I’ll bet you’re saying to yourself that you’ve had better ashtrays than this one. Maybe one of those nice glass ones, or one on a fancy stand.
But this is the best ashtray in the world so forget about it.
It was sent to me from my old friend Bruce who ended up with two of them and knew that I’d need one. That’s what old friends do. Sometimes send ashtrays.
The porcelain beauty (although Lucy doesn’t see the beauty) came out of a closed factory in Orillia, Porcelain and Metal, or “P&M” as everybody called it because it was shorter and there’s nothing like shortcuts in life.
I worked there with Bruce, one of several jobs I had after dropping out of school after grade 10, and Bruce and I did the graveyard shift in the Fiat department, assembling metal toilet doors. We became toilet door superstars.
I’d also been saving enough money to sail on a ship to England with another friend when I’d turn 18 in that fall of 1968. And the toilet door gig was easy, mainly because the person at P&M who decided how many we needed to do in a shift was slightly off in the math and Bruce and I had the quota wrapped up in the first two or three hours.
After that we caught mice in a barrel and watched them run around for awhile, then let them go. Or we’d put our feet up and talk music, and hockey of course, because Bruce was and is a Habs fan.
Maybe we used this very ashtray on our dozen or so smoke breaks every night. (I quit years ago).
That fall I sailed to England on the Empress of England with my friend Robin and spent much of the winter there. At one point we knocked on the door of the Beatles’ Apple offices on Savile Row, and when a women answered, I asked if the boys were in. She said no.
Robin and I also saw John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers at the Klooks Kleek room in the Railway Hotel, a place where Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, the Rolling Stones, and most of the other well-known London musicians had played at some point, usually before they became rich and famous.
The night we saw Mayall, his guitar player was Mick Taylor, who not long after would join the Stones when Brian Jones drowned in his swimming pool.
It was a big experience, that trip to England, and it was all thanks to my job in the Fiat department at P&M, making toilet doors with Bruce and catching mice in a barrel.
Now I have an ashtray from that fine old Fiat toilet door department, on display in my display case.
The best ashtray in the world, regardless of what you and Lucy think.