10 September 2007

Wedding Day In Canada

I don't care what the people may say
I don't give a fuck anyway
I don't care what the people may say

Ian Hunter

The wedding was held in the old Heroin District of Fort Royal in a house built from Bumblebee timber during the latter part of Queen Victoria's reign over the Empire. As we made our way up the walk it was not hard to imagine the ice man pulling up in his horse drawn wagon to make a delivery. In my days as a Fort Royal man the closest I came to setting foot in the then notoriously violent neighbourhood was to load up a shopping buggy with Carlsberg down the hill at the liquor store - the same liquor store beside which Legs and I smoked a bomber with Old Joe and paid him $10 to sing us "Anarchy in B.C." on his beat up acoustic guitar in 1979.

The back garden, itself an image of Victorian horticultural talent, was already busy with guests emptying the first of many cases of wine and leaning into giant tubs of ice cold Canadian beer. I leaned into the tub and grabbed a couple welfare beers for me and one for Sonja. It was so hot an American beer would have tasted good after the long, dry drive from Steepleton.

The whole adult Hockey family was there except for dad in Newfoundland and Axel stuck working a weekend shift sawing beetle kill in 169 Mile House. Marcus was taking his time with a .5 so he could legally operate a motor vehicle later as sister Sal sampled white wine. They had just returned from the provincial capital where Marcus had vomitted into the opposition benches from the visitors' gallery on a tour of the legislature after a long lunch at Big Bad John's. Sister Sal could always handle her liquor better than her men.

Hunky Z and Kitty were entertaining a small crowd with a huka pipe filled with Afghan hash in the old house's tight front room. "Those Taliban motherfuckers are still making the best hash in the world Beer," he enthused through a cloud of smoke thick enough to hide the entrance to Osama bin Laden's mystery batmanian headquarters. The hash smelled of forbidden sweetness and the survival of old ways at long odds. Kitty's enthusiasm was a silent one. She eyed the red embers filling the huka's bowl like she was the woman who discovered fire.

As we headed back to the garden Sonja asked, "You used to have a huka like that one didn't you Beer? I bet you'd like to fill your lungs a few times with that fragrant shit." I took a guzzle of beer and answered. "Yeah. I can live without the fucking pot real easy but the smell of powerful black hash is mighty fucking attractive to an old dope hound like me."

In the garden my mom and Reggie introduced us to the groom and groom. Dick and Tracy both live in an Anarchist community in Bolivia. Dick is the Canadian one, here to take advantage of his old country's open ways and take Tracy deep into the twittering Canadian wilderness for the first time. The two of them are a couple skinny fuckers, like they have not eaten anything but coca for years.

After everybody had been drinking, smoking and nibbling on fabulous catered finger food for a few hours the marriage official assembled everybody for the short ceremony. Rings, jokes and kisses were exchanged in the shadowy afternoon. Cameras clicked and women cried like they did the day Diana died. It was sweet as a bee's bed. When it was all done we applauded like the Canucks had just won the Stanley Fucking Cup.

After that we all started to really hit the booze as we danced to salsa and the Rolling Stones. We talked about Freedom, Motorcycles and the Living Dead. The neighbours shouted, "How are we supposed to sleep with all that racket going on?" Our host shouted back, "Take a fucking pill buddy!"
Late in the evening I spoke with the host's mother. I did not ask her age but I guess she was in her 80s. Despite her age she was hitting the wine like a Hollywood starlet. She told me about why she moved to Canada from Holland. "My husband inherited a pub from his parents and the lifestyle was killing him. After we settled our debts we left for Canada without a pot to piss in."
She spoke glowingly of her lesbian daughter's partner and how much she and her dead husband adored her. Then she told me about the true love of her life. She was a motherfucking Canucks fan.
"My husband and I bought season tickets the year they started in the NHL. Sixth row!" she shouted as she hit me in the bicep. "We had tickets in the sixth fucking row! Of course the team was the shits nine years out of ten but I dressed in my superfan outfit every game and blew my horn as loud as my little lungs could manage. The year we just about beat the Rangers was the best. That motherfucker Messier wrecked the party."
It was a damn fine party and you know how I could tell for sure? I was asked to clean up and patch up a guest's face after she tipped down the back stairs onto the cement below.

Dick and Tracy began their Great Adventure as I did my best to keep my old car, with Sonja's kind help, between the ditches all the way home under the marquee moon. I hope the two guys have as many good years together as Sonja and I have had. It is not about where you are going, motherfuckers. It is about getting there.

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