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  by Pops McKernan  
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"Where have you been?"

"I've just visited the Memories In Wool Rug Hooking display at Algoma University," says Mrs. Pops.

"You went to Sault Saint Marie?"

"No, silly. They have a satellite campus in St Thomas. Would you like to see their website?" For those of you who are engaged to a woman, the correct answer to a question like that is always Yes.

"What do you think?" she says.

"I think I'd like to go back to school. Is Algoma an all girls university?"

"Judging from the photographs on the website, yes, but I don't think so."

"That girl in the pink top is pretty cute."

"She could be your daughter!"

"Just sayin'." Women can be so sensitive.

"Forget about Algoma. You have to have a grade twelve average of sixty-five percent or better to get in."

"The average wouldn't be the problem. It's the grade twelve part. Maybe I could get in on a football scholarship."

"At your age? Besides, there is no football at Algoma."

"There's Men's Curling!"

"Are you serious?" She just doesn't get it.

"Look," I says, "you went to University, lived in coed dorms, got blitzed at Orientation, while I was slaving away at the County Roads Department!"

"You probably learned more about life there than I did," says Mrs. Pops. "University is highly overrated. I was just a little cog in a big machine, taught by Profs who couldn't wait to escape teaching for the joys of research!"

"But it says here that class sizes at Algoma are maximum thirty kids."

"Honestly, if I could do it over, I'd go to a place like that. It sounds great, but face it, we are too old!" Time to change the subject.

"So how was "Memories In Rug Hooking?"

"Memorable. Did you know Joe Preston is a huge fan?"

"He's a hooker?"

"No, but he has an Art Wall in his Constituency Office that displays such things. Joe is a big supporter of the arts and culture in St Thomas.."

"Says who?"

"His Constituency Office."

"But who?"

"No name. Whoever in Ottawa churns out his press releases, I guess." See, if I had gone to University I could have had a job like that.

"I wouldn't be surprised if Joe does hook," I says. "It's supposed to be very relaxing, just the thing to help you wind down from a hectic day on Parliament Hill. Did you know that Jacques Plante used to knit after a tough night in the net?"

"Who?" And she's the one who went to University?

"This press release is very inspiring on the subject. Maybe I should take it up."

"You're too old," she says.

"Gail McNaughton wasn't too old."


"She used to manage Joe's Art Wall. According to this press release, Gail says she has hooked for seventeen years. And she's now celebrating her 65th birthday! So there! Admit you are wrong!"

"Remind me never to have another conversation with you!" and she stomps off.

Shouldn't we expect better from our University graduates?

Editor's Note: Pops McKernan is the byline of writer Patrick Harding, author of Splendiferous.

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