I’m back in Thunder Bay, fresh from one of the most incredible weeks of my life. I did presentations at eleven elementary schools, including a special “congratulations!” presentation at our #1 fundraising school in Ontario last fall. I spent two nights in Terrace Bay; if you’ve never heard of it…uh, here it is. I slept two nights at a hotel at which I was the only guest. I got asked out by a gaggle of Grade 6 girls; then, in one of the greatest small-world encounters of all-time, I discovered that one of my contacts used to live across the street from me in Thunder Bay (I lived at 743 Confederation Drive; she lived at 744). All the while I was racking up humungous mileage in my rented Ford Explorer and delving into Sirius’ 12,000-song Who catalogue. I think it’s safe to say they’ll have a new customer sometime next week.
Also, I got tickets to see the Tragically Hip at the Fort William Gardens.
You’ve got to understand: I fought doing this…but then I did a presentation at a nearby school and one thing led to another. I’ll be in Longlac until 3:15 that afternoon and have to be back in the area (a three-and-a-half drive) the next afternoon, but as soon as I realized I could pull it off temptation got the better of me. My friend Kim was game, and she bought us our tickets earlier this week. Our seats aren’t great–certainly nowhere near the 7th row seats I had for Pearl Jam at the Gardens two years ago–but they’re inside the venue, and if I get to hear “Blow at High Dough” in my actual hometown it’ll have been worth it.
Until then, I’ve got a wide-eyed and overzealous girlfriend to entertain for the weekend. The two of us, along with our friends Beth and Brad, took a car ride down to Grand Marais, Minnesota today to sample the greatest pizza in the world, as well as to engage in some miscellaneous hijinks. Tomorrow, meanwhile, I’m attending a service at Westfort Baptist Church (where I practically grew up) for the first time since 2001, then taking Bri back to the Hoito. It’s been the perfect homecoming so far; with luck, and with a little bit o’ Gord Downie, it’ll get even better.