After walking blindly into one of the biggest nightmares of my life with the giant gopher and the room full of pyramid power gopher roadkill devotees, I thought I’d stick around Regina for an extra day or two so I could get some background on the leader of this misguided cult. I needed to find out his name.. I needed to find out where he lived….. I needed to put my brain to work and have a little fun, the kind of fun that Saint Peter shakes his head and questions you about when you show up at the pearly gates… THAT kind of fun… This wasn’t over….. Not by a long shot!!!
I made a promise to myself that I’d say nothing to my dentist buddy about his wife’s new group of friends, she was a nice person and all but, at this point in her life, maybe a bit lost. I was going to tell him that, in my opinion, he needed to simply give her a bit of space…. Hey, I didn’t marry her, let the buyer beware! I knew that if I was supportive and understanding about Squeaky’s horrible trip to meet his maker, my friend’s wife would probably tell me what I needed to know about the cult leader, I’d pry it out of her. She’d start singing like a meadowlark and give me his home phone number and address, where he worked and his boss’s name and number too…… For the next day or so I made it my life’s purpose to find out EVERYTHING !!! I think it was time to turn on the recording app in the new cel phone I picked up that morning, hide it in my shirt pocket and help her make dinner.. ooooo, I’m such a sensitive guy, ooooooo I love helping out in the kitchen….. oooooo I love gophers…….. ooooooo I love chopping up carrots…… What is the giant gopher’s first name???? ………. That’s right, nice and easy see, one name at a time, see.. One little bit of information at a time………….. This would take a day or two, but I’m a patient man….. Reeeeeeal patient!!!!!
Being a dentist is a vocation in life that requires a whole lot of compassion tempered with a thick skin which comes in handy whenever the 10 year old patient’s blood curdling screams echo through the clinic. You have to continue scraping, gouging, needling, hacking and stabbing at those nasty rotting gums and molars so little junior can go back home and survive another 6 months on a strict diet of caramel, sucrose, dextrose, corn syrup, fudge, taffy, fructose, sugar cookies, icing, brownies, cotton candy, bubble gum, Colas, chocolate bars, ice cream, gummy bears, gummy worms, gummy cola bottles, licorice ( both red and black), angel food cake, halloween candies, peanut brittle and pie……… But you know for sure that the next time the poor little fellow gets dragged into your dentist’s office he’ll take one look at your grinning face and shrivel up in horror because he knows the scraping, gouging and hacking is going to start all over again……….. I can’t help but think that dentists must go home at night and reach for the Scotch bottle before dropping the car keys on the kitchen counter…… I know I would, and thats just what my dentist friend did when he came home that night..
After dinner we sat on his back deck and started the evening off right with a few ounces of 30 year old Whyte and Mackay. This is a blended Scotch which is a bright golden mahogany in color and smoother than a 10 dollar vanilla milkshake. Now I am a fairly stubborn, uppity, single malt drinker but the first sip told me to shut up, sit back and learn something for a change. What came next was maybe the most memorable part of my trip so far, and if you’ve been paying any attention to this blog you’ll know that there will probably be a few of this trip’s memories that will cause me to scream in my sleep until the day my heart finally blows up. My friend brought out a table top humidor, placed it on the small cedar table between our chairs and I swear I heard a chorus of Hallelujahs sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir when he opened the lid. He had been aging a box of Cohiba Double Coronas EL 2003 and said that tonight was the night to finally taste one with his oldest and dearest friend…. Me… I felt a lump form in my throat when I inhaled the beautiful barnyard aroma wafting out of the humidor and I think I had a tear in my eye when he asked me to pick one.
There are reasons why aged cigars taste the way they do. The time spent in the humidor allows the leaves to further ferment and go through many evolutions of flavor and if you’ve started out with the best quality tobacco possible, you’ll end up with priceless cigars after a few years of aging. A few more years and you’ll end up with what we were smoking that night on the back deck. This incredible double corona had all of the usual Cohiba traits but the grassiness was mellower, the pepper was sweeter, and the bean flavors were simply perfect. Three or four drinks later and I felt that I was happier than I had ever been in my life and my dentist buddy said the same, there we were, two of the best friends that ever sat on a back deck drinking aged Scotch whiskey and smoking pricey, aged, limited edition cigars. I loved this guy maybe more than I ever loved my brothers, parents or even Dave Ridgway, of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, the day he kicked the winning field-goal to take the Grey Cup away from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats with 9 seconds left on the clock, back in ’89.
With love in my heart, Scotch in my glass and a priceless Cohiba in my hand I thought that maybe now would be the time to tell my dentist buddy about his wife’s gopher cult. He was my best friend and the kind-hearted part of me knew that he needed to understand why she was acting so strange but as I looked over to the telephone pole in his neighbor’s yard, I imagined Squeaky’s final muted scream as his throat was torn away by one of nature’s powerful raptors and my own need for revenge on the Giant Gopher Cult leader was far too strong.