WHERE DID ALL THIS SNOW COME FROM?

Hello everyone, everywhere,

Well, this week has been quite entertaining! I feel very bad for our American friends, and I feel bad for us. Eastern Canada got nailed and Alberta just got four inches of snow in one day. It’s been interesting.

Anyways, I had a really bad fall last Monday when I was coming to see Michelle. I went flying on the ice. I flew up in the air and came down on my side. I didn’t feel any breaks but I was in a lot of pain so I knew I’d really hurt myself. It’s been a week now and I’m still having trouble. It’s harder to bounce back when you get older, and I’ve got to get back on those drums. Wednesday I’ll be back to practice on my own. I’ll see Alisa and that will be great. She’ll get me back in shape.

I’d like to say a big hello to Tommy from our band and let him know that we’re thinking about him and hope he’s feeling better. Thank goodness we’re all going to be back at it next week.

I like this week’s story. It’s a gentle story, and when I wrote it, it made me laugh. I only wrote the title and I thought I’d just leave it and come back to it, but I just kept writing and I wrote the whole thing. I couldn’t stop until it was done. And I was laughing. I give a story three proofreads and if I like it, I bring it to Michelle. If she likes it, she fixes it. And then you get it. And it’s all good.

So for now, I’ll bid you all adieu. (That’s good-bye in French in case you’re not sure). We’ll get rid of the snow, I’ll mend, and we’ll all just get on with it. That’s it.

And now it’s time to close our eyes and our thoughts, if only for a moment…and rest. Tonight, with a smile on my face, I present…

CHERISH THE MOMENT, ETHEL

Ladies having tea

Meet Ethel Brimmer. She doesn’t remember everything, but her stories, she remembers. Well,  in  her own way. Ethel Brimmer is 86 years old. She is in her second century, and that pleases her just fine. Bragging rights, don’t you know. Ethel is a little thing. White hair, glasses. And if you are talking to her, depending on how he’s sitting, she can’t hear you very well.

Ethel has only one escape a day: tea with the girls. And tea must be served with stories. Every afternoon, before their shows come on, these women get together and discuss things over tea. There is Daisy Swann, 83, five foot two, and also hard of hearing. And Lorna Cheaks. Eighty, five feet five, tall for a lady of her age, the other two would say.

They always go to Daisy’s. She doesn’t walk too well. All three have slight (and I mean slight) dementia (if you asked). As always, Ethel got the ball rolling (so to speak).  Ethel leaned in to the table, sipped her tea, and started her story.

We grew up on Brimmer Mountain. There were eight or nine of us. And my favourite time was night when all of us kids would to our rooms for bed. Our parents were in their beds too. Gosh, it would be nine p.m. Lights out! And then we would all be saying good night.

“Good night Dick-boy! Good night Ephram! Good night Sally Jean, George Bob, Rollinpinronny, Prescott, and Chin!” Then they would all say, “Good night Heather!” And we would all go to sleep.

The ladies looked up at Ethel. Even with their foggy recollections, they both knew Ethel had told them the end of that old show The Waltons. And they were almost positive that those weren’t their names. In the end, though, they didn’t care. They loved Ethel. And she did tell it well.

So, in the long scheme of things, Ethel Brimmer cherished the moment. Moments are only what they are. Guard yours well. That’s all.

(NEVER EVER GIVE UP).

By jamesghutcheson

THE START OF A NICE WEEK

Hello everyone, everywhere,

Today started out just beautifully; the weather is cooperating, and at rehearsal we watched the video of our Friday show. Because we are perfectionists we, of course, found our own glitches, but all in all, it was one hell of a show. I leave these shows now totally sober and totally humbled.  I never stop until I look up and tell brother Merv, “It was a good one today.” When I do that it just warms me inside. It’s funny all the tales people tell, but he and I, we knew things about each other that nobody else knew, and those memories and that incredible bond we had as brothers for so long is what keeps me going every day. I miss him so bad, but I hear his voice and I know he’s always kicking my ass, but that’s good enough for me. I’ve still got Ian, the younger brother. He’s as big as Merv.

Today I’m going to leave you with some things I was thinking of while I was taking a walk today. I narrated them to Michelle, and she smiled a lot, so I guess it’s pretty good. It’s a little bit of knowing me.

Happy Monday everybody. Keep safe.

And now it’s time to close our eyes and our thoughts, if only for a moment…and rest.

MY THOUGHTS

Man in Hat

I took a walk today and it was a beautiful day. The sun was out, it started to get a bit warmer, and inside I had a feeling that, no matter what, things will work out, because that’s the kind of stuff I’m built with.

I’ve been so busy all of these years, fighting and just trying to stay alive, that I forgot how to live. So when I started this writing, it took me away from all of it. I wasn’t just staring at myself in windows downtown, with the wind blowing at me. I was making sense. And then the music…and after that it all just changed.

The harder I fought to find something wrong with it all, the more intense my drive became to make it happen, and it did. I am not a learned man by books and school. I grew up watching life, and all these years later, when I sit with Michelle and we do our work, I feel very satisfied that things are going the right way. I haven’t quite got a handle on this ‘doing the right thing’ stuff, but I’m working on it, and I have Michelle constantly reminding me.

I never said I was better than anybody else. I just wanted to matter. I tried to do things the way people said I should do them, but it wasn’t me. I’m getting old, but what I’m doing now is exactly where I started, and this is exactly what I should be doing. So now I’m walking home and I’m thinking, Yeah, cocoa sounds nice.

That’s all.

(NEVER EVER GIVE UP)

By jamesghutcheson

FIGHTING WITH MYSELF

Hello everyone, everywhere,

This week has been rather an eye-opener. It seems every time I’m not looking, somebody’s stabbing me in the back. I cannot understand this waste of energy and that’s why I have disassociated myself with all of these clowns. That’s the end of that.

(The cat was bugging me. Thank goodness she’s not bugging me anymore. Now she’s bugging Michelle).

I’ve been around these high energy and positive people whom I truly love, and it gives me a reason to get up in the morning. I love being a drummer. I always have, ever since I was eleven. And I love to write and to tell these tales. It’s going to be a very good year for me. And Michelle. And Dean. And the bloody cats.

Rehearsals are going great. We have a live show on Friday, downtown, and that’s always a good workout for us. We see a lot of good people and they love the music.

So upward and onward. See you next week. That’s it.

And now it’s time to close our eyes and our thoughts, if only for a moment…and rest. Last week you read the first part of The Talent Show. And now, the conclusion.

THE TALENT SHOW (Part II)

Sunrise scene

Now this talent thing was a hurdle Royce G. knew must be accomplished. Okay, here it is. Royce G. Wishformore, eleven years old, stands about five feet four inches tall, his hair sort of brown, sort of blonde. Temperament: happy most of the time; seems to have an interest in the same girls he teased just last year.

Royce had a lot of acquaintances. (That’s like friends you’re not sure you trust yet). Yes, that is correct. Royce G had trust issues. You see, he grew up hard and confused like something was missing. But one day in the schoolyard he met Wendell Baxter.

Wendell was a lot bigger than Royce. Royce didn’t seem to mind. He punched Wendell in the arm and laughed his head off. Wendell just stood there looking down (not too far down) at Royce G, and he smiled. I think they both knew right away that there was history in the making.  Now those two clowns became best friends, like forever they said.

So…the talent show. Ah, the talent show. The only reason Royce G wanted to win was well…the winner got a free movie pass for two and (you know it, baby) popcorn. All he had to do was a) think of a talent, and b) win and go to the movies free. It all seemed easy enough to do, but not for Royce G. Wishformore.

When you have grown up with no direction, things get complicated sometimes. Royce G. seemed to trust only himself, on guard all the time, not sure why destiny’s wind blew these crazy feelings he had. Destiny: that’s funny itself, he thought.

A week went by and the talent show was that night! Royce G. decided on comedy. You know, telling jokes. Wendell said, “Do the two-step on stage. They’ll love it.”

That would have been good advice if only Royce knew what a two-step was.

So Royce made his way to the stage. Now before you go on stage there is the pep talk. The pep talk is supposed to inspire you from the words spoken to you by someone who really cares. Unfortunately for Royce, even though his mother and I were there, he decided that Wendell would give the pep talk.

Let me set the scene, kids. You’ve got Wendell, 5 foot 8, tall, fat, but strong as a bull. He was wearing what would forever be known as 1945 army issue glasses. Anyways, folks, it went somewhat like this.

Wendell said, “Royce G., yeah, you’re a star. That’s right, that’s what I said.”

Royce looked at Wendell and said, “You’re mocking me!”

“Oh no, not at all”, Wendell said.

Royce said, “So Wendell, you’re saying I go on that stage where I’ve never set foot before, give them my stuff, and walk away the winner.”

Wendell looked at Royce. “Oh yeah, you’re a winner.”

As Royce was stepping on stage he turned to Wendell and said, “I’m not going to win this thing, am I?”

Wendell turned, rubbed his chin, and said, like a big brother would (even though he was only seven months to the day older), “You have four jokes, and except for me and some of your family, they stink.”

Royce looked at him and said, “Are you saying it’s not going to go well?”

Wendell said, “You’ve got me wrong, bro. You’ll be great!”

Royce said, “Great! Is that what gibberish you’re telling me now?”

Wendell smiled and said, “That’s what I’m saying!”

At that moment, they both started laughing and laughing and then laughing some more.

Royce G went on that stage and laughed through his four jokes. The audience, on the other hand, laughed only when Royce did the two-step. Apparently, this two-step required a two-stepping partner. (Thanks Wendell for that, you moron!)

Anyway, Royce went down in flames. He did not win the movie passes.  When Royce G saw it all slipping away, Wendell sat down beside him and said, “I’ve got a paper route. I have money. We’re going to the movies little brother.”

Royce G Wishformore turned to Wendell (they call me Dell) Baxter, and said, quite wide-eyed, “You want to be brothers?”

Wendell hit Royce in the arm and said, “That’s about right.”

And so started a fifty-year talent show. I am Royce G Wishformore’s Grandpa Alec. And I’m telling it to you all just the way he told it to me. Oh yeah, I gave him the book on vaudeville. I’m pretty sure both those two little rascals had a good laugh.

That’s all.

(NEVER EVER GIVE UP)

By jamesghutcheson

RESILIENT IS THE WORD OF THE DAY

Hello everyone, everywhere,

Hey, I told you this year was going to be fantastic. If you want to sum me up in one word, my god, it’s resilient, because I just won’t give up. Michelle won’t let me. And neither will Dean. And don’t get me started on the cats.

Well, the holidays are over and I did my usual: I survived. I am back to peak of health and back in the studio, and back to writing. I am dedicated this time to bringing some quality work to the show.

The band is doing great. Everybody’s good now; we’re all getting over bad health and onward and upward we go. We’ve got a lot of work coming up in the new year.

That’s all.

And now it’s time to close our eyes and our thoughts, if only for a moment…and rest. Until next week, may I present the first installment of…

THE TALENT SHOW

spotlight

It started with vaudeville. What’s vaudeville you might ask? Vaudeville was a time of magic. It went on from the late 1800s to the early 1900s. Vaudeville was a lifestyle for different performers–all kinds of different performers. There would be dog and pony shows for some, and comedy with hilarious people clowning around. Drama–oh, you got drama.

In vaudeville you got five to ten minutes to get it done. But there was a down side to being a performer. People had to like you, and fast, because you could get the hook!

The hook was a very long pole with a big hook at the end. So if your act stunk, first you’d get booed by the audience (and they were a tough bunch), second (kids lean close; you’ll want to hear this), if your act was really bad they’d stick the pole out from behind the curtain and just like that, they’d hook you and drag you off the stage. For real!

Alas, this story isn’t about vaudeville so much as it is a tale of courage and honour and pride. The star of our story is eleven year old Royce G. Wishformore. And Royce G. was on his way to Knick Knack Elementary School for the winter talent contest.

(NEVER EVER GIVE UP)

By jamesghutcheson