My grandma swears she saw lightning pass through her Squirrel Hill, Pennsylvania house sometime in the late 1950’s. I believe her now and it only cost me two cigarettes.
I was zigzagging my way through Montreal neighborhoods when a guy asked me for two cigarettes. Funny how strangers always ask me for tobacco. I guess that’s why I keep smoking,
He was wearing a St. Louis Cardinals baseball hat, so I felt polite steering the conversation towards Jarry Park and Willie Stargell once hitting a home run into the swimming pool beyond right field. This guy confirmed the legend, but told me he could hit a home run 500 feet as well and that he was once the best baseball player in Quebec.
He mentioned a few old Expos names like Bill Stoneman and John Boccabella, but quickly changed the topic to floor hockey. I don’t know much about the sport except that players wear cool looking space shoes and don’t have to skate because the game is not played on ice.
I tried once again swerving the conversation back to the Expos or back to the fiddler on the Jarry Park dugout roof and Fernand La Pierre the organ player, but after hearing his own voice mention ball hockey, this guy was already way down river.
“I would have been the best player in the NHL for sure,” he said. “Better than Bobby Orr and Denis Savard, but with these damn ankles, I could barely stand sturdy on skates.”
His crutches and special brace convinced me. Our cigarettes had burned halfway. He rambled on, said he played floor hockey like a chess player. I guess that meant keeping everyone guessing or whatever, I wasn’t really thinking about floor hockey. I was watching a bolt of lightning pass through a human being. He was coming back to life and I felt the jolt too.
This day was just beginning. To be continued in the next post.