Moving Objects 002 - ‘The Raven and the bank robber’
Recently I moved my office and in the process of packing and unpacking found a few bits that surfaced some stories.
This is a native carving of a Raven, in native folklore amongst other things, it’s a symbol of mystery and mischief and I happen to acquire it I’m the most unusual way.
In 2001, I spent a summer in Vanvouver, Canada and while working at a cafe in a historic part of city called Gastown where I got to know several of the locals.
One of those regulars was a man called Gino, a tall, silver haired man, probably in his fifties. He had a bushy handlebar moustache, tattoos and always wore sunglasses, even indoors.
He used to come in regularly with a group of buddies on very specific time of the day, mainly Tuesday evenings. He and his friends were always friendly and sociable. All the staff got to know and like him.
He never told us much about himself, however he did talk about his native carvings. He even gifted a couple of small pieces to the staff - including myself. This is how I acquired the Raven.
One day, he came in (not the usual Tuesday eve) in a particularly joyous mood - he told us that he just made contact with an art collector from the Middle East (I think) and he has just sold a vast collection of his native carvings. This particular day he was being unusually ‘flash’, he wore what looked like a new suit, had a box of expensive cigars, and when he ordered his usual coffee, he left me a $20 tip.
Later, he said that he will be leaving town for a bit to celebrate and that’s the last we saw of Gino - he never returned.
We eventually started to chat to his buddies, as we were curious about Gino and what had happened to him. When he left, he did leave in a hurry and did leave a bit of an impression.
It took awhile to get any clear answers and even to this day I’m not sure of the full story but speaking to the people who knew him we were able to gets few bits and pieces of insight to the story.
Gino and his buddies, came in on very specific times in the week - Tuesdays was their AA meeting day - turns out they were all going through the program and some had very challenging pasts.
Some have spent time in prison, some had connections with local bike gangs, including Gino. One particular Tuesday, one of the guys shared with us that Gino has had a history of robbing banks and has also spent time in prison. In fact, one of them claimed that over his ‘career’, Gino had a hand in robbing almost every bank in the Vanvouver area.
It’s easy to come to conclusions and judge character - the carving could be stolen, a cover up for Gino’s new found success, which could come from a robbery or theft of some sort.
It’s still not clear what the full story is, who Gino was exactly, and where those carvings originated. I haven’t researched it further and Gino was not there to explain his side of story after all, but none of that matters.
To me, the Raven remains a reminder that sometimes it’s hard know the full story behind everything we are told, that truth can be elusive and that sometimes some stories are better left in mystery.
The best part of going to a new place is trying out the local craft brew.
The first few are from breweries of Ontario:
1. Steam Whistler Premium Pilsner from Toronto
2. Wellington Brewery Special Pale Ale from Guelph
3. Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co. Tom Green Milk Stout (this one’s intense!) from Vankleek Hill.
Family Jays Jr. Day at Rogers Centre.
Detroit Tigers vs Toronto Blue Jays (2-3)
Saturday, 9th August.