Whenever I think of a journey I’m about to take, or your standard epic battle between epic sea monsters, like Mac v. Windows, Canadiens v. Leaf Blowers, Gore v. Bush, or Obama v. Romney, Obama v. McCain, or even Trudeau v. Harper, I think of this snippet they used to wake us up with at St. John’s.
When we paddled or snowshoed, it was without music. There were no headsets we could plug into to stave off the boredom, repetition, and pain of paddling or snowshoeing miles in lead-filled snowshoes so what set the tone in the morning at wake up set the tone (and tune) for the day.
Wakeman is a little Wagnerian, not that I know the difference. There is a little bit of Ride of Valkyries in the Battle. So this song is one I remember above them all, except the Strawbs Hangman and the Papist (only because I was the Papist).
It’s been a long week and I have a few hours to kill before getting home after seven days spent on the road, meeting, greeting, and selling concept in two different venues in the same week, running from airport to hotel to airport. I’ve known many forms of transportation in my insignificant life – Sante Fe Super Chief from Los Angeles to Chicago, CP Rail and Canadian National (CN) across Canada, EuroStar under the Chunnel, Pan Am from Los Angeles to Bangkok, Greyhound from San Diego to Winnipeg to Montreal and back, a 1963 four-door Rambler from Montreal to Orange, California, but none of these journeys compare to my rides on the Beaver Bus from Winnipeg to Selkirk.
The concept of the Beaver Bus never challenged the intellectual capacity of my fifteen-year-old self, it was the bus itself that issued weekly challenges. It got me from here to there; here was the hell of St. John’s or heaven was the all-you-eat restaurant in downtown Winnipeg. I first boarded her early in September 1973, somewhere near Portage and Main at the Winnipeg Bus Station and she took me into the bowels of Selkirk, depositing me right at Howard’s Lunch Bar with enough time to suck down fries and gravy before the green van from school came to pick me . . . Click here for the full article →
Never get tired of this thing, especially since I’m in it! Hung out with Rob Keegan the other week. He’s the bowsman in the canoe that I’m bailing near the end of the trip. By that point, we had been out for a very cold, wet, windblown, and dark two weeks. I can’t remember being more wet, and not in a good way. After we dumped the canoe, I walked too close to the drying fire and lost head and facial hair in one big swoosh. Didn’t matter. No one cared.
I had my socks sucked off my feet by muck while traversing what seemed like a mile through a swamp.
Again. Didn’t matter. No one cared.
Scare your kid and show him this documentary from 1973.
If you can read this article, you are probably much better off than the women and girls who sewed the underwear you are wearing (or not). I found this article and video to be very inspiring. A Toronto Star reporter, Raveena Aulakh worked in a Bangladesh sweatshop for a week. Her boss was a girl who was only nine. Kudos to her.
I picked grapes for three weeks in the Beaujolais region in France when I was 16. It was not glorious. It was not romantic. It was hard, backbreaking work, but I knew it was only for three weeks – not for a lifetime. Great series by the Toronto Star and very well done.
I spent two formative years going to “gasp” a Canadian boys’s school where corporal punishment was the rule and not the exception, so I take no great pleasure in pointing out the beauty of this ruling in my County of Santa Clara, California. It’s good to see that parents now have the right, in certain, specific situations, after almost certainly paying an attorney good coin to file the appropriate briefs at the appropriate time for the appropriate sum, to apply a wooden spoon to their child’s backside.
I don’t know how Peter can function as a 46 year-old ironworker in the great white north. It pains me just to read it. This is a very coherent snapshot of life working in northern Canada on big projects with lots of steel. My bones ache whenever I read the blog. Click here for the full article →
We were given haircuts, issued clothes, laundry numbers, canoe gear, and assigned a chore / duty. We boarded an old yellow rented school bus on Tuesday morning, four canoes in tow, driven about 350 miles east of the school. I learned how to sleep sitting up on that school bus. Click here for the full article →