Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

My Sam Heughan encounter April 20, 2015

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A true story.

Back in the summer of 2013, there was a lot of excitement over Ron Moore starting the process of casting for Outlander.  When Sam Heughan was cast in July, he and author Diana Gabaldon started tweeting a lot, and it was fun to be part of the delight and anticipation.  Diana teased him a LOT, and he gave as good as he got.

On August 2, Sam tweeted that he was going to Canada.  I expected him to be going to Ontario, because when people talk Canada, I know they’re not usually thinking of us here in the West. The next thing we knew, Sam had posted an Instagram selfie of himself beside a lake.  I looked at the photo and posted on Facebook, “That looks suspiciously like he’s in the Okanagan…”  i.e. my home town of Kelowna.  I tweeted him and offered to take him out for coffee.  So far, Sam hadn’t had any ‘Outlander fan’ meetings,’ and it would have been fun to meet him, say hi, chat about the books, and the adventure he was about to embark upon.  I know Diana from writing conferences, so she could vouch that I wasn’t anyone creepy (See PPPS, below 🙂 ).  Sam did not reply.  (Not that I was surprised at that; you know the adage: nothing ventured, nothing gained!)

He posted assorted photos from around our region, including one of a relation and a beat up old pick up that they were travelling around in.  August 7 he posted a photo of himself in the Rockies that sounded like he was leaving the country.  I presumed he had made it to Calgary and gone back to Scotland.

August 8, I headed across the Rockies to a writing conference in Calgary  (When Words Collide- a very entertaining Sci-Fi/Fantasy event).  I was on my own in my cute lime green bug, Sheila.  Along the way, I saw a couple of young men standing beside a vaguely familiar old pick up on the side of the TransCanada Highway.  The guys were looking scruffy in shorts and Tshirts.  I glanced over as I drove by; one of the scruffy young men met my eyes.  I always wish I could stop in these situations, but as a woman travelling alone, without mechanical skill, I do not.  I tried to look sympathetic as I gave him a smile, but alone in my cute little Bug, I didn’t stop.BugcovercropTwitter

I got to Calgary, checked into my hotel and about 9 pm that night, logged into Twitter to read that Sam Heughan had been stranded on the side of the TransCanada Highway for 4 hours that afternoon.  The truck had broken down on the way to Calgary.

The truck I passed.

I met Sam Heughan’s

eyes.

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PS>

Sam *does* drive around all the time in my Bug, in the guise of a ‘Pocket Jamie’ tucked behind the bud vase.  When I picked up Diana Gabaldon at the airport last year, she climbed into the passenger seat, caught sight of him, pulled out her phone to take a picture and laughingly said, “Pocket Jamie sure gets around!” 😉

PPS>

In the interest of complete honesty… There were 2 young men.  One was at the front of the truck, looking down, like at a phone; one was walking around the box and he looked up and met my eyes.  I think the one whose eyes I met, was actually Sam’s relation, and Sam was the one at the front, busy with his phone, not noticing me go by at all.  But that is not nearly as fun a tale, and so I apply literary licence.  I like to think that if Sam had looked up, I would have actually recognized him, and ‘knowing’ him, would have stopped.  Right?  (cough).  So it’s his own fault he was stranded so long.  If he’d been paying better attention to cute bugs driving by, he could have be rescued far sooner!  😉   At any rate, I definitely saw Sam.  It’s just 50/50 whether he saw me! 😉  Though you’d think he’d at least remember a car that looks like this, wouldn’t you?

PPPS>

In looking for the links to Sam’s tweets for this post, I came across this whole hilarious conversation between Diana and me that happened through the wee hours of August 4-5.  The poem she refers to is http://www.shawnbird.com/poem-dear-Sam-Heughan (which she helped me write, the traitor).  🙂  Perhaps in consolation, Diana dedicated her daily lines to me on August 5th.   Fair trade, really.  😉  Summer 2013 was full to ->bursting<- with Outlander magic.

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anecdote-overheard in the classroom October 15, 2014

Filed under: anecdotes,Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 11:05 am
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“I know this guy

who chopped off all his fingers in a blender.”

What?  Was he intoxicated? drunk? high?

“Nope.”

You’re kidding.  Why would he do that?

“Well, you know, he wanted to prove he could touch

the middle of the chopping part without getting hurt.”

But he couldn’t, apparently.

Shrug.  “I guess not.”

Huh.

“Yeah. People from Calgary are stupid.”

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Sometimes, I am very afraid for the youth of today.

 

 

Centenarian! October 11, 2014

Filed under: anecdotes,Commentary — Shawn L. Bird @ 8:18 pm
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Dad’s 93rd birthday

My father’s 100th birthday is being celebrated at our Thanksgiving Dinner tomorrow, though there are still 2 weeks until the official day.  (Yes, I was a late in life baby). 🙂

Dad was born in Montreal in 1914.  He had two older brothers, but he was the only one to survive to adulthood.  He remembers the soldiers returning from World War One.  He was run over by a (new!) Model T Ford when he was 3.  He was an active member of Boy Scouts and saw Lord and Lady Baden-Powell when they visited North America in 1935.

He worked for Burroughs-Wellcome Pharmaceuticals in the 30s. During WW2, he tried to enlist, but they refused him, because the doctor heard a heart murmur.  He built aircraft at Fairchilds in Longueuil, instead.  In the 50s, he and a friend came to Vancouver and started Maco Industries, a building supply wholesaler.  For the next forty years he worked for them, retiring finally around 70.

He was married twice.  He had 3 adopted sons with his first wife who had tuberculosis and couldn’t have children.  His second wife brought 3  children into the marriage, they had one biological child (me!).

He was an avid tennis player and table tennis player.  He was playing tennis into his 70s.  He was still playing table tennis when legally blind, into his 80s.  He couldn’t see the ball, but he could see the shape of his opponent’s paddle, and knew where the ball would be.  He walked several kilometers each day until his 90s.

Dad never passes a children’s drink stand without buying a cup.

For entertainment at his party tomorrow, I’m looking for questions for an Ask a Centenarian! event.

Here’s your chance.  Leave a question in the comments, and we’ll ask him.  If technology allows, we may even film him responding to your questions.  If there are quite a few, I’ll keep asking over the next few weeks during the season of his birthday festivities.

So– what would you like to ask?

 

 

anecdote- colouring eyebrows October 10, 2014

Filed under: anecdotes — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:45 am
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Over heard in the staff room:

K- Even if I don’t wear any other makeup, I have to wear mascara: my lashes are white!

S- Me, too.  I use it on my eyebrows, too.

D- What!? Why don’t you just dye your brows?

S- Meh. That’d take time for an appointment and money.  Why bother, my hand’s up there doing my lashes anyway, it’s just an inch further to do a brow.

K- But mascara is so crusty!

S- So? It’s not like I want them billowing in the wind or anything.

🙂

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(At work, they haven’t learned to say, “Don’t put this on your blog!” yet) 😉

 

poem- learning from history September 10, 2014

Filed under: anecdotes,Poetry,Teaching — Shawn L. Bird @ 6:21 pm
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She has a history

of running down unionists

With gleeful righteousness

she watched them bounce

off the hood of the car

back in the 80s.

Last dispute,

this sweet little old lady

offered the strikers

a most unlady-like

finger.

This dispute,

she has stared

down the road with

patent disregard.

Workers should work.

Today,

she waved enthusiastically,

and a victory dance

was held on the picket line.

One more newly informed person

waking up.

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True story

 

poem- night music August 25, 2014

I was the lone

talentless one

in a room of musicians.

As each took his place,

at his instrument

I turned on the cassette

recorder, determined

to capture the moment.

I collapsed onto

the couch, in

blurry eyed reverie

as the music tangled

in my brain, filled the

basement, bounced

off the ceiling tiles.

The pianist glanced

into my starry eyes

and grinned.

The others teased

between their strings,

but words fell away

in the fog of my euphoria.

His lips curled upwards

on one side

as his eyes twinkled at mine.

When he packed to go

I rewound the tape.

I heard the

mangled mess of a

damaged tape.

Devastated, I

blinked through

tearful eyes.

Everyone  laughed,

but he draped an

arm around my shoulders

and guided me up the stairs.

As his ride arrived

he whispered,

“Don’t worry.

I’ll make you

more music.”

And

he

did.

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(Is it any wonder I wrote a book about this? lol  Tonight, I had a flashback.  Thought I’d share.)

 

anecdote- I’ve discovered Goth Cabaret August 10, 2014

I meet the most interesting people.

After the banquet at When Words Collide Writing Conference in Calgary tonight (I’m there as a presenter) I was sitting cross legged on the floor in my long skirt, when I looked up and spotted two young, tall, handsome red headed men.  (The hair was quite glorious, though not discussed).  We smiled at one another and I asked, “Anyone ever tell you that you two could be brothers?”

They laughed and commented that they got that all the time.  I asked who was older and Nathan pointed at Alex.  “He is, by 8 minutes.”

I asked what school they went to, and learned they’d just graduated, but that next year, one is going to do another year to learn art, music, and sewing.  The other is going to university with the aim to become a neuro-surgeon.

Conversation carried on a bit, and Nathan asked what kind of music I listened to.  I told him I play the harp, and so I like folk and Celtic music.  He told me he really likes Goth Cabaret, but that “you’ve probably never heard of it.”  I was intrigued,because I hadn’t..  He went rifling through his iPad in search of examples.  Finally, he gave up, and said, “I’ll just sing you one.”  He sang a verse of a song and then stopped, because he couldn’t remember the rest.  He had a discussion with his brother, and then the two of them turned to me and launched into a tuneful rendition of “When You’re Evil” by Voltaire.  Alex even dived into a lovely deep bass.  They sang the whole, four minute and something song, with perfect intonations and accents on the funny bits.

I had a personal concert in the corner of a crowded foyer. A hundred people were milling around us.  Everyone else was conversing or checking their phones.  I had a moment of pure delight being entertained by a pair of talented eighteen year olds.

It was the highlight of the day, and perhaps the weekend.

Just to share the fun with you, here’s a Youtube video of the song.  Though not sung by Nathan and Alex, I can assure you, it’s pretty close!  It’s  a little ‘Sweeney Todd’ style mayhem in a jaunty cabaret tune.  Delightfully dark.

You never know what’s going to happen when you talk to young folks.

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And here I am with these delightful young men.  Nathan on the left, Alex on the right.

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WWCNathanAlex