Because I was curious, I visited San Quentin Penitentiary, near San Francisco, several years ago and I included Gaston in the photo.
But I don’t use Gaston in my posts anymore. People got tired of the little bastard.
I’d like to give a quick shout-out to someone who’s been part of this blog since the beginning, but in the past few years has been rarely seen and is now mostly forgotten.
Gaston was made by a friend of my dad’s. I don’t know how many the man made, but he gave two to my dad, who promptly painted them in Habs uniforms, gave them faces, and handed one to me and one to my brother. I named mine Gaston because it thought it was a solid French-Canadian name.
I used Gaston often. I often took him on trips with me, and on these pages showed him outside of San Quentin Penitentiary, at the corner of Haight-Ashbury and at the site of the Woodstock Festival and various other places, all the while explaining that although he was a great Habs fan, he was also quite an asshole with a checkered past.
Gaston doesn’t make an appearance very much anymore. I think he wore out his welcome. But there’s a bunch of stories involving him over in the Categories section if you feel so inclined.
I just wanted to take this opportunity to recognize and say thank you to Gaston. He was a major player on this site for a long time and he deserves it.
I wonder how Giant Gaston and Faceless Habs Fan are doing, tucked away in a dark storage shed thousands of miles away, while I roam the streets of Montreal, free as a bird.
I’m feeling guilty. Maybe I should send them some poutine!
Cheer up boys. Just don’t fight. And share your Penthouse magazines.
If you’re good, I’ll send for you.
It’s not the first time Gaston’s been locked up, and a storage shed can’t be as bad as San Quentin. And Faceless? Who knows how he’s feeling. His face is slightly hard to read.
They’re probably fine. I’m just being a dad.
I knew I’d find it. Gaston’s old mug shot from the time he was sent to the big house. This guy, whom some of you are familiar with, didn’t mind seeing this again, although he says they got his bad side. And he kinda got overwhelmed and misty-eyed by the sentimental memories.
Below that, Gaston’s dream trip from two years ago, when he went home and saw his old buddies again.
Because this is a hockey blog, I should mention that Washington, with Alex Ovechkin scoring a pretty goal, won a big 4-0 game against the New York Rangers- minus-Sean Avery-because-he’s-been-a-jerk-and-deserves-to-sit, to close the gap to 3 games to 2. I didn’t see this game however because I’ve been driving like a madman all day and am now two hours north of LA in a place called Pismo Beach which is a nice little resort town with a lot of surfboard shops and oyster bars. We came down from San Francisco through Monterey and Big Sur, and although the scenery is spectacular, IT TAKES ABOUT A MILLION FREAKIN HOURS TO DRIVE THROUGH. So we stopped at Pismo Beach and will carry on tomorrow.
I would like to mention though, that Gaston has been a gem of a traveller, except for that night when he made the hotel maid scream. He hardly ever complains, sleeps a lot, and has had only one request the whole trip. He wanted to see his old homestead, the place that brings tears to his eyes when he talks about his old friends and the Christmas’ they all enjoyed and all that. So what could I say? I couldn’t say no. So I took him there, and he was pretty well overcome with emotion. It made my heart swell. So here’s a couple of photos of the momentous occasion which made Gaston so happy. Who says you can’t go home again?
The drive back from Vegas has been very cool, in a non-weather sort of way. We fought traffic through LA to take close-up pictures of the big old Hollywood sign up on the hills, and shortly after, cruised the Sunset Strip. The Strip brings back slightly unsettling memories for me, as it was there in 1967 when I was busted for breaking the 11 o’clock curfew for those under 18 that was instilled at the time because of previous riots, (I was only 16 and all alone) and I was thrown in the slammer for seven days and deported back to Canada.
This time, though, things are much different, as I’m all grown up and married and have some money for food and shelter, and we hopped back in our car and drove through Beverly Hills, down to Santa Monica, spent the night in Malibu and walked along the beach the next morning, gawking at all the beach homes belonging to the filthy-rich who may or may not have made their money legally. After that it was up to San Francisco where we gazed at Alcatraz from the marina, and then over the Golden Gate bridge heading north. The only time I heard from Gaston in the back seat during this whole trip was when we passed the turnoff to San Quentin penitentiary and he got all excited because he felt homesick and started to think about those Christmases and such that he’d spent there with all his old pals. Who says you can’t go home again?
There were other highlights. Salinas, from the pages of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, that Kris Kristofferson and Janis Joplin sang about in Me and Bobby McGee. “And somewhere near Salinas, Lord, I let her slip away.” There was the Whisky A Go Go on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood that I went in again to see after 40 years, the place I was at just before I got busted in 1967. There was the greaser bar in the Napa Valley that is now my favourite juke joint. Just wash your hands afterwards. Actually, it’s not my favourite juke joint. It was really a piece of shit.
And there were all the beautiful palm trees throughout the trip which I have major affection for.
Now we’re nearing home, rain, reality, and the cat. I’d like to turn around and go again.