My 2 Cents
Jon Upton : The Back Bumper


For the past few years, a little informal gathering in Ottawa has been picking up steam. Originally started on a whim by Dave Grant, it has snowballed into a pseudo plate meet. We’ve been picking a date sandwiched between Christmas and New Year’s, choosing a local restaurant, and showing up to eat and chat about plates with whomever is able to make it.

This year, nine plate geeks from the national capital region descended on a noisy Italian eatery, and by themselves, they would have broken the attendance record for this gathering. But two more made the trip from Guelph for the first time, and thus there were eleven of us, all gathered around a long table in the middle of the room, passing salad, digging into pasta, and swapping plates all the while.

The weather outside was cold, and snow began to fall, but all was warm at the table. Dave Grant gave Joe Sallmen and Rob Berman a lift, as Joe’s car broke down just after finishing the trip to Ottawa from West Virginia. John Hayes, who makes the trip from nearby Lanark County, suggested to Dave that he post a general invite on the Canadian plate collectors’ group on Facebook. Dave did so, and the result was that Mike and Alannah Franks decided to make the trip all the way from Guelph to join us. Filling the rest of the table were Mike DeVouge, Alan Bones, Brian Woodard, Eric Vettoretti, and myself.

Show-and-tell tends to be a popular pastime during dinner, and some of us even conduct trades in between bites of dinner. We don’t actually bring trade boxes, but we do stuff a few plates into knapsacks, so if ever the conversation drops into a lull (which it doesn’t), all it takes is for someone else to pull a different plate out. We had a glorious time talking about the new Waldale plates and their die variations, plate acquisitions from the past year, classic cars, memories of departed friends, and winter driving. New graphic Nunavut plates were a common show-and-tell theme this year, with three or four of those rarities being shown proudly at the table. Alan brought a beautiful Iceland plate with a seemingly low number. But the numbers are assigned randomly, not sequentially, so the sight of an Iceland plate with AAA was all the more impressive. I brought a YOM-issued 1957 Ontario motorcycle plate, complete with proof of registration from the Ministry of Transportation. Mike brought a batch of D-SAM vanity plates that were issued to our old departed friend, “Sam” Samis. Ever since Sam passed away, both Mike and I had been looking for one, but neither of us ever had luck until Mike discovered a batch of them for sale earlier in the month. They arrived at Mike’s house just in time, and he brought them to Ottawa. We split them, two each.

We stayed for three hours and practically closed the place down. Our waitress took pictures of the group. I was overjoyed that Mike and Alannah had made the trip from Guelph to be there, and I seemed to have some energy to spare, so I invited them and Brian back to the house for a little while to show a few plates, which I don’t get to do very often. I knew Brian was interested in seeing a certain early plate from my collection, and I figured Mike and Alannah would get a kick out of it, too. We sat in my rec room and gabbed about plates until about 1 in the morning… later than any of us intended, but it was a good time.

So, all told, I spent five hours with a group of plate collectors, and added to my collection. That’s the end result of my continual trips to Acton and Grimsby, so maybe our informal dinner has turned into a swap meet after all.

Some previous instalments of My 2 Cents  

Credit Where Credit Is Due (Jan 31/09) 
YOMPlates (Mar 29/09) 
...A Man Alone... (Apr 26/09) 
Stir-Crazy (May 10/09) 
Watson, Steam, Nash and Fun (May 31/09) 
Oro Express (June 14/09) 
Weary in Erie (June 29/09) 
Weary in Erie 2 (July 6/09) 
Weary in Erie 3 (July 15/09) 
Walking the Walk (Aug 19/09) 
Gettin' My Fillia in Orillia (Sep 20/09) 
Destination Super (Oct 29/09) 
Auction in the Country (Dec 31/09) 
Wintertime Update (Feb 20/10) 
Plates and Parenting in Acton (Apr 25/10) 
Ketchup (Aug 17/10) 
Mileage May Vary in Barrie (Oct 2/10) 
Grim Pickings (Nov 2/10) 
Oppression (Nov 27/10) 
Virtual Display (Dec 26/10) 
Variable Virtual Value (Feb 27/11) 
7 2 1 3 (Mar 6/11) 
Police Thyself (Apr 17/11) 
Twofer One (May 12/11) 
100 / 1000 (Jun 8 /11) 
Cruising and Shopping in Merrickville (Jul 11/11) 
Bert's Barn & Bug (Aug 1/11) 
Hot & Bothered in Bothwell (Aug 23/11) 
Summer's Last Gasp (Sep 16/11) 

Some Facts About Fakes (Oct 24/11) 
You Had To Be There (Nov 4/11) 
Load Runners (Dec 24/11) 
Load Runners - The Sequel (Jan 16/12) 
In Search of the Canadian Car (Feb 20/12)
Passing Time (Apr 1/12)
These Magic Moments (May 19/12)
Seller 57, Where Are You? (June 16/12)
Moseying in Merrickville (July 11/12)
Doors Open 2012 (Aug 13/12)
Let It Rain, Rain, Rain (Sep 15/12)
Volksfest 2012 (Oct 1/12)
Why I Skipped Grimsby (Nov 11/12)
December '95 (Dec 2/12)
Five Oh Eight (Dec 31/12)
Ontario Leather Plates: Fake or Not? (Jan 26/13)
Photobox (Feb 24/13)
Half Acton (May 7/13)
Kids' Day Out (May 26/13)
Overcharged in Oro (Jun 16/13)
Merrickville 2013 (Jul 19/13)
Bugging (Aug 27/13)
Opengo-Monck Travelogue (Sep 11/13)
Friday Night in the Garage (Sep 29/13)
Long Time Coming (Oct 29/13)
August '97 (Nov 23/13)
Behind the Bars (Dec 28/13)

Peoria '96 (Jan 18/14)
Bleak Midwinter (Feb 15/14)
Photobox '14 (Mar 12/14)
Lightning Striking Again (Apr 5/14)
Acton in the Arena (May 5/14)
A Gran Torino Day Out (May 28/14)
Daddy - Daughter - Barrie (Jun 8/14)
Rochester 2014 - The Monday (Jul 21/14)
Rochester 2014 - The Tuesday (Jul 27/14)
Rochester 2014 - The Wednesday (Aug 3/14)
Rochester 2014 - The Thursday (Aug 10/14)
Rochester 2014 - The Friday (Aug 29/14)
Rochester 2014 - The Saturday (Sep 8/14)
G-R-I-M-S-B-Y Spells Relief (Oct 28/14)
Peel-O-Matic (Dec 21/14)
Is It Spring Yet? (Jan 25/15)
My 1952 Type Set (Feb 22/15)
Evolution (Mar 27/15)
Acton 2015 (Apr 28/15)
Landing in Lindsay (May 2/15)
Field of Dreams (June 11/15)
Summer of '89 (Aug 11/15)
Stories For the Sake of Telling (Sep 30/15)
The Grimsby Shuffle (Oct 24/15)
Behind The Bars - An Update (Dec 20/15)
Leap Day Article (Feb 29/16)
Auction in Acton (Apr 30/16)
Stir It Up (Jun 12/16)
Proud to be an ALPCAn (Aug 8/16)
More Flea, Less Auto in Barrie (Sep 12/16)
The Family Grimsby (Oct 31/16)
1 0 7 5 (Nov 17/16)
The Secret's Out (Dec 18/16)

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