Monthly Archives: March 2011

Tuesday March 1, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

Back to hockey! These were busy times, but the early morning practices, the struggle with uniforms and the expense were all worth it. I am such a supporter of children’s team sports. It’s great exercise, wonderful experience and parents must participate. You can’t take a very young hockey player and leave him or her to play without Mom and Dad in the stands! They have to see you cheering for them, encouraging them.

I remember watching the kids whose parents would just drop them at the rink and come back later. Perhaps they really didn’t have time to stay, but the look on their children’s faces as they scanned the bleachers, looking for someone to work hard for – someone besides the coach – was sad. Perhaps they did well in the long run, but it’s my guess that the kids who excelled at hockey (and everything else!), were the ones whose parents stayed to watch them play.

Wednesday March 2, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

The boys’ locker room at the arena was always a frenzy of small, eager players trying to do as much as they could by themselves. Someone, however, always needed help with something! It was “sissy” to have Mom there, tying laces and securing helmets. One perhaps was cool enough to be part of the process, but in general, it was a “no-mom zone”.

The men who coached junior hockey were such patient, caring and hard working guys. Even the ones who were not fathers yet had what it takes to be great role models to a busy group of small boys all needing approval, security and support. When the coach tied laces he did it in a way that said “Anything you need, man, just let me know!” There was nothing to be ashamed of in needing help with something, no matter how small. These kind gestures made a big impression and I’m grateful to this day for the people who take on the challenge of coaching junior hockey!

Thursday March 3, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

The parents who screamed at their kids (as if, by merely making noise, they could influence a shot or even the outcome of a game) made our lives miserable. Some of these folks we knew. They were shopkeepers, community leaders, patients and acquaintances in town – so it was impossible to say anything harsh to them for fear of starting an incident in front of everyone else. These people became entirely different when they watched a game. It was as if this was their own private event onto which they projected everything from personal prowess to family pride. They shouted insults at their children, at other peoples’ children, at the coaches and at each other. And, for what?! I could never figure it out. In the end, the result was a sad and demoralized child and many frustrated parents. Rules of good sportsmanship aren’t just for the players. They’re for the audience as well!

Friday March 4, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

No matter how fast he was skating or how complex the play, Aaron knew where I was in the stands. He knew I’d be there watching everything he did – at least I tried to watch it all. I was one of a tight knit group of hockey moms who always sat in the same place. We always wore the same parkas; a huddled little throng, trying to keep warm with blankets, body heat and bad arena coffee. In Lynn Lake, your parka was a sort of signature. Like waddling mounds of fabric huffing wads of steam out the top, we were part of the northern landscape. My parka was blue with a wolf fur hood and a decorative band of green around the bottom. My friend Nancy had a green parka; June’s was magenta. You could tell who was who by the way they walked and what they wore. Those parkas kept us from freezing to the bleachers as we dutifully watched our boys skate their hearts out – for the team and for us. I never looked forward to the 6 am practices, but I’ll always be glad I was there.

Saturday March 5, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

Nobody likes to lose. On the days when Aaron and his mates were smarting from a lost game, we’d commiserate with hot chocolate and a talk about “next time”. There was always another game to look forward to and more reason to put your heart into practice. “After all,” we’d say, “if you won every time, it wouldn’t be fun anymore!
The great thing about competition is the fact that only one team can win and the other must congratulate them honestly. Then, you work hard to see if you can outsmart and out skate them the next time. Losing is an opportunity! You get to learn about generosity, good sportsmanship and honor.”

The lecture about winning and losing is pretty much the same everywhere and it applies to every sport and if you’re lucky, your child will listen, understand and be comforted. Then, once the hugs and the words of consolation are done… you’ll tuck them into bed with a hug and tell them you’re proud of them for doing their very best. As you kiss them good night, you know that you’ve said the right thing at the right time….even though they cry out miserably as you leave them: “But, Mom!!! IT’S NO FAIR!!!”

Sunday March 6, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

When a neighbor’s dog barks incessantly, I can’t stand it. I lie awake or pace about the house, getting more and more verklempt. I imagine myself doing unmentionable things to both neighbor and dog and so, when we acquired a pooch ourselves, he was not permitted to bark outside at the wind or whatever it is they bark at. The only thing Willy could not resist protecting us from was the snow plow. After a fierce attack of nonverbal abuse, it would recede from the driveway cowering as our small black spaniel ran after it as fast as he could. It was funny and the noise didn’t last long.

I have never been able to understand how folks can put up with their own dog’s incessant barking – much less inflict the misery on others. I also find it hard to understand how a dog can bark for so long without going hoarse or passing out from lack of breath! I suspect the first query can be explained by suggesting that some pet owners are completely unfazed by the noise and don’t give a frog’s fart about anyone else in the neighborhood. But, what about the dog? I think I can understand why, but if anyone knows HOW they can bark for so long – please tell me. I’d like to understand…’cause, when it comes to pets and their owners, I sometimes have much more respect for the pet!

Monday March 7, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

This was my abrupt way of storytelling. In the early 80’s I was still learning how to make my 30 seconds a day morph into a story. I wanted there to be a rift between Connie and Ted, partly because I thought he was a schmuck, and just to keep things interesting. Had I been doing this segment today, I would have told their story in detail.

Tuesday March 8, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

The way I saw it…Ted lived with an overbearing mother. The arrangement worked well for him as she did his laundry, made his meals and also made most of his decisions. There would never be a woman good enough for her son and she saw to it that Connie was a reject, even before the relationship got off the ground. In my head I knew what had happened and how the breakup had taken place, but I never told the story to the readers. At the time, I thought I could get away with such instant info, but it’s hard for an audience to buy into something they haven’t witnessed for themselves. It was a “learn as you go” situation and I eventually became a better writer.

Wednesday March 9, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

When you are married and in your 30s, your intimate circle of friends tends to be married couples, too. With the complexities of cohabitation come inevitable clashes and you often find yourselves consoling and commiserating with one another. I learned the hard way to not tell a woman friend what I really thought of her husband. My friend “Alice” was married to a fellow I thought was a genuine cad! When he left her for another woman, I told her so – and said she was better off without him. Six months later, she and her husband reconciled and I was out of the picture. It’s safer to console without criticism!

Thursday March 10, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

We had been such good friends, but my relationship with “Alice” was on the rocks. Having forgiven her spouse, she was embarrassed and hurt by my remarks. She also told her husband what I had said about him, so he too avoided my husband and me like the plague. Others, who had felt the same but had not expressed an opinion, still had her friendship; something I regretted having lost.

A few years later, Alice’s husband ran off with another conquest and this time, she let him go. There was no vindication for me, however. Painful lessons are well learned!

Friday March 11, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

Lynn Lake was such a small town that gossip came back to you the same day. It was fun to hear the latest community news, as long as you weren’t part of it! Here’s an example of how fast word travelled: Annette was one of our dental assistants. She was expecting her first baby and when she went into labor, I knew she had been admitted to the hospital because when I went to buy groceries, I ran into a guy who knew her husband.

A few minutes later, I went to the drugstore to buy her a gift and I ran into the doctor’s wife who told me Annette and Peter had just had a baby boy. I went home, wrapped the gift, walked to the hospital and there were the proud parents holding a baby so new, he hadn’t even been washed yet!

I guess there’s a difference between news and gossip, and it didn’t take me long to learn that in a small town, you had to be careful with both.

Saturday March 12, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

I was a smart mouth when I was a kid. I enjoyed a good verbal fight and could dish out some pretty cruel remarks. I wasn’t so good at being on the receiving end, however. I remember my mother telling me the “sticks and stones” thing and thinking- as the tears ran down my face, that words hurt more than a pounding- and lasted longer than a bruise!

Sunday March 13, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

During the 80’s there was a Canadian television “reality” type show called “Thrill of a Lifetime”. A young woman from Montreal had written to the producers to say that her thrill of a lifetime would to be to appear as a character in For Better or For Worse. I thought it was a fun idea and agreed to participate. The TV crew contacted me and asked if it would be possible for her to visit me at home and to watch me draw the comic strip in which she appeared. This was OK, too!

Monique was a librarian, and so a scenario involving the local community library was concocted. Travelling all the way to Lynn Lake Manitoba was quite a hike from Montreal and when she arrived with camera crew in tow, she was exhausted, nervous and wired. She was to come to the door, wait for me to open it and then the two of us had to be surprised and happy to see each other. This we did many times! Finally, they allowed us to hug and laugh and enjoy the fun of connecting for the first time.

I thoroughly enjoyed meeting this sweet, enthusiastic young woman. With her ready smile, thick hair and glasses, she made a fine cartoon character! She stayed for the day, I drew the strip, we had dinner together and she left the following morning. We promised to keep in touch – which we did for awhile. I later met her for dinner in Montreal, but our time together was interrupted and I regret not being able to get to know her better.

So, you have the real story behind this strip…and, Monique, if you’re still in Montreal, I’d love to hear from you and find out what you’ve been doing after all these years!

Monday March 14, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

There really were times when I felt like the family drudge. I guess the problem with housework is…it’s never done. Or, to put it another way… it’s UNdone as soon as it’s finished! I actually enjoy cleaning and organizing stuff… but the thrill is lost as soon as the door opens and some clod walks in with a wad of crud on his boots.
Nobody wants to hear Mom complain- about anything.

Forget the old “kids should be seen and not heard” quote… mothers are seen, heard but ignored – which is worse! I whined, complained, begged and pleaded and envied my more relaxed friends who could sit and read a book while the dishes formed a crust and the baby ate dog hair. Looking back, I wondered why I even TRIED to keep a tidy house. Who really cared? What my kids remember most about me is…my cooking!

Tuesday March 15, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

Nobody seemed to notice the mess but me. Maybe that’s because the messes were tidied up so fast. Maybe it’s because I gave up nagging and just closed the doors to rooms that smelled of moist hockey gear and lunch scraps. People who share their home with a responsible matron soon learn that things eventually get washed, fixed, cleaned and organized…you just have to wait long enough. Oh, you might hear something or see a pair of shorts take flight, but patience has its rewards.

What shocks the socks off me now is seeing my offspring’s dwelling spaces and…. they’re clean! Their quarters are tidy enough to pass a health inspection and I don’t know when it happened. When did they start to notice laundry and dust and grime and clutter…and why did it take so long??? Did the discovery of dirt kick in with maturity? I don’t know – but after all those years of picking up after them, I’m taking the credit. All of it.

Wednesday March 16, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

I have a sewing machine – but I rarely use it. I would rather sew something by hand than have to fight with a machine that’s bent on destroying my dignity. The make doesn’t matter, nor how easy they say it is to use. Sewing machines and I do not get along. One reason is; I hate to follow a pattern. I also want things to go. Adjusting the tension makes me tense. I don’t like to baby the bobbin, placate the presser foot or fumble with the feed dog. I want to turn it on, put the fabric under the needle thing, press the pedal and…DONE! But it’s never like that.

The machine “gets me” every time. So…if there’s a rip, tear, hem or whatnot to repair and it can’t be done with a hand held needle and thread, then it waits. Sometime for years! Mind you, this isn’t such a bad thing. You have to look on the bright side…I recently took some stuff to the mall for repairs and now I have clothes that seem new to me and a 20 year old sewing machine that’s as good as the day I bought it!

Thursday March 17, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

I have friends who are wonderful seamstresses. My mother too could make anything and it fit and looked perfect. I watch these people in awe and they tell me “It’s only sewing, Lynn – YOU can do it! It’s so EASY!” They don’t know the side of me that trembles at the thought of sitting with a Singer. I can do a lot of stuff, but sewing isn’t one of them.

Oh, sure, “just practice” they tell me… “what can go wrong?”

I hate this. Some people were just not meant to operate a sewing device – just as some folks don’t drive or cook or use a snow blower. If I sew…there will be repercussions. Either my endless patience will end in fits or the machine will need extensive maintenance thereafter. With gratitude and humility, I defer to all the people who confidently sew their own clothes. My admiration is genuine and my appreciation comes from the heart. You have a skill I will never possess and I’m grateful for every seam you’ve sewn for me!

Friday March 18, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

One of my neighbours easily deduced her expanding condition when she began to lose weight. Seems that every time she had a bun in the oven, she became so nauseous she couldn’t eat and had to take supplements. During the first trimester, she went down 4 sizes – which was OK, as she was a healthy size to begin with. Not me. As soon as pregnancy happened to this corpus (not so delecti), mild nausea was accompanied by a ferocious appetite. I craved everything and ate everything and appeared to be “term” at 6 months. I was so wide, I sat sideways on the shower seat. My mom in law threatened to lock the fridge. I think I gained 50 pounds with Katie and then it took me 9 more months to work it off!

It’s strange how obsessed we can be about weight and body image. Even though she was sick so often, I envied my neighbour her ability to maintain her curves when she was pregnant- and she, on the other hand, would have given anything to be ME!

Saturday March 19, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

Katie wasn’t the performer I made her (as Elizabeth) out to be. It was Aaron who could have earned an academy award for drama. It wasn’t unusual for him to collapse onto the floor with gut-wrenching heartbreaking sobs as he faced the job of putting his Lego back in its box or picking up his shoes.

From friends, I learned about an amazing secondary use for the egg timer. Rather than fight with my son, I’d show him the number of time-out minutes on the timer. The scene would go something like this: “NOOOO! I WON’T DO ITTTT!!! AAAAUGHHHHHHHH!!!!” and I’d say “You know what, Aaron, perhaps a little time out would be a good thing”. I’d turn the timer to 5 minutes and show him the dial.

“AAAAAAAAAAuuuuGGGHHHHH…NO FAIRRR!”

Me: “OK, let’s add another 5 minutes.”

Him: “WWWWAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!YOURE MEAN! I WONT DOOOOIIIITTT!”

Me: (calmly) “Let’s make that 15 minutes”. (This is so much easier than fighting!)

And so it went. One day, he racked up a full half hour and went wailing off to do penance. I thought I could still hear him crying, but it was an odd sound and the door to his room was shut. Then, I saw a strange red blob of something at the bottom of the door. It was moving. He had wedged his lips under the door and was howling through his squashed lips which moved like two wet worms. He was determined I should hear him cry!

Yes, Aaron got the prize for dramatics and extra points as well for making me laugh ’til I cried!

Sunday March 20, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

This Sunday page was also done as a result of a television program. The National Film Board had started a sort of documentary on FBorFW and a crew had been sent to Lynn Lake to record the local “colour”. One of the things we ladies did for fun was to attend different demonstrations in each others’ homes. Small private sales events were as popular then as they are now. We went to Tupperware and candle sales, clothing shows, cooking and make up demonstrations – anything that would get us out of the house and into an adult environment. Booze was optional, but certainly helped augment the ambiance and the sales.

For the sake of the Film Board, I agreed to host a makeup demonstration in my home. The process required the participants to allow their hair to be tied back so that a variety of goops and granules could be spread on our faces. This was not appreciated by some of the ladies who had never been on television and didn’t want their debut to be mid toilette.

After a bit of cajoling and a few drinks, we proceeded to give the NFB the inside scoop on the home facial demo…doing what we could to make this the highlight of the film. It took hours and many applications of facial stuff before we could call it quits. The ladies departed with grateful thanks from all involved and I promised them a copy of the video if it ever came to be. It did. The all-day makeup demonstration, with retakes, reasks, and redos, however, was reduced to less than two minutes of the film. In the end, no one complained. It was fun to do, but none of us really wanted to see the results. Some things are best left on the cutting room floor!

Monday March 21, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

Katie loved toothpaste and heaven knows we had access to lots of it. One morning, I was making the beds and she was playing in her room. Between the two rooms was our upstairs communal privy – a place which held endless fascination for both kids. What with a tub for water sports and a porcelain receptacle – guaranteed to “disappear” stuff – the bathroom was, hands down, the room of choice for indoor recreation. Above the sink our hard-to-reach medicine cabinet was filled with forbidden fruit and although it wasn’t locked, it took some jungle athletics to reach it and a strong pull to get it open.

Believing she was dressing up dolls, I continued to putter until “mom’s 6th sense” kicked in. I decided to check on my youngest offspring. Katie, having opened the biff- cabinet drawers like a staircase, had achieved the countertop plateau and was trying to open the medicine cabinet. This wasn’t the only thing I discovered. An entire tube of toothpaste had been squeezed onto virtually every surface of the room and she was on a mission to find more.

I removed her from the scene of the grime, called my mom-in-law and spent the rest of the day cleaning out the can. Every cloud has a silver lining, they say – and the good thing about this event was… the bathroom smelled great for weeks afterwards!

Tuesday March 22, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

Katie was not only adept at scaling cabinetry, she was able to conceal the collateral damage which ensued. After finding parts of a figurine, carefully hidden under the couch, I asked her why she hadn’t told me she’d broken something; why hadn’t she been honest? She looked at me as if I was crazy! I mean, why come out with a confession immediately when you could defer a tongue-lashing until, well…perhaps forever? I had to admit to myself that her reasoning did make sense, but I still wanted my kids to respect my property and ME!

After a long heart to heart talk she agreed that she should really tell mom when she’d done something wrong…but until she went away to university, I found evidence here and there of small unreported infringements. I now look forward to the day she has kids of her own. I’m going to give her some china!

Wednesday March 23, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

It doesn’t take long before your kids learn how to work the system. I watched my kids, still too young walk to the store by themselves, figure out how to walk all over us! With superior size and – perhaps – intelligence, we think we are always miles ahead of them – and are often stunned to find that we’re running to catch up!

Thursday March 24, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

Being a kid who loved pencils, I also loved the pencil sharpener. I loved the feel of the handle and the way those spiral cutting blades ground into the wood. I loved the smell and the sound and the shavings that spiraled out of the hole when the cup was full and overflowing. A good metal pencil sharpener was fixed tight to the wall and didn’t give when the pressure was on. We were a team. I could sharpen a whole box of Rembrandt coloured pencils, then take on a twelve pack of HB’s!

I leaned into pencil sharpening with strength and determination, every sharpened point a prize. It was a great day when my mother bought and installed a pencil sharpener in my room, next to the desk where I did all my drawing. It meant that I would always be working with a sharp instrument. It meant that she took my drawing seriously and marked a “turning point” (if I may say) in a budding career.

Friday March 25, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

Among other things, my mom worked as a calligrapher for my grandfather – a philatelist who dealt in rare stamps and forgeries. Her tools consisted of the finest brushes and pens with needle sharp points. I was fascinated, watching her do the beautiful handwritten text that went with each “cover”. There were times, if I was good, when she would patiently sit and teach me the art of fine lettering.

Everyone in our family was encouraged to write well. Handwriting, my parents said, was something which not only allowed you to communicate in a beautiful, intelligent way, but held in its uniqueness a key to your identity.
I loved to write. I enjoyed the process of putting words onto paper and when I was told to write lines after school, I didn’t mind, really. It gave me a chance to show off!

If I was told to write: “I will not talk in class” 100 times, I’d go down the foolscap with the “I” first. IIIIIIIIIIIII wwwwwwww iiiiiiiii lllllll and so on. Sometimes, I’d swerve the vertical lines of lettering out to make waves and patterns in an effort to seriously tick off the teacher who was also doing penance, just by having to be there.

Sometimes I’d print it all in capitals or write each line in a different colour. I just loved to write. I loved to write lessons and poems and copy the stuff on the board. I loved it when we could finally use ball-point pens.

I continued to learn calligraphy and when Dad got a part time job with a sign company, I practiced lettering along with him, using poster paint with chisel-tipped brushes on newspaper, the columns making easy lines to follow. Where am I taking this? Well, it’s funny, that with all my graphic equipment and all my hours of writing practice, I was still being nagged – a month after Christmas – to write my thank you letters!!!

Saturday March 26, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

The last months before school ended were tedious. We couldn’t concentrate, we couldn’t sit still. I wanted to be free and outside and away from the routine of classes and homework and anything that wasn’t fun. Summer in North Vancouver meant running down to the ferry dock and fishing for crabs or riding our bikes up to Lynn Canyon and swinging on the suspension bridge. It meant taking the bus to Stanley Park, English Bay, walking around the sea wall, taking the ferry to Bowen Island and going to summer camp. There was so much to do and we couldn’t wait to do it!

Strange, isn’t it, that towards the middle of August, when summer was still in full swing, that we thought about school and all it meant…and couldn’t wait for September, when we could go back!

Sunday March 27, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

Tootie Arbuckle babysat for my brother and me. She lived next door and I thought she was cool because she had the preserved fetus of a calf in a jar on her bedside table. She also had chickens and frogs on which she would perform experiments. She fed the chickens coloured grain to see if they would lay coloured eggs and she found out that frogs ate each other as readily as they ate flies. She showed us how dragonfly larvae chewed up tadpoles, and helped us boil a dead raccoon to get the bones for science class. Tootie was from a tough family and was made of solid stuff. Nonetheless, Alan and I gave her a run for her money when she babysat.

It was important for us to know our sitters’ soft spots, what buttons to push, where we could get her down. It’s no wonder that our folks had a hard time finding people hardy enough to suffer through an evening with “the Ridgway kids” but Tootie tried. She was strong and she needed the money. I remember her asking my parents exactly where they would be and when they’d be home and looking at us as if to say “try anything and you’re toast!”

One evening after the folks had gone to their place of reprieve, Alan and I started our reign of terror. Tootie tried to get the upper hand but gave up and went to the phone.

“Are you calling our dad?” (Our dad was a notorious softie.)

“No” she said “I’m calling MINE!”

Within minutes, George Arbuckle, a short, stocky man with a very short fuse, came in the kitchen door and slammed it shut. He worked in the shipyards and took “no guff from nobody”. He cruised around us, slapping his fist into the palm of his hand and soon had the two of us cowering in our beds with the threat of a pounding as security.

The next morning, my folks said that Tootie’s report had been favorable, that we had been “as good as gold” and from now on Tootie would be our regular sitter. I don’t think they ever found out about Mr. Arbuckle’s influence on our behavior and we never again pushed his daughter that far!

Monday March 28, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

The relationship between Ted and Connie (with Uncle Phil in there for added angst) was my first attempt to write a story about people outside the immediate family. I really had no idea where this relationship was going! I thought about them getting married, what Lawrence’s relationship to the not-too-fatherly Ted would be like, and I let things between them just “happen”. It was an exercise. I fumbled with the dialogue and futzed about with the Pattersons’ involvement and simply hoped for the best.

Tuesday March 29, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

One thing you can do in the comics is allow the audience to read a characters’ thoughts. In a soap opera, people will often talk aloud to themselves: “Alice will never have Desmond! No! I’ll make sure that he knows about her sleazy affair with his half-brother, Fred! …blah, blah, blah.” It was so useful to write everything in thought balloons and have the facial expressions say the rest.

Here I used the name of a friend who had started a busy flight service in Northern Manitoba – CALM Air was Carl Arnold Lawrence Morberg’s “baby” and he ran it well. His family and friends called him as soon as they saw his name in the paper – and he was able to reconnect with folks he hadn’t seen in years!

Wednesday March 30, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

When we drove out of “the bush” to Winnipeg, it was an hour to Leaf Rapids on a paved highway. Then we travelled for three hours to Thompson on a narrow dirt trucking route that wound through glacial eskers over muskeg and sparse patches of shrunken black spruce trees, which looked like they had been pulled backwards through a knot hole. There were no buildings or facilities of any kind. Rocks and scrub willows at the side of road provided no privacy at all, should nature call. The good thing was that we rarely saw another vehicle, but you had to keep to the right anyway, because travelers drove so fast they’d be in front of you in an instant.

After Thompson, it was another 14 hours to Winnipeg on a rural road, so you can see why traffic was rather awe-inspiring. I even forgot what it was like to have traffic signals and the thought of rush hour made us laugh. In Lynn Lake, everyone but the miners walked to work – and “rush hour” was a line up at the pub!

Thursday March 31, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

We had one of those large, overstuffed, comfy couches in our living room – the kind that’s hard to get out of. It was second hand and nicely broken in – so it didn’t matter if the kids took off the cushions to make a fort or rode the back like a pony. When Rod came home from work, that couch was waiting and he would flop down on it for a short rest before dinner. Naturally, the kids saw this as an invitation to flop down on Dad. The couch could nicely support all three and the coffee table was used for the overflow. It was always funny to see the kids so eager to tell Dad everything as soon as he came in the door, but after dinner when he’d recovered from his day…they’d be off on another mission.