A Very Happy Thanksgiving Day

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Before I begin my Thanksgiving Day story, I want to announce a very special friend’s 81st birthday today.

It’s ironic that my buddy Norm Colon (the southern Norm), gets to celebrate three special occasions today – because he lives in the USA and they celebrate Columbus Day.  Their Thanksgiving Day isn’t until next month.

Tom Stabile, Danny, and Norm Colon, last year – photo by Margaret Quick

So, Happy Birthday, Happy Columbus Day, and Happy Canuck Thanksgiving Day, Norm!

I hope to be walking with my American friends when our governments reopen the border.  It’s been too long a wait for me because friends have no borders – ever!

And Happy Thanksgiving to all of my Canuck readers – wherever you may reside on the planet!

However, I no longer celebrate Thanksgiving Day in October because I have had so much good fortune in the last eleven years – I celebrate Thanksgiving every day!

********

A little more than a year ago, I was thinking about giving up my acting pursuits.

At the time, I was sitting in the waiting room of the Vancouver Cancer Centre, with my gal pal, Connie MacLean, who was receiving radiation treatment for the brain cancer that was killing her.

I called Dylan, my agent at Trisko Talent Management, for the last twelve years, and explained that my voice was becoming very raspy and I wanted to let him know that I might be more suitable for non-speaking roles – or roles for characters with speech issues.

Dylan said that he would not be able to represent me anymore because of my voice issue.  He urged me to continue acting and suggested that I find an agent who specializes in representing actors with physical challenges.

I was heartbroken and my feelings were hurt.  But I understood Dylan’s concerns and tried to convince myself to ‘quit acting’ forever.

I was still feeling sorry for myself when Connie returned to the waiting room.  I explained that I had just lost my agent and was thinking that I should give up my acting pursuits.

But I realized that my troubles were minimal compared to Connie’s and I immediately regretted complaining about my silly issue.

Connie was in her last days, fighting brain cancer – but she never once complained to me.  And more importantly, she never gave up on living.

She fought a valiant fight and I often told her that she was my hero for being so brave.

On September 12, 2019, I called Connie but got her voice mail.

I did not leave a message because I figured that she was asleep.  We spoke on the phone most days and if I missed a day, she’d call me to see if I was okay.

We had each other’s backs.

The next morning when I awoke, I had two messages on my phone.

The first message was from Connie.

She said that I was her hero and she thanked me for everything.  She then closed by saying goodnight.

The second message was from her son, Ralph.

He said that Connie had passed away during the night.  He was with her when she passed.  I am so thankful that Connie left me that message.  And I’m also thankful that she didn’t die alone – Ralph was with her for the last two weeks of her life.

I also wrote about Connie in my A Happy Ending story.

My Vancouver ‘Venturers walking club honors Connie by having the first walk of each year in her name.

But I never mentioned in the story that Connie had convinced me to continue acting, despite my raspy voice.

I had never been a quitter before – including the day in June 2009 when I was diagnosed with stage 3 throat cancer and given only a forty percent chance of surviving.

So, I decided to re-invent myself.

I shaved off my mustache a few weeks later; booked a session with Kevin Clark Studios to update my headshot photos and began to represent myself without an agent.

A few months later, in the New Year, I got a booking for a commercial!

It was for a large vitamin company.  Here is the commercial:

I saw it for the first time on October 21, 2020.

********

On September 9th, I got an email from a producer who said he saw my profile on Backstage and wanted to know if I was interested in auditioning for a commercial his company was producing.

It was for a Vancouver company that manufactures pee pad mats – for people with bladder control issues (bedwetting associated with children and seniors).  The role was the grandfather.

I agreed and then waited to hear back from him.

Spanky:  So how long have you been wetting the bed, Danny Boy?

Danny:  I haven’t yet, you smartass!

Three days later, the producer called and indicated that he had sent my photo to the client and that I was on the ‘shortlist.’

But I never heard back from him and figured that I did not get the booking.

On September 29th, the producer contacted me to say that the client liked my photos but wanted to see me perform in a self-taped video.

Ideally, they wanted my video to show me going to the laundry room at 2:30 in the morning and I am surprised to see my grandson there.

We both had wet our bed mats and the grandson is very embarrassed.

I tell him not to be embarrassed and then I tell him that I think he is great and that I love him.  Or words to that effect.

The producer asked me to submit the tape as soon as possible.

I replied to him and indicated that I would do the clip and will submit it the next day.

But that night, I became sick and was up for most of the night.  The next morning, I was still feeling sick, so I wrote to the producer and indicated that I was sick and would not be able to film anything for a day or two.

The producer replied and said he hoped I was feeling better.

But it was three days later when I was finally able to film something, despite still feeling sick.

I was not thrilled with what I had taped but figured at least they would get an idea of how I looked on camera.

However, I knew that the other actors on the shortlist had probably already submitted their clips – so why should I even bother?

But I am not a quitter and decided to submit the clip to the producer, although I did not think it would be considered because of the delay in my submission.

The producer sent a short reply, stating that he would have a look at it.

My heart sank.

Yes, it seems I was too late – and I never thought any more about it.

But then two days ago, the producer contacted me to tell me the company liked my video and I got the booking!

We will be filming the commercial on October 17th.  I will post a clip from the commercial when it is published.

********

A few days ago, I got an email from a producer, offering me a role in a commercial for a well-known meat company.  The offer eliminated the need to audition for the project.

So, I would not need to submit anything; if I was available on October 15 and 16th, I would get the booking!

I agreed.

We will be filming the commercial on Thursday and Friday of this week.

********

I am also thankful that the internet provides a lot of information for seniors such as me.

A few months ago, I sunbathed in the nude for the first time in my life and I am seventy years old.

I had always wondered what type of person would be comfortable being naked in front of other naked people.

But before I tipped my naked toe into the waters of Wreck Beach, I did some research on Google and learned that during the Summer months, Wreck Beach attracts 12-14,000 sunbathers a day!

And there is comfort in knowing that there may be other sunbathers, with bodies as pathetic as mine.  So, I began stripping like a seasoned Chippendale dancer.

Danny on Wreck Beach – August 2020            photo by Pete Smeader

And within a second of taking my clothes off, I felt a thrill that had eluded me for a lifetime.

When I wrote about my nude sunbathing experience, I got a lot of emails and comments – but not one of them was negative.

How many times have we not done something because we feared that others might think badly of us?

And by the way, if I lost a friend because they were offended by me sunbathing in the nude – they were not much of a friend in the first place.

********

The last ‘Thanksgiving’ thing I want you to know about is my checkup with Dr. Anderson, my neck and throat surgeon, two days ago.

A tooth that was removed over two years ago had never healed.

The radiation treatments had destroyed much of the red blood vessels in my jaw bone and the area in my mouth was always becoming infected – which was extremely painful.  I have lost about 13 teeth since my cancer treatments ended eleven years ago.

I was facing major surgery which involved removing part of my jaw bone and replacing it with a piece of bone from my leg.

It also included me having a tracheal tube inserted in the front of my throat and a lengthy hospital stay.

But I had made a promise to myself to get better because I would never be able to be away from my Holly Golightly for more than a couple of days.

I had been on antibiotics for the past two months and now I was finally going to find out about the surgery.

Dr. Anderson examined my mouth and said that the area of my mouth looked good and he would not consider surgery unless the infection returned.  He reminded me that it was major surgery and he wanted to avoid it if at all possible.

I agreed and wanted to give the doctor a big hug – but did not because of the pandemic protocol.

I was thrilled and didn’t even mind the long drive home to Langley during the afternoon rush hour.

Holly Golightly, my dog, was sitting by the front door, waiting for me to come home.

My Holly Golightly – she’s a Coton de Tulear

And I’m thankful for all of the love and joy that Holly has given me.

So, if you are feeling down and have significant challenges to overcome, consider getting yourself a four-legged friend.  I prefer dogs, but I love cats, birds, and rabbits, too.

Yes, I know most of the reasons why you might not want the responsibilities associated with having a loving and loyal, pet – but I promise you that they will be as good a friend as the many you have had in your life!

Dedicated to Norm Colon

I hope my stories are a gift to your head and heart.

Hugs,

Danny

Click on this Index to view my 210+ stories.

Today’s tune from Danny’s library (purchased):

Til I Am Myself Again – lyrics

I want to know where
My confidence went
One day it all disappeared
And I’m lying in a hotel room
Miles away
Voices next door in my ear

Well, daytime’s a drag
Nighttime’s worse
Hope that I can get home soon
But the half-finished bottles of inspiration
Lie like ghosts in my room

Well, I wanna go
I know I can’t stay
But I don’t want to run
Feeling this way
Til I am myself
Til I am myself
Til I am myself again

There’s a seat on the corner
I keep every night
Wait til the evening begins
I feel like a stranger
From another world
But at least I’m living again

There are nights
Full of anger
Words that are thrown
Tempers that are shattered and thin
But the moments of magic
Are just too short
They’re over before they begin

Well, I know it’s time
One big step
I can’t go
I’m not ready yet
Til I am myself
Til I am myself
Til I am myself again

I had a dream
That my house was on fire
People laughed while it burned
Well, I tried to run but my legs were numb
I had to wait til the feeling returned

Well, I don’t need a doctor
To figure it out
I know what’s passing me by
When I look in the mirror
Sometimes I see
Traces of some other guy

Well, I wanna go
I know I can’t stay
I don’t want to run
Feeling this way
Til I am myself
Til I am myself
Til I am myself again

Songwriters: Cuddy James G / Keelor J Gregory
Til I Am Myself Again lyrics © Universal-mca Music Publis Obo Universal – Mca Music Publ.,

About Post Author

Daniel (Danny) St. Andrews

An almost famous Film, Television & Stage Actor (as in almost pregnant) living in Vancouver, BC His other passions include cancer patient advocate (he had stage 3 throat cancer), walking with the Vancouver 'Venturers Walking Club, and of course, spoiling his dog, Holly Golightly. If you like the stuff he writes about - please leave a hug (or a comment).
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By Daniel (Danny) St. Andrews

An almost famous Film, Television & Stage Actor (as in almost pregnant) living in Vancouver, BC His other passions include cancer patient advocate (he had stage 3 throat cancer), walking with the Vancouver 'Venturers Walking Club, and of course, spoiling his dog, Holly Golightly. If you like the stuff he writes about - please leave a hug (or a comment).

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