A Day of Wandering

I woke up in the strange and sterile hotel room and went to perform my morning ablutions. This is what greeted me:

Now if I can only find the food court. I'm hungry for Swedish meatballs and Lingonberry tea.

Now if I can only find the food court. I'm hungry for Swedish meatballs and Lingonberry tea.

I still think I’m staying in an IKEA. There’s no one to help me, and my door key is an Allan Wrench.

I had to make a lot of telephone arrangements today (an activity that is bleeding over to tomorrow). Since the only must-do on the itinerary was dinner with Barb and her family (the late Joe Showler’s sister), I took it upon myself to make use of the third largest public transit system in North America and do a little book hunting. Mike decided to tag along, despite his still-tender sprained ankle. What a trooper! So we ate a great breakfast at the greasy spoon across from the hotel and hopped on the light rail.

We took a spin through Chinatown. I showed Mike how to kick the gong around. Hi-dee-hi-dee-hi-dee-hi.

We took a spin through Chinatown. I showed Mike how to kick the gong around. Hi-dee-hi-dee-hi-dee-hi.

This town is really starting to grow on me. Thousands of little dives and places to eat that don’t break the bank, a hugely diverse set of neighborhoods playing host to every nationality, great shops and little places to explore, and all of it easily accessible via public transportation. Lovely. Just lovely. I can see why this is the arts and Bohemian capital of Canada.

We didn’t even make it to The Monkey’s Paw (and how cool is THAT for a bookstore’s name?), so we’ll try to cover it on Saturday, before we leave. But we did hit up BMV books (thanks to Jay for the suggestion), where I found two books that I simply HAD to have within thirty seconds of entering the store. Dangerous place, man. Dangerous.

Gettin' artsey on the building. There was street art all over the place.

Gettin' artsey on the building. There was street art all over the place.


Mike and I made it back in time to meet up with Pat and Diane, and we all trucked out to one of the quaint, picturesque neighborhoods that I associate with Toronto. The “typical” house seems to be a two story townhouse-style house, with a finished basement and a deceptively deep back end that either terminates in a small yard like a dog run, or a patio porch that drops off into a ravine. It’s a cool style, in that the house resembles a walk-up flat, but actually has tons of room inside. These are the houses that people are always fixing up on those real estate shows that dominate HG TV.
Pat, Diane, and Barbara

Pat, Diane, and Barbara


The first time we met Joe’s sister, Barbara, they were under heightened circumstances, obviously. We certainly didn’t realize how close to the end Joe’s time was, and it was just such a jarring shock when we heard of his passing, literally a day after we returned to the states. In the intervening years, she and I have gotten to know one another a little better as we busied ourselves with separate ends of this lengthy project. But this was the first time we were able to sit down and just visit about what-have-you, and it was really wonderful.
Mike and Erin listening to one of Pat's anecdotes about Italy

Mike and Erin listening to one of Pat's anecdotes about Italy

Barb and Steve met in Italy when they were both studying art. Pat and Diane had visited Italy several times, and so stories were swapped, as we were treated to a homestyle pasta dish that they discovered while over there. Steve is an amazing artist who worked as an animator and so we had some very art-nerd discussions on our end of the table. They also served us Moosehead beer. I love Moosehead beer.

Steve ponders the brilliance of the Fleischer superman cartoons while Pat keeps a lookout behind us

Steve ponders the brilliance of the Fleischer superman cartoons while Pat keeps a lookout behind us

Barb, her husband Steve, and their daughter Erin made us feel very welcome and they treated us to a wonderful meal, great conversation, and much laughter and cross talk. Afterwards, we signed papers and passed keys and checks back and forth, and that was that. Such a simple transaction, but oh so many years in the making. It was almost anti-climactic, really. But it’ll all be real tomorrow. That’s when we load the truck.

Meet Jackson, the new trip mascot

Meet Jackson, the new trip mascot

And lest I forget: Barb also gifted me a moose. I had real trouble finding one the last time I was here. So, I’m one moose up on the deal. And we’ve got a totem animal for the trip back. Thanks, Barb!

A Day of Travel

I knew this was going to be a long day. We basically traversed the country, flying right over lunch hour, and then it was a two-hour odyssey to the hotel, creeping along the 401 and the 404.

See that? On the building, there? That's a Maple Leaf. A CANADIAN Maple Leaf. You just can't fake that kind of thing.

See that? On the building, there? That's a Maple Leaf. A CANADIAN Maple Leaf. You just can't fake that kind of thing.

We’re staying at the Bond Place, a downtown, swanky hotel that has ZERO sense of humor. I asked for the Goldfinger Suite and they just stared at me. Maybe that means something else to Canadians than it does to Ian Fleming fans.

Hotel room or Ikea Floor Display? You decide!

Hotel room or Ikea Floor Display? You decide!

This place is an Ikea catalog come to life. I’m afraid to touch anything. Tomorrow we have some logistics to take care of, so everyone is taking it easy tonight. I may just order a pizza. With shrimp on it. Yeah, they do that in Canada.

Oh, and I figured out what’s wrong with my cell phone. I have NO data capabilities here, because there’s no Canadian carrier that recognizes US Cellular’s authoritah. So I’ll be uploading the old fashioned way, at night, until we get on the road. I hope you’ll all be patient as we struggle through our technological limitations.

Everyone keep thinking good thoughts. I’ll have some more to talk about, and some more pics, tomorrow.

We’re in Canada!

But my technology doesn’t want to cooperate with Toronto. I’ll try to figure it out and post some pics. We’ll be picking up the truck on Friday. I’m so freaking excited–I can’t believe this day is finally here!

Track the Collection?

Yep. We’re heading to Toronto next week to load up and relocate the Joe Showler collection. And you can follow our progress, as I will be blogging daily to let everyone know where we are. Subscribe to our feed and stay tuned for more updates!

At Long Last, an Update

Folks,
We are making preparations for the trip to Toronto to acquire the Joe Showler collection. If you’re interested in the trip, we’ll be documenting and updating it as we go! That’s right, you can watch the collection make its way home to Vernon, Texas, right here on this blog. Please stay tuned!

Teagarden Museum Awarded Tax-Exempt Status

(VERNON, TX) The Jack Teagarden Museum has officially been approved to operate as a tax-exempt entity. Under the IRS Revenue Code, the Jack Teagarden Museum is now considered a 501 (c) (3) corporation, and furthermore considered to be a public charity for the purpose of receiving donations.

“I could not be happier,” said director Mark Farr-Nash. “Having this paperwork in hand was all that stood between us and a number of earnest contributions.” Donations made to the Museum project are now considered tax-deductible, and receipts will be available upon request.

“Our present goal, and the most important goal, remains securing the Joe Showler Collection for the museum’s holdings. Without the collection, we have no museum, no archive, and no project.” In order to obtain the collection, the museum has agreed to pay for half the total cost of the materials up front, with the balance due over a period of several years. The down payment will allow the collection to be moved from its current home in Toronto, Canada, to Vernon, Texas. “Cost-wise, it’s about a tenth of our overall project, but it’s got to be the first tenth that we raise.”

The total cost of the project is estimated to be 1.6 million dollars. This includes renovations to the museum’s future home at 1922 Wilbarger Street. The building recently had new windows installed and a new, energy-efficient rubber membrane roof added. “We’re thinking about long-term solutions,” Far-Nash said of the building upgrades. “That roof will lower our energy needs by around 40%. And it’s good for 20 to 30 years. What we’re going to store in this building is, I think, a Vernon treasure, and it deserves to be well protected.”

People and institutions wishing to donate to the Museum project may now do so from the website, via a PayPal account, or by downloading a pledge card that they can fill out and return. “We also have a number of corporate and private institutions locally who may be waiting on this good news before the make any contributions,” Farr-Nash said. “If anyone is interested in major funding, I urge them to call me. We will be happy to work with anyone who is interested in seeing Vernon grow, mature, and flourish in the future.”

For more information about any aspect of the Jack Teagarden Museum, contact Mark Farr-Nash or call (940) 839-7873. To make a donation, visit the website at www.teagardenmuseum.org.

Fundraiser Held for Teagarden Museum

(VERNON, TX) The first public fundraiser for the Jack Teagarden Museum project was “an unqualified success,” said Executive Director Mark Farr-Nash. Held last Tuesday, April 14th, at the Vernon Plaza Theater, fans and supporters for the museum were treated to a special screening of “It’s Time for T,” a documentary on the life of Jack Teagarden by the late Joe Showler.

“This fundraiser was necessary for a couple of reason,” said Farr-Nash. “First off, there are a number of folks who don’t know that much about Teagarden’s life and times. Watching this documentary was a great way to catch up. Also, all of the archival footage of Jack playing his horn, all of the music, the stills, the record labels, everything shown in the documentary actually came from the Showler collection. So, it’s also a great preview of what we are trying to bring to Vernon.”

Also present at the fundraiser were architectural blueprints of the proposed remodel of the building at 1922 Wilbarger Street, rendered by local architect Don Wilson. “Don’s vision is great,” said Farr-Nash. “He’s been around and he knows what kind of high class presentation we’re aiming for, and we’re just thrilled to be working with him on this project.”  Farr-Nash added that renovation on the building has already begun with the replacement of the roof which was damaged in the windstorms last year, followed by the installation of new windows on the front side of the building facing Wilbarger.

Monies collected from the fundraiser will be used to establish an internet presence with a website that fans from around the world can access to read on the museum’s progress and also donate money.  “Ever since the announcement,” Farr-Nash said, “I’ve gotten a number of emails from around the world, asking questions and offering donations. Now we’ll be able to take them, and also keep out of town folks in the loop.”

The fundraiser on Tuesday night also rolled out a new strategy in the form of pledge cards: The museum is selling 175 lifetime memberships for $1,000, all of which is applied to acquiring the Joe Showler Collection. “It’s so important to get this archive and bring it in to Vernon before the June 30th deadline,” said Farr-Nash. “We’ve got one shot at a Jack Teagarden museum, and a first-class one, at that, but it begins and ends with getting control of the materials to actually make the museum in the first place.” The monies pledged to become a lifetime member of the Teagarden Museum need not be paid all at once. “As long as we have the thousand by the end of June, that’s all that matters,” said Farr-Nash. “It comes down to this,” he said, “people who want to make this museum happen will contribute. They just have to. This is their one chance to make a positive change for Vernon and see tangible results. Without individual contributions from citizens and businesses to bolster the fund, we’re going to be in trouble. With individual contributions, we can get it done.”

Farr-Nash expects the website to be up in the next two to four weeks. “We’ll also have pledge cards to download, and a paypal link on the website.”