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Just on the odd chance you were hanging out on the local flying club's facebook page and something flickered on your screen:

leaving just this behind:

this is what the social media person at the BFC thought you were unworthy of seeing:

Posted Sat Jun 8 07:52:11 2024

The boys are at it again. After a brief "surprise appearance" at the Kevin Williams Band show on May 24, the next event is on Saturday 2024-06-15, just beside the Farmers Market, presented by the City of Brantford. We hope to entertain a whole new audience.

Posted Tue May 28 21:21:32 2024 Tags:

Fortysomething years ago today, these two people became the bravest I know. Previously, they were merely my parents.

But at the ripe old age of 30something, they gave these three no good boys a chance at a good and free life.

How? After years of intense but completely secret planning, these two people packed up as much as they could safely carry, and crossed a border with three little kids. Why the secrecy? Because this took place in early-1980s Hungary, when the Iron Curtain was still locking its citizens inside the prison of communist totalitarianism. Had any neighbour, any family member, any friend even had a clue that we were about to leave, very likely secret police would have taken my parents away one night. This is not an exaggeration.

Instead, they planned silently. They considered where it may be possible to go, so far as to investigate various African nations with which the communist bloc had relations, and could have an excuse to send a young engineer and family for a while. That was just too dangerous, with machete-wielding natives. That left a direct crossing to neighbouring Austria. We had (have!) some family there, and a brief tourist visit was sometimes permissible to the authorities. Emigration was of course illegal. Only enemies of the state would do something so heretical.

As far as the kids knew, we were visiting some village in our own country. If we had known anything, any mention to friends could have resulted in secret police attention. They could not carry much, because that would raise attention from the border soldiers at exit. Identity documentation? University diplomas? Basically instant arrest if found. But my parents judged it was crucial to have anyway, so they smuggled it out somehow among the suitcases.

After arriving in Austria, they reported to a local police station (in some very broken language) that they were asking for political asylum. After the police saw they were serious, they were eventually assured that they would not just be sent back. It was only at this point that we kids were told what was going on, after it was a done deal.

Well, it wasn't really a done deal. It took almost a year in various security & holding locations inside Austria (learning German), along with many other escapees from communism, until they convinced another country to accept us. Off the Vancouver, BC, Canada we went, learning English and assimilating as rapidly as possible. I think we were a public burden for a matter of weeks or months until jobs were found, lives restarted.

And here we are now. Fortysomething years later, people living in comfort, contributing, having model marriages and stable families, grandkids, and granddogs. The level of achievement would have been literally impossible back in the communist nation, even after those folks eventually got rid of that millstone and became a democracy.

But my parents could not know all that at the time. Thirtysomething barely-adults, with three small boys, faced down the might of a totalitarian state. Emigrated into nations across oceans, learning two languages, assimilating twice, struggling a lot with money and little with culture. Eventually flourishing, but barely, and much more so for the next generation. None of it was a sure thing or even very likely, but they gave us a chance.

Thank you, always.

Posted Sun Apr 7 10:13:33 2024

It has come to your humble scribe's attention that the surviving members of the Brant Music Festival (BMF) are not happy with my plans to distribute their discarded trophies to previous winners.

How do I know this? Because they decided to post this "WARNING" online today on facebook:

Disappointing to see this false accusation. Unfortunately, it requires airing some dirty laundry of this children's charity. Oh well, the accusation makes it unavoidable, so LFG.

Addressing the "tasked with storage" lie requires going back a little further in time. When the Kiwanis version of the festival folded, and when the BMF was formed, all the trophies were transferred to the new organization, probably early 2018. All the historical Kiwanis trophies headed to the residence of the then-president of the BMF, one N.M. N.W.

On one fine day in August 2018, the then-president of the BMF decided to declutter her home, and discard some trophies. As my earlier blog post indicates, this did not sit right with my wife and me (we were both present), so we took the discards home to find them new owners. Here is one of the piles:

Yes, the photo is legit. This other photo was taken just minutes away at the same address, the former home of N.M. N.W.

My dearest lady wife quickly undertook some personal research about finding new owners for the trophies. One of the people she consulted was no other than the then and current (?) secretary of the BMF, one K.W., who said she knew one of the guitar teachers in town, toward eventual contact with the guitar winners. The discussion was clear that it was about finding the discarded trophies a new home. Well, we all got busy, so it didn't happen at the time.

Levac's soon took charge of storing all remaining trophies of the BMF. Yours truly was tasked with keeping track of where each one was (with a winner, or returned to Levac's), with a sophisticated space-age database, which all the BMF staff had access to. Every year, the issued trophies were transported from storage, handed out at the closing show of the festival to the winners, and a little under a year later, gradually returned. Levac's is a fabulous operation. No mention ever occurred of the discarded trophies, because those who knew about them knew that they were gone. After all, let's look a bit closer at that trophy pile photo. What does that little yellow sticker say? Computer, ENHANCE:

"RETIRE". Well, "Refire", spelling & penmanship are hard. And just guess whose judgement that little sticker represented --- and whose handwriting it was? Not mine, you can be sure. Sure doesn't look like "store & return", does it?

So anyways, FIVE YEARS passed. We sheltered the discards in various locations in our humble abode. We live with clutter, so they fit in nooks and crannies all over. We finally got around to publishing the discarded trophy list, after carefully memorializing their photos and their winners in the archive. And now the new management of the BMF, none of whom were present at the 2018 discard, wishes to play Indian Giver by publishing a false accusation? GTFO.

The reader might wonder what happened - why are the BMF people like this? Well, that will have to be another story. Guess what - it involves more false accusations!

UPDATE 12 hours later:

They removed the post. No notice, no apology. SOP

Posted Fri Jan 19 21:41:54 2024

Plenty of advance notice went out for the boys' fifteenth show. Friday 2024-01-26, at Waterford United Church, 7:30PM. Thanks to our many new and old fans who came out! Watch the whole show on youtube!

P.S. Waterford's events are free (by donation), and feature snacks afterward. The church sanctuary is spacious and comfortable, the people lovely, the sound great, and they have free concerts the last Friday of every month.

Posted Thu Nov 16 10:12:55 2023 Tags:

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