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Pete’s Blog & Grille: And now for something way different

Sometime in mid-afternoon on Sunday, Aug. 24, I will be quote unquote playing my accordion and quote unquote singing three songs on stage at the Stephen Leacock Museum in the picturesque central Ontario town of Orillia.

I am telling you this for two reasons: First, to brag. Second, I like to encourage folks to try new things. Especially folks my age. By appearing in Orillia I shall serve by example.

I am not a performer. I edit a trucking magazine. I’m not a singer-in-public. I’m a shower singer.  As for accordionizing, I usually play around the house loud enough to drown out the sound of household chores screaming to get done.

But earlier this week, I was telling Tim Norton—the chief designer at our magazine company and a guy around my age—about this adventure, and we agreed that everybody of a certain vintage; i.e., Tim’s and mine and that of most of the guys in the trucking industry, should work hard at staying out of ruts.  

Ruts’re really easy to fall into.

Tim and I agreed that it’s probably good for business and your mental and physical health to try new things.  Even if they scare the snot out of you.

So I should tell you that at the same time as I’m looking forward to Orillia, I will be glad when it’s over.  If this were any further out of my comfort zone, I’d be institutionalized.

I will be among 10 or so performers at the annual (if ironically named) Pleasant Sunday Afternoon, a musical recital and luncheon produced by my good friend Rodney Frost and Fred Addis, the curator of the Leacock museum.

And my performance will be made easier because I won’t be the only one on stage. I will have two of my four older brothers with me.

Eddie’s playing the guitar. Alex is going to blow his B-flat tuba.

Eddie hasn’t played in a band since he performed with The King’s Knights in a stripper bar called The Belton in Sudbury way back when.

Alex used to play tuba in the Sudbury Lions Club Marching band, but, that, too was a long time ago. And it just occurred to me that he probably did it in the hopes of getting lucky with a girl he was chasing and who is now his wife Brenda who was a flautist in the band.

For the most part, we are untrained and unrehearsed.

We will be “doing” three numbers.

The first is a traditional drinking song called “Three Jolly Coachmen”.

The second will be our rendition of the first polka I ever heard, on a K-Tel commercial back when Eddie was in the stripper bar, and it’s called “She’s Too Fat for Me.”

(An aside: When we told others in our family what we were up to, one of my four sisters called and said she thought we ought to change the polka’s words to be more politically correct. And because my family is the way it is, it will be to that sister—who shall remain nameless until our performance--that we will dedicate “She’s Too Fat For Me.")

The third song is a piece I composed myself, and it’s called “All of My Good Friends are Dead.”  

The first line of the song is “All of My Good Friends Are Dead,” and by the time we’re done the first verse, I’ve killed off all my brothers. It’s quite fun, if you ask me.

The band is called Cape Smee. The name occurred to me last week when I was listening to some people on the radio discuss a concert. Twice, somebody on the panel tried to recall a performer but said “the name is cape smee at the moment.” I thought it perfect for our otherwise completely obscure trio.

I also came up with what I think is a pretty good joke about Cape Smee.

Why is Cape Smee like the thumb drive that’s stuck into the side of this computer?  They both only have one gig.

Wish me luck. I think out-of-comfort zone experiences are good for one. They relieve stress and foster creativity. They also give you something to blog about.

And stay tuned. Cape Smee will try to too.

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