Saturday 25 April 2015

Kenny Two Sugars

Every now and then I am reminded about just how lucky I have been in all aspects of my life. Lately I have been thinking of the wonderful people I used to work with and all of the fun we used to have.

I can’t remember the circumstances that led up to it, but one day Sue and Cecil were going back and forth teasing each other about pretty much everything. Sue is a native Canadian and this particular day Cecil asked her if her Indian name was Susy Big Bottom. Of course we all laughed for a while until Sue said “Why do you ask Cecil Little Paddle?” Yep, Sue wins…again. I can remember that day as clear as a mountain lake.

I wasn’t given an Indian name, but whenever I paint a room in the house I sign it H. Tennek. My reasoning is that if I spent the same length of time on a painting or a carving, I would sign it, so the room shouldn’t be any different. I had thought that I might do some carvings that were inspired by native art and sell them under the name of H. Tennek. Well, I did until I found out that it was illegal to impersonate an indigenous person to make a profit from art. Strange law, but probably necessary to protect a small but significant income stream for our native peoples.

Louise and I were in Tim Horton’s the other day to meet a friend. It was a weekday and Louise was getting the drinks while I went to visit. The woman at the counter who knew Louise from when she would buy coffee on the way to work was surprised to see Louise so early since she had just retired. Louise told her that it was our friend’s idea to meet so early. They laughed and then Louise brought me my coffee.

There are a lot of Tim Horton’s around, but we prefer this one because of the people who work there. They are friendly, efficient and don’t make too many mistakes with the orders. They also get to know their customers and over time develop relationships with all of us. My buddy Ken and I go quite often and usually chat a little while they are getting his medium, black two sugars and my medium black, one sugar. If he shows up without me he is asked where his friend is. The same happens to me when I am by myself. It is nice to have a relationship like that where you get your coffee.

Yesterday Louise and I were there yet again but this time I was buying. The girl at the till asked me where “two sugars” was. I told her that he was in Vancouver helping his sister-in-law helping her move. I thanked her and took my coffee and Louise’s tea to our table to do some serious people watching.

It occurred to me that if you live in this country long enough you will get an Indian name. Just ask Kenny Two Sugars.

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