April 10th @ Free Times Café

In our family we have a word for the slice of bread found at either end of a loaf. Now when I say we have “a word,” I think that makes it clear that the word that we use is not the one in popular use to describe those particular slices of bread. For example, if someone says “When I was a kid we had a word for those things that you put on your feet when you left the house,” and then you heard that the word was “shoe,” you’d say “No, you didn’t have ‘a word’ you had ‘the word.’ A person cannot make a unique claim on a word that is already in the general parlance or the vernacular, if you will.  

But we had, and have, a word for the slice of bread at the end of the loaf and that word is “bumble-end.” And now that I see it written down, because I’ve never actually seen the word written down before, I realize that it could be seen as two words “bumble” and “end” or it could be seen as one word “bumbleend” or “bumblend” or as I prefer to write it, as a hyphenated word – bumble-end. And since it seems like my family made it up, I get to choose how it’s spelled.  

The thing is, though, when I was growing up, I didn’t know we had “a word” for the slices of bread at either end of the loaf. I didn’t think “bumble-end” was “a word.” I thought it was “the word.” You might think “How could anyone believe that a word as odd as ‘bumble-end’ could possibly be ‘the word’ to describe the slices of bread at the end of a loaf.” But why not “bumble-end?” The “end” part of the word is a precise and exact description of where the slices are located and as for the “bumble,” it makes as much sense at the start of this word as it does at the start of “bumblebee” which is clearly “the word” for a striped stingy insect or “bumbleberry pie” which is just a berry pie with the word “bumble” at the front. 

The other reason I thought “bumble-end” was “the word” was because I had no reason to believe that other people didn’t regularly use that term as well. How often does it come up in conversation that you refer to a slice of bread that is either at the front or the back end of a loaf? 

Now I don’t know when it was, I could have been 7, 12, or 25, but one day I was at someone’s place, and I saw the first or the last slice of a loaf of bread and I said, “Who wants the bumble end?” And then, immediately and instantaneously, it was made clear to me that “bumble-end” wasn’t “the word” it was “a word.” And, to the untutored ears of those hearing it for the first time, it was not just “a word” it was a very strange word indeed. 

And this brings me, as these missives inevitably do, to Gordon’s Acoustic Living Room, the band that I am proud to be part of. You see, when people learn that I’m in a band they often say “What kind of music do you play?” and I say, “You know, folk, rock, celtic, country, original tunes, covers and bit of jazz and blues and a smidge of bluegrass” and then when I’m asked about the instruments and musicians I say “The usual, eight lead singers, drums, bass, guitars (electric, acoustic and pedal steel), mandolin, fiddle, bodhran, tin whistle, flute, saxophone, and, oh yeah, bagpipes.” And then I realize that this isn’t most people’s idea of a band, it’s more of a word salad with a musical theme.  

But we are a band and we do play all of those instruments and those genres of music and many of us do sing. While you can sample our wares on YouTube, we are best understood and enjoyed live. And I am pleased to report that we are back live at the Free Times Café (still on College just west of Spadina) on Sunday, April 10 (and I know that we usually play the third Sunday of the month but this year that falls on Easter Sunday and the third night of Passover – which admittedly isn’t one of the bigger nights – and in the middle of Ramadan, so we figured let’s do our gig before all that – and for those you in a family that is trying to balance all three of those holidays at the same time, good luck to you).  

The show starts at 8 and there is no cover. But we encourage you to support the venues that still showcase live music and make a dinner reservation. That way you not only get to enjoy good food and drink, but you can get a reserved table near the band (or further away from the band if that’s your preference) and you will then be assured of a great seat. 

We will be back to the third Sunday of the month for May. Hope to see you soon. 


P.S. For those who are musically curious, the term “bumble-end” when used in the context of bagpipes describes the person who is playing them.