Some Strings Attached

By Jim Hagarty


Life is funny. I’ve played acoustic guitars for 43 years but because I play left handed, I have never played an electric guitar. I’ve never wanted to own one but I at least have always wanted to trying playing one.

I told a musician friend of mine this on Tuesday. On Friday, I went to a jam session at a trailer park nearby and and a guitar picker I’d never met before joined the group. He was renting the same trailer my family and I rented for a week two years ago. He is a great guy, an amazing guitarist and, oh yeah, left handed.

He opened a case, brought out a beautiful, left-handed, solid-body electric and placed it right into my hands. I sat down and played two songs on it.

I am on a roll and now I need to start telling people, “You know, I’ve been driving cars for 45 years but I have never OWNED a Corvette.” Then I’ll just sit back and wait for another amazing trick of Fate.

The Lawn Ranger

By Jim Hagarty

Here’s another thing that didn’t happen to you this week but did to me.

I was witness to the worst case of lawn rage I’ve ever seen. A guy speeding down my street yesterday went nuts when he saw that the road was blocked for construction but he didn’t let a little thing like a gigantic truck get in his way. Instead, barely even slowing down, he detoured up onto my lawn, drove on it the whole width of our double lot, past two of our maple trees and out the other side to the street again.

Apparently he was on his way to the National Genius Convention in Toronto. The only thing that bothered me was I was supposed to catch a ride with him to the convention but he must have forgot to pick me up. Oh well. I imagine he was one of the guest speakers so he probably had a lot on his very brainy mind.

Raised on the Bottle

By Jim Hagarty

I ordered my meal in the restaurant and asked for a Coke. I expected a glass of pop but instead, the waitress delivered my order in an old-fashioned glass Coke bottle, a little skinnier than in the old days, but close enough. OMG, the clouds had parted and Heaven shone down upon me.

I have rattled on and on for decades about how Coke (or any pop) out of a can or plastic bottle tastes nothing like the Coke of my youth which came only in glass bottles. Now that was when a Coke was a Coke! I couldn’t wait to lift this miracle to my lips and treat my taste buds to something they had been deprived of for so long.

I raised the bottle, and let the first swig trickle down my throat like shallow creek water over rocks after a winter’s thaw. Glug and then a couple of more glugs. Well, half in tears and full of emotion, I am here to report that this beautifully bottled Coke seemed to me to taste no different than the stuff that comes in cans and plastic containers. It was like finding out Paul McCartney really did die some time in the sixties and was replaced by a look-a-like. Or that the moon landing was staged somewhere in Arizona.

How could this possibly be? I am despondent. It is a cruel world. I was raised on the bottle. Now nothing makes sense any more.

Pit Stop at a Thistle

My friend and fellow blogger Al Bossence ( captured this remarkable photo of a monarch butterfly and a scotch thistle during a drive through the countryside near his home at Bayfield, Ontario, Canada today.

The End is Near

In my city, if a tree drops three leaves in the middle of summer when it shouldn’t drop leaves at all, a big truck and boom will be on it like drool on a baby by the next morning and down she goes. In the country, a few miles north of my town, stands this stately old beggar, not much to show for a summer’s growing season and maybe not much at all for the past few summers. And yet there she stands, waiting till the day nature sends some lighting and wind to lay her low. No farmer or municipal team has seen the need to hasten the inevitable. There is a dignity in that old skeleton. No birds’ nests any more, no children climbing to the top. But a life well lived and a monument to the beauty of Creation. Well done, good and faithful servant! May I see you in my travels another time or two. JH

The Oldtimers’ Lament

By Jim Hagarty

When I was young, I would get nervous if I was walking alone and I saw a group of young men walking my way on the sidewalk. Not sure why, but three of them, one of me, never know. Sometimes I would avoid them by turning into a store or crossing the street.

Now that I am getting old, I noticed something odd recently. I no longer fear groups of young men who, it seems, are pretty deferential to old guys. The guys I do fear now are other old guys.

This happened to me yesterday. I was strolling along a sidewalk on the way to a pharmacy when I saw an old fellow standing by the bank and looking around for maybe another old guy to talk to. Mean of me, I know, but I hastened my step, avoided eye contact and kept on moving. I did this because, to my annoyance, I have been caught in old guy conversations a few too many times.

I shouldn’t over generalize, I know, but the themes of these conversations are somewhat predictable. 1. The weather. 2. The good old days. 3. The health issues of my sudden conversation partner. 4. The sorry state of the world today. 5. The problem with the younger generations.

I was surprised, however, when standing in line at the grocery store the other day with a man 20 years my senior who opened up a conversation out of the blue about the Toronto Maple Leafs and their prospects for the upcoming hockey season. He didn’t just have general comments to make – he had facts, figures, names. Finally, an old guy living in the today and seemingly pretty happy to being doing so. I didn’t get many words in edgewise but at least there was no talk of bowel obstructions, wild kids, the wonders of yesteryear and how the world will probably end in 20 years or so.

I have been called eccentric and I am happy to own the title. How many old guys do you know who are terrified by the gangs of other old guys roaming the streets these days? I have a feeling your answer is “just one” and that one is the guy whose words you have just read.

For Sale: This 1949 Ford Two-Door Coupe

I was driving around the countryside outside of Stratford on Saturday night when I saw this lovely 1949 Ford two-door coupe at the end of a farmer’s laneway. The farmer, who owns a number of classic car, bought this one a couple of years ago and has done some work on it but is trying to pare back his collection. If anyone is interested in this vehicle, let me know and I will try to put you in touch with the owner. JH

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