Complete honesty. I'm always calling for it, so here's the honest truth: I have a bit of a crush on Alan Davidson. Oh come off it with your high horse and your even higher eyebrows – I know damned well you do, too.
It's the hair, for starters. That thick silvery hair and beard, so manly that whenever I think of it the words to Irish Spring commercials leap to my lips: "And I like it too!" Alan's hair and beard bring Kenny Rogers to mind, pre-plastic, when he was, ahem, hot. (Fecking celebrities and their fecking plastic surgery ... give it a REST, people! Here's more complete honesty: you all look like fecking FREAKS.)
So Alan has great hair. He's also got these Paul Newman-ish baby blue eyes, you know, when Newman was still alive, not dead corpse eyes, just so we're clear. And he's got a fez, which is uber-attractive, as all breathing heterosexual women and homosexual men will attest. Nothing like a man wearing nothing but a smile and a fez. Of all things, the object of my desire sent me a photo of His Handsome Self wearing what looks like the tablecloth from our picnic basket – he explains it all in his letter but, I gotta tell you, this may have been a tactical error, abandoning the fez. It's like Richard Simmons abandoning his silk gym shorts or Tom Selleck shaving his moustache, or worse, me shaving my legs. Still, if anyone can carry off the tablecloth look, it is Alan, the fashionista of Newfoundland.
Looks aren't everything, of course. I tell myself that all the time. When you look like me, it's the only thing that gets you through the day. And even though Al is hotter than an October day on The Rock (it was freakishly hot the day we met. I blamed the weather for my sweaty self but, looking back, it may have just been a reaction to Alan's general hotness), he's got plenty going on in that noggin of his – plenty of smarts, plenty of charm and a wicked-good sense of humour. On top of all that, he's a writer. A really, really talented writer. One of the best I know.
That's how I came across Sir Alan of Newfoundland. Through the writing. Like me, he was a regular participant in Friday Flash, an online community of writers who post flash fiction every Friday. Anyone can do it. Anyone. I hadn't written any fiction, at all, ever, when I started writing flash. It was such a stellar experience that I encourage everyone to give it a whirl. Not only did it train me as a writer, it introduced me to some of the nicest people on the web – including dear, sweet, handsome Alan Davidson.
The first story I ever read of his remains my favourite, A Tale of Love, Misfortune and Nasty Wee Dogs. A Valentine's tale of love and yappy small dogs that was touching and funny and all the things good fiction should be. From that point on I became a fan and an avid follower of his blog, Conversations from Land's Edge. When Dave and I got married in September 2010 we decided to honeymoon in Newfoundland, partly because we'd never been there and partly because I wanted to lay eyes on the Silver Fox of the Friday Flash circuit.
We had the BEST day. Alan is just as charming in real life as he is online. He is genuinely nice, as nice as anyone I've ever met. Unfortunately for all of us who crush on the suavest man on The Rock, his heart belongs to the fair and lovely Ginny, who is also an amazing cook and makes the world's very best cheesecake. I've had it and it's true. Alan and V, as she is known, have an energetic and handsome teenaged son he calls "The Boy," and a rather lazy rescued greyhound named Jet, who leaves turds the size of station wagons in their backyard.
While I love my husband and would never cheat on him (that, too, is a complete truth), I can't help but crush on the Man in the Fez. Even if he's now the Man in a Tablecloth.
I hope this letter sees you and your family well.
Yeah, I know. It’s been ages since I’ve written. Sadly, I owe a ton o’ letters to friends and relatives that I had promised to write over the holidays. Each year I am sucked into a chocolate and turkey induced ‘holiday vortex’ and each year it takes me longer to fight its heavy current and flounder to freedom.
From about late September (when the stores start peddling their Christmas wares) I begin to fret about the upcoming holidays. I view the season with the same trepidation as getting a filling, or hearing the snap of latex glove at my doctor’s office…or even the presentation of my wife’s famed sweet potato soup at the supper table *shudders*.
But I digress…
We don’t get many visitors here, so it was really nice to meet you in person when you and Dave visited eastern Newfoundland as part of your honeymoon fifteen months ago. It’s crazy…the time has flown by so fast. I am convinced that our lives are best expressed in mathematical terms: our childhoods begin as simple sums, but morph into quadratic equations and then complex exponential formulae in our ‘golden years’. And don’t get me started on the topic of turning 50 this year!
As noted, it was great to see you folks and tour you about for the day. That guy of yours is a real keeper and I wish your visit could have been longer as there’s so much more to see on this unique island. I hope you both can visit again. Bring your boys, your dog and your camping gear and stay a spell! Also, don’t forget your travel insurance and provincial health cards because the moose do tend to wander onto the highways.
I know, you’re probably saying, “Why is Alan still living on that windswept island if he finds it so isolated?” Good question, my Muskokian friend! It’s that isolation that has kept Newfoundland somewhat ‘insulated’ from the rest of North America, allowing it to maintain its unique culture and language (the islanders have mainly Irish roots with smaller numbers descended from English and Scottish immigrants).
I suppose that my move here is really just another phase in that accelerating life journey. Life for me began in Scotland, but I was soon relocated to the west coast of Canada (Vancouver Island). As an adult I moved again to Canada’s industrial centre in Southwestern Ontario in search of work—the ‘promised land’ as it’s often referred to by those on the coasts. Over five years ago I chose to move even farther east to ‘The Rock’…to escape that same promised land. Some have jokingly said that I may find myself traveling full-circle and end up back in Scotland. Or at least planted there after I die. Interesting thought, but I think I’ll avoid the family crypt for a few years yet.
Perhaps this moving thing is simply in my blood. My grandfather was a career army man and traveled all over the world with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. And my dad always used to say, “You’ve got to move to where the work is.” It was kind of a family motto. Then again, dad also used to say, “Run up to the store and get me a pack of smokes” and my personal favourite, “If your pipes are leaky, have them seen to.”
The old man stayed true to his motto and often worked in remote locations of British Columbia. It was probably for better money…or perhaps it was simply to escape the five screaming kids at home. We Davidsons must have gypsy lineage or perhaps a nomadic streak in our background to account for this constant desire to move—this state of flux. I’ve given this plenty of thought and have decided to put away my fez for a while in place of a new head covering that better reflects this family past (see enclosed photo of Jan. 22/12). I know…a lot of people love me in that fez, but I think my new look is less Peter Lorre-esque and more Omar Sharif-ish. So please…don’t send me any hate mail.
I know that I have enclosed two photos, but please post only the one with me clothed…I may want to run for political office one day.
In closing, I must thank you for throwing me a rope and helping to extricate me from that holiday vortex. For prompting me to write something…anything. Because really, my writing of late has been restricted to grocery lists and work memos hastily jotted on sticky note paper. I’m not prepared to say that I’m now walking tall in the world of writers, but at least this Letter to a Friend is a step in the right direction.