Sourced from my umpteen photo files & albums throughout the years...
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Five-fifty-nine and fifty-eight seconds, five-fifty-nine and fifty-nine seconds, click--
Dad: Why isn’t dinner ready? I work hard every damn day.
Mum: I slave away all day in the Diner. Give me a moment to unwind. I will have the family dinner ready soon.
Dad: Damn it! Is it too much to ask? I put the food on this table.
Mum: Why did you buy a new car? You know we can’t afford it.
Dad: Don’t talk about what I can and can’t afford. I work hard. You don’t do enough. I at least deserve food on the table when… Why are you crying? Stop it. Get back here. Damn kid.
Mum: Don't say that. Don't say things in front of--
They call it puppy love
Hello um, Kim, pretty, hair. Like; do you, wash it?
It’s shiny. Do you like doing stuff?
My dad watches Stampede Wrestling on Saturday’s. He eats sardines.
I fetched you a present… pretty… hair… (I peed a little).
If we have a cat, we can name it Scooter? You love--
Dad loved scotch—and smoking.
I'd harp on him daily about his VICES. Eventually, he quit smoking when one of his lungs collapsed. He was forced to choose: put down the smokes or die?
With Dad recovering from his lung ailment, Mum one again became the family's sole breadwinner. She was 59. My father was 69. I was now 12.
Little did we know his lung failure was the beginning of the end?
He was stubborn to a fault. He’d sneak smokes in the bathroom. I’d beg him to stop when the cigarette stench would drift out from under the bathroom door; he’d say he wasn't smoking, that I imagined things.
My heart broke every time he lied
One misty spring morning, I heard three knocks on the front door of our home. I cracked the door open ever so slightly to find a strange man standing on the other side. He looked ominous. The stranger said, in a grating voice, he was there for my father, Nicholas.
I asked him who he was. I told him my father wasn’t interested in converting.
I tried to push him away from the door. I couldn’t budge him.
He told me he was The Big C.
He said my father’s number had come up. He was going to inflict his wrath on our family.
I asked him what the Big C was.
During the summer of my second season, Coach Schneider called me into his office to discuss a campus scuffle I was involved in—and he cut me from the team.
Stunned, I asked why.
I don’t want you to end up leaving the team the same way your brother Don did, he said.
Corrie was my first girlfriend. She had a younger brother named Wes. They were both adopted.
Wes was an attention whore, and reckless free spirit.
He crashed motorcycles—rode on the hoods of speeding cars—jumped off a ferry in Greece—and if there was a tumbler full of liquid in front of him—he drank it.
I once saw him suck the nine lives out of a sleeping cat
I can't put into words what riding this six-year torturous roller coaster does to a young man's spirit—my frail, father, was succumbing to his illness. Sadly, I couldn't recall him ever being truly alive—his life burdened with struggle: the industrial accident, the collapsed lung, endless financial worries, and now: The Big Fucking C.
The breather GUILT gave me was short lived. GUILT became a harbinger to remind me of my responsibility to be strong for my mother and brother.
I didn’t want the task.
Fuck you. I’m too young for this; too young to...
As I share this story with you now, I need to pause to regain composure before typing the next sentence—for the second time in my life, I battled knowing death was near—words escape me—I want to burst into tears
TOO MUCH SHIT = DEATH OF LOVE
We made up.
We fought again.
I loved her. I loved her feisty attitude. I loved that she was a borderline vegetarian who loved McDonald’s cheeseburgers and minute steaks.
In search of social life, I took a second job at the Keg Restaurant.
My dance card quickly filled.
We drank heavily at work.
Hello, Ken. Hello, Rick. It's a pleasure to meet you. Oh, you're brothers; the Gillis brothers.
Drunken debauchery with them helped me erase any sustainable memory of Regina.
We ordered more shooters—and more shooters!
Rick (Slick) slurred and then asked for more napshkins.
I was not sure what a napshkin was?