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School Daze Episodes 1 and 2 by Ken David Stewart

School Daze by Ken David Stewart 

Chapter One 

I’ve been thinking about writing this book for some time now. Over the years I have thought a lot about the experiences I had attending public school. I don’t know whether or not most people think about their school days that much. I need to point out a few things right off the bat. First of all, the names and locations that I talk about in this book are all either changed or fictitious. If the reader wants to believe that some of the stories are true that is their prerogative. This book will cover the decades of the early 1950s and the 1960s. School was a lot different at that time than it is now. 

I should start by saying that I grew up in downtown Winnipeg. My parents and I lived in my grandmother’s rooming house. I used to call my maternal grandmother, Bapi because I could not say the Polish word for grandmother which was Baptcha. After a short period of time everyone in our neighborhood started calling my grandmother, Bapi. Bapi was a very strong woman both mentally and physically. She didn’t take any crap from anyone. I can still remember her physically throwing some of her unruly tenants down the stairs. Bapi was my primary caregiver during the daytime and she made damn sure that I attended kindergarten every day whether I was sick or well. 

From an early age I was already quite the entertainer. I recall watching Elvis Presley on the Ed Sullivan Show. My parents bought me a toy guitar and I was soon doing Elvis Presley impersonations complete with shaking my hips and moving around my legs the way my hero did. This entertained my parents and their friends to no end because I was already a fat kid and my impression of Elvis must have been hilarious to watch.  

Unfortunately for me, during the time I grew up there were very few fat kids around. This fact was to lead to much name-calling and humiliation for me when I attended public school. 

I tended to make things worse for myself because I liked to dress up for school. I don’t mean wearing a suit or tie. I’m referring to donning a fire-fighter’s hat or dressing up in a Zorro costume, complete with a toy sword. I still remember one of my classmates pointing out that the real Zorro was not fat. His remark really stung but I couldn’t help it if I was a fat kid. After all, my grandmother was always serving me a big piece of cake along with my tomato soup and sandwich for lunch. 

So naturally, my name became Fatso. I can recall a few other highlights regarding my kindergarten experience. My kindergarten teacher told my parents that because I was so bright I should be skipped a grade next year. The reason for my alleged brilliance was that my paternal grandmother who I visited every weekend, was a retired school teacher. I called her Granny and she read to me and taught me the alphabet and numbers before I ever attended school. Needless to say, most of my classmates did not have this distinct advantage. 

The other highlight that I can remember was having a mean kid destroy my art project as I walked home from school. For most of my early years at school I was a favorite target for bullies. It wasn’t until grade five that I realized that being fat didn’t mean that you couldn’t fight, but I’ll save that story for later. 

Around the time I became six years old my parents and grandmother bought a house in a suburban area of Winnipeg. I’m not sure how they were able to pull this off financially, but I suspect that Bapi helped my parents out a great deal. Even though I had moved out of the inner-city I quickly found out that it didn’t mean that the other children would be any nicer. In many ways they were worse. I continued to get bullied not only by my classmates, but also by my teachers. The things that my teachers got away with then would quickly end the career of any teacher today. In the late fifties and sixties school teachers could pretty well do anything they wanted to their students. You didn’t even have to be bad to have them talk to you very sarcastically or even treat you cruelly, if they so desired. The problem was in those days the teacher was always right. If a child were to complain to their parents about how their teacher had mistreated them, they couldn’t expect to get any sympathy from their parents. Your parents were more likely to ask you what you did wrong to make your teacher so angry. 

 In grade two my teacher asked me how much I weighed. Not knowing any better, I told her the truth. I told her that I weighed 120 pounds. My teacher’s response to this, was to inform the class that I weighed more than her. 

Not to be outdone, my grade 3 teacher told the class that I was enough to make a teacher swear. My grade four teacher did her one better by calling me ‘Stupified’ for spilling some paint during an art class. 

However, I would have to declare that the all-time winner of all my sadistic teachers was my grade five teacher. In those days, having a messy desk was a capital crime. My fifth- grade teacher had a habit of doing visual desk inspections during silent reading. She wore soft soled shoes so that her students could not hear her sneaking up on them. As I probably had the messiest desk of anyone in my classroom, in addition to the fact that I was fat, I was to experience the full and terrible wrath of my grade five teacher. During her one of her routine desk inspections, she noticed that my desk was particularly messy. This prompted her to dump over my desk and to tell me to clean up the mess immediately. 

However, this monster who called herself a teacher was not finished yet. She called me up to her desk,  reached into one of the drawers and pulled out a laminated badge that featured the picture of an oversized pig. She promptly pinned this photo of a sow to my shirt and told me that I was to wear the pig badge all week. Just to twist the knife a bit further, she stopped me when I was about to take the pig off before going out for recess. I was informed that the pig would now be transferred to my winter parka just so all the kids in that school could ask me why I was wearing a picture of a sow on my winter coat. 

Episode Two of School Daze 
When I was about eight years old, I joined a hockey team at my local community club. In the early 1960s there was no such thing as an indoor arena, unless you included the old Winnipeg Arena. The parents in my generation didn’t believe in giving their kids rides to their hockey games and practices. We had to walk to the community club even if it was 30° below zero. It was a good six block walk to the clubhouse from my house. By the time I arrived there my face, and hands were usually frozen. 

I remember one Saturday morning when a man in a car saw the white blotches on my face that were the first signs of frostbite. Even though my parents would not have approved, I gladly accepted the offer of a ride to the clubhouse. 

The smell inside the Norwood Community Club was something I will never forget. The air inside reeked of sweat, body order, old leather and musk. I came to love this smell as it signalled that I was out of the freezing cold weather. The downside was that my chilled to the bone body was about to thaw out. 

The thawing out process started to take place as soon as I closed the old wooden front door of the clubhouse. As my body began to warm up the pain started. The white splotches on my face started to turn red. The same thing happened to the white spots on my fingers and toes. The splotchy colouring on my frozen body parts all gradually changed from white to red in colour. This was the start of the painful burning process. How I didn’t lose any fingers or toes to amputation during these years of playing outdoor minor-league hockey was an absolute miracle. 

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Hockey Wives and a Devious Coach

Episode 32:

Misty could guess what the term, ‘hockey wives’ meant and was not sure that she liked the implications. She could not imagine her prime identity as being a hockey player’s boyfriend. As she watched the first period of the game, she was not sure that she even liked hockey. She wondered if some of the other girls felt the same way and only attended the hockey games because they loved their boyfriends. Misty also thought that for most of the girls being attached to a hockey player was an important part of their identity. For them, being a hockey player’s girlfriend was an important status symbol. The women’s liberation movement was starting to make some head way in the sixties, but it seemed to not have had much impact on most Canadian females. To these women dating a hockey player was critical to their self esteem and placed them in an elite group at high school.

As Misty scanned the row of ‘hockey wives’ she noted that all were attractive young women. This seemed to imply that a member of the hockey team had to have a good- looking girl at his side. If he couldn’t latch onto a beautiful girl, there must be something wrong with him and he would be better off just being single, just as Rick had been before this evening.

Eric’s girlfriend, Susan introduced Misty to the rest of the group.

“Don’t be nervous, Misty. We’ll all have time to talk after the first period ends. During that time the players go to their dressing rooms for fifteen minutes. It gives the guys a chance to rest and to get feedback from their coach.

Episode 33:

When the Cougars returned from their dressing room to start the second period defenceman, Eric Coswell skated over to Rick’s goal crease to tap his pads with his stick.

“You’re playing great tonight Rick. You’re really keeping us in the game. If Miles was in goal, I bet we’d be behind by three goals already.”

“Don’t be so hard on the kid. Give him some time. Miles has been working hard. He just needs more experience,” Rick replied.

“I’m still glad you’re playing tonight, Rick,” Eric said.

“Just remember, Eric. We can take these guys. A win against the Knights this early in the season would give our guys a big boost and would really increase their confidence,” Rick said.

“That’s another reason I like you Rick, your positive attitude.”

“Hey, I’ve never played for a losing team and I don’t intend to start now,” Rick said.

“I’ll pass your words of encouragement on to the guys when I get back to the bench,” Eric said.

In the stands Susan turned towards Misty. “The teams sure lucky to have Rick with us this year. He’s giving us a chance to be a winning team.”

Misty took a sip from her cup of coffee and smiled. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad going out with a star hockey player.

Linda Saunders, Miles’s girlfriend, overheard this conversation and gave Misty and Susan a dirty look. Before Rick Miller decided to join the Cougars for one more season the other girls were singing the praises of her boyfriend, Miles. Linda was afraid that this would cause her to lose some prestige among the rest of the player’s girlfriends.

Linda turned to Shelly who was standing next to her in the stands. “You know Shelly. I’ve heard some wild stories about Rick Miller and his new girlfriend, Misty.”

Shelly looked surprised. “Yeah? Like what?”

“I heard that both Rick and Misty are really into drugs and that Misty really sleeps around,” Linda said.

“Wow!” was all that Shelly could say.

Episode 34:

Eric Coswell skated over to the Cougars bench to pass on the pep talk that Rick Miller had just given him. He then skated back to take his position on defense. Eric was the best defenseman on the Cougars roster, and he was absolutely fearless when it came to protecting Rick in goal.

Shortly after the puck was dropped to start the second period Eric’s determination and courage were put to the test. During the first intermission Jeff Hadley, the Norberry Knight’s coach had given one of his power forwards, Glenn Davison, a special assignment. Jeff asked Glenn to meet him in the washroom for a private conversation.

“Look Glenn, I didn’t want to say this in front of your teammates, but I want you to do something for me during the second period.”

“Sure. What do you want me to do, coach?” Glenn asked as he adjusted his elbow pads.

“Glenn you’re a smart enough player to see what happened out there in the first period. We badly out played the Cougars. We had the puck in their end most of the time and out shot them eleven to four. We should be winning this game by at least two goals, maybe three. The only reason we’re not winning this game is Maplewood’s goalie, Rick Miller. He’s made some incredible saves during the first period and that is why the game is still scoreless. As soon as you get a chance, I want you to take a run at him. I want to see Rick Miller hit so hard that he must be taken out of the game. At the very least I want to see Miller so shaken up that it will throw him off for the rest of the game,” Jeff said trying to speak quietly so that his other players wouldn’t hear what he told Glen. The Knight’s coach knew that there were a few bleeding hearts on his team that would not approve of so unsportsman -like a game strategy.

“No problem coach. I’ll take Miller out of the game. I know that their defenseman, Eric Coswell will go after me as soon as I crash into Miller,” Glenn said.

“I know he will, but you’re the team’s enforcer. I expect you to punch Coswell out in the ensuing fight. I want to send the Cougars a powerful message. We can’t allow a weak team like Maplewood beat us this early in the season. I want our team to win the city championship,” Jeff said pounding his fist into his other hand for emphasis.

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Misty Attends Her First Hockey Game

Episode 27:

It was Wednesday afternoon and Rick decided to skip his economics class that afternoon. Over the summer he went to the library and got a copy of the slim, brown, grade twelve economics textbook and read it all the way through in a couple of sittings. As Rick had already read several books from the library on politics and modern history, he found the concepts in the economics textbook easy for him to understand. Rick thought that missing one economics class was not going to impede his learning. He had a big game tonight against the Norberry Knights and Rick felt that he needed the afternoon to get himself both mentally and physically prepared for the game.

Rick had read about how some very successful professional hockey players prepare for their games. Rick knew that a great deal of the preparation for a game was mental and this meant ‘psyching yourself up’. He lay down on his bed, closed his eyes and visualized making great saves in the upcoming game. Rick would do this for about twenty minute before he walked down to the basement to do some warm -up exercises.

His routine started with some light stretching movements. Rick would then climb up on his stationary exercise bike and pedal at a moderate speed for about twenty minutes. After his bike ride, Rick moved to the spot on the carpet where he kept his free weights. He would then do some light resistance training. After following this routine with a five- minute break, Rick picked up a light green tennis ball. He used his right hand to whack the tennis ball against the cement wall in his basement. As soon as the ball rebounded off the wall Rick would catch it with his left hand. He completed this exercise in two five minute intervals.

Rick used an old towel to wipe off the perspiration while he jogged upstairs to the kitchen to make himself a corned beef sandwich and a glass of milk. After his lunch Rick got into bed and took a forty-five-minute nap.

Upon arising from a restful nap Rick started to think about the importance of tonight’s hockey game. Rick’s team, the Cougars had gotten off to a shaky start to the season. So far, they had played five games in which they won two, lost two and tied one. This was the worst season start for the Cougars during the last ten years. Rick was trying to figure out why this was happening.

One reason was that only a few players returned from last year’s team. Most of the veteran players were now ineligible to play due to their age. The majority of this year’s team were younger and frankly, were not as talented as the veteran players the team had lost. Rick knew that he would really need to step up his game this year to make his team competitive. Once again, his coach was trying to split the workload between his two goalies.

The other goalie was two years younger than Rick. His name was Miles Meyers. Miles was shorter and didn’t have the big build that Rick has, but he was a very acrobatic young goalie. While studying Miles’s play. Rick surmised that Miles would be a top- notch goalie with a few more years of experience under his belt.

Episode 28:

The Cougars were scheduled to play the Norberry Knights that evening. Before getting his gear ready for the game, Rick thought about giving Misty a call to see if she would like to come with him to watch the game. Rick’s new coach, Brad Keenan had started off the season by platooning his goaltenders. This meant that Rick and Miles would start alternate games. Tonight, Rick was scheduled to start in goal as it was an away game. It worked out that Rick would play most of the away games and Miles would work  the majority of home games. For some reason, Rick liked this arrangement as he found that he preferred to play in different rinks. He seemed to get more pumped up when he knew that at least one side of the arena would ‘boo’ him. Like a professional wrestler, Rick enjoyed ‘drawing heat’ from the opposition’s fans.

As Rick did not know how Misty would respond to his invitation, he was more than a little nervous when he picked up the phone.

“Hi, Misty. It’s Rick,”

“You think that I don’t recognize my new boyfriend’s voice by now?” asked Misty.

“I love the sound of ‘my new boyfriend’,” Rick said.

“It sounds like you are falling in love.”

“I already have,” replied Rick.

“So. What’s on your mind?” Misty asked.

“I’ve got a hockey game and I want to know if you would like to come with me.”

“That’s right. I’m dating a jock. I’ve never done that before. Sure, let’s go for it. I’ve never even been to a hockey game before.”

“You’ll love it. Good fast paced action. Can you be ready by five-thirty?”

“I think I can manage that. I’m kind of looking forward to watching you play hockey,” Misty answered.

Episode 29:

Rick picked Misty up precisely at five-thirty. Misty was dressed in a slightly faded red UCLA sweatshirt and was ready to go. When they arrived at the St. Vital Arena a few of Rick’s teammates and their girlfriends were just getting out of their cars. Eric Coswell, one of the Cougars defensemen was the first to greet Rick. Eric was wiry and a bit small for a defenseman, but he was very effective in keeping opposing players out of Rick’s crease.

“Are you all ready for an epic battle tonight, Rick, my man? Hey, who’s the beautiful young lady beside you?” Eric asked.

“I just got out of my car and you’ve already fired two questions at me. Which one do you want me to answer first?” Rick replied, smiling at Eric.

Rick was feeling really good. He had often dreamed about a time when he would have a female to show off to his teammates. It had not been easy being the only player on his team not to have a girlfriend.

“Yes, I’m psyched for the game and this is my neighbour, Misty,” Rick said. He was positively beaming by this point.

“ We’re more than just neighbours, Eric. Rick’s my new boyfriend,” Misty said proudly.

“Yeah, sorry Misty. I should have said that you are my girlfriend,” Rick said sheepishly.

“You’re forgiven dear. I hear that Rick’s a really good goalie,” Misty said.

“You heard right. I would go so far as to say that Rick’s the best goalie in the league,” Eric said.

Rick blushed and said, “We better get in the arena. I need to find Misty a seat in the stands and you and I need to get dressed for the game.”

“Please excuse Eric’s poor manners,” said a shapely young female with sparkling green eyes and beautiful auburn hair that was not so patiently standing by Eric’s side.

“Sorry, Rick’s already met Susan, but I don’t know if you two girls know each other,” Eric said.

“I know Misty from school. She’s in my biology class. Unfortunately, we’ve never really talked before today,” Susan said.

“Hi Susan. I’m sorry I haven’t talked to you yet. I’m a bit shy and I’m still new to Maplewood,” Misty said.

“Well. That’s all going to change tonight. Rick, you won’t have to take Misty to the stands. I’m going to get us a couple of coffees from the concession stand and then I’ll introduce her to the rest of the ‘hockey wives,’” Susan said.

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Lloyd Has a Breakthrough

Episode 23:

One morning, Misty’s mother, Sheila Roberts was doing her morning devotions. As a devout Christian, Sheila had long established a habit of having a quiet time with the Lord before she started her day. Her devotional time included reading from her Bible, praying for herself and others as well as remaining quiet and waiting for God to speak to her. Today, Sheila heard the Lord speak to her spirit, “Sheila, I’m going to do a great work in your husband, Lloyd, because I love him very much. I am asking you to include Lloyd in your prayers every day.”

Sheila did not hear an audible voice, but she knew in her heart that she had heard from God. After the incident at the rock concert during the summer, Sheila had been thinking about Lloyd. By this time, she had forgiven Lloyd for allowing his daughters to get involved in a dangerous situation. She had loved Lloyd at one time, but since she became a Christian and Lloyd didn’t, Sheila felt that her husband would have a negative influence on their children. She could not say that Rick was a bad person. In many ways he was a good man, but she could no longer tolerate his immaturity and his harmful addictions. What she really wanted was a Godly husband and Lloyd certainly was not. Sheila decided to call her pastor Randy Neufeld to discuss with him what the Lord had told her.

Episode 24:

Lloyd Roberts was just waking up from a short nap he had after supper. As be reached for his pack of cigarettes, Lloyd could still remember the dream he had. He was in that zone where he was just coming out of the dream state but was not yet fully awake. Lloyd was used to having many dreams while he slept, but there was something different about the ones that he had been having lately. His most recent dreams all seemed to have some spiritual or religious theme to them.

A few minutes ago, Lloyd had seen Jesus in his dream holding a little lamb in his arms. The other night he dreamed that he was sitting in a quiet peaceful location by a stream. When he turned his head, he could see a man like Jesus waving for him to walk over to where he was standing. Lloyd scratched hic head before putting on his baseball cap with the Ford logo on it. He had started to notice a bald spot near the top of his head and thought that if he covered it he wouldn’t have to think about it.

What he was now thinking about was the significance of his dreams. His daughter, Sasha had been a Christian for awhile now, but Lloyd was wondering what kind of influence her new boyfriend was having on her beliefs. Lloyd expected Sasha would be home in a little while. He would ask her what she made of his dreams.

Lloyd had recently attained employment as a residential care worker at The Main Street Mission. He found that of the many jobs that he had worked over the years this was probably one of the few that he enjoyed. Lloyd liked the street people that he got to know and was starting to feel that his life was finally starting to have some meaning.

Lloyd was beginning to mature as he entered his mid forties. The incident that happened at the rock festival had shaken Lloyd up. It now occurred to him that he had some serious responsibilities as a parent.

Episode 25:

Lloyd’s dog, Pigpen started barking loudly while scratching the front door with his paws.

“Hang on. I’ll be right there.” Lloyd hoped that his voice was loud enough to be heard outside the door.

When Lloyd answered the door he was greeted by Misty and Rick and a young man that he did not recognize.

Lloyd moved closer to Rick to give him a hug. “Hey, man, I haven’t seen you in a dog’s age. Pardon the pun, Pigpen.”

“Hey, Dad. I’d like to introduce you to our friend, Norm. Rick and I just met him tonight at The Sals on Osborne,” Misty said, while brushing some snow off her coat.

“Why don’t you guys park yourselves in the living room while I put on some coffee. I’d offer you guys a beer, but I’ve been on the wagon for awhile now.”

“Yeah, Dad’s been sober for six months now. He joined Alcoholics Anonymous,” Mindy said proudly, just before she sat down on the couch.

“At the last AA meeting they gave me my sixth month pin,” Lloyd said proudly as he walked towards the kitchen.

After the coffee had perked Misty brought out a silver tray with the cups, coffee, and creamer.

Lloyd sat down in his black recliner.

“I’m sorry I haven’t been around to see you Lloyd. I’ve been keeping a low profile since Sasha and I broke up,” Rick explained.

“That’s what I figured,” Lloyd said. “Well, you don’t have to worry about that Rick. “Sasha’s cool with it. She says she still likes you, but she has a new boyfriend now. In fact, they’ll probably be here soon. Lloyd then turned his attention to the new guest.

“So how did you get to talking with Rick and Misty?”

“Actually, I first met them on the Osborne Bridge. I was getting ready to jump in the river,” Norm answered.

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Rick and Misty Meet a Homeless Young Man

Episode Nineteen:

In under twenty minutes Rick and Misty arrived at Memorial Park. Misty couldn’t wait to get out of the car and have a look around.

“Look Rick. The park looks beautiful in the winter.”

“I can see that. Today’s snowfall makes it look even better. I love how the branches of the trees look when they’re covered by snow and the amber street lights reflect off them. There is so much in nature that we just don’t appreciate,” Rick said.

“Let’s walk through the park and go over the Osborne Bridge,” Misty suggested.

“Sounds good to me. Let’s do it,” Rick answered.

As he held Misty’s hand  they started to cross the bridge, Rick realized that this was the way he felt when he first met Sasha. This was definitely better than getting drunk or stoned. No feeling could compare to being in love.

The couple stopped walking when they were about half way across the bridge. Misty pointed out the beauty of the gnarled, snow covered branches of the trees on the river bank.

“This is a beautiful scene,” Rick agreed. If I had my sketch book with me, I would start drawing what is right before our eyes,” Rick said.

“You’re an artist, too?” Misty asked with surprise.

“Yes, actually I’m pretty good at it. I mostly draw pictures of cartoon characters from Looney Tunes. Some of the little kids on our block like them,” Rick said.

“That’s another thing that we have in common. I like to draw too, mostly pictures of animals. I especially like to draw pictures of horses,” Misty said.

“That’s great. We should arrange a time when we both have our sketch books and do some drawing together,” Rick suggested. “Look Misty, there’s a Salisbury House just across the bridge. Could I buy you a coffee or a hot chocolate?”

“You bet,” Misty answered.

As soon as they arrived Rick found them a booth at the Salisbury House. When they got their winter clothing off, an attractive young waitress asked them for their order. Misty wanted a hot chocolate with marshmallows and Rick asked for a coffee.

The lights always seemed bright at a Salisbury House restaurant. The couple didn’t really notice but the Osborne Sals started to fill up with customers. As a result, all the ongoing conversations greatly raised the noise level.

Rick said, “You will need to speak up a little bit. I have trouble hearing in crowded places.”

“Why is that?” Misty asked.

“When I was a little boy, I had a lot of ear infections. My doctor later told me that the infections probably reduced my ability to hear out of my left ear.”

“That’s too bad. I’ll speak more loudly for you.”

“I would appreciate that,” Rick said.

“Rick, did you hear the rumour going around that I was hospitalized in a psychiatric ward when I was living in California?”

Episode Twenty:

“Yeah, I heard something about that,” Rick answered.

“Well, it’s true, but the story has been greatly exaggerated. I spent about two weeks in a psychiatric rehabilitation facility in San Francisco. I was there basically for observation so that the doctors could make a diagnosis,” Misty explained.

“So, what did the doctors come up with?” Rick asked.

“At that time they told me it was manic depression. My psychiatrist in Winnipeg changed the diagnosis to schizo-affective disorder.”

“Yeah, I remember you telling me about that. Do you need to take medication?’

“Yes, lithium. For a long time, I wasn’t really taking it. I just lied to my doctor and my parents telling them that I was taking the lithium regularly. I got busted when they eventually took a blood test. The test showed that there was no trace of lithium in my body.”

“Why didn’t you take your medication?”

“Because it made me feel worse. To be more precise I didn’t feel any emotions at all when I first started taking it. Plus, it was making me gain weight.”

“So, do you take lithium now?” Rick asked.

“No. My new psychiatrist in Winnipeg put me on chlorpromazine after he changed my diagnosis to schizo-affective disorder,” Misty answered.

The restaurant was starting to get very smoky. It appeared that most of the customers were puffing hard on their cigarettes while they sucked back the strong Salisbury House coffee. The smoke in the air was starting to make Rick’s eyes water.”

“Let’s go back to Memorial Park. It’s getting too smoky in here for me,” said Rick.

Rick and Misty started walking back across the Osborne bridge. Misty thought she saw the shadowing figure of a man trying to climb up on the railings of the bridge.

Rick said, “It looks like that guy is going to try to jump over the bridge.”

Episode 21:

Both Rick and Misty started yelling, “Hey man, stop! What are you trying to do?”

“Leave me alone. I’m going to jump,” the man answered.

“Let’s talk a bit first,” Misty said.

“Talk about what?” the man asked.

“About anything. Misty and I have been looking for someone interesting to talk to.” Rick answered.

“I’m not an interesting person and anyway you’ve got each other to talk to,” the man said.

“Let me be the judge of that. How about the three of us go to the Sals and get a cup of coffee? It’s starting to get chilly out here.” Rick said.

“I don’t even have enough money for a coffee, man, and I just smoked my last cigarette,”

“What’s your name?” Misty asked.

“Norman or just Norm.”

“Hi, I’m Misty and this is my boyfriend, Rick.”

“Like I said, I haven’t got enough money to go to the Sals and I’m kind of busy here.”

“Okay. I’ll tell you what. You come down from the railing and I’ll pay for your coffee and anything else you want to eat. Don’t worry about cigarettes. I just opened a new pack. How about it?” Rick asked.

“Well, I guess I could have my last coffee and cigarette before I leave this world.” Norm answered.

“That’s great. I’ll give you a smoke right now,” Rick said.

When they got back the Salisbury House, Norm ordered a Big Nip, and an order of fries and a coffee.

“Thanks guys. I haven’t had anything to eat yet today. My dad kicked me out at around ten this morning,” Norm said.

“So what have you been doing all day to keep warm?” Misty asked.

“I’ve been riding the bus. My dad bought me a monthly bus pass before I got the boot,” Norm said. “I don’t know what to do or where to go. Two months ago my mom kicked me out of her place.”

“Don’t worry we’ll figure something out,” Misty said.

Episode 22:

Norman Robinson was only nineteen years old, but he was already starting to take on the appearance of a homeless person. He was tall and very thin. Misty noticed that Norman had a missing front tooth. He had a large hole in the front of his navy blue parka that made it look like he had vomited on his coat. The hole was actually a result of Norman helping his dad remove a defective battery from his car. In the process of completing this task, Norman had gotten some battery acid on his jacket. The acid had burned the hole in it.

Misty turned to Rick and said, “Let’s take Norm over to my place. I think my dad might like to talk to Norman.”

“What makes you say that?”  Rick asked, looking somewhat befuddled.

“My dad has changed a lot since the summer. I’ll tell you about it later, but he now has a job working at a homeless shelter,” Misty answered.

“Wow. Lloyd has a steady job now,” Rick said.

“Look you guys have done enough for me already. After I finish my coffee and smoke I’ll just walk back to the bridge,” Norman said.

“I don’t think that’s such a great idea,” Rick said. “You don’t have a place to go tonight, do you?”

“Well, no-“

“That settles it. You’re coming with us,” Rick said firmly.

Rick, Misty and their new friend walked back to Rick’s car that was parked on a street next to Memorial Park. When Rick tried to start his car, the engine wouldn’t turn over.

“Damn,” Rick said. “I just put a new battery in two weeks ago,”

“Open the hood Rick and let me have a look,” Norman said.

“In less than a minute Norman asked Rick to try starting the car again. This time the engine turned over immediately.

“How did you do that?” Rick asked.

“It was just a loose cable. I was training to be an auto technician so I knew what to check first.”

“Wow, thanks a lot man,” Rick said, feeling both surprised and grateful.

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Misty Reveals Her Deep Dark Secrets

Episode 18:

“Let’s walk back to the Red Top, Rick. I want you to drive me home. I think I want to be alone for the rest of the day,” Misty said. She was wiping her eyes with some tissue that Rick gave her.

“Sometimes it helps to talk things out with someone. You can’t let an asshole like Jim wreck your day,” Rick said giving Misty a hug.

“You don’t know the half of it Rick. I still want you to take me home, but let’s just drive around for awhile,” Misty said.

“Where do you want to go?”

“Let’s drive by Memorial Park. I’d like to see how it looks in the winter.”

They got into Rick’s old Ford and headed downtown.

“I don’t want to lose you Rick but there are some things that I need to tell you.”

“Like what? I’m a good listener and I don’t plan on dumping you anytime soon,” Rick said.

This made Misty laugh. “Now you got me laughing and crying at the same time. Are you proud of yourself?”

“It’s good to hear you laugh. I think we’re going to be okay.”

“You have no idea how much I want that to be true,” Misty sighed.

It was starting to get a bit dark and cloudy, so Rick turned on his lights. He kept the windshield wipers going as the snow continued to fall.

“Are you warm enough? I can turn the heat up.”

“No. I feel warm enough.” Misty said.

“Can you handle it if I tell you my true story?”

“I’ve got pretty broad shoulders. Yes, I can handle it. Where would you like to start?”

“I’ll start by telling you that I have a serious medical disorder called schizo-affective disorder. At least that’s how my doctors have diagnosed me.” Misty said.

“I don’t think I’ve heard of that one. What are the symptoms?”

“The most serious symptom is both auditory and visual hallucinations.”

“How often does this happen to you?”

“Fortunately, not as much as it used to. Since my bad trip this summer I’ve started seeing a psychiatrist and he has prescribed medications for me that greatly reduce my positive symptoms,” Misty explained.

“Positive symptoms? How can they be positive?”

“That’s just what the medical profession calls them. Positive means something that is added on that doesn’t usually exist in a normal person. Positive symptoms include both hallucinations and delusions.”

“That sounds scary,”

“Believe me. It is. You have no idea Rick” Misty said.

“How do you cope?”

“Well, you’re the only person I’ve told this to outside of my family.”

“I feel bad for you, but that information is not going to make me run away,” Rick said.

“There’s one other thing Rick. I’ve been with a lot of guys and have had many short-term relationships none of which have really worked out. In that sense, what Jim was telling you was true. I have been around and I probably have a reputation, but  I’m not carrying any STDs. I’ve had medical tests done lately that show I don’t have any. What I really want now is a relationship without any sex.”

Rick laughed. “That’s fine with me as long as I can still hold your hand and hug and kiss you.”

“Of course you can,” Misty began to cry.  

Episode Nineteen:

In under twenty minutes Rick and Misty arrived at Memorial Park. Misty couldn’t wait to get out of the car and have a look around.

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The Whole Truth Comes Out

Episode 18:

“Let’s walk back to the Red Top, Rick. I want you to drive me home. I think I want to be alone for the rest of the day,” Misty said. She was wiping her eyes with some tissue that Rick gave her.

“Sometimes it helps to talk things out with someone. You can’t let an asshole like Jim wreck your day,” Rick said giving Misty a hug.

“You don’t know the half of it Rick. I still want you to take me home, but let’s just drive around for awhile,” Misty said.

“Where do you want to go?”

“Let’s drive by Memorial Park. I’d like to see how it looks in the winter.”

They got into Rick’s old Ford and headed downtown.

“I don’t want to lose you Rick but there are some things that I need to tell you.”

“Like what? I’m a good listener and I don’t plan on dumping you anytime soon,” Rick said.

This made Misty laugh. “Now you got me laughing and crying at the same time. Are you proud of yourself?”

“It’s good to hear you laugh. I think we’re going to be okay.”

“You have no idea how much I want that to be true,” Misty sighed.

It was starting to get a bit dark and cloudy, so Rick turned on his lights. He kept the windshield wipers going as the snow continued to fall.

“Are you warm enough? I can turn the heat up.”

“No. I feel warm enough.” Misty said.

“Can you handle it if I tell you my true story?”

“I’ve got pretty broad shoulders. Yes, I can handle it. Where would you like to start?”

“I’ll start by telling you that I have a serious medical disorder called schizo-affective disorder. At least that’s how my doctors have diagnosed me.” Misty said.

“I don’t think I’ve heard of that one. What are the symptoms?”

“The most serious symptom is both auditory and visual hallucinations.”

“How often does this happen to you?”

“Fortunately, not as much as it used to. Since my bad trip this summer I’ve started seeing a psychiatrist and he has prescribed medications for me that greatly reduce my positive symptoms,” Misty explained.

“Positive symptoms? How can they be positive?”

“That’s just what the medical profession calls them. Positive means something that is added on that doesn’t usually exist in a normal person. Positive symptoms include both hallucinations and delusions.”

“That sounds scary,”

“Believe me. It is. You have no idea Rick” Misty said.

“How do you cope?”

“Well, you’re the only person I’ve told this to outside of my family.”

“I feel bad for you, but that information is not going to make me run away,” Rick said.

“There’s one other thing Rick. I’ve been with a lot of guys and have had many short-term relationships none of which have really worked out. In that sense, what Jim was telling you was true. I have been around and I probably have a reputation, but  I’m not carrying any STDs. I’ve had medical tests done lately that show I don’t have any. What I really want now is a relationship without any sex.”

Rick laughed. “That’s fine with me as long as I can still hold your hand and hug and kiss you.”

“Of course you can,” Misty began to cry.  

Photo by Marcelo Chagas on Pexels.com
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An Intense Afternoon From Winter Dreams

Episode 16:

More customers came, ate and left at The Red Top but Rick and Misty didn’t take any notice of them.

“I’m sorry that I haven’t come over to visit you and your family, but I thought that I should hang low for awhile until the break-up between Sasha and I had time to blow over,” Rick said.

By this time Marlene had brought over Rick and Misty’s food. Misty took a small bite out of her Red Top burger and smiled at Rick.

“Man, this burger tastes great. How’s your chili Rick?”

“It tastes really good too. They always serve great food here,” Rick answered.

“Yeah, I hoped you would drop over at my place for a visit. I really admire how you handled yourself at the rock festival. That showed real character. I was very proud of my dad too. My respect for him went up about two hundred per cent,” Misty said.

“I really like Lloyd. He loves you a lot.”

“I know that now.”

“How have you been after that bad acid trip and your concussion?”

“Well, I was kind of shook up for awhile, but looking back at it today I think that the experience did me some good,” Misty answered.

“How’s that?” Rick asked.

“I think it taught me to use more discretion when it comes to what drugs I put in my body. I think my split with Jim wised me up a bit too. From now on I’m going to use a lot more discretion in the guys that I date. I need someone who will really care about me, not just wanting to get me wasted and take me to bed.”

“You’ve come a long way, my friend,” Rick said.

“Well, I think I made a good decision going out for lunch with you. We’ve only been here for a little while and yet I feel like I’ve known you all my life. I was starting to think that I would never be able to have an intelligent conversation with a guy until today,” Misty said.

Rick thought he could see tears well up in Misty’s eyes.  

Episode 17:

“You know what I feel like doing after lunch?” Misty asked after lighting up her DuMaurier cigarette.

“No, what would you like to do next, Misty?” Rick asked.

“Look out the window. Can you see how beautiful it is outside? It’s not too cold and it’s snowing lightly. We could walk over to Coronation Park and check out the library. I want to see if they have the latest issue of Rolling Stone,” Misty said tapping the ash off her cigarette.

“Rolling Stone? That’s my favorite magazine. I think every book I’ve read lately I heard about through Rolling Stone. I always read their record reviews to check if there are any good LPs I should buy. Going for a walk sounds like a great idea. We’ll go as soon as we finish our cigarettes. I’m going to leave Marlene a tip,” Rick said.

“I’ll need to see the bill to see how much my burger, onion rings and Coke come to,” Misty said.

“You won’t need to check the bill. Lunch is on me. I don’t get out much these days and I don’t get to take a beautiful young woman out every day,”

Misty blushed and thanked Rick.

Rick and Misty said goodbye to Marlene as they put on their winter clothing. The sun was shining brightly and the snow was falling gently. Misty tied a bright red scarf around her neck. She was wearing a forest green parka that caused Rick to realize that Christmas would soon be upon them.

Misty offered her right hand to Rick after she put on her red finger gloves. The happy couple held hands and started walking down St. Mary’s Road. After a few minutes had passed Misty put her arm around Rick’s waist. A black car pulled up beside them and a scruffy looking young man rolled down his window and said, “You work fast Misty. It didn’t take you long to get-  over me now, did it?”

“Ah, shut up Jim, you, greaser,” Mindy shot back.

“Hey man. Be careful you don’t catch anything from your new girlfriend. Believe me she’s been around.” After saying this Jim pulled away and drove down the street.

Misty turned red and started to cry. Rick held her body tightly to his and wiped the tears from her eyes with a Kleenex.

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Rick’s Lessons Start to Pay Off

Episode 14:

Whit Chandler was only able to procure a 10:30 PM ice time slot for Rick’s crash course in goaltending. Throughout his whole career Rick had never had a coach teach him how to play goal. All he got from them was criticism of his performance. On Wednesday, December 5, 1967 this suddenly changed. As promised Coach Reynolds brought along his number one goalie Brent Peterson.

Coach Reynolds told Whit Chandler to stay in the stands and just observe as he and Brent taught Rick. To start off Coach Reynolds sent Brent to the net. He asked Rick to closely observe Brent’s posture and how he always kept his goal stick flat on the ice. Next Brent demonstrated how he cut down the angles. Brent showed Rick how to stop different kinds of shots. High shots, low shots, slap-shots and wrist shots were all included in Rick’s crash course in the art and science of goaltending. Coach Reynolds put Rick in goal to practise what he’d just watched Brent do. When the one-hour session was over, Rick was completely exhausted. He was so tired that it took him a long time to take his equipment off. Brent walked up to Rick and sat right beside him on the bench in the dressing room.

“I just want to tell you that you did really well out there tonight, but we still have a lot of work to do. Coach Reynolds will book the ice time again for some time next week. In the mean time I’m going to give you some homework.” Brent handed Rick a copy of Lloyd Percival’s Hockey Handbook. He told Rick to read and study the chapter on goaltending and to start practising some of the suggested exercises on his own.

Episode 15:

Rick attended and participated in two more private training sessions with Brent Peterson and Coach Reynolds. Rick had absorbed a lot of new strategies to help his individual play. On a Thursday night following his last practice, Rick saw his newly acquired skills start to pay off. The Cougars were playing a team from the north end of the city. The Cougar’s opponents were ranked very close to the Cougars in the league standings. Northwood’s strategy for the game was to intimidate the Cougars with a punishing physical confrontation. The Northwood Raiders did everything in their power to engage the Cougar players into fights. They hacked, slashed, tripped and tried every illegal tactic to draw the Cougars off their game. The Cougars were a relatively small hockey team that was not known for aggressive play on the ice. The Cougars really had only one player that was a scoring threat and a Raiders player managed to engage him in a fight during the first period that led to his expulsion from the game.

By the start of the second period Northwood had the Cougars on the run. The smaller team was by now totally intimidated and their one scoring threat was out of the game. The Cougars now did not believe that they could win this game. Their revised goal was to get out of this arena alive. The game officials appeared to have been bought off by the Northwood Raiders. They refused to call penalties on even the most egregious infractions. Several of the Cougars white road jerseys now displayed blood stains.

Amazingly after all this mayhem the game was still scoreless going into the third period. The reason was the outstanding play of Rick Miller in goal. Rick stopped shots from every conceivable angle including three breakaways. This heroic effort by the Cougars goalie caused Northwood to become frustrated and dispirited. It was as if Rick’s superb play had drained the fight right out of the Raiders.

The Cougars capitalized on some late game lackadaisical play by Northwood and scored two quick goals. With time running out the Raider’s coach chose to pull their goalie in order to acquire a sixth attacker. This strategy backfired when the Cougars scored an empty net insurance goal.

At the final buzzer the Cougar players left the bench and mobbed Rick. They knew who won the game for them.

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Rick Miller Has His First Tutorial On Goaltending

Episode 14:

Whit Chandler was only able to procure a 10:30 PM ice time slot for Rick’s crash course in goaltending. Throughout his whole career Rick had never had a coach teach him how to play goal. All he got from them was criticism of his performance. On Wednesday, December 5, 1967 this suddenly changed. As promised Coach Reynolds brought along his number one goalie Brent Peterson.

Coach Reynolds told Whit Chandler to stay in the stands and just observe as he and Brent taught Rick. To start off Coach Reynolds sent Brent to the net. He asked Rick to closely observe Brent’s posture and how he always kept his goal stick flat on the ice. Next Brent demonstrated how he cut down the angles. Brent showed Rick how to stop different kinds of shots. High shots, low shots, slap-shots and wrist shots were all included in Rick’s crash course in the art and science of goaltending. Coach Reynolds put Rick in goal to practise what he’d just watched Brent do. When the one-hour session was over, Rick was completely exhausted. He was so tired that it took him a long time to take his equipment off. Brent walked up to Rick and sat right beside him on the bench in the dressing room.

“I just want to tell you that you did really well out there tonight, but we still have a lot of work to do. Coach Reynolds will book the ice time again for sometime next week. In the mean time I’m going to give you some homework.” Brent handed Rick a copy of Lloyd Percival’s Hockey Handbook. He told Rick to read and study the chapter on goaltending and to start practising some of the suggested exercises on his own.

Episode 15:

Rick attended and participated in two more private training sessions with Craig Peterson and Coach Reynolds. Rick had absorbed a lot of new strategies to help his individual play. On a Thursday night following his last practice, Rick saw his newly acquired skills start to pay off. The Cougars were playing a team from the north end of the city. The Cougar’s opponents were ranked very close to the Cougars in the league standings. Northwood’s strategy for the game was to intimidate the Cougars with a punishing physical confrontation. The Northwood Raiders did everything in their power to engage the Cougar players into fights. They hacked, slashed, tripped and tried every illegal tactic to draw the Cougars off their game. The Cougars were a relatively small hockey team that was not known for aggressive play on the ice. The Cougars really had only one player that was a scoring threat and a Raiders player managed to engage him in a fight during the first period that led to his expulsion from the game.

By the start of the second period Northwood had the Cougars on the run. The smaller team was by now totally intimidated and their one scoring threat was out of the game. The Cougars now did not believe that they could win this game. Their revised goal was to get out of this arena alive. The game officials appeared to have been bought off by the Northwood Raiders. They refused to call penalties on even the most egregious infractions. Several of the Cougars white road jerseys now displayed blood stains.

Amazingly after all this mayhem the game was still scoreless going into the third period. The reason was the outstanding play of Rick Miller in goal. Rick stopped shots from every conceivable angle including three breakaways. This heroic effort by the Cougars goalie caused Northwood to become frustrated and dispirited. It was as if Rick’s superb play had drained the fight right out of the Raiders.

The Cougars capitalized on some late game lackadaisical play by Northwood and scored two quick goals. With time running out the Raider’s coach chose to pull their goalie in order to acquire a sixth attacker. This strategy backfired when the Cougars scored an empty net insurance goal.

At the final buzzer the Cougar players left the bench and mobbed Rick. They knew who won the game for them.

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Metallica’s New Box Set

A Review of Metallica’s Remastered Deluxe Box Set Part One by Ken David Stewart

It would probably require a week to possibly a month of daily listening to Metallica’s Remastered Deluxe Box Set of their Black Album to do it justice in a critical review.

The new updated version of the Black Album, originally released in 1991, contains several previously unreleased live tracks that are essential to the collection of any true fan of Metallica. I’ll begin by stating that the original 1991 release created a pivotal point in rock music history. Metallica’s Black Album was, and still is, a rock masterpiece.

To tell you the truth, the first four tracks on the original Black Album are worth the price of the album alone. You can even download it for free on Spotify.

It’s only fair to warn you that I can only do a quick, unedited, rather disjointed, review of Metallica remastered deluxe box set. I will only be able to comment on a few tracks due to time restraints. Let’s start with the opening track, Enter Sandman. This song forces me to relive my childhood experiences of wondering if there was something very scary going on underneath my bed. When I was still a little tot, I can recall watching the Thriller TV series. Most episodes of the show scared me half to death. Does anyone remember Boris Karloff? Need I say more? To counteract the residual terror left inside my head from watching scary television shows, my Baptcha painted a lightbulb red and fastened it to a wooden square board. Baptcha assured me that the red bulb was much more powerful than any evil adversaries that may be awaiting me under my bed. I would never doubt my Baptcha’s wisdom, so the red lightbulb turned out to be absolutely effective in neutralizing any creepy creatures lying under my bed.

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The Local Winnipeg Rock Scene in the 1960s

Winnipeg’s Local Rock Scene in the 1960s

Back in the 1960s the highlight of my week was going to the River Heights Community Club or Champlain Community Club. This was where was when I was 18 years old. We were very fortunate in that there were many good local rock bands that would perform at various community club centres on a Saturday evening. Mostly these bands played cover versions of the latest hit singles on the radio. Some of the famous rock bands of that time were the Rolling Stones, the Kinks, the Beatles, the Animals, Paul Revere and the Raiders and several others that I cannot recall at this time.

Most of the local groups both covered the songs of these world-famous bands and might play one of their own locally recorded original singles. The band, Next, for example had a hit record with their version of Tobacco Road. The Guess Who would often perform their own recent singles including songs like His Girl and Flying on the Ground is Wrong. Some of the local bands that I remember following were the Guess Who, the Cordells, Next, the Fifth, Chopping Block, the Next Amendment. The Pallbearers and several more that I can’t remember offhand.

The Cordels
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Eps. 9 of Winter Dreams The Party and the Coach

Eps. 9 of Winter Dreams The Party and the Coach

Episode 9:

“Not that many people know that I read a lot. As I just found out you and I have very similar interests. Look, Rick I really want to get to know you a lot better. Why don’t I give you a call tomorrow? Maybe we can go out for lunch. Right now, let me introduce you to some people at the party. I’d say let’s go talk to Peyton and Sabrina, but it looks like they are busy holding court right now.

Rick really enjoyed the rest of the evening, He thought that several of Misty’s friends were cool. People kept going over to Peyton’s record collection and put on their favorite albums. The record that got the most play was Led Zeppelin II. Although the music critics of rock journalism didn’t give the album very positive reviews, the people attending the party seemed to love it. The new Led Zeppelin LP got by far the most plays. Rick especially enjoyed the songs, Heartbreaker and Bring it on Home. As Rick smoked one of his Old Port Colts, he thought about how much his social life had picked up in one day. He agreed to have lunch with Misty at The Red Top Restaurant. He was so excited about it and the way his whole day had played out, that he knew he wouldn’t get much sleep tonight, but being only eighteen years old Rick knew he’d still feel great in the morning.

After the party ended Rick and Misty got a ride home from Misty’s friend Carol. Misty actually kissed Rick goodnight which surprised but pleased him to no end.

Rick was right. He didn’t get home until near 3:00 AM but he only managed a couple of hours sleep until he needed to get up to ready himself for hockey practise.  This was Rick’s third year playing for The St. Vital Cougars. He didn’t play very well during last year’s play off run, and he still felt bad about it. Last season Rick felt more stressed than a seventeen- year- old should have to be.

He had a very demanding coach who expected his team to win every game even if it was only an exhibition contest. Coach Reynolds would often yell at his players when they made a mistake or didn’t play up to his expectations. Rick often took the brunt of his coach’s wrath as he was the Cougar’s number one goalie and was often blamed if his team lost a game. Rick would burn with shame and humiliation whenever he was publicly called out by his coach. Rick had a very sensitive temperament and would be upset for days after a loss. He never questioned his coach or his tactics. The truth was that Coach Reynolds terrified him and he would have quit the team if he wasn’t so afraid of what the coach would do to him as a consequence. The amazing thing was that most of the team remained loyal to their coach. despite the emotional abuse. The one thing that could not be denied was that Coach Reynolds always produced a competitive hockey team.

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Kens Rock Music Blog #1 by Ken David Stewart

Kens Rock m Music Blog #1 by Ken David Stewart

Imtroduction

Ken’s Rock Music Blog

When I first got the rock music bug was around the time I was about five years old. I watched the Ed Sullivan Show on my parents prized black and white television set. Watching Ed’s variety show was a staple in our home on Sunday evenings. For me, it was a good distraction from having to think about the fact that tomorrow was another Monday and I would have to go back to school. On Sunday evening Mr. Sullivan introduced a new and upcoming singing star called Elvis Presley. I was immediately fascinated by the cool dude and the songs he sang on the show. The way Elvis moved around when he sang and played guitar was very unusual for that time. My parents were very loving and my mother bought me the first two Elvis Presley albums. I’d go down to the basement, put on the record player and play those albums for at least an hour every day.

As very heartbreaking thing happened to me one day. I was going down the basement steps when I slipped and fell breaking my Elvis Presley albums into several hard, brittle, plastic pieces. I wept over my misfortune for several days. I wish they would have had digital downloads in those days.

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Episode 53 of Street Dreams Herbie Visits Harold

Episode 53 of Street Dreams Herbie Visits Harold

Herbie Schultz experienced what could best be described as a long night of the soul. He was only able to sleep for a couple of hours and woke up in an agitated state. He arose from his well used mattress and began pacing around his small bedroom. Herbie had adorned his bedroom wall posters with his favourite rock bands like Metallica and Megadeth. He would have liked to have had a high school diploma hung on his wall instead. Herbie dropped out of high school halfway through grade ten. Herbie had just turned thirty-three and was starting to assess his progress, or lack of it, in life.

Herbie’s personal assessment did not paint a very, pretty picture and this was what was causing Herbie so much angst that he was unable to return to sleep.

Both of Herbie’s biological parents had passed away when a bridge had collapsed while they were driving over it. Herbie was only five years old when this happened. The next several years found Herbie living in a series of foster or group homes. As a result, Herbie was unable to grow up with any sense of consistency or safety. For him, the world was a very, dangerous place to be.

When Herbie was ten years old, he was very happy to find a foster care couple who wanted Herbie to live with them in a suburban area of Winnipeg. During the next five years Herbie had enjoyed the happiest days of his life. Both his foster parents Bill and Wendy Patterson were wonderful people and Herbie quickly became emotionally attached to both of them.

Herbie grew especially attached to Bill. Bill Patterson became the father that Herbie never really had. Bill had been retired for two years now and had run a group home for troubled youth for most of his working career. He was now very much enjoying his early years of retirement. Mr. Patterson was sixty-two years old and was still active and healthy for a man of his age. His latest physicals performed at his doctor’s office were mostly positive. Bill’s physician, Dr. Harrison, happily informed Bill that he was a healthy man for his age and could be expected to live a long life. Dr. Harrison had only one concern, morbid obesity. His patient was 6’3” tall and hit the scales at close to three hundred pounds. Bill stuck with a solid and regular exercise routine rarely missing a workout, but his physical workout routines could not make up for his terrible eating habits. He loved his pizzas, burgers, potato chips and other assorted goodies that contain too many calories, sugar and starch.

So far, his heavyset build had not caused Bill any discernible health problems as he was still a very physically active sixty-year-old man. He occasionally felt some arthritic pain in his knees, but this only occurred when Bill was overdoing his exercise routines.

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Episode 52 Harold’s Nightmare

When Harold and Whisper arrived back at their house, they both felt a little tired. They both agreed to watch an episode of Law and Order before retiring for the night. The episode that they watched included a storyline about an inebriated driver would had seriously injured a young man.

Harold was somewhat rattled in that this episode of Law and Order struck too close to home. Shortly after the television program was over, Harold informed Whisper that he was going to turn in for the night.

When Harold climbed into his king-size bed he found that he was having a difficult time falling asleep. He thought that this was unusual as he had consumed a hefty amount of Canadian bacon pizza at Pizza Hut when he was out with Whisper. Indulging in such a large meal usually caused Harold to feel sleepy, but this was not the case tonight. Harold knew that it had something to do with the television show that he had watched with Whisper.

Harold was still grieving heavily over the death of his daughter Erica. Harold’s daughter was his treasure and he was bewildered how God could take such a beautiful girl away from him. Harold knew that he could not blame God for his loss, but still, the pain he carried was sometimes seemed far more than a mortal man could possibly bare.

He realized that he would need to create a distraction to stop thinking about Erica.

Harold had one of his most prized possessions near his nightstand. He had loaded up his white Samsung tablet to the max with his favorite musical albums and audiobooks.As Harold searched through his massive Kindle e-books collection he finally settled upon The Time Machine audiobook by HG Wells. This book brought back memories of going to the Plaza Theatre with his little buddies on Friday nights. In those days one coud watch three movies for twenty cents. One of those films was the nineteen sixty film adaptationof the Time Machine.

As Harold listened to the first chapter of this classic novel he fell asleep fo an unknown period of time until he was startled out of his sleep. He quickly sat up straight in his bed and felt a chilly shot pass through his bones. Harold’s navy blue pajamas were drenched in persperation when saw a clear image of his deceased daughter, Erica, standing in front of his bed.

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Episode 51 of Street Dreams by Ken David Stewart

Episode 51 of Street Dreams by Ken David Stewart

Tony, Whisper and Pixie made a very quick exit from the dilapidated party house on Beliveau Road. Pixie took a hard slide on a very slippery patch of the sidewalk that was covered in recently fallen snow. As Pixie was starting to fall, Whisper saw what was happening and quickly grabbed Pixie’s arm in an attempt to steady her. Pixie thanked Whisper for breaking her fall and saving her from a serious injury.

When all three had boarded Tony’s truck, Whisper wasted no time in confronting Tony,

“Way to go, Tony. You just got me involved in one of your famous screw ups. Do you get off on beating people up? Is that what gives you a rush of adrenaline?|”

For a few seconds, Tony did not take the bait. Fortunately, it wasn’t too cold outside so his white Ford 150 engine started easily. This was a lucky break because the police would be arriving any minute now and Tony did not want a cold engine to slow him down. Tony put the pedal to the metal.

Whisper asked, “Where are we going, Tony?”

“I figure we should hide out for a few days. I’m sure that there are people at the party who could identify us. Tony turned towards Pixie, “Have you got anything pressing that you need to take care of in the next few days?

Pixie shivered from the cold air in the truck. Tony noticed that she looked quite chilled.

“Don’t worry Pixie. My truck heats up pretty fast.”

“Thanks,Tony, and to answer your question, I have nothing planned for the next week or so,” as she started to giggle.

“Why are you asking her that question, Tony?” Whisper asked as a warm blast of heat shot out from the air vents on the dash of Tony’s Ford truck.

“I don’t know if I killed that dude at the party.I’m sure that my fingerprints are all over that wall and the cops have my prints down at the cop shop already.”

“Great! How far and where are we going to stay?” Whisper asked as it was obvious from her facial expression that she was growing increasingly agitated.

“I got a cousin who lives in a mobile home just outside Gimli. Over the years I’ve done him a few juicy favours so now I figure he owes me a solid. Let me borrow your cell phone Whisper and I’ll give you give him a call right now.”

“Pixie, I have a day timer in my glove compartment. Can you find it for me? It’s red and I have my cousin’s phone number written in it.”

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A Review of the book Mustaine by Dave Mustaine and reviewed by Ken David Stewart

At certain times, during the last two weeks, I have been listening to Dave Mustaine’s autobiography on an audiobook platform. I usually don’t enjoy reading rockstar biographies or autobiographies as they are usually drunkalogs or drugalogs. Although the book Mustaine does not avoid these topics, it doesn’t dwell on. I admire Dave Mustaine for taking the responsibility for his own actions and I appreciate his honesty and his willingness to be real. The narrator of the book, Tom Weyland is excellent.Dave’s stories from childhood are very chilling even for a heavy metal rockstar. I also enjoyed hearing about Dave Mustaine’s time with Metallica told from Mustaine’s point of view. There is much more I can say about this book/audiobook, but I don’t want to throw in any spoilers. I definitely recommend this autobiography to any fan of Megadeth or heavy metal music.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
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Episode Seven of Alligators in the Sewers by Ken David Stewart

Episode Seven

Sam was quite startled when he heard the knock on the door of his truck. He had been reading the sports section and was having a Walter Mitty moment. He was imagining that he was the New York Rangers goalie executing a difficult save in a two on one situation. Sam moved his head towards Joel and said, “You must be the new guy that Ian was telling me about,” Sam said.

“Yeah, that’s me. I had to take a taxi as I got up a bit late as I didn’t set my alarm clock properly.”

“No problem,” Sam replied. The traffic is more congested than normal this morning. I wonder what’s going on?”

Sam’s truck began to shake and a low rumbling sound was heard a few feet to the left of the driver’s seat.

“Holy crow! What’s happening?” Joel said as he turned his head to see a large, thick, white neck trying to push a manhole cover off its head.

“What the heck is that?” Sam asked, his face suddenly turning pale.

“My best guess is that it’s the head and neck of a very large albino alligator,” Joel answered.

“I heard the urban legends about alligators in New York’s sewer systems, but I never believed them until now,” Sam replied with a trace of a tremor in his voice.

Sam and Joel weren’t the only ones to notice an enormous albino alligator that was now using its awesome strength to manoeuvre her itself from the depths of the sewers to a major downtown street in New York City.

A UPS driver quickly turned his steering wheel to the right trying to avoid the monster that he could now see only a few feet in front of him. As a result his truck collided with Sam’s, but fortunately it only hit the side of Sam’s truck well behind the passenger cabin. Joel and Sam both felt the truck shake, but they were only startled not injured.

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the police arrive episode 31 of street dreams a novel by Ken David Stewart podcast version

in this podcast Canadian author Ken David Stewart reads episode 31 of his new novel Street dreams. This is the podcast version.

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Episode 30 of Street Dreams, the Fight, by Ken David Stewart

Episode 30 of Street Dreams, the Fight by Ken David Stewart

As Tony and Whisper started walking away from the young male and female on the couch, they could hear the young woman screaming at the man, “Hey, get your dirty hands off of me, dude. I came here to have some fun and not to get picked up by a stinking pig like you!”

The disheveled young man gave the girl a vicious slap across her face. “Don’t you ever talk to me like that, bitch. I thought you said you wanted some fun. Well, I was about to show you a good time, but you screwed it up. Get away from me, you ugly skank.”

The scraggly young teenage girl got off the couch in an awkward manner. She walked right up to Tony and Whisper with a bit of a stagger as she tried to get her balance.

“Hey, you guys, I’m Pixie. What are your names?”

“I’m Tony and this is Whisper,” Tony answered.

“Look, I know you guys don’t know me, but can I ask you a big favour?” Pixie asked.

“That all depends on what the favour is,” Tony replied.

“Here’s the deal. I hate this party and I want to get away from all these scummy guys trying to hit on me. “Do you have a car, Tony?” Pixie asked.

“I have a truck,” Tony answered.

“Great. Is there any chance that you can give me a ride home? I have some cash on me and half a bag of weed for you guys in exchange for the ride.” Pixie said.

“Yeah, we can do that,” Tony said. “Where do you live?”

“In an apartment block in Fort Rouge,” Pixie answered, “I live with my boyfriend, Ricky.”

With a bit of a struggle the lecherous young man on the couch got to his feet and put himself straight in Tony’s face. “What you think you’re doing, man? That little whore is mine for this evening.” He slurred his words as he tried to convey this message.

Tony didn’t waste a word on the creep who was confronting him. Tony Barrows grabbed the slimy dude by his shirt collar and pushed him into the nearest wall. Tony used so much force that the plaster on the wall started to crack. Tony proceeded to slam the young man’s head against the wall at least five times. He didn’t stop until he started to see blood splatter all over the wall and saliva starting to drool from his victim’s mouth. Tony watched as this dude’s eyeballs rolled back in his head and his body slumped to the floor. After the guy hit the floor, he appeared to be unconscious and a large pool of blood was now flowing beneath his head.

“Nobody talks to me like that,” Tony said. He didn’t appear to have any emotion in his voice.

Whisper could see people at the party calling 911 on their cell phones. Whisper grabbed Tony’s arm and said, “Let’s get out of here now before the cops arrive. We’ll take Pixie with us.” All three made a quick dash for Tony’s Ford 150.

alligator 6 jpg.

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Episode 26 Herby Schultz by Ken David Stewart

Episode 26 Herby Schult

Herby Schultz lived in a bachelor’s apartment in the Fort Rouge area of Winnipeg. For the last two years, Herby had been in and out of homeless shelters in the Main Street area of Winnipeg. As he sipped from his first cup of no-name brand coffee, Herby started to reflect on his life. At thirty-three years of age his life could be seen as a long strange trip, a lyric from a Grateful Dead song called Truckin. Herby had never known what a stable home life was like. He has been adopted by his foster parents when he was very young. Herby lived with them for four years until his foster parents split up. From there, it was on to a series of residential group homes that took in young people.

Herby performed poorly at school because he had ADHD. At that time his teachers did not know about this disorder and just saw him as a student who couldn’t sit still, was easily distracted and was rarely able to complete any of his assignments. Herby quit attending school when he was sixteen. He was a high school dropout.

After he left school Herby needed to find employment. There would be the odd factory job that he could hold down for one or two months, but there were always problems. Although he tried hard, Herby had difficulty with the tasks required on his job and his coworkers often felt uncomfortable working with him. They complained to their supervisor about the issues they were having with Herby. It wouldn’t be long before the supervisor had to inform Herby that he was being terminated. Some employers were gentle when they had to inform the employee that he would have to be let go, others not so much. Herby always experienced job termination as an extremely painful and humiliating event in his life.

The main issue that Herby’s former coworkers mentioned was that Herby would often look like he was in a trance when a co-worker approached him. Some workers stated that when Herby would be at his work station he would be heard talking to himself. It wasn’t any wonder that his coworkers thought he was strange and that some were even afraid of him.

One night when Herby was overheard yelling and screaming in his apartment. His next-door neighbour called 911. When the police and paramedics arrived, they found that Herbie was experiencing a psychotic break. He did not respond when a police constable knocked on the door of his apartment. As Herby had not locked his door, the police officer just needed to turn the doorknob to gain entry.

When Herby finally acknowledged the presence of visitors in his room, he ran to his kitchen drawer and grabbed a large cooking knife with a black candle. As soon as Herbie lifted the knife to shoulder level height, a young constable sprayed Herby in the eyes with mace. As Herby was temporarily blinded, two police constables forced Herby to drop the knife and then put the handcuffs on. Herbie was placed in an ambulance and was transported to the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg. The police and the paramedics have encountered this type of incident many times before and knew that the young man that they had just arrested was either in a psychosis caused by ingesting illegal street drugs or had experienced a psychotic break as a symptom of his schizophrenia.

 

When they arrived at the ER, and intern treated Herby with an injection of Haldol and strapped him into a hospital bed. Herby spent two days in the hospital. A psychiatrist diagnosed his patient as suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. He was sent home with a note providing him with the address and phone number of a psychiatrist and was advised to get in touch with the doctor as soon as possible. He was also given a prescription for Seroquel, an antipsychotic medication.

When Herby arrived at his apartment, the building supervisor called him into his office. “You caused quite a disturbance last week, Mr. Schultz. The police and paramedics were called you were driven away in an ambulance,” the supervisor a balding man in his fifties,” said.

“I’m very sorry sir. I have a grand mal epileptic seizure,” Herby lied.

“Are you presently seeing a doctor about your condition?” the apartment supervisor asked.

“Yes,” Herby replied shuffling around in his seat. My grand mal seizures occur very infrequently. The last time I had a seizure was about three years ago.

“Well, Mr. Schultz, you’ve been a good tenant over the last two years. You pay your rent on time and this is the only incident that occurred while you’ve been staying here. Furthermore, I can sympathize with your medical condition as I have a brother-in-law who has epilepsy. Are you feeling better now?” asked the kindly supervisor.

“Yes, I am sir. I’m very sorry for any trouble I may have caused you,” Herby said.

“I’ll tell you what Herby. Normally, I would be forced to evict a resident after an incident like you had last week, but I’ll tell you what. You strike me as a well behaved, polite, young man so I’m going to allow you to stay here,” the supervisor said.

“Thank you for showing me such compassion sir. I greatly appreciate it.” Herby Schultz sighed with relief, as he took the next flight of stairs back to his a[audio

 

 

 

The Rivalry Begins

Episode 30:

As Rick and Eric entered the visitors dressing room all the talk was about the girl that Rick brought to the game. A few seconds later the Cougars coach Brad Kennan returned from the washroom.

“Listen up you guys. I know you’re curious, but don’t ask Rick any questions about his new female friend. Wait until the game is over. You guys all realize the importance of tonight’s game. I need Rick and the rest of you guys to place all your concentration on the game for the next ninety minutes and nothing else. Most of all, I don’t want Rick distracted by anything. I need him to be completely focused on the game.

As I’ve told you guys before, I’m not happy with the way we’ve started off this season. I also know that you’ve heard a lot of talk from some of our fans. They’ve been saying that this year’s team is too young and doesn’t have the talent that previous year’s teams had. Yes, we are probably the youngest team in a few years, but that doesn’t bother me. Our youngest players will pick up on experience as the season progresses. I want you players to forget about the naysayers and to start to think positively. I believe in you guys and believe that we will be a force to be reckoned with this season.”

The Cougars started getting dressed for the game. Every player followed a different routine in putting on their hockey gear. For Rick, the most important component of getting prepared had already been done at home. Rick was meticulous in making sure that every item of his goalie equipment was placed in his duffle bag before he left home. Rick would double check a few minutes later to make sure that he hadn’t missed anything while he was packing up his duffle bag.

One of the last pieces of equipment that Rick put on was his hockey sweater. When the Cougars played on the road they always wore their white sweaters with brown and gold trim. Rick always preferred the road jersey with his name and number one on the back.

As he was tonight’s starting goalie for the Cougars, he was the first to lead his teammates from the visitor’s dressing room to the ice. Rick had placed two pucks in his trapper glove for the five minute warm up. He always felt a tremendous rush of adrenaline surge through him as he led his team out to the ice.  

Episode 31:

As soon as Rick stepped on the ice he could hear a cacophony of noise coming from both the left and right hand bleachers. Most of the crowd in the left bleachers were booing Rick and the Cougars, but he could also hear some cheers of encouragement coming from the opposite bleachers. The Cougars were blessed to have a large group of committed fans who travelled to all their road games. Rick didn’t mind the booing and verbal assaults from the Norberry fans. It just pumped more adrenaline through his veins.

Rick made a practice of only skating one cycle around the rink. During the end of his skate Rick dropped two practise pucks on the ice for his teammates. The rest of the Cougars would complete one more round of the rink and line up at the blue line ready to take warm up shots at Rick. Rick took the warm up routine very seriously. His goal was not to allow any pucks to get by him during the warmup. With Rick’s lightening fast, well developed glove hand, none of his teammate’s shots entered the net. Rick’s team followed a routine of taking only slapshots from the blue line.

Just as important to Rick as not letting any pucks in during the warmup routine, was his desire to stop the first shot fired at him by the opposition. Rick’s first test came early. The Cougar’s lost the first face-off draw to the Norberry Knights. This allowed Norberry’s star left winger, Paul Bolten to fire a blazing slap-shot at the Cougar’s goal. The Cougar’s goalie countered with lightening speed and caught the puck that was intended for the top right corner of the net. Rick decided to play it safe and freeze the puck for a face off in the left face-off circle of the Cougar’s goal.

This was just a foretaste of what Rick was forced to handle during the first period. The Norberry Knights were physically a much larger team than the Cougars. The Cougars had a slight advantage in speed, but Norberry’s game plan was to counter it with brute physicality. The Cougar players were taking hard checks every time they tried to get the puck out of their own end of the ice. Fortunately, Rick was in top form, stopping both high and low shots from every angle and scrambled to constantly stay on top of the action in front of his net. To Rick’s relief the siren to mark the end of the first period sounded just as Rick made another spectacular save.

Dyspraxia Rick Seeks Employment

Episode 26:

One day in August Rick walked to the Canada Employment Center to see if he could get some help finding a job. He was two credits short from attaining his high school diploma and realized that with this small amount of course work he would need to at least, get a part time job. At this time, he did not think that he would return to playing hockey for another season. Last year had been much too stressful for him and now he would have a lot of free time on his hands. Rick felt that he would need to get a job to keep his parents happy.

As he entered the employment center Rick was nervous. He had worked one summer at his dad’s printing plant and had a very negative experience while working there. Rick did not yet realize that he lacked the manual dexterity, fine motor skills and spatial reasoning required for most factory jobs.

Rick walked up to the reception desk and was told to pull a number out of a machine. He was directed to take a seat in the waiting room and wait until his number was called.

Rick found an empty seat and looked around the main floor of the employment center. It was a very drab place that rendered a rather depressing mood. After waiting approximately fifteen minutes Rick heard his name called and was greeted by a young attractive female who asked him to take a seat in her work area. The employment counsellor did not have a closed- in office. Her office space was separated from her co-workers by grey rectangular partitions. This arrangement didn’t give the client any feeling of privacy as one could hear what people in other sectioned off work areas were saying.

The employment counsellor shook hands with Rick and said, “Hello Richard, my name is Arlene Johnson. What can I do for you today?”

“You can just call me Rick. I’m here to find a job.”

“What kind of work are you looking for?”

“I’m not sure,” Rick answered. “I don’t know what kinds of work are available to me.”

“Well, that all depends upon your education and work experience.”

“I’ve got my grade 11 and I’m just two credits shy of my high school diploma. I worked at my dad’s printing plant one summer and I used to have a paper route.

“Do you like working with your hands Rick?”

“Not very much. I’m not very good with my hands.”

“I have to be honest with you. Most of the jobs you could apply for require a grade twelve education and manual dexterity or fine motor skills. We occasionally get referrals from employers for manual labor jobs, but I don’t have any referrals right now,” Arlene said.

“Rick was now feeling very uncomfortable. “So I guess you really don’t have anything for me today?”

“Not really. What do you do in your spare time?”

“I play hockey, watch tv, listen to music and read.”

“But you don’t do much work with your hands?”

“No, not really, but I read a lot,” Rick said feeling insulted.

“Listen Rick. Can I be blunt?”

“Yeah,” Rick replied feeling annoyed.

“You need to get your high school diploma and you need to take up a hobby where you have to use your hands. After you do that come back and see me.”

“Thank you for your time,” Rick said as he got up to leave Arlene’s work area. When he got outside Rick lit up a smoke and said to himself, “So that’s that. I’ll go back to school to get my two credits and I’ll play hockey for one more year.”