sitting in a restaurant I rarely can hear what the wife is saying but can clearly hear the people on the opposite end of the noise filled room, makes for interesting conversations like yours.

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    1. I'm starting to think that damaging my eardrums 10 years ago had no lasting effect at all. I might actually just be normal? :)

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  6. I enjoyed a good laugh while reading this. Thank you!

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    1. And thank you for taking the time to stop by. I'm happy you enjoyed it. :)

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  7. Anyone else get stopped at Slaghoople? *files it in Rolodex*

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  8. My belly hurts from laughter. Ken, I really wish you posted more often! Your posts are really something I look forward to.

    If we were neighbors, I would bring over a bottle of fine Scotch and toast to you and your wife. Happy New Year.

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