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A Snowball's Contemplation

by Anthony S. Tross

Last I was here in my commentary I was at Paddington Station awaiting my train to the west-country where my granny and school were, and where I had run from in furtherance of de-schooling. Well, I had to turn myself in. First to my long-suffering Mum and plain suffering Grandmother, and then to the Headmaster of Blundells School. Granny had little to say, probably because things like that just were not done in her day. In her day boys volunteered for the slaughter in Europe, and King and Country were the highest possible calling. Except for the idle caste of course. They tended to die from a 100 mph cricket ball to the scrotum, or a murder most foul over the family jewels. Same things really.

Mother was obviously upset, but gentle as always. She knew what I could expect from the Headmaster and for my Father’s sake and the ‘family name’ all she could hope for was for me not to be expelled, and all I could hope for was to be expelled in as few and least angry words as possible. I won, except not in so many or rather too many words and granny remained angrily stoic mixing two quite non-miscible adjectives. The Head ranted, raved, and in every way reiterated his position, his school’s reputation, the superiority of the English Way. Once his wad had been shot there was not time for refractory rest so out we went to the still leather smelling Austin Cambridge and went for tea. The truly scary part was yet to come on the other side of the Atlantic where my Father would be fit to be tied. I had some time before that fateful time.

I cannot speak for it today, since privatization of British Rail and any number of other changes to the system, but I can say that in the early 1970′s taking the Cornish Riviera Express was an adventure, not too costly and full of historic scenery from castles to the horse. Who put it there? The horse is the divide between south-east and the west-country, where we are going.
Apparently leaves from Paddington daily, more than likely expensive and goes too fast for proper appreciation. Back on to your gadgets ladies and gents where I’m sure you will find a decent picture.

Do I have to decant my meetings with Dad, school guidance, admission to a high school of last resort, skipping of those classes to sit by the Ottawa River and on the colder days reading my way through the University of Ottawa library? Only that last bit? Wonderful, as that’s the only one that matters anyway. Father accepted my bull rushes for the most part out of a desire to not have to deal with the under performing anti-establishment, ‘is that really my son’, progeny. School guidance was some kind of a pretend game – my drug was hashish, his cocaine and alcohol, we both knew it right away and the less said the better. My ability to learn remained unabated and the university library my church. I would walk in and wonder where the day would take me – mathematics to philosophy, Scientific American to Smithsonian – always knowing that I would be more enlightened leaving than when I entered. Didn’t even have to go out for a smoke in those days. This meant I leaned to learn stoned on hash too as I could go to the bathroom and have a toke or two.

The longitudinal researchers, assuming there were any such acronymic creatures following my progress must have been quite impressed. Why was I not hanging out at the pool hall and other teen habits. I was doing a bit of that though not often. I couldn’t do that if I was to follow my other great passion. Sitting at the pub with my ex-classmates discussing politics, and every other topic including girls and hashish. Our favourite haunts were within blocks of Parliament Hill, I had a pass to swim at the pool in the Chateau Laurier; had to be careful there though as, well, let’s leave odd goings coming where they wish.

Interesting observation: within two blocks of Parliament Hill one could go from the highest art at the national gallery, to the greatest performances at the National Arts Centre, to some of the most talented writers at the National Press Club, to world-class shopping on the Sparks Street Mall (no vehicles allowed, best psycho-actives encouraged), to pubs where what was said at the pub generally stayed there. Unless so inclined one did not go to the parks after dark however. Oh my goodness, and the espionage. Next time.



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abuddha (Tony Tross)
Swift Current, Sask.
Member since July 2014


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