Welcome to the first Just TypiKel Momday Motivation of 2018! Today I’m sharing that time Francine and I were told something HUGE and, while we weren’t sure if it was just a big little lie or gospel truth, we kept the secret. It meant two weeks of sitting on the potentially juiciest bit of gossip in the hockey world in the late ’80’s.
I’d learned the importance of keeping a secret the hard way. Early on in my shop career I innocently shared with a customer that her daughter had just bought an antique Chinese blue and white bride’s jar which unleashed a barrage of questions that shocked me to the core. “How much did she pay?” “Is she giving it to someone else?” “Was she in her gym clothes or work clothes?”
After that delightful experience I became an absolute vault. You couldn’t pull any customer information out of me, not even with offers of booze or cinnamon buns. Both Francine and I considered our relationship with our customers as sacrosanct as that of the relationship of a doctor with a patient.
Before I natter on about the potentially big little lie, I have to share what reminded me of this hockey tidbit.
It’s extraordinary. Since Monday, January 1st, my landline has been inexplicably linked with that of Francine’s assisted living place.
Whenever certain people (not everyone) call to speak to a resident, my landline rings. When I pick up I’m treated to just a dial tone. It gets better. Should I attempt to dial out before the person has completed their call, I can listen in on their conversation! I’ve miraculously acquired a party line.
Now, I know I shouldn’t listen in and I haven’t been. Ok, maybe now and then. But not for long. Just long enough to hear tidbits like “Man, how wonderful that Canada’s hockey team is going for Juniors gold!” “So, Enid, do you think Canada can beat the Swedes?” “Dad, are ya watchin’? Steenbergen just scored, putting our boys up! Go, turn it on, now!”
All of this eavesdropping got me thinking about my Mr. Hockey chapter.
Big Little Lie?
It was a sleepy July afternoon when the fellow sauntered into the shop. Francine and I immediately recognized him as being the renowned owner of the then most successful NHL hockey team. Sticking to our usual practice of waiting for a “celebrity” to acknowledge their identity, we simply smiled. He explained that he’d been driving by the night before and seen the pair of enormous antique Chinese cloisonné jars in the window.
Naturally, being the most nimble, it was up to me to scramble into the window and heft out both of the jars. They’d only been in our possession for little over a week and were magnificent, in perfect condition and stood almost five feet tall. His response endeared me for life. Unlike most of our customers Mr. Hockey didn’t question the price and even agreed to look after the packaging and shipping himself.
Once the sale was completed, I was dispatched to carry one of them to his rental car. After an alarming flurry of pocket patting and several panicked grabs of the door handle, he cupped his hands and looked through the driver’s side window. His ashen face said it all; the keys had been locked inside.
Happily, Francine and I kept a bent dry cleaning coat hanger on hand for just this situation. Ten minutes later he’d wriggled the loop over the lock and was in. We wedged one of the jars into the roomy back seat and belted the second one into the front passenger seat. Mr. Hockey couldn’t have been more grateful and insisted on returning the coat hanger to Francine personally.
“In acknowledgement for your kindness, I’m going to share a little secret. But you must promise me that you won’t tell anyone.”
Honestly, these 30 years later, I’m still puzzled why he chose to tell us this huge secret that would sadly prove to not be a big little lie but the truth.
What was this secret that would change the course of NHL hockey forever? Well, you’ll just have to wait a little bit longer …
However, I will leave you with the following pictorial clue.
It involved a player renowned for this in his youth.
Can you guess what or whom I’m talking about?
Enough about me and the potential big little lie. I’m curious about you. Do you care about hockey? Did you think Big Little Lies would clean up at the Globes? Better yet, did you call someone recently and hear heavy breathing on the line? If you’d care to share, I’d love to hear.