Friday, 21 June 2013

Running on Ellmen

I was visiting my parents in another town and walking up Lake Street when I realized that this was the very building where I first met Eugene Ellmen sometime in the mid-late 1970s. In a small town like St Catharines it was perfectly reasonable to just "pop in" by just showing up at someone's house. My chaperone was the delightful Barb Seiler, who I was dating at the time. Among the dramatis personae in the room behind that bay window were Pat Rich, Eugene, and a chap whose first name was, I believe, Dave. Dave (David?) had been mugged the night before taking a shortcut past the Carnegie Library (since demolished) and the then-abandoned White Mansion (since demolished). Given that I was still in a collegiate (scheduled to be demolished) meeting these erudite sophomores was immediately oxygen to me.

Through this group I soon met Laury Cumming and probably was introduced to Mary Raudßus. Later still Richard Guitar. Richard is important to the story because he has the truck.

David (Dave?) introduced an interesting moral dilemma when he announced he was going to Kenora to scab at a pulp mill that was under a strike. While all agreed financially it was attractive, the natural left-leaning of small-town liberal arts college students found it morally challenging. Worker Solidarity and all. Also there was every chance that Dave (David?) would get yet another whupping.

Laury and I each moved to Toronto and remained fast friends up to my first marriage. Eventually we drifted apart. Eugene I have run into many times over the years with our children in tow at Toronto's CNE and the Ontario Science Center among other places. I suppose I really should take him out for a pint. His children must be nearly grown, as are mine. I am filled with nostalgia for Barb, and her family has made some remarkable contributions to the cultural history of St Catharines and its early Welland Canals. I think I saw Pat Rich on LinkedIn once, although it could be a posting on Ellmen's wall.

If I absolutely need to commune with their spirits then I surf on over to YouTube and crank Jackson Brown's  Running on Empty. That was our song. And for 4 minutes and 28 seconds they are back in my life, just like that holographic Princess Leia asking Obi-Wan Kenobi for help.

A tiny fuzzy projection of a time in my life that was a huge warm hug of great friends.

Looking out at the road rushing under my wheels 
I don't know how to tell you all just how crazy this life feels 
I look around for the friends that I used to turn to to pull me through 
Looking into their eyes I see them running too*

*Music: Jackson Browne
Copyright: Swallow Turn Music

Song: Running on Empty

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