Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s…my buddy Bruce in a cape jumping off his roof and breaking his arm! Oops.
Even after Bruce broke his arm, I wanted to be Superman. Or even Clark Kent, star reporter. I ended up being Jimmy Olsen, photographer. We all grew up wanting to be superheroes. I wanted to be Green Arrow and had the archery set and practiced in the front yard… until I shot an arrow in the air and it came down and hit the neighbor’s car two houses away. I wanted to be Aquaman and swim the oceans with the whales and sharks using my perfect dolphin kick…except I sank like a stone and couldn’t grow gills no matter how many fish sticks I ate. I dreamed of being The Flash…but couldn’t outrun my own bullies so I sure wasn’t saving anyone else.
My buddy Patrick and I wanted to be Spider-Men, but after climbing a very tall pinnacle of rock in the park, we couldn’t get down. No sticky webs, no Spidey-jumps, just a rope…and Mr. McGregor talking us down one hand-hold at a time…
Apparently, it’s time to discuss Family Traditions here at SEARCH Magazine.
While my family members are all wonderful people, there’s not much I can say about our traditions without one or more of them getting a wee bit upset that I’ve aired our emotional laundry in public. It’s my job in this column to bring you the smiles and laughs, unfortunately there aren’t a lot of laughs to be had in the traditions of a family who should probably keep a team of therapists on retainer. That said, there is one tradition I inherited both from my maternal grandfather and my father, who died two months apart in 1982 and 1983, and that is the spinning of tails and the fabricating of fictions. In the grand tradition of those good men, I shall spin you a story about my life, and our–not at all true–family traditions.
As part of our Blast from the Past issue, we’re revisiting useful articles from past issues. This article first appeared in Summer 2017:
Fifty Shades of Beige
by Tim Reynolds
I live a boring little life, in a boring little duplex, on a boring little cul-de-sac, in a city whose most exciting event of the year revolves around cows.
I eat, I sleep, I go to work, I write, I hang out with my three beasts. My life is completely devoid of adventure and really always has been. If there was a color to describe my life, it would be Suburban Beige, the beigiest beige on the color wheel.
As a kid I wanted to be everything from an astronaut to a cowboy to a spy to a movie star, and finally, Elvis. None of it happened.
I’ve never even had the adventure of marriage, although I did once propose to a girlfriend at the airport before she left on a jet plane to fly across the continent to donate a kidney to her mother. No, she didn’t say ‘yes’. She laughed and said, “Are you kidding?”
You laugh, but I am a Space Cadet, or better, a Space Fanatic. I always have been. I was born just before Yuri Gagarin went into orbit, and my childhood was spent watching the Space Race from the rug in the rec room right along with Dad, a former Navy pilot. Clutched tightly in one hand was my Major Matt Mason action figure because the whole idea of man landing on the moon fascinated me. The Moon! That waxing, waning white-grey shiny thingy hanging in the sky above the house!
I even built a monstrous (for me) plastic model of Saturn V rocket with removable Command and Lunar Modules. But a model, an action figure, and an old black and white television were all so abstract. They got me excited, but it wasn’t until the Ontario Science Centre opened in September 1969 (two months after Neil and Buzz stepped foot onto luna firma) that my love of space reached escape velocity. In that wondrous building were housed a real NASA spacesuit, a mock-up of the Command Module that I could actually sit in and flick switches and a Lunar Module Eagle simulator!
I spent hours trying to land that sucker on the “moon” and imagined that NASA themselves would pick the next crop of astronauts from the kids who could successfully land that Eagle onto that Sea of Tranquility. Sadly, I was never able to master the skill, and today I’m sure that’s why … Read more in the Fall 2019 issue
Rescue missions were our specialty, though up to this point in time all previous missions involved only G. I. Joes. This was our first live specimen, zoological rescue, and no thirteen- and fourteen-year-old, two-kid team was more prepared than Ron and me.
We’d ridden our bikes up to the greenbelt area behind the local tennis courts that used to be the IBM golf course. Ron and I had done our traditional summer-day work out on the high-intensity obstacle course disguised as a playground. We were returning from the drinking fountain when we spotted him hobbling across the playground gravel. The wee squirrel was injured, and it was plain to see it wasn’t just a thorn in his paw. He couldn’t put any weight on one leg, and it was bent at an odd angle.
We sprang into action. You can’t catch a squirrel with your bare hands, so Ron observed Tripod, a name appropriate to his condition, while I went dumpster diving for a zoological specimen containment thingy … Read more in the Summer 2019 issue
Although I haven’t traveled much lately, I have always enjoyed my little adventures. Sometimes, though, I find myself in odd situations while exploring.
I was once questioned by a State Trooper in Death Valley, while I was trying to tie my shoes; risked arrest and beheading (okay, maybe not beheading), trying to photograph the British Crown Jewels in the vault of the Tower of London; been yelled at in more languages than I can count for trying to sneak photos in various museums and castles; was kicked out of a bordello-looking place for trying to interview a staff member as research for a novel; nearly died—twice—while hiking in the Rockies; had to pretend to be high on crack to evade drug dealers in downtown Toronto; and was almost shot in Italy.
I’m what I call an “airline brat”—someone who grew up with a parent who worked in the airline industry and took advantage of the travel benefits. Mom and Dad traveled quite a bit to the Caribbean when my two sisters and I were young, though they never took us with them. I suspect they needed the breaks. The first real trip they took us on was to upstate New York’s Finger Lakes District when I was ten. Ever the klutz, I managed to … Read more in the Spring 2019 issue
Making Life Easier for Mom: Tech & the Octogenarian
by Tim Reynolds
It’s hard to predict how a gift will impact the receiver’s life, but when I upgraded from my iPad Gen. 2 to an iPad Air 2, I gave my old one to my mother, telling her that she could use it as an eBook reader and play Bridge on it, for a start.
Mom isn’t particularly tech-savvy. She used to call floppy disks “flippy disks”, but once her youngest grandson sat her down to show her the ins and outs of the iPad, she’d found a new best friend.
You see, Mom is a seasoned and frequent world traveler, but her eyesight isn’t good enough for a smartphone’s small screen. The tablet, on the other hand, is perfect. Also, sitting at a desk is difficult on most bodies, but it’s especially troubling for older muscles and bones. The tablet allows Mom the flexibility of reading in the rocker, in bed, or out on the balcony.
She’s also petite, no more than five-foot-zip, so the weight of the tablet, even in its case, is much less than her big laptop. The tablet also fits into the same space once reserved in her bag for a hardcover novel. A small 17″ flat screen monitor sits on the kitchen counter in order to keep her company and au courant with the news while she’s eating or cooking, but the tablet now allows her to pull up a recipe and have it right there in front of her or the latest Arthur Hill novel. Read more in the Spring 2019 issue
Twenty-three years ago, when I first broke into what is known as the ‘paper goods market’ (postcards, calendars, books, etc.), I was living in a resort town and the sales of these products was huge.
I made tens of thousands of dollars selling images to publishers catering to that tourist market, including National Geographic and Condé Nast Traveler Magazine.
Making money from travel photos, now, is tough, but there are still online sources to sell your images to, including stock photo agencies, where most sales are made.
Since nearly everyone carries a digital camera in their phone, and those cameras are getting better and better, the potential for the average person to be in the right place at the right time has improved considerably. The biggest problem with phone cameras is that most are single lens cameras, which only zoom digitally and not optically (moving glass lens elements), so you either have to get close to your subject, or you need to be photographing a wide subject, like a landscape. Use digital zoom as little as possible…. continue reading in the Fall 2018 issue of SEARCH.
I come from a long line of boat people. Three hundred and ninety-eight years ago my ninth Great-Grandfather left his wife and five daughters at home to sail off on something longer than a three-hour tour. Richard never returned, although after three years, he had Elizabeth and the girls sail over to join him.
Unfortunately, five years later, he was dead, cause unknown. He was only forty-nine. Now, I’m not saying ninth-Great-Grandma had anything to do with ninth-Great-Grampa’s untimely and mysterious death, but maybe sailing away on the Mayflower without his family wasn’t his best decision ever.
The weighing of anchors and snapping of mainsails is so ingrained in our blood that my father bought a twenty-foot sailboat when I was a kid so the family could ply the exciting waters of Lake Ontario. We spent many “joyous” long weekends away from our friends, on… continue reading in Summer 2018 issue.
I loves me my trees. Not in a “that young fella needs some serious therapy” kinda love. More like adoration, appreciation, affection, and a few other A-words from the thesaurus.
Sadly, I have another A-word, allergies. Specifically, dust, mold, mildew, ragweed, grass, and trees. In other words I’m allergic to the entire world. Over the decades my allergies have tapered off, but when I was a young goat exploring the world I was always trying different places in which to hide from my two younger sisters.
The crawlspace under my parents’ bedroom was perfect. It had just enough hanging spider egg sacks to keep my sisters at bay. It also had enough dust, mold, and mildew to give me a serious respiratory infection for a month.
Next I thought of hiding in the grass in the backyard, but Mom had some bizarre fixation about having a nicely groomed short lawn around our suburban brick castle, so I would have looked like… continue reading in Spring 2018 issue.