Tom Simard

Poetry, Music, and Prose

Archive for the tag “dad”

Sketch 5: A Priest of the Faith

Many of the poems I write are only partly autobiographical or factual, if you will.  A Priest of the Faith is one such.

My father lived just up the street from a small Catholic Cemetery, mostly made up of French-Canadian settlers, and being Catholic would with his best friend, help pick weeds and what have you. At the time, the area was rural (as in rural juror). If you saw the location today you would have never guessed there were farm fields all about and that the area was once considered out in the boondocks. My father’s friend would grow up to be a priest.

My dad was quiet, but Father G. was a yapper, and would go on for hours if you’d let him.  One gets the impression that the Apostle Paul was a talker as well, whose fall on the road to Damascus is said by some to be the result of epilepsy. In old Ireland the illness was known as Saint Paul’s disease.

Father G. was, you should know, a collector of mushrooms, a food I love to eat but would honestly prefer to eat okra rather than pick them.  It’s not that I have any aversion toward manual labor (okay, a little), but I’m just concerned I don’t accidentally poison myself.

To be honest, I don’t recall at all where the “cursing the midnight moon” comes from – I suppose my imagination had him picking them at night. Perhaps, I was influenced by Thomas Hardy.

The Prodigy

Although I sat in the back of my 10th grade typing class and in no way resembled whatever image if any is conjured up when the word typist comes to mind, my teacher was absolutely delighted to discover there was a prodigy in her midst.

I’ve always felt it some sort of cruel twist of fate to be so gifted at something that is valued so little.

Like so many others, I worked my way through university. (For some reason we have to pay for our education. Of course, every society has its priorities, and ours happens to be this.)  Anyway, I had any number of jobs throughout the many years from start to finish – a decade in total – one of the most frequent of which was as a typist. Every job interview began with disbelief and ended in wonder.

The IBM Selectric was the Stradivarius of typewriters (though I had great respect for the Olivetti).  A picture of my instrument:

Selectric(Photographer: Oliver Kurmis)

It was not my first typewriter. In fact it was never my typewriter. My dad had his own business, much of the time operating out of our basement, so I had access to it. In grad school I was fortunate to be able to rent one from the library.

 My first typewriter was a Smith Corona. It was as cheap as the Selectric was expensive so it’s probably not fair to complain that the keyboard was like playing

696px-Ksylofon_ubt_0053(Photographer: Tomasz Sienicki)

instead of

Vibes_joelocke_koeln2007(Photographer: Nadja von Massow)

And while I always loved the sound of a typewriter forming words, others might prefer hearing the vibraphone, which I should add is a favorite instrument of mine.

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