for more information contact email@example.com
Today was one of those hard days—the kind of day where you feel like you’re floating listlessly, and nothing you do seems to bring you back to the place you want to be and you kind of just throw your hands in the air and give in to it.
The thing is, it had nothing to with me. Not, at least, in a direct way. These days things are pretty good for me. The end of last year was tough but right now I wouldn’t change a thing about my life. There’s lots of reasons for that but let’s just leave it with a simple one: things are going very very well, and I’m lucky every day to be living this little life I’m living.
This morning I got a couple of messages from one of my closest and oldest friends. The first note was the sort of thing that sets you up for bad news so I sort of steeled myself for a followup. My first instinct was to think that one of his parents had died. We’re the same age but his parents are quite a bit older than my mother so it wouldn’t be unexpected.
I was wrong. His parents are fine but his marriage is ending after something like 17 years. There have kids and while there’s a big part of me that recognizes that it’s probably better for them to be apart then to be together and unhappy in their lives it’s still a hard thing to hear. I love those kids, and his wife and my heart sank a bit at the news. There’s no single big reason: no easy infidelity or big lie to point to as the cause. They just drifted, which sometimes happens.
Marriages start and end all the time. Mine did so long ago that it’s mostly faded. I’ve other friends who’ve gone through it more recently, and I know that everyone will be OK in the end but today—for at least a day—I was just sad thinking about the end of something that started so well. They’ll be OK, and the kids will too—but it’s still a change. Life does that and the only option we have is to keep moving forwards through it.
They’ll wake up tomorrow staring into a future that was never planned for or invited into their lives, and one that’s not going to easy in the short term. One thing I know is that whatever my friends need is what I’ll give them and I hope at least one of them knows that right now.
My mother, her brother and sister grew up with Stan Rohatinski in her life from a very early age. Stan and Mary were living next door to my grandparents at CFB Trenton and, as often happens, the two families sort of blended into one. When my grandfather would be away, Stan and Mary were always there helping take care of the kids. Stan’s kids talk about my grandfather in the same way.
Edmonton was their home, but they moved to Abbotsford which is where Stan ultimately retired from the Air Force. Mom and I always made it out there to visit when she was here. They moved to Kelowna last year, and we got news in the middle of March that Stan wasn’t well. He was moved to palliative and passed away at the age of 90 on March 17th.
Ninety years is a pretty good run, Stan, and you had an impact on a lot of lives. Rest in peace.
On March 17, 2015, Mr. Stanley Rohatinski of Kelowna, BC passed away at the age of 90 years.
Stanley is survived by his loving wife, Mary and his family. Divine Liturgy Thursday, March 26 at 10:00 a.m. at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church, Star- Peno, AB. Basilian Fathers officiating with interment in Church Cemetery.
It’s been a long week: one of those ones that have the same numbers of hours as others, but too many of them filled with hard times and not enough enjoyable ones. When that balance tips, the weekend can’t come soon enough.
Today was busy and that was exacerbated by a friend’s problems this morning. While the rest of the world was reading news reports about shootings in Connecticut, I was focused on a more immediate problem closer to home. Everything’s fine, and that’s a good thing. For my friend, there are many tomorrows to come.
Of course for the 28 people who were killed in Connecticut—most of them young children—everything’s not fine and there is no tomorrow. It sort of puts things in perspective, an event like this.
After the shootings in Aurora, Colorado the Atlantic published an extremely well written article called Under a Blood Red Sky which mused, among other things, that _”…perhaps the most distressing thing to contemplate today is the realization that we are virtually powerless to prevent it from happening again, soon, somewhere, despite all the hand-wringing and soul-searching that now routinely accompanies these national tragedies.”
That hand-wringing’s been happening again today. One day, I hope America does something about the gun problem it has. One day, I hope to spend more than 147 days between reading stories that about people being killed by “mad gunmen,” or whatever term you choose to use to describe them.
The madness is the problem to be sure, but the gun empowers it in a way that is uniquely on display in America—the land of the free, and home of the brave. Where, as the Skydiggers once ruminated, every girl and boy can grow up to be the president…or grow up to be the president’s killer.
Too many people are working their way towards the latter, and it doesn’t look to be stopping anytime soon. Maybe, until it does, we should all stop going there. I might.
If you’d asked a few years ago, I’d probably have said I never expected to be in Saskatchewan again. I’m not sure I ever thought I’d get there in the first place, but I knew the place had appeal and it seemed likely to happen at least once in my life. My mother and I took a road trip in 2005 and visited Biggar and La Fleche. The first was the town my grandfather was born in and had left as a young man; the second was the town that one of my mother’s closest childhood friends had retired too and eventually passed away in succumbing to breast cancer.
It was a good trip, that one. I’ve done a few road trips with my mother and in hindsight they’ve gone better than some might expect. We usually get along pretty well, and the occasional moment of stress if far outweighed by the times we’ve spent together visiting far flung family and friends. That Saskatchwan trip carries a lot of fond memories these days.
I’m going back, but this trip is a different one. It’s been seven years since that last trip and a lot’s changed since then. I’ve moved a couple of times, finally landing in West Vancouver in a place I actually own. I’ve held a couple of jobs since then and that may not be surprising in the modern economy but I think I’ve finally landed at a place that offers a future instead of being just a job. There’s been a lot of change, and life is good.
The biggest change is the reason this trip is happening and that’s Allison. Her parents live in Swift Current and, as it turns out, her Grandmother in Qu’appelle is turning 90 in about a week. If a 90th birthday party isn’t a decent excuse for a road trip I can’t imagine what would be.
This trip is going to be a bit different than that last one: we’ll be staying with family in Swift Current instead of just passing through. There are friends—both hers and mine—to be visited in Calgary and Regina along the way. There’s classic small town chinese food to be eaten, the Landing and Grasslands National Park and Whitehorse are playing in Swift Current and we’ll all be going. There might not be time for all of these things, it won’t matter. This is a family trip, and the sight-seeing is secondary.
So here we go: the car is packed tomorrow night it’ll be heading east…to Saskatchewan. This time, I’m pretty sure I’ll be heading back again someday.
It’s October, and that always means a melancholy time of year for me. A shift in the soundtrack of life happens as days get shorter, temperatures drop and we spend more time indoors. The music I listen to gets quieter, more contemplative and more inward looking.
Fall is a time for new beginnings for some: kids go back to school and in a lot of houses it’s more like the start of a new year that the actual start of a New Year. New routines get sorted out after the lazy days of summer, and schedules adjust.
For me fall starts at the end of August, when the calendar turns on another arbitrarily selected anniversary in my life. This year I turned 40, which is a fact of some significance to some people. Though I shrugged it off as it happened (amidst a week of vacation with friends, family and more live music than is probably healthy for most people) it’s a fact of significance to me too: the last ten years, in particular, haven’t always been easy or kind but this list year…this last year…this has been the happiest year I can remember. Things are just perfect right now. It was a good time to turn 40.
That vacation included a very short stop in Trenton, Ontario. We were there less ten minutes, but I stopped to visit my grandfather’s grave for only the third time in the 21 years he’s been gone. It’s not the frequency of the visits that counts, but the sentiment right? Maybe.
My grandfather died in the fall. He died late in the night one September 19th a long time ago. It was five days shy of his 74th birthday. It’s one of the reasons fall is always a sad time for me: I remember that day like it was yesterday. I remember the song that was playing in the store when I bought his birthday card; I remember the birthday card; I remember getting the call when I was at work. September’s never a happy time for me. I remember too much.
Today is the birthday of two dear friends: one lives in Ontario and is now married with three kids. No matter how hard I try to focus on the happiness in her life, I can’t help but remember the other. Richard Charteris died a few years ago. He was 49. He’d have been 57 today. Richard was one of my closest friends when I knew him in Toronto. In a moment of serendipity his youngest daughter found me a while ago through a photo I’d taken and got in touch. Knowing that his kids are doing well was nice: they lost their father so young, and so unexpectedly. October’s not a very happy time for me. I remember Richard every year.
Richard and I were close but not alone. We were a rogues gallery when partnered with Al. Al was the oldest of us, but probably had the most energy. That guy could spend a whole day whipping out a brilliant marketing plan, head to the bar for a post work beer, sing a full set of rocking blues with a nine piece backing band and then wake up and do it all again the next day. One day, when I’m 65, I’d like to be half as cool as Al.
He still has more hair on his head than I do too, so there’s that too.
A few days ago—just a few days before this anniversary of Richard’s death—Al sent a mass email out. He’s been diagnosed with what he’s describing as an “aggressive case of prostate cancer.” It was late at night when I got the email. I was shocked: I was also glad he’d told me. He didn’t have too.
I haven’t seen Al in over ten years. It was before I moved to Vancouver. I lived in Charlottetown for a while and he was in Halifax, but we never quite got together. Worse, he was in Whistler at the end of August and bad timing meant we missed each other when I left for Toronto. We overlapped in Toronto on only one day but I had dinner plans with the oldest of old friends and couldn’t see him. It’s been ten years, but I’m going to have to get to Toronto to see the old guy sometime soon. It will happen.
This stuff all happens in the fall, and it sort of sucks. I’m always happy to have it over with, even though in Vancouver it inevitably leads to the grey skies and rain of November. At least my friends aren’t disappearing. This too, shall pass.
It’s time to cue the music now, and it always starts with Hawksley Workman at this time of year. At least the music’s always good.
I think that ghosts like
The cooler weather
When leaves turn colour
They get together
And walk along ways
These old back roads
— Autumn’s Here, Hawksley Workman
Don’t let the video fool you: Christina’s not nearly that tough. Photos from her Peak Performance Project show are in my Flickr stream and I shot some stills at the video shoot for Christina.
Any day that includes a walk around Lynn Canyon is almost perfect by definition. Toss is a two year old boy’s first trip to the park and an ending that includes singing Like a Rolling Stone while he falls asleep, and perfect seems like the best way to describe it.
Blueback was the first boat home on Sunday, although Saturday’s lack of wind left us flailing. It did, however, give us a chance to put out our asymmetrical sail.
Canadian killed in Thai air crash
Globe and Mail Update
September 17, 2007 at 6:27 PM EDT
A Canadian woman travelling on the Thai airplane that crashed over the weekend died in that crash, The Globe and Mail has learned.
Larisa Fayad’s father, Foued, said he received a call from relatives in British Columbia that his daughter was on the doomed One-Two-Go Airlines plane that crashed killing at least 90 people, including 53 tourists, on Sunday.
“My other daughter’s husband, he informed this morning that she was on the flight that crashed and she was not one of the survivors,” he said on the phone from Vancouver.
It was the first year of the Discovery Channel Ecochallenge television event started by Mark Burnett that eventually spawned the phenomenon that is Survivor. I was working on bay street, wearing suits to work every day and had a desk on the 55th floor. I was young, and ambitious, and worked with some amazing people.
I started a recruiting drive. Isabel was first, and she was enthusiastically onside.
“Isabel…here’s what I’m thinking. Team Trimark for next year’s Ecochallenge.”
“Sure,” she replied. “What do I have to do.”
I knew she’d say that. It’s always best to start with success.
I moved onto my next candidate, knowing that I’d need to flesh out the skillset. Isabel and I could handle the mountain biking, running, horse riding (ok, mostly Isabel for that one), and general active outdoors skills. We needed nautical skills for the inevitable water portion.
“Sure Scott. No problem. Who else is on the team?” Richard asked.
“So far just Isabel and I. We’ll get more though.”
“Ok. I’m in. As long as I get to take my smoke breaks every twenty minutes as usual.”
It’s moments like that I miss, and moments like that that disappeared four years ago.
The highlight of my trip: Isabel has her baby eight days ahead of schedule. I’m not sure if I’m going to have a chance to see her and the little guy before I leave, but I’m going to try.
Yesterday, December 30th at 6:16pm isy had a little boy, (currently still nameless) 7 pounds 13 ounces, 3.560kg. Isabel and baby are both perfect. Marco made it over from italy and arrived just after the birth.
Life is all about the things that little girls can teach us.
There’s a magic moment when you peel an orange and before you’ve torn away the first slice when it sits there like a perfect little orb with two small holes at either end—the perfect place for a little girl to stick it on her finger.
Today I woke up to what some — not I — would cynically call an atypical Vancouver day. it was sunny and clear with not a drop of rain in the sky, although it was in the forecast.
As I gathered myself up for work and headed out to grab my bike from the garage my favourite three year old was staring through the window. I grabbed the bike, waved, got ready to saddle up and the door opened and out came Georgia and her father.
“Why are you riding your bike?” she asked.
“Because I’m going to work, Georgia” I explained. “I usually ride my bike.”
She came down the stairs while we chatted for a moment and then she waved and headed back up. I started for the gate as she got to the top of the stairs. She paused for a moment and turned around.
“Wait! Wait!” her little voice was full of urgency. “I have to give you a hug!” She did.
So that’s how my day started, and I can’t imagine a better way to do it.
At about 11:00 Pacific Time, news came through cyberspace that a gunman had entered a college in Montreal and killed two people, and injured more. By day’s end exact numbers still hadn’t been confirmed but it appears that 1 woman is dead, 19 are injured and the gunman was killed by police.
Sometimes the world just makes me shake my head.
Two new babies born into the world today.
Elizabeth weighing 5 pounds 11 oz. and Benjamin weighing 4 pounds 14 oz. were born July 31 at 11:45 P.M. Marie & babies all doing well
The backdrop to many of the best times I’ve had in the last few years, this view has never been better than it was in late June and early July this year.
With spring in the air, the general mood around the city has been getting happier in Vancouver, despite the fact that it’s been really cold. I’ve started cycling to work and it hasn’t been raining much. This young boy’s thoughts are turning to motorcycles too, but I do love the way my mind fits better in the world while I’m pedaling.
Yesterday — the fourth consecutive day that I cycled to work — I picked up bagels for the landlords, who love a specific type of bagel that is boiled and baked around here. Tuesdays are cheap dozen days, so off I went to fill my panniers.
When I got home, I brought the cheap dozen upstairs and was asked if I was staying for dinner — as usual, more had been made than necessary and when these two cook, I never say no (there was a sauce reduction needed…we’re not talking frozen food here.)
As usual, there were also children.
There’s a new mix in this house — little Paige was born in January of this year giving us both a 2.5 year old and a 2.5 month old baby girl. You have no idea how time flies until you watch a baby grow. It feels like Paige has been with us forever.
Mom was cooking and so put Paige down in this great little chair that takes batteries and vibrates, and usually soothes her to sleep pretty well. This time it wasn’t working, so a bit of a fuss went up while an already busy Dad said he’d be there in a minute to take care of her.
No problem; don’t worry — Uncle Skot can handle this, or at least give it a try.
So I reached around, and underneath and cradled this tiny little…person…smaller than any I’ve ever held before. One hand gently cradled her head while the other lifted her up, and I brought her up to my chest. She curled up, with her tiny little face right next to my chest and I gently started rocking her up and down, back and forth.
Suddenly, the noise stopped. Little gurgling noised started, and these were then followed by silence. I reach down and gave Paige a little kiss on the cheek, more for my satisfaction than hers as I suspect she was fairly ambivalent, and started moving around the house…Paige lay there, content and — seemingly — happy.
This went on for half an hour or fourty-five minutes or so, while we talked and Georgia fought for her slice of our attention. Paige just stayed, and I held her as close as I could — afraid to move her too far, lest she wake up unexpectedly.
I’ve never held a baby this young before, but I’m glad I got that monkey off my back. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever done.
The price a culture pays for its love of the gun
By ROBERT L. JAMIESON Jr.
Don’t blame the rave scene for the Seattle’s worst mass murder in more than two decades.
Blame the guns — and a culture that celebrates firepower.
Blame the murdering madness on a country that has seen Columbine, Kip Kinkel and bullets at the Tacoma Mall, but lacks the common sense to clamp down on weapons of mass carnage.
Blame the gun lobby on the other Capitol Hill — not the rave crowd on Seattle’s Capitol Hill.
Gun advocates like to say guns don’t literally kill, and they’re right.
Problem is, people keep killing people with guns, just as Kyle Huff did over the weekend.
The emphasis on the last paragraph is mine. It’s an extremely valuable point.
When I entered Grade 9, the first day of school was interesting. It took place in a new location for the first time in a while — I attended the same school from Grade 4 through 8 (unusual for Ontario, and certainly Toronto) —with all of the standard trials and tribulations of starting high school combined.
On that first day, a rumour was circulating that one of our former elementary school teachers had been murdered. I laughed, and joked with the people spreading what I though was a cruel joke. No evidence was offered by anyone — not a single newspaper article, or concrete fact.
It was, in the end, the cruelest joke of all on me: it was true.
Ms. Deger — her married name, and I’m not sure that I’m spelling it properly — had a husband who was manic depressive and had been hospitalized for a time at the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry in Toronto. Two, perhaps three days after he was released he murdered his wife — my grade four french teacher — with an axe, and then turned on their adopted two year old child. When both were dead, it’s my understanding that he hung himself.
That funeral was the first one I had ever attended. I was stunned, and couldn’t help but shed tears — particularly at the site of the tiny coffin.
This was my first, and only (and hopefully last) experience with murder and it did not involve a gun.
The truth is, axes are rarely used to kill people and there is no lobby group supporting the banning of axes.
In Canada, because of strict gun laws, knives are among the most common murder weapons. Per capita, killing more people than guns. In the United States this is not true.
We were thick as thieves, the three of us. Thick as thieves for four steady years. Losing this is a small part of what’s made the last three years so…odd.
Today is a day with a lot of memories for me — three important things (that I can remember) all happened on February 20th. The 20th seems to be some sort of focal point for some reason — my grandfather died on September 20th, and October 20th is the birthday of two very good friends.
One of those friends passed away three years ago today. Before that, at least until I moved to Vancouver, we were as thick as thieves.
It’s hard to explain the role that Richard Charteris played in my life, partly because he filled so many. He was an important colleague, and together we did some very good work; he was a little bit like a father to me, something I’ve lacked for much of my life; he was a little bit like an older brother — the kind of person you get in trouble with, and you keep out of trouble with. We were very good at doing both.
Dick — he was a Richard who went by Dick amongst his friends — worked together at Trimark Mutual Funds in the days when mutual fund marketing departments were great places to work; places where a booming market granted the kind of creative freedom that’s unique to those brimming with confidence. The three of us did great work together, and with our other colleagues. It was a great time.
Al, Dick and I were drinking buddies who could frequently be found at the Duke of Westminster in the bottom of First Canadian Place. Dick would roll his own cigarettes (in those days, you could still smoke in bars in Toronto) and the three of us would go over old stories, and speculate on the future. Others were around a lot too — Lesley, Clarkey, Catherine, Luis and a bunch of others — but the three of us were always tight. A small little group of thieves in the middle of good people, stealing moments whenever we could.
One day, Dick left. He was a magazine guy at heart, and he left to become the editor of Farm & Country, and I worried I’d never see him again.
I didn’t have to worry — pretty soon, the three of us were at it again, sometimes in far flug hidden corners of Toronto’s underground in order to avoid a crowd. It didn’t matter that Dick was no longer with us, because the three of us were still…us. a lot of beer go consumed, and a good time was always had by all.
I was the first to leave, moving to Vancouver too (foolishly, in hindsight) follow my heart without much regard for my career. I left, and made it back infrequently.
Al was next, pursuing a career opportunity first in Sackville, New Brunswick and next in Halifax. I spent some time in Charlottetown, but never managed to connect physically with Al while I was there. It would have only been the two of us…if Dick had been around, we would have been up to our old ways in a moment.
Dick left us, early…too young. The last time I saw him was about two months before he passed away, when I had dinner at his house in Leaside with both of his daughters. His daughters were, as could be expected, amazing young women. One was…10, the other was about 17.
I wrote a letter to Dick’s dad about a year after he died, and it felt good. It had been a hard year, but mostly I needed him to know how important his son had been too me. I still can’t put it into words very well, but I hope he knows; I hope my letter, written in a moment of pain over a beer in my favourite North Vancouver hang out, made him feel better. I hope it didn’t remind him of the pain…it wasn’t my intention.
We were thick as thieves, Dick and Al & I. Now we live on opposite ends of the country, and Dick lies waiting in the middle.
I still miss him; it’s a little easier this year than last, but not much.
From today’s Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
Pot edges cherries in value as a state agricultural product
By JOHN K. WILEY
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
SPOKANE — Law enforcement officers harvested a dubious record last year: enough marijuana plants to rank the illegal weed as Washington state’s No. 8 agricultural commodity, edging sweet cherries in value.
Official campaign announcement of the birth of Paige Wallace Rogers, 8 lbs. 3 oz.
Paige joins a large, loving and overjoyed family with a very tired mother. Pictures soon.
Welcome to the world, little one. You have no idea how lucky you are to have the parents that you do.
(Note to careful observers of my life: this is not the new addition to the home I live in; this is a new citizen of the Province of Toronto.)
New Year’s Eve on Bowen Island with friends. I can’t imagine a better way to spend it.
Getting old sucks, and right now it’s sucking a whole lot for a guy I know named Stan Hecker.
Stan’s a nice guy, who was a teacher in Vancouver for a lot of years. He’s healthy, and fit, and there’s really no reason he should have needed heart surgery, but it had to happen apparently.
I haven’t seen him in a while, but in April sometime I bumped into him at a party. It was just after I’d abandoned my car for the summer — he knows the same people, and was over on the Island for the weekend.
Stan said “Hi, Skot”, and flashed me that great smile he always had then looked serious for a minute. He shook my hand, and said “I saw your Volvo over on Bowen Island last weekend, so I trashed it.”
It was the funniest thing anybody had said to me in a long time.
My heart is with you Stan, only one of many I know.
They say you’re always supposed to clean kids up before you take their picture. I ignored that rule.
Taken October 6, 2005.
Watergate means many things to many people - in my life, it’s a magic cabin by the shore of the ocean that I’m fortunate enough to borrow periodically.
I’m here alone this weekend (not for the first time, but oddly for the first time not in February) resting, reading, recovering from the bad news that clouds a day every once in a while.
Things wil shake out fine, I’m sure, but for this weekend I’m just relaxing.
As a weekend project, a friend and I took down a tree in our mutual back yard - the friend is also my landlord - producing quite a bit of green debris. The tree provided little shade, and had a misshapen trunk that substantially reduced available garden space, so down it came.
This afternoon we loaded the seemingly endless quantity of branches and pine needles into the bed of a Ford F150 pickup truck; three trips to the Vancouver dump later the alley behind the house was clear, my hands were covered in sap and we were ready for dinner.
We headed upstairs, where his wife and daughter were waiting for us.
Georgia is just shy of two years old, and the cutest little girl I’ve ever met. Of course, like all borrowed babies, I’m spared the effort of dealing with her when she doesn’t want to have a bath, when she’s cranky and crying and any other time that she’s generally being difficult. I understand the truth of this, and yet I continue to fall more and more in love with this little girl.
While her parents cooked - although I’m a good cook, I’m not nearly at the level of these two - I played with little Georgia. I sat on the floor while she leaned back into me; I picked her up in one arm and spun her around the kitchen while she picked up keys, grabbed her Dad’s wallet, stood on the window ledge and stared out the window. Moving her from arm to arm, we danced around the kitchen. I popped her on my shoulders while we played a game of “can you see me” with her leaning over to my right, and to my left to stare into my face. It was magic.
And then she saw my sparkly ring.
I still wear my ring, and it floats these days between my right hand (where I usually wear it) and my left hand (where it fits better.) It’s white gold, and fairly shiny, and it was made for me by a friend - so I wear it.
Georgia pulled it off my finger, or I pulled it off for her, and stared at it; her eyes lit up, and she slipped it onto her fingers - two of her little ones easily fit inside.
After a few too many trips towards her mouth, I put my hand out for her to slip it back on - my left hand, of course, because the ring fits more easily and she’d have an easier time putting it back on. She held the ring up, smiled at me and flashed her beautiful blue eyes - the kind of blue that only babies have in their innocent youth - and slipped the ring back onto the third finger of my left hand.
I guess this means I’m married again.
A little work; good friends; good food and a baby girl makes for a perfect Victoria Day.
A friend getting married is a wonderful thing. Two friends getting married, is even better.
I love the Little Prince, but if there’s one author who’s other works are more under rated than Saint-Exupery I don’t know who it could be. His other works are well regarded and respected, but seemngly little read.
What brought this to mind? Random surfing, and stumbling across this quote:
And now here is my secret, a very simple secret; it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
One of the crazy kids I work with sent this message around:
Go ahead. I dare you. Try not to have a little fun here.
I only just found out - I had long since forgotten the date - that last Friday, February 10, 2005 would have been my grandparents 64th wedding anniversary had my grandfather not passed away 16 years ago.
I smiled when I heard this, and thought of the three elephants I have lined up on the table that currently serves as my desk.
It’s a time of anniversaries for me: about two years ago today, I moved into a house I expected to live in for a long time. On the very same day, I lost a very close friend in Toronto who had two kids of his own to take care of.
Anniversaries are important, but I like some more than others.
I was kind of kidding about Kojak, but now Carson? That’s right up there with Jim Henson.
I cried when Jim Henson died. It was like this sweet little innocent piece of my childhood got taken away from me.
I didn’t cry, but Johnny Carson had almost the same kind of influence.
I never really liked Jay Leno - it’s been long forgotten that Jon Stewart was Carson’s long time guest host. Leno was a safe choice - Stewart or Letterman would have been a better one.
To say that Jay Leno has failed to fill the - admittedly quite large - shoes that preceeded him is an understatement. I used to beg to stay up and watch Carson, snuggled under an afghan that my mother knit sitting on the couch, I’d doze off and then promptly snap my - admittedly quite large - head back up to attention. No mom, I’m not falling asleep. How long until Johnny is on? These nights invariably ended with mom carrying me up to my bed and tucking me in, tired but happy.
The monologue was his throne: only Letterman has matched his ability to work the material. Most guys, when a joke fails, go flat; they just retreat, and on to the next line. Letterman wraps himself in irony, Carson in honesty. Jokes win and jokes lose - that’s just the nature of the game.
Has there been a more memorable late night character than Carnac? At least once every 6 months I find myself doing an imitation, read the answers, tear the envelope, the blow to open it (always the blow) and the reveal of the perfect question. It was beautiful in its simplicity, and its simplicity made it beautiful.
Occasional skits aside, Carson was the straight man with the guffawing side kick. He retired gracefully, rather than being put out to pasture. I’ve never forgotten that last night with Robin Williams and Bette Midler. I can’t stand Bette Midler, but on that night her love shone through.
The curtain is closed. I’m crying now, but just a little. It’s too hard not to smile.
With this note:
When Richard died, I listened to a lot of Bob Dylan. A lot. I’m not really sure why - he never really mentioned an afinity for him or anything, it just seemed like that was the CD that slipped into my CD player and stayed. There was something about Dylan’s 1966 live recording of “Like a Rolling Stone” that resonated with me; hearing him scream “How does it feel?” into the mike for the first time with an electric guitar in his hands meant something at the time - a few years before I was born.
I didn’t quite know how to feel when I learned of Richard’s death, and I still don’t.
When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose
You’re invisible now, you got no secrets to conceal.
How does it feel
How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
I always look like this when I get back from Bowen Island with my friends the Rogers’ and their family; this photo was taken by a little boy named Kai, and I couldn’t think of a better group of people or a better way to end the summer.
This trip was a little different though; it happened on two wheels and a new friend was thrown into the mix.
Vancouver and Stanley Park
My friend Marie has cycled quite a bit, including a seven week tour of New Zealand where her family is from. It was her idea to do this trip by bike, and I was more than willing to come along for the ride, as the saying goes.
I haven’t done that much cycle touring - a little bit of it, but not much. I was a little surprised by the impact that loaded panniers had on my bike - my little used granny gear came in quite handy on this trip.
North Vancouver to Horseshoe Bay
After crossing the Lion’s Gate Bridge, we proceeded up Taylor Way and to the upper level’s highway (also known as Hwy. 1); this was tough going at first, but Upper Levels has the advantage of providing a long but gentle downward swing almost all the way from Cypress Bowl. Sometimes taking the tough hill in one shot is easier if it provides this kind of ride at the end.
Boarding the Bowen Island ferry is always fun, but this time it was also a nice rest. We weren’t far from home - only about 26km - but the hills here sap energy especially when combined with the extra weight.
And as a note to myself and others, knobby mountain bike tires are really bad touring equipment. I knew this, but have persistently refused to exchange mine for slicks.
From the Bowen Island ferry we were steadily moving uphill for about 7km. For about the first 4km of this the slope is gentle and rolling. The next 1.5km were not fun. Hitting 68.4km/h on the downhilll more than makes up for it though.
38km after leaving our door, we arrived shortly after Bronson’s birthday party kicked off, about 3 hours total after leaving home. Including the ferry ride, this is only about an hour more than the trip takes by car most of the time. With the party in full swing, the house was overrun with kids having the kind of fun that only kids can have.
Cowan Point Railway
The Cowan Point Railway is well known, and relatively world famous. The kids headed up towards, and Martin pulled one of his steamers out.
With my camera, I caught two movies - one of Martin intersecting Stephen & I on one of the electric engines:
and the other of Martin crossing a trestle (and maybe showing off a little bit.)
Back to Downhill
Sunday was spent Downhill relaxing. Everybody expected Marie & I to be sore; neither one of us was, although I was certainly aware of my body in a way that only comes from solid exercise.
I handed my camera to Kai and provided some basic instruction. The two photos below are by him.
A game of bocce ended the day for Stephen, Bronson & Marie before an appropriately amazing dinner prepared by Val. This last night of informal summer couldn’t have been perfect, and couldn’t have possibly been spent with better people.
Downhill is appropriately named - the road is quite steep, and Martin convinced Marie that a drive to the top of the hill made sense. This took about half an hour off of the Bowen Island end of the trip: it was all downhill, and we cruised along at an average speed of 28km/h with Bronson in tow.
The best weekends in this province begin and end on BC Ferries. The 20 minute crossing from Bowen Island is no less pleasant than any other crossing just because its short.
Summer’s not officially over yet, but Labour Day always marks a transition even for those of us no longer in school. The ending of this one was perfect and the final 20km of the ride home flew past as we headed back towards Vancouver and home; at least until Marie got a flat tire on the Lions Gate bridge.
Fall is my favourite time of year, at least until it rains; I can’t wait for next summer though.
i think this is my favourite photo, but it’s hard - there’s so many of them.
but your eyes are so beautiful here; completely overwhelming the mountains and sky behind you.
despite everything that’s happened, and everything that will this is how i’ll always remember you - beautiful, happy, and a part of me.include("/home/fiejjfe/public_html/personal/tagCloud.incl"); ?>