Purple and Proud!

I graduated from the University of Western Ontario in 1997 with a B.A. in Social Sciences. At least I think that was the year; lost the framed certificate along with the other ones and most everything else I treasured back in 2010 when I became homeless due to alcohol and drugs, mental health issues, and self-destructive life choices.

Hogtown – Stepping On The Go!

Hogtown

I’ve been a fan of Front Street since stepping off the overnight VIA Rail departed from Montreal for the first time, summer 1980. I had come to Toronto to perform at the Zanzibar on Young Street, or to visit my eldest brother who lived downtown with several other post-graduate students, can’t recall which.  If it was the latter, being hungry after the overnight trip, he likely bought me lunch at St. Lawrence Market. Sitting on a stool eating peameal bacon sandwiches was trendy at the time, as was the exploitation of the female body; an expanding business manifesting from burlesque, striptease and topless go-go girls, to the full blown lucrative phenomenon that was table dancing and I was a key player. One arresting teenage mistake, followed by a jury trial, resulting in a criminal conviction paved the way down that deviant path (but that’s another story).

There was no golden glass skyscraper dominating the scenery in the early 80′, but the Royal York Hotel had been standing proud since 1927 and Union Station opened the travel hub that same year with Prince Edward snipping the ribbon. By then the city had become a thriving industrial center and there was a need for both. They called it Hogtown! The stench and squealing long dissipated; Toronto was built on the brutal butchering of hundreds of thousands of pigs beginning in the 1860’s. Today, the William Davies building at 145 Front Street East is all that’s left of the sprawling stockyards, packing, and processing plants. The Company was the first Canadian meat exporter and the largest food producer of the era, killing and shipping millions of pounds of salt-cured pork annually for decades. (No disrespect to his descendants, but for the benefit of those who do not condone the practice of eating meat, you could say that William Davies got what was coming to him when he died after being butted by a goat in 1931; well into his 90’s after a full life fat off the hog.)

 

A Dog’s Eye View – Afterthought!

“Fill your belly. .. make merry. Let days be full of joy. Dance and make music day and night.”  From the original Old Babylonian version of the Epic of Gilgamesh.

Afterthought: On Freebies – I apologize to my Mother if I arbitrarily portrayed her as a lush, chugging down Beer, Boilermakers, and Mudslides and making merry day and night!  

A Dog’s Eye View – Freebie!

When the 3rd period is too much to take!

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“What better way to pass the day than drinking a tall glass of whisky and beer on ice at Buddy K’s.”  (Most commonly called a Boilermaker/ Originated in Butte, Montana, in the 1890’s, then-called a “Sean O’Farrell” and drunk by copper miners after shift in the heyday of America’s first major industrial city. No ice cubes back then though!)

That’s what Mom said Saturday evening back in March, as we were winding down after a week of  watching over Granddaughter at our humble abode while Big Sis was away solo-backpacking in faraway Thailand. Fortunately all went well with the little one, which is not always the case when living in TCHC where anything can happen to spoil the mood at any given moment.

“Even better when it’s free,” Buddy quipped, in regards to her choice of beverage.  Continue reading “A Dog’s Eye View – Freebie!”

Quotes from Streets: Not Alone

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“I am in the same shoes as you,” he says “struggling too.”

“Life is hard,” the panhandler responds.

The  man  with greying hair wants to talk and Streetgirl is empathetic. One should not righteously receive so much from others without taking the time to return the favor in kind.

“I’ve worked in real estate for 26 years and I haven’t sold one property this past year. I may lose it all,” his eyes begin to well as he holds back tears. They reach out and grasp hands for a second, blessing one another as the light changes and he must move on.

“I know you are going to sell a house real soon,” Streets assures him waving goodbye and hopes that is the case.

 

Quotes from Streets: Farewell Friend

Seeking solace and a blessed place to say her prayers, Streetgirl flew her sign yesterday, straddling the curb and strolling up and down the island. Those same paths that her panning peer, so-tagged The Veteran, had ambled thousands of times. It was chilly,  but they’d been out in far worse weather and enjoyed it too; a freedom of sorts. If it was Joe he would be wearing a toque, thin shirt under a jacket year-round day and night, and sandals without socks; even though someone had given him a pair of boots two months before his passing.  Thrilled to tell the tale, how he’d been snoozing in the sun behind the gas station when a guy came by and offered to take him to Canadian Tire to buy a winter coat and footwear. One of so many kind gestures afforded him by strangers. That night they dumped his dirty smelly old one down the garbage shoot in our building as a ceremonial gesture and he donned the gift until the day he died. Continue reading “Quotes from Streets: Farewell Friend”

A Dog’s Eye View – X-Mas!

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I was going to post a happy go lucky egotistical tail about how great my X-mas was. That’s me in the photo heading east on the GO Bus to Big Sister’s. And about our Happy New Year down in Buddy K’s basement where the hosts are the most, the living is easy, and copious meals are served right on time; best bacon loaded weekend breakfast in the World!  However, with the passing of Homeless Joe my mood has soured, plus it’s already January 12th and the deadline has passed.  Instead I will take this opportunity to tell my faithful friend see u in Heaven!

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Farewell Joseph. My heart is broken! Never again will I hear your knock at my door and this saddens me so I can barely breath. Rest in Peace.

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THE DREAM

(From the archive – 2012I am lying in a comfortable double bed; obviously not mine since I sleep on a mattress on the floor in my current dwelling. Someone is curled up beside me. Our bodies do not touch, but I immediately sense a naked backside and catch a glimpse of pale pudgy skin and well-worn boxer shorts. Not a lover. Perhaps a friend? I myself might be naked, not sure, but I am carpeted and warm in a white duvet and there is a soft pillow under my head. Laid still, with dawns light breezing through an open window and fluttering sheer curtains, I survey the environment.

Continue reading “THE DREAM”

Quotes from Streets: Musical Trivia!

A five dollar bill visible in one hand the woman pokes her head partway out the window and says, “Quick question. Who is the composer?”

Never been strong on trivia, perhaps due to perceived trauma Christmas 1980, 20 years old and playing the brand new board game sensation “Trivial Pursuit” with the family, led by an intellectual and dominating father and two older smarty-pants brothers; she was bound to lose. However, today the unmistakable ominous first four notes of “Symphony No. 5” coming from inside the car jogged Streetgirl’s mind to emit an immediate unwavering response.

“Beethoven!”

And the music lover passes the money with a smile, “You win.”

Perspective – Summer 2018

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Looks like an ideal spot for a nap by the lake, doesn’t it? Not! This is a hammock hung by a Canadian Aboriginal homeless man on a steep slope of trees and bushes along the edge of the highway leading to the Allan Road Ramp where he panhandles on a daily basis.

A Dog’s Eye View – Raptors Reflection!

raptor reflection

The reflective photography was practiced under the pretense of taking a picture of Buddy’s new second hand mint condition truck. In reality, while heading up his driveway to drop my poop bag into the green bin, Mother caught a glimpse of her own visage in the window and couldn’t resist a selfie. That’s why we spy 3 images of her and only 1 of the vehicle. Mom thinks it turned out cool and that she looks like a Hoodlum or a Hollywood Paparazzi straddling with a beautiful beach in the background! U can’t see it clearly, but she is wearing a 2016 Drake Night Raptors jersey. Continue reading “A Dog’s Eye View – Raptors Reflection!”

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July 2019 – My dear friend Diane Ley (a.k.Lady Di) passed away. May she rest in peace.

Quotes from Streets: Standing Tall

“Stand tall, don’t you fall oh, don’t go and do something foolish,” Burton Cummings, 1976

“Hey, where you been? Aren’t you working now?” Streetgirl asks the younger panhandler who she hasn’t seen for a few months.

“I lost the job, my home burned down, and my Dad died after being diagnosed with stage four cancer; a blessing in the sense that he didn’t suffer long.” With sadness in her eyes she described being “so depressed.” Back now, ready to humble her-self once again in order to survive. To stand tall and “keep on going.”

All Streetgirl could offer the other was a hug. Such is life!

Still Alive!

Jeff almost died from an overdose last month, but by sheer luck and/or the Grace of God he did not!  This is what he told me when I paused to say hello on my way to a long postponed mammogram; a symptom of severe anxiety drives me to defer essential medical appointments among other things, but this year I am pushing forward and forcing myself do what may seem simple to you. Continue reading “Still Alive!”