Who is the best Habs golfer of all time? Maybe Bobby Rousseau.
Rousseau was a golf pro in St. Hyacinthe during his playing days, at a time when many players were driving trucks and throwing cases of beer around in the off-season. So being a golf pro must have been a nice and cushy summer job.
St. Hyacinthe, a city about an hour east of Montreal, holds a place in my heart but also makes me cringe somewhat at something I did there, which I’ll get to in a second.
I lived there for a month when I was 14 on an English-French student exchange, with a warm and friendly French-Canadian family, the Chaputs. Then the kid in the family, Normand, came to Orillia for the following month.
It was a fine experience. They had a river running behind their backyard so we did lots of good shit there. Mr. Chaput took us to his textile plant where he worked, and Normand and I hitchhiked up to Quebec City and slept in our sleeping bags on the Plains of Abraham.
We did the same sort of thing in Ontario too, and were even involved in a fairly serious accident when a car we were in smashed into a stopped car on the 401 and we both got a bit of a jolt. But we simply got out of the back seat, said thanks for the ride, and continued on our way to Niagara Falls and Buffalo as the two drivers dealt with their fender bender.
A few years later an Orillia buddy and I hitchhiked to Expo 67 in Montreal, stayed about five minutes because we didn’t have any money, and decided to continue on to St. Hyacinthe to visit Normand and his family once again.
It’s at this time now that I would like to formally apologize to all of the Chaputs because, although it seemed funny at the time, I realize just how much of an asshole I could be back then.
The family spoke minimal English, almost none I thought, and so I thought I’d get a big laugh from my friend by asking at their dinner table if they would pass the f*****g potatoes. That’s what I said – “Please pass the f*****g potatoes” because they wouldn’t understand anyway and I got a fine yet stifled laugh from my surprised friend.
I may have even repeated this incredible immaturity a few more times at the table. That’s how it is when you get that first big laugh. You go for more.
Sadly, I realize now, after being around many French-Canadians in my life, that they all know the word ‘f**k and to this day I feel huge shame and embarrassment. The Chaput family, a beautiful family, must have thought I was such an asshole, and they were absolutely right.
That first visit, I got off the train in St. Hyacinthe right here.