Well done. You found me, the former detective who used to find missing people for a living and now is contemplating hiding himself, now unsure of where he is at the moment. A reporter informed me recently that I am physically in the picture perfect working class town of Smith Falls, at home here more than in a larger urban centre. I have been leading a quiet unnoticed life on a hobby farm with an assortment of animals. That’s right. I had addressed the BIG existential question in my life, the defining challenge: What do I want to do with my life. I chose this life. A few years back I relocated from rural Japan to my country of origin and resettled in the Eastern Ontario countryside. Why? Indeed why, I now ask. It had to do with a childhood obsession for a sport I am not really suited to—basketball– as I find I do not play well with other children in the sandbox. Ten or so years ago I acquired the only comprehensive private archives of Dr. James Naismith, founder of the sport of basketball and felt it was my purpose in life to return here and find a public home to share these artifacts which would symbolize a role model Canadian.
I opened a small museum in Almonte, the former home base of Dr. Naismith to showcase this collection. However, as the expression goes, “Man Plans; God Laughs.” I was more or less railroaded out of the insular small friendly town. I spent the better part of the following year in a nightmare as I tried to negotiate the transfer of the Naismith material to our Library and National Archives of Canada, as well as to the National Museum of History. I failed in all of my attempts to either sell the collection outright or even to showcase it free of charge during our 150th anniversary celebrations. I tried but I also realized it was wasted on these institutions who made it clear they expected me to donate these precious relics, even though they started the ball rolling by telling me they would purchase everything, not to worry, and that they truly understood how important this material was, how it represented the heart and soul of what it meant to be Canadian, our greatness.
I then put on my thinking cap and turned to Plan B of my life. I would open a small private animal rescue clinic and spend a few years setting that up, and possibly also open the museum on a farm setting before returning to Japan. You might now ask, why return to Japan? In a word, FEAR. You see, my other newfound purpose in life was to complete a book I began, an expose of the sleazy underbelly of the corrupted world of sports collectibles, focusing on basketball collectibles in particular. In that book I planned to tell the world how the Americans, true to their form, had fabricated a story that they had in their possession a seminal single piece of paper, the original very first copy of the first rules of the game that hung in the very gym basketball was first played dating back t0 1891, a piece of paper some poor misled soul had spent over four million dollars acquiring.
Without having done a common sense carbon dating test to ascertain the date of the paper. I also planned to make it abundantly clear that “their game” of basketball was in fact invented by and developed in Canada, before it was formally unleashed in Springfield, Mass.. In other words, it was a Canadian thing. As a former journalist and collectibles dealer I was also painfully aware I would be ruffling the feathers of a number of greedy creative writing type sports ephemera dealers who would likely want to turn my face into something that resembled the first very worn practice basketball of Pete Maravich! By now you might understand what I meant when I wrote that I am rarely a team player in the sandbox.
I would likely have to go into hiding in some far away place to keep myself six feet above ground rather than looking up at the roots of grass! This was a long range well thought out plan.
But fate would play a different role in my existence. I placed a rather simple ad on Kajiji searching for someone to care for the animals on my hobby farm in exchange for free rent. The ad was placed under the category of EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES and under the sub category of “OTHER”. Hardly in a noticeable space and without any features to promote the message. For some unforeseeable reason my ad went viral and the media jumped on the bandwagon on their internet postings and now proclaimed the banner as FREE LAND AVAILABLE. FREE STONE HOUSE COULD BE YOURS. FREE ANIMALS. FREE LIFE! With that misleading posting my life changed forever. Don’t take my word for it. Why are YOU reading this, eh?
With publicity I was hoping to find after my basketball book in progress was launched. I found myself in a situation where I was forced to launch my own official web site prematurely, to get my story out and to attempt to preserve any sanity left in my life. Reminded me of the classic Jack Nicolson iconic movie, “One flew over the cuckoos nest.”
Once upon a time I was living a rather care free quite life on a scenic hobby farm. Next thing I knew I had an estimated ten million hits on endless social media internet platforms around the world.
Before I could say, I love beautiful historic Smith Falls, my life was high jacked. Literally.
I want to let you in on a little secret. The word FREE is a double edged sword. For me, it became a BAD THING. REALLY BAD! Before this viral thing I rarely used the internet. I did not and still do not, have a smart phone. My weapon of choice was a fountain pen. With that type of communication device, I could compose prose so fresh you would want to slap me, to use a local butchers expression. Facebook in my mind was the same as Facelift.
I used to have an email account to communicate with friends. That has disappeared with more than 15,000 emails awaiting, no, DEMANDING responses, sometimes applicants resorted to re-sending them half a dozen times. I used to have an old fashioned Bell Canada land telephone which on occasion actually worked. One never knew. I could pick up the odd phone call, retrieve the odd message.
I was also proud that I could use my rural rather small unnoticeable mail box to retrieve an occasional letter.
Try as I did, every move to regain a small measure of control in my life backfired. Would be applicants began walking right up to my door and actually peered inside seeing me before I had a coffee. Ouch! Not a pretty site. Not good for my emotional health either. That fickle, not a good thing called FAME had reared its ugly head. Why me? Stop the world I want to get off.
So it is I am still trying to regain my life and find a nice family to take over my place so I can hide away and avoid those nasty American sports memorabilia dealers once my book hits the shelves.
The letters keep pouring in, from as far away as China and Europe. Quiet a few people have the erroneous belief that I am intelligent and can speak languages beyond English. Don’t tell anyone but that ain’t so. Now I no longer have a dining room and I can’t find the dining room table. Only thing I can see is an avalanche of mail, large and small parcels and hand written notes, nick knack presents of all sorts, photos galore, some of which was respectfully sent by the post. My windows are now covered with pages out of the local newspaper.
If you have read this far, understood that this site is a stream of consciousness self help private journal gone viral, an unedited rant complete with grammatical errors and speling mistakes (woops) finally, we have some time to pop the BIG question: Have I found the right family to take over.
I can’t even breath right now but I am determined to blog my way in this mess to enlighten applicants on just what it is to move into this FREE FARM situation and live in this enviable quaint wonderful town of Smith Falls. This way, I hope, interested parties will slow down and read my blog for a time before writing me a substantial letter of introduction to my TOP SECRET ADDRESS:
360 County Road 17 RR #4
Smith Falls, Ontario
Don’t share that address with anyone. And only send a handwritten old fashion letter and mail it to me. Those using a fountain pen and posting a pretty stamp will get extra attention. But it will take time of course. I mean, I think I still have a life feeding all of those beautiful creatures on my property.
Once I find a suitable family to take over, I will post the winner on this site.
Good luck, and remember to tell your friends that I am still interested in foster parent volunteers and those who want to adopt some of my domestic and farm animals permanently. Share my email address with them and be sure to tell them the animals are available FREE of charge to loving homes.