Thursday 28 April 2011

The Cowboy Kid...thoughts...and confessions

I'm basing this totally, well almost totally, on the comments on the previous blog: The Cowboy Kid.

The sad part about that old ramp was that the Cowboy Kid used to be the one doing the tricks, before we had to take over the show.  When he got too sick he let me ride his amazing bike: slick white with trick pegs.  For a while, in his very early teens he was even well enough to play hockey.  This all ended too soon. 

The arc of his life was brief; just 17 years.  He knew and I knew it.  CK squeeze a lot into his life: riding that beautiful bmx trick bike over his ramp, ripping down the ice and potting goal after goal, and he was popular...he was the prince.

Over all this his disease hung over him: medicine, treatments, isolation and scaling back sports. 

The Cowboy Kid died young.  I begged off work for the funeral...then didn't go.  I was 19, but too scared to go.  I made up a lot of excuses for not showing up, none of them good. French did show up - Bruce Fish drove him and even attended; and Bruce Fish never even knew him.

French's bad moments were highly visible: blood, fists, waving from the back of a police car.  Mine are less visible, but there all the same.

Tuesday 26 April 2011

The Cowboy Kid

French had a friend back in junior high that everyone called the Cowboy Kid.  He was this little sickly fellow who always wore cowboy themed clothing: western shirts, hats and boots.  This was really rare in our part of Canada.

The Cowboy Kid had Cystic Fibrosis and spent a lot of  time at home; usually watching Westerns.  French used to ride his bmx bike down to the his house, set up a ramp, and then do crazy ass stunts in front of a picture window.  The Cowboy Kid loved this entertainment.  French and the bmx tricks was a short lived faze, but he was good...and fearless.

In junior high we had a house system - each house had a prince and a princess and they would form the student's council.  The Cowboy Kid was the Prince of the Blue Raider House.  That was our house.  It was corny as hell, but we took great pride in it.  We'd always try really hard to win banners for each house league sport.

The CF symptoms worsened when the humidity got bad one June, and the Cowboy Kid had to be hostpitalized.  The Principal had a real soft spot for him and let him choose a new prince. The Cowboy Kid went on the announcements and declared his successor for the last month of school:  "French".  French was the new Blue Raider Prince.

French was actually sitting in the office with Mean Dean when the announcement was made. They'd had yet another dust-up. Dean's nose was bleeding and French had his hand in a bag of ice. 

The Principal was so frustrated that he just told French and Dean to "just leave".

Monday 18 April 2011

7/4 Shoreline

7/4 Shoreline, by Broken Social Scene, is one of my favourite tunes.  So I almost knocked over a pitcher of beer when my pals in Graven started playing it.  BSS is brilliant. I recorded the song and then did some editing...maybe over baked the editing, but I'm learning.

We have all grown up learning songs and being in bands, so when our old buddies in Graven played a show in Perth we decided to take it in.  Sweaty, Pancake, and French and I all made it out.  Bruce Fish: " doesn't like loud music...or Perth", so he hung out at home with Rose.

French had a few beers and didn't get in a fight; so it was a very rare night...especially as we are all former Smiths Falls lads.   Gavin called French up for a song; he'll never admit it, but it made his night.

Truly a fun night; even if we did make the locals a little nervous.

Wednesday 13 April 2011

a few beers, a few songs...good times

Got the chance to go see JD Edwards and Tom Savage play a little gig at the Manx.  It was a good night .  French discontinued his hooting and hollering, because I was filming, for this one song. Then he got right back to it.  We worked on this video together a bit.  The editing is a little rough...'effin run time errors.

I first met JD back at camp.  French, Sweaty, Pancake, and JD all loved fishing.  We had some old beat up canoes out on a pond.  We'd get out there quick after work and catch some bass 'til the sun set.

JD wasn't the best fisherman, but he can play guitar, sing and blow a mean harp. 

Here is the Clip:  JD and Tom - the Manx

Monday 11 April 2011

Resurrection Suit

We dropped by the cottage to do a quick check: i.e. see if the beavers had felled trees, if the place had burned down, or been robbed (expectation management).  All was well; so we stopped into see Bruce and Rose Fish.

Bruce Fish had his usual stories to tell.  He'd found a whole garbage bag of suits: "still good".  We had a look, but we left them with him.  French snagged a tie.

French asked me to tell the story of how I once lost my brand new suit.  Bruce Fish hadn't heard this one, so I told them the story:

I went to my Grandfather's funeral in Edmonton.  He was in the hospital dying of cancer, and I slept in his vacant room.  He didn't make it, and we stayed on for the funeral.  On the day of the funeral my mom told me to get ready.  I couldn't find my suit anywhere.  I had to wear jeans and a rugby shirt to the church.  My mom was really mad.  My dad even told me off; which is really rare.

We walked by the open casket.  There was my grandfather looking pretty sharp in my new suit. 

My uncle had come home from the funeral home and gone through his closet. My suit was there and it looked new and also looked like it would fit him nicely.  He had lost a lot of weight and his frame was similar to my skinny 15 year old body. 

We were all chuckling at the crazy tale and Rose piped up: "You'll get it back."

We all looked at her...puzzled.

She continued: "at the resurrection."

Posted to: Imperfect Prose

Monday 4 April 2011

Dump Therapy

Every winter the dump is closed.  This year Bruce Fish made some extra coin ploughing for the county, but the dump is his "real job"; as he often reminds us.  Each spring he has to clean the dump.  Even though it is closed people keep dumping all sorts of trash at the gates.  Bruce Fish comes in sometime in April and has to move all the winter debris into the ravine.  He'll go through it first and take out anything recyclable, refixable, resellable, or reartable (these are the names of his sorting piles).  The rest we tip.

This year there was tonnes; the locals had really outdone themselves.  French and I went up to help him.  As a teen I hated to handle this smelly mess, but French finds it very cathartic.  He grabs a bag and absolutely heaves it.  Then he'll grab something else and smash it to bits by whipping into a tree a the bottom of the pit.  Usually, he aims for something that will shatter, smash and make the biggest noise.

Every year this becomes a contest.  Who can throw the furthest? Or who can lift the biggest piece of junk and chuck it down the pit?  French always wins.  He usually waits to the final round and lobs a dryer or other big appliance with a huge stream of curses.  It took all three of us to hurl an ancient freezer chest into the depths.

By the end we are all sweat matted and totally spent.  Rose came by shaking her head at us "crazy men".  Bruce Fish thanked us with a few icy lagers.  A fine day of dump therapy.