We didn’t have X-Box, PlayStation, or even Game Cube. We played outdoors, mostly. And we played with what we could find – cardboard boxes, discarded construction materials, whatever. But when we discovered TV’s Guy Williams as Zorro, it became our mission to fashion a sword with which we could carve the mark of Zorro (Z) into our enemies, and perhaps win the hand of the lovely Ana Maria. Not that this was our primary objective. No, that was to have a logical and credible excuse to whip each other with tree branches while screaming “Zorro!”.

“Surrender, Comandante! Taste my mighty rapier!” Each in turn played the part of the greedy, cruel, and slightly inept Captain Enrique Sánchez Monasterio, because, well, there can’t be two Zorros…

Clearly, we didn’t stick to close to the script. And the accuracy of Zorro’s signature Z was lost as well; he could slice his mark into a man’s shirt without piercing skin, or cut the twine that held up his pants, or both. We would mercilessly try to leave an indelible mark as retribution for one received. Left hand raised behind, we’d advance/parry away until blood was drawn, then answer to our mother’s call for supper. The superficial wounds were never revealed.

“At least you HAVE GameCube. We used to beat each other with sticks! And we liked it!” I said, many times in young fatherhood.

Fast forward to this afternoon, and I am paring down branches of the front yard maple for disposal in the backyard firepit, when the perfect rapier is unveiled right before my eyes. In a moment I am transported back to 8-year-old me, attempting to out-fence my childhood friend and part-time nemesis, Glenn, who sadly passed away a few years ago of brain cancer. In his honour, I made the classic mark of Zorro in the dirt, and before immolating my weapon, made the classic whipping sound in the air. “En Garde!”

It’s in these strange moments I miss my childhood friend. Oh well, gotta go. Time for supper…

A collection of life stories, and thoughts.