Friday, March 08, 2013

Stompin Tom Connors and the Parable of the Good Shepherd

When I was a wet behind the ears McGill ecology grad I moved to Toronto to break into the film business by being a PA, or production assistant. My parents who'd paid for McGill kept quiet if it bothered them, and probably added a finger to their Johnny Walkers, as I swept studios on my way to glory.

Of the many shampoo, car, and gum ads I worked on, there were also a few videos, one of which was for Stompin Tom Connors, and his song ’The Blue Berets’.

So a bunch of us loaded up some cube vans and headed to Ottawa to meet up with Stompin Tom by the memorial to the blue berets if memory serves, then on to CFB Petawawa to film some real soldiers, and military hardware.

Stompin Tom drove a Suburban, and his only ’rider’ or condition that I knew about was that there needed to be a 2-4 of warm Moosehead in the trunk. He never got drunk, he just liked to sip a beer from time to time.

After we wrapped, Stompin Tom and some of the soldiers and the crew hit a bar. There was a little drinking, and soon enough we were all back at the motel and Stompin Tom told me the parable of the good shepherd.

"Do you know the parable of the good shepherd? The good shepherd has 100 sheep, but the 100th sheep is a special sheep it's a twin sheep. It's the 100th and the 101st sheep. Look at this..."

He drew a circle.
"This is the Earth. You see these?"
He drew two curves on either side of the circle.
"These are the Van Allen radiation belts. They protect life on Earth from cosmic rays. Do you know any Hebrew? Written Hebrew doesn't have any vowels. Do you know the Jewish word for God? Jahweh. Now look at those Van Allen belts. What does it look like? One zero one. What would that sound like if those were vowels i o i - J-A-H-W-E-H. It's the fucking name of God."

We finished off the warm Moosehead. The sun came up and I said goodbye to Stompin Tom. I had a Snickers for breakfast which I couldn't keep down.
And somewhere up past those Van Allen belts protecting us all? I bet there's an old cowboy, still stompin’.

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