Episode Five of Winter Dreams by Ken David Stewart

Episode 5:

After his family had finished supper Rick told them about his plans for the evening.

“I met two very interesting people today, a couple named Peyton and Sabrina. Peyton plays guitar in a local rock band and I was invited to see them play tonight at Maplewood Community Center. The doors open at 7:30 PM so I have to leave right now to make it there on time.”

His parents told him that they hoped he would have a good time this evening. They were pleased to hear that Rick had made some new friends as Rick didn’t socialize very much. They often worried about the amount of time Rick spent on his studies at school and his hockey obligations. His parents were becoming concerned that Rick might crash under the pressure.

Rick walked the five blocks to Maplewood Community Center. As he was in good physical condition from playing hockey, he was able to keep up a fast pace. When he arrived, he saw that there was already a crowd of about ten people waiting for the doors to open. Rick concluded that Peyton’s band, Winter Dreams must be very popular.

When the doors to the club opened, even more people had arrived to see the band. Many young people were already lighting up their first cigarette of the evening. The houselights were still up while Winter Dreams set up their equipment. While checking how his Gibson Les Paul guitar sounded plugged into his Marshall amplifier, Peyton turned around to see Rick in the audience. He waved at Rick and said, “Hey man. Glad you could make it. Sabrina’s helping set up the canteen.”

‘Thanks for inviting me. I love to hear live bands. I’ll go over to the canteen area and say ‘Hello’ to Sabrina.

After a few minutes Peyton gave a thumbs up sign to the community club custodian. This was the signal to dim the house lights. Within seconds the community club’s halls, walls and floors reverberated with the heavily amplified sounds emanating from the band’s Marshall amplifiers. Winter Dreams lead vocalist evoked the sensual moan that opened Whole Lotta Love, the first track on the second LP released by Led Zeppelin. Winter Dreams lead singer Vance Chessler was blessed with the same physical attractiveness and sexual appeal of Led Zeppelin’s front man, Robert Plant. He also possessed a voice that was eerily close to Plant’s. Peyton was a very proficient lead guitarist and had easily mastered the basic guitar riff to Whole Lotta Love. Some of the audience were already dancing or otherwise moving their bodies in rhythm with the pounding repetitious beat that was greatly enhanced by the deep thundering notes played by bassist Chevy Raines. The group’s drummer, Pick Harding tried hard to simulate the sonorous beat maintained by his hero, drummer John Bonham of Led Zeppelin.

For many of the students of Maplewood Collegiate the weekly canteens were the highlight of their weekends. There would sometimes be a house party or two to attend after the community center closed at 11:30 PM. Some of the attendees would imbibe a couple of drinks and maybe share a joint before the canteen opened.

This evening was no exception. One young male was already intoxicated when he arrived at the community center. As he staggered backwards, he almost knocked over a burly looking fellow who greatly took exception to this action. The big, heavy-set dude landed a perfect shot to the chin of the inebriated teenager who had accidently bumped into him. The altercation ended right there as the victim of the assault was too drunk to get up and defend himself.

Winter Dreams a Novel by Ken David Stewart Eps. 2-4

Episode 2:

After his last class of the afternoon was over Rick headed home. It was about a three block walk from Maplewood Collegiate to his home. There was a light snowfall. While the snowflakes landed on the branches of the trees Rick revelled in the beauty of the winter scene. The sun was shining and this added to Rick’s aesthetic joy. He loved the snow and he loved the winter season. He even liked the crunching sound that his boots made when they pressed down into the snow on the sidewalk.

As it was a Friday with the weekend to look forward to, Rick had a spontaneous idea. He would walk to the neighborhood library and look for something to read when he got some free time on the weekend. Very few people knew how much Rick loved books and libraries. It was just a few blocks out of his way to the local branch of The Winnipeg Public Library.

When Rick arrived at the library he stomped his feet on the red carpet at the entrance. He was careful not to bring any snow into the library. As soon as he stepped inside Rick was overtaken by the captivating scent of books. He had very acute sensory perceptions. These senses would either produce a positive or negative emotional responses in Rick. The special odor that one encountered only in libraries always gave Rick’s spirits a lift.

He had developed am interest in a wide variety of topics. The subjects that Rick liked to explore included history, literature, politics and psychology. His pattern was to study a specific topic for about a month at a time. Over the summer months Rick had become engrossed in the topic of current political, social and cultural changes that were presently taking place in The United States. He devoured the pages of the new underground magazine, Rolling Stone. Rick not only found the stories to be fascinating. He loved the look and smell of Rolling Stone as it was a magazine that looked and smelled like a newspaper.

Episode 3:

As Rick entered the main foray of the library he was greeted by Denise Carr, the librarian. Rick had been to this branch of the library so many times that Denise knew Rick by name.

“So what are we looking for today Rick?”  the attractive thirty-five-year-old brunette asked.

Rick answered in a distracted manner, “I’m not sure yet. I’ll probably be checking out the new releases. I want to see if I can find anything on the cultural revolution happening in the States.”

“You’re such an intellectual, Rick. I’ll have a look myself to see what I can come up with,” Denise said.

It didn’t take Rick long to find the case that contained the new releases. Over the summer Rick had read a variety of books, both fiction and non-fiction. Although Rick was on the university entrance track at Maplewood Collegiate he would often be intrigued by what the students in the general course stream were reading as part of their prescribed curriculum. Rick discovered that he liked the novels in the general course better than he liked his university entrance novels. Classic novels like The Catcher in the Rye, 1984, Animal Farm and Brave New World intrigued him. As far as nonfiction choices went Rick was drawn to any books that dealt with the burgeoning nineteen-sixties counter- culture.

As Rick checked out the new releases. he found a book written by one of his favorite authors, Norman Mailer. He eagerly picked up Mailer’s new book, The Armies of the Night.

As Rick moved onto the regular book stacks he noticed that he had lost track of the time. He realized that he would be late for supper if he didn’t leave the library soon.

Episode 4:

Rick looked up to check the time on the library’s clock. It read 5:03 PM. Rick put on his parka and black toque and headed out the front door of the library. The wind was strong and it felt to Rick that it must be at least twenty below zero. He pulled out a cigarette from the side pocket of his parka and attempted to light it with a pack of matches, As the wind was high Rick moved close to the wall of the library and tried cupping his hands around the cigarette and matches. It took Rick three tries to successfully light his Rothman’s cigarette.

It was already dark outside when Rick left the library. He knew that he would have to keep up a quick pace to keep warm on his five block walk to his parents’ house. The street lights were already turned on and Rick liked how they reflected off the snowbanks next to the sidewalk.

When Rick arrived at his house, he saw his father sitting on his favorite sofa reading the paper. He heard his mother calling from the kitchen. “Supper’s ready. Let’s get moving to the dining room.”

Rick and his dad immediately walked towards the dining room. They both knew how frustrated Mrs. Miller could get if her family waited too long before they got up for their meals. Rick’s mother was in her early fifties and still retained an attractive figure. She continued to wear her dark brown hair long as that was what her husband wanted. Rick was the eldest of the Miller children. He had a younger brother named David and an even younger sister called Beth.

As the family passed the turkey, stuffing, potatoes and peas down the line Rick was deep in thought. When he passed a bowl of peas over to his father, he was reminded of the dreadful experience he had over the summer working at his dad’s printing plant. His father had tried to help Rick out by hiring him as summer help. Who knows? If things had worked out for Rick, he might still be working at the printing plant today.

Unfortunately, that’s not how things played out. Rick was just not cut out to be a blue collar, factory worker. He was not well coordinated and had great difficulty performing most manual labor tasks especially those that required fine motor skills or spatial reasoning. No matter what tasks his foreman assigned to him Rick could not get the hang of it and performed poorly on these jobs. Rick worked with a small crew of other young adults who laughed at Rick and berated him as he struggled with his assignments. They told him that they could train a monkey to do his job. After three frustrating and humiliating days on the job Rick told his father that he was quitting his job. He told his dad why he was resigning and apologized if he had embarrassed his father. His dad was very understanding and was not really surprised by Rick’s decision to leave his position.

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Alice Cooper Episode Two of Ken’s Rock Music Blog

Alice Cooper Episode Two of Ken’s Rock Music Blog

I will most likely be writing several blog posts on the life and work of Alice Cooper. There is so much that can be said about Alice Cooper, real name Vincent Fournier, the son of a Baptist preacher. I will start somewhere in the middle of Alice’s musical and theatrical career. During his time with the original band, Alice was a serious alcoholic. What he fully realized that if he did not get help, he would be very likely to die of the disease of alcoholism. I believe that Alice checked himself into at mental health/substance abuse program. To make a long story short, he was able to achieve the state of sobriety.

There was an unintended. secondary benefit for Alice in that by getting to know his fellow clients, he found they provided him with an abundance of new material for his upcoming album titled From the Inside. His friends at the rehab facility provided him with lots of interesting life stories that he could incorporate into original new songs.

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Episode 1 of Winter Dreams a Novel by Ken David Stewart

Winter Dreams (the Continuing Adventures of Rick Miller)

A Sequel to Summer Dreams

Rick Miller was sitting alone in a booth at The Red Top Restaurant. The year was 1969 and it was a cold, windy December morning in the Canadian prairies. He had just arrived as his geography class at Maplewood Collegiate ended. It only took him a few minutes to walk across the street from the high school to the restaurant. He lit up a Rothmans cigarette and began to daydream about Sasha, his former summer love. He had to admit that he missed her now that all was said and done, but he was beginning a new chapter of his life. Shirley, the waitress approached his booth.

“What will it be today Rick, the usual?”

“Yep, my favorite. Hot chocolate,” Rick answered with a smile.

Rick figured that Shirley was in her mid-forties. She had gained a bit of weight over the years, but was still relatively attractive for someone her age. Rick noticed that Shirley had a short pinky finger on her right hand. The finger must have been amputated, but Rick didn’t allow his curiosity over-ride his impeccable good manners. He had never asked Shirley about what happened to her finger.

Rick’s high school was just across the street from The Red Top. Just as Shirley brought Rick his hot chocolate someone walked in the door of the restaurant. The new customer was a very thin young man roughly Rick’s age. He had long, dirty, unkempt strawberry blond hair. He stopped in front of Rick’s booth and asked if he could join him. Rick was a little surprised as had never seen this fellow before, but he motioned for him to sit down.

“Thanks for letting me join you, man. My name is Peyton Ramparts. I have a spare this period and felt like I needed a cup of java. I was up until two in the morning last night. My band had a really bitchin’ good practise.”

Peyton wore a long black coat with gold striping on the side. It looked like he could have stolen it from Jimi Hendrix.

“What’s your band’s name?” Rick asked.

“Winter Dreams,” Peyton answered. “Hey man can I bum a smoke off you?”

“Yeah, no problem. I hope you like Rothmans. I smoke whatever brand my dad is smoking at the time.”

Peyton started to laugh as he pulled out a cigarette from Rick’s pack.

“How did you come up with the name Winter Dreams for your band?”

“I can’t remember for sure. A guy from my band came up with it during a break from practise. We were all passing around a joint at the time while looking out the living room window. All I remember is watching a heavy snowfall. Then Pick said, “This is sort of like a winter dream and Chevy said that it sounded like a great name for our band.”

Rick was just about ready to ask Peyton another question when both boys felt a sudden rush of cold air breeze through the restaurant. They both looked towards the door and saw a young attractive female come through the door.

“Sorry I’m late, Peyton. I had to ask Mr. Pierce for an extension on my research paper for history class. Who’s your friend?” the girl asked.

“I don’t know his name yet. We just met a few minutes ago. Peyton reached across the table to shake Rick’s hand. “Sorry I should have introduced myself first. I’m Peyton Ramparts.”

“And I’m Rick Miller.”

“Let me introduce you to my girlfriend, Sabrina Davis,” Peyton said as Sabrina slid right next to him on the booth.

“I think I’ve seen you at school Rick. You’re in grade twelve aren’t you? I hear people talking about you in the halls all the time. You’re the Cougars star goalie,” Sabrina said brushing some snow off her navy-blue coat.

“I don’t know if I’m a star, but I try to play my best for the team,” Rick responded with true humility.

Peyton was already starting to feel comfortable with Rick. He felt that he could trust Rick and be real with him. Rick was sensing the same thing about Peyton. They both had the feeling that they could be honest with one another.

“So how did your meeting with Mr. Pierce go? Is he going to give you an extension on your homework assignment?”

“Yeah, no problem. I told him about my grandmother moving into our house and that she needed me to do things for her. I told Mr. Pierce that my extra duties were causing me to get behind in my studies.”

“What did he say about that?” Rick asked as he put his cup of hot chocolate back on the table. He was starting to feel right at home with Peyton and Sabrina.

“Oh, he said that he understood and would give me an extra week to work on my paper. He said that there was a time in his life when his mother was very ill and he needed to help her out a lot. Of course, it also helps that I’m very cute. All the girls in my class have noticed the way that Mr. Pierce looks at us. He definitely has a thing going for young high school chicks,” Sabrina answered with a chuckle.

“You sure know how to play him,” Peyton said with a bit of admiration. He always felt that Sabrina was smarter than him. She certainly got much better grades in school than he did. Peyton had very little interest in school. He attended the minimum of his required courses basically to keep his parents off his case and to be with Sabrina.

“Rick, do you know that Peyton is in a band. He plays lead guitar as well as writing some original material for the band. His group is called Winter Dreams and one day they are going to make it big. Record a single and an album. The whole nine yards,” Sabrina said proudly.

“We’re not as great as Sabrina says, but we’re not bad for a group that’s only been together for six months. We’re playing a gig tonight at Maplewood Community Center. Why don’t you drop by and check us out, Rick?”

“I wouldn’t miss it for the world. It’s been a blast meeting you guys, but I have to get back to the school for my American history class.” Rick said as he put on his white down filled parka and got ready for a biting rush of cold winter air.

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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.”