Archive for June, 2019

An Old Song about Danny

A beautiful evening in Paradise.  We are dining and listening to our Sonos easy listening collection.  The song Danny Boy comes on.  Now I know some background for this song as the story teller for our singing club.

I decide to go through my inventory of Danny Boy songs on Sonos and we have 5 versions.  Trivial when you think there are probably a thousand recordings.  But all or ours, and the vast majority of the versions you would ever hear, are by men.  Belefonte and Whitaker and the Il Divos etc.

The actual song was written as a lament about an Irish woman in the early 1900s where her beloved son was heading off to Australia (or the US depending on the source) as a result of poverty.  She loves her son and realizes she may never see him again but hopes one day he comes back and visits her grave.

For some reason this has become the number one song for male Irish tenors to sing.  We did not have a proper female version so I went looking and found a couple that will now join our inventory.  Ask for them if you ever visit.

Fancy Dining Out

Last evening Pat took me to one of the best restaurants in the Valley.. Locals… for Fathers day.  Subsidized by a certificate from my brother and his wife.

Now when I go to a good restaurant..  particularly on a Sunday evening.. and on Fathers Day, I expect to dress up a bit.  Not the suit and tie from our previous generation but at least business casual.

I am no longer shocked when I see guys at this restaurant dining in cut off jeans and tee shirts.  Just not right but what can I do.  To me, if the entrees at a place cost more than $30, you should attempt to dress accordingly.  I always notice that the ladies they are with at least try.

I guess I am just getting older.  Still a wonderful meal at one of the best restaurants situated in an old building with overhead beams and a view over the estuary.

Again this is not what upset me last night.

I am used to having my grandchildren and their generation show up at a dining experience and immediately turn on their smart phones and start rolling through their emails and texting friends, Ignoring the other people at the table.  There is a rule that I demand my grand kids when they show up at our table to put the machines away.  Generally followed.

Imagine my shock when I saw this happen with other people our own age.  A group of four (older than we are) were next to us and as they sat the guys chatted while their spouses brought out their devilish machines and progressed to text and even more shocking, take pictures of the menu, the bottle of wine and the meals as they arrived.

I mean how does anyone older than 25 do that?

Then another old couple were sat behind us and as they were waiting for service (obviously a long married couple that can no longer converse to each other) they brought out their machines and progressed to go through their emails and texts only pausing to order food.

Our generation was the last bastion of good taste and manners…. is it gone???

Pat and I had a great meal and we had no end of things to talk about even after all these years.  We left our cell phone at home…..

An Oyster Evening

This week our hiking group did the annual hike to Denman/Tree Island.  A bit complicated as we have to meet and car pool to the ferry terminal at Buckley Bay to head over to Denman Island.  Fortunately all in our vehicle were old coots so we passengers got to go free and the ferry cost for the car was minimal.

Then came a long drive on gravel roads to the North end of Denman Island.  A small parking space next to a trail that heads to the beach.  A long staircase leads down to the beach, and then a 2 km hike on sand to the very north end of Denman.

It sounds like a laborious hike, but the views to the east of the Coastal Mountains on the mainland with their snow caps made it wonderful.

When we got to the end of Denman, the very low tide exposed a stretch of sand and rocks that led to Tree Island.  I joined the group that hiked over and around an Island that is noted for the nesting of Sandhill Cranes.  But basically a slog that adds 3 km to the route.

On the way back to Denman we walked on the tidal pools where you can pick up wild Oysters and dig for clams to your heart’s content.  I have a license so can take some home.

These are not the small farmed oysters you get at a bar, these are wild.  The size of your fist, covered in barnacles.

We got back to Denman and my friend Howard (who correctly chose not to do the Tree Island loop) had set himself up in the shade with a log to sit on and a small fire on the beach where he was roasting smaller oysters he had gathered in the area around the shore.

When you put oysters on a fire they boil a bit and then open.  I had my shucker and Tabasco sauce and seafood sauce, and Howard had brought wine.  We shared fresh oysters and cooked oysters on the beach for an hour.  Wonderful.  But I had gathered 12 big oysters and stuffed them into my back pack.

The 2 km hike back down the beach was tiring.  Then came the 118 steps up to the bluff, carrying an extra 20 lbs.

Back home I BBQ’d the oysters in their shells.  We consumed them with potato salad and Pat’s corn relish.  Wonderful meal sitting on our Patio.

But it occurs to me.  I often make fun of my buddy Harry, who spends a fortune to go out on the ocean in his boat to catch Salmon.  I tell him that it would be cheaper to just go to Thrifty’s and buy salmon from the seafood counter.  It would be much easier if I just drove down to Fanny Bay and bought fresh oysters.  Still, as Harry keeps telling me, it is not the cost, it is the adventure that makes the enjoyment of the meal.

Song Barra

It is another lovely evening in Paradise.  We were enjoying dinner when the song Barra Barra came up on our sonos music list.

Years ago I downloaded the album by Rachid Taha an Algerian group who’s most famous song is Barra Barra.  Actually a good listening album.

However Barra Barra has a history.  Although it just means Out Out.. it was the featured song in the movie Black Hawk Down, playing in the background when US special forces are battling Somali fighters.  Song is a big part of the ambiance of the movie and has been adopted by Islamic fighters.

Anyway that is not the story.  Many years ago Pat and I along with Janine and Vedran and Meagan were attending the wedding of Tandy and Steve in Las Cruces New Mexico.  Very near the Mexican border.

The five of us were driving up the highway to attend the night-before party at the ranch where Steve grew up.  I was playing a music list on the rented van system when the song Barra Barra came on.  It was dusk and as it happens we were about to approach one of the “north of the border” security stops that they have in New Mexico.  There are many of these near border crossings north of Mexico looking for, well what Trump would call, evil illegals.

The kids were telling me to stop playing that Islamic Terrorist music before we got stopped.  Major concern was that Janine and Vedran had not brought their passports.  Fortunately, the officer just shone his light in the car and saw the girls and just waved us through.  Still if I had been playing Barra Barra, would we have been investigated???

A song that reminds me of a moment in life.