My Barn on the Hill is a lovely spot for cogitation, implication, inspiration, rejuvenation and elongation of one’s noggin. Painting by Matisse. Big Bop Matisse – My next door neighbor. Oh! You thought I meant that other guy? Big Bop rules.
Notes from the barn
Carl Dixon just as you see him
By Seamus O’Bradaigh – Editor Emeritus
The Barn – I come here occasionally to an old barn on a hill, buried knee deep in snow or alfalfa – seasonally dependent.
Today it’s snow, but I’m in shorts, and I’m decompressing from a night of writing.
The dog Billie Jean King is here. Chasing shadows.
I’m here because I just finished a story about Haliburton’s Carl Dixon.
He’s a rocker turned inspirational speaker. You may find the feature story on page 10 of today’s Voice.
I was there for his speaking debut at Northern Lights Pavilion last Wednesday. On assignment. Camera and netbook blinking and winking. Typing, snapping. Can’t really listen when you’re that submerged in da’ woik.
Today I’m listening to Carl.
Perched on an old slab of granite footing, looking out over the trees from my old barn on the hill.
Carl talked of recovery.
I realize now, that he was talking to me.
If you were lucky enough to be there.
And you listened. Carefully.
You know that he was talking to you too.
And that’s the point isn’t it?
Inspirational speakers are supposed to inhabit your noggin; make you think; bring you to some aha piece of your own puzzle.
Today, from my old barn, I’ll just tell you about the Carl I know.
About 6 years back I put an ad on the Haliburton Folk Society’s web page.
I was looking for a guitar.
The fingers on my left hand had been numb for some years due to an unexpected spring plunge into Winnipeg’s Assiniboine River back in 1995. I went in to grab my dog who was drowning. I went in and hauled him out onto the ice lining the bank.
I ended up stuck on a lonely section of the river holding on to the ice, waiting for someone to come by.
In my knapsack was a 40-ounce bottle of Gibson’s Finest rye whiskey –half full – and a copy of Catcher in the Rye.
Long story short, I ended up on the Front Page of the Winnipeg Sun. Both my hands numbed and bloodied from pounding at the ice. For the next 10 years I couldn’t press on the steel strings of a guitar.
Fast forward. I felt ready to try the steel again after many years of the soft nylon strings.
Enter Carl Dixon.
He phoned in response to my ad, and said that he had an old guitar. A Yamaha.
We met at McKecks and he gave me the guitar and a sturdy old case.
I asked him how much I owed him.
He said never mind.
“Enjoy it,” he said. “And tell me how it’s going with the fingers.”
We talked about his career, his life and my favorite band, The Guess Who.
We had a coffee.
I have five guitars now.
I play every day.
I blame Carl Dixon when I put the capo on the third fret and pick up that old Yamaha.
Thanks Carl, for the guitar.
And thanks for the night out with that other Carl.
You touched a chord dude.