Stompin’ Tom Connors is with us in memory only these days.
He passed away at 77 years old but there are many who remember this Canadian icon.
I brought the Super Canuck into 100 Mile House years ago through the Kinsmen, and when we first started mentioning on the radio that he was coming into town people were telling me that we would sell very few tickets because there weren’t many folks who wanted to come out to see a guy kick the heck out of little pieces of one-inch-thick plywood while he was singing.
The concert was sold out and I saw some of the people who said they wouldn’t be coming, stomping their feet and clapping their hands when he sang Big Joe Mufferaw to start the concert.
After the show was over we had a few beers with the singer and Gary Empy, his lead guitar player at the time.
I stayed on after the Kinsmen left and my exit wasn’t until 5 a.m.
The best story he told me was about this tour of Canada and that the federal government paid him to travel to some top cities in the country.
When he went to Edmonton he was booked into some fine accommodations in the Canadian Hotel chain.
The pair went down to dinner and were told they would have to wear a tie to eat in the dining room. As they didn’t have a tie between them, the hotel found a couple for the entertainers.
When they were in the dining room a very officious looking head water came over to them to take the order and, to also ask if they wanted an hors d’oeuvre.
Because they didn’t like the fancy stuff and having to wear ties, Connors and Empy decided they would order a bologna sandwich as a joke.
In about 15 minutes the head waiter came over with a big covered silver tray and, with a dash of his hand, he opened the dish to show it to them for their approval. Connors told me the fanciest, best looking bologna sandwich he had ever seen was on the tray.
With that story and many others, including a political discussion and how much he liked our country, we talked until it was time for me to go to work at the radio station.
Stompin’ Tom listened to my show, did a call-in and went to bed. A very interesting person, and someone who I was very pleased to meet.
Of course The Hockey Song, played in arenas around the world, will be his most remembered song.
There are, however, many others in his ‘Canadian catalogue’ of fine songs about this nation and the people who make up this great land.
Thanks for the memories, ‘Stompin’ Tom.’
Ken Wilson is a freelance columnist with the Tribune/Advisor.