I see Anne has her head down working on something … she may even have forgotten that today is Thursday! So, I am taking some liberties here to share something completely different ~ an excerpt from an article that recently appeared in the Great North Arrow.
The author, Rod Urquhart, asked Anne’s permission to publish this article so I am sure he won’t mind that I am sharing it with you! Rod’s column banner is “Talk Turkey with Urqey” and that should tell you he is a humourist.
Rod disguised Anne as ‘Alice in Wonderland’ (I’m not sure what that was supposed to mean) and I know Anne vetted the story, so I am pretty sure that it is mostly true!
I know it’s longer than our usual episode and I do hope you enjoy it!
“When my parents decided I needed a set of wheels!' By Rod Urquhart
You know, many years ago, I dated a gal, let’s call her ‘Alice in Wonderland.’
Now, at the time, I was going to Ryerson Polytechnical Institute (now Ryerson University and soon be made ‘politically correct,’ which I will no longer support financially) and ‘Alice in Wonderland’ was going to the University of Guelph. We were cash-strapped students getting an education before heading into the working world.
So, the only time we could really get together was on holidays or reading weeks, when we both returned to our parents’ home in the hometown we shared.
Now, at the time, I was riding my Yamaha DT on road/offroad 250cc motorcycle all the way to Ryerson from the northern GTA. I didn’t care what the hell the weather was, that was my mode of transportation, in rain, sleet or snow. (And I gotta tell you, those streetcar tracks are brutal in the wintertime on a motorcycle).
My parents were quite concerned about me either freezing my butt off riding my beloved motorcycle for over an hour each way to Ryerson in all kinds of weird weather, or actually getting killed, so they decided I needed a car. Any car.
So, when my grandfather died, they figured – perfect- we’ll give his car to Roddy. Now I won’t mention the make of this car, but it was made in Detroit. My grandfather had bought it brand new, off the lot, in 1966, and it was now 1973 and my first year of Ryerson when I got this auto – the first automobile in my life.
So, I finally get a car. Well, the fuel gauge no longer works and the fluid for the windshield wipers no longer works, and it didn’t come with even an AM radio. It did have snow tires on the back and summer tires on the front. But it had a habit of just not starting sometimes for no apparent reason. This was quite troubling as you’ll read on ...
... Anyways, back to ‘Alice in Wonderland’ ... so I have this new (for me) auto and we’re both home for reading week. I decided to take her on a date to the local drive-in. The movie, which back then was listed in the weekly newspaper, was supposed to be a comedy, called ‘Confessions of a Window Cleaner’. I thought, “great, a good comedy. We’ll have a few laughs.”
So, we arrived at the said drive-in and the movie starts. Well, ‘Alice in Wonderland’ a very ‘proper young lady’ who lived on the ‘right side of the tracks,’ and I very quickly find out that this is almost a full-on ‘porn’ movie. I mean, I was shocked ... it was all about this window cleaner in England who seduces the housewives in the mansions he’s cleaning while their husbands are at work. If the housewives aren’t around, there’s always the maids to service. Every time he goes to a house to clean the windows, the said wife or maid would entice him and completely undress into full-on nudity and then this window cleaner would go to work.
The whole premise was so porn-like.
I decide this is really not an appropriate movie for ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and myself while still on the dating scene. So, I try to start this Detroit-made miracle on wheels and the damn thing just won’t start – the battery, once again is dead like a doornail. We are stuck at a drive-in, and I need a boost. (Being a student, I had no money for things like CAA).
So, I get the brilliant idea to just get out and knock on windows and try to find a good Samaritan to give me a boost. Well, the first five cars I approach to knock on the windows, well, their windows are so steamed up and what I do see I can’t repeat in a family paper. I completely refrain from disturbing these tangled up couples.
I finally find a couple in a sporty Datsun 2407 that are actually watching the movie. I knock on the window; the fella rolls down the window and I tell him the problem. He says, his battery is on a different polarity than mine, and rolls the window back up. Total bull.
I give up. I’ve approached now some 15 cars, so I make my way into the concession stand and ask for the manager. I tell him the problem and he’s actually quite understanding and sends out a young fella in the company truck to give me a boost. After that, ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and I are on our way, quick to forget ‘Confessions of a Window Cleaner’ and our ordeal with a malfunctioning auto. I figure I better get her back home before any other catastrophe can happen!
But there’s one more tale I gotta relate: later that summer, on a hot night, when we’re both had finished our first year in university, we’re home and I take ‘Alice in Wonderland’ out on a date. We go to the local bar, which has a kind of upscale lounge upstairs. After a few drinks, I decide, like most white blooded males, to find a secluded spot to park my relic of an automobile. I find one.
Well, after some time with ‘Alice in Wonderland, it’s time to take her home ... about three-quarters of a mile away. Well, guess what folks – the damn car won’t start again! Once more I need a boost. (You gotta understand, that up until this point, the battery was working fine).
‘Alice in Wonderland says, “what are we going to do?” I say, “no problem, I’ll walk over to your parent’s place and get one of your brothers to come give me a boost,” and I head off to her parents’ Ponderosa. It’s late, but a very warm night.
So, I get to her parents’ house and thank God her two younger brothers are outside. I explain the situation and so they both get in their dad’s car and come to my rescue. Now in that ride over with them, they could barely contain themselves – not that I could blame them. Could it be any more embarrassing?
After the boost and getting my beast going again, I could definitely hear Alice’s brothers laughing like a pair of hyenas as they drove away. I understand this is one of the family’s few funny stories about proper Alice!
I really don’t know how many batteries and alternators I bought for that Beast, but at least four or five new batteries in the about four years I owned it, finally trading it for a more sporty Toyota SR5.
I swore after that, that I would never again own a North American car and I haven’t. (Although, today, I would absolutely die to own an original 1972 Mustang Fastback Mach 1 or even a 1972 Barracuda, or Boss Camaro).
And just for the record, ‘Alice in Wonderland and I still keep in touch after all these years – some 50 years and she is doing quite well, thank you! After finishing our university courses, we seemed to lose touch with each other and went on our separate ways. We are both married. She owns her own successful business and is still working and I, now retired, spend most mornings writing, working on either a book or new full-length theatrical play."