“I’m a detective, but nuns could stonewall Sam Spade into an asylum”

Today is yesterday and it’s the day before that. The temperature is in the 50’s and it is sunny and cloudy. The breeze, almost a wind, makes the day feel colder. I have things to do so Gracie and I will be out and about including a trip to the dump where it will feel like winter when the wind whips across the dump’s expanse.

My father loved to go to the dump. He usually went every Saturday and always asked for someone to go with him. There were few takers. That dump was a dump of old with high piles of trash and seagulls flying overhead squawking the whole time. The piles and the seagulls could be seen from the highway. I always told people coming to visit to keep their eyes peeled for the dump as we were the next exit.

My father would be disappointed at the dumps now with all their recycle bins and trash bins. The fun is gone and so are the seagulls.

I always found nuns mysterious and a little bit scary. I used to wonder what their hair looked like under their habits, and I also wondered why they had white handkerchiefs stuffed up their sleeves instead of in their pockets. I thought it was sort of gross. My first nuns had white blinders so they couldn’t see sideways without turning their heads. It was always to our advantage that by the time the nun turned we weren’t doing anything. She could hear the whisper but not pinpoint the source. The nuns also had a piece, sort of a half veil, across their foreheads just below the wimple. We got quite the shock  when we went back to school when I was in the eighth grade. The blinders were gone and all that was left was a little visor across the top. That nun could see everyone and everything. Nuns 1, kids 0.

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8 Comments on ““I’m a detective, but nuns could stonewall Sam Spade into an asylum””

  1. Alan G Says:

    Ran across the link to your site over at Geezer’s blog and aside from several of your current music postings, this story caught my eye. I, not being Catholic, share your fright of the nuns. Can’t really say why except they always seemed so mysterious to me.

    Then there is the dump. Now here is a subject I would like to see you treat with a little more reverence. 🙂 As a kid I loved going to the dump. Our city dump at that time ran right along the Arkansas River and our (me and my running buddies) favorite sport was finding those flat, round tin can tops and sailing them out across the river seeing how far we could get one to sail. We didn’t have to deal with any seagulls but remembering how we were back then, that’s just as well. We would have probably turned our attention from throwing the tin can tops into the river and instead would have started trying to see how many seagulls we could decapitate in mid-air with the tin can tops. 🙂

    • katry Says:

      Hi Alan,
      Welcome to Coffee!

      I think it was because they were mostly hidden which made them scary. I saw a face and hands and that was it. They also swished, from their habits, and rattled from their rosary beads.

      My father’s dump was pile after pile of trash. It actually smelled pretty bad but the seagulls flying around made it a bit more interesting. You couldn’t go through the piles at that dump.

      I think if I had the same fun you did, I’d have liked my dump.

  2. olof1 Says:

    We’ve had a very nice day here despite the predictions and this evening is even better since the wind we had now is gone so it doesn’t matter that it is a bit cooler.

    I never went to an old fascioned dump and going to the recycling center isn’t that fun to be honest 🙂 Well it is fun to see how the others trying to unload their cars walking only one time to the right container 🙂

    I’ve never met a nun and the only time I saw them as a child it was two nuns driving a car. I don’t know why but I got so surprised. I didn’t think nuns could drive 🙂

    Have a great day!

    • Hi Christer,
      It is quite cool today, and my prediction was right on as the dump was cold.

      We went from the traditional dump to all sorts of recycle bins. We don’t have trash pick-up unless we pay for it so the dump is the place.

      Nuns drove but always in pairs. When I was kid, they always had to travel together. You never just saw a single nun. Now they can do anything done.

      Enjoy the evening!

  3. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    I loved going to the dump when I was a kid. We had the old kind of dump where stuff was just piled randomly. I found some really neat things picking through the piles and I still have one or two pieces that I rehabbed back to usefulness.
    The trash picking urge is still with me. I have a terrible time driving around town on big trash day. There are so many useful things sitting out there discarded and abandoned. I have to tell myself that I drive a Wrangler and there isn’t any room to put stuff in it. Nor is there any room in my house for discarded stuff until I have discarded a lot of my stuff first. 🙂

    Today is sunny but cold and breezy up here. I’m told there were snowflakes flying by last night but I didn’t see them. I’m glad. It would have been too too depressing. 🙂

    Enjoy the day.

    • Hi Caryn,
      We had a town dump for big things the trucks wouldn’t pick up. I went there a couple of times but never found anything.

      The best time and place to pick up is in Allston or Brighten when the college kids are leaving their apartments. You’d need a U-Haul for all the neat things you’d find.

      It is the same down here. The sun is bright but isn’t warm.

      Enjoy the rest of the day!

  4. flyboybob Says:

    In my class for new instructors I always ask how many of the pilots are lefties. There is a very high percentage of pilots who are left handed as compared to the general population. I always joke that the number would be higher except that when some of them were young the nuns beat it out of them. 🙂 When I was in China I saw no lefties. I was the only one eating in a restaurant with the chop sticks in my left hand. Maybe I would have better luck with chopsticks if I switched hands. 🙂 One of our Chinese instructors told me that he thought that he was left handed but his parents switched him over at a young age. Growing up in Mao’s China there weren’t any nuns to guard against the evil of left handedness. Obvious they didn’t do such a good job guarding against the evil of capitalism.

    When I was a little kid in Brooklyn New York there was a Catholic school on the same block as my grandmother’s house. I was always curious about the clothing of both the nuns and the brothers who used to walk by the house. You are right they did look mysterious. I would have thought that the parts of their uniform had some kind of religious meaning that every good Catholic was aware.

    Rain again today so the area lakes are filling up from the previous three year drought. We need it but why all at once?

    • Bob,
      In many parts of the work using left hands is taboo. It was that way in Ghana and it is the same in the Middle East. They use the left hand when in the toilet so when they eat communally they have to use their rights. In the old days they would cut off the right hand of a thief so he would be destined to eat alone.

      The habits of nuns were dependent on their order. Most wore black and white but many wore brown. The parts had names, but if they had significance, I didn’t know it. They were just habits to us. I even had an aunt who was a nun and she didn’t signify any part of her habit had significance.

      Weather is capricious!

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