I met Roy McDonald last night

I met Roy McDonald last night while R and I were in London. He was standing outside Jim Bob Rae’s (this unfortunately-named bar which I’ve never visited), peddling his CDs and books. I’ve been a big fan of his, ever since I found his book, Living: A London Journal on the used book rack at the Unitarian Fellowship, back when it was in Gibbon’s Park (I think that was the park’s name). The book was an intensive 7-day journal, from back in the days where you had to write in a book to call it a “journal”. As is with all of Roy’s books, this one contained a personalized dedication to the original recipient. A couple of years later, my brother saw Roy at the UWO food court, and he did something pretty sweet: he ran over to the bookstore, bought a copy of the same book, and got Roy to autograph it for me. It was one of the most thoughtful things the kid ever did, and I appreciate it.
Anyway, Roy was standing on Richmond St. and I didn’t really make the connection — you know, old homeless-looking guy shambling around, outside of the bar. We were on the other side of the street, heading up to Williams for some coffees, and on the way back I dragged R over to talk with Roy. I gushed a little, having finally met a mini-celebrity (kind of how I might act if I’d met Burroughs, or some other old poet). R was a little creeped out by him, especially when he showed us how long his beard was — this is an interesting story: apparently, Roy’s got one of the longest beards in the world, and to look at him, you’d be a little skeptical, since his beard only comes down about a handspan from his chin. Apparently, he’s got two beards, the one for show, and the one that’s been growing for dozens of years. It’s this long dreadlock thing that he keeps in his shirt, and only brings out to scare small children, or girlfriends.
Anyway, he sang to us, made us sing with him, did some loud street poetry, and R finally dragged me away, since we had some driving to do. I’m sure that if I’d left the driving to R, there would have been squealing tires, but I was totally swept away in the moment. I even bought a CD of his stuff.

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