Jul 22

You Only Live Once

mindofbirdmanYou might as well do it right. Right?

After a long, muggy week of work, I planned on heading north and doing a bit of work on the camp for the weekend.

He probably can't drive me to Bancroft hospital, so I left the chainsaw at home.

The winter was pretty hard on the old girl, so after a collaborative effort we got a big chunk of the washed out driveway replaced a couple of weeks ago, and then celebrated my sister’s fortieth birthday there last weekend . A bunch of things were noted for repair while we were there, so I nominated myself and Mrs. Birdman to start on it this weekend, before we took the kids up there for a few days

I should consult with my wife before planning things. If I did, I would have learned about the party we were supposed to attend with the girls at her sister’s place.

I should also consult with work about when everybody is going to start harvesting wheat.

So I ended up heading north with Blue, to put some tar down on a bit of flashing, split a bit of wood, and drink a bit of beer (Everything in moderation, right?). I figured I would be lonely without my baby there, but it turned out to be just what the doctor ordered. I needed to get some things ready for when the girls came up for their first time at the cabin without me, and I also needed to clear my head.

I wonder now if that’s why Paul and Jim used to go up by themselves sometimes?

Probably.

You see for the last few days I’ve been looking at a ton of photos and listening to the same six songs over and over. Great songs, but even better pictures. Pictures of friends, some that I’ve known since I was old enough to know people.

That’s a shitload of beautiful in one spot.

I needed to get away, to just stop and think. No distractions, except maybe the boy needing a face rub or a half deflated volleyball kicked into the woods for him to chase. I got there and opened everything up, tossed out the mice that had unwittingly fallen into the various pails, and then sat down and opened my first of the two beer I had thrown in the cooler with my steak and an ice pack.

I opened the 12V cigarette lighter package that I picked up at NAPA, took it apart, and went over to where the car battery and it’s myriad of wires taunted me. I picked two that headed for the lamp that Paul had made out of an old coal oil lantern he probably found at a yard sale. I spliced the lighter into it and screwed the mounting bracket into the window trim. The girls were going to have a bunch of things that need to be charged and the generator will only be on at night.

I started to think back to when I used to park my ass at Kelly’s almost every night. There was a pretty waitress there that had a smoking ass, and an amazingly dry sense of humour. I knew who she was, but never had a reason to really talk to her. Well, not since I was seven or eight. That’s when her mom and dad brought her and her sisters over to go tobogganing at our house.

Anyhow, I really enjoyed talking to her, maybe more than I liked drinking beer, but that was usually my excuse for going in there. I could tell that she had been raised to not fall for any guy’s bullshit, but had probably heard her fair share of it. She was witty, smart, and strong, but even through her cynical exterior you could tell she had a big heart. Just like her sisters, and her dad, or so I’d heard anyway.

I didn’t really know him well, but I sure knew of him. When they used to come out to the house I wouldn’t have been old enough to care, or appreciate an adult for anything but whether or not they could get me a hot chocolate. Sure he smiled a lot and seemed happy, but they were all drinking in the kitchen and everyone was happy when that happened. I know my parents really liked John and Cathy. My mom always had such nice things to say about them, like what a nice man he was and how perfect they were together. My dad said the same, and Paul always had high praise for him. That probably had a lot to do with his prowess on the ball field, but I know he liked him as a friend as well.

I knew from talking to Becki, that her dad was her model for what a man should be, and that she wasn’t going to settle for less. Same as her sisters from what I know. I know two of their husbands and they are both stand up guys with good senses of humour. You would need them to survive in that family, I’m guessing. From what I’ve heard anyhow, because like I said, I didn’t really know John very well.

After his celebration of life today, I wish I did.

It’s one thing to hear your folks say what a good man someone is, but totally another to be in a room with a few hundred of his friends and family.

You could say it was a titch emotional.

Yeah, that didn't make anyone cry.

Yeah, that didn’t make anyone cry.

I thought I would have gotten all of my tears out after watching the slideshows of him and his beautiful family for a couple of days, but nothing could prepare me for that room. You could feel the hole that he’d left in that small community. You could see it in the tears and hear it in the crackling voices. He touched so many people with his friendship and sheer love of life, that I’m actually quite shocked I didn’t know him better. Those are exactly the kind of people I like to be around. I suppose I had better get out for a visit with some of his girls soon. I’ll probably start at Preston Springs.

I hope I do half as well at helping to raise our girls as John and Cathy did with theirs. Well, I hope I do as well, but that’s a pretty tall order. Luckily there’s four of us to toe that line.

You only live once, John. There’s not a shadow of a doubt that you did it right.

Love is like a dyin’ ember, only memories remain, through the ages I’ll remember, blue eyes cryin’ in the rain,

Birdman

Jun 17

Glory Days

mindofbirdman

That song was playing in my head when I ran into a guy I used to know, the other day. He was showing me some of his antiques and I mentioned that my stepdad would have loved his basement, because he used to love all kinds of old tractor, auto, oil, and farm memorabilia.

He asked who my stepdad was, so I told him.

“Holy shit. I used to go watch him pitch for the Cold Springs Cats. He was a great ball player.”

“Yeah, he sure was. One of the best I’ve ever seen, but I only ever watched around here. Everyone tells me he was one of the best pitchers in the area. He said you and your brothers were good ball players too.”

“Yeah? We did play a lot of ball. Hey, you have to come and check out my sports room.”

I followed along and was just dumbfounded by what I saw.

There was an entire room dedicated to his hockey and baseball careers.

Jerseys, write ups, photos, sticks, you name it. It was pretty awesome.

He went through a brief history of all the teams, teammates, and leagues that he played in. As we would get to the next item, he would touch it and get a bit wistful.

These were his glory days.

Some people might have seen this as arrogance, but all I could see in his face was pride and love.

Love for something he had given up.

Just like Paul. Continue reading

Mar 06

The Top Secret Hoe-Down

mindofbirdman

So we made it in, and we enjoyed the journey that brought us to the hall for the surprise party. By now everyone was feeling a little rambunctious and ready to let loose, so they did. The camera was taken by whoever wanted to use it, so there were quite a few shots that we’ll call “abstract” or “avant garde”. They didn’t make it into the fold, but these did!

Half of the Cameron Family Singers were here. You'll read more about them soon.

Half of the Cameron Family Singers were here. You’ll read more about them soon.

He's going to miss his buddy.

He’s going to miss his buddy.

You’ll find it hard to believe, but there was booze to be had. I know, it’s crazy. Continue reading

Mar 01

The Liberation Of E And Some Runaway Cats

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As you may remember, we are losing a couple from our ball team to browner pastures, and we are going to have to replace them, because we can’t leave second base wide open, especially when our all-star roamer won’t be around to cover it.

Yes, Dancing Queen and Mr. Man are buggering off to Alberta and it is going to be tough to fill their holes. Not on the field so much as in our hearts, but I guess we don’t really have a choice. We really do have the best ball team in all the land when it comes to having fun and caring about each other. I can’t think of anyone on there that I wouldn’t get out of bed at 3 am to pry off of the van door and then put to bed on the couch with a big puke bucket beside them. Well, in Mr. Man’s case it would be a bowl.

This is after our wedding in Dora and Swiper's trailer. We were so proud of our Cats that night. They shut the dance down and still took a case of beer and a bottle back to the trailer.

This is after our wedding in Dora and Swiper’s trailer. We were so proud of our Cats that night. They shut the dance down and still took a case of beer and a bottle back to the trailer.

Even after Mr. Man goes down, DQ is still getting her groove on.

Even after Mr. Man goes down, DQ is still getting her groove on.

You may recall the ball banquet when our trophy was kidnapped and we were taunted for what seemed like months. Well, we couldn’t let our friends haul their asses across our great nation knowing that the last time they saw our precious E that he was in the clutches of JRoc and her minions. This is why we decided to liberate E from his prison. Sure, it may have been a nice prison to lie low in for a few months, but it was a prison nonetheless. Continue reading

Jan 14

One Step Closer

mindofbirdman

First of all, go HERE and scroll down to the fifth photo. Recognize that motherfucker? That’s right, I got a very, very part-time job. It will probably only last a month or so, so you had better get a screenshot of it now, for proof.

It’s going to definitely be a challenge for me to write posts less than half the size of my average, but I think I’m up for it. I’m running out of shit to say, anyhow, so this will hopefully help me re-energize and start to focus on some other projects. I said “hopefully”, because focus has never been one of my strong suits.

It was really a shock, and an honour to be offered this, even if it’s not a full-time, real job. Aiming low is a great site, full of fantastic bloggers, and I might even get to try out some of my video and podcast ideas there. If they’re any good, that is. For all I know, they will suck and I’ll be run out of town on a rail.

Ow, my balls!

Ow, my balls! (from www.usareport.org)

That’s something that you just don’t see anymore. That, and tarring and feathering. I remember when I lived in northern Ontario, hearing about this guy that had been fucking around with some other guy’s wife and got caught. I guess all of the local menfolk gathered this dude up and tarred and feathered him for his indiscretion.

Oh good. A real photo of the abuse, and not some stupid drawing.

Oh good. A real photo of the abuse, and not some stupid drawing.  (from jematthews2.blogspot.ca)

I would persecute those fuckers for that. I would stalk and maim every last man involved. With no mercy, either. That is a horrible, torturous thing to do to someone, just because your buddy’s wife is a fucking whore. That’s like in high school, when you catch your girlfriend of three weeks giving some guy a handjob at the Impressions dance, and you knock his ass out. That prick just did you a favour, but for some reason you don’t skid your cheating slut girlfriend, you automatically blame the guy in the tight, stonewashed Ikedas. In truth you hit him because you could only afford Levis, but that’s beside the point. Continue reading