Chain Driven

13 years ago this August I was walking down the streets of Summerside after a dinner theatre performance at the Brother's Two on the way for some drinks with the cast and friends. I was about to cross a street and the light turned red....I stopped....and waited. Just before the light turned green I looked down at the ground and there was a gold chain at my feet.

I picked it up - it was a simple box-link chain and an even more simple golden cross. I instantly had this feeling like it was left there for me. You see, the night before I had this horrible dream and foreshadowing of my father's death. Perhaps my mind was on red alert. I pondered just leaving it there so it could be found by its rightful owner but, no one was around so I pocketed it and carried on for my drinks and all but forgot about it for the rest of the evening.

The next morning as I got dressed I went to my dresser where the contents of my pockets lay from the night before and there was the chain. Without thinking I put it on.

A few weeks later my family showed up in Summerside at the Brother's Two after our 2nd last show. Cool! ...oh...not cool. I accompanied my sister to the parking lot where my family explained to me about my father's X-Ray, the dark spots, the explanation of his chronically sore back...the big C.

As I left and walked numbly back to the restaurant the first thing I did was reach inside the next of my shirt, pull out the cross and hold it between my fingers and prayed.

After a couple months of morphine-aided pain killing and watching my father sub-consciously hallucinate conjuring the most bizarre stories and images, he woke up. He was himself again. A break through ...a break through with a too good to be true feeling. He died 3 days later while I was in Halifax on a UPEI music trip.

I continued to wear the chain and over the years whenever I was feeling scared, depressed, helpless, etc I would ritualistically reach into the neck of my shirt, pull out the cross, hold it between my fingers and pray. I did this especially while travelling - take-off's, landings - one particular band landing at Charlottetown Airport where it was so windy the plane landed turned about 15 degrees to the left and the plane almost rolled. Seriously, it was one of those moments where everyone thought they were going to die. In in instant they swore they'd change everything wrong in their life if they had one more chance. but then the plane came to a safe stop and people returned to their regular broken selves.

At one point the cheap golden cross wore down to crumbling nothingness and briefly I stopped wearing it. I put it on my desk and temporarily forgot about it. Until my wedding day when it showed up at my sister's house after I had gotten into my tux in a new box, with a new shiny golden cross, and a freshly cleaned, but still the same, rejuvenated simple box-link chain. A gift from my then soon to be wife.

I've barely taken it off in 6 years. Until last week at work when I scratched the back of my neck, caught the chain and it came apart at the clasp. The little spring loaded clasp wore away and ceased to work.

I'm travelling soon. I'll need that chain.

So I packed my three coughing kids in the van, dragged them into the Confederation Court mall, where hats and mitts are thrown at me from my kids, stuffed into my jacket pockets transforming me into some reverse hunchback of Charlottetown. One ran too far ahead, one dragged too far behind, the little one in my arms joining me in near whiplash trying to watch both of them front and back...on to Norton's where just prior I gave the "expensive store, upon pain of all toys being heaved if you touch or break anything" speech. While we waited for service, a kind lady subtly suggested the water cooler to aid with my kids non-stop coughs. That kept them occupied.

On little trips like these I often wonder what my 3 kids under 5 are thinking "What the hell is Dad bringing us here for..he didn't even buy anything..I didn't get anything...what gives?!?!!"

but we dropped off the chain for what will be a $12 fix that they'll eventually understand is priceless to me - and them.


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