Daniel Francis

Reading the National Narrative

Signs of Summer

Aug 19, 2015

Back from a holiday up the coast, I find that the neighbourhood has filled with signs.


Of course there are election signs as well but these warn of a different species of interloper, come down from the mountains to paw through our garbage. Hardly a day goes by that a bear doesn't blunder into someone's kitchen or take a dip in their wading pool. I have not seen one yet this season but at night the air is redolent of skunk which I've been told means that Bruin is around, trailing the aroma of an unfortunate encounter behind him.

Along with bears, while I've been away the summer has produced some exciting baseball and like everyone else I've clambered aboard the Blue Jays bandwagon. Still, it was the stuff of dreams to read in the New York Times this morning that the Expos may be close to returning to Montreal.

I attended my first Expos game in 1974 when they played at the old Jarry Park, travelling down from Ottawa where I was living. Steve Rogers was on the mound. I can't recall whether they won that day but I listened to just about all their games on the radio for several years while I worked away at my desk. The voices of play-by-play announcer Dave Van Horne and his sidekick, the Duke of Flatbush, Duke Snider, provided the soundtrack for my early books.

Like all true Expo fans, I know where I was on Blue Monday, Oct. 19, 1981. Watching the game on television of course, watching in horror as Rogers came out of the bullpen in the 9th to serve up a home run ball to Rick Monday and lose the fifth and deciding game of the National League Championship to the Dodgers.

During the mid-80s I lived in Montreal and attended many games. While it had lots of exciting players -- Andre Dawson, Tim Raines, Tim Wallach, Dennis Martinez -- the franchise was in decline and eventually it moved in Washington.

Now they may be coming back and I hope before too long to be back in the stands, along with Youppi!, to see the Expos play another game.