James Hillis

Archive for October, 2012|Monthly archive page

Winter on an August Night( A Ghost Story)

In Uncategorized on October 31, 2012 at 12:19 am

This Story takes place in 1944, so obviously i was not there, but the story was told to me by one of the participants and i have no reason to doubt his story. It was told to me on an unusually cold August night in 1984, 40 years after the events that i am about to tell you. It was told to me by my Uncle Alexander and takes place on the battlefields of World War Two. And again you can believe it or not.
It was August 14th 1944 and my Uncle Alex was sitting in a foxhole in France waiting out a German bombing along with many others that night. The air was cold and he swore you could see the spirits of those that had sacrificed their lives,on both sides, rising from the bodies and ascending into heaven. “It felt like winter on that August night” is what he said as he remembered that eerie feeling, like he was watching Angels overhead. As Dawn was approaching and the wounded were getting the help they needed, the order came to rush the German line and end this battle once and for all, damn the consequences. Stepping out of the foxhole and avoiding the falling comrades in the open field my Uncle felt the chill of death around himself and the others that were still with him as they fought their way through the field of “lost souls” as he called it. A group of soldiers including my uncle were told to move to the left and try to draw fire away from the main group and “God bless you all boy’s” was called out to the group as they set out on what would be an eventful run. As the group made their way cautiously the Germans began firing at them and that is when Alex saw something that made him shiver and saved the 8 men that were with him. Yelling at him to take cover in a small cove to his left was his Older Brother Bruce who was supposed to be in a different area of France defending his country. Unsure of what he saw he did as he heard and the group ran for cover in the cove, and made it with little time to spare as a bomb that would have killed them all hit the area they had just vacated. His brother gave him a smile and waved goodbye and just vanished into the cold mist that was around and none of the group really knew what happened, but were glad that the stranger in the Canadian army Fatigues had saved their lives. The battle lasted for about another 2 hours until the Germans retreated from their stronghold and the Canadian Forces took what amounted to 150 yards of useless swamp land in France.
Upon returning to command central, my Uncle Alex was still unsure of what he saw that early morning but quickly forgot about it when he was called into the field commanders tent and saw a Priest in the tent and an official looking Sergeant that he did not know. The priest then informed him that during the night his older brother Bruce was killed in action and he was being given some time off to help arrange burial for him. Alex turned white and started laughing, causing some to think he had cracked up, but all he could say was “that S.O.B. always had to one up me, and damn he did it again”.   To his dying day Alex always believed that Bruce did indeed save him on what he called WINTER ON AN AUGUST NIGHT


Rik and Me( A Canadian Ballad)

In Uncategorized on October 27, 2012 at 12:10 am

Brushes with famous people happen with all of us, we encounter millions of people in our lifetime and sooner or later we intersect with someone who can be called famous. They may not be famous at the time, but become famous later in their lives and your little encounter will be forgotten by that person but in your mind it remains. And that is the heart of this story, a brush with someone who would become famous in the Music world, Rik Emmett of the Canuck Classic Rock Band Triumph. I am sure he has forgotten this encounter, but for some strange reason I can still remember it(cue the fade out and fade in)
It was the spring of 1976 and I was an 18-year-old brash kid from Hespeler with a penchant for lippiness when I drank and, in this case, a lot of drinks. Drinking started early on that Saturday night for the gang as we were getting ready for a great night at the Coronet Motor Hotel. Rush were playing and Max Webster were opening for them and it was going to be a Rock and Roll night for the Hespeler Boy’s, and nothing was going to get in our way. We got there early to make sure we got a good table and proceeded to down a few more beers, when the news arrived that pissed me off, Max Webster had to cancel their appearance and some new Canuck band called Triumph would open the show instead. After  getting over this, we proceeded to look for some women to hit on and I found one particular good looking gal that i could try my Hespeler moves on and while it was a slow process after a few Zombies i thought i was making headway when Triumph took the stage and ruined my evening. I slagged the band through their whole set and called the lead guitarist a wimp(or something like that), which i found out was a mistake. The young lady waited till just after the set ended and as the band was leaving the stage i made another rude comment about the guitarist and the band when she threw a drink in my face and the guitarist suddenly showed up beside me. It seems that the gal was Rik Emmett’s girlfriend and he was not too happy that i was hitting on her during his entire set and upon hearing how i ripped the band, that made him even more upset and he wound up, trying to take a swing at me, i ducked and fell over backwards into the waiting arms of the bouncers, Luckily they held me back as i am sure i would have done serious damage to him and ruined the bands career(that’s my opinion). I was quickly escorted out of the Coronet, but managed to get a little pride back as I wound up puking on the bouncers boots and after getting my bearings back after the little shot to the head he gave me,i found the Van that Triumph was driving, and, of course, got my revenge on them, the van wasn’t locked and let’s just say that wasn’t beer spilled on the seats. But i wound up with a hate on for Rik Emmett and the rest of the band that took me a long time to get over.

Hair! The Article

In Uncategorized on October 23, 2012 at 12:09 am

Hair, flow it, show it
Long as God can grow
My hair, flow it, show it

Long as God can grow
My hair, flow it, show it
Long as God can grow
My hair

Hair, we all have it,some of us keep it, and some of us don’t. It winds up growing in places we would never think of, and places we don’t want it.  As a child i was threatened with the “hair on the palms” thing if i did something bad, last i checked they were okay, a little calloused maybe but no hair. Play’s have been written about and songs sung about it. Hair products in North America are a Billion Dollar business with everything from gel to Shampoo. Hairspray is often mentioned as one of the major causes of Global Warming. Brushes, Combs and curling Irons are a steady seller to this day. There are perms and weaves, the brush cut(I had one until i was 11), and Afros. Woman can spend 1-2 hours just getting their hair right when going out for a night, and brylcreem was a staple in my house when i was growing up, not for me but for my bigger brother. In High School one year i asked for a Hairdryer for my Birthday and my parents got me one with so many attachments i started calling it my Swiss Army Hairdryer.
Hair has always been an important part of our appearance, I had an Aunt that used to hate me because first thing in the Morning I would wake up with an Afro, while she struggled to get her hair even halfway close to mine. But things change with our hair, at least for guy’s it does.
The Hair on many of our heads is now being distributed to our backs, and our ears and some weird spots in between. I have gone from not seeing a Barber for  1-2 years to making sure i get mine cut at least once a month, the only thing that bugs me about that is  then i paid 3-4 Dollars for a cut and now i pay $14 to get less cut and more often. I hated wearing hats as young man because it covered my gorgeous hair, now, i barely go out in the winter without my head covered, not because i am embarrassed but because my head gets colder easily.
Of course at least I have hair, most of my friends are bald, poor bastards.



(Looking For) The Heart of Saturday Night

In Uncategorized on October 20, 2012 at 1:46 am

The culture of Saturday Night is the most used theme in Music and many great films of the last 100 years, and is always the one night of the week that many working people look forward to, and that is what this post is about. Friday nights end the work week and that night seems to for many Canadians the night for friends, you go out after work, have a few wobbly pops and shoot the breeze  and unwind from a long Week, you may head to the legion or some local pub to meet up with friends and just chill. But Saturday nights have always been special in our part of the world, you may have some chores to do but by early evening it is time to party for many, but this evening is usually saved for a couples night. It may be a husband and wife going out for dinner and then a show and perhaps meeting up with another couple or two for a few drinks at a local pub, or perhaps the young man has a date and Saturday just seems like the right time to take your favorite gal out. There are more house party’s on a Saturday night than any other night of the week, and somehow The concerts you see on a Saturday seem to stand out even more. The Saturday memory’s are always a little brighter and I think that is because there is always a song to remind you of what Saturday means, and to me the music is the heart of Saturday Night.

Elton John let us know that “Saturday Night is Alright for Fighting” and the list of songs written with the title simply being “Saturday Night” is a lengthy one, with over two dozen that I can think of off  hand and the songs are by diverse artists such as the Bay City Rollers,Frank Sinatra,Earth Wind and Fire,The Eagles and Lonestar, hell there are even 6 movies with just the title Saturday Night.  Saturday Night in the summer is an especially mystic night, as sitting outside with a cold beer either at home in your backyard or at the cottage or trailer, it just seems much more calm than the rush of a Friday and add in the music and you have a perfect Night.

But what about the songs of  Saturday Night? What are the best songs? Well i have put together my top 6 Songs for a Saturday Night and as usual these are my choice from my memory banks, so don’t expect anything too modern, but why only 6 you ask? Well I started out with a list of over 30 and after the top 6 I couldn’t decide on the final 4 to make it so I just cut it down to 6, so here it goes.

6) On A Saturday Afternoon in 1963..Rickie Lee Jones—-A beautiful song about childhood in a bygone time the music is haunting and as usual the Queen of Coolsville pulls on the heartstrings with lyrics like

The most as you’ll ever go
Is back where you used to know
If grown-ups could laugh this slow
Where as you watch the hour snow
Years may go by……it may not be about Saturday Night but it still speaks of Saturday.

5). Treat me Like A Saturday Night. Joe Ely…A song about lost love, it was written by Jimmy Dale Gilmour but the Texas Folk Legend Joe Ely makes it his own with this version.

4).Sudbury Saturday Night–Stomping Tom  Oh, the girls are out to bingoAnd the boys are gettin’ stinko And we’ll think no more of Inco On a Sudbury Saturday night….need I say more about this Canadian Classic?

3) Another Saturday Night…Sam Cooke. This song has been covered by many but I always seem to go back to Sam Cooke version, it has the upbeat sound and is an all round great song for a Saturday night party(Providing of course you already have a date)

2) Saturday Nights Alright For Fighting..Elton John…A guitar driven song from Sir Elton about youth and Saturday nights, still one of his finest.

1) (Looking For) The Heart Of Saturday Night..Tom Waits…A song about Saturday Night, cars and your favorite girl a classic song. To me the perfect Saturday night Lullaby

Well you gassed her up
And you’re behind the wheel
With your arm around your sweet one
In your Oldsmobile
Barrellin’ down the boulevard,
You’re lookin’ for the heart of Saturday night

Well There you have it, enjoy your Saturday Night everyone.

October 1976(From the archives of my Mind)

In Uncategorized on October 13, 2012 at 6:29 am

What sets off a memory,i have no idea but today one occurred. I received a C.D. from a friend in Texas and when i played it a whole slew of memory’s came flashing back to me. They are not life altering memories and who knows maybe not all of them are real. But for some reason they are there and i feel the need to tell them so bear with me while i go back to 1976.
An early fall evening and i am cruising down the back roads of my town just turned 19,3 friends and myself a case of Molson Diamond and some cinci bud,the 1969 Dodge
coronet running smoothly and some Kiss[destroyer] playing on the cassette deck. Fighting over which movie we are going to see,i want Taxi Driver, Tony wants All the Presidents Men,big Bill wants to go see the Omen and Gary says the Bad news bears cause that is where most of the girls will be so we argue a little more and decide to just get some more beer and keep driving. Gas at 29 cents a gallon seems good so we keep going. We continue to argue over who has the best new album out right now,Aerosmith rocks,AC/DC high voltage,Blue Oyster Cult Agents of Fortune or the debut album of some band called Boston,we reach no decision and decide to listen to them all. More beer and a little more bud and next thing we know the debate is who would win a drinking contest, our Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau or the American President Gerald Ford, we decide it would be Trudeau because we would be using Canadian beer. The conversation continues as we discuss this new show called Charlies Angels and just who is the hottest of them all no contest as we all agree Farrah Fawcett is the most doable. The topic then becomes the just completed Montreal Olympics and how poor Canada did,we discuss the Son of Sam killings in New York city,the Hoopla in the U.S. over the Bi-centennial,this new band we have heard about called the Ramones,as yet we have not heard them but they sound interesting,we discuss our girls,drink more beer and then remember that it is almost 11:00 and we have to get to one of our homes to watch Saturday Night Live. After that things get a little hazy but thats o.k. this memory is a good one and i will treasure it. And while the 4 of us don’t get together that often anymore we all still remember the nights we want to. So to my Friend in Grand Praire Texas thank you for the Nitzinger C.Ds and for the memory’s they brought back.

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And Another Thing!

In Uncategorized on October 10, 2012 at 12:33 am

Just thought I would write down somethings that have been on my mind…ohh cookies, be right back………………………..so here goes.

Why does nobody dress up as Santa on Halloween? Seems to me that it would be the perfect time to do so.

I used up a tube of lip balm for the first time today. How I kept track of that tube for 3 years I’ll never know.

I was having Chinese Food the other night and just wondered..is there a time limit on fortune cookie predictions?

If I say Vice-Versa to someone who is dyslexic is that just redundant?

A friend told me he was head over heels in love, I told him that is the way we all are built.

Why do I keep going back to my refrigerator when I know there is nothing I want in it?

I hate Winnie the Pooh..he never get’s stung by the bees he messes with.

Whose cruel idea was it for the word “Lisp” to have a “S” in it?

Did you hear about the woman who was married to a succession of three Microsoft employees and still died a virgin?

If I shot a man in Reno, I wouldn’t of stuck around to watch him die, that’s how Johnny Cash got caught.

When I was in my twenties, not shaving for a few days gave me a cool Don Johnson Miami Vice look. Now that I’m in my fifties, though, it tends
to make me look more like Otis from Mayberry.

If those Davy Crockett Coonskin caps ever become popular again, I will look like a fricking genius. If not, I will just be the weird guy with a garage full of carcass’s.

I don’t think it’s so much that I’m a bad driver, but rather that I need to move
somewhere that’s not so damn pro-pedestrian.

I remember growing up and having a deer head stuffed on our wall, but I was told We could not keep a deer as a pet..how come?

Skywiggles, the Flying Monkey

In Uncategorized on October 6, 2012 at 2:26 am

Cambridge has Flying Monkeys? who knew. Why Flying Monkeys? Not many people know this but the “winged warriors” of Oz fame have been around the Cambridge area well before I was able to capture and tame one.  As a matter of fact, back in 1898 a young writer named Frank L. Baum was traveling through these parts promoting his book “By the Candelabras Glare.” When resting at the old train station in Hespeler waiting for his connection to Toronto he happened to catch a late night glimpse of the Monkeys teasing an old firecat and he quickly wrote down what he saw and  incorporated them into the new book he was writing called “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”.

The Flying Monkeys have been a part of this region for as long as there have been inhabitants but where they came from though is still a mystery, but that is not what this story is about. How and when did they become the pawns of the Cambridge City Council? You see the Monkeys were originally playful little animals as my Great-Grandfather told me once, they hung around the Speed and Grand Rivers coming out at night to cause mischief and score a few little wild animals to feed themselves, but around August of  1957 they started to disappear and did not reappear until the mid 70’s when Cambridge was formed(some say they came back to get revenge for the pollution in the rivers that drove them away) and by the time that Mayor Craig became our leader they had been transformed from playful little Primates into treacherous little buggers that would do nothing but cause trouble in our City. On April 6 1975 Monkeys were observed near the Iroquois Hotel which would burn down later that day, did they have anything to do with that? We will never know, but I am sure the Monkeys are responsible for many Issues in this City.  And that brings me to my main point for this story, recently one of those Monkeys crossed over to the Good Side and is now with me ready to help wherever he can. For the rest of the fall and winter the Monkey that is called Skywiggles will be touring around Cambridge and starting soon I will show you the pictorial evidence of Skywiggles at many of our famous landmarks. And he promises not to scare or eat any of you! So keep your eyes open, you may spot him soon.

(some details may be exaggerated)


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