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Jesse Joe 10-18-2009 03:27 PM

Bite of the Month... 1996
Bite of the Month

from "Sliced Bread"



Sliced Bread - Notes from a Baker's Rebel Daughter

A Story from the Book "Sliced Bread"

By Rosemary Phillips (written in 1996)
Thank you Gordon Lightfoot

"Sliced Bread"Fall, 1972. Toronto, Ontario. A warm soft-glow sunny evening and it was raining, one of those light rains, warm and comfortable, with sunlight turning each drop into a glistening diamond.

I left the CBC Daytime Programming offices on Church Street and headed for the subway station. Since starting my new job as a researcher for “Outside/Inside” I had been told on numerous occasions that Gordon Lightfoot lived in the apartment building right behind our offices.

Many a time I wondered if I would ever bump into him, and in fleeting moments of daydreaming imagined his apartment where his head would be bent over sheets of paper as he created new songs. He was my hero. His music had filled my home while I was a student at Ryerson.

I had seen him at Massey Hall. Even sang some of his songs. His lyrics touched me deeply – his insight. He saw life and gave it to me in music - from the go-go girls on Yonge Street to the gentleness and wonder of nature, the pain and joys of love, human trials, and the old man who came home from the forest.

As I turned the corner off Church Street I removed my shoes and timidly danced barefoot in those liquid diamonds that fell around me. The concrete sidewalk was warm to my feet. I stepped onto a low wall and balanced as I danced, shoes held in my hands. I was enjoying each moment. Sunny rain.

Then through my haze I recognized a handsome man walking towards me - Gordon Lightfoot - strolling back to his apartment building. I went into shock. My heart pounded furiously.
“What do I do?” was my thought. “Do I say anything? Do I just keep walking? Do I just smile? How can I thank him?”

I was so nervous. I could talk to mayors and premiers no problem, but with an artist who touched my heart I had immense difficulty. I must have looked strange.

There I was, dancing in the rain, not something people normally did on Toronto streets. I managed to hold my balance on the wall and kept moving forward. My heart jumped right up through my throat and choked my tongue. I couldn’t speak. I just wanted to say, “Thank you.”

He walked by, lost in his own distant thoughts.
It’s been many years since that moment, a moment I will never forget. Too many years. And I still haven’t said, “Thank you”.

The last time I saw Gordon was at the Stein Valley Festival where his words and music floated over an attentive audience that sat or lay huddled under blankets in a field and stared at a star lit sky as he sang the “Canadian Railroad Trilogy.”

His music still fills my home, and when I’m driving the roads of this wonderful country called Canada, his gentle voice and inspiring poetry follow me on twists and turns, over mountains and through valleys, around lakes, through forests and along rivers.

Thank you Gordon. At last I can say it. Thank you for all you have given and will be giving - from your heart. You are truly a unique and wonderful being.

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