A Chance Meeting In Winnipeg

Well I recently spent a few weeks in Winnipeg, Canada, and I have been meaning to get around to blogging about the experience.  Now there is so much to tell about the trip (and even more I as I am finding out now) that I’ll certainly never be able to touch on all of it in one blog post.  Being that this is more of a business oriented blog I’m really not going to delve into the personal nature of my trip, but I will say that I have been to Winnipeg a few times in the past year and – although I would never have been able to predict it – it is really an amazing place.  Yes, it’s the coldest city in the world with a population over 500,000, and yes it may be crazy to go to such a cold place in the middle of February but what can I say… I like to live dangerously.

So before I digress, let me get back to what inspired me to sit down and write today.  I was scheduled to fly out of Winnipeg to Toronto, and then home to Philadelphia on Monday, February 16.   So I’m waiting in line to check my two massive bags (yes, two, but don’t fault me… Mr. Howell brought chests filled with cash for a three hour tour right?)  and up behind me in line rolls this young cat with a guitar case, several amplifier-type cases a suitcase or two and a few other random shaped equipment cases that I didn’t recognize.  We exchanged pleasantries and I made a remark (which I probably considered quite clever at the time) something to the effect of “So I guess you’re a musician.”  Looking back I wonder what’s in my head when I try to be clever like that because had I been this guy I probably would have replied something like “No, I’m actually a sharpshooter but the guitar case gets through security much more easily.”  Regardless, he cracked a smile and we chatted it up a bit, turned out that he was on my flight to Toronto and it seemed to me for whatever reason that there was just something about this guy… a certain something that I just couldn’t quite put my finger on.

After saying my difficult goodbyes, I went through security and then boarded my Air Canada flight.  I saw him again on the plane, said hello and then found my seat.  Then I sat… and sat and sat and sat.  The Pilot came on the intercom and apologized for the delay, saying it was a computer malfunction and it would be another twenty minutes.  Twenty minutes later he came on again saying it was a landing gear malfunction, and asking the passengers to un-board the plane while the ground crew investigated.  A half hour later an announcement was made from the gate that the flight was grounded and the passengers were to pick up an Air Canada voucher with a phone number to call to re-schedule another flight at a later time (I am still waiting to hear back from Air Canada in regards to this, as they have not responded to my emails yet).  So long story short, the plane never left Winnipeg and as it ended up I was to to be staying another night in the city where Christopher Robin first met Winnie the Pooh.

We were directed to pick up our luggage which was being unloaded from the plane and I made my way to the luggage pick up area where once again I encountered my young musician friend. We chatted it up again and he stopped for a moment as he was approached by a young girl, and promptly handed her a CD (this should have been my first clue right?) and turned back to me to chat a bit more.  He seemed happy to be staying in Winnipeg for another day and was pretty upbeat for a guy with six checked bags to schlep home again only to schlep back on another day.  I mentioned the CD and asked if I could buy one for myself but he shook his head no and quickly produced another CD from his bag and handed it to me saying, “I hope you enjoy it.”  I looked at it briefly, pushed it into my jacket pocket, picked up my luggage and proceeded to be on my way.  I left Winnipeg on a flight the very next day, this time no sign of the musician who had been on my grounded flight the previous day.

Today – literally today – I looked at the CD that had been given to me in an airport in Winnipeg three weeks earlier sitting quietly on my desk.  I’ve been pretty preoccupied since the trip and apparently this little compact disc wasn’t very high on my list of priorities.  I picked it up, looked it over, and then began to remove the plastic wrapping, with a decal that – had I bothered to read it – should have inspired me to open the CD much sooner.  As soon as it was opened, I popped it into the drive and played the title track ‘Revolution’ (not to be confused with The Beatles track of the same name).  Wow!  Then track two, then three… and just wow!  The dude from the airport with the guitar was pretty good!  The ‘group’ was called Keith and Renée,  and my guitar slinging buddy was the Keith of the duo.  Next to the little booklet inside… Macpherson, Keith Macpherson.  That’s when I looked at the little decal.  ‘As seen on CDN Idol.’  CDN Idol??  Wait… CDN Idol???  Time to Google… Canadian Idol, Keith MacPherson… the girl asked him for the CD in the airport… this guy was on Canadian Idol!

So apparently, Craig, me, Mr. ‘I’m buddies with Justin Guarini hung out with Simon Cowell and talked to Anthony  Federov just last week on the phone and should have built in Idol radar’ totally had no clue.  Hey, maybe it means very little to you the reader but to me it’s huge!  It’s as if I was asleep on the job!  Look I’m no Perez Hilton or Michael Buckley for sure, but I can’t help but feel like maybe I should have asked the man if I should recognize him somehow.  Yeah, yeah, I’m American so how should I know a Canadian Idol right?  Well, I should have and that’s that.  Especially because the CD is good – VERY good – and at the very least had I known who he was I might have gotten an autograph.

I’m still listening to the CD as I type… track eight ‘Stumble.’  I’m happy to have met him.  It’s one of those stories that is worth the telling.  Nice guy that Keith Macpherson,  I wish him the best and hope our paths cross again someday… he’s a talented one, and he deserves to go far.

All the best to you Keith (and Renée), and thanks for the great CD.

For more information on Keith and Renée click here – http://www.easilyamused.ca/

-Craig Sumsky


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