Dear Canada Blog #59 April 23rd 2018.
Up at 8:30 a.m. for a 10:00 a.m. lobby call. Able to catch a quick breakfast with Sam. We discussed upcoming rehearsals and preparations for the Glass Tiger shows we have this spring, summer & fall. Headed by cab, to the airport. It’s always cute when people recognize me but for whatever reason they don’t want to mention it, then just after I move away from them, I hear them singing or in this case, whistling, “Don’t Forget Me (when I’m gone). Funny😂Stuff.
The flight to Corner Brook was on a little 16 or so, seater plane, very noisy, very bumpy, and I had no window, which years ago would have caused me big problems. I am truly amazed at how far I have come these past 8 years or so with my fear of flying. If I had to have made a flight like that say, ten years ago, my “Tourette’s” type behaviour would have been rampant, and I would have been cursing like a trooper and fidgeting and driving people crazy.
Here’s one for the books.....
As many of you may know, I am an atheist. That said, I respect everyone’s right to believe, just as much as my own not to. I don’t mention it out loud anymore unless I am asked or unless someone is forcing their beliefs onto me, or of course if your knocking on my front door, ready to “minister” and “save” me. I tell you this because an absolutely hilarious thing happened to me back in my fear of flying days, that will live with me forever. The guys in GT were all used to me and with every bump of the plane I truly could not help myself and it would usually go something like this; Here we are, all flying, flying, flying, smoothly, smoothly and everything is fine then .....bump..oh!......bump..bump...oh no! ....bump....bump...bump...oh please no! bump...bump......fuck!...fuck! bump.... shit! ......bump....thud...bump.....fuck!.....damn!...shit!..shit! and this would go on for the entire amount of time the turbulence lasted...but as I mentioned, the band were all used to it, and we got through it as best we could, with as little fuss as possible. If however, I had to sit next to a stranger, I would always explain to them my dilemma and apologies ahead of time, just in case, profanity-laced epithets came hurtling out of my mouth. Now, don’t get me wrong, sometimes the odd, Jesus!!! or Jesus Christ!!! Would still pop out of me, just by age-old habit. It still happens. And back then, I would think that saying, Jesus, would be a little softer and easier to digest for a wee lady to hear, than a big, FUCK!! And so I would attempt to do that, unless it was unbearable and I couldn’t help myself.
So here we go......it was a flight back, if memory serves, from Vancouver home to Toronto and we had all the members of Glass Tiger, plus our crew, making the trip home. When we got through security and headed to the gate, there was an enormous delegation of Christians gathered there, all happy and singing, all with flowers and smiles as big as Vancouver itself. I remember thinking to myself, how much they reminded me of the “hippie flower-children” from say, Woodstock or the likes. Some of them danced a little, while all the time, “praising their Lord.” It was harmless enough, although a little overboard. Soon we all boarded and Glass Tiger and crew were scattered all over the place. I ended up in the middle!! of bunch of my new Christian companions, who made me aware that the Pope was coming to Toronto and that they were all on their way (with 2 million others) to receive his holy blessing. “Oh, that’s nice,” I replied. Thinking, “Please don’t ask me if i’m going!” So we took off and everything was going along swimmingly; happy, happy, praise the lord, “Would you like a flower?” “No thanks. Well okay.” (if it means you’ll leave me alone) when suddenly ......bump....hmmm what was that?....bump......no!.....bump...bump...please.....no!....Now I must have begun with my fidgeting, my sighing and squirming, because the lady to my right says, “Don’t worry, never fear, we are in God’s hands, he will keep us safe.” Hmmmm, really? Ya think? Now here it comes Dear Canada. You have to know this build up inside me is tremendous and I am trying so hard to fight it. I don’t want to force my profanity on these people. These sweet, lambs of God, all on their way to see, papa, their leader, their chosen vessel of God, their Pope. Suddenly, and without warning, the entire plane takes one almighty and enormous LUNGE, making it feel like she is about to nosedive back to earth and there is one GIGANTIC THUD!!! Instaneouly my brain is on fire and the words are scrambling at light speed to leap from my lips. My brain’s left-hemisphere is screaming to let it go....The Christians are all chanting, and holding hands, and praising their divine one when suddenly ......I have to get it out ....but what is coming out? Surely not a huge profanity? What if I soften it up a bit.....and so instaneously part of my brain wants to say, “Jesus!” while another part wants to let out a good old “fuck!” but it’s all happening too fast isn’t it? And so just as the plane lurches massively forward and the huge thud comes, yours truly let’s out, at the top of his lungs, as loud as Pavaroti, “FUCK JESUS!” And the entire plane goes 😳😳😳😳😳😳😳😳😳😳😳😳😳😳😳😳😳😳😳😳😳😳😳😳😳😳😳😳😳😳😳😳😳😳😳😳😳😳😳
What? Who said that? Really? Who? Me? Well of course, now the plane decides to settle immediately, it only lurched the once, and then it smoothed out immediately and of course it went DEATHLY QUIET!! To say this was one of the most awkward moments in the history of aviation would be an understatement. Cringe-worthy? Oh yeah. And of course the awkwardness and cringe-worthiness didn’t end there because as I looked around me and saw all these little Christian faces agog staring at me like I had just bitten the head off of their kitten, I had no way of explaining without getting deeper and deeper in. “Yeah, sorry about that, you see I really wanted to let out one almighty FUCK! but to make it easier on you, part of my brain wanted to let out a great big, “JESUS CHRIST!” So I had to just keep my mouth shut, although a little pip-squeak, “sorry ‘bout that.” oozed out. The only audible sound was that of one of our road crew, Greg, who guffawed with laughter. The singing stopped. The flowers went down. The smiles vanished and I now felt like Satan’s Scottish cousin, Hamish MacLuicifer. When I think back on it they all looked like little lambs. The remaining journey was wounded to say the least. I felt like saying, “Bartender! Scotch all round!” I hesitate to say the word “cured” but I am now as close as one could get, and my fear of flying is nothing like it used to be. Thank you Jesus!😉
Corner Brook is a city located on the west coast of the island of Newfoundland in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. The area was surveyed by Captain James Cook, in 1767.
The Captain James Cook Historic Site stands on Crow Hill overlooking the city. By the middle of the 19th century the population of Corner Brook was still less than 100, and the inhabitants were engaged in fishing and lumber work. The area was originally four distinct communities, each with unique commercial activities: Curling, with its fishery; Corner Brook West (also known as Humber West or Westside) with its retail businesses; Corner Brook East (also known as Humbermouth and the Heights) with its railway and industrial operations; and Townsite (known as Corner Brook), home to the employees of the pulp and paper mill. In 1956, these four communities were amalgamated to form the present-day City of Corner Brook.
We pulled into the Inn at about 2:15 p.m. and we landed “slap-dab” right into the middle of a TEAM of ladies, all of them, obviously Johnny Reid fans. It didn’t take long for one of them to “clock” me and figure out who I was and it was game on! Photo, after, photo, and listening to all their “patter” they were a delight. They are so excited to see Johnny tonight. They just love him. I texted him immediately afterwards and said, “So funny, we pull into the wee Quality Inn, and the hotel lobby is mobbed with your fans and one of them clocks me and I am now part of the ladies Corner Brook division of your Tartan Army.” 😂
The Show for me tonight, was deeply emotional. The tragic event that happened today in Toronto has hit me hard. I live in North York. It’s my home, my community. I could walk to where that incident happened, in 15 mins. I could drive it, in 3 or 4. Of course, I have seen all the tragedy and similar incidents to this one that have happened all around the world. Of course I care and my heart breaks for all involved. It’s gut wrenching and brutally painful. But as with any tragedy, when it happens to you, or to your family or to your neighbourhood, it’s only natural that it stings that much harder. I thought of cancelling this blog and perhaps just posting a 😢. But then my fingers went onto twitter and I typed this, almost subconsciously; Torontonians don’t stop #smiling don’t stop #laughing don’t stop #loving don’t stop #living if you do, then they win. #torontostrong
I believed that when I wrote it and I believe it now. We MUST stay true to who we are. To love and laugh and live life to its fullest, in kindness and fellowship, and caring and together as one. If we stop doing that, we lose, they win. That’s why I posted my blog tonight on this night of horror and sadness for all of us who care. That’s why I stayed true to who I am, knowing that you will stay true to who you are by reading it, hopefully still smiling, when you should smile, laughing, when you should laugh, and yes, shedding a wee tear along the way, just as you have, with all the others. Our hearts’ break tonight for those lost. Breaks, and we mourn them deeply. But we go on. Their loved ones are broken but the rest of us will gather around them, family, friends, neighbours, community and city and we will go forward business as usual. Wounded, of course, but we will go on. Love & Kindness remain the light. Always have been, always shall be.
And so with a heavy heart, I watched our beloved Toronto Maple Leafs grind out a hard-fought victory, and take us to game 7. And I cheered as I always would. Just as the crowd at the game did. Just as the thousands gathered outside the stadium did and I have NEVER been prouder to be a fan, than I was tonight.
As I headed back to my room I could hear lots of noise coming from the room next door. Ladies laughing and sharing a fun time and it was obvious to me that they were all Johnny Reid fans, who had travelled here for the show. Their door was slightly ajar and so I shouted in,“Hey! You Johnny Reid fans! keep the bloody noise down!” When I pushed the door open they let out a collective yell! They were so sweet. The salt of the earth. Proud Newfoundlanders and die-hard Johnny fans. I chatted with them and took some photo’s. As I said goodnight, they told me collectively that they would come see us if we come back here for our own show. THAT’S why we did this. And so it’s off to St.John’s for our final show tomorrow.
And so Dear Canada, Goodnight to you, until tomorrow ~ Alan.