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“They met in a hurricane,
standing in an Airbus out of the rain …”
— with apologies to Blue Rodeo

It took two tries, but we landed safely in Halifax, our Airbus pushed by massive tailwinds that were once a Hurricane Patricia in Mexico.

Rain lashed the plane on our final approach and winds buffeted the craft, moving the metal beast not just in a turbulent up and down bounce but also left to right. Wisely our pilot bailed out on his first attempt to land and circled and tried it again, this time with success.

Boarding the flight held its own adventure. The Canadian folk rock band Blue Rodeo were on the flight and crooner-in-chief Jim Cuddy was seated in business class, row 1 on the aisle.

To say Laura is a fan of Jim’s would be a disservice to 50-something women everywhere. She knows all the words by heart, has seen the band multiple times and likes the cut of his jib, shall we say.

She boarded ahead of me — the miracle of Air Miles may have allowed us cheap flights, just not seats together — and as she walked by Cuddy she noted the seat next to him was empty.

So, she went full flirt. He had a leg brace on and had crutches, owing no doubt to his advanced age . . . Anyway, there was a slight delay in getting down the aisle so she took advantage of the moment to offer to take the seat next to him.

Cuddy — who I’m certain had never before heard such an offer from a fan (ahem) — was fun and gracious and told her by all means, take the seat. But she smiled and kept moving, declared her fan status, and beamed her smile having enjoyed what David Letterman would have called a brush with greatness.

It made for great storytelling the rest of the day.

When we landed the rest of the band milled around gathering gear, but Jim was, as the Blue Rodeo song says, Already Gone.

For what it’s worth, I thought I looked better than Jim, but I’ll concede he sings better than me.

– – –

We spent a few hours with my folks and had a late dinner with Pad and his girlfriend. And other than a hockey game on the agenda tonight we aren’t too sure how the rest of the day will unfold.

We did stop to buy some wine and grab a few groceries for the fridge of the friends we are staying with this week.

With my arms full of bagels and water and wine, a fellow walked by me and eyed me up and down.

Not unlike a jet landing in a crosswind, he made a second pass.  This time he said my name.

Long story short it was a guy I played hockey with a hundred years ago. I would never have recognized him. I hadn’t seen him in 40 years.

When we were in Squirt — which was the forerunner of paperweight and initiation program hockey — he was the only guy on our team who could skate. But lord, could he skate. He was a wonder to the rest of us.

It was great to see him. His name is David but in a world of seven year olds where everyone had a nickname, he was — and shall always be — Norton. I have no idea why, but I’m glad he recognized me.

It was so much fun to see him. More of that “old friends” thing.