Thursday, May 20, 2010


Andy Grabia, a very good man and an even better writer, wrote down a few thoughts about this upcoming summer and a few little things he would like to accomplish before Labour Day rolls around. He asked a few friends if we could jot down our own 'summer bucket lists', as he called them.

Here in Toronto we have had wonderful weather since April Fool's Day, making up for last year's awful summer. I've been in shorts and sandals for a while and we've been visiting the local ice cream shop since Easter Sunday. Its been a roller coaster seven weeks. I was in Dublin for a good friend's wedding and we have had visits from family and friends that have brightened our days. Jenn and I have had some great nights out as we've emerged from the end of winter funk. Our kids are absolutely brilliant.

But hanging over all of this has been the end of days for our loyal old friend. Sirloin steak tonight and an explanation to the kids that Ben is not long for this world. I'm hoping to pull him through the weekend but that itself may be pushing it.

So Andy's challenge is a welcome diversion from the tears. I love fall but I'm a summer man first and foremost. This year already has a number of promising adventures lined up. We will go to the Island as we always do. For our anniversary we are going to see U2, one of my favourite bands and one I have never seen. And I am making a second wedding pilgrimage, this time to Fernie B.C. for my cousin's nuptials.

This summer's rhythms are already off. I am not playing hockey this summer for the first time since 2001 and it will be the first summer since 1997 that Ben will not be with us. Strange days are coming.

But in the spirit of Andy's lovely post here are a few little things that I would like to get done before Labour Day comes. Little things and new things and things I have not done in a while.

Take my son to Seekers' books on Bloor Street, my favourite book store in the world

Wake my kids up to see the midnight stars at the family camp on Ministic

Check out a bluegrass matinee at Grafitti's in the Market

Read (try to read?) Finnegan's Wake.

Work on my novel.

Walk down an old country road in PEI.

Take my kids for a walk in the northern woods.

Go fishing.

Watch To Have and Have Not, one of my favourite movies.

Drink gin and tonics on the porch.

Go up to camp with my Dad and help him build something.

Get a brushcut.

Buy a nice pair of shoes.

Go for a walk in the mountains in B.C.

Sit on a patio with my wife and have a few drinks.

Take the training wheels off my daughter's bike and watch her ride away.

Jerk off a little bit more. (OK kidding, that's not possible, not enough time in the day) ;)

Go to the movies by myself, just like old times.

Lunchtime sneaky pints at McVeighs.

Replace my lost Moondance CD. Wear it out.

Do a photographic essay of old churches in PEI.

Take my kids to a lighthouse.

Baileys in my coffee in the morning when we're on vacation.

That's a start.


Coach pb9617 said...

Drink gin and tonics on the porch.

Amen, brother. That and take the kid fishing and actually catch a fish so I don't have to hear about how great of a fisherman his pap is.

On the Bench said...

It's the summer of Ben Pat.

It's always the way you'll remember it.

All the best.

andy grabia said...

Thanks, Pat. I knew yours would be better than mine.

rubbertrout said...

Cherish the last few days with your boy. I feel for you.

Bruce said...

Wake my kids up to see the midnight stars at the family camp on Ministic

This one's my fave, surprise, surprise.

If it's in August (the closer to Aug 12 the better), have your family watch for shooting stars. The Perseid meteor shower is a great group activity requiring no equipment more advanced than a lawn chairs, sleeping bags, and a thermos. OK, two thermoses (predicting adult content in one of them).

Anonymous said...

Good morning from Pei. 2 islander suggestions; The Stead Road in Wheatly River, and Frangelico is much less sweet in your coffee.

Woodguy said...

Excellent list.

Your ability to capture the essence of "being" in words is quite special Pat.

I was born in Fernie B.C., moved away fairly young but spent tons of time down there both winter and summer.

There is a restaurant/pub on the edge of the river on the west side of town.

You need to sit on the patio, drink a beverage or several and stare at the mountains and watch the river flow by.

When I was a traveling wood salesman based out of Calgary my territory included Fernie.

I have spent a lot of quality time on that deck and highly recommend it.

Black Dog said...

What's the name of the place Woodguy? I've been to Fernie once, hit the town with my cousins, don't recall a deck though. Will be there for a few days so I will check it out for sure.

Do you know them - they're McLeans as well - Spencer and Brendan. Brendan is getting married.


Thanks for the recommendations anon Islander. Will take you up on those.


Bruce - will be on PEI then, hopefully out by Wood Islands, will try and remember that. When we are up north its absolutely amazing, the night sky is white with stars. I have had friends from the States and southern Ontario come up and they are just flabbergasted. Its absolutely the best show on earth.


And all, thanks for your compliments and for your kind words of support, I appreciate both very much.

Woodguy said...


Name of the restaurant is Rip n' Richards.

Very good food too, but the deck right next to the Elk River with views down 2 valleys is awesome.

macaotim said...

Great post...I thought this might be a good idea for Oilers...a bucket list for the mighty Oil drop:

1. Draft mega-star
2. Don't sign whale
3. Un-fuck-up the team
4. Get the CBA on an audio-book and listen to the WHOLE thing.

Give the dog an ear rub from us.

Black Dog said...

Thanks Woodguy I will definitely check it out.

Tim, that is some funny shit.

HBomb said...

Sad times Pat, with regards to Ben - I think you can take solace in knowing that the big guy was loved every minute of his life and had a good long haul - not all pets can be so fortunate.

And, as per an article I was reading a couple weeks ago, there's a bit of silver lining to all this - your kids (or at least the two older ones, I'm guessing Kate's still kind of young to understand what's happening) are going to learn to cope with loss, which isn't easy to do when it comes to a beloved pet, but a lot better than losing a human family member at a young age (I didn't have to deal with such until I was in my mid-20's, and am thankful for that). I'm sure you and the wife will help them get through this, good parents that you are.

Keep that old boy loved to the last minute - I don't doubt for a second you'll do such.


Black Dog said...

Thanks Tyler.

macaotim said...

Hey Dog,

On a fishing related note...I think that Elk River mentioned above is stuffed full of Cutthroat Trout. I'm not familiar with a lot of BC streams, but in Alberta I buy green fees at a number of really cool little streams stuffed with trout. If you have a few days, or are driving through, I could point you in the right direction.