Runaway Future

23.7.2009

I’d just like to go

Filed under: The Daily Grind — forbes @ 1:14

It’s far to late to be writing this and some part of me will likely regret taking this time to sit here in front of the computer when the alarm rings in the morning, but I feel the need to write these thoughts down now, even if it isn’t a fitting tribute.

Frank McCourt died over the weekend and upon finally reading about it tonight, it’s absolutely floored me.

I’m having a hard time capturing my thoughts, so I have McCourt’s quote on writing to lean on:

There was only one Muhammad Ali in the ring and other people tried to imitate him, but it didn’t work. Don’t try to write. Just scribble, scribble, scribble. If it demands it, it will be born. It will come

I met McCourt briefly at a book reading at Dalhousie two or three years ago. I can barely recall it, although he read from Teacher Man and later I got my copy of the book signed. I remember the twinkle in his eye and the fact that as a man well in his 70s, he had a boyish look to him.

Without a doubt, one of my favourite authors and likely the reason for my continuing attraction to biographies. His writing has helped shape my own. Captured elsewhere on this blog is his thoughts on writer’s block, which I really should have mounted somewhere. It’s almost fitting that I spent most of tonight reading.

I don’t have a pint of Guinness to raise, nor do I have any Irish Whiskey. Somehow the bottle of scotch above the fridge doesn’t seem fitting or appropriate. But the next time I have a pint of the black stuff, I’ll have another reason to raise it high.

I wouldn’t like to be incapacitated, or handicapped, or die of a slow disease. I don’t want to be beholden to anyone or have anyone wiping my mouth if I’m drooling. I’d just like to go. I don’t want funeral services or memorials. Let them scatter my ashes over the Shannon and pollute the river.

7.7.2009

a whirling dervish

Filed under: The Daily Grind — forbes @ 20:39

June was crazy.

Pure and simple, it was absolutely nuts.

I went to Ottawa, Montreal and Calgary. I had a birthday and went to the cottage. I damn near went insane.

It was pure madness.

Here are three stories from June that I do not wish to forget.

One

K-Murf was at the cottage this year, a decidedly smaller affair then previous outings, in part due to mutual desires to get out of the city and just to get away.
On the way to the cottage, on the 103 Highway, there’s this idyllic stretch of divided highway near Exit 9, Chester Basin. It has no reason to be there, in fact, it should not be there, some relic of patronage or high hopes for bigger dreams. But when driving, you find you anticipating it, waiting for the moment when the road stretches out in front of you and you can instantly leap ahead of the pack, flash by all those in front of you and be well on your way.
It was in this situation that I found myself. Having passed most of the slower vehicles who were between me and the lake, I was cruising along when I spotted it along the side of the road.
A partridge as big as Nannie’s Christmas Turkey. The partridge decides to take a stroll on the tarmac and I curse and try to avoid collision. Sensing imminent danger, the partridge takes flight and contact occurs with a thump, directly in the windshield.
I can’t tell you if the partridge survived. I did not see it fly off, but I saw no body. Murf, who was the passenger to this incident, swears he saw it fly away. All I saw in the rearview mirror was a cartoonish explosion of feathers fluttering to the ground. The car emerged unscathed.

Two

When in Alberta, I found myself in Drumheller, home to the world’s largest dinosaur. Although the line to walk to the top of the dinosaur was far too long to even consider testing my patience, we did wade in a nearby wading pool, to beat the heat and take a pause.
Walking back to the car, I stopped to put my shoes back on before taking off for our next destination.
Driving through the peaceful streets of Drumheller, I imagined how the residents must feel about having statues of dinosaurs at every corner. On the way out of town, I spotted a 7-11 and since they do not exist east of Ontario, pulled in for a Slurpee.
As I got out of the vehicle, I looked across the roof of the car and there it sat. My camera.
I had placed on top of the car when I put my shoes back on and there it faithfully rode as I drove across town.
For some luck, the camera, that had all my pictures of the trip, did not budge during the journey up top, for if it had, it would have been broken and likely lost.

Three

On that same day, we drove to the Last Chance Saloon. It was in the former town of Wayne, nine bridges down the Eleven Bridge Road (we continued down the road to check to find there was in fact 11 bridges on the road).
Formerly a mining town, the sign welcoming you to Wayne states the population used to be 2450 and is now 27. The Saloon is easy to find, by far the largest building in the town.
Established in 1913, the interior is a collection of history and kitsch. Names carved on the walls, stuffed animals with hats on, yellowing pictures and clever signs.
Asking for a beer, I noticed the tap. A kitchen faucet, stuck in the side of the pop cooler, with the line going down to the keg that sat in the bottom of the cooler served as the draft beer.
I asked for a pint and the proprietor reached under the bar, fetched a jar (bigger than a Mason jar), cleaned it a bit with a rag and filled it full of frothy beverage.
A tasty beer indeed.

So that was June and now July is equally tumultuous. It reminds me of the one time my folks and I went out to the breakwater near Liverpool and watched people surfing. The hardest part seemed to be fighting the surf and the waves as they crashed on the shore, once you got out there, it was just small bumps.
June was fighting through the surf, getting out in the ocean. I just need to keep swimming for the rest of the summer and I should be fine.

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