Remember when bonfire orange was all the rage in the 1970s? Today they'd call it butternut squash or cantaloupe. Paint colour names, there's a rabbit hole to fall down.
The photo was taken on or near Christmas. There's a gingerbread house in the background. Sunday night meal was always special. The table was set nice for just us (sometimes company). My parents loved Scandi design. Look at those pre-IKEA tapers. My mom has a talent for making things look beautiful. She’s always moving the furniture.
I don't know if there's a more adorable photo of me — the crocheted vest and my strawberry blond hair. Chubby and beautiful, apparently forever.
My dad was a foreman at the Ford Motor Company in Oakville when they produced cars and trucks. Every two years, we got a new car. The Gran Torino was his favourite. Look at it. No real back windows. Built for the kind of man who wants to pretend they don't have kids. Chuck would have laughed at that. There once was a picture, but things fall through the cracks when a family splits.
He was a 70s macho man — had a handlebar moustache, hairy chest, and gold chain. His monthly subscription to Playboy came into the house in a thick brown paper wrap. I remember looking at it illicitly — my parents had telepathically made us aware it was a secret, off limits. Does it get more delicious?
I was about eight or nine. We lived in Burlington in a low-rise apartment building about a ten-minute drive west of the Pig & Whistle. (That will be a memory for some.) I still love driving along the Lakeshore and catching glimpses of the beach down cul de sacs.
We were free-range kids. Chuck would tell us to "get lost," and we'd take it seriously. The building was on the south side of Lakeshore — a cliff and the lake was behind us. I remember kids getting into real trouble on the cliffs and being rescued by the fire and police departments.
We had fun and got dirty. I remember coming in on an August night and my skin prickling as I got into the bath — a combination of my skins exposure to the daytime sun, cool night air, and hot water.
Have you seen the brilliant film C.R.A.Z.Y by Jean-Marc Vallée? It's a boy's coming-of-age story set in Quebec in the late 60s and early 70s. I related to aspects of it so much. I know I'm not alone. I saw it in a packed movie theatre when it came out. You should see it if you haven't. It's extraordinary filmmaking. And the soundtrack...
As kids, we'd laugh about cutting out eye holes and a mouth in the newspaper for my dad so we could spend quality family time together. What I wouldn't give to talk to him about some of the stuff going down now.
This Washington Post story on masculinity is something. If Chuck were alive, I'd send it to him and follow up with a phone call. There's a lot to think about, not the least of which is the epidemic of fatherless sons. In some important ways, that was my dad's experience with his father, Harry (who worked on lake boats on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River for nine months of the year).
I have a thing for drummers. Hello, Dave Grohl. Also, bass players. The whole rhythm section, really. I got obsessed with percussion intros in the last few weeks. That's why there are four songs. Each distinct.
Don Brewer wailing away on his kit for Grand Funk Railroad. I'd love to hear the Foo Fighters do a cover of We're An American Band.
Low Rider because…duh...that bass line.
Is that a high hat in Shaft? I've already established I'm a sucker for a horn section. The song's orchestral — made for a movie. Chuck played it loud.
The Light Pours Out of Me is like whipped cream on a hot fudge sundae. It's perfection.
All of them would sound good coming out of a Gran Torino with me behind the wheel.
© Deborah Reid, 2021 - 2023. All Rights Reserved.