Champagne, cakes and gifts coming my way
The office statistician who probably has bulging files on us – I bet she knows the number of hairs on our heads (five, in my case) – congratulated me recently on my six-month anniversary at the Leader.
Six months. Who’d have thought I’d still be here? And by here I mean on this planet. Alive.
I’ve lived to defy those who swore I’d come to a Grizzly end (geddit? I don’t) or be found decades hence in the wilderness, my shrivelled body perfectly preserved in ice. Yuck.
Unless this has all been a dream and I wake up on a Caribbean beach I should be receiving a long service award soon. After all, I must be nearing an employment record for Leader reporters.
Barring termination – don’t forget, journalists are always just a terrible typo away from such a fate – my place in Barrhead history is assured.
Wonder what gift(s) I’ll receive. A golden pen would be appropriate, preferably a working one. On one assignment three pens failed. The interviewee lent me his and it worked fine, much to my embarrassment and relief. Made in Germany, of course.
I suppose there will be cakes and champagne. And speeches, too. Gosh, I dread speeches, so perhaps I should do some preparation. Best be impressively upbeat – don’t want to offend again the lady who chastised me in the street.
“Marcus, has anyone ever told you that you moan a lot?” she yelled. Well, she didn’t yell, but it was more than a polite inquiry. “And why don’t you hang the strap around your neck? It will be easier to carry the camera bag.”
She was right, much easier.
So how about six reasons (one for each month) why coming to Barrhead has enriched my life? Yes, that will work – reflective, positive and heartfelt. Here goes, and in no particular order:
Hockey: Okay, I admit I would struggle to sustain a conversation with a hockey-mad Canadian, but I can still enjoy a sport that is a bit like high speed soccer without theatrics (soccer is for pansies, several Canadians assure me).
Rodeo: Days after arriving I was plunged into a world of roping, bareback, saddle bronc, steer wrestling and bull riding. What was happening? Well, cowboys were doing amazing tricks with cattle. Again, not for pansies.
Arts Council shows: After a lifetime’s overindulgence in prog rock and punk, Lizzy Hoyt’s Maritimes fiddling and country-folk enchanted me, Ernestine Hatpin uplifted me and Woody Holler turned me into a fan of cowboy songs, Western swing and jazz. Sex Pistols? Give me Gene Autry any day.
The arts community: I know artists must dread interviews that delve into their lives on the pretext of discovering what influences their art, but I enjoy them.
Young people doing great things: Michael Ward, hip hop dancing and painting shoe designs in LA; Hayley Watt, competing in top horse shows; Matt Fisher, playing for Edmonton Wildcats football team; Joey Degner, raising money for worthy causes. Makes me ashamed of my youth.
Older people doing great things: Lambert Veenstra, helping to build a Mexico church complex; Randy and Irene Lavallee, visiting India to see their sponsored child; and Herb and Derra Mantey, who run the local Christmas shoebox campaign. Maybe there’s still hope for me.
So, ladies and gentlemen that just about wraps things up on this auspicious occasion. I thank you for your kind attention and for the many gifts … blah, blah blah.
Okay, it’s a little pompous, but I am English. Pomposity is in our blood.
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