IS sunshine in the house a good laugh?


I helped my friends Jen and Emily with their kick ass yard sale this Saturday. I Inherited some wonderful and useful art books from their superb collection and while I was at it, I learned the truth about people who visit yard sales. There are a great number of them who are intense, sad, lonely and / or greedy. But The the truth is, the people that take pleasure in pointing out the intense, sad, lonely people are usually the most strange and intense of the lot. A sad little irony. Human nature is really something to behold. Especially when your beholding someone haggling over the price of used plastic magazine holders.

Sunday was Father's Day. This December will mark the 20th anniversary of my Father's death. It feels very, very strange to say that. And I'm a little ashamed to admit that I had to count backwards, using all my fingers and my toes, to figure that out.

Father's Day got me to thinking about him, and I like that, because the old man and I were friends, and in one quirky little way, I feel like he is still looking out for me today, hovering just over the Westbound Gardiner Expressway.

For the little over a decade that the old man lived in Toronto, he worked at the Inglis plant. Every payday (and some days that weren't paydays) he and his buddies would go to a place called "The Palace" (imagine just how glamorous this sounded to a little girl). He'd come home with a red and white striped candy for me in his pocket, a gesture that I always made me feel so special. Once I grew up and discovered the joy of the payday drink, I also recognized those candies for what they were. Free breath fresheners, from a watering hole. Somehow, that made the gesture even more special, knowing that he thought of me even after getting sauced with his buddies.

In the West end of downtown Toronto, there is a huge neon billboard with "Inglis" scrawled in big magenta letters across the front. It seems to me that it's been hovering over the Gardiner Expressway forever. It's a little out of place these days surrounded as it is by all the high tech, LCD, Blade Runner-esque video screens, but I find it strangely comforting.

You see, there is a pixel board that runs across the bottom of the billboard and instead of displaying the time, the temperature or advertising Inglis products, it delivers sage advice to commuters, one and all.

Driving down the highway, angry about something stupid that happened at work that day, the Inglis sign advices me that "the greatest remedy for anger is delay".

Another day it posed the theory that "the future holds promise for those who have faith in it".

Sometimes it will be a "spokes-billboard" for a charity. "March is kidney month - please give generously". Now, I like to think I'm a pretty giving person, but come on, I'm not THAT generous!

Yesterday it read "Is sunshine in the house a good laugh?"

Sounds to me like the old man was spending some time at a "Palace" somewhere....

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