Dear Ezra and Lian,
I was born in a small town; in the Collingwood General and Marine Hospital on October 21, 1972. My Grandma Plater was a nurse there. My dad worked in the Collingwood Shipyards. I can breathe in a small town. No matter how long I live in a big city or how many metropolises I visit in this world, I will always be a small town boy. That’s where I’m truly comfortable. I miss being able to look up in the night sky and actually see tens of thousands of stars. I miss knowing all of my neighbours, instead of none of them. I miss people knowing who I am everywhere I go. I miss having little old ladies come up to me and say, “I used to look after you when you were a baby”. I got nothing against people from a big town. I’m just not one of you. I never will be. Of course, I know I can’t go home again. My hometown isn’t the same at all. It’s changed and so have I. All the same, I can sing all the lyrics to John Cougar Mellencamp’s “Small Town” and they would be true. A small town made me what I am today. I’m always going to be looking to return to a small town. It’s probably where I will end up.
Dear Ezra and Lian,
It has been recorded more than any other song in the history of the world. It’s everywhere. You and I heard it a few days ago in an IMAX movie. It was played on bagpipes from the International Space Station. So I am going to have a bagpipe version here, as well as a vocal version. It’s a tip to my Scots-Irish heritage. I grew up a few blocks from a branch of the Canadian Legion, so I would often hear bag pipers or entire pipe bands. Every local parade would have them. Of course, Remembrance Day would have pipes. Back when I was politically involved, every political speaker would be “piped in” to the room. Of course, every TV or movie version of a police or firefighter funeral will have a bagpipe version of this song.
It’s also the ultimate, white trash, redneck song. In the search for redemption, it’s only Amazing Grace that really offers any. The words of this song are so profound, so timeless, so meaningful that I have included a video with the lyrics.
A view of the Scottish country taken from across Scotland. Accompanied by the music Amazing Grace performed by The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards.from the Spirit…