Last October, I bade farewell to my newly-made friends from the CBC Television 50th Anniversary Train. Since then, I have only talked to them over email and phone. It’s not the same as being there in person. And I’ve missed a lot, too — I get emails from some of them telling me about events and run-ins with the crew. Living out here, I feel pretty separated.
So imagine my excitement when I saw a note from Angela informing me that CBC (specifically Angela and Tracy, who handle CBC Newsworld) were coming to Calgary for two nights of free documentaries. All she asked was that I tell a few people.
I figured about 300 would be enough.
I arrived at the Glenbow Museum at about 18:40, well before the 19:00 start time. Angela and Tracy were holding the inner doors open, and greeting people as they arrived. Simultaneously, it felt like only a moment had passed since I’d seen them last, and a lifetime.
We talked for a while at the door, I stepping out of the way of arriving visitors. But soon it was time for the movie, and I wanted to go find a seat. That wasn’t too hard — the theatre was mostly empty. Although I had tried to tell as many people as possible, it can take a bit to get Calgarians to go out and do something, even if it is free.
The documentary was "The Hockey Nomad", the filmed version of Dave Bedini’s "The Tropic of Hockey". (Dave Bedini is the rhythm guitarist for the Rheostatics, and a self-proclaimed hockey fanatic.) A couple years ago, Dave had travelled the world looking for hockey. He’d found things like a tribe in remote northern China, a national team in Mongolia, rumours of a rink in the Amazon, and things that to even the most aware North American hockey afficianado would sound peculiar.
Such was the case of this movie. Dave and his camera crew visited three places: Ciuc (pronounced "chuck") in the Transylvania region of Romania, ice rinks in the United Arab Emirates, and Ulan Baatar, the capital of Mongolia. He came to do one thing: Play hockey. Dave is a great story-teller, and even a subject like hockey (which can make even the most avid player roll his eyes) was completely fascinating. The story was compelling, and all the while featured a Canadian perspective.
Afterwards, Dave came down to answer questions of the audience, and of a local broadcaster who had his own set of questions to pepper around. Questions were plenty, and the answers interesting. Soon, it was 21:00, and time to wrap things up. I walked over to Tracy and Angela in an effort to see if maybe they wanted to grab a coffee and have a quick chat. They countered with an offer to tag along with their group.
We headed first to Saltlik, hoping to get into the lounge. Completely full, we opted for the James Joyce, just down the road. Tracy, Angela, and I were soon embroiled in our past. I felt kinda bad, though — they’ve already been through this with the others in Toronto. I have not. The only person out here is Enza, and I haven’t had time to get together with her for a chat.
For a time, it almost felt like we were in some dark corner of a bar in the middle of the prairies. (Okay, we were in a dark corner of a bar in the middle of the prairies, but that’s beside the point.) I could have sworn that if I’d turned around I’d see Emma, Roger, Amy, Chris, Gerry, the Bills, the Robs, Neil, Jule — the whole crew doing what we did best: Be together as a team.
It was all over too soon. Work calls as always, and I have early mornings at the gym. I left my part of the tab, and bit Tracy and Angela goodbye. Tomorrow is another movie, which I will unfortunately miss, and then they are off to Edmonton. It will probably be a while before I see them again.
Though the saying may go: "The world is getting smaller", it still seems far too large for me.