Ashes, Paper, & Joe

One day last week when I was cleaning I decided the end table by my couch needed a good dusting. The end table is really an old TV stand with two shelves and this is where I keep all my old DVDs and CDs that never get played anymore now that you can stream whenever you want and store things in the cloud. It’s not a lot, mostly Bon Jovi limited edition boxed DVD sets, the full series of Entourage, my Irish imported films featuring Cillian Murphy, all my Cameron Crowe and Kevin Smith movies, and albums signed by the performers for me. Nestled amongst all these treasures was something I  completely forgot I possessed – a 2005 recording of Ashes, Paper & Beans, Joe Blades radio show on CHSR.

He gave me this episode because I was on it, not as an in-studio guest, as I was a couple of times over the years, but a recorded reading of one of my short stories at the Fredericton Public Library. I remember that reading. It was the first time I read in Fredericton. It may have been the first time I read outside of Miramichi.

I remember him gifting me the CD of the radio show. He hadn’t told me he was going to include me. I mean I knew he recorded the reading, I think, but I never dreamed I would be included in his literary radio program. He gave me the CD with a bunch of other things, I don’t remember what exactly but I suspect it was bookmarks and postcards, perhaps the latest issue of ellipse. He was trying to act nonchalant, trying to keep the corners of his mouth from turning up into a full grin, wanting to see my surprise when I noticed my name in the program information. I was looking through everything, thanking him, chattering on … Oh, this is awesome! Nice! Wow, this turned out good! I’m sure I looked puzzled when I first picked up the CD, because he’d never gifted me an episode of the show before. I think I literally gasped when I saw my name. Oh my God! I had no idea you did this! And then he released his big grin that consumed his face and lit up in his eyes, so pleased to have pulled off this surprise.

Finding the CD when I was cleaning, I imagined Joe was wherever he is now, watching with anticipation, waiting for the big surprise. And he wouldn’t have been disappointed. My jaw literally dropped open and tears sprang to my eyes.

I no longer have any device capable of playing this CD. I tried it in my Wii, but I got a format unknown error. So, I’ve been waiting for the right place and time to listen, which finally presented itself yesterday evening when my boyfriend and I went for a drive. He has a CD player in his vehicle. We drove down to Escuminac and back home listening to the voices I remember so well from all the readings I attended and participated in … Nela Rio, Jo-anne Elder, Herménégilde Chiasson … my voice sounded so young amongst them! And Joe’s voice, slow and calm, patient, waiting for the words to form in his mind.

What an incredible gift to have this recording! Thank you, Joe! For this, and for everything else, it sure was an amazing ride 🙂

Mood: nostalgic
Drinking: the boldest dark roast
Listening To: the morning commute
Hair: fluffy and freshly laundered

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