Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Friends’

I was sitting on my recliner watching TV wondering what my next post was going to be about when out of the blue I got a message from my old friend Richard. “Hey, you ever think about writing about your fathers train set in Hampstead?”

Suddenly I have an entire post written out in my head. But as I started to write I realized I had nothing. My memory of the train set is only a whisper, an image sitting at the very edge of my mind.

I emailed my father asking him what he remembers about the train set. He did not recall a train set in Hampstead, neither did my mother. They did however remember one in Cote St Luc that took up a quarter of basement. We moved out of that house in 1968, I was three. All of which makes sense. The train set Richard and I remember took up a large portion of the basement. And while Davey Crocket may have “kilt himself a bear when he was only three” I was not so advanced and rather than out killing bears I could have very well been trying to stand on my toes to look at a train set.

The problem is Richard, we met in elementary school there is no way he was ever at the house in Cote st Luc.

Any way one looks at it memory is a fickle beast.

The other day the song “Me and My Bobby McGee” was playing on the radio, the second Roger Miller got to the line ‘windshield wipers keepin time I held Bobby’s hand in mine…’ I was transported to my youth. Vivid images danced through my head of my father and one of his friends sitting in the country house, fire roaring in the fire place guitars in hands singing and playing that particular song. It is a Norman Rockwell moment forever etched in my brain.

The smell of gasoline conjures up memories of my fathers speed boat he had back in the day. I remember having to fill the two little red gas tanks that sat behind the back seats. And from these memories others spill forth. They are wonderful, the good the bad and the ugly.

I love photographs, I’ve got an ipod an ipad a camera many sd cards with loads of photograph’s on each one. We have boxes and albums after albums of photos. And I will keep them, add too them and eventually they will be passed along. But at the end of the day the memories that mean the most to me are not the ones in the photo’s. They are the ones forever etched in my brain regardless of how fuzzy or inaccurate they are.

I’ll forever remember my polar bear teddy bear, (I still have it) and how Teddy saved me from the dark nights and bad dreams. I’ll never Forget the t-shirt with Flipper the dolphin on it. Or how about my brother scaring the crap out of me with the large paper mache indian mask. Or the time the steering wheel wouldn’t turn the wheels on the bumper cars and I was stuck in a corner of the track. Or the theme from the six million dollar man running through my head when the orderly was wheeling me into surgery.

When all is done it is not the photograph, it is not the object. It’s the mind and the feelings that are evoked. I don’t think we can control preserve or dismiss them. They just are.

Read Full Post »

We needed a new roof.  We chose a black metal maintenance free roof that is guaranteed for life.  But should you try to call us on the telephonic equipment don’t be surprised if we don’t answer. We only have cell phones and the metal roof blocks the cell signal in certain spots within our house.  Not to worry though, you call always call Millheim Pa ask the Amish person who picks up the phone to speak to Henry, then tell Henry you are trying to reach the guy who lives across the street from Amy, the one with the new lawn mower and the shiny black metal roof, who is making a racket with his working chipper shredder.

Okay, since you asked so nicely I will explain.

Millheim Pa sports a large Amish community has a population of 907 people consisting 322 families. Millheim also happens to be located 45 minutes away from our home.  We were in Millheim because my wife works with Jamie, Jamie’s husband, Nick is a general contractor who owns his own contracting business Nickolas Klaue Construction.  We were hiring Nick to put on our new roof. For you locals, if you are working on a project I’d give Nick a call.  His rates are reasonable.  He does good work, he was done in the time he said it would take and when done he cleaned up everything.  We could not be more satisfied.  My wife started talking to Nick about our two lawn mowers that don’t work.  Nick suggested that we visit Millheim small engine repair because even if the mowers are not worth fixing, Henry the owner would probably take them as a trade.  My wife and I loaded up the ole’ SUV with the incredibly heavy chipper shredder that I have not been able to start in two years and went off in search of Henry and his Millheim Small Engine Repair.  We spoke to Henry and told him Nick sent us.  We discussed the mower situation and he said bring them on down and we can work something out, after all we are friends with Nick.

Two weeks later we went to pick up our chipper shredder.  Rather than bring the mowers down we decided to take pictures.  From the pictures alone Henry offered us a deal.

While filling out paper work the woman who works for Henry noticed our address and says to my wife.  “Do you know Amy?”  To which my wife replied yes we do, Amy lives across the street from us and is the sister to our neighbor John with whom we are good friends.  The woman explained that she knows Amy and her husband quite well but does not know John, but knows of John because Linda’s daughter is currently dating John.  “Really” we said, we know John is dating but we didn’t know who, nor do we know this Linda.  The woman explained that she knows Linda well but not Linda’s daughter and it is Linda X.  The name to me sounds familiar.   Suddenly I perk up, I know a Dean X we work together or at least in the same company, just different departments.  Dean also lives on our street.  Yes the woman explained, Dean is Linda’s son so John is dating Dean’s sister.

So 45 minutes from home, a complete stranger is informing us of the socio-geographic landscape of our street.  Nothing like life in small town, but wait my big city friends, the saga continues.

The woman helping us with the paper work notices that my wife works at Penn State.  “Oh, I used to work there” she says, “where do you work at Penn State?”  My wife starts to explain and the woman interrupts my wife because the woman used to work at the same lab my wife works!  And their time over lapped each other!

So we ended up supporting two local businesses, learning the gossip on our street, a working chipper shredder, a new riding mower, and a new roof.

Do you remember Nick?  Yeah, well after all was said and done Nick purchased one of our non-working mowers from Henry.  It is the circle of life I’m tellin’ you.  THE CIRCLE…

Read Full Post »

As some of you know, because you were there, I was at the dentist again.  Upon entering the lobby the receptionist was busy with another person so I just sat down at which time the receptionist said, “Brian, I’ll let the dentist know you are here”.  The other person turns around and says, “Well we could have just rode in together”  by coincidence it was a friend of mine who is also having work done, also I am told by his wife that he is just as much afraid of the dentist as I am, but like me eventually pain rules and something had to be done.  Just as Chad, not his real name, (okay it is) sat down and I was about to start a conversation another lady comes into the lobby who I did not know and comments on the strange weather we were having.  Ignoring my first rule of all things social (do not make eye contact) I went straight to ignoring my second rule of all things social (do not engage).  Breaking both rules I looked at the lady, smiled and nodded.  She commented again on how warm it was and I responded, “yup”.  She then started a conversation with me that went something like this.

Weirdo:  I like you, you know why?

Me: No.

Weirdo: Because you didn’t ask me where I’m from.  Everybody always asks me where I’m from and I don’t understand why.  Why do they assume I am from somewhere else, I don’t have an accent.  I spent a little time in the south so maybe my vowels are extended but not obviously so.

At this point I will point out that this lady was easily in her 70’s and had a pretty thick accent, I thought perhaps Ukrainian and it turned out to be Polish. So I just sort of shrugged. I was just about to open my mouth to speak to Chad when she pipes up again.

Weirdo:  I don’t use Novocain or any drugs when I’m at the dentist

Me: Raised eyebrows

Weirdo:  I use self hypnosis, and once I am properly relaxed I press hard on my pinky.  If they are working on the left side I press on my right pinky until it hurts, but it doesn’t really hurt because I am in a very relaxed state and pressing on the pinky takes away the pain.

Me:  I’ll take whatever drugs they give me.

Weirdo: I don’t like State College very much there is nothing to do.  When I lived in Virginia there was so much I could do, go to the movies, see plays, go out and eat, see the gardens.

Me:  I like it here.  By the way, everything she mentioned, you can do in State College there is plenty of movies, restaurants, theatre’s, concerts.  But I wasn’t about to argue.

At this point Donna, Chad’s wife came out of the examining room, she seemed to be quite proud that I was at the dentist on my own like a big boy.  We laughed, She texted my wife and then the weirdo interrupted us and asked me.

Weirdo: Are you going to vote for Obama?

Me: No

Weirdo: Why not?

Me: I’m Canadian

Weirdo:  Do people kill themselves in Canada?

Me: What?

Weirdo: Do they kill themselves? I bet there are a lot of suicides because of all the rain.

For the first time in my life, I couldn’t wait to see the dentist. Anything to get out of that waiting room, remember my friend Chad?  He was of no help. I started to wonder, if I pressed on my pinky finger, would she go away?

Me: I guess it is like everywhere else. 

Weirdo:  I bet a lot of people kill themselves.  So do you like Obama?

Me: Never met him.

At this point a soldier walked into the room the conversation quickly changed.

Weirdo:  War is such a horrible thing.  Poland has always been occupied either the Russians or the French or the Germans always war.  And now war is so much worse I hate to think about it.

Me: Yup, not pleasant, it never was. 

At this point the hygienist came in and saved me, “Brian we are ready for you now”

I don’t think I’ve ever moved so fast from the waiting room to the dentist’s chair. 

 

Read Full Post »

Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard (French, pronounced Rocket Rishaaad) was a great Canadian,  he defines hockey.  He stopped playing the game five years before I was born.  He won eight Stanley cups with the Montreal Canadians.  He was the first to make fifty goals in fifty games.  He was the first to make five hundred career goals.  He actually made 544.  We learned all about him in elementary school, we wanted to be him.  You simply could not grow up in the environment I grew up in and not have heard the name ‘Rocket’ Richard.

Alas, this post has nothing to do with hockey.  It has nothing to do with the great Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard.  It has to do with my friend Richard. Sometimes I think of him as ‘Rocket’ Richard and it is not because of his talent with a puck. Rather it is because of an episode with a rocket.

For awhile Richard and I dabbled in model rocketry. A basic model can go anywhere from 300 ft to 1500 ft into the air.  They are easy to make, or you can buy a kit.  The kits can be very basic or incredibly elaborate.  I always went for the cheap simple ones or I made my own because while my successful launch rate was excellent I never had a successful recovery.

Richard decided to buy one of the fancier kits.  This one looked like a flying saucer rather than your standard tube shaped rockets.  If my memory serves me correctly this flying saucer needed a ‘D’ engine which was one of the larger classes of model rocket engines. 

A model rocket engine resembles a roll of quarters they are primarily made of gun powder. Basically you explode the engine and if you have made your rocket correctly the thrust of the explosion goes downward propelling the rocket upward.

When I left Richards house everything was fine.  He was tweaking the saucer and we made plans to launch it in the next day or so.  I wasn’t there for the incident but I was able to piece a few things together, but to this day I don’t honestly know if I ever got the whole truth.

The next day my phone rings:

Richard:  “I launched the rocket” 

Me: “Really?  Did it fly?”

Richard: “Yes”

Me: “But?”

Rich: “I launched it inside.”

Me: “Inside?”

Rich: “Basement!”

I thought about that ‘D’ class engine, I thought about the possibility of this thing launching fifteen hundred feet into the air, possibly more.  I also thought about the low seven foot ceiling of Richard’s basement.

Me: “Damage?”

Rich: “Uhm I think I can get away with it.”

We both know the alternative would not be good.

Me: “Seriously?”

Rich: “Can you come over?”

The basement was poorly lit.  Most of the light came from the tv, the aquarium or the really small street level window. Because of the poor lighting it did take me a moment to find the burnt spot on the ceiling and perhaps a moment longer to find the chipped and scarred molding.  There was a chance his father wouldn’t notice there was also a chance that this was just a bad dream. The funny thing is Richard almost got away with it, almost.  There was one element we didn’t take into enough consideration.  Stephen!  Richard’s younger. The problem with Stephen is that he wears his emotions and his expressions loudly on his face.  He is a horrible liar.  Stephen didn’t purposely throw Richard under the bus but that is exactly where Richard wound up. 

When Richard’s father came into the basement to say hello Stephen could not keep his eyes off the damaged ceiling.  Stephen could not look at us, his father, the TV or the aquarium.  No, he had to stare at that bloody spot.  Of course Richard’s father followed Stephen’s gaze.  So did ours.  There was no choice.  Stephen just couldn’t look away, not even for a second.

Why you may ask did Richard launch a rocket inside the house?  That is what I asked.  He didn’t think it would work.

Read Full Post »

 

For the second time in the history of this blog I have a guest poster.  My friend Penney from Vancouver read my handcuff blog and offered this handcuff story that involves her husband Tony.  The following is actually a response to my handcuff story.  Thanks Penney.

Way back, before 9/11 when air travelers were all considered fairly harmless and Tony’s entire magic collection could fit into a standard briefcase. We were flying to AB, and because he didn’t trust the airline with his precious collection he planned to bring the briefcase as a carry-on. Gotta really hand it to the security lady. She never cracked a smile (though her eyes were laughing hysterically) as she had asked this strange long-haired dude (Tony) to open the case. So he does, explaining to her how the case was filled with odd stuff because he was a magician, and really, she couldn’t possibly understand the workings of what he had in that case of mystery. And when she went straight for the corner of the case and pulled out his handcuffs, he didn’t miss a beat. He said, “That is for my escapism act.” They made him give it to the steward, who I think gave it to the pilot.

For some strange reason, none of the three steward(ess) on that flight could make it through the safety procedures, because they were all doubled over laughing by the time they boarded the plane.

Read Full Post »

Maya

I break for chipmunks and anything else that crosses my path.  We don’t automatically squish bugs when they enter our home, instead we try to capture them and set them free in the great outdoors.  Sometimes however, spiders and ants simply make bad life decisions.

I don’t like it when I see dead critters such as deer, bear, porcupine, groundhogs, possum, etc on the side of the road.  I was especially upset just recently by a suicidal chipmunk.  Both my wife and I have suddenly applied the brakes several times over the last few days to avoid running over this little guy, always in the same place, it seemed to have a fascination with a particular crack in the road.  His luck ran out, we noticed that somebody ran him over the other day.

In front of our house I discovered a bird nest complete with bird and eggs.  I approached the nest and momma bird flew to a nearby branch and yelled at me.  I walked away and avoided that area, but over the next few days I kept my eye on that nest.  I checked on the eggs when momma wasn’t around, carefully avoided the nest while she was sitting on the eggs.  Yesterday momma bird was suspiciously gone.  I checked the nest, the eggs were gone, no trace.  Something got them either another bird, possibly a snake, who knows?  It’s life in the wild.  But still I couldn’t help but be upset about the ordeal and in my own quiet way I mourned the loss. 

Of course it is different when it is a pet, even when it is not one of my own.

Maya was a great Husky who left us way too early.  Maya had a wonderful human family, human mother T and human sister M.  My wife and I consider ourselves extremely fortunate to have these two people in our lives, to have them as friends.  These are two of the nicest people I have ever met and it was Maya who brought us together.

Human mother T and sister M have had a really rough year, a really rough year.  And through it all they have managed to hold their heads high, handled themselves and their situation with grace, strength and dignity. 

My wife was talking with M on the phone a short while after Maya passed away.  M explained how they have lost pets before but with Maya it was different.  During all the upheaval in their lives Maya was always a constant, always there.  Maya would always crawl into bed and comfort M. 

For the longest time our dog Sequoia simply didn’t get along with other dogs.  Sequoia would growl and lunge and just be keyed up for a fight.  However Sequoia liked Maya the two became fast friends with only the occasional arguments.  Since then Sequoia has gotten along with a few other dogs but none I would call ‘friends’.

So how does one say goodbye?

In Maya’s short time she left her mark, she brought us together, she drove us all a little crazy with her constant yipping.  She made us laugh, she brought us comfort and she brought us friendship.

Maya though your time with us was short the paw print you left on our hearts is deep.  You will never be forgotten.  Rest in peace my friend.  Rest in peace.

Read Full Post »

We always intend to go to a movie but we rarely actually get up and go.  Today was different because some friends of ours were going and asked us to join them.  Not only did we go, but we went whole hog, rather than sneak food into the theatre we opted to buy some popcorn and soda! (truth be told, we did sneek in some licorice). The best deal for us was two medium drinks and a medium popcorn for $12.00.  Yes I know it is a scam, they know It is a scam, and yet we couldn’t resist.  But wait! For an extra dollar you can upgrade to a large bag of popcorn and two large drinks.  Hey for an extra dollar what the heck?  The nice lady brought us our two pails of soda and a grocery bag of popcorn.  As I was paying, the food lady told us that the large came with free refills!  I paused mid transaction, I stood on my toes so I could look at her over the shopping bag of popcorn while my wife was trying to figure out how to carry the two pails of soda.  “Free refills?” I said, “Just how long is this movie anyway?”

Remember the days when once the credits started rolling the movie was over?  Not anymore, oh no!  Now it is a guessing game.  You can leave before the end of the credits and miss the very last scene, or you can roll the dice and stay.  Sometimes there is a last scene sometimes nothing.  I watch the credits, not so much because I really care about the last scene that may or may not be there, but it: A gives the aisle time to clear out. B For the price one pays to see a movie it is best to suck every last word out of it.  C. My knees already hurt from being cramped, my butt is numb from sitting in crappy seats so I’m in no rush to get up.  And finally, one of my favourite movies is ‘A Nights Tale’ One of the funniest parts of the movie happens after the credits. This time sitting through the credits paid off.  Not only do I know who all the key grips are, I also know who ordered the food for the cast and crew.  And low and behold there was a final scene. But could I enjoy that last scene?  Not really because I had consumed roughly a quarter of my pail of soda, my bladder saw the start of the credits and decided the movie was over. My bladder didn’t care about the possibility of another scene, didn’t care about the stupid price I paid for the soda, popcorn or the movie itself.  In the end I won, sure my eyballs were floating, sure I almost didn’t make it to the bathroom in time. But I sat through the full 20 minutes of credits for the last 30 seconds of the movie. Which only existed to set up for another movie.  But I won.  I got to go to the movies with my wife and caught up with some really good friends.

Read Full Post »

One day, knowing nothing about magic, Tony wandered into the magic shop in BC and simply never left.  Even though Tony and I don’t communicate much anymore I still consider him one of my best friends.  I have noticed that I  pick on my other best (and oldest friend) Richard quite a bit so I think it is only fair to have a pick on Tony post. 

I’ve never figured out if Tony was/is crazy, we are all crazy in a way, but if anyone marches to the beat of his own drummer it would be Tony. Speaking of drummers, while not a drummer Tony is one of the most talented people I know, he is a great magician, musician, storyteller, cook and as far as I can tell Husband and father.  Tony, his wife Penney and I were in North Vancouver and he purchased an odd-looking native flute.  In a day he was playing it beautifully.  He told me they were easy to play so I went out and purchased one with an ‘Easy Beginner Guide’  my neighbor thought I was skinning my cat alive.  Tony also plays a killer guitar and keyboards.  I know that when it comes to entertainment Tony is just one of those people who can do it all. 

Okay, so far this doesn’t sound like a pick on Tony post, but alas, now the tide turns.

Tony Time:

I quickly realized that Tony does not go by the regulation time zones.  He goes by what his wife dubbed, ‘Tony Time’ Tony and his wife lived about half a block from my house.  If I stood just right and angled my head out of my window I could see the apartment building they lived in.  At most it was a four-minute walk.   Tony would call on a Sunday so the three of us could get together. 

“Hey Brian interested in going to the stinky red barn today?”  Stinky red barn is a pretty cool flea market in BC.

“Sure”

“Penney is just finishing up a few things, how about we meet at your apartment in about half an hour”

“Sure”

An hour and a half later they would be ringing my bell.  I learned very quickly that this was not the fault of Penney, it was all Tony.  Penney, who I may be throwing under the bus at this point told me the best thing to do was make plans, decide on a time, but have Tony call me just before they leave the house and in this way I knew I still had about 20 minutes after the final call.

Bad Road Conditions:

You know how when the road conditions are slippery you are not supposed to jam on your brakes?  In fact you are supposed to ease off the gas and leave the brakes alone. Tony’s in-laws live at the top of a steep hill.  One thanksgiving night in snowy November we went to his in-laws to celebrate.  On the way home the weather conditions were pretty bad.  Tony was a little worried about the steep roads that led to the highway so we drove around for 40 minutes until he found a road that he was willing to chance, (they were all fine by the way).  It was a very slow painful ride back home because every half mile or so Tony would suddenly jam on the breaks to make sure the car would not slide.  While bracing myself against the seat to avoid sudden neck strain I tried to explain the principle behind not jamming on your breaks.   Do you remember ‘Tony Time’?  It appears there is also such a thing called ‘Tony Hearing’. 

Then there was the Tony stapled his own fingers in the magic shop, oh wait a second, that was Penney! Never mind.

The Skytrain:

Vancouver has a wonderful mass transit system.  The Skytrain is like a monorail only there are two rails which make it a train.  Anyway, it runs over the city with stops every few blocks .  The three of us were going to the New Westminster Quay where it is easier, faster and cheaper to use the Skytrain.  Tony got a little ahead of Penney and I, and I noticed he was checking the structure of the train station.  Penney informed me that Tony was a little nervous about the integrity of the system, as in the foundation of the stations may be weak so Tony, although not a structural engineer took it upon himself to inspect the stations to make sure they were safe before we boarded.  It also appears that you can’t jump on any old section of the skytrain either.   You have to sit in the middle car.  If you sit near the front and there is a head on collision you are dead meat.  I should point out that there are two sets of tracks, they run side by side and they go in opposite directions.  But it could happen.  You can’t sit in the last car because if you get rear-ended. Dead meat! And if you sit in a car towards the front or the back and the front or back car get hit and are rolled off the tracks then the momentum will take those cars as well.  By process of elimination it had to be the middle car.  It all makes perfect sense.   Of course in the 10 years I lived in BC there was never a Skytrain crash.   But it could happen.

Nap Time:

Tony likes to pretend he is asleep when he is driving,  mouth open, snoring, one eye closed, perhaps a little drool running down his chin.  Whole nine yards, I think he once gave his poor mother a heart attack, not to mention other drivers.

Tony has a rather insane alter ego named Billy.  I’m not sure how many people know about Billy, but between you and me, I think Tony may be Billy’s alter ego.  You just never know.

Read Full Post »

Hit By A Truck

Okay the title is a little misleading.  My friend Richard drove into a truck.  With his bicycle, the truck was not moving.  He didn’t really even hit the truck.  In fact he drove up the ramp and right into the back of a moving van.  No, he did not do this on purpose.  We were riding down the street side by side talking about whatever we happened to be talking about.  Parked on the side of the road was a large moving van.  Rich, did. not. see. it.  All I am saying is good thing there was a ramp otherwise he would have smashed right into the back-end of the truck and the outcome probably would have been a trip to the hospital.

I’m not sure why this is a pick on Rich post, but it is.

Rich, Steve, (Richards brother) and I spent a lot of time riding around on our bicycles.  Often times we experienced technical issues.  I was hit by a car, (nothing serious), Steve lost his front wheel, it just kind of rolled on ahead of us.  On this particular excursion we were headed to Mt. Royal.  Before the journey even began Richard proclaimed; “He who gets a flat tire walks!’  Richard got a flat half way down the mountain.  Steve and I were the ones that ended up walking.

Richard and I survived high school together, I honestly don’t think I ever would have survived if he wasn’t there.  People would look at us in an odd sense of wonder as we would argue and bitch at each other most of the day, yet we always walked home together.  We were in a lot of ways opposite. Richard is a blue-eyed blond german.  His father is direct from ‘The Mother Land’  he was not a nazi, not even close but he did fight in the regular army.  If I remember correctly Richards grandmother was pretty close to Hitler possibly a secretary.  I don’t know it was never really talked about.  Richard will correct me if I am wrong.

I on the other hand am Jewish,  not hard-core, but jewish enough. My great-aunt had the numbers tattooed on her arm.  I don’t like to think about the holocaust I don’t like to think about that particular war.  I’ve never seen Schindler’s List.  It is a sore subject with me and I can’t honestly say why, enough said. Regardless Rich and I were/are very close.  But we had our moments. 

Richard: “Bri, let’s go to McDonalds”

“Okay”  We would get there, order the food.

Richard: “I forgot my wallet, I’ll pay you back”

Richard currently owes me $2,723.36.  I’m starting to think he left his wallet at home on purpose.  I also have come to the realization that I’ll never see that money again.  I did get even.  Richard and I built an HO scale railroad in his garage.  While Rich would work on a particular part I would plug the track in at the exact right moment.  It is amazing how much electricity runs through a model railroad track.  It was kind of fun to watch the sparks fly from his fillings.

Richard built a model rocket, okay we both built model rockets.  The difference is Richard launched his INSIDE his basement.  His reasoning?  He didn’t think it would fly.  Man was his father pissed when he saw the ceiling.  Of course we do have Steve to thank as he sat there staring at the ceiling until his father looked up.

Richard and I purchased some lumber for a deck we were building onto his folks house, (it is a great deck) we strapped the wood to the roof of the car.  How does one secure wood to the roof of a car?  Why rope of course!  The employees at the lumber yard had a good laugh as we looped the rope through the windows and over the roof (and the wood) in the process we tied the doors to the frame of the car.  Of course we only realized this when we tried to get into the car.  Eventually we did the dukes of hazard thing and went through the windows.  unfortunately there was no Daisy Mae waiting for us when we got home.

I think that ends my little walk down memory lane.  Rich we will have to do the Skype thing one of these days.

Read Full Post »

Seeing as Bullying is once again the hot topic I thought I would share my bullying experience.

Brody was in grade seven, for the second time around.  That in itself would not be bad, but he also spent two years in grade six.  He also tried to jump out of the second floor library window.  They should not have stopped him. 

I had known about Brody for a year or two before we came face to face.  Due to my dyslexia it was decided rather than repeating a grade  I would take remedial classes to make up for the classes I had missed while dealing with the dyslexia.  It was not a great idea, first, going to the remedial classes forced me to miss yet more classes.  Secondly, Brody was taking remedial classes, and that is how I became a large blip on his radar.

It wasn’t too bad a first.  I’d leave school and waiting for me at my bicycle would be Brody who would want to ‘borrow’ my bicycle. 

“Brian, unlock your bike I need to borrow it”

“Brody I can’t let you borrow it I need to go home”  At which point Brody would try to pick the lock and failing that he would threaten me, perhaps shove me around but eventually he would ‘give up’ and leave.   I fell for that once, he really didn’t leave, he hid in the bushes around the block and at the last second he would jump out from behind the bushes and throw me and my bicycle to the ground.  I soon learned that I could leave out the back door and go to my friend Roberts house for an hour or so, then go back to the school get my bike and head home.  For awhile I simply stopped bringing my bike to school, Shane, (another friend) was Brody’s other target.  Shane and I lived two houses apart, and we would walk about a mile out of our way so Brody could not follow us home. 

Andrew and I had identical bikes, Brody did not know the difference and would lay in wait near the bike thinking it was mine.  When he realized it was Andrew’s Brody would be so upset he would shove Andrew around.  Andrew also stopped bringing his bike to school.

Often times I would walk home with Brahm.  Brahm was rewarded for his friendship with me by getting a kick in the shin by Brody. Sorry Brahm, and thanks for sticking with me.

Eventually I told my mother about the situation.  She had my brother, (who was in high school) talk with Brody.  My brother spoke to the wrong guy.  That guy told Brody and my life became even more difficult.  I wish there was something I could type here that would help parents help their kids.  But I have no answers.  Thanks for trying mom, and Mike.  But seriously the situation only got worse. 

The odd thing about the situation is that Gail, Brody’s sister and I were pretty good friends, and my life may have been made easier if I had dissolved that friendship.  But I was far to stubborn for that kind of nonsense.  Gail and I had been in the same class and friends for three years before Brody started to target me, and until that time I didn’t even know they were brother and sister.

So, you may be wondering, how did it end?  Before I answer that I want to point out that the way it ended will not work for everyone. In fact I can’t really recommend it as a solution, but sometimes…

Anyone who knows me knows I am not a sports guy.  Sure I’ll watch the occasional hockey game on TV.  I used to play pool and darts.  Living next to Penn State you pretty much have to have at least a partial interest in football, or at least Penn State football.  But if it all went away tomorrow, it wouldn’t bother me in the least.

At lunch and recess we used to play hit the bat.  One person would be at bat and hit the ball,  if you catch the ball, the batter places the bat on the ground and the person who caught the ball would roll the ball towards the bat, if you hit the bat you became the batter.  (Naturally I played to lose seeing it wasn’t until high school when I could actually make a connection between the bat and the ball, it would have been a very long, dull game).  My father who was a terrific ball player and played on some sort of league had purchased a new glove and allowed me to borrow his old one.  In truth I think he gave me the glove, only I didn’t know it at the time, we will have to wait to see if he comments, I do know that later he did give me that glove, and I kept it for a very long time.  There is a part of me that wishes I still had it.

So what does all this have to do with Brody?  Be patient, I’m just waiting for the words to be typed.

Peter is at bat.  I am trying to look like I want to catch the ball along with a bunch of other guys.  Out of the corner of my eye I see Brody heading towards me.

“Brian!  Brian I want to play, give my your glove”  I knew if he got my glove, I would never get it back.

“I can’t it is my fathers, I can’t lend it out”

“Give me the glove now!”  In my 45 years I have only been absolutely sure of three or four things in life.  At that moment I knew one thing, Brody was not going to get that baseball glove.  “Brody, please, I can’t.”  At this point I was quickly scanning for a teacher, I knew this was not going well, a crowd of kids was starting to form.  Peter stepped in to try to resolve the situation,   “Brody…”  Brody punched Peter in the face and Peter went down like a sack of potatoes.  Remember, Brody was at least two years ahead of us.

“Give me the glove!”

“Brody, I can’t”

Brody came at me, and suddenly everything slowed down.  It was very surreal, he raised his fists and kept coming at me full tilt.  But for me it was like watching a movie in slow motion, I was aware of the crowd but in a very limited way.  I also saw the flaw in Brody’s approach,  as he came at me I ducked low, my shoulder caught him just below his ribs and he went up and over me and landed hard on his back behind me.  As I turned he started to get up, his eyes bulging, his face red.  He was saying things I couldn’t quite hear and he came at me again. The exact same way.  Again I ducked down, again he flipped over me, again he landed on his back, again I turned and again he started to yell things at me, but I looked in his eyes and I knew he was done, I also knew he just couldn’t give up but I prayed he would stay down of course he didn’t.  He almost made it to his feet but my knee got him in the chest, hard! Now Brody stayed down and he wasn’t yelling anymore, he was too busy gasping for breath.

I sat in the principals office.  Mr. Russell just peered at me from over the top of his glasses.  I don’t know how long we sat that way. I thought he had phoned my folks, I thought that is what we were waiting for.  I wondered how much trouble I was in.  Eventually in a very quiet calm voice Mr. Russell spoke to me.  “Brian” he said, “I’m sorry, you are not in trouble, go back to class”.

I didn’t see Brody for a few months.  In fact I never saw him again in school.  One winter day I was walking home with Anna who lived not far from me and Brody appeared from behind a snow bank.  Anna started to run but she was safe, Brody was after me.  He tackled me to the ground yanked off my hat and started pulling my hair.  “Now who is stronger?”  I clasped my hands above my head and then thrust my fists forward when my fists hit his head he let go of my hair, I hit him again making contact with his chest.  He flipped onto his side.  I rolled him onto his back and landed with my knees in his chest.  He was still lying there when Anna and I walked away. 

A few weeks later Gail told me that Brody was going to another school and was no longer living at home.   Spring eventually came.  School ended for the summer and I never saw Gail or Brody again.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: