Friday, August 14, 2020

Partridges, schools, families, buses,

Somebody: “Peter how do you like working from home?”

Me: “It’s okay I guess but I do miss my commute.”

EARLY STARTER: My big brother Tom enrolled me early inMe, in Young Designated Drivers of Canada
My big brother Tom teaching me to drive him

Somebody: “You aren’t being sarcastic are you?”

Me: “Nope.”

I honestly enjoy driving to and from work, whether it’s in my 2011 Malibu with its great sound system, a/c and the adjustable driver’s seat which is, in fact, the most comfortable chair in my universe; or on my 1993 Harley Sportster motorcycle, which I of course love and when I use that word I don’t fart around. I seriously like pizza but I don’t love it.

I’ve really really enjoyed driving since the first day my sister Norma let me at 15 years old get behind the wheel of my late father’s blue and white 1970 Impala.

True fact! I’m pretty sure she didn’t have dad’s permission, but my cool older sister let me drive the family car on dirt roads near our home town of Sudbury and the day I actually got my driver’s licence at 16  was the first time I drove on pavement.

I was scared because I thought I wouldn’t have any traction.

That reminds me.

Am I the only person in the world who — when he was in grade two — seriously wondered if he might actually be attending a school for, like, you know, “special” kids?  And that everybody was keeping it a secret from him?

I distinctly recall trudging up the hill to St. Albert’s School — Miss Winnie Trainor was the grade two teacher — and I was in front of Walsh’s house when it occurred to me. Across town from us near Ramsay Lake there was one of those schools; and it was called, I believe, Partridge, and I figured the Partridge families (ha-ha) never told their kids either, that their school was “different.”

were forced to play with real buses.

But I digress.

I just realized something else. I sort of drove even before Norma did me that big favour. Hands up everybody whose dads let them sit on his lap and steer, when you were far to small to even reach the pedals. 

We used to play drive, too. In buses. My dad and uncle operated a fleet of buses, so we often had one parked on the street in front of our house.

We lived on a hill.

HOME MADE CHALICE: If we were French, that 
would be a swear.

In the early days, none of the buses had automatic transmissions, so they relied on a parking brake to keep them from rolling; a parking brake, that is, and the fact that the front wheels were turned in towards the curb so in the event some five year old named Peter was playing bus driver and stepped on the clutch, the bus wouldn’t roll far. As if a four-inch curb would hold a 44-foot bus.

But there you were. My dad used to let us play bus driver all by ourselves, in buses parked on hills. I wonder if it might have been some sort of Irish Catholic retroactive birth control. 

Speaking of.

I also used to play at being a priest. Swear to God. 

By the time I was six, I had been to church often enough that I knew how to say Mass.

So more than once, I actually got a little white towel, placed it on the little table in the boys’ bedroom (stop thinking like that!!!) thus making the table into an altar, I put grape juice in one of my mom’s egg cups that sort of looked like a chalice, genuflected and made some hand gestures and basically did everything the priest at Mass used to do. 

I’m starting to think that stuff I suspected about St. Albert’s school was accurate. And I forget what I started to write about.






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