Never have I told a lie in this column.
Except for that one, of course. Just kidding. I have never intentionally led any of you astray.
So speaking of truth and lies, here is another of my infamous contests. I’m going to describe three scenarios, supposedly from my misspent youth. One is true. Or two of the three may be true. It could even be that all three are true. You have to decide which it is. If you believe only one is the true version, you have to specify which one.
1. Remember Dixie Carter? She starred in a television series from a few years ago called “Designing Women.” At one wonderful point in my life I had my hand on Dixie Carter's backside for several glorious minutes with her urging me to hold on tighter.
We were attending the graduation of Daughter Number Three from Harvard University in Boston.
The graduation exercises were held in Harvard yard with the graduates marching through a throng of about 10,000 people. Other Half and I, in our efforts to get closer to the action, had gotten separated. I being taller than the average Joe had no problem seeing everything. But suddenly a soft, Southern voice at my elbow said, “Would you help me, please?” and when I looked around, this was none other than Dixie Carter, holding a folding chair.
“My daughter is graduating,” she went on to explain before I could say anything, “but I can’t see the graduation march. I want to stand on this chair, but I’m afraid I’ll fall. Would you put your arm around me to hold me up?” Dear God! Was Stephen Harper scared of Danny Williams? Can Sydney Crosby play hockey? Is Angelina Jolie sort of attractive? Somehow, I found my voice and said I’d be happy to, which was the greatest understatement since God said to Noah, “You can expect showers over the next 40 days.” So I did, praying that the graduation exercises would go on for about six hours. Unfortunately, it was only for about 15 minutes with her urging me not to let go.
2. It happened while I was a student at Dalhousie University in Halifax. In order to get home from the university (for those of you who know Halifax) I had to walk across town to Oxford Street, then down to Robie Street, across Halifax Commons and then a couple of blocks to Maynard. The last part of that journey was through the roughest part of the city.
One night I had gotten almost to Robie when, without warning, I found myself surrounded by a gang of six or eight. The leader demanded to know where I was going.
Trying to keep my legs from buckling , I said, “Home.”
“Where’s home?” Newfoundland, I told him without thinking. That might have impressed him because, despite the suggestions of his gang that they beat the you know what out of me, he said, with much continued profanity, that I’d better get going. I didn’t take much urging. But I had gone only a few steps before evidently he had a change of heart and I heard, “Hey, you *+ $@Newfie, come back here!”
The thing was, I was within sprinting distance of Robie Street and the Commons, and once I was on the Commons, I was safe because I knew that large dark area like the back of my hand. So of course you know what I did.
Something really perverse inside me turned me around and marched me back. The leader stuck his nose in my face and said, “You want the ($@*+$) beat out of you tonight?”
The rest of the gang thought this was a great idea and urged him on. But for some reason he didn’t, and again turned around and said to the rest, “Let the *$+@ go home.” Off they went, and so did I. Would you believe that again he yelled after me and for some reason known only to the higher powers. I went back. The same thing happened and they let me go. A third time I heard this fellow call out for me to get my you-know-what back there. But finally what little common sense I had kicked in and I was across Robie and on the Commons faster than I have moved in my life before or since.
I’ll never know why I wasn’t beaten senseless that night.
3. A friend and I were attending a conference in Holiday Inn in Corner Brook.
As usual, one night a crowd of us gathered in my room where we sang songs, told stories and drank milk until the wee small hours of the morning. When everyone else had finally departed the premises, Wayne and I agreed that we were hungry.
So downstairs we went, found a cab in the parking lot and told the driver to take us someplace where we could get a lunch. He looked at us carefully and asked if we knew our way around Corner Brook. At that point, we couldn't have found our way around our own homes (it was a very long time ago). So we said that we didn't.
He asked if we had been partying, and we said we had. After a drive of about 20 minutes he dropped us in front of a greasy spoon type place. We couldn’t have cared less and happily had a lunch.
Then we called another taxi, climbed aboard and told him to take us to Holiday Inn. He seemed a bit surprised and asked us if we were sure.
We were getting a little tired and peeved at this point and demanded he take us to Holiday Inn at once. He didn’t say another word, just put the car in gear and a minute later, stopped in front of the hotel. That first taxi driver was probably laughing for the next three days.
I’ll have a new year’s gift for the first three people to get it right.
Let truth prevail.
Ed Smith lives in Springdale. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.