Friday, March 4, 2022

Ed's not-so-secret recipe for kickapoo cariboo joy juice

AND ON DECK...ED: Always up for an interesting time

My older brother Eddie died four weeks ago, and I won't bore you with how much I miss him, but I do want to share a story about something that happened a few years back.

Thing is, under other circumstances; i.e., if Ed weren't dead, I'd text him to fact check the story. 

The exchange would go something like this: 

Me: "Remember when we were at the Quebec winter carnival and you were kissing that woman and her husband showed up and knocked you off the wall and you pranged your arm?"

Ed: "Yeah."

Me: "Was his name really Kong."

Ed: "Yup. Kong. What's your point?"

We were in university--him at Laurentian in Sudbury and me at Carleton in Ottawa--and we'd decided to check out the famous Quebec carnival that happens in the week leading up to Lent. We arranged to stay at our aunt Della's place in Ste.-Foie, a suburb of the old city. 

Mid-afternoon, Eddie and I found ourselves standing high on a three-foot-tall ice wall, watching the parade and probably clutching those yard-long hollow plastic canes with the twist-off caps. You could fill the canes with whatever you needed to drink.  

At one point, filled with the excitement of Mardi Gras, Eddie and the woman beside him (whom neither of us had met before that instant) were laughing and passing the cane back and forth and, yes, kissing, when suddenly she pulled back and yelled "My husband! Kong!"


A guy appeared from out of the crowd, took an angry run at Ed and either shoved or punched him so hard Ed fell off the wall. It was serious, too; i.e., serious  enough that he had to go to emerg but we waited until we returned to Ontario the next day because we were  young and stupid and thought our Ontario health care coverage wouldn't work in Quebec. 

Kong's name is just one of the quite-a-few story details I'd fact check with Ed. 

Another involves his 1957-era Fender MusicMaster guitar that I am, as of last week, in possession of. My daughters Ewa and Ria rescued the instrument from Ed's apartment and it still smells like Players cigarettes. 

Whenever Ed visited our place, our cat Iris predictably sidled up to him for skritching and I think she recognizes that it's his Fender and misses him, too.

Here's me fact checking the guitar story: Me: "You know that MusicMaster you got from Moe [Sauve, a friend of our brother Tom's]?"

PLUCK OF THE IRIS: She had a soft spot for Ed
Ed was probably 15. Moe hired Ed to play bass in a Sudbury bar band called The Kings' Knights. At one point, Moe was short of cash so gave Ed the Fender in lieu. To fact check, I'd text: "Did you guys really play in a strip club in Sudbury when you were 15?" 

Ed: "Yep. The Belton. (He'd be talking about the long-gone Belton Hotel.) What's your point?" 

My point is, actually, I just remembered that in my wedding speech, I said something like, "Eddie's done so many cool things that when it's my turn to go, I hope Ed's life  passes before my eyes."

I just remembered something else. 

Those drinking canes I mentioned a few paragraphs ago? The rotgut (I think it was a blend of wine, apple juice and rum) that we drank out of them during the carnival was called "Cariboo." 

It's 11 in the morning. I wish I had some now.

1 comment:

  1. Did Della feed you banana splits and junk food? On my grade 8 trip to Quebec City, Della and Lucien showed up at the place we were staying (I believe it was a seminary), took me and my friend Sharon to their house, fed us and took us back with bags of junk food. Two people who loved to spoil nieces and nephews..