Hello everyone, everywhere,
First off, the music, Michelle, and Dean are all well. Now on to it.
I was sitting outside last night. It was very quiet for a change and, I don’t know why, but I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my lost brother. It’s coming up three years and I still haven’t quite come to terms with it. Because of the way I think, the things that I can’t remember any more haunt me day and night. But that’s my problem.
Merv watched over me for fifty years, and even in death he never rested until I was all right. People thought I was very cold when Merv died because I didn’t react properly or say the right things. It’s just that I had no time to think.
But that’s all yesterday, and none of it matters. After Merv died I never got to give my brother the tribute that I wanted to give him. So tonight I’m telling you a story that’s long overdue. I haven’t told anyone in my life this story and now I’m telling the world. All I’ll say on all of this is that it’s all true, and this is how it happened.
And now it’s time to close our eyes and our thoughts, if only for a moment…and rest.
HOW I MET MERVIN (THAT’S MERV) JOSEPH LUCIEN SUTHERLAND
I’d just moved: from Brandon, Manitoba to Des Moines Iowa, then back to Winnipeg; out of a house and into an apartment; dad off to Calgary. So it was my mother, my younger brother, my two baby sisters and me, all living together in a two-bedroom apartment. Another school, different kids, more fighting. I was barely thirteen and I felt like I was forty.
On the first day of school, I walked with another fellow from my building. I was really nervous to be starting another school again. My face had broken out the night before so that was a good opener, clothes weren’t up to snuff, hair wasn’t long enough or clean enough. You know.
We walked into the schoolyard that was filled with all these kids, most bigger than me. I didn’t know where to go or where to start. This kid that I was with said, “I know this guy. Jim Hutcheson, meet Merv Sutherland.” I was looking at this big guy in a pea jacket wearing 1945 army-issue glasses.
Merv shook my hand and then the kid just sort of vanished. So there’s me talking to this Merv guy who I had just met. Anyways Merv just started talking to me and we started laughing. And he said, “I’ll show you where you’ve got to go. It’s my second year here.”
I always remember saying, “Man I love your coat!” My next line stayed with us until the day he died: “How come you’re wearing 1945 army-issue glasses?” Now you have to understand that they were big black rimmed glasses that are in style now but back then it was “take it or leave it”. As we approached the school I remember saying to him, “I really don’t want to go in here. I hate starting because it never goes well.”
“Ah it will be okay,” he said. Because that was his way.
So off we went into the building to find our homerooms. Merv said to me, “Who is your teacher?”
I looked at my schedule and said, “It’s Miss Reddin.” (I hope that old girl is long gone because–man oh man).
Merv said, “That’s mine too!”
We were laughing as we walked into the classroom. Miss Reddin said, “Good morning to you, Merv Sutherland. Are you in my class?”
Merv said, “Good afternoon to you, Miss Reddin.”
I was standing behind him, half his size, and I was killing myself laughing. And then I realized that this guy was funny!
The teacher said, “And you are Jim Hutcheson.” And I forgot her name.
“Hello Mrs. Red Rose or Red Nose,” I said.
“You I don’t like,” she said. And it never got better from that moment on.
And that’s how I met Merv Sutherland. Who’d have thought that we would end up as brothers for fifty years.
(NEVER EVER GIVE UP).