Dadurday #3: Saying Goodbye to Gord
I’m not sure how much you’ll know about The Tragically Hip — hopefully we have most albums on vinyl by the time you read this, and they’re still getting some rotation — but tonight was a pretty sad night for Canadians, and you can be sure what most were doing (Sunday Update: there are roughly 35-million in Canada, and 11-million tuned in). The band’s lead singer, Gord Downie, was recently diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and consequently has little time left. The band wrapped up a farewell tour tonight in Kingston — where the band’s from — and it was streamed worldwide by the CBC.
There is something uniquely Canadian about The Hip, who somehow never really made it big in the U.S. (their American shows always sold out, but apparently most buying the tickets were Canadians), and there are very few from my generation who don’t have a personal connection with at least a song or two of theirs. I’ve got a few more than that — their entire catalogue up to the late ’90s (Trouble at the Henhouse and earlier) brings me back to our summers in Nova Scotia, as it seemed to be what all the cousins — and Uncle John — were listening to back then. I’m sure they listened to a lot of other stuff, but The Hip (or Trage, as we called them in Regina) were always a safe option when we were all together. There were very few people who didn’t like The Hip, and that probably still applies today.
Of course, there is also a connection to be made with your Mom. Back in our days at StFX, I used to make her the occasional mixtape (not really so occasional, I pretty much always had one on the go), and as I’m sure is still the case, when your Mom finds a song she really likes, she will play it over and over again until she has every note memorized. Perhaps you’ll be like that as well. One of her favourite tracks back then was Throwing off Glass, which is a pretty obscure song that a lot of casual Hip fans probably overlook, and the band rarely plays live. It’s a beautiful song, and one that we played all the time while I would be making dinner at the Braemore Palace (what we called my apartment in Antigonish… on Braemore Ave), or just hanging out in the apartment, being entertained by our cat Royale.
My time at StFX was easily one of the best times of my life — the freedom of finally getting to live on my own, the lack of any true responsibility (at least in hindsight), and getting to know the person who would ultimately become the love of my life. That’s the time I’m taken back to whenever I hear Throwing off Glass, and so it carries a lot of significance for me. It also helps that it really is a great song, and something I would still listen to today, unlike some of the other stuff we listened to that hasn’t aged as well (Matt Pond PA’s album Several Arrows Later comes to mind).
I told myself I wouldn’t allow these posts to get too long, as I don’t want them to become a burden for you to read, so I’m going to end it here. This week’s video is of the four of us (you, me, your Mom and Archie — unfortunately Rocky’s too busy at the window trying to plot his next escape) listening to The Hip’s last performance. You’ll notice the clip’s a bit long, but I couldn’t speed it up without messing with the audio, so we’re going to make an exception for Gord here.
We’re also going to make an exception for your lame parents, and just have a video for this week. I know it’s far too early to already be failing to keep up with the project, and I don’t have a very good excuse, but we just kept holding off on taking the picture for a variety of reasons, and it didn’t get done before your Mom fell asleep. We could take one tomorrow or Monday, but since there’s been very little growth this week anyways, I think it might be best to just wait until next Saturday and know better for next time (i.e., if you wait for the perfect time, it’s never going to happen).
While the growth’s been minimal — The Bump app has you developing from a pomegranate to an artichoke (167 to 190 grams) — there are numerous other developments taking place, and you’ve begun doing things like yawning, hiccuping, and sucking your thumb. There’s apparently a lot of movement going on at this point, and while nothing has been felt yet, it should start soon… so this is the one and only time I’m going to ask you this: could you please give your Mom a good kick for me? We can’t wait.