Life in our bustling cities must be a series of minor mysteries and challenges to the newcomers in our midst, and you’ve got to give them credit for the obliging way they try to fall in with what they think are the local customs. Thus an Englishman, boarding his first Montreal tram and quite unfamiliar with the usual Canadian system of collecting tickets, stood perplexed as the motorman harangued him in French and waved at the fare box. Then, suddenly beaming and nodding his head, he dropped his
lighted cigarette in the box and sat down. And at a crowded Winnipeg bus stop a recent arrival from some continental
country was about to climb aboard when his companion pulled him back, mur-
muring apologetically, “In this country woman is boss.”
* * *
Just as we thought dining rooms were
returning to favor comes jarring evidence from a rural schoolroom near Ottawa. The class was studying a poem about home and the teacher asked what a dining room is used for. “It’s a place where we eat when we have company,” said one youngster, so teacher quickly asked for another answer and got it: “It’s the place where we keep our incubator.”
* * *
Every morning a housewife in Swift Current, Sask., listens hopefully to one of those lucky word-quiz programs during which a phone number is picked from the local directory, the number called and a prize awarded if the householder answers with the magic word. As usual her face fell when today’s lucky phone number wasn’t her own, then she gasped as she realized it was the almost equally familiar number of a neighbor only two doors away. Even as she darted out the door she was aware that her friends had moved out of town just a week before but maybe the new neighbors who had moved in a day later had the same number. Sure enough—the man was answering the telephone even as she mounted the porch and peered into the hallway. Flinging open the door she yelled, “Mississippi! Say Mississippi or you’ll lose the prize!”
Well, they lost the prize all right be-
cause the bewildered man had a different number entirely and was trying to put in a long-distance business call when the seeming madwoman burst in on him. But the madwoman herself admits it was probably some kind of a record for getting to know your new neighbors fast, even in the west.
* * *
A couple went to a dance at Fort William, Ont., recently, a black-tie affair, and to his wife’s surprise her husband just wanted to sit around and talk to people, though he normally enjoyed dancing a great deal. She was getting pretty fed up when he looked at his watch and
said, “Well now, shall we dance?” It
was a lovely waltz and during it he explained tenderly in her ear that darned if he’d been able to find his black tie, so he’d had to paint his white tie black with some special paint he’d had left over from his model-making hobby. Give it an hour to dry and it wouldn’t smudge a bit.
* * *
It’s quite customary for a real-estate agent to list his home phone number in a for-sale ad for evening calls, but one realtor who displays his wares in the
New Westminster British Columbian adds this helpful tip: “Keep trying—I have a teen-ager.”
* * *
A Hamilton, Ont., man and his wife, desperately in search of a parking space in the downtown sector, suddenly spotted curb space being vacated just behind them. Backing up to it was impossible the way traffic was pelting down the road. Finally the woman yelled, “Circle the block!” and jumped from the car. Slightly mystified, her husband did and got back to find her standing arms akimbo in the middle of the vacated parking space, her nickel already in the meter, defying any other driver to steal the space before her hubby came by again.
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