Ivor Sidetrak, known to us at the Bakery discussion group as Ivor the Hun, was new to Drizzle Creek. Had only been in these parts for 15 years or so.
Lived on the other side of the tracks, just downwind of the sewage lagoon. He never bothered us; we never paid him no mind.
It wasn’t Ivor’s fault that we knew when he was in town. Most everyone that lived downwind of the sewage lagoon had that familiar olfactory aura. If it were bottled, it would be labelled Eau d’Cochon.
Back to the subject.
Ivor was, shall we put it, a man of few words. Nothing that we thought was worth talking about ever crossed his lips. In fact, even worthless stuff, like gossip, fell into his personal sinkhole of quietude.
Ivor was quiet! Those of us at the Bakery, with a lot to say of great importance, had numerous descriptions of the man. “We should submit his name to the Slow Speakers Society of Canada,” for instance.
Well, the unexpected happened. Ivor came into the Bakery squiring Freella, Drizzle Creek’s most eligible widow. He was somewhat animated that day as he offered a measured “Hu’llo.”
“We’ll, uh, I guess you should know that me’n Freella got hitched last week,” Ivor muttered, his first full sentence to us in 15 years.
“Great, Ivor. How did you get around to askin’ her to marry you,” Pickle chimed in, ever a source of wit and wisdom.
“Well, as you know Freella sure can talk, and I mostly just sit and listen. The other day she stopped talkin’ and kinda dozed off for a while. The silence, for once, got to me. I couldn’t think of anything else to say so I asked her t’ marry me,” explained Ivor, a red glow suffusing his face and neck.
“She woke up real quick and said yes!” concluded Ivor, obviously still not over the surprise.
Ivor and Freella poured, paid for, and drank the high-test offering of the day, then left. The bakery was unusually animated that morning with jokes and predictions such as the likelihood of them having kids the next time Freella ran out of words.
Other things probably got said, too. I don’t know ’cause I was talking a mile a minute myself.
About a week later, we heard something else. Ivor and Freella, having left the Bakery that day, drove home. Along the way, they came upon an accident scene. Bad situation.
Ivor, with blanket, and Freella, with a warm thermos of coffee, comforted the stranger until the police car arrived. If they weren’t there, the Fat Frantic Police said, the man would not have survived.
The news was all over, especially at the knights of the oblong table at the Bakery. Last Tuesday, Ivor came in for coffee. We regaled him with the media compliments, citing bravery, wisdom, and all the stuff we wouldn’t ever say to him face to face
“Ivor, we all saw you a dozen times last week. Why didn’t you mention it?”
His response, said with measured spaces, was, “Yu’ never asked.”
Ivor’s mantra is this: He doesn’t speak until he can improve on silence.
Maybe the boys at the Bakery could learn something.
This issue of Squirrel Pie was authoured by my brother-in-law, Ralph Jorgensen, a blue-eyed Arab ( Albertan) who, to deal with the depressed price of oil, is trying his luck as a writer as a better source of income. Sorry, Ralph, journalism is a dry hole, as well.
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