Shortly after Anne and I moved into the first house we owned in Toronto, I had taken the red-eye back from Vancouver and gotten to bed at 3:00 am in the midst of a fairly heavy snowfall.
I got up about 7:30 to get ready to go downtown to my office. Our bathroom was at the front of the house and when I looked out the window I saw that Anne was shovelling the sidewalk before heading off to school (she was a teacher).
While I was watching, our new next door neighbour, a wonderful man by the name of Bob Davidson, finished shovelling his sidewalk and came over to help Anne.
After a few minutes he asked, “Lyman out of town?” Anne replied, “No, he’s in bed.” Bob mumbled something like, “#@$%^&* him,” and stomped off leaving Anne to her task.
I’m happy to be able to report that, during our years on Glenrose Avenue in Toronto, Bob and I shovelled each other’s sidewalk many times.
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This is not my anecdote, but I’ve always enjoyed it so much I’m going to use it.
Anne Murray was playing Carnegie Hall in New York. It was February, and she and her manager, Leonard Rambeau, were walking from their hotel to the Hall for a sound check when an older, overweight man, both arms laden with grocery bags, stepped on a patch of ice and went, as the saying goes, ass over teakettle, with groceries flying everywhere.
After Anne and Leonard determined that he wasn’t hurt they helped him up, and assisted him in getting his grocery bags refilled and nestled in his arms.
Just before he started on his way again he turned to the patch of ice, managed to point one finger at it and snarled, “July gonna get your ass!”
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In June, 1987, Anne (my wife, not Anne Murray) and I were in Vancouver for a convention. We were staying downtown at the lovely Bayshore Inn. I had to attend a cocktail party at the prestigious Vancouver Club, a five o’clock function which, believe it or not, was stag and required formal attire. (How times have changed.)
The cocktail party was over by seven. Because it was a lovely evening, five or six of us who were staying at the Bayshore decided to walk back to the hotel. As we were crossing a single railroad track, one of our group, who had lived in Vancouver a few years back, said we could walk along the track and shave about ten minutes off the time it would take to get back to the hotel. He said it was rare for a train to be seen on this particular spur line. So we veered off down the track.
Unfortunately, when we were about half-way to the hotel, the rarity occurred; there was a train coming. We had no choice but to step off the narrow rail bed into a marshy bramble of burdocks. Our tuxedos became decorated with the pesky burrs and covered in dust. Our shoes and pant cuffs were muddy.
When I reached our room at the hotel I realized that I didn’t have a key. I knocked on our door. Anne opened it, looked me up and down, and as she turned away said, “I’m not even going to ask.”
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One day back in the 70s I was in the Calgary airport waiting to board my flight to Toronto. As usual, I was early and there weren’t many people in the airport (this was before the advent of departure lounges). I decided to have a coke, but when I put my money in the machine nothing happened. I pushed the coin return button a number of times but no coins were returned. After giving the machine a couple of kicks I returned in frustration to my seat.
A few minutes later I noticed a young man experiencing the same fate at the recalcitrant machine, but instead of kicking it he calmly returned to where he had left his bags, took off his jacket, draped it over one of his bags, picked up what appeared to be an elaborate tool kit, and sauntered back to the coke machine. When he opened his tool kit it became obvious he was a skilled millwright or machinist of some sort because he had a stunning array of very expensive-looking tools. He calmly began to take the machine apart, screw by screw, panel by panel, and component by component. As he looked for all the world like he was repairing the machine, no one paid too much attention to him.
Then a boarding call for a flight to Edmonton was called. The young man calmly packed up his tools, picked up his other bag and jacket, and headed for the Edmonton departure gate, leaving the coke machine’s innards laid out in dozens of pieces neatly arrayed around what was left of the machine.
I’m sure his satisfaction was matched only by mine.
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This is a new one; it happened just last week. I thought I was going to have to call 911 for Anne.
After a couple of days of nursing a sore shoulder, she woke up Wednesday morning and found that she couldn’t lift her arm more than two or three inches.
We were standing in the bathroom and she said, “I’m not going to be able to do my hair.” I said, “I’ll do it for you.”
That’s when I thought I’d have to call 911. Not because of her sore shoulder, but because I couldn’t get her stopped laughing.