I THOUGHT IT WAS AROUND THE CORNER!

Hello everyone, everywhere,

Okay folks, first I’ve got to start off saying that the music has been going wonderfully. And I’m doing the best that I can.

Now let’s get onto it. You know, you’d think that Michelle couldn’t do three in a row but I swear this woman has more mishaps than Carter has pills!

Michelle has taken on a new endeavor with her sister Jill. They took the call to deliver hot meals to people who can’t cook for themselves. There is no doubt that Michelle is a very caring person, as is her sister.

Now, back to the scene. The other day was their second run. The first run went really smoothly so they thought the second would be no problem. Not so much.

In the fluster to get going, the GPS didn’t get turned on. The sisters were trying to stay calm as they weaved their way through the streets of Edmonton (where they grew up. Apparently, they didn’t grow up where they were delivering). Once they both realized that they had no idea where they were going, panic set in. Michelle decided to be the calm one. I’ve met all the sisters. Michelle is not the calm one.

But anyway, somehow they got the deliveries going. Except one order got mixed up with another order, and halfway through they realized that they’d screwed up again. At this point, Michelle said she knew a shortcut. It didn’t work out.

They finally did get all the meals delivered (somewhat late), dropped off the empties, made sure everyone was still breathing, and left for the day. On the way out they high-fived each other and said, “Well, that was a good day.

And so ends another week with Michelle.

That’s it.

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

 

DICK PHILLBURN CALLS HOME

Now Dick Phillburn has lived away from his home territory a long time. Even though he has carved out an intensely different kind of life, he is occasionally pulled back, and yesterday’s memories come alive. One or two of his old friends from damn near forty years ago are left.

But the phone remains silent.

Dick thinks, Well…when the phone doesn’t ring, apparently it doesn’t mean it’s broken. Maybe it’s time for me to call the past.

Dick calls his friend whom he calls a crazy hillbilly. This guy never stops going. He’s always been ahead of most steps.

The call is answered by his friend’s lovely wife who says, “This can’t be Mr. Dick Phillburn calling after all this time. Hold on I’ll go grab him.”

Seconds later, an old comforting voice says, “Is this really Dick Phillburn calling?”

Dick says, “How are you, my favourite hillbilly?”

“You know, garbage keeps piling up.”

“Oh! You work at the dump?”

“No, I work at City Hall,” his friend says.

Dick chuckles to himself and thinks, Sometimes you’ve just got to phone home.

That’s all.

(NEVER EVER GIVE UP).

By jamesghutcheson

LIGHTS! CAMERA! ACTION!

Hello everyone, everywhere,

Everything is going well, so let’s get on to what I really want to talk about. You know, I thought Michelle couldn’t outdo her LA story, but barely two weeks later, in the middle of the night on a Friday, Michelle woke up when she thought she heard something out front. She looked out the window and her eyes opened wide. She was looking at a movie being filmed on her street and on her lawn. Now Dean’s a pretty good sleeper but Michelle made sure she prodded him enough to get him up and told him, “They’re shooting a movie in front of our house!”

No kidding, it was a movie. The star of the show was Sean Penn’s son Hopper. After two hours of setup, the scene started.  A car is parked at an angle on the road right in front of Michelle and Dean’s house. A guy gets out of the car to look for what he’s hit. It’s a porcupine. So they hold a camera on him while he pets the porcupine. They go over this scene about five times and then finally the guy brings out his laptop from his car, walks to the porcupine, and hits it on the head with it to make sure it’s dead. Then he drags the porcupine across the street and buries it. Cut, print, and it’s over. It took half the night and they filmed him for about five minutes.

This is why I called the story this week The Extra.

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

THE EXTRA

They were shooting a movie in town and the movie people asked us if we could get people from around the area to work as extras. The Wives’ Club started phoning, and one thing to another, we were in. The scene was supposed to be at a fair. Well, people here know how to put on a fair, believe me.

Eleven-year-old Bobby Hansen was one of the three hundred extras–farmers most of them. He had the big lights of the city on his mind. If I pull this off, I’ll change my name to Bobby Handsome. Yes, that’s a splendid idea. Yes, splendid. I have rehearsed until my toes hurt. Gotta get it right. One shot. Come on Bobby, you can do it!

It was on. Three hundred people at a fair. “Action!” the director called. “Two minutes, camera’s rolling.”

Bobby thought, Now get into your role. Kid at the water fountain.

The director yelled, “Cut! Print! Thanks, folks”. And it was over.

Bobby was stumped. But he figured it like this. Sure, doing movies is a great life. I think I might just stay where I am though. You see, it’s hard to stay on top when you’re an extra.

That’s all.

(NEVER EVER GIVE UP).

By jamesghutcheson

DISTANT NOW

Hello everyone, everywhere,

You know, I’ve been talking to myself a lot more these last few years. It is at the point where, when I’m out amongst real people, there’s not much to say because there’s really no one to say it to. I accept blame for some of it and that’s the bulk of tonight’s tale.

That’s it.

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

THE LEPER IN THE BLUE PINSTRIPE SUIT

He goes downtown, strutting his stuff. Been strutting since he was thirteen because by then you are starting to build your future grown-up life skills.

He, being poor and covered in zits, immediately learns that he has to change his game. You see, when you are one of the smaller people then you get pushed and tripped and chased and laughed at. So he devises a plan. He stops being so funny. And then he stops getting pushed so much.

Time goes by. He has it all. Beautiful wife, home, and really good friends. And then years later, body and brain fueled by alcohol and pills, he is in a horrific accident after having a breakdown. Wife gone, home gone, in the hospital dying, and he doesn’t hear once from his really good friends (or his really good wife).  He’s gone then a few days later is back.

So many years and faces later he settles in with what he was dealt. Though the lesson is learned, he wonders why he can still turn the girls’ heads, and get a smile, even interest once in a while. But once they find out, excuses and pity are the call of the day. It doesn’t matter much to him anymore.  Since he is a man of class and honour, he now knows that no matter what, he is forever a leper in a blue pinstripe suit.

(NEVER EVER GIVE UP)

By jamesghutcheson

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE MUSIC

Hello everyone, everywhere,

This week, we talk music. But just before we do, I have to say that Michelle and Dean just got back from LA. Dean’s a science teacher and they were at a science conference. Poor Michelle was walking down a street, minding her own business, and some creep with a line from the sixties says to her as she’s going by, “Hey there, lady!” So Michelle keeps walking by, looking the other way, and the guy yells at her, “Fuck you, bitch!” And Michelle thinks to herself, “They don’t know how to talk to Canadian women here”.

My life, for better or worse, starts and ends with music. I am sixty-one years old, and I feel and play like…I could have made it to the big time. And at that moment when I was asked…I gave the wrong answer.

That’s it.

And now it’s time to close our eyes and our thoughts, if only for a moment…and rest. Tonight’s piece was brought on by too many pop stars. As an old musician, I just needed to vent.

THE STATE OF AFFAIRS

Dance and play to the sun they will; cries from long-missed time.

I am a musician. A real one. No one tweaked me or set the lights just so.

Oh, I came from a time when you had to earn it.

Hundreds of miles from one to the other. Darkness. Highway, white-out from snow.

That never stopped me. It was part of the show.

You fight all the bullshit, smile at the crowd. They look at you. Hey! You’re too fuckin’ loud!

Huddling together with nothing to say. But forty years later I’m still here to play.

(NEVER EVER GIVE UP).

By jamesghutcheson