Recounting Todd's birthday memories for 2006
Todd's Birthday at Doolin's with Gung Haggis paddlers: Jonas, Rita,
Deb, Todd, Christine and Jim – photo Rebecca with Todd's new camera!
Yesterday, a song popped into my head. I sang along with
it. “Yesterday, it was my birthday. I hung one more year on
the line…” goes the Paul Simon song “Have a Good Time.”
I spent the morning and afternoon playing with my “almost 3” year old
nephew. We pretended we were dinosaurs. We built houses for
the toy animals to live in. We bounced balloons up in the
air. We played hide and seek. We blew out the candle for my
cake together. We went for a walk to play in the school playground.
Usually I always like to go away out of town for my birthday. I
have woken up at Long Beach, Whistler, travelled to the tulip fields in
the Skagit Valley. It's good to have time for yourself. But
now it was time to revel in the joy of life, as seen through the eyes
of a almost-three year old. Life is wonderous and
beautiful. Cake is great. So is singing… life should be
like this everyday.
My Birthday cake of
choice is the “Mexican Hat Cake” from Notte's Bon Ton French Pastry and
Confectionary – photo Todd Wong. I have always loved the
chocolate rolls and shavings on top. My mother trained me well
from a young age.
I went to work for my regular shift at the Vancouver Public Library on
the information desk. My writer friend Kuldip Gill dropped by and
said hello. During my break I went down to the Alice Mackay Room
where the Literature Department had put together a panel discussion of
Asian-Canadian writers, including Kuldip, Kevin Chong (Baroque-a-Nova,
and Neil Young Nation), Lydia Kwa (A Place Called Absence, and The
Walking Boy), and Terrie Hamazaki. I was also surprised to see
friend Kathy Leung, ex Gung Haggis dragon boater, and co-moderator for
Scripting Out Loud. It was nice to see them all and say hi, even
though I only had 15 minutes during my break.
At nine o'clock, my shift finished, and I dropped back down to say hi
to the writers downstairs. I bought Lydia's book “The Walking
Boy,” which had been nominated for best fiction for the BC Book
Prizes. Lydia signed it.
Now wearing my kilt… I joined my friend Christine, my girlfriend Deb,
and new paddler Rita. We walked over to the Doolin's Irish Pub to
celebrate my birthday. Paddlers Jonas and Jim were there
too. I was surprised to see my Kilts night friends, kiltmaker
Terry “Bear” Varga, and Raphael Fang sitting at the bar.
“It's like a mini-kilt night,” exclaimed Bear. The operative word
is mini kilt. We cornered him to make up some mini-kilts for the
Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team. He talked to Deb and
Christine about lengths.
“I want a yellow mini-kilt,” exclaimed my long time buddy Christine.
“It would have to be the MacLeod tartan,” I told her. “Or we
could rename it the McWong – since “Wong” actually means “yellow” in
Cantonese. “It would be perfect for a nice Chinese girl like you!”
“Todd wants me to be wearing a mini-kilt if I'm drumming or steering
the boat,” said Deb, who will be wearing the Fraser Hunting Tartan… I
mean what we are calling the Fraser “Sport” tartan. black with
Blue and red… dragon boat racing is a sport… hunting is kind of a
sport. Let's call it the “Sport Tartan.”
We had a great time at Doolin's. I know a few of the waitresses
and managers there. I was offered a Birthday Shooter. I
chose a B-52. It was quickly followed by a pint of Guinness.
Live music was provided by the Halifax Wharf Rats. Michelle is
their leader, who also plays in the celtic band Black Thorne. In
addition to all the Maritime songs, that our paddler Jim seemed to know
by heart, they played my special request… “I Was Made For
Loving You Baby” – originally a disco song by the heavy rock band
KISS. Michelle wished me Happy Birthday, and Halifax Wharf Rats
started a nice slow traditional version of “Happy Birthday To You,”
which became a rave-up. (Halifax Wharf Rats in picture at right – Michelle in purple, guys in black- from the Celtic Fest website).
A good birthday. I even met some new potential dragon boat
recruits. A fellow who plays bagpipes and is new to Vancouver
came up to me, asking why I was wearing a kilt. His name was
Jason. He introduced me to his friends, Paddy, Cameron and
Megan. All perfect names for a Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat
team. Hope we see them on the boat on Sundays at 1pm, or Tuesdays
We also met a Rebecca with friend Andrea from Nanaimo.
“Paddling sounds like too much work!” she answered my recruiting
overtures. “The truth is… we really just want to have fun,” I
confided to her. “My drinking team actually has a paddling
problem.” She laughed. But sadly, it really is the truth.