Tag Archives: Four Aces sherry

Three Stories From Way Back

Three short stories on this April day as we enjoy all the Canadian teams in the playoffs.

Beef cattle, farm pond, Oklahoma

My friend and I (he doesn’t like me talking about him so I’ll just call him Fred), stuck out our thumbs in Vancouver back in the fall of 1969 and began to slowly make our way across the country to Orillia.

Late at night in Swift Current we hopped on a boxcar and rode for several hours until we saw the lights of Moose Jaw in the distance. We’d been warned that if yard security caught us we would end up in jail and that would’ve sucked, so we needed to jump off before the train reached the end.

As we began to slow down, Fred said we should jump and off he went, right into a cow pond that got him drenched from head to toe and smelling like a sewage plant.

About twenty seconds later, the train came to a complete stop and I walked off.



My friends and I used to drink Four Aces sherry (95 cents) and other such marvels, down in the bush with the hobos. These old hobos would sit in their clearing deep in the forest, grumbling and cursing but not really talking a lot, with their campfire burning and bottles emptying, and we’d join them because it was safe as we were usually underage at that time.

After guzzling my Four Aces on one of these visits, I threw up and staggered out of Hobo Jungle, but minutes later realized that I’d lost my false tooth and plate. So I staggered back through the bush in complete darkness, and somewhere along the line put my hand down on the ground.

Although I couldn’t see a thing and was blind drunk, my hand landed right on my false tooth.



In grade ten my school organized a class trip to Ottawa, but students had to have half-decent marks to qualify.

I didn’t qualify.

But I really wanted to go on the class trip, so I rounded up my friend Craig Ortiz and we hitchhiked there instead.

At the start, just outside of Orillia, we hid in the ditch as the school buses with all those students who were smarter than me passed us, but because we were lucky with rides, we beat those buses to Ottawa. At the Lord Elgin Hotel, where they were checking in, we surprised everyone and were allowed by the teachers to sleep on the floor of someone’s room.

It was good fun I think, but hitchhiking back sucked and Craig and I ended up at the Lindsay police station where we asked a cop if we could sleep in a cell that night because it was freezing cold, and he obliged.

Back at school, Craig and I were each given a month’s detention.



Spotlight On One Of The Boys…..Mike

This is Mike. You see his comments on here from time to time. He always closes by saying, “Cheers from the east!!” or “Les Canadiens Sont La.”

I’ve known this fellow since around the time the wheel was invented. We were part of a group of undesirables known in Orillia as “The Boys,” and Mike was the only one of The Boys who didn’t have a place to live. For years he mostly stayed at another’s guy’s parent’s house, and a couple of others here and there. He also spent some quality time moving large shipments of illegal things one would smoke, into the Maritimes. And he used to wear a black cowboy hat over his shoulder-length hair.

Mike became a valuable member of society a long time ago and is a grandpa and a working-stiff and likes a beer. And he also likes his Habs. Loves his Habs. Has since the Original Six. Big Beliveau fan. He’s an elevator mechanic who makes just slightly more money than he did when he was meandering through the Maritimes.

And if Mike came across any of those hoodlums who torch cars and loot shops in Montreal after a playoff series win which will happen this spring, he’d kick about three of their arses.

(As a footnote, another of “The Boys,” Paul,  comments here from time to time, using the handle “Hobo.”  He was a great Toronto guitar player, and had a Habs crest on his guitar. Years ago I gave him a bottle of 99 cent Four Aces sherry as a wedding gift. We used to drink Four Aces with the bums down at the tracks and that might be why he calls himself Hobo. I’ll have to ask him about that.)