It was the beginnings of a long, hot and life-changing summer of 1972 when I got the news.
I had just graduated from high school the previous fall, and as a graduating present my parents and my cousins parents agreed to send my cousin Cree and me to France and England to see a bit of the world and then escort Cree's sister Barbara home from her studies at the university of Lyon in France.
Cree and I first traveled to Lyon, where we met up with Barb and were introduced to Barb's boyfriend, Brian, who was a nice chap who grew up in Leeds and had got to know Barb at university. The only thing I remember about our short stay in Lyon was that the slightly rundown hotel that we stayed at was kind enough to put us in a suite of rooms that were haunted!
Erie shadows that crept across the room, waves of invisible cold air and pictures that seemed to vibrate on the walls, where the kinds of things that didn't make for a good nightâ€™s rest. This was my first experience with other-worldly visions, but not my last. Later that year I had the pleasure of "meeting" myself in my parents basement, but that's another story for another day.
After escaping the room demons in Lyon, we flew to Leeds to meet Brian's parents, have our first taste of fish and chips and explore the nightlife of this rough â€™n roll English city. In fact, one night after leaving a pub at closing time, we met a little character outside (who's face looked like a fleshy ashtray) who proudly introduced himself as "George Alexander Dick." Cree and I tried to understand his thick and drunken accent while trying to catch the meaning of his slurred humor. He seemed to laugh and enjoy us American blokes for awhile, but then he suddenly stopped mid sentence (I think?) and stared deeply into my cousinâ€™s eyes and said in a now clear and deliberate tone, "eh, I don't like you." Stunned, we didn't stick around to discover the reason for his abrupt change of heart, but, he certainly did live up to his last name.
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