Come on 2018: Times have changed

The Compass - - Editorial - Harold Wal­ters Harold Wal­ters lives Hap­pily Ever After in Dunville, in the only Cana­dian province with its own time zone. How cool is that? Reach him at gh­wal­ters663@gmail.com

Hey b’ys, re­mem­ber Robert Mitchum?

Dear old Aunt Tilly re­mem­bers him as a ma­jor Hol­ly­wood hunk in the years im­me­di­ately fol­low­ing WWII.

I was gnaw­ing hard­tack with baby teeth in 1948 when Robert Mitchum was ar­rested for — get this — smok­ing weed.

Re­port­edly, Bob wept and prob’ly gnashed his teeth be­cause his ca­reer was ru­ined. Puff­ing pot in those hal­cyon days was scan­dalous be­hav­iour even for a Hol­ly­wood hunk, es­pe­cially if The Law­man caught him.

Bob got off easy — kinda. The Judge hove him in the clink for only a cou­ple of months. Bob lucked out. His clink was ac­tu­ally a prison farm at which in­mates spent their days among the crops chop­ping … well, chop­ping weeds, p’raps, eh b’ys?

Bob served his time, re­turned to Hol­ly­wood and, none the worse for time at the county farm, con­tin­ued his ca­reer. Sure, soon after his stint as a farm­hand, in the movie The

River of No Re­turn, Bob peeled off his shirt and flexed his pecs at no less a star than Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe, a Hol­ly­wood kit­ten with ad­mirable pec­toral en­dow­ments of her own . . . . . .

Did Robert Mitchum smoke dope again?

How do I know? “Harry, my own Hol­ly­wood hunk,” said Dear­est Duck — or words to that ef­fect. “You told me your mother wouldn’t let you see that movie. She fig­ured it was naughty be­cause Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe was in it.”

“Different times, my Duck,” said I.

“Be­sides, don’t you in­tend to wish folks happy New Year?”

“My Duck,” said I. “Trust me. I shall reach that point.”

Jump for­ward 29 years from the time of Bob’s scan­dalous deed.

In 1977, Keith Richards, a much younger Rolling Stone than to­day’s kip­per-faced old rocker, was ar­rested in Toronto for — get this — pos­ses­sion of mar­i­juana.

Ar­rested in Toronto, mind you!

“Harry? Happy New Year?” “Pa­tience, my Duck.” Back up a step.

A dozen years after Robert Mitchum swung a hoe on the prison farm, the smoky 1960s —

The Six­ties, for frig sake! — rolled ‘round.

A young folk-singer, now an aged Noble Prize win­ner, Bobby Dy­lan bawled out an anthem of the era — The times they are achangin.’

A gen­er­a­tion of hip­pies, and hir­sute oth­ers of that ilk, forked their fin­gers and drawled, “Hey man, we’ll toke to that.”

Far­ther down the road, so to speak, Bobby Dy­lan sang a vari­a­tion on the six­ties’ theme.

Things have changed, was his new re­frain.

“The six­ties, Harry? Talk about dead horses,” said the flower of my life, a blos­som who’s never been to San Fran­cisco. But is an en­dur­ing bloom none­the­less, eh b’ys?

“Hold your horses, my Duck,” said I. “I hope to pull all these thoughts to­gether like clos­ing the mouth of a cast-net dur­ing capelin scull.”

“Good luck with that.” Plac­ing a peck like a dropped petal on my cheek, Dear­est Duck left me with my thoughts, my tan­gled strings. Quick up­date.

Robert Mitchum has long since gone to the big sound stage in the sky.

Keith Richards, tough as boot leather, is still rolling stoned.

Bobby Dy­lan is singing Si­na­tra and qual­i­fies for a se­niors’ pen­sion.

The Tooth Fairy has lost my baby teeth and my present long-tooth chom­pers dare not at­tempt hard­tack.

The whip­per-snap­per King of Canada has de­creed that mar­i­juana be le­gal­ized in the Land of the Can­nucks, even here in our far-east­ern, af­ter­thought fief­dom.

Times and things have changed. Happy New Year! “Harry!”

Dear­est Duck — God love ‘er stems and at­ten­dant bou­quet of flo­ral de­lights — re­turned with a steam­ing mug of Ten­sion Tamer, my herb of choice.

“Go­ing to be a land­mark year, my Duck. Kinda like the end of Pro­hi­bi­tion, eh?”

“Hope you’re not plan­ning on smok­ing that ol’ dope come sum­mer,” said Dear­est Duck look­ing askance. “You never have.”

“Well,” said I, striv­ing to look as in­no­cent as a head of state, “I didn’t in­hale. Wait, p’raps I did … un­in­ten­tion­ally … be­cause I once ad­mired a gold­fish swim­ming back­wards in its tank.”

The rosy blush on Dear­est Duck’s face be­came a scowl­ing blos­som suf­fer­ing from fall’s first frost.

“You won’t be stink­ing up this house with smelly weed,” she said.

“There’s al­ways the base­ment, my Duck,” said I, saucy as a pup, fool­ishly for­get­ting that the smell of smol­der­ing plant life might smother for­ever the aroma of fresh-from-the-oven choco­late chip cook­ies.

“Hu­ummph,” said Dear­est Duck, snatch­ing my still steam­ing Ten­sion Tamer and storm­ing off.

But b’ys…

The King has de­creed. The wheels are in spin.

And I al­ready know what I want for Fa­ther’s Day.

A pot pipe. Happy New Year! B’ys oh b’ys, is it ever! Thank you for read­ing.

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