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MY WORDS FOR BEAUTY
We do not come into the world.
We come out of it, like a wave comes out of the ocean.
We belong here.
This is our home.
We thank the world for giving us Linda to know and love.
Today, with gratitude and sorrow, we give her back.
Sorrow because I miss you so much. Tho I feel you in my heart, it is the touch of your hand I miss; I miss the great relief of having you to talk to.
But I am grateful to have known and loved you, Linda. Thank you for truly loving me everyday, thank you for all your kindness and all the little things you did to make me feel special.
Thank you for your message, your true message which isn’t just for me but for everyone, it is so simple, so direct – be happy. That is the one great wish Linda now has for us all – be happy.
Now I let you go into the sands of time.
Published on: April 14, 2016 | Last Updated: April 14, 2016 4:00 AM MDT
Reid Dickie was a mentor to a young Steve Burgess. ROSENA FUNG / SWERVE
Many pop-culture giants have died in 2016. David Bowie; Glenn Frey of the Eagles; Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane; Maurice White of Earth, Wind, and Fire; Reid Dickie of Shoal Lake, Man. I realize that last name will lack resonance for most people. But in my world Reid Dickie was a rock star. He was that rare treasure some people find—a mentor, a role model. A personal giant.
Reid died on Feb. 21 in Winnipeg. My shock upon seeing his obituary on Facebook was twofold. There was the fact of his death at only 66, and the fact that other people had taken notice. But why wouldn’t they? Reid Dickie was a legend in Winnipeg circles, a pioneer of alternative FM radio, creator of bizarre music videos for the likes of Pere Ubu, and, later, along with his beloved late wife, Linda Tooley, the proprietor of the Corydon Avenue clothing store If You Have to Get Dressed in the Morning. Together they founded the DickTool Co. to showcase their art. As a young man he self-published a book of poems called Prism Prisons and later created an art piece by nailing copies of it to a wooden frame and leaving it outdoors all Winnipeg winter. He called it “Reverse Miracle—bad poetry treated badly.” One of his projects was titled “Typographical Man Beheads Himself With His Own Acts.”
So the fact that Reid’s death would be publicly noted should not have been surprising. Yet I was still surprised. Because in my illogical universe Reid seemed like a personal spirit, like the “familiar” of ancient mythology who acted as one’s otherworldly helper. My long-ago friendship with him was so much a part of my personal history that I forgot he also existed for other people.
I was 14 years old. Our family home in Brandon, Man. was just down the street from the headquarters of CKX Television and Radio. At the time, CKX was the only game in town in both of those media. Reid Dickie was the late-night DJ. Benefiting from the lack of management scrutiny at that hour, Reid would play an eclectic array of music that would have been remarkable even on a station that didn’t typically feature the likes of Paul Anka and Tony Orlando & Dawn.
One night I called to request a song called “Satori Part II” by the Flower Travellin’ Band. He dutifully spun it, then followed up by saying, “Yeesh, that was terrible.” (He had a case. It’s on YouTube. Judge for yourself.)
Incensed, I called back. We ended up chatting for two hours. He invited me to drop by the station some night. And I did. I would creep quietly to the phone and call first so he could leave the side door open. Then with a careful tread across creaky floorboards I would slip out the back door and down the dark street. Reid would buy me a soft drink from the station’s vending machine. I would sit in the control room while he spun records and we would shoot the breeze about music and whatever.
It all sounds potentially sordid. It wasn’t. Perhaps I was naive but, if so, I was also lucky. Reid was not seeking teenage groupies to satisfy dark lusts. He was a 23-year-old guy stuck playing records in the middle of the night in the middle of cultural nowhere. I was a precocious and enthusiastic lad with a lot to say, perhaps not all of it youthful drivel, willing to keep him company through dreary all-night shifts. We were pals. Unlikely ones, but still.
Reid was wise enough to worry about appearances. Part of my eager embrace of counterculture involved early drug use, and Reid was rightly concerned not to be seen as corrupting a minor. Still, he would allow me to visit his basement suite on Saturday mornings—Saturday was his day off. There I was introduced to his enthusiastic amateur art career. Reid was always doing something creative. Decoupage was a favourite medium—he would cut out magazine photos and create sweeping visual epics that he insisted told specific stories (which he would then explain while guiding you through the imagery). Reid was also the uncredited inventor of Toilet Art, which involved putting colourful kitchen ingredients into the bowl and flushing for a brief but brilliant effect (some elements, like uncooked spaghetti, would survive the catastrophe). Reid’s favoured perspective was the absurd. I recall listening to the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band and Frank Zappa among countless other discs on those Saturday mornings. He celebrated the bizarre and the ridiculous wherever they could be found or created. “Hello, freak!” he would greet me, and I knew there was no higher compliment.
He eventually escaped to Winnipeg and, while I visited sometimes, we lost touch. Long after his radio career ended he launched a blog, readreidread.wordpress.com, that revealed a deep love for prairie landscapes and architecture. He published books: Manitoba Heritage Success Stories, Carberry Heritage Walking Tour, and a novel, Play the Jukebox. After decades of silence I was amazed and delighted to get a LinkedIn message from him last year in response to some update I had posted. “Way to go Steve! Nothing but blue skies and green lights ahead. Be happy, Reid.” I answered but got no reply. I did not know he was unwell.
During my teenage years, Reid had been my cool older friend, a source of personal pride, a badge of hip, evidence that I could hold my own with a genuine grown-up hipster. What I was to him I can’t say. Nor did I realize at the time what effect our friendship would have on me. It was more profound than I could have grasped at the time.
It seems most obvious in the fact that I would later spend 15 years on my own trek through Western Canadian radio, spinning my share of vinyl on lonely overnight shifts. But my radio career never seemed to be Reid’s most important influence. He used to tell me, earnestly: “Remember—you can be anything you want to be.” That stuck. More important still was Reid himself—his values, his example, the means by which a role model shapes your life.
Reid was brilliant but not particularly talented. No matter. He lived the creative life with full commitment. He neither had, nor to my knowledge ever sought, financial comfort. Reid possessed the true spirit of the artist—his greatest desire was to live a life of creation. That was the example I found most enduring. That’s why he has always loomed so large on my personal horizon.
And even more crucially, he cared. He took an interest. Reid Dickie saw something in me that he considered worth encouraging. Simply by granting me respect and acknowledgement, he provided me with an entree into a larger world. That’s the generosity of spirit at the heart of mentorship. Young people who find such angels can count themselves among the luckiest.
I can’t live up to Reid’s standard. Good role models do that, too—remaining forever just out of your grasp so that you must always keep chasing. I wish I could have spoken to him again. I hope he understood just how much I appreciated his friendship and support. A young person could have no better example.
This is my first ever post from the road. Let’s see how difficult WordPress can make this. My intent today was to hike Spirit Sands and spend a leisurely day on the road. When I arrived at Hwy 5, the road had been closed, so the sign said. Close the deepest part of the Assiniboine valley, a barricade turned back traffic but I drove around the sign and found water eating away the asphalt and ditch, backed up like it was in the 2011 flood. I thought this is bad! Turning back down Hwy 5, I came up Hwy 340 north of Wawanesa. Though extremely high and fast, the river hadn’t flooded the road. Making the loop back to Spruce Woods via Hwys 1 and 5, I found the situation almost normal around the Marsh Lake/Spirit Sands area. One of the Conservation officers told me they evacuated the lower campground this morning, more as a precaution at this point. The upper campgrounds and yurts aren’t effected by the flood. Access is still available to the trails including Spirit Sands. I shot some footage of the park today and plan to return tomorrow to update everything. I’ll file that on Thursday evening. WordPress sucks!!
Fab Four :24
Strolling along the main drag now we encounter a rare delight!
Before the days of dial telephones, which was long before the days of cell phones for anyone under 40, you turned a crank on your telephone and an actual human being asked what number you wanted to reach, dialed it for you and waited until you either got an answer or didn’t. Actual humans!! We called them “operators.” This happened daily in this building in Carberry and in others like it in most every little Manitoba town and village.
Plus, among the somber but elegant brick buildings along the street, this eye-catching pile served its purpose: to remind people to use the telephone because inside women you likely knew were waiting to connect you up. And, as they sat hunched over their switchboards, or switchboreds, listen in on your conversation as likely as not.
The Spanish Colonial Revival detail of the red adobe tile false roofs on three sides accentuates the compactness of the massing and the sweet roofline, one step, pilasters telling us when, all plain as plain can be. Yet it catches the eye and the ear, makes me want to call someone up, tell a few lies and see how quickly they get around town. Small town telephone roulette, let ‘er spin!!
MTS built lots of these little buildings all over Manitoba in the late 1930s and during the war years. Carberry’s was likely built in 1941, one of the few that I can think of remaining in southern Manitoba. Precious, spaced nicely between its neighbours to allow full access to all facades and a familiar landmark in downtown Carberry, the last telephone office before dial phones continues to be used as offices and still acts as a fanciful exclamation point along the street.
Pa Tuckett was twenty-three years old when he first talked on a telephone. He never owned a telephone until he was thirty-eight years old. His number in Carberry was 87.
In just over two months, the mighty Avenger and I achieved our first 10,000 kms together this week. A pleasant Spirit Sands visit on Sunday with friends Liz and Kenn resulted in pictures of the latest flora along the trail. This is a beautiful wood lily. They dot the green landscape with vibrant orange and black, a favourite of butterflies.
Manitoba has two cacti: prickly pear and pincushion. In the transition zone between the mixed forest and the sand dunes, pincushion cacti are just coming into bloom, their scarlet buds a mere taste of their bright open blooms. The blossom will be replaced by a brown nut that tumbles off the round cactus, landing next to it and germinating there. Frequently, clusters of pincushions form as a result, some with dozens of individual cacti. Pincushions are delicate and usually die if stepped on.
2011 Flood Update: Souris Will Swing Again! Many areas of Manitoba continue to recover from last summer’s floods. One result of the raging Assiniboine River was the strategic cutting of the historic Swinging Bridge in Souris, MB. The Town of Souris announced this week that the bridge will be replaced and work restoring one of the town’s major attractions is expected to be completed by the summer of 2013. The new bridge spanning the Assiniboine, to be built by Stantec, will be 184 metres in length. This is an artist’s rendering of the new swinging bridge.
During my 1960s youth, one of the highlights was seeing rock bands at the Brandon Summer Fair, the biggest attraction in southwestern Manitoba. Buddies and me drove the hour to see Witness Inc. (Kenny Shields) sing their first hit Harlem Lady in 1968, watch the grandstand show with an assortment of up-and-comers and down-and-outers performing.
Brandon fairgrounds had three large display buildings: Buildings 1 and 2 and the long building. Building 1 is gone but Building 2 remains, though much worse for the wear. It’s four distinctive gleaming domes dominate the grounds. A cherished federal and provincial heritage building, the old place is getting a complete restoration. Significant for numerous reasons – you can find out much more about the building’s history and restoration project at http://www.brandonfairs.com/Display_Building/index.php?pageid=477 it’s heartening to see the grand old place reclaiming its former glory. And good on Brandon for its stewardship and recognition of heritage as an important contributor to their quality of life. I find it rather ironic but hopeful that Brandon, a city with runaway, out-of-control residential and commercial development, maintains a healthy connection with its past and finds value there.
My most vivid memory of the building is walking in the wide front doors and smelling lavender which was sold fresh in sachets by a vendor next to the entrance every year. Display Building #2 will be restored for the 2013 fair, a hundred years after it first opened for the 1913 Dominion Fair.
There’ll always be a Ninja, no, that’s Ninga.
Thrift shop find-of-the-week was at the MCC in Brandon which turned up a set of four 1950s glass tumblers with multi-coloured tulips on them in mint shape for 75 cents apiece.
This week I am Criddling and Vaning, hiking the moonlit sands and day tripping with an old friend so will have much to report next weekend. Happy trails, every mile a safe mile.
Located in the Kosiw district south-southwest of Dauphin, MB, near the northern boundary of Riding Mountain National Park, the Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Church of Sts. Peter and Paul is a fine interpretation of a type of traditional church architecture found in Western Ukraine. Overlooking pastoral rolling farmland, the cruciform wooden church with its five, eight-sided, metal-covered banyas (onion domes), including the large two-tiered central dome that opens into the church below, has served area pioneers and their descendents since 1921. The figure of the arched sash windows is doubly replicated in the attractive entrance to the place. On the same sheltered grounds is a well constructed wooden belltower, typically separate from the church proper, housing two bells. Watch my one-minute video of the church.
St Mark’s Anglican Church, 108 – 2nd Avenue SW, Minnedosa, MB
Minnedosa boasts one of the best collections of fieldstone buildings on the prairies and exceptional St. Mark’s Anglican Church ranks highly among them. Begun in 1903 and completed the following year, the parishioners chose the Gothic Revival style, typical of Protestant churches, to make their statement. And what a statement it is! The steep pitch of the roof, the sensually pointed narrow windows and the entry canopy which has the feel of once being atop the church (Can anyone verify that with a photograph for me?) all contribute to the style. The plan is transept, meaning the church is in the shape of a cross.
One of the church’s many distinguishing features is the rare use of pink mortar between the fieldstones. This is most striking on the south side in full sun and complements the deep red trim around the openings.
The original St Mark’s was built on this site in 1885 and, as Minnedosa grew, so did its congregation. Combining professional masons and volunteer labour, the present church arose costing about $5,000. Local history recalls that St. Mark’s rector went out into the countryside and personally conscripted farmers to haul wagonloads of stones to the construction site.
The stone masonry is exquisite, every detail is lovingly executed, St. Mark’s is a fine example of ecclesiastical architecture in a small town.
Watch my short video about St. Mark’s.
About 1880, settlers began arriving in southwestern Manitoba, necessitating this cemetery above Newcomb’s Hollow, south of the actual community of Old Deloraine. Founded in 1881, the community was first called Zulu but citizen demand had it changed to Deloraine when the town was moved to meet the railroad in 1886. This hilltop cemetery is a beautiful place to spend eternity!
The only other remnant of Old Deloraine is the bank vault from the community’s private bank. More about the vault at http://www.youtube.com/watch? feature=player_profilepage&v=9C4iLbUMVSs
Last Thursday I drove a 650 km loop around Manitoba that began on the TCH, then Hwy #16 then Hwy #5 into Dauphin. The Whitemud River has subsided but there are miles and miles of fields still completely covered with its floodwaters from ten days ago. This is most evident along Hwy #16 between Woodside and Neepawa.
I returned via Hwy #68 through the Lake Manitoba Narrows. The pictures of The Narrows give you an idea of how high the water is. All along the lakeshore there are inundated homes and people still scrambling to build dikes against the rising lake.
I passed at least six different points where sandbags were piled and available to the public. This picture is in McEwen Park in Eriksdale on the east side of Lake Manitoba.
Watch a short video of the situation at The Narrows.
A volcano in Puyehue-Cordon Caulle chain is erupting in south central Chile. More amazing pictures here.
ALL MANKIND CAN BENEFIT FROM THIS MESSAGE
The flood situation in southern Manitoba is beginning to stabilize with water levels dropping. I took a drive out the re-opened Hwy #75 south of Winnipeg this week and found many fields, especially around Morris and south, still covered with standing water from recent Red River flooding. Conservative estimates say 50,000 acres of Manitoba cropland will not be seeded this year due to flooding.
“High five, Team Brandon!” That’s how Brandon mayor Shari Decter Hirst summed up local response to the flood crisis. The Assiniboine River is subsiding slowly by about 4 inches a day. That’s not expected to change very much for the next two weeks. Good news for the 1400 people still evacuated from their homes on The Flats in Brandon, they will be able to return home this weekend working to a schedule the city has drawn up. Confident that the worst is over, the mayor announced a Victory Party for Brandonites will be held July 1st at the Keystone Centre to celebrate the sense of community and accomplishment that follows the flood. A parade and fireworks will bracket the day’s festivities.
Major flooding is still threatening farms, cottages and permanent residences around Lake Manitoba and an urgent call for volunteers went out this week. High schools and the general public responded and sandbagged many properties in the Twin Beaches and Lundar Beach area. The call for volunteers was urgent because Operation Lustre, the code name for the military’s Manitoba flood fighting efforts, is over and the troops, all 1800, have left the province, formally and prematurely thanked in the legislature. Between the high lake level, the likelihood of the prevailing northwest winds whipping the waves onto the shore and lack of government back-up to protect properties there is still plenty of anxiety around the lakeshore.
I drove out to Portage la Prairie yesterday to check out the amount of water in the Portage Diversion. Though it has declined a few feet from last Friday, the Diversion is still carrying an enormous amount of water into Lake Manitoba. Rain and showers are predicted for Manitoba and eastern Saskatchewan for the weekend.
As the water moves northward, Lake St. Martin is flooding out a First Nations and threatening the area. The three Shoal Lakes in the Interlake have stabilized and are expected to slowly subside over the next month. Now that the major threat has passed in the south, the flood, though still happening, is being largely ignored by the mainstream media. The provincial government has stuck its head back in the sand and is pretending the flood is over.
Campground office at Spruce Woods Provincial Park is inundated
Ice jams caused flooding early on but now the sheer volume of water coming down the Assiniboine River has flooded low lying areas of the park including the entire campground. This does not include the Spirit Sands or the yurts which have substantial elevation above the river. The Assiniboine is expected to crest sometime this week.
Here is a very helpful interactive map showing all highway closures and conditions in Manitoba.
A state of emergency due to flooding has been declared in Brandon today as the Assiniboine rose a foot overnight. Brandon is located about 30 miles upstream from Spruce Woods Park. The Brandon Sun has excellent coverage of the local flood situation.
Live Brandon flood cams
Johnny Cash sings Five Feet High and Rising
“All who have died are equal.”
“Keep the top of your head open.”
“Seek wisdom, not knowledge. Knowledge is of the past, wisdom is of the future.”
“Every fire is the same size when it starts.”
“We will be known forever by the tracks we leave.”