Hello everyone, everywhere,

This week’s been hot. Very hot. On Friday night I was all ready to watch my football game but about 11 minutes into the game the power went out everywhere in my building. My castle was dark, and it stayed dark until the middle of the night. No fans working, just HOT. But on a brighter note, I believe we’re looking at rain this week so that might help cool things down a bit around here.

Michelle and Dean are taking off to go canoeing with some friends for a couple of days. That should be very enjoyable. Don’t fall in Michelle. Or Dean.

We’ll see how this week shapes up. I’ve got a live show coming up on Monday.  Next week I’m going away, but I’ll try to have a blog for next week before I go.

That’s it.

And now it’s time to close our eyes and our thoughts…if only for a moment…and rest. Until we meet again at Sly and Cookie Notaxdown’s World Famous Cab School for Seniors and Anxiety Care. We charge less ’cause your cab could be a tad slow as our graduates refuse to go over 40 kilometres a hour. No calls after 7. Our motto is We’ll probably get you where you’re going. Just slowly. And you neurotics in the back seat? Well this is the time for a breakdown. Because you’re probably lost. You’ll find us in the midget hockey rink from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. No weekends. The kids are playing hockey. We’re on the corner of Icouldjustsslapyoubozo Road and Youknowyourelookinginthe mirror Crescent. If you pass by Debbie and Dan Fling’s house and you see kids bobbing up and down, it’s the Fling triplets. They’re five. They just think they’re gophers.



Harry Stoon is sitting at his favourite bench looking out at the downtown craziness, people cruising by. Oh! There’s his friend Edgar. He can tell you all about it in one minute. (That’s right). People walking by—funny hair, weird colours. Why back in ’46 they had two or three colours. That’s right, black, brown, and blonde, and oh yeah, grey, but I don’t think of that as a colour. More of a curse.

Now looking at us all sitting at this bench, Harry thought. I can still remember us getting off the train coming back from the war. There was me, Hubert, Edgar, Jimmy Cox, and half the guys in town. I always remember Mary. She was young and beautiful and as I gazed at her between the tears and smiles I’m sure for a second my heart stopped. We all thought that this war would end all this hate. I was wrong; it never stops. I guess everyone, it seems, has got to feel some agony and emptiness to go on. It should just stop (that’s right).

So anyway, Harry is sipping his first coffee of the day. His doctor says two cups, Harry says three. “Boy oh boy I can’t believe it,” yells Harry as his old friend Hubert Farthing-Brook comes hobbling by. “Harry”, he says, “I thought you died.”

Harry wanted to swing around and give Hubert an earful. (But that ain’t happening). Instead he laughed and said, “Well you old senile horse’s patoot. Do I look dead to you?”

“Well Harry”, Hubert spouted, “Can I sit with his royal highness at his ‘spot’?”

Harry looked at Hubert and said, “Hubert sit down before you embarrass us all.”

Hubert Farthing-Brook—retired art dealer. He’s been meeting Harry at his ‘spot’ for twenty years. Hubert has been married for 62 years, had one son. They lost him to a stroke when he was 40. His name was Sean Harold Farthing-Brook. Then that cold day so long ago when he lost his wife Lucy. Oh she’s still there, her mind works, it’s just doctors and pills. Reasoning and understanding don’t seem to work. She won’t come back. But old Hubert stands tall at 5’ 11’’. Full head of hair, most of his own teeth, smart dresser. Every time he hears “Moonglow” on the radio, tears of tired anguish fall down his face. (We love Hubert—that’s right).

Just as Hubert was working his way onto the bench, Sally Stoodman came out of the cafe. Now Sally is a looker, damn near a kid at 71. Sally Stoodman—beautiful lady. At 71 years old she looks like she is in her early 60’s. That is a good thing all day. Sally owns the deli a couple of doors down from Harry’s spot. She has known the bench-sitters for as long as she can remember. Sally was married for a long time. Had a real nice house. It was always “Roger did this”, “Roger said that.” Well I’ll tell you what Roger did, he took his secretary and all their money and took off. Now Sally lives downtown above her deli. Some things just stink. (That’s right).

Hubert Farthing-Brook has known Harry for 70 years and he laughs and says to Harry , “My God you old dog, you’ve still got it.”

“Be quiet,” Harry says to Hubert and then turns to Sally and says, “You are looking like the best dressed girl at a Glenn Miller concert.”

Sally smiles and says, “Harry you always were a charmer.”

Harry says to Sally, “Back in ‘46 they would be dancing every Saturday night. That’s right.”

Jiffy’s Dance Hall on Saturday night from 1943 to 1949. Harry took Mary every Saturday and I guess that’s where they fell in love. Holding each other, trying only to think nice thoughts and sing to Glenn Miller’s Orchestra playing “Moonlight Serenade”. Those are the ones that warm your soul on a cold night. Yeah I’d say that’s right.

Sally, tossing a look at the crowd as she fixes her hair, said, “Oh Harry, it’s 2013, you do know that, right?

“Remember Nat King Cole? Now that man could sing”, Harry says to them all.

Rosie Buttons was coming, she was a bit, how you say, (removed). At 78 years old, Rosie gets around fine and dandy thank you very much. She used to sing in clubs and of course back in the 40’s, at Jiffy’s Dance Hall every Saturday night. Rosie was her own person; that’s saying it mildly. When a man would ask her to dinner in the old days she would laugh and always reply, “Why, do I look hungry?” Rosie thought that was the cat’s meow, if you get it. Quiet, loneliness, the world getting bigger and faster, and Rosie…she was only becoming smaller. Wouldn’t you feel a bit “removed” at all that?

At Jiffy’s in 1946 we danced to Teddy Flint and His All Around Good Time Band. Oh Jiffy’s, so long ago, Harry thinks, as they all sit, a walker, three canes and a lot of tired eyes. Yet once they were young and vibrant and Jiffy’s was jumping. You couldn’t buy a car in 1946 because of the war; they needed the steel. And ladies’ nylons hadn’t quite come easy either. Get this though: you could buy a suit with two pairs of pants for about twenty-eight dollars. I think half the men in town got in on that. They put on those new suits, grabbed their girls, and off they went to Jiffy’s. Yes time has painted the whole gang with cracks, scars, wrinkles, and a bit of a stoop.

Though as the sun washes over the tops of them it is only then that you see their real beauty. Yeah, time is always a reminder; it stops when it’s ready. But they’ll always have Jiffy’s.

It’s a cold day and the whole gang knows it. Long days of memories that by now are just something they heard, probably not their own. Winter is coming, and for the old folks that required, according to their kids, staying in.

Harry’s friend Jimmy Cox is alone; he is 76, no one to bring him hot chocolate on those nights when Mary and Harry would hold hands and watch the snow fly. Harry thinks to himself, what happened to Jimmy to be alone? I hate winter but now I wonder, oh heck. Jimmy Cox was a wild kid; kind of grew up on the streets. He became a great drummer. But he was a hustler also. He’d gone to the bigger cities to make it as a musician. He was good at getting girls, he had that look, you know what I mean. Well he was better at fooling around than being serious. It’s funny, but it’s not. Jimmy had it all and then (blink) it’s gone, they’re all gone. (Sorry Jimmy).

“Well there isn’t much to say. There will be no more bench for a few months at least. For some of us this will be the last visit, so you young people smarten up and save the world, don’t destroy it!” Harry bellowed.

As they all sat drinking their coffee, a snowflake hit the bench, then another, and another. Harry shook all their hands and said, “Folks, it looks like our season is over. Alas some of us might miss the purples and reds and oranges the sky gives us. When you wake up at three or four every night you get to watch a lot of sky. And a lot of dreams.”

And as they all stood, they bowed to the bench, and said in unison, “Goodnight and goodbye old boy.”


By jamesghutcheson

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