FOR A MONDAY, NOT BAD

Hello everyone, everywhere,

Rehearsals in the past week have been just inspiring. That’s the best word I can think of. We are all so happy and so focused on trying to make every note count. I am very proud of Larissa and Brooke for letting us go over and over the same songs. At first it wasn’t going so well for them, but we all just kept  talking to them and telling them that this is how we have to do it and they bought into it a hundred percent. That’s all you can ask for.

Moving on…I was looking out my window yesterday–of course it was about 2:30 in the afternoon so it was getting dark–and watching the beautiful trees. As it turns out, we had some snow–nothing more than a good dusting–but when I looked out and saw that dusting of snow as far as I could see, I thought, “You could never have enough money to capture the beauty of this instant.”

Another happy moment is that Michelle is fighting back and on her feet again. (We had to stop in the middle of our writing tonight. Mama B had called up, and Michelle had to go down and dock her vacuum. If you don’t know what that means (and I didn’t) she has a robot vacuum. Luckily Mama B has someone to watch over her.

All I want to do now is to tell you about the story and then I’ll let you go. This is the second part of a beautiful fantasy. Get your kids and read! If you missed last week’s installment, go back and read it first. Next week we’ll give you the conclusion, but tonight we take you back to Jimtown.

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

THE NIGHT THE LAST LIGHTS WENT OUT IN JIMTOWN

PART II

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“Well, I’d better start working,” thinks Rossi. “My first pigeons, I mean girls, will be the hymn singers.”

Now the hymn singers don’t like Rossi Brown Copeland. They call him a bad egg. It may stem from last year when Rossi Brown Copeland–now a grand performer–sang a limerick at the top of his lungs to the ladies and the children’s choir. As he was being shuffled off, he yelled, “Well what about my voice.” That, unfortunately, ended what Rossi Brown Copeland believed to be the voice of the future.

His next move is over to the fire, where everybody is either reading by the light or resting their weary eyes. Rossi Brown Copeland looks at them and says impishly, “A penny for your thoughts. Better yet, give me ten cents and I’ll tell you my thoughts.”

“Man oh man from the looks they are giving me you’d think I’d taken their last goose,” Rossi thinks.

Rossi sees no amusement here, so he says, “I’ll get back to you,” to a chorus of, “Please don’t.”

Rossi figures that he might as well just keep going. Lots of people still to cheer up.

“See you later guys,” Rossi calls from a safe distance.

Over there is a Greek woman, Mrs. Gelakis, and her daughter. They seemed to be moving rather quickly. Rossi doesn’t get it. Geez, last year he showed Mrs. Gelakis’ daughter his magic trick. He calls her Maria, but her mother keeps saying, “That’s not her name. I’ve told you ten times, it’s Eva.”

Rossi looks at the girl and says, “Hi, Maria. Do you like magic?” She smiles. When kids smile it’s got to be good, right? So Rossi says, “Do you have a penny? I’ll make it vanish.”

Eva digs her little hand into her pocket and produces one shiny penny. Rossi smiles and slides it up his sleeve when she looks away. With great glee, Rossi Brown Copeland annouces,  “It’s gone.” He pats Eva on the head and leaves. Standing there now, watching them scurry away from him, he remembers, “Oh yeah I was supposed to give that penny back. Now I know what Mrs. Gelakis was shouting at me all across the field. I thought it was Greek for happy holidays—upon research that day I might have been mistaken.”

On to the skaters. They love Rossi. There is the old gang: Tommy (it’s Michael), and Sally (it’s May). “I know they’ll be glad to see me,” think Rossi. “I’m Rossi Brown Copeland.”

Well. when they saw him they yelled, “Go away Rossi Brown Copeland. Last time you tied our laces together and rubbed our skates with molasses.”

“I’ll be right back,” Rossi screams as he retreats over to the bakery.

Now the bakery…

(NEVER EVER GIVE UP).

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By jamesghutcheson

A TIME TO SMILE

Hello everyone, everywhere,

This past week as been something unreal. I had to go to Edmonton on Thursday to see a specialist, so I got a whole day with Michelle and her family, and that was great.  I want to thank Michelle’s sister Georgia for taking me to my appointment so Michelle could rest. Poor Michelle has been sick for three weeks. I want to give her a purple heart because it has been pretty tough. Anyway, I saw the doctor about my arthritis and everything seems to be just fine. He told me to keep playing. Apparently, I don’t have the crippling kind of arthritis, just the sore kind.

Dean and Mama B are fine, and so are the cats. (Except Dean was in the ER on Saturday night, but everything is okay now).

Michelle and I have to Skype to do our work now, and today we got laughing.  The two of us were just about in tears laughing about nothing.

Christmas is coming, so I thought it would be nice to write a story that you can read with your kids. It’s about a little place of buildings and figurines that I collected over the years. People were always giving me things to add to the town, and I never knew what to call it, so we just called it Jimtown. Jimtown has made people smile for almost twenty years. I’ve carried it with me to a lot of places. This story is about the real magic of Christmas.  I hope you enjoy reading it  as much as I enjoyed writing it. It’s going to be a three-parter. Enjoy part one, and keep smiling.

That’s it.

And now it’s time to close our eyes and our thoughts…and rest.

THE NIGHT THE LAST LIGHTS WENT OUT IN JIMTOWN

PART I

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Our tale begins at the end of the day. Our hero–at least he thinks so–is the one and only Rossi Brown Copeland.  We find Rossi Brown on his horse-drawn wagon. He is in some kind of forest, and as he looks up, he sees the mighty trees with their branches hanging eerily as if caressing the sky.  Squirrels, rabbits, and gophers peek over their little hideouts, and with their tiny eyes, watch Rossi Brown Copeland as he proceeds on his timeless magical journey. As Rossi Brown continues down the path, he realizes he is in “the grey”. “The grey” is a feeling he gets when he is troubled or deep in his own world.  He shudders as his horse’s hooves hit the ground like exploding lightning.

Tonight is very special for Rossi Brown, for tonight they turn out the lights in Jimtown. Jimtown is a great magical place of  trees, a bridge, a skating rink, buildings, horses, and of course, many little figurines.  The moon smiles down on the little town and winks as if to say, “Get ready.” And in that moment, Rossi Brown Copeland comes out of the grey and into the light. As he does, all the figurines come to life. Oh, did I forget to mention, Rossi Brown Copeland is also a figurine, and he thinks he is the greatest figurine ever made.  (There are, however, those who would argue that statement).

On this night all the people move and talk, and every year when Rossi Brown Copeland comes down that path, he has no memory of past or future; he just pops out, and the show begins.

To be continued….

(NEVER EVER GIVE UP).

By jamesghutcheson

I’M SORRY FOR ALL OF US

Hello everyone, everywhere,

Musically speaking, this week has been very very good. Everybody seems happy and very calm. It’s a wonderful environment again and I’m very glad to be there. That’s enough of that.

Now on to where the sun went. It’s sure been cloudy lately, but I like it when it’s grey because that’s when I write.

After I wrote this week’s piece I told Michelle that I had an eery feeling, and two days later someone was killed doing this kind of job. But it’s a good piece so I’m giving this one to everyone who has to work midnights. Midnights are tough no matter what you are doing, but those poor people in the stores…it’s just not right that you can’t just go to work and do the damn job. It’s hard enough to get through the night without having to worry about losing your life.

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

THE MIDNIGHT MAN

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At ten o’clock every night, the alarm destroys the midnight man’s dreams. He rises slowly–same walls, same view, though the view is obscured by incandescent light and by one window tortured by years of wind and dust.

He shuffles slowly so as not to get too close to a reflection. The midnight man needs no reminders that he’s getting older. It could happen to anyone. One day you are this, and then, as fast as a star catches your eye, this is over. Now only left with then.

Alone, unkempt, a few minutes to clean up and show up. Need to hear music. Radio’s broken. Don’t care much for TV. Can’t turn it off.

Things certainly have changed. What things? Everything.

The midnight man stands in the night, outside of his existence, head down, eyes closed. His only wish for this shift–the same as the others–is to come home alive.

That’s all.

(NEVER EVER GIVE UP).

By jamesghutcheson

IF IT’S NOVEMBER, WHY AM I WEARING SHORTS?

Hello everyone, everywhere,

It’s been quite a week for November. I mean, it’s been really nice weather-wise. But it’s funny–it seems like everyone is coughing and blowing their noses. I’m doing the best I can to duck and swerve my way out of it. It hasn’t worked so I will probably have my usual cold from November until May when it just goes away.

Rehearsals have been going great with the band. We have some shows coming up, and I’m looking forward to them. We have a new bass player and that has brought back the bottom end that we’ve missed since Terrence left. (Fred plays a good bass but I haven’t seen him in a Stetson yet).

Michelle has been busy with her PelikanBox this week, and Dean…well, Dean’s been sick. But he’s on the mend and he’ll be back home in Edmonton on Wednesday, so good on Dean.

I’m going to return to swimming in a couple of days so I’ve been lying on the carpet practising my favourite move, the breast stroke. I think I’m ready to get back in the water. (Rug burn’s a bitch).

And now it’s time to close our eyes and our thoughts, if only for a moment…and rest. Tonight’s tale is about…well, find out for yourself.

I’M FINE WITH THAT

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Her name is Myrna Baine. She lives with two cats and an aging mother in Lindy Lake.  Myrna works at Camfiddle Department Store where she’s been employed since she was seventeen;  she’s fifty-three now.

When Myrna looks in the mirror, the image hurts; no makeup, hair always in a tight bun. She holds the sink with both hands and wonders where she went. Her thoughts always take her back to her man. Yes, always Karl. Memories of a wise-cracking smart ass. He had a motorcycle, and…she was a lady. No more of that.

Myrna’s life changed the day Karl was sentenced to twenty years. The reason doesn’t matter. He was gone and that was all there was to it. The day he left he called to her, “Myrna, will you wait for me?”

Myrna called back, “Yes, Karl darling. I will wait for you.” And wait she did.

After serving eighteen years, Karl had a stroke and died in prison. Myrna had waited every day of those eighteen years. No matter. She sat in her chair, closed her eyes, and thought, “Yes, in some sense I might be alone. But then maybe our letters remind me, I never was. I’m fine with that.”

Somebody had to care. I mean, you can just turn away or not. That’s what she said at his funeral. There was no one else there.

That’s all.

(NEVER EVER GIVE UP)

By jamesghutcheson

IT SEEMS THIS IS HOW IT IS

Hello everyone, everywhere,

Tonight we’re going to talk about me. Every week I give you little bits of my life and tell you what I’m going through, but this week I want to talk about what it’s like to live every day with a brain injury. I’m high-functioning, which leaves me in a bad spot in life because no one knows I have an injury unless I tell them. Perhaps if you talked to me for awhile you’d figure that something wasn’t quite right, but then that’s just the way I talk–with humour and passion.   With the piece I wrote tonight, I want you to try to feel what someone like me has to live with. It’s not meant to be depressing. It is my life, and that’s not depressing. It’s a bloody journey. That’s it.

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

JUST THINK ABOUT IT

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I watch from my balcony, all those strangers walking by, and I wonder where their road had wound to have brought them to this moment. The conversation in the back lane is street talk and psychobabble, all in one show. Then they must yell and argue with anyone, with no one; it doesn’t matter. After they are all yelled out, I witness street forgiveness, sometimes only, “F’ you, who cares!”

I am so afraid that I see the future of my own life. I close my eyes, feeling the wind–cold, harsh that day–pushing me to remember. But I don’t need the wind to remind me. I know that I am not much more than what I am.  No pictures of the kids–there are no kids. It’s been so very long that I have endured coming home to myself, and now the best years of my life have gone and I find myself old and broken. I’ve paid more than my share of the debt.

In four years I will be retired. From what? From being ostracized and shunned by every woman who finds out I have a brain injury? I don’t know what I have to do to make them realize that despite my brain injury, I’m very high functioning and that inside I’m a kind, gentle, man. I can’t seem to express myself properly to find that person whom I need in my life. I’ve stopped looking because I’m tired. I feel if someone really wants to find me, it will happen.

I suppose I should be used to it by now, but how in the hell can you get used to being imprisoned by your own mind? Just think about it. That’s all.

(NEVER EVER GIVE UP).

By jamesghutcheson