– Don’t bury me in a cardboard box.
One night before he was married, Dad took Rita, a St Joseph’s student nurse, for a drink at the Strathcona. Three guys at the next table started swearing.
Dad turned to them and said,
– Can you tone it down?
Conflict ensued and ended when bartender, George Goodenough, threw the foul mouths out.
As they were leaving, one said to Dad,
– We’ll see you outside.
When Dad came out to take Rita to the nurse’s residence, he heard a voice.
– There’s the son of a bitch!
– I couldn’t have handled one of them, let alone three.
At that moment, the door to the restaurant opened and two of Dad’s apprentices came out.
A man said,
– Jesus Christ! That’s Alan Curtis!
Alan started working for Dad when he was fourteen. He was a Prize Fighter and Golden Glove Champion.
– Are you having any trouble, Boss?
He asked Dad.
– No, I don’t think so.
Dad got in the car and had Rita home in time for her 10 o’clock curfew.
The dogs are scratching and barking. They are locked in the kitchen to protect Dad’s wound while he sleeps. It’s three AM.
– Are you okay?
I ask, checking on him when I see a light go on.
– Let me put it like this.
He says, working hard to get from his bathroom to bed.
A man from Ocean Cement was taking Dad for lunch at the Princess Mary. Dad met him in the bar of the Imperial Hotel for a beer first.
A table of half a dozen guys started giving them a bad time.
Dad’s colleague says,
– Here I am, my first day of my new job in Victoria, got a new suit on and I’m gonna get my clock cleaned.
Very quiet, a man tapped Dad’s shoulder and said.
– Are you having any trouble, Mr. Ormiston?
Behind him was a table of eleven rugby players with H.A. (Sandy) Ormiston printed on their jerseys.
– I don’t think so.
Broken, he says,
– I’ll have to tell Barbara to stop coming on Fridays. I’m falling apart.
– I don’t want to be a burden.
Dad’s friend’s unstable son was aggressive towards him when he continued his friendship with his mother after his father’s death.
– If you’re trying to intimidate me, I don’t think it’s the thing to do.
– When you see your brother, you ask him if he remembers a fella by the name of Gilbert.
Gilbert was a big, fat man that weighed over 300 pounds.
– He went to work for me.
– He never lost a pound but he lost all the fat. He’s built like a brick shithouse.
Dad said to the son,
– You ask your brother who Gilbert is and I’ll have him come talk to you.
It’s five AM the next day. The dogs are on their second night of crying for Dad’s bed.
– Katie? Are you up and around?
I hear in the darkness.
I run down the hall.
– Are you okay?
– Oh, I was just wondering if you were up and around.
I crawl back in bed.
The phone rings. Auntie Kay died.
We visited her less than two weeks ago. She was just back from the casino.
She fell and broke her collarbone. She didn’t last long after that.
– If you bring me Oreos and come back fifteen minutes later and there’s still an Oreo, I’m not napping.
– I’ve left the cookie behind and gone on.