Markus Knew Stuff

Markus had tales of the Canadian North, where he worked near the Arctic Circle. He seemed to know more about Edmonton than a local historian. I felt pretty stupid when he was around. Not that he made me feel stupid. He simply seemed to know stuff.

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jaron summers (c) 2024

You want to hear a wild coincidence, as strange as a fish teaching fission?

I chanced upon a ten-year-old Cadillac Eldorado, a real gem, at an estate sale in Brentwood, California.

It had a mere 13,000 miles on it, as if it had been waiting just for me.

For six years, I drove it around LA without a hiccup. Having paid a pittance of $2,900, I decided to pass on the luck. I told a family friend in Burbank, “Park this Caddy in your yard, slap a ‘For Sale’ sign on it, and you might turn a tidy profit.”

Enter Markus, a chap from Scotland with a brain so bright, it could outshine a lighthouse. He was a walking encyclopedia on music, theater, and foreign casinos. Next to him, I felt about as sharp as a sack of wet mice.

He bought the Caddy and it was the beginning of our fun relationship.  

Markus had tales of the Canadian North, where he worked near the Arctic Circle. He seemed to know more about Edmonton than a local historian.

I had spent much of my life in Edmonton, about 2,000 miles away. 

Months into our friendship, during a sun-drenched lunch, Markus mentioned The Edmonton Journal. “I worked for them in ’68 and ’69,” I said, reminiscing about a piece on the Hippies in San Francisco that I wrote.

Turns out, Markus was practically a Hippie Historian. He worked for a publisher in Edmonton, some fellow named Pug or Pew.

“Pew, you say?” I chimed in. “Ever meet his secretary, Margret?”

Markus was doubtful. “Did you date her?”

“No, no,” I laughed. “She was as old as the hills, with summer-brown hair dyed over winter white. Wore sandals that looked like they were stitched by elves and lived with her son, Dick.”

Markus, amazed, thought I was spinning yarns. “Check with my mother,” I offered.

“And why would she know?”

“She’s been doing Margret’s hair for a decade, lives right across the street!”

How’s that for coincidence?

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Jaron Summers wrote dozens of primetime television and radio programs, including those for HBO, CBS, ACCESS TV and CBC. He conceived the TV and Film Institute of Canada. Funded by the University of Alberta and ITV, Jaron ran the Institute for 12 years, donating his services for a decade.

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