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The Jacksons – for Oct. 28, 2010

“ Idon’t know if I can take it for another year.” Rose Jackson shivered as a cold gust of wind rattled the dining room window and a low-grey cloud obscured the sun. “Already the cold is making my knees hurt,” she added.

Andrew lowered his newspaper a few inches to look at his wife. “According to the forecast it’s going to warm up in March,” he said. He raised the paper back up. “Unfortunately that’s not the worst news in the paper today either.”

“No?” Rose didn’t sound surprised. “What’s worse?”

Andrew scanned the page. “Violent crime and input costs are up,” he said, “but prison sentences and profits are down. And apparently people in Winnipeg are having trouble driving around traffic circles.”

“I can see that about the traffic circles,” said Rose. “Winnipeggers are used to driving in straight lines. Most of them can navigate a simple curve but I can see how a circle might leave them confused and disoriented.”

“Between red light cameras and traffic circles, it’s a bonanza for the body shops,” said Andrew. “Maybe we should sell the farm and buy one of the big body shops in the city for Brady so he can support us in our old age.”

“Our old age,” said Rose, “which is now.”

“I mean how can you mess up driving around a traffic circle?” said Andrew apparently still baffled by that concept. “Just turn the steering wheel and hold it. It’s not rocket surgery.”

“Maybe they have tunnel vision,” said Rose. “Maybe once they get into the circle they can’t get out. Like city folk lost in the woods, they just travel in circles until someone rescues them.”

“Or until other lost city folks enter the circle and they have an accident,” said Andrew. He shook his head. “Crazy city folks.”

“Thank God we’re country folk,” said Rose. “We can drive in all geometric patterns.”

“I hate driving in triangles though,” said Andrew. “The corners are too sharp.”

“Where have you ever had to drive around a triangle?” asked Rose.

“At the Winnipeg Art Gallery,” said Andrew. “That’s a triangle.”

“There’s an ad on the back page of your paper,” said Rose, abruptly changing the subject.

Andrew turned the page over and glanced at it. “A 15-inch LCD TV?” he said. “Really?”

“Not that ad,” said Rose. “The other one. Return air fare to Las Vegas for a hundred fifty bucks.”

“You want to go to Las Vegas?” Andrew sounded doubtful. “Since when?”

“Since it got cold outside and my knees started to hurt,” said Rose. “I want to go somewhere warm sometime during the winter just for a break. And Las Vegas is probably the least expensive option.”

Andrew put the paper down. “You’re serious aren’t you?” he said.

“Dead serious,” said Rose. ”We don’t have to spend a dime once we’re down there for all I care, except for food and a hotel room. I’ll be perfectly happy just lying by the pool for a few days drinking margaritas and getting a suntan.”

“You don’t even like margaritas,” said Andrew.

“Las Vegas will do that to you,” said Rose. “What do you think?”

“What?” said Andrew. “You mean do I want to spend a week in February lying by a pool in the sunshine with a wife who is slightly tipsy on margaritas?”

“Not just any wife though,” said Rose. “Your wife.”

“Well in that case, yes, absolutely,” said Andrew. “I think that would make my wife happy, and when my wife is happy there’s no telling what may happen. Fun and adventure most likely.” He paused. “We may not be able to buy Christmas presents for the kids.”

“I’m good with that,” said Rose. “We may not be able to afford to go to

the Folk Festival in July,” said Andrew. “I’m tired of folk music,” said Rose. “I

want Barry Manilow in an elevator in Las Vegas.”

“I’m sure you do,” said Andrew. “I mean his music,” said Rose. “Not

Barry Manilow himself. That would just be awkward.” She paused. “So are we actually going to do this?”

“Well yeah.” Andrew smiled. “We’re grandparents. We’re old enough to do what we want. And our kids are old enough to look after themselves. So we can.”

Rose looked at the window as another gust of wind rattled the pane. “My knees have stopped hurting,” she said.

Andrew picked up the paper. “Vegas will do that,” he said.

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