Friday, April 7, 2023


Now that I am in my anecdotage, as my family remark rudely, my travels are limited by macular degeneration, diabetes, hearing aids, and a tendency to fall over.  So a dependance on wheelchairs, walkers and other drivers now limit me so I can only dream of flying with the RCAF north of Canada  as I once did

My old travelling companion is not hampered. My son John Henry celebrated turning 61 by traipsing around Europe and publishing on Facebook the photo trophies of visiting the birthplace of his grandmother in Holland. His wife Marie happily toured the France of her ancestors.

And I savoured every pixel. Once John Henry (JHDIII) and I gawked our way around the Caribbean and exotic sites from Easter Island to the Galapagos and the dangerous bits of South America. The memories meld now into a gazpacho of delight and splashing in the Trent substitutes for diving with hammerhead sharks. 

JHDIII had a drink or two at Harry's. There are a few bars like that dotted in legendary cities. But the picture took me back to the one in Venice where I once roamed on glorious visits. Like that trip with Bill Davis where I saved the premier and Cathy from being arrested at the Trevi Fountain.

It was Sunday morning in Venice and the press corp were tired from journalism before the days of cell phones and computers and you had to find a telegraph office to file. So we decided to greet the day at Harry's just over from the famous hotel. I was dragged along because David Allen of the Star and Allan Dickie of CP (we called them the Giant and the Midget) insisted. We were huddled around a starched table cloth on a tiny table when the big doors banged open.

It was like a scene from a movie in the early 1970s. In swept Orson Welles dressed in black with blonde bimbos on each arm. He carried a cape and cigar box which he handed to the bartender. He enthroned himself imperiously on a banquette, looked disdainfully at the crowd and snapped his fingers. The bartender ran up, unwrapped a cigar, cut the end and then lit it. Welles blew a plume of smoke over the  rabble as the girls giggled at being so close to a famous man.

I stood up and said let's go, we have seen everything now. 

When JHDIII sent me that picture it all came back to the years when my only concerns were not falling into a canal while drunk and where in hell was a telegraph office. I have many tales (the family say too many) and often the stars in them have gone to death and legend. I crashed into Mandela in Kyoto, was teargassed in Seoul, crash-landed with Justin Trudeau's grandfather in the Yukon, posed with Clinton, badgered Netanyahu.......

But I remember that beer at that bar looking across at the swollen actor with all the other stories that now churn in a memory that has volcanoes of missing facts.