Saturday, June 9, 2012

A "Cat Got My Tongue" Kind of Day

Cat on a tray, anyone?
Well, not literally...but she could if she wanted to, because she has me smitten. This morning Sarah brought coffees and some finger pastries up to the computer room for us to enjoy. Addie was very interested in the pastries; for some reason, she goes crazy for sweet foods. We gave her a very tiny amount and this seemed to make her crash on the floor for a while. When we were done with our nosh, Sarah put the tray on the day bed so we'd remember to bring it downstairs. Next thing we knew, Addie had roused herself, climbed up onto the tray, licked the remaining few crumbs off it, and then crashed once more right where she was sitting. It's not in the same league as Emily sitting in a pot (from Knatolee's World) but it's the best I have to offer today. Well, for now, at least. You never know where Addie's going to turn up next.

What I really meant by the title of this post is that I simply have nothing specific to talk about today. Well, I had considered writing a piece about whether Stephen Harper is a Fascist or not, but I decided to save that for a non-weekend day. Expect it very soon. Yes, that's a warning. Today I have been spending time with my son and Sarah and am looking forward to spending the evening watching what I hope will be the last NHL game of the season and the subsequent awarding of the best trophy in pro sports. A quick aside about my son, Tim: his mom and sister are both away for the weekend and he is charged with feeding and taking care of their semi-elderly cat, Fireball. I suggested on Friday that he would probably be better off staying home instead of having to walk back and forth (a half hour each way, roughly) eight times over the course of the weekend. He replied to the effect that he would rather spend time with me and perform that repeated journey than stay home alone and not do it. It really thrills me that Tim and I have this sort of a bond (my daughter and I are very close as well but in a different way, which is also wonderful).

It was really hard to tell what the weather was going to do today: it oscillated between sun, cloud and storm-imminence while muggy at all times, but nothing really came of it. Now it is an absolutely lovely evening and Sarah and I considered heading downtown to take in some of the Luminato Festival which is going on in Toronto this weekend, but neither of us has the energy. We have been to some events in past years, including one memorable evening in 2008 when we attended a concert at Massey Hall (on tickets won by Sarah) called The Canadian Songbook which was an amazing evening, marking our introduction to some now-favourite artists such as Luke Doucet, Melissa McClelland and Alex Cuba, to name but a few. My personal highlights of that evening include Luke Doucet performing Bruce Cockburn's Wondering Where the Lions Are accompanied by only his Gretsch White Falcon guitar, and Alex Cuba covering both Gordon Lightfoot's In the Early Morning Rain and Blue Rodeo's Bad Timing, the former in English with a gorgeous, thick Spanish accent and the latter in even more beautiful Spanish. (He later released this under the title Arrepentido and it is hauntingly beautiful. There is a YouTube live version of it that really does not do it justice, but might give you some idea of how talented this young man is.) Despite our past enjoyment of the festival, though, we just weren't feeling it this evening.

Besides, there's that other matter of the Stanley Cup being won tonight - I hope. (For one thing, it will make it very easy for me to post a blog piece tomorrow!) It's very hard to turn my back on that, even when I really don't care about either team that much. Esquire writer and hockey fan Chris Jones wrote a terrific piece in the latest edition of ESPN The Magazine about the incredible power of the Cup and the hold it has on Canadians even from a very young age. I linked to that article on Facebook a few days ago and posted this comment along with it:
I've touched the Cup, once, a long time ago while I was helping the Hockey Hall of Fame move from the old place on the Exhibition Grounds to their current home at BCE Place. In fact, if I remember correctly, I hugged it. And you know what? This story is 100% accurate. I even teared up again reading it. There is an almost supernatural power about the Stanley Cup, at least for Canadians. It's unexplainable, really. I felt like it was actually humming when I stood close to it.

Jacques Plante on the historic night in 1959
In my hockey lifetime, that was one of the best days ever. So many amazing parts of hockey's history were close to me or actually in my hands. At one point I moved a filing cabinet away from the wall and a manila envelope fell to the floor, apparently having been pinned behind the drawers for quite some time. I opened it carefully and pulled out the original negative of the photo you see here, the first time Jacques Plante, bloodied and broken from a shot to the nose, wore a mask in a regular-season NHL game. I could barely breathe; I knew I was holding a piece of hockey history in my hands, a bit of film that was in the Canadiens' dressing room the night of November 1, 1959, when the position of goalie was changed forever. I thought that moment, together with an opportunity to "try on" the Stanley Cup ring won by the late "Badger Bob" Johnson ("It's a great day for hockey!") when he coached the Pittsburgh Penguins to the title in 1991, scant months before he passed away from brain cancer, would easily be the highlights of my day, until we were asked if we wanted to "touch the Cup". There is no close second to that moment.

Well. Would you look at that. I guess I had a thing or two to say after all. But now it's time to hit the couch and settle in for an evening of hockey in June. With any luck, tomorrow's post will practically write itself.

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