Tuesday 28 September 2010

The Alan Doyle Story

French finally made it up to the staffroom this week. He had been hiding out most days in the basement. French had found a little unknown nook to sneak a quick pull from his Benson and Hedges, but that day he felt social.

The teacher ladies were talking about seeing Robin Hood - it had just come out on DVD. French piped up how he knew Alan Doyle, also of Great Big Sea, who played a role in that film.

As usual, French's story got a little gritty. He told the story of the time that he had partied with Alan at the Edmonton Folk festival. Doyle had needed to "hang a piss", but he was holding two pitchers of beer. French held the beers. The grateful Doyle invited us to "party". French and I partied with the rest of the boys from the band and a couple of lads from Blue Rodeo. French did not spare any of the debauched details.

When he finished the story every teacher had left the room. He turned to me and with his big grin said: "I guess they don't like Canadian music".

Friday 17 September 2010

Notebook Poems - Two Sides of French

These are a couple of poems from French's notebook.


little fashion risk taker
boots, heels, skirts, flair
loving and hating the stares
so deeply fragile
beautiful, but breaking
in front of the class


blood in tiny splatters
a red mist
a fight unfaded
jumped and suckered in '92
tides turned
heads faces pulped

evidence blackened
above the urinal
years later

Monday 6 September 2010

Teacher's New Year

Just got off the phone with French. He is a little nervous about tomorrow. All teachers get a little nervous on Labour Day. This truly is the teacher's New Year. Forget about January 1st.

French has bit more weighing on him than the average teacher; coming back as a teacher, at the same school, after being off with a year's suspension. It was about a year ago when he took off in a hot air balloon and started a year of adventures. I've tried to comment on most of them in this blog.

It was pretty boring without him around last year, so I'm looking forward to being his colleague again.

Back to the phone call: French asked me to go out for lunch tomorrow. I said "Sure." Even though I had already packed a lunch. He was glad that I agreed because his fridge was pretty bare. He only a had a beer, some salsa, a bag of rotten oranges and a bottle of pre-mixed Margarita. A new year, but the same old French.

Wednesday 1 September 2010

Raccoon Baseball

Raccoon's can be a real problem. I throw in some compost and they troop out of the forest. I took this picture of a demon coon in the spring. Crazy bastard.

French had a way to deal with pesky coons. I may have to give it a try...again. There was a big pack of raccoons up a tree above the camp gunge pile. This heap of left-over food attracted them in droves. We chucked a few rocks half heartily to shoo them off so that we could dump some more scraps and not get attacked.

This American lad wandered up while we were doing this gross task. It was his first day on the job. French said: "Hey bud - heard you were a baseball player?" The new guy agreed with that assessment. French challenged him to "plug a raccoon". The new guy was a little hesitant, but French egged him on. The American picked up a fist sized rock and absolutely laced a fat raccoon right between the eyes. It fell bouncing off several branches.

It landed twitching at the feet of our boss, who had wandered up to see what was taking us so long.

We both pointed at the new American guy. The boss didn't go for it. He just looked and French shook his head.