Tuesday, June 9, 2009

My Brother Darryl

My brother Darryl turned 60 last week. (My other brother Darryl will be 55 next month). He had hoped that it would be his last day at work but says he must work until January 2010. I'm sure Toronto Transit Corporation wished it was his last day too. He has worked for them for many years, mostly because of strong union support preventing them from firing him. The last escapade, he was over heard threatening to shoot the TTC president. He got off with a reprimand, so many days without pay and made a personal apology. They ran him thorugh a metal detector several times before they let him into the president's office though.

When he retires he will move back to the farm and live in the house which has been empty since our folks died. The yard is still enough full of junk that he will putter away to his hearts content.

He reminded me that he celebrated his 20th birthday in Texas. When He graduated from highschool, he hired on with a custom harvesting outfit that started in Texas in early June and combined grain all the way north, arriving in southern Saskatchewan in September. There were two combines, a New Holland and a Massey Ferguson, two IHC trucks and a pick-up pulling a house trailor in which they slept and in which the boss's wife cooked.

Those were big combines 40 years ago but would be dwarfed by today's behemoths. Likewise the trucks. The 10 ton tandem-axel units of yesterday have been replaced by huge grain carts hauled by tractors in the field and by semi trailer trucks on the highways.

My brother had lots of fun, being young and foolish. Since many young men were away in Vietnam fighting national self-determination on behalf of corporate profits, the local girls were happy when the combine crews came to town. The boss allegedly said if he could have put my brother in a cage and charged admission, he'd have made more than he did combining.

Of course, he got many questions about Canada, which he assumed were just being asked in fun and answered in like vein. Some years after, he realized that the questions were serious and they took his deadpan answers as God's truth.

Do you grow corn in Canada?
Oh, yes, almost as much as you do. But our seasons are so short, we have to start it in greenhouses and transplant it by hand when the soil is warm enough.

Do you have electricity in Canada?
Well, in summer we don't really need it as it is daylight almost 24 hours and we camp out by our fields. But in winter we gather around electric poles and build our igloos close enough to run extension cords for lights.


  1. OH, yes; the Toronto Transit Commission. Headed years ago by a guy named Allan Lamport. Built the subway system under the main parts of the city (the first system of its kind in Canada, if I remember correctly). Now it goes all over the place.

    Americans and their "understanding" of Canada. Sigh.

    Speaking of mass transit, how do the trains work where you are?

  2. I see humor runs in your family.

    Don't forget to mention that all Canadians play hockey and only eat flapjacks with maple syrup. :-)

  3. RB - mass transit is excellent in this adopted country of mine. Trains are main transportation for any distances over 100+ km. Everything is double to quadruple tracked. BUT infrastrucure is getting up there in age and repair will be prohibitive.

    D - I told a women in Spokane once that I had never seen a basketball game (true at the time) and that my favourite sport was curling. Could not believe the former and never heard of the latter.

  4. So, now uncle Darryl's current boss also wants him in a cage?


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