Hugh Campbell and I were just about to go on stage at the Santa Maria Goretti Community Centre when a look of concern washed over his face.
“I don’t know if I can do this,” he said.
“C’non. It will be fun,” I assured him.
“Yeah, but — you swear and drink beer. And I never, hardly ever swear. I hate beer. Just ask my wife. And I don’t want people to get the wrong impression.”
I laughed. “They won’t. They know you too well.”
It was December of 1987. Hugh was back in Edmonton as general manager of the Edmonton Eskimos. We had a strong friendship and I was lucky enough to be invited to the staff Eskimo Christmas party.
After dinner, there were skits put on by staff. Hugh and I had — key word: had — the same hair cuts. Before dinner after my third beer, I suggested a skit for the two of us.
Role reversal. He’d me. I’d be him.
He pushed me out on to the stage and then it was poetry in motion. Hugh helped me out of my wheelchair and sit in a chair. He then got in my wheelchair.
I gave him my beer with a straw.
“What do I do with this?” he asked.
“Drink it and have a good time.”
We had fun. In my role, I asked Cam — see, I got it going on — if he needed a ride home, or if he had a new date, or if he wanted to go for a milkshake.
Hugh — or Cam — answered my questions and then threw in of his own.
At the end of our five minutes of fame, Hugh took a sip of my beer.
“It tastes terrible,” he said.
“It tastes like … shit.”
A true role player, indeed.
A SPECIAL TAIT’S 8: MY FAVOURITE HUGH MOMENTS. YOU WON’T WANT TO MISS THIS ONE, GRANDMA!!