Sunday, October 19, 2008

Leif & Nikko - Ottawa, Canada - July 1999 - Zaphod Beeblebrox Nightclub

While we were in Ottawa with Leif and Nikko in July 1999, we happened upon the Zaphod Beeblebrox Nightclub. It was late afternoon, so although we could look in and the bar was open, there wasn't a show or an audience then. We were sightseeing and had a long drive ahead of us. And besides, loud rock music wasn't something Peter W. and I were especially fond of.

But Leif would have LOVED to spend time there, listen to the bands, and drink a Pan Galactic Gargleblaster in honor of Zaphod, the two-headed character in Douglas Adams' "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." At least we got a photo of the two of them in front of the place.

Leif was introduced to Adams' absurb sci fi series by Peter Anthony, who had read it in his science fiction literature class at the Air Force Academy and insisted the whole family needed to read it. We did. Leif was captivated, reading the first book while in junior high and (the boy who said he didn't like to read) doing both illustrated book reports and a Zaphod Beeblebrox soft sculpture to creatively fulfill school assignments.

Leif read all of the books in the trilogy - a trilogy with more than three books, true to the absurdist element, and he had a boxed set of which he was proud.

I think Leif and Nikko later went back to Ottawa and did visit the night club, but we weren't with them, having driven back to Kansas.

I think photos I took of Leif and Nikko on this July 1999 trip to see them at Fort Drum are the last ones I have of them together. That fall, he was deployed to Bosnia with his unit, the Tenth Mountain Division, for seven months. The two of them came back to Kansas to visit the following summer, 2000, and it was clear that the separation had been hard on their young marriage, which had dealt with strains before but now was breaking. I could see that they were unhappy, and had some long talks with them, but I hoped they could overcome the difficulties. It was not to be.

On this trip, not knowing what was ahead, we all had a good time. I'm glad we had those days together.

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