So, I'm NOT an arsehole and anything BW and WL say to the contrary is a damned lie! At least, I'm not one on purpose.
It's been damned crazy round here for the last little bit. We just had a 6 day week at work prepping for an inventory count that went off like a Swiss watch - that had been run over by a few semis and a couple of army tanks and then some steam rollers. The wife is up to her ears in volunteer work at church and is out every night. After a long day I come home and my friggin dawgs need a 50 mile hike to keep them sane and at the end of the day I just want to veg out and put my feet up.
I'm whining, aren't I? Or rather, making lame excuses.
The elders at my wife's church are lonely old seniors and I love them all. Some are sharp as tacks and a few others are... dulling with age, if ya catch my drift. They will yak your ears off too. In my job I listen to gas bags like The Crack and the customers drone on and on and on and on the weekends I don't really handle it well. That's my time and I will share it with the oldsters, but when it's time for the rifle range...it's TIME. I haven't had to be rude, but I will kill old folks if necessary to make my escape!
Old Ed is a dear old gentleman and I loved him the moment I met him. He's had a remarkable life and we both dabble in the heavy construction industry and work closely with ironworkers. Every weekend he pulls me aside, and tells me the same old story about how - in his early career - he almost got knocked off a girder fourteen stories up. I believe him too, I've seen runaway crane loads and have been hanging by my nose a couple times with a Pamper full of fright too - it goes with the job. But every weekend, the old boy gives me the same story and I have to think up new questions to ask him and it's getting tough.
Couple weeks back he gave me a book. The old fella had taken the time to sit down, get his poop in a group and publish his memoirs. And he gave me a copy.
Oh FFS! I can't spare the time to clean house and now I gotta read this???
Now I would never say that to Ed or any other oldster... but that was how I felt. Ed's autobiography has been sitting around on my night table for a couple weeks now. I've ducked church a few times because I just know the old boy is gonna corner me and quiz me on it.
Goddammitalltohell. Welp, inventory is over, the house is a pigsty ... I smell and need a shower... but the excuses don't end, and at the end of the day that old fella is going to be crushed if I don't get off my arse and read the damned book!
It's self published and the writing and editing isn't that great at times. But - there is a pile of history and people whose voices I never would have heard if it weren't for this book. I not only heard the voices of Ed's long departed family and friends - I heard the voices of my own people echoed in the adventures of Ed's folks. When I was a kid there were still a lot of old Alberta pioneers around. We took them for granted but as time wore on and they passed on... one day I just sorta accepted the fact that times had moved on and we would never see their like again.
Buthere, right under my nose... is a real, breathing Alberta pioneer! What an ass I have been. I'm chewing my way through it and loving it. The families live on sprawling homesteads. The kids go to school in one room school houses. On good days the teacher or janitor got in early and stoked up the coal stoves, and they can take their coats off. Families go west to seek their fortunes in farming - and step off the train station platform in Oxford shoes - into two feet of snow, with not another house in sight. When I was a kid I was lectured by my grandparents about how they went to school in the middle of winter during blinding snow storms, uphill both ways, hopping from cow pie to cow pie to keep their feet warm - and it drove me nuts. These same stories now - they're like a tall, cool glass of water on a hot day. Good heavans...I have nothing to offer Ed in exchange!
Or maybe I do. I am going to see if he does email and if he does - I am going to send him a link to Old Alberta. I think he'll like it. I hope he does, anyways.