Friday, March 30, 2012

Student Drivers

When you are young you do things that you think back on and just wonder about now.
This is just such a story.
Back in high school I played a lot of golf. During the school year at least two times a week from March until November, and during the summer, closer to 4 or 5 times a week. Many times I went by myself, but every now and then I played with my friends. Mostly I played with my best friend Eric, who actually got me started playing.
Eric and I used to play a public course called Don Valley. It was a nice course, but other than a few holes it was not terribly challenging once you got to be a better player,  which I did. It was cheap though and if you didn't have access to a car all the time it was easy enough to get to. When we didn't have a car we usually had our parents drop us off early in the morning and then took the bus home to Eric's house. After a while I did have access to the car and picked up all our friends before we ventured out to play. It was always very cheap to play,  $2.50 for a complete round if you started before 7am. We played 3 rounds in a week for 8 dollars. 

Don Valley Golf Course.  It wasn't a difficult course but it is very picturesque.
  As I said,  I did get tired of playing that course and ventured out to some newer, more challenging courses. Two in particular, Westview Golf And Country Club, and the Firefighters Gormley Green Golf Club. Westview I played almost always with my friend Eric,  and it was a higher end place.  The green fees were much higher and we only played there once every couple of weeks.

Westview Golf And Country Club. Long, lush fairways, very hilly and lots of trees.
  Gormley I played mostly by myself,  but also went with some friends from time to time. After school I would go with my friend Ron and we could usually get a round in before sundown. It was a nice course,  but not terribly busy in the afternoons. If you got there by 3pm you could be done by 7:30. In October, if you cut your last class from school, you could just get a round in before it got dark.

Ed Werenich, left, skipped Team Canada to a world title in 1983. 
 Both Westview and Gormley were about 20 minutes north of the city where we lived. It was a country atmosphere which some of us were not that used to seeing.
The first time Ron and I ventured out to Gormley we were behind a group of four middle aged men who looked familiar. They were also very good. Better than anyone I had ever played with, even though I was also very good by this time. As I heard them talk and saw their faces, I recognized them as a group of Firefighters who were also very famous Curlers and at the time,  the best curlers in the world.  The most noticeable in the group was Ed Werenich (The Wrench). They teed off on the Creek nine, which was one of three nines they had at Gormley.   

That was the one and only time I saw them there. They also had power carts which we did not, so they teed off and got way ahead of us. The Creek was a very hard nine, harder than almost any nine holes on any public course in Canada,  so Ron, being not very good, had a lot of trouble with it and we lagged far behind "The Wrench" and his group.
After we finished that nine, we had a choice of two other nines, the Center,  which was pretty easy, and the Circle, which was tougher but not as tough as the Creek. We chose the Center and finished up.
The following year, after I had played the course another 30 or 40 times,  by this time being a very good golfer in my own right, Ron and I decided to skip school and play Gormley again. It was very late October and it was already blustery, although not terribly cold. We were a bit older and had a bit more money to our name, so we decided to take a power cart ourselves. Because it was a blustery day, late in the season, the course was very empty. We only had about 3 hours to get a whole round in before dark, and since the Creek looked completely empty,  we decided to start there.

The first hole and the last hole on the Creek nine were very tough.  They call it Creek for a reason.  There is a long Creek that cuts through almost the whole nine and those two holes in particular. In addition,  on those two nines, there are large hills where you have to hit your tee shot blind and then go look for your ball. As you approach the Creek, it is straight downhill. There is a paved cart path, but most don't use it. We didn't.
I hit my tee shot long and far, as I always did at that point in my life. Ron hit his medium length and we got in the cart to go where his ball had landed. He hit his second shot just over the Creek to the other side. I grabbed my club and walked to my ball, while he drove the cart ahead.
The day before, and the morning of, it had been raining and the course was wet. Not soaking wet, but slick enough to see the water on the tops of your shoes. As I walked to my ball,  Ron was driving the cart..too fast.
I stopped at my ball and began to get ready to hit my shot. It was a par 5 but I was going for the green in two, so I was getting ready to hit a big shot. Ron was driving but also looking back at me as I was hitting. He certainly didn't want to get hit by my shot. He was down the middle of the fairway, and not on the cart path. I was at the top of the hill and he was on the down slope. The steep down slope.

 I guess he didn't realize he was on the down slope and how wet it was. He began to brake but the cart was not stopping. As he passed me the cart was out of control. He was now streaking wildly down the hill and was heading for the creek, the cold and deep creek. Not only was he in jeopardy of serious harm, our clubs and the actual cart could have been ruined and destroyed.
A good golf cart in those days would cost about $3000 dollars,  3000 we didn't have.
I had just hit my shot and began running towards Ron. He kept trying to brake but to no avail.
He was now about 50 feet, or 7 seconds from the creek. There was no way he was going to be able to get that cart stopped. I yelled out at him.
"Ronnie, jump, get out of the cart."
He did jump out and the cart continued towards the creek. I was sure it was going in and we were in big trouble. Fate however was on our sides that day. The cart was just about to go into the creek when it hit a large tree stump. That tree must have been cut many years earlier, but the stump was still there. The cart came to a screeching halt right there. There was no damage at all to the cart or our clubs. Ron had some grass stains but he was also fine. As we went to get the cart, we noticed that no one was around to see all this. Also, as wide as that creek was, that was the only impediment to anything. If the cart had approached it from any other angle, it surely would have gone in and sank to the bottom...and been ruined.

We still laugh about that day, almost 30 years later. We finished that round without any incident,  and now we always stay on the cart path on the downhills. We were young then, but we aren't anymore. 
Live (luckily) and learn.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Piles of Notes

Piles of Notes

The ideas come so fast and so often. Napkins, back of envelopes. Grocery receipts. I write them everywhere. Each day as I work on my stories, on my blogs on my comedy, I stare at them as they pile up in front of me just under and to the left of the keyboard. At times it gets overwhelming. I have so many. Must be 20 or so assorted slips of whatever piling up at this point. The more I think about doing something with all of them, the faster more new ideas come. New ideas that will likely gather dust and get stale like most of the ones I have already.

They are just piles of notes at this point. The best use of them might be to burn the whole pile and at least keep myself warm for the winter.

The pleasures of the flesh

That is what I asked myself as my hand moves from my hair down to my breasts. I slowly caress them, thinking of him.
I don't want to be like this, but I can't help myself. I want him.  I want him to want me. I know it's wrong of me, but desire consumes me. Takes over and squishes my desire to be eternal. The pleasures of the flesh are so strong. I can't resist them. I am going to hell,  I just know it.
I said I wouldn't flirt, but I can't help myself. He does things to me. Makes me wet just thinking of him and those eyes. I told him I was going to take a shower. I knew that made him hot. I wanted him to be hot for me. Made me hot to think he was hot for me. Temptation has overcome me and is winning. I am helpless to stop it.
He is so tempting. I can't resist that. I know that. I think of him as I tease my nipples. Thinking of him putting his lips on them. He put that sexy lips pic up just for me. To tease me. To tempt me. It worked.
The soap careens down between my breasts and towards my belly button. My hands follow it, just as his mouth would as he devours me. I know what I am going to do next. I can't stop myself.  Earthly and womanly desires have overtaken my existential hopes and dreams. I have to finger myself. I have to think of him inside me. I am weak. I know that.
My past haunts me. I have always been a slave to sex. To sexual pleasure. I gave that up. Or so I thought. But the desire is still there. I can't suppress it, no matter how much I try.  I dream of it, of him.  I wake up wet and frustrated. I need it. I need him. I have to have it. I try to resist it, but it is too tempting. I play with myself for an hour, only thinking of him. On top of me, making love to me. Touching me all over. My thoughts of god and eternal salvation take a back seat to my earthly desires here. At the moment that I cum, I feel my best. The highest. Ultimate euphoria. Then the letdown. I feel weak, guilty, mad at myself for being who I am. Is that wrong? I don't even know anymore. I hate myself but I love how it feels. How do you stop that? I have no idea.

Haunting Dream

I used to be a dispatcher. I loved it. The action. The never know what is going to happen next. The making it work when it seems you can't. When almost no one can figure out how to get it done and then you do. It was always an adrenaline rush.
But there was always a downside. It was hard to turn the motor off. You are always thinking. Always going. That is the nature of a dispatcher.
I sometimes have dreams about old dispatch situations.
My wife and I are planning a trip to the Caribbean for December. Because of all the variables I am using my dispatch skills to try and put together the trip in the best possible way. Last night I was working on that. This dream probably came from that.
I rolled into the office.  Two calls. There were no drivers so I decided to just do them myself. I was a great dispatcher but I was also a great driver.  I was always the fastest and the smartest driver. Jonathan handed me the two calls.  Fairly easy.  I was driving my old Pontiac Acadian.  Loved that car. My first real car of my own. Bought it with my summer job money one summer just after I finished high school. That car lasted for years.
 We were in the foreign exchange business. Cheques and cash. But for whatever reason, I had to put large wooden and metal contraptions in my small Acadian to deliver. Got them in, no trouble. It was a dream. In dreams, objects that should never fit in a space magically fit in a space.
 As I was ready to leave, three more calls. No problem. There was always more calls and changes. You learned to go with the flow and make it work in this game. He told me where the calls all were and when each one needed it.  As always,  it never worked out that way. On my way to the first call I couldn't remember the address or where it was.Same old Same old. Found it anyway. In dreams,  you find places that you have no idea how to get to. In real life, I have been able to do that as well.
I found my way there, but was not able to find my out. I was stuck there. Stranded. I always seem to be stranded in my dreams. In life, I am always stranded as well. Luckily, in the dreams I wake up and can just start over.
In real life, I remain stranded.

What I miss about you

It didn't work it. It couldn't. On some level we both knew that. You were in your place in time and I was in mine. By definition that meant we would never be together in our place in time. I think we both understood that deep in our cores.
Sure,  the ending wasn't great.  They never are.  The starts are always better than the endings.
At this point all we have are reflections. I remember so much about you. So many memories of things about you.
Your soft skin. A woman's soft skin never leaves your mind. Yours was among the softest I have ever touched. Your long legs. How it felt when you wrapped them around me. The silkiness of your hair and how great it smelt when I kissed your ear and it brushed against my cheek. The softness of your breasts and how you moaned when I played with them. How you looked afterwards standing naked as I viewed your reflection in the mirror. The silhouette of your naked body reminding me of what I had just had. The vision of you in that t-shirt and panties before I ever got to see you naked and how you longed to take them off for days before you actually did.
Those are all great memories, but I don't really miss any of those things.
I miss you way you looked at me, when we were just silent and staring at each other. That look you had that said I was the only one you ever wanted and you thought about me all the time.  I miss that.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Black and White kind of guy

As most of you know who know me, I am a black and white kind of guy. I am opinionated and speak my mind. That is me. That has always been me and will always continue to be me. I come by that honestly. My parents were like that as well. But, no one in my family was more like that than my grandmother, Rose,  my mothers mother.
My Grandmother Rose (sitting in the front with the white dress), we called her Bubbie Rose..with my Aunts and Uncles,  her brothers and sisters. Shirley,  Mel and Jack.
 She always used to say that she called a spade a spade.
Back when I started to go to the horse races, I noticed that almost all racehorses were bay in color. A bay horse is basically a light brown horse. A dark bay is basically a dark brown horse.

Artsplace,  a very striking bay horse and also one of the greatest race horses and stallions of all time.
 But there are exceptions. I recall two very vivid exceptions from those early days of attending the races.
Even though many of my family,  on my mothers side were into the horse races, I was never interested in it growing up. I grew up in Montreal and the route from my house to my grandmother, Eva,  my fathers mother passed by Blue Bonnets, with its flashing sign by the side of the road..I never went in.

This is not the exact sign. They tore that down when they renamed the track, which is now closed. It had more of a Broadway show look back then.
 I was more interested in the Orange Julep, which we stopped at frequently for a julep and some fries. It was just a few blocks from Blue Bonnets.

The orange Julep,  which is still there in Montreal.  We used to go there and you would order from those little booths and then drive around back and get your order. Best Orange drink anywhere. Cannot be duplicated.
We used to go to my grandmothers every day so I got lots of chances to see that sign. I was always captivated by that sign with its creative light show. It had a Broadway feel to it. I never went in, but I always thought about what was behind that sign. What went on there? I never found out, and now it is gone. Likely,  for good.
 When I was about 18, my best friend, Mark Jadd took me out to dinner. To this point I still had never been to the horse races. After dinner he kept mentioning that he wanted to go.  I resisted strongly, all night,  but he kept pushing and I gave in. It was a beautiful hot summer night and I will say I did end up enjoying it very much.

My friends Eric my right..and Mark my high school graduation.
 After that night,  I was hooked...for life. I guess it was in my blood but I never knew it until that night.
About the fifth or sixth time I attended the races it was a very hot summer night. I took my grandmother, who had always loved the races. That was a tradition in our family. My great grandfather, her father had always gone to the races. Even when he was older and in a nursing home, well into his nineties, he would sneak out and go to Greenwood. My father would have to go and find him, and he always knew where to look. When my great grandfather died, in his suit coat pocket were hundreds of losing betting tickets. He also always wore a suit.  He was born and lived in a time when men did that when they went out. He also had the fedora hat.

My great grandfather (Zaida) the brown suit in the center shortly before he passed away.Roughly 1980.
 My grandmother and mother both grew up in the Woodstock area of Ontario, which was a hotbed for live racing of horses. I had never been into it up to that point, but now that I was I decided to take her. We did that many times afterwards over the years. It was something we could do together, and we did probably thirty times until she died about 10 years later. One day we actually took the long drive to Dresden, which was three hours away and spent the afternoon watching the races at the old style track. That is a great memory,  to this day. I cashed a lot of tickets that day as well and bought her lunch.  It was a great day and a great memory.
It was not uncommon to see crowds like this at Woodstock Raceway back in the 1940's and 1950's
 That first night we went together, we arrived too late for the first race. Being an old time racing veteran, my grandmother wanted to bet the daily double. In her day,  everyone bet the daily double. They still had it at the track,  but most modern day betters didn't play it anymore. They were into the more exotic bets like exactors and triactors. She gave me a bet for the daily double, but of course the first race had already run, so that wasn't possible. The second race horses were just coming onto the track. It was a hot,  very bright shiny night. Being the heart of the summer, the sun had not set yet and it was shining hard onto the track. It was a six horse field, and a very good bunch of horses. I remember thinking that I liked 3 horses to finish top 2, but could not separate them on the program. As the number 6 horse passed,  I knew that he was the one. His name was Triple S,  and he was as black as the darkest night in the middle of the nowhere. He was simply striking. I have always loved black horses since that night.
Triple S was dark black and shiny like this horse.
 My grandmother gave me her daily double bet, and I didn't tell her that she couldn't bet it. I took her money, and mine..and I bet Triple S to win with the other two horses to come second.  Either would do as long as Triple S won and one of the others came second. All of those horses were 5 to 1, so the payoff would be very good if it came in. I also bet Triple S to win and place for myself,  and as they approached the top of the stretch all three were in contention. As they neared the wire, Triple S just got up to win.  As usual, my grandmother was screaming at the horses. She loved to do that. Even if her horse was dead last with no shot, she would always shout at him to "come on,  get going". She was the same way at the baseball game.  My cousins and I used to say that we didn't want to sit next to my grandmother at the baseball game, because she would get so excited that she would spill her beer on us jumping up and down. And in all the commotion,  she would elbow and bang us around and we would go home with bruises. But we always loved going with her anyway. We did though all try to get the fourth seat, which was the one that didn't have to sit right next to her. If one of us went to get her her beer, the other would steal that seat while we were gone. Those were fun times.
Exhibition Stadium..where we saw many games with my Grandmother.
 My grandmother had picked one of the horses that I chose for second to win, so she thought she had lost. As it turns out, one of my other two horses did finish second, so we ended up making a profit of 150 bucks on that race, which was a lot of money to us two dollar bettors. The rest of the night also went great and we cashed more tickets and came home with 200 dollars.  My grandmother being my grandmother,  she wanted me to keep all the money, but I insisted she keep half. From that night on, whenever we went to the races, she always said she pulled out that hundred that I won her and we should "bet from that". She would always give it to me at the start of the night and not let me bet my own money...which I did anyways on the side. She didn't need to know that, and she died never knowing that.
Fan Hanover winning a big stakes race at Greenwood Raceway, where I took my grandmother most of the time to watch the races.
 Being that I was a big racing fan by then,  I also went with other friends and by myself. Most of those times involved going on Friday nights and Saturday afternoons. I went Fridays by myself and Saturday's with my friends. On the Friday nights I got to make some new friends at the track and I would always sit with them.
It seemed every Friday night a horse named Transtar would race. As black as Triple S was, Transtar was pure white.  Not grey, like many horses, but totally white. For a racehorse that is almost unheard of. And he was a good horse too. Not the best horse at the track,  but among the better ones.
The guys that I sat with on Friday nights hated Transtar. He would never win. He was always second or third when he was in contention. I had followed him since that first time I noticed him. It was always dark by the time  he raced and the track lights shined off his white coat. This one night,  he was 15-1 and everyone said he had no chance. But I decided to bet him anyway. Of course, he did win that night,  and it was his only win all year. For whatever reason, I always liked him but never bet him after that night. It was a feeling that it was meant to be that night. And..he didn't win by much that night either.

Transtar was white, very white,  just as this horse is.
 One of the guys I met on those Friday nights was a guy named Vince Li. Vince was pure Chinese.  He had come from Hong Kong to Toronto just about 15 years previous and had made a good life for himself. He was a bank manager and a very smart guy.  He also knew his horses. We struck up a friendship and I used to go to the track a lot with him. As it turns out,  he only lived about 5 minutes from my house. I thought I knew a lot about horses until I met him. It turns out I knew almost nothing.  He was truly an insider and I got to meet a lot or real trainers, drivers and owners because of him. We used to go to two tracks in one day and make a complete day of it.
I didn't have a great car in those days, so Vince let me drive his brand new Toyota Camry when we went on longer trips to farther tracks. It was a very fast car and it was also white. When I got my first good car after I started working, I got the equivalent of a Camry, which was a Chevy Lumina. Mine was dark black. I have always loved black cars and a popular song at that time was Black Cars by Gino Vanelli. 

 When I met Vince I was just about to graduate University and get my first job. Vince also owned horses and had some very good ones. They won lots of races and I got to go into the winners circle and take pictures with him. I had been going for 6 or 7 years to that point and had never done that. When I got that first job and had saved up enough money I decided to buy a horse with Vince.
We had settled on buying a yearling, a young horse but could not find one that met our budget and approval.  At that first sale we went to, we tried to buy a young filly, by a hot young sire named Willow Wiper. The fillies name was Arresting. She went for $20,000 and we only wanted to pay $15,000.  So we let her go.

 Two years later when we bought our first horse together, we bought a filly named Come By Chance.  She was a steady good horse. Not spectacular, but she always made money and raced well. She was second in our first two races and had exceeded even our expectations. But as close as she was, she just never seemed to win, much like Transtar. Many nights we went with high hopes for a win,  only to be second or third.
One time,  we seemed to be a sure winner and right to the wire it looked that way only to be beaten by a nose in a very long photo. Finally,  one weeknight,  after work I went to watch her race. She looked ok enough to win, but I did not get my hopes up. As they were heading to the finish, she was ahead but barely ahead and in a group of 5 or 6 horses. As they hit the finish, she just barely held on. My first win as an owner. All my friends that I had made at the track over the years were sitting near me and they all congratulated me. One of horses in that race was Arresting, the filly that we didn't end up buying at the yearling sale. It would seem that was one of my greatest moments as an owner. But it wasn't.

Come By Chance, her first win for us. Vince Li is in the dark suit,  just beside the driver.
 To this point, I had never taken my grandmother Rose to the track to watch my horse race. It was now summer again and she only liked to go in the warmer weather.  We decided to go on a Thursday night and as it happened my horse was racing again. She was 9-1 and we didn't expect a win at all. She took so long to get that first win and she didn't seem to win often so we were just hoping for a good showing and to make some money.
It was bright and sunny when we got to the track but dark by the time the race went off. The horse didn't look like she was doing well as she was usually a frontrunner and this time she was racing from behind.  For whatever reason, the driver, Trevor Ritchie must have figured out that was a better racing style for her as she was in position at the top of the stretch and then just rocketed by the whole field in one shot and won easy, by many lengths. After that race she was in a racing accident and was never the same race horse, but that night was her best race for us.
My grandmother, by this time, was not that mobile. So, getting her to the winners circle in time for the picture was going to be tricky. Vince looked at me and told me they would wait. He knew how much it meant to me..and to her. He was good like that. Vince took care of his friends and family. While he and his wife, Rosita, made their way to the winners circle, I took my grandmothers hand and led her there.
In all those years of going to the racetrack my grandmother had never owned a horse and never been in the winners circle. I know how much that night meant to her to be able to finally do that, with her grandson's horse. I have many great memories from my years of racing, but that is still my favorite moment.
Come By Chance was a shiny bay horse. Triple S was a dark shiny black horse. Transtar was a beautiful majestic, pure, white horse. They all looked quite different but they all brought me great memories.
I learned a lot from my racing days,  both as a fan, and owner and a trainer.

 In the end, it doesn't matter what color a horse is..or a person is. A horse is a horse and a person is a person.
It doesn't matter if you are black or white. Or Chinese.  Or older. Or younger. Good times are good times.
I never really knew a Chinese person before I met Vince Li, but a few years later I met and married my wife, who is also Chinese and also from Hong Kong.

In my black and white world I have learned that all kinds of people have learned to live to together.

"Ebony and Ivory live together in perfect harmony".