LeBrain’s Dad

Sunday Chuckle: Kiddie Chairs

This year’s Sausagefest was close to perfect.  I must be getting the hang on this camping stuff.  There was just one hiccup:  my chairs.

I wanted some new chairs this year.  My dad said to me, “Don’t buy chairs, I have two brand new ones you can have.  Just come over and get them.”  So that’s what I did, and we were off to the races.

After we arrived, unpacked and set up, I realized the problem.  My dad doesn’t read stuff when he buys it I guess, he just goes for the lowest prices.  That’s how I ended up with two kiddie chairs.  Large enough for a small child, and extremely painful for a fully grown adult.

See the picture below.  That’s my teensy weensy fucking chair that I had to sit in for two nights.  My ass is still recovering.

Thanks dad!

 

#760: Eliminated Headlight

GETTING MORE TALE #760: Eliminated Headlight

As children, we were told many stories of what being a kid was like in the 1940s and 50s.  The greatest toy was Mecanno.  (My dad’s Mecanno #7 set was a treasured possession.)  Movies were 12 cents on Saturdays, and you could stay as long as you like.  (Once my dad went to go see Red Rider with his pal Jerry Irwin.  He stayed for four — well, three and a half — showings.  Then his father phoned the theatre looking for him, as he was supposed to home a long time ago!  Boy did he catch hell at home!)  One thing my dad always emphasized to us was how sad he was that all his childhood toys were gone.  His little brother wrecked some, and his dad threw out the rest.  He says they’d be priceless today.  All gone; somewhere in a Guelph landfill.

When kids move away from home, they don’t take everything with them.  Things like old toys get left behind.  That’s how my dad lost all his stuff.  I had trust in him that the same wouldn’t happen to me, and my sister.  The number of times we had to hear about his lost toys, his Mecanno #7 set, and all that stuff…I assumed he wouldn’t do that to us.

I assumed incorrectly.

A few months ago my sister was over at his house, went down into the basement to look at the board games…our old childhood board games…and they were gone.

We found some of them in a storage bin, but the rest had been thrown out.  That included my copy of Chopper Strike, a turn based combat strategy game that came with intricate little pieces and a massive two-level board.  I bought it at a garage sale for a couple dollars in the early 80s.  It was complete.  The game came with an army of plastic jeeps and helicopters.  The copters had rotating blades, and the jeeps had moving anti-aircraft guns.  Lots of easily lost components.  Rare for an such an old game (1976).  We played it over and over and over again as kids.  I thought it would remain safely stored at the old house.  It cost over $50 to replace it with a complete one again (thanks, Mom).

At least my dad saved some of the obviously valuable games, like our original Star Wars and Transformers.  Everything else from Admirals to Careers ended up in the trash, lost forever.  Feeling bad, my mom bought my sister a new Careers game on Ebay (and replaced my Chopper Strike).

I thought that was it.  I thought the point was made.  I thought our possessions were safe again.

Wrong again.

Some of my old model kits are at the cottage.  The cottage is a great place to build a model.  My ZZ Top Eliminator kit has safely lived at the cottage for 30 years.  A few years ago I took it out, dusted it off, and secured a few loose pieces with glue.  The last time I saw Eliminator, it was fine.

This time, I noticed a few things on my shelves had been moved.  When I returned them to their proper places, I saw Eliminator was now a one-eyed cyclops car.  A headlight came off and was nowhere in sight.  It’s gone.  If it had simply fallen off, it would be on the shelf, next to the car.  I only had two suspects.  One of the two was more credible, while the other claims to know nothing.  I know it was my dad!

“You can always pretend it was in an accident,” said my sister.

I used to think my stuff was safe in the hands of my dad.  Now I realize I need to keep valuables far, far away from him!

#753: Ladano II

A sequel to #396:  Ladano

GETTING MORE TALE #753: Ladano II

The Ladano clan is very proud of Dr. Kathryn, PhD.  She has the musical gift:  she can write it, play it and understand its structure down to the very skeleton.  That’s why she’s the doctor of music and not me.  I don’t have those gifts.  I can appreciate music, but I’ll never really be able to play it (or Grok it) on the level she can.  Not even close!

I’ve accepted this.  I continue to write about music, using the limited vocabulary I have, and although I wish I could dig deeper into the nuances, I do the best I can.  When Dr. Kathryn tries to explain music theory to me, my eyes glaze and the words sail over my uncomprehending head.  I wish I could get her to write something for me, but a doctor of music maintains quite a busy schedule!  (Much of it is Game of Thrones nights.)

My dad played saxophone his younger days.  Whatever the genes are for musical talent, they skipped by me completely.  My sister got them all in spades.  People expect me to be able to play.  I get that question all the time.  Twice in the last couple weeks, people asked me what I played, and were shocked when I said “nothing”.   It must be unusual in music when one sibling excels (how many doctors of music do you personally know?) and one gets zilch.

I imagine my dad sitting in his bedroom playing that saxophone, in grade five or six.  He would be practising something, probably by John Philip Sousa.  He never could have imagined, living in that house at 18 Division Street in Guelph, that he’d have a kid who is a doctor of music one day.  His father didn’t play music.  His mother liked musical movies but that was about it.  He didn’t come from a musical family at all.  Where did all that talent come from?  My mom has some music on her side, but that’s for another story.

18 Division Street looks completely different today; I couldn’t point it out if you asked me to.  But I remember it, and that’s where our love of music probably originated.  My dad and his saxophone.

A least I can imagine what it was like.  When Grampa Ladano died in the early 80s, my dad found an old 8mm film.  It took a couple years to convert it to VHS.  What he discovered was a video of my Grampa, Grandmother, and himself as a child, at the old house on Division Street back in 1946.  Full colour, too, which was very expensive in the 40s and for several decades more after.  That should indicate just how special this roll of film is.  My grandmother, who I never met (she died when my dad was a little boy) was known for her beautiful flower gardens.  The Horticultural Society decided to come over and film them, and the family together.  My dad is the young child dancing around!  He wasn’t supposed to, but he was trying to get on camera, and they didn’t have a way of editing things out!  He was sent to go and play elsewhere!  My grandfather is the shirtless man.  Just like the old days when shirtless men would hang around the neighbourhood talking and socializing!  The other man is the mayor of Guelph.

I’ve digitized that old tape and now I can watch it whenever I want to.

This video, folks, is the beginning of the Ladano story in many ways.  My dad and his saxophone were really the start of it.  The people in this video are responsible for the site you are reading today!

 

Sunday Chuckle: A Tribute to LeBrain’s Dad

You’ve read the story, now you can hear the song!  Getting More Tale #488:  Almost Cut My Hair described a song that my dad likes to sing, called “Shittily Shittily La La La”.  Have a listen to my dad’s biggest hit.