Monday, August 26, 2019

Singalong With Tom

Check out this black-and-white treasure that I found online about three hours ago.

It’s from the May, 1966 issue of The Inco Triangle, the monthly staff publication, published by the biggest mining company in my hometown of Sudbury.  

Second from the left is my older brother Tom. All cleaned up in jacket and tie, "Tall Tom" as the writer called him was a member of a hastily assembled choir that gathered around the piano. “Until the wee hours of the morning,” the story tells us.

Pretty wild party, huh?

Sometimes I think I grew up on Walton Mountain.

According to the article, the songfest took place at the Annual Copper Refinery Athletic Association Dance. The copper refinery was one of the big mineral processing plants in town, and Tom worked there awhile.

I don’t know what he did at the refinery but I do recall him having a metal lunch pail (or bucket, as they were called) and every day, when he came home, he handed me--his baby brother--the lunch bucket and there was always some money in it that he let me keep. (Remind me to NOT ask him where that money came from.)

He also brought home a dog once, too, that I think he won in a poker game. Somebody in the family named the dog The Grump; and we had an old doghouse in the backyard that I tried to renovate so The Grump would have a sun porch up top to lie on but he never went up there.
I drew this myself. With my rendering and Tom's songwriting; small wonder
we ended up with the jobs we did.

I also think The Grump was the dog that disappeared one day and after we all searched the west end of Sudbury somebody called the Humane Society and found that he had been scooped up so my mom gave us $10 or so to bail out the dog and later we found out that she had secretly called the SPCA and paid to have him picked up in the first place.

But I digress.

What I wanted to write about was Tom’s musical talents, celebrated in this photo. He not only sings. 

He writes songs.

One of my favourites is a piece he calls, I believe, “The Fishing Song.”

The melody’s quite simple and goes pretty much any way you want it to go, but the lyrics are very specific and they tell a lovely story. 

They read as follows: 

“Fishing, fishing, fishing, fishing, fishing, fishing, fishing, fishing
Fishing, fishing, fishing, fishing, fishing, fishing,
By the light of the silvery moon.”

He also wrote “The Hunting Song.” Same tune as “The Fishing Song” but the words tell a completely different story. 

“The Hunting Song:”

“Hunting, hunting, hunting, hunting, hunting, hunting, hunting,
Hunting, hunting, hunting, hunting, hunting, hunting,
By the light of the silvery moon.”

I know. Pretty inventive.

"Peter,", you ask, "what do people make of the songs Tom composes?" Adjectives fail me.

However I’m sure if you go visit Tom in his home in Elliot Lake, Ontario--where he worked in the uranium mine for many years--he’d be glad to sing one of his ditties for you. He’s a man of many talents.  

His wife’s name is Judy. She is very patient.

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