The Breakfast Club (Not That One)

A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster

I am beginning to worry about some of my old friends, in particular the guys I went to school with back in the 50s (that is the 1950s in case you have met some of them and were beginning to wonder. Some haven’t aged well – not me, thank God, but some).

The first Friday of every month several of us meet for breakfast at Bayside Restaurant to discuss politics, sports, and a few other things that old crocks like to run on and on about, but mainly we show up to see how many of us are still alive and kicking. Almost all of the gang are in our 80’s now except for a few young chaps in their 70s who shouldn’t have been invited in the first place. We make them sit at the kid’s table. They order from a different menu; their breakfast doesn’t have to be pureed.

We have been meeting for several years now and have had as many as forty ancients show up, once we had over fifty and that included a few teachers and even a former principal. It isn’t very comforting to have your French teacher ask if you were the one who tossed Glen Hunter’s jock strap onto her desk or was it some other idiot. (It wasn’t me. I wouldn’t have touched it with a 10’ pole).

But usually there are about fifteen or twenty stalwart souls who gather faithfully to swap lies and remember great athletic events, events that seem even more heroic than they were the month before. Why we weren’t all scooped up by professional sports teams is a mystery and I can only assume dirty politics was involved.

Even our high school is gone, vandalism I suspect. We started at Orillia Collegiate Institute in the late 40s, early 50s, only to have it renamed to Orillia District Collegiate Institute and ended up attending Orillia District Collegiate and Vocational Institute. Try putting that mouthful into a fight song. ‘Come all you sons of the old Orillia District Collegiate and Vocational Institute’, it can’t be done.

I drove by this morning and there are bulldozers all over the lot. I don’t know what they are building there but it can’t be good. I heard it could be a seniors’ home. If it is I hope my room overlooks the girls change room.

But on Friday, February 4, only five of us made it. Granted the weather could have been a factor, after all it was -21 C that morning, but frigid temperatures and 90 kilometre winds is no excuse to miss an alumni meeting.

To be honest there was no wind that morning but no one will remember that today. Most of us can’t remember what happened yesterday let alone a month ago. An odd thing I have noticed and hesitate to bring it up, but there seems to be an astonishing lack of hair around the table. I try not to talk about it because those afflicted must be embarrassed and no doubt a bit ashamed. I try not to mention it more than two or three times a morning. Those of us with long flowing locks know very well what caused their baldness and so do they. They should have listened to their mothers. Most of them wear glasses too. I need not go into an explanation what led to their troubles but they were warned.

The big fear for those of us who make it every month is did we miss someone’s name in the obituary column. I wouldn’t begin to try to list our friends who passed away in 2021 let alone attempt to go back to when this kind of alumni club all started. Our numbers are dwindling and suspect another ten or fifteen years is all we have left.

This column wasn’t supposed to be a downer but we are at the age when things start happening to us and most of those happenings are bad. Odd words and phrases like prostate, colonoscopy and penile dysfunction drift into the conversations. Well that last one doesn’t come up very often, and neither does anything else which, I suppose, is why Pfizer is one of the wealthiest companies in the world.

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