Tuesday 25 January 2011

Cup o' Tea in the Shed

It was -29 yesterday.  Back home, when it was that cold, I'd look to see if French's shed had smoke coming out of the chimney.  It was a great place to warm up.  I was walking home late one night from Pancake's place; I saw smoke rising, and  flickering light in the window.  I hopped the fence and headed over.

I knocked on the door and heard French say "come".  French was cradling his guitar and sipping out of a tiny china tea cup.  So was his girlfriend.  She was sitting on this little cot, under a couple of army surplus sleeping-bags. She giggled and said: "I'm naked".

I tried to play it cool and said: "cool". 

Actually, this was not a rare scene with French, but the tea was.  He had a metal tea pot steaming on his old caboose wood stove.  He offered me a mug of tea.  Then he reached under the covers and pulled out a huge plastic bottle of Amaretto.  French poured a generous amount into my tea.  It was delicious, and tasted like blueberries.

French and I chatted for a bit and sipped our tea.  At one point naked girl said: "I'm naked"...again.

I finished my tea and headed back out into the cold.

French and Naked Girl stayed in.

Thursday 20 January 2011

Perth! Perth! Get off the Earth!

Perth! Perth! Get off the Earth! - is a nice chant.  People like it...especially if you're from Smiths Falls.  My sons love it.  They ask me to chant it whenever they play the evil ones in sports. 

As a teen, French and the lads had a love hate relationship with Perth.  We had discretionary hatred.  The boys of Perth were all bastards, in our opinion, but man we dug the girls.  Our basketball teams would play them often.  The bus would get loaded up with three teams and we'd head off to Perth for a few games.  Somehow French would always tag along.  No one seemed to find it weird that French, who only ever wrestled in high-school, would be on the team bus.  Sweaty didn't even have to sneak him on.

He'd disappear while the games were being played and he'd wander off and meet some pretty little Perth girl.  Once, after a game, we were all loading the bus, and around the corner we see French fighting two guys as this mini-skirted blonde looked on.   He put them both down and with his nasty wrestling tricks; gave her a big ol'kiss and ran to the bus.  Some of the Perth basketball players saw the end of this and came running.  A little brawl erupted as the guys on the bus piled back out.  The coaches broke it up quickly.  We always said that it was a short little scrap because we were tired after the big game.

French sure kept that rivalry hot.  It was fun to play Perth the rest of that season...lots of elbows. 

Thursday 13 January 2011

Truck Luck

Bruce Fish called me on his rotary phone (still uses this ancient medium...says it "keeps him honest") to give me an update.  I don't see him often in the winter, and his calls are very rare; let me paraphrase the details...

He has a new job; or at least new responsibilities.  Bruce Fish has been given a rural route garbage run.  He picks up trash in between Sharbot Lake and Parham.  The best part, and the part that he was excited about, was that he got to keep the truck at his place.  So he has been taking Rose and the baby to the Methodist Church in the garbage truck.  Says it "shocks the shit" outta the churchy types.  He laughed and said: "Don't worry Ollie I'll never let religion get in the way of my faith, but Rose she likes the Church".  Fair enough.

There's more.  He'd done such a good job on the garbage runs that the county let him moonlight on the Snowplough.  So he's been making some good dough.  Bruce Fish was abuzz.  He said that people flash their porch lights when he goes by with the plough, folks waves and honk too. 

Bruce Fish finished with this comment just before his typical abrupt hang-up, that I've gotten used too: "This truck luck is 'effin great.  Best part: people like me now".

Monday 10 January 2011

Being Tragically Hip in 2011

I've noticed that whenever the guys pull up in their trucks I can hear the muffled sounds of the Tragically Hip playing until their engine shuts off.  The abruptly ending chords of 50 Mission Cap or Little Bones is a common sound for me.  The only exception is that we all seem to play Johnny Cash on Sundays; Bruce Fish calls this our Christian duty.

Music has always been a bond for us lads.  We love to jam.  Many nights we have worked on songs in garages, basements and of course French's famous shed.  

I guess I'm an old timer; just a tragically hip (or formerly hip) old timer, but bands used to galvanize us.  When a big band came to an arena we'd all go.  Even a bewildered Bruce Fish would tag along.  As a youth we all went to Aerosmith, the Cult, KISS, Skid Row, Neil Young and our heroes the Tragically Hip.  It was a given.  If a great band was in town, or a nearby town, we'd scrounge money and go.  Sweaty would collect empties in every town park just to see the Hip.    Also we'd all wear our black concert shirts to school on Monday.  Very cool, but things change...

As high school teachers, French and I, have the chance to gauge the youth of today.  We asked a "cool" student about what band was the most popular?  What band had the unified support and devotion of the kids.

Her answer:

"I dunno...Kid Cudi?"