DAY 14 COVID 19 PANDEMIC   MARCH 26, 2020  


I think it is time for a little background information.  Self-centred I admit.
 NO one has asked me to continue the Niagara Falls

caper which is  just as well since the other two incidents make me look stupid but not as stupid
as the Navy Island breakfast incident.  Instead I thought a little background
might be useful.  Those of you offended by the F word should take note and
press delete.


 WELL the 13th day of isolation has ended and 14th begins.  Today I did not get up at 8 but just read a book
for a bit.  Then dressed…same stuff as yesterday…had a coffee…picked up the Star delivered
to our front door and looked first for the political cartoon.  A good one with that lump Trump surrounded
by COVID 19 PURPLE PRICKLY BALLS with the heading ‘Virus Spreader In Chief’. Then I began typing
my Niagara Caper that sure got a reaction from one reader who called an ‘f——g idiot’…I assume
in jest.  Our near death over Niagara Falls seems to have amused many of you which casts me
as an entertainer.   Got me a bit worried because my former boss on that job, Dr. Norman Paterson,
gets this journal.   He did not know about that Sunday morning use of his little rented motor boat.  
“Marjorie, if Norm calls tell him you had a good time that day.”  Funny thing, I did not edit the story
because I  pushed the wrong bloody button and whoosh away went the story with at least one
amusing error when I commented on Marjorie’s seductive brown ‘sleepless’ blouse.  I meant to say ‘sleeveless’
but the word sleepless shows my evil intent.  Is that a Freudian slip?

Writing this journal takes most hours of the day.  Self-centred article here but what the hell.
So I hope it has some value.  One person said
she doesn’t read my scribbling so I said ‘No problem, I’ll delete you.’ to which she responded ‘Oh, don’t do that’.
Maybe the occasional use of SOB and other expletives was offensive.  If truth be told, my mining
days featured the F word more often.  One of my most amusing associates  could put the F word
ahead of every word in a sentence.  He called me ‘Fucking Al’ and meant it as a compliment. Floyd F.
was the hardest working man I have ever met. A diamond.  At my age he had been a cage man
in a Kirkland Lake mine.  Quit when the cage failed…dropped free down the shaft…turned his
friend the other cage man into a pile of jelly with bones sticking out.  Floyd Decided to work on the surface.
 We  lived together for three months in
the most god forsaken spot on the Groundhog River. Flown in and forgotten.  Wormy meat was 
a treasure.  Raw oatmeal a standard.  A chocolate bar was something to dream about.

various jobs in various places around he world.  Mayo Landing, Yukon, Chibougamau Quebec, Southern Ireland

My good friends Jim Romaniuk and Russ Vanstone signed me up to an American lonely hearts club.
A huge bundle of lavender smelling letters arrived at our first food drop by a Beaver float plane flying out of
South Porcupine.  “Hey, Fucking Al, who sent you all those fucking letters?”  “I have no fucking idea.”
(I picked up the use of the word from Floyd that summer.)  “They stink…perfume’  And so we suddenly
had entertainment.  Girls offering to come and live with us if we sent $100.  Some wanting marriage. Others
just wanting to talk to a man.  Sad letters.  But fun.  “Marjorie asked me what happened to the letters?”
“As soon as the Air Canada plane set down in Toronto, Jim Romaniuk and Russ Vanstone were there
to greet me.   “Did you bring the letters, Al,” said Jim and we never saw the letters again.  Not sure
if he shared them with Russ.  Jim has passed on but Russ reads this journal. 

For those of you who find this note a little too salty let me offer an excuse.  Sort of excuse.
That lonely hearts summer I was in Grade 12 at Humberside Collegiate.  Just a normal 17 year
old kid.  I did not smoke…thought that was stupid and lost two good friends over the issue. Tell you how.
We smoked on the way to school.  I swiped (stole) three Craven A cancer sticks from Fran’s
package on the pharmacy counter at Hertell’s Drug Story where I was a 35 cent an hour delivery boy 
and later a naive store clerk.  Naive?  You bet.  I remember a man sliding up to the counter
and whispering. “Do you have any ——mumble—mumble?”  “Sorry, did not hear you.??”
“Do you have any — mumble —mumble”?  “Could you speak a little louder?”  “Do you have
any vaginal jelly?”  I had never heard of the stuff so yelled to Fran.  “Fran, this man wants
vaginal jelly, do we have any?”  At this point the man slid lower down the counter and almost hid.
Fran got the jelly and said “Alan, do not do that again.”  I did not understand why.  What the 
hell is  vaginal jelly anyway?  Back to the story. So I swiped three cigarettes from Fran. Figured I would start smoking
with Bill R. and Bob T. like other smart ass teen agers.  I lit the Craven A…looked around…and
said to myself, ‘Why the hell am I doing this?”  Gave the other two stolen weeds to Bill and
Bob.  Lost them as friends.  They actually got to hate me for some reason.  Broke into my
locker and wrote Fuck You over my school books  Scared me really.  “Found a note one day
that said “Grant D. whats to fight you over at Western Tech.  Be there after school.”
They must have thought I was fucking insane.  Why would I go over there to get the shit knocked
out of me? 

 Never smoked again except for the odd White Owl Cigar to prove
my manhood.  Dad smoked White Owl Invincibles but had to do so with his head out the kitchen 
window and keep his stash in a little pouch on the clothes line.  Not worth the effort I figured.
Mom was quite tolerant except for ‘those dirty old cigars’.  She was a better mentor I figured.
If Dad had known about the fight threat he would have met the boys at Western Tech
and knocked the shit out of all of them.  He was tough, a tire builder at Dunlop’s.  I never
told him.

Dad with his White Owl Invincible — he taught our children how to smoke them when they 7 and 9.  Family picture…we
were a very happy family. Never realized we were poor.

Mom wanted to join the parents group at our high school.  We did not want her there. I mean why
would anyone want their mom or dad sucking around the teachers.  As a student I preferred
as much anonymity as possible.  We got mom out of the school when Eric had Mr. Tancock
as a home form teacher to which mom was assigned on parents night.  We knew that would
lead to trouble when mom asked “How do you pronounce his name boys?”  We gave
her a variety of variations.   She used one of the variations when she met poor Mr Tancock.
That got her out of the school.   I Tried to keep in the middle of the pack.  In the long run I
failed in that task for the school gave me the Head boy award in Grade 13.  I figured I got it
because I joined every club…science, photography, drama, etc….and every sports team…football,
basketball, tennis, swimming, track and field.   That did not mean I was any good.  My tennis 
career was one game.  What a stupid  sport  that is.  Love this and love that…stupid.  Track and field team
was another failure.  Dunc Green the coach put me in the hop, step and jump…another
stupid sport.   Swim team?  Fred Burford finally made me the manager because i never
learned to breathe doing the crawl.  I could do fairly well for one length but then I was done, near dead.
Football?  Fred Burford was a great coach. Showed me how to knock people down.  I got
really good at it and eventually made both city All Star teams.  His training did it.  I only played
sports to attract the girls.  Later in life I realized the girls did not give a sweet goddamn about
football.  They never saw that great shoestring tackle I made on an enemy halfback while playing 
with my broken hand in a cast that had become all mud.  I had my finger wired up…had to because
a son of a bitch on the other team drove his spiked shoes in my hand as I was throwing a great
cross body block.  Or maybe it was our own halfback who buggered up my hand as he swept by.
My brother got it worse.  Banana Nose from Riverdale spiked his leg in a mud game.  Drove
spikes in deep.  filled with mud.  Continued to play.  I remember looking at his leg and felt weak.
That night Dr. Greenaway said to me.  “Take this needle and if your brother starts to foam at the mouth
(take a fit) ram this into his leg and push the plunger.   Thankfully Eric recovered.  Football was
a real man’s game.  I wish the girls knew that.

Yukon job.  When I got home Marjorie and mom pinned me down beside the pump at the farm
and cut off my reddish beard.  

Just a little background for you to understand why Floyd Faulkner called me Fucking Al and why
Dr. Paterson hired me for 8 summers of bush life.  Why did he hire me?  Because I would do
just about anything.  I loved life. Revelled in experiences.  Was I a F———g idiot?  Of course.
So were all my friends.  That summer on the Groundhog River made me into a man.  We sliced
a piece of the sowbelly every morning to get the blow fly grubs out, then cooked the bacon.  We
ate wieners  that were beaded in some god forsaken chemical that oozed out.  I remember we could
pick up a wiener with one finger.  The ooze was like glue.  I remember throwing a temper tantrum
when I discovered my boy scout belt had pulled the compass needle and buggered up our day’s
work trying to reach a forgotten lake using an aerial photograph as a guide.  We had packed
everything on our backs…loads so heavy that the pack frames bent into hoops.  In my temper 
tantrum I hit my blazing axe against every tree I could reach.  And Floyd laughed until tears ran
 down his fucking face.  Every 17 year old high school boy should spend a summer in the bush
with a guy like Floyd Faulkner.  Once I asked Floyd 

“Why doesn’t Dr. Paterson give us a gun
in the bush…bears around all the time.? 
 “He has a good reason.” 
 “What is it?” 
“If we had a gun,
we would shoot each other…right?” 
“Fucking right.”

alan skeoch
March 26, 2020

(Give the beer a try…now selling at drive through at the brewery)

Jeez Al, you’re my kinda guy.
This sounds like one of my stories, but I have to admit yours is better.
OK – here’s mine. Brave & Dumb. Like the time I forgot to completely tighten the bolts on an outboard motor in an 11ft boat, and of course didn’t attach the safety chain or cable either. After all, we were only going for a wee spin on a flat lake in March, and there was still ice on the lake. We had just been idling, taking a look at a cottage (my girl & I), then I thought it best to clear out the motor before we headed for the dock, so I took it up on plane and we crossed our own wake, then PROBLEM! The motor jump off the transom and I found myself on-handing a 15hp motor full out as it skipped from side to side ready to jump into the boat with petrified girlfriend. Ahhh!
I managed to throttle back the motor before it bounced into the boat and cut us to ribbons, and it stalled as it sank into the lake suspended now only by… the gas line. My hand was off the throttle by now (out of self-preservation). Out of desperation now considering that the motor was sinking fast, I pulled it up by the gas line and (with strength I didn’t know I had) somehow lifted the outboard back into the boat without tipping us over…. Saved the motor but it was drowned indeed. No falls to be swept over, but we still had to figure out how to get back to the dock (no paddles on board, of course)
Exciting stuff.
Fun fact: When you had your incident Al & Marjorie on the Niagara River, it was the same year I was born, 1961. I guess I would have been a few months old at best. 
Now we’re too old guys.
I’ll be 59 on Tuesday. Not sure how that happened. Means I’ve been 19 for forty years.
Looking forward to the sequel, and hoping Stonehooker doesn’t go over the falls. We’re circling around Navy Island, hoping we don’t caught in the weeds….
Drink beer. It’s safer than water.
Ross Noel
Stonehooker Brewing Co.


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