Ati; To Everyone Else Frank

337ee55b2e9bc0fa09e7049d13e0d28bThere aren’t many historical visuals of father, plying his trade as ace mechanic, for it wasn’t our practice to consume effort memorializing our work. (Today easy access and inexpensive photograph technology serves as an indispensable tool in most work places) During his informative years had he wanted to sacrifice more of his freedom, he’d have become a prominent engineer. On asking his reasoning, of this choice for vocation, he placed straight the index finger of both hands, tip touching tip, began rolling them quickly until they were in a spinning motion over each other and said simply, “I liked wheels.” To this day, passing his 87th on May 8th, coincidental to Victory Day and the end of WW2 in Europe, he chooses one, from his small fleet of maintained bicycles, to visit a latest non-deceased doctor for checkup. Uncomplicated beginnings. The rest, not so much. A favoured recollect of humour that went on for a number of weeks, paralleling his philosophic perspectives and life long devotion, because if he likes something and it works for him, he’s a dog on a bone, to my repetitive chagrin. I guess he wanted his curiosity quenched, to find through his friend, the day’s mutual activity and buddy just happened to interject this index finger rolling forward motion, as a part of physical expression to enhance, relating to something they had been planning to do. Dad was carefully listening and watching, asked excitedly, “What are we going to do then”? Friend, while talking on, starts rolling his fingers counterclockwise, signalling backtrack and of course my dad looses his marbles with laughter. Some people are made for each other. This simplistic, in some circles unsophisticated, view of how the natural world operates, when applied to engines, transmissions, universal joints, differentials, gears or anything mechanical would leave you falsely believing, anyone can be genius. If stranded deserted, with a broken machine of escape value and the chance of whereabouts sacrificed to forever unknown, dad is the save guy you want. His attention when focused on expertise, including materials, finds his mind fully activated and all perceptible resources are applied to the task at hand. He’s also the fortunate recipient of a superior education and is an astute calculator.

Dad joined into business partnership with a co-working English mechanic and the two as they had mutually precluded were a good match. Robert White was methodically verse with the procedures of running an office, communications, and the electrical side of auto-mechanics and though during the 1960’s hadn’t begun to approach present awe-inspiring levels of complexity, did require a knack for abstract logic, as it includes the dynamic of tracing sources of invisible power. They served as compliment, to cover the missing elements and forgive each others weaknesses, whereby when individual, they would be destined to fail and much later exampled itself, when they branched out on their own. I reference Bob affectionately because some period ranging from my age of five to that of resilient consciousness, whereby, the processes of working around machinery, should not leave me debilitated,  I’d spend a sincere amount of after school and summer hours in his self created office space, cocooned and aided by supervision, with father’s permission if not to be a nuisance. When not there, he’d quietly indulge his tutelage skills for my benefit, at a workbench, whilst breaking down and rebuilding generator’s, alternator’s and regulator’s. An earlier birthday gift from him, a vinyl album by the artist Gordon Lightfoot, my first of any sort, went on to become a wider collection of music, as was generationally popular and will always be gratefully remembered, for it’s impact. Knowing Bob, greatly contributed to my life’s versatility. Recently, I came to discover that Bob and Dad had occasion to repair the renowned Canadian musicians 1964 Red Corvette. 1964_Corvette_Top-2

Bob ornamented the front of our business building location, with his edgy, luxury, late date night automobile. The immaculately kept, often admired, adorned with purpose, by creating curiosity and intrigue, should this marvellous visual masterpiece, truly be housing mechanics of the worshipped craft and be they deserving of such a spectacle. The 1962 Ford Hard Top Automatic Thunderbird was blessed with a unique steering box, that when the engine was shut off the steering column when unlatched, would swing 45 degree’s to sit over the gear shift column, leaving the driver with the odd sensation of car without a steering-wheel. The dashboard console seemed space age and the moon seemed one small step from man’s grasp.1962-Ford-Thunderbird (1)

The Thunderbird contributed to it’s own notoriety, was found displaced a number of times, for intermittent lengths, over several years. The first time stolen in broad daylight from outside our local liquor store, but always returned, by way of help from the police department. Many of our client’s were officers, and also friend’s. This proved useful, in as is often typical of industrial area’s, the poverty level of local’s was significant. Random crime was to be anticipated, as a supplemental means, to their survival. A cluster of Dickens downtrodden children, reminisce of his novel’s prolific characters, found prominent the perimeter of our shop and the train tracks that served as lifeline to industrial production, included hobbled, aged turn of the century housing, in the clutches. They were to become my first introduction to rudimentary extortion. Father always had a soft spot for the orphaned, or infirm, or the hardened by no fault of their own, having fallen into misfortune and it’s culture. I was cautiously allowed, in limited quantities, to play with the children in the adjacent parkette, ball or chase, but of course with ample warning from not so innocent dad, about a potential for treachery. DLwlhhBX4AAe3xq

From the time I could remember I always had buck or coin in my pocket. In part it was Dad’s strategy, for requirement had me run the street, to errand the restaurants, of beverage or food for employee and client, at a moment’s notice. When a couple of boys known to me, beckoned from the rear of our garage, to alley and in need asked for some money, I obliged. Something I was warned to refrain. Sure enough my next meeting with them was ugly, as their second effort at my generosity was requested. They upped the anti and threatened to aware my father of the original giving. In fear of being admonished, I relinquished to their demands and subsequently had to attempt avoiding them, whereupon they became more aggressive, waiting out, in cornering me, anticipating cash similar to a modern day bank dispenser. In street lingo, they call the situation, “getting in deep”. I rightly don’t remember how it ended, but always, the couple summer months dodging, misery and discontent.

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Neighbourhood teens were given opportunity to make hay, by acceptance of handy jobs, with our encouragement. Some would show cause, then quickly dissipate, while others took advantage, to the point of thriving. Many of the young men and their brethren found themselves in biker gangs but we found commonality with some of the decent, although difficult in purpose. I recall one newspaper event and the participants known to us, had grabbed a young boy, a group of similar others controlled him, one pinched his nose while another poured gasoline down his throat. Thankfully, Gilbert made the hospital in quick order, fortunate of nearby firefighters, for the stomach pump. He was known to be a mischievous brat. Extreme’s are difficult to judge. His twin sibling Allen was an industrious and diligent worker who later married, departed the city limits and successfully raised a healthy family of six. Two older brother’s, destiny unknown, but probably a life of additional than needed, violence.

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With frugality dad purchased a 1950’s General Motors Company (GMC) three ton, from the scrap yard and modified it by shortening the chassis, added a power take off and from scratch constructed the back-end into a tow-truck, with the manufacturing help of, from the time, engineering specialist of this type, Jack Sygnes, and professional welder Ivan Talan. Our blue and orange coloured logo, dashing, primarily the downtown eastern industrial district of the city, whether sleet, snow, rain or immense heat became an early morning roving visual constant to Toronto streets, for two decades. In tow could have been anything of substance, be it exotic or mainstream automobile, to heavy-duty gas or diesel truck of most weight classes and would definitely have been inclined to receive the complete service of our expertise, successfully. Such were our expectations. 1958-chevy-apache-viking-tow-truck-11

We excelled at the large jobs that in house mechanics of trucking firms, having reached a dead end, were unable to repair either for need of equipment or by extension lack of skill but ownership or management deemed that net worth risk and viability, to be exceedingly cost effective, relative to the financial burden of total vehicular replacement. We were a place of last resort. The variables of this decision making process are extensive and I’d begin reciting the more common reasons, however again, this would consume me from this current theme. Suffice to say that a knowledge niche, to those involved, can become highly profitable for all parties and from multiple angles.

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Proprietorship requires the will to devote long hours in the event of changing circumstance. Promises made, must be endured with additional commitment should perceived time frames alter because of misdiagnosis or unpredictable problems. If an eighteen wheeler needs to be on the road on a Monday two weeks from today and we fail in our objectives, you’ll soon find yourself without the best of client’s, where the gravy, when found, is consistently thick and tasty.

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I was often an unwilling, semiconsciously observing, hostage, de facto apprentice mechanic, as all children similarly, to their parent’s particular vocation, should gratefully be. Maybe I sickened of cleaning and polishing the theatre as a non-stop function of my duty. Father in his obsessiveness about cleanliness and not just as part of his religious make-up, finds necessary, an effectively functioning mechanical shop. Our garage could double as the emergency ward of a hospital a seemingly incredulous statement this degree of sanitization, however, from my experiences we were clearly cleaner than hospitals I’ve had occasion to visit and sleep in. The insides of transmissions and engines to the untrained may seem filthy but machinery breaks down almost immediately with misplaced particles that are difficult to detect because of lubricants, oils and such that are needed to operate them.

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Long after the employees had departed for the evening, or before they would show in the morning, or on days that should be considered, holiday, I would often with reluctance, be in father’s presence, getting things done. He would control this alone time for the task of disassembly, discovery, and diagnoses, with the intention of ordering the parts needed for repair and reassembly. I would stand by his side trying to figure out how I could be doing something else. He was impressive, openly for my benefit, tactically verbalize, logisticize, difficult to detect weaknesses in one area that manifested themselves further along the mechanism, to a larger damaged area. To repair an obvious problem, without recognizing and preventing the cause, means an unhappy customer will be back in your office with the same predicament in short-order. Your work is either all encompassing, or futile. So it was that dealerships and by extension parts producers and engineer’s of the largest auto maker’s, would surprise themselves with frontline visits to our confident garage to argue the viability of their designs. Sometimes these potentially costly efforts would become heated in argumentative exchanges, however, I never recall an occasion whereby my father’s judgments weren’t proven useful or correct. The proof is in the pudding, suggesting, that repetitive assessments, in the broad scope of unforeseen variables provide for comprehensive results, unrealized in theoretical, hypothetical conclusions made on the drawing board.

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North American models required tools reflecting the British measurement system while European models are based on the Metric System. Our compact parts room, was comprehensively organized for both the more common needs, of trucks and cars, domestic and foreign. Otherwise, we had a flotilla of appropriate quality suppliers and machinists, reflecting the spectrum of versatility afforded us by the vast experience of our two bosses. Our stock room also contained the employees change room and an onus to supply our mechanics with fitted coveralls bearing their names and the subsequent responsibility of cleaning their uniforms. This rooms walls and ceiling also happened to be well-endowed, with curious and confusing photo calendars of cars with women in various stages of undress. Some represented our advertising portfolio. During my 8th year of school, the birds and bees flipped my switch and this area of our workplace took on new lustre. If I wasn’t working as nurse for dad, I’d be assigned to other mechanics as their gofer and assistant. As they opened up, or detached, or probed, or discovered, or foreshadowed potential needs, I would as a time saving measure be sent for tools, parts and equipment. “Bring me a lock washer and a seven-sixteenths” or “bring me the power-gun and a three-quarter inch socket” or “bring me a philips screwdriver and torque wrench” and I’d scurry off, with intended speed, representing efficiency, locating items to continue the procedure in a quickened, coherent fashion. A decent portion of effort I would contribute by shining light to the dark shadows of crevices of the underbelly, with a standard incandescent lamp, supporting vision to a potential problem and additionally lend a fourth hand as counter-force, or to defend a mechanic from awkward metal or hazardous obstacles. At some point I began to define an organized successful work ethic and the quality of mechanic that plied trade in our establishment. Each individual unique in technique, approach and procedure. I had my favourites and although much older than myself, considered them friends and protectors. Trinidadians, Collins and Fitz in particular I remember for their kindness, loyalty and awesome dispositions.6f57f7dab8d6cdd23fa5c880bc524591

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So it was, that we maintained regular contracts with the Ontario Board of Education, the main government branch of post offices, (the public domain) , Brinks Trucks, Martin Cartridge and an unending amount of independent volume that required us to carry anywhere from four to seven descent to superior mechanics, which my father would chauffeur and bring to charge. This extensive variety permitted my curiosity to be explored. In particular, I enjoyed rummaging through the structural architecture of security vehicles, having to avoid unexpected entrapment and of course if a car was placed off the ground on stands and it looked fast, I’d play with the stick-shift pretending to be a formula 1 racer. My idols were Jackie Stewart and Mario Andretti. Sometimes dad would just find me under a car asleep on the creeper, something he obviously found perturbing. He was always on look out for my mischief and it’s possible that child proofing contributed to our workplace outstanding safety record. Life with metal is riff with danger even if the intention to bludgeon isn’t the offing. Human flesh and body parts are a potential testing ground for corrosive acids, explosive chemicals, sharp jagged iron and intense heat exposure.

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My worst personal accident, that can still make my skin crawl, forty some years on, despite suffering symptomatically worse sport’s related injuries, occurred during my early teens in a period of increasing responsibility. Dad had asked me to reinstate the two rear axle’s of a truck’s differential housing and re-bolt the flange. I had appropriately cleansed the well lubricated heavy piece’s and had aligned the first axle into the shaft but was having trouble in placing the steel teeth into the groves. Carelessness merged with inexperience, suddenly sucked my fingers wrapped around the flange, pulling my entire body along and upon contact, elicited a distinct painful screaming sound. Father was instantly hovering above me, as I sat shocked on the work stool with both hands crumpled, afraid to look at something I couldn’t feel. I was relieved when he angrily called me an idiot and said as future caution, “your lucky the engine wasn’t running”, turned away, returning to his work. When I could think again, I saw each of my eight fingers identically punctured at the centre of every nail with a varying array of bright red blood. I believe this factored, in a lifetime avoidance of horror movies. Never enjoyed them and always wondered about those that do. images (1)

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From the legal Canadian working and driving age of sixteen, to the age of twenty-one, I claim numerous investigations, into differing job experiences, with the hopes of determining a future. Some were larks, I accidentally stumbled into and gave research, others strategic to strengths I believed to hold, that could lead to viable opportunities. A beginning independent adventure, was six weeks of summer construction, into the roads to nowhere of Northern Ontario, by way of an associate’s paving company. Municipal bonds, paid six young men a handsome bounty to fill the cracks of broken roads with tar. I occasioned a weekend day, to an adjacent, flat, small, U.S.A border town to find the city square, intriguingly ornamented by a military tank. Investigation of stores led to a brief encounter with a Vietnam Veteran suffering the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Contained always in his shirt pocket was  a BIC pen he claimed beholden, to having saved his life. Triage required the unusual use of the pens outer casing to re-attach from fragmentation, a severing of the main inner thigh artery, to prevent from bleeding out, until he was helicoptered to a M.A.S.H. unit. As you can surmise the economic and political aspects of this employment were of greater consequence than the work itself. Six weeks with six sex starved boys in a small town, was the proper amount of determination, to take what we could and escape Dodge. We did our job efficiently, made good doe, gained some experience and headed home. Similar veins of opportunity were created by father’s of friends, with a painting company and a construction repair contractor. The automobile trade is demanding but cracking. breaking and pouring concrete while maintaining desire is an alternative type of hell. God Bless the people who carve out a living pouring slow to harden rock and the plumbing related pipes they cover. And to this day I don’t care how many cases of beer and caviar you use as lure, I’m not coming, to paint your new abode, even if your my bestest friend and the conversation should be fun. “Caution”, ‘exaggeration ahead’, I become deathly ill during the holding of a brush or roller. It’s stroking the paint lines evenly, that’s frustrating. It’s stroking the paint lines evenly, that’s frustrating. It’s stroking the paint lines evenly, that’s frustrating. It’s stroking the paint lines evenly, that’s frustrating.

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Moving on, whilst coaching boys early teen hockey, I found favour from a players parent, who controlled a car leasing company and I decided that a minimum pay rate, including expenses with the occasional return flight if need be, to car jockey the country, was a keen method to geographical insight and domestic adventure. One rare memorable winter trip, I solicited George, to accompany in the driving of two cars to St. Johns Newfoundland and we would return with one. Approaching the Christmas season, I was hesitant to journey, burdened with a peculiarly late first semester high school exam. Unwise decisions always seem tremendous, of course, until they’re not. Shouldn’t have been one, became two nights of Disco dancing on Saint Catherine Street in Montreal at the infamous Club twelve-thirtyfour (Club 1234). The former funeral home, had been resurrected to house, contorting, gyrating, far from dead, humans. An evening later, night driving found us entering Nova Scotia having indulged consuming curiosity stops in Moncton and Fredricton, New Brunswick. There, a sudden winter blizzard smeared our visibility and on a steep incline we found ourselves stopped behind an eighteen wheeler. Instinct deemed ourselves stuck in weather related congestion but while contemplating the missing car volume heading the opposite direction, I reacted slowly to a dangerously developing situation. The truck ahead, with weighted spinning wheels, dramatically accelerated in attempts to move forward, was instead slip sliding back, an amount similar to a third of the distance of clearance I’d given his rear. I was still nonchalant, when his second effort dawned, that he couldn’t see us, back the length of his truck. Equally unaware George, had his car in tight against mine and I too late summoned him to quickly reverse. We sat with the responsible driver, warming in his cabin, with falling snow, exchanging our stupidity and insurance information. Fortunately, the damage although severe, hadn’t penetrated the radiator and other vital organs, so we were able to proceed.

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We pick up remembrance, at the first gas station coming out of Cornerbrook, accosted by several concerned but nevertheless always friendly Newfoundlander’s. “Has the ferry arrived?” “Were you on the ferry?, “It’s six hours, late!” I was overwhelmed on recognizing the significant life line, provided by this mode of transport, to the inhabitants of essentially a massive island nicknamed “the rock”. With tanks full, I became earnest and decided that interruptions weren’t going to be acceptable. Beelining was now ‘the thing’. Someone could be illusioned, by a representation of these events, into believing I truly cared about school .download (2)Passing beneath an overpass a police officer waved me over to the wide stone shoulder in front of him. Obviously prime hunting grounds for unsuspecting out of province visitors. I popped out of the car to greet him, habitual for me in allowing the authorities an opportunity to view my weaponless hands. As I walked towards him we met someplace halfway to his cruiser and on glancing, noticed that George was driving by, I hailed him to pull over. The policeman thanked me, for now he was able to penalty both of us because if I was speeding, logic concluded that my compatriot following, must also be. I shrugged to his obvious statement of fact. Forgotten preemptive plans, are important. Lesson learned. Anyway, we were both somewhat disaffected recipients of $51.50 Canadian currency fines. Just another in a list of incurred, ‘the cost of doing business’. Internal numbers were beginning to show, a European vacation would have been less expensive than this employment venture. 8C3Z-6R007

We proceeded smartly at a semi-reduced higher speed, to encounter a second member of a truly dutiful enforcement agency, but this time we shrewdly avoided our earlier error and gathered together as bandits would, at a later preordained location. Again I exchanged pleasantries with uniform and was about to walk back to my car, whereupon glanced the ticket tally, abruptly reproached the leaving officer with a distinct yelp of wooowwaa, “What’s this?” In a sharp return, he extended his polite head sideways, tilting to examine the thumb placed beneath a perceived discrepancy. I stated incredulously, “I was stopped about forty-five minutes ago and received a speeding ticket for this identical amount of $51.50, but I’m going slower?”. He knew instantly, where I was coming from with my question. Ontario. Same country, different province (state), alternative rules, contrasting punishment systems. His reply, “In Newfoundland your speed over the limit isn’t reflected, the fine is always the same”.  How delicious.cogs-2279289__340

Having notified our home office of the earlier trouble, plans had been implemented, requiring an altered drop off place and multiplied paperwork. Robust effort, still didn’t manage to get us out of St. Johns until well after nightfall and laying ahead that same needed ferry, probably wasn’t going to be late, returning us to mainland Canada. Our new used replacement, gas friendly, straight V6, had about five years on it and from my inspection, was in very good shape. George had fallen asleep exhausted beside me in the passenger seat and I found myself gradually pressing the ‘petal to the metal’. The dry, one lane highway was straight as an arrow, for miles and miles. The only light, our fully shining moon, happy above and in front, as if leading us along the forested, hearty rolling hills, of vastly alternating length and elevation. The speedometer showed 260km per hour, my real speed was faster and probably closer to 180 or 190 mph. Concentration was optimized. My habit of quick repetitive looks in the rear view mirror were sacrificed to focus exclusively on the hopefully open road ahead. Sudden changes in road conditions, such as meandering wildlife, or fallen rock, or unlikely human debris, would need to be responded to instantly. Pleasure driving, this isn’t. I was tense but also calming was the vastness of space and our continuing isolation from man made traffic. Some time eclipsed, and an extended visual stretch allowed for a quick glance at history, to see a set of headlights a far off distance, atop some four hills away. I computed this information without needing a second thought. About five minutes later I found opportunity to take another peek at history and was shocked to find it catching up to us. ‘Who the Fuc….. is this guy’, I asked myself. In five minutes those headlights had gained two significant hills or an estimated 7 to 10 kilometers. ‘This guy must be crazy’, or, under my breath, ‘he’s gotta be a cop’. ‘This is gotta be a cop’. Who else would be driving speeds that were actually cutting distances in half so quickly. You would need nerves of steel, a modified, government issued speed machine and intensity training. I waited to drop out of sight having calculated a couple smaller hills ahead, to obscure, where I would use the larger hill behind, as cover to the smaller second hill ahead to attempt my ruse and I therefore continued racing for the first smaller top to make it over before he’d have a chance to see me again. There, I cut velocity by 75% and briefly experienced the sensation of time having come to a stop. He came flying over the top of that second hill nearly slamming into my butt, more shocked than I, to find a little old lady from Pasadina driving her 1934 model t-ford. He sat behind me for a long while, contemplating, which deliberating cruisers tend to do , as I continued to fein a molecular impossibility. I believe, my intention had him unsure if I was the one, or if the actual culprit had passed me, was speeding and extending distance. Still uncertain but not wanting to be fooled, the red swirling light had me pull over immediately, as I decidedly, ended the chase and charade. This time I sat in my vehicle waiting for his arrival, debating the simpler times of our lives, before the advent of seatbelt laws, the abolition of smoking on public transit and in hospitals, a conscious free happily sinking their teeth into meat-eating society, an oncoming, quickly approaching Orwellian “1984” and the advent of mobile, communicating listening devices. My third brush with the law in less than a half day, would be considered by some undesirables, as an achievement. The officer was curt in asking for my license to drive and I wasn’t the type to pretend, so we understood each other right away. I wasn’t going to freely divuldge information to alleviate his suspicions. He went back to his car to check my statistics, now probably as notorious as a kids baseball or hockey playing card. George continued curled unmoved in his seat, pretending to sleep, as if nothing were happening, snickered and I told him to hush, as things were still developing. The policeman returned miffed but admirably polite, handed the potential summons, wonderingly asked, if I’d like to have the courage to accompany him, on a trip to the cop shop and view photos of the resulting trauma on humans and high speed. I was respectful and said thanks for the offer and ‘times a wasting’. He opted for a, “Good evening” on departing. I had endangered three lives, maybe more, as I grappled with the concept of a third, actually our fourth ticket in the amount of, you know it, $51.50.

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I throw this incident into the fire, because I may not find a place to add it anywhere else, in a prolonged list of unusual occurrences. In the first working years of restaurants, a visiting from Quebec, co-working waitress, Monique or Angelique, something ique, gave me invitation to a party at her Montreal home. I accepted with glee, to highlight a common theme of North American culture in the late 70’s, frequency of social curriculum on French Canadian soil, enhanced status to dialogue, equal as tripping to “Gay Paree”. It was the “In” place to be. My personal needs were always primitive. Dance, dance, come on and dance, dance your booty, dance, dance, dance the night away, dance dance, ‘dancin’  in the streets. I showed to her place on a Saturday, a neighbourhood composition identical to my own suburb of Toronto, finding mostly those a bit upward of my age, but of course as would be anticipated, a decidedly French fluent Catholic group, of university student’s, trades and professional people. Acclimatization wasn’t wanting and I had the distinct impression that a competent bi-lingual female friend had been made aware of my pending visit. The only sincere residual feature of this woman I have today, is a verbal to myself, “Christ she’s hot!” and matching, she had the personality of a ‘firecracker’. We were immersed in conversation immediately and for the entire evening. She would release me occasionally, here and there, I believe for my benefit of interacting with other party-goers and then welcomingly circle back, to continue understanding each other. The sexual revolution that large swats of our population was emotionally devoting their entire belief system, was in it’s fullest swing but I had a couple of negative quick experiences and sworn off indulging the lifestyle.  As a practicality in my schedule, deliberating the five hour drive back and forth between two provinces on a regular basis, to date this interesting loveliness was beginning to permeate the depths of my male consciousness. However, the sub-conscious was projecting my eternal commitment to Caroline although we weren’t officially involved, we always seemed to be indulging each others company. This surprise murmuring, of an internal debate of anyone but her, I found disturbing, as the wonderful archaic emotion of guilt washed it’s way into my evenings social interaction.

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My free flowing French fluent, mesmerizing English interest, re-approached to obliterate those unwanted thoughts, probably close to a punch bowl and we continued our exchange of perceptions, unsuspecting of a coming too quickly roadblock.  As an innocent anew to start dialogue she asked, “When did you arrive to Montreal”? “Last night”, I answered. “And what did you do”? Problem. I can’t lie. I could evade from answering specifically but to be uncomplicated and forthright I replied “Actually, I went to a strip joint”, and seemingly with naivety she proceeds, “Oh, which one?”, as If simultaneously oblivious and stumped, that they may exist somewhere in her city to identify. I replied, “I think it’s called ‘Super-Sex’ or something like that”, thinking how could it possibly mater. She throws out, even surprising herself “I didn’t see you there”! Ding ding ding ding ding and sirens began screeching inside my shelled brain. She’s a stripper! If you do venture to read any part of my writings you’ll find I generally allow the reader to decipher one’s own judgement of situations but on this occasion I’ll open up to explaining how my mind operate’s because it reflects on my perception of intuition, as a necessary part of an individual’s definition, self protection and examination of life. I like women. Typically speaking, “God only knows why”. To some this may seem a slight against womanhood but the significance in my statement, is belief in a supreme being, because it’s so obviously not us. Sometimes for long torturous stretches, the availability of enticeable allowable interests, thereabouts beginning, from the pre-mature age of thirteen, that should imply happier times, are none. Word on the street, as described by my legal minded friends was that liberal provincial and municipals by-laws in Montreal, removed the need for imagination from the broader equation. We were also aware that biker gangs controlled the under-ground scene and all the chattels that accompany this business. Dubious of the rowdiness and asinine behaviour that a group of young teenage men represent, I tended to avoid these collective situations as a precaution to my continued existence or as avoidance to the associated nuisance. We’d been to Montreal many times to disco but being alone, I pre-planned this anticipated excitement, for a pi of this trip.

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I knew many a guy and a girl or two, including both of my sisters who were more so mechanically inclined, that would have jumped at the opportunity afforded me to indulge in a life of heavy machinery, exotic automobiles, a successful business, make a decent living and possibly proppel this foundation, into ever increasing opportunities, but as happens in life, I seemingly squandered. The obvious began to take shape. i was rejecting my father’s footsteps and the disappointment was beginning to effect his motivation and ambition. At some point, what’s the point? He’d been feeling me out for some time. His thinking that maybe i wanted to make a move sideways. Repeatedly refrencing how much respect he had for tool and die maker’s, Robertson Motors,

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We couldn’t consider the success of our family business, without the uncomfortable truth that this opportunity presented itself as byproduct from the horrors, suffering and our continued endurance of the second world war. Ati the only vocal calling my father I’ve ever used, means dad in Slovenian, was left fatherless as a direct result of German enemy force action in what came to be known as Yugoslavia. (South European Slavic States) My father called his father Tatek the endearing Croatian word for Dad. My father with mother’s okay named me Milan in memory of a Montenegrin Serbian friend. Yugoslavia for most intended purposes was a cobbled together Slavic partisan military that caused chaos and mayhem to Hitler and his invading axis ( shouldn’t be on our property) soldier’s. It became post-war policy that enemies captured inside this duristiction were by their military rank required to serve prison term or equivilant as punishment or disguised as volunteer accordingly, as such, manipulated for their ability  and to the usefulness of the nations re-construction. It followed logic that officers making regular army, tended to have higher levels of knowledge, experience and information. A common wiemark soldier or corporal was forced to commit  two years of labour while majors lutenenants, kernals and generals would have to serve three four or five years respectively before eligible to be granted release to return home to Germany. Subsequentlly, it wasn’t uncommon for former soldiers having acclimatized, and having nothing to return to, to stay in our now nations, after serving their terms and become German ex-patriots in Yugoslavia. As I became more aware of the ongoings of history and father’s personal events I nicknamed him ‘Rommel’s mechanic’. A reference lost on most in my purview and why I in my odd way enjoyed using, for just telling a need to know my dad is a superior mechanic, had equally little meaning or bearing to an uninformed.

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They were standing in the compound of our family square, that sat atop, the second highest ridge that makes the outer natural protective shell of the previously well to do village of Strigova. Some, two thousand years ago, during the time of Roman Empire, speculation claimed, it may have carried the strong name of Stridon and fairy tale that Legions having traversed far and wide on returning the road to Rome while resting these hills nick named the village and surrounding, “Nectar of the Gods”. If fable, a still truly significant claim by those of earth, to the glory of a heaven and witnessed testimony to the undeniable magnificence of this countryside. My grandmother, father all of thirteen, his older sister and my deceased grandfathers best friend Zorec Stejpan had gathered to discuss a future for my father. Seven days of brutal savagery had laid our land to waste. The expired had been removed or pushed into the trenches, the farmhouses all, were riddled with bullets, rooms missing, many in their entirety, trees cut in half or down and much of the soil poisoned with chemicals of war and the spraying of Zlatica named so for it’s ominous golden film. Recovery of these previously beautiful field’s would require the intervention of it’s inhabitant’s but more importantly God, for nature to hopefully heal, from the most recent of human lunacy and the spiritual destruction of paradise.

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Rommel was nicknamed the the dessert-fox for his acumen on the battlefield by his enemy combatant’s. The nature of warfare creates as many philosophic speculations for causes of, as there are they who are willing to engage in active conversation about the theories of politics and economics propelling man to unfathomable solutions. Perspective is affected by prejudice and prejudice by acknowledged information and information by the quality of truth. One undieing pervasive theory that continues to find itself vested in todays consumerism, is German technology. Rommel’s successes were associated with his ability to use his mechanized units creatively in the realm of modern warfare and his improvisations were often results of a direct relationship with respected front line mechanics, the foot soldier’s of mechanical engineers. It was said that his army went on the know how, his mechanics sent him. Victory or defeat was the sum ingenuity of practicality. Nothing more, nothing less.

Greatness is almost always an extension a quality, relative to adversarie and foe. The more respected your opposition or, the multiplied a reputation. To evaluate the innumerable component’s occuring simultaneously over a five year period that encompased most generally an entire world at war is a study one lifetime can never observe, obsorb and calcullate to a satisfactory conclusion. The year 2019, would it be possible that a soldier somewhere is still carrying out orders given in 1943? let’s hope not. That would be one loyal and or, delusional human. “Time heals all wounds”? Or is it, when it dosn’t, we try to destroy memory of. “Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it”. I might add those trying to destroy conscious memory of history are preparing the field for ever worse outrages

battle-of-el-alamein-bernard-montgomery-britains-best-general-866919And of course in this case multiple foes. My favorite quote by “America’s fightingest General”, “If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking”.

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Dad and partner were trained during the cutting edge of mechanization, neccesity being the mother of invention. Nothing brings about neccesity like millions of dead, by the use of force, in a  brief period of history. i would argue man is never at peace only dormant until the preasure is re-established for civilization to express it’s animal self. However, I abhore violence and war just as certainly as a bar fight or domestic violence and always intend to serve as peacekeeper.

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George S. Patton 1945 by Boleslaw Jan Czedekowki

George S. Patton 1945 by Boleslaw Jan Czedekowki

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after dad retired many called to have him accompany them to auto shows as their personal mechanic even if for a week. the pay that would suffice is a case of beer and conversation. tanks ex communist leader limouse it’s strange the scrap yards secrets.

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i never focused on the colluseum as anything other than a monumental historical building. However, the mechanics of the the building spawned the concept that allowed God to continue formulating the idea in my mind, gratefully.

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Gordon Lightfoot —-Black Day In July              Gordon Lightfoot —- On Yonge Street

Gordon Lightfoot — Sundown    Gordon Lightfoot- Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald

Gordon Lightfoot — Early Morning Rain         Gordon Lightfoot —- Rainy Day People

Gordon Lightfoot — Cotton Jenny           Gordon Lightfoot – If You Could Read My Mind

The Beach Boys —Fun Fun Fun                            The Beach Boys — 409

The Beach Boys — Good Vibrations                     The Beach Boys —  Sloop John B

The Beach Boys — California Girls                       The Beach Boys — God Only Knows

Tracy Chapman—-Fast Car                A Foot In Cold Water-Make Me Do Anything You Want

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