Thursday, December 18, 2008

a christmas story...

Memory open; memory close;
memory taught me to be a man.
It remembers everything.
It helps the little birds to sing.
It finds the honey for the bee.
It opens and closes,
opens and closes.

-harold monro

Lyle and l go way back, back to the beatles, back to styx and queen, back to
nazereth. We met on pym street, guess we were 15 or 16. The first thing he showed
me were the row of green mail boxes at the end of the street. We practiced picking
locks with bobby pins but no need to worry, we weren't really any good at it.
Cars were important, we bombed around in the bush. I had a 56 ford, my brother
had a 54 dodge and Lyle, well Lyle just navigated. But later,
Lyle got a 64 dodge polara, primer gray with bits of real red. He rebuilt the engine
but could never get it going after that. We even tried towing it down the bypass.
Tied to my mustang with a thick rope Lyle told me l needed to get up to 70 or 80 mph
because the polara was an automatic.

We had a race once - Vancouver to Princeton. Me in my fiat (cereal box) and
Lyle in his chrysler (tank). Ya okay Lyle technically won, but it was so close.
It felt like the "Cannonball Run" and l really wanted to be like Dean Martin.
We both lived in Princeton that summer. I worked in the mill and Lyle wanted
to work in the mill, he just ended up getting kicked out of Princeton by the RCMP.
We both talked of joining the army that summer, even filled out the papers.
Lyle moved to Edmonton, "lots of work out there", he said, "come on".
So l loaded the camero and moved to Edmonton, it was winter.

We lived outside of Edmonton, stayed with his Argentina friend Rod.
Rod was kindof funny. Lyle told me that he could only make out if he was drunk,
real drunk. Years later Rod disappeared, they found his wallet and truck in the
bush, searched for months but never did find him.
Lyle moved back to the island after a couple of months and l stayed.
I moved into a little basement suite downtown Edmonton and got a job with
a security company. I had to wear a uniform, it was pale and worn
like they had found it in someone's attic. and it came with this stupid hat
that felt like you were wearing a table on your head. I drove around at night,
the deep dear night, with a mopey german shepherd and the only good memory l have
is the memory of listening to Bruce Springsteen on the radio.
...singing "santa claus is coming to town".