Saturday, January 06, 2007

CKRW Radio Yukon

Most Americans are ridiculously ignorant about Canada and Canadians. I would be as well except that Dottie and I were fortunate enough to have made a life-long friendship with a Canadian couple. They’d moved to Winston-Salem with their two young sons to attend Piedmont Bible College (now known as Piedmont Baptist College).

We were attending First Alliance Church at Wright and Patria Streets in Winston and I mentioned to one of the members that I was having trouble with our well. He said that Dale might be able to get inside the bored well to loosen the clamp holding the plastic pipe that descended into the 30’ well. I didn’t know him but when I was directed to him, it was obvious why he was suggested. Neither of us had expanded into middle age at that time and he was built smaller than me. I held my breath when I asked him if he’d climb down into my well thinking that anybody with any sense would laugh me out of the church house. He laughed, if I remember correctly, but now I know enough about him to know that it wasn’t all about the craziness of the idea. He more than likely laughed because the idea intrigued him.

A couple of days later when I’d carefully suspended a ladder by a ¾” galvanized pipe in the well, Peggy and Dale came out to have supper with us. I was scared to death that I’d asked this perfect stranger to hang himself over a 30-foot well and risk his life to loosen a screw for me. But after supper, he snaked himself down, down until he was within reach of the clamp. Once he got down there, I started handing him tools and he started handing me wise cracks.

The clincher in our friendship came when I said, “OK here’s a screwdriver. Please don’t drop it It’s my favorite…”
“Uh, oh.”

Thirty feet is a long way down and the silence between his “Uh, oh” and the kersplunck of the screwdriver hitting water was long enough to build the kind of tension that makes for a very good joke. “Screwdriver” came out of my mouth with perfect timing just after it hit water. It released all of the tension in me about asking this really good guy and perfect stranger to do this really hard and dangerous job. I nearly died with laughter. It struck me so funny that I became weak with the perfect humor of our spontaneous little vaudeville act over a hole in the ground in my front yard.

Our friendship has survived over 30 years and about 3,000 miles of distance. He eventually got a Masters in counseling and moved to the Yukon. It’s amazing for me to talk to him. In many ways, our friendship is suspended in time. When I hear his voice on the phone or read something he’s written, it’s like he’s still sprawled on my living room floor playing Space Invaders on the Atari. In other ways there’s a distance that can’t be mended. We both have suffered wounds that have scarred over. We were young in body and soul and now we’re older with many miles and Kilometers logged in different places over different roads.

I’m sitting here in my study writing this while CKRW (Radio Yukon) pumps Rock ‘n Roll through a stream of electrons into my computer. I enjoy the ads coming from businesses there in Whitehorse and the weather reports (it’s clear and 18 below right now, a virtual heat wave). I listen to that station to remind me of he and Peggy and how much Dottie and I love them. It also connects me to many other things that I want to write about in this blog that bridge the ravines of heartache and trouble in my life.


At Wednesday, 05 March, 2008 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice connection to the Yukon, where I live


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