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“if you see the Buddha, kill him!”

July 10, 2015

I’m walking back to my apartment with an armful of groceries when the aging rocker rolls by in his late ’70’s Camaro, and from the car I hear Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Simple Man blaring a little too loud for a man who is now in his mid-fifties. I look over and see an aging pot-belly, long tangled salt and pepper hair, a cigar. There is a confederate flag sticker on the bumper. “Nice touch,” I think to myself. “Why not go full in and let everyone know who you really are.”

-and in a flash I time-travel back, in an instant I am again – wholly, completely – that 15-year-old boy riding shotgun in my old man’s Chevy 1/2-ton – and we are driving down some eastern Ontario backroad; drinking vodka and delivering firewood, or a hog – or picking up a neighbor’s cement mixer, or boar – it doesn’t matter particularly –

– for it was an endless summer of riding with my dad – 1/2 in the bag – who shouldn’t be driving –

– I was 15 years-old and there was nothing I could do about. You could cut the tension in that truck cab with a knife.

My dad was always in the bag in those days – from morning till night – forever brooding in his anger and his resentments – feeding pride to nihilism 24/7/365 – swirling it around nostalgicly in the last drops of his vodka bottles – and me and my mom the #1 targets for that blunt edge of family dysfunction…

And I remember Lynyrd Skynyrd playing on the radio – my dad seemingly oblivious to the lyrics – the smoke from his cigarette barreling out of the window on the passing slip screen…

And then I snap back to the present – the car moves on – the music fading into the background of other urban sounds and I am here, on the sidewalk – and I am again simply walking home with my afternoon groceries – on a beautiful sunny Friday afternoon in south Halifax…

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