A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster
Last week I scrapped a column. It was about a New Year’s Eve party.
I’m afraid I have run out of things to say about the Old Year, Father Time, Baby New Year, not to mention endless resolutions. Lord knows I must have written a thousand of them, none of which lasted a week. I have been writing the damned things since 1995 only missing a couple weeks when the Packet was closed by Postmedia, the shabby outfit that pulled the plug on dozens of newspapers back in 2020. That week John Swartz called me and I have been here ever since.
That’s a long time when you think about it, 28 years. I tried to figure out how many columns I have written, and it’s more than 1300. All sorts of things have changed since I started. You will know that when I tell you this little anecdote. I once said something rude about Mike Harris, if you can imagine, a nice guy like that. I apologized to the North Bay Nugget, where Michael grew up. The Editor wrote back, ‘You think that’s bad; you should read what we say about him.’
I have done many dumb things over the years. One January 1, I started a diet and stupidly put my weight at the top of the column announcing I would put it there every week until I met my goal. That lasted just three weeks; I had put on a few more pounds.
One column does stand out though, I got a phone call from Mark Bissett, the Managing Editor of the Packet back when the world was young. He said, I can’t run your column, you mention black ice. I said., ‘Okay, I have another one ready.’ Mark said, ‘I have to tell you why. The lead story is about a family killed in a car accident. It was caused by black ice.’
The only reason I put that in is we never know what might happen from one day to the next. Something we think is hilarious one day can be disastrous a day or two later – think Donald Trump being re-elected.
But back to last week’s column; It was about a couple of incidents that happened a year or two ago (well the first one was in 1958 so I guess that is a little more than a year or two ago.)
I remember that evening so well and so does my long-time pal and locker mate, Len Deverell. (It’s funny the things we remember. Len’s Mom packed his lunch and put in a banana every day, a banana he never ate. He just put them on the shelf at the top of the locker. You could always tell which locker was ours – the one with the fruit flies buzzing around it.)
We were all teenagers at a party on Matchedash Street. The host’s parents stupidly believed their son’s assurance we were a respectable group of well-behaved young adults, as if there ever was such a thing. There was booze there, but really not very much, this happened back in the days when we had to get some older guy to buy it for you. Most of us were 17 or 18. The legal age was 21.
One of the lady guests wore a strapless top. I remember her shoulders were bare and so was much more after another friend pulled the top down. She just giggled and pulled it back up. However, her boyfriend did not see the humour of the situation and challenged the offender and any other chap who had witnessed the unveiling to go outside. Why he was mad at the rest of us I could never figure out, maybe because he was looking the other way and missed it – or them. The problem with last week’s column was I said it was me who did the pulling – now who would believe that?
I remember asking the friend who really did the deed why he did it. He said, ‘Because they were there.’ I believe Sir Edmund Hillary said much the same thing when asked why he climbed Mount Everest. That was a poor analogy, they weren’t that big.
The other incident happened on New Years Eve at the Legion. An elderly woman of perhaps 40, maybe as old as 42, stuck her tongue in my ear. It was probably the most thrilling thing that had ever happened to me. Even today whenever the doom and gloom of today’s world events are dragging me down, thoughts of that beautiful mature woman attacking my virginal ear fill my beleaguered mind with joy and erotic visions not even a few shots of Glenfiddich can hope to do.
I was maybe 27 or 28 and didn’t wash that ear for months. Finally my wife and four of her huskier friends held me down and went at me with a garden hose and a scrub brush.