David Kerfoot - A Man I Never PhotographedMonday, July 23, 2012
David Kerfoot is a man I never photographed. He was photographed by Doane Gregory with such style that I knew I could never top it. The picture appeared in either Books in Canada or Quill & Quire quite a few years ago. I remember that Kerfoot, a longtime employee and manager for one of Celia Duthie’s stores was wearing a white blazer and perhaps a hat.
Only yesterday I called up Gregory to see if he could find the photograph. He seemed doubtful. He was going to look through his film files (Gregory shoots and has been shooting digitally for years) but advised me that he did not own a scanner so he would have to go to a neighbour’s house. Alas that picture and all pictures of David Kerfoot are not on the web.
It was yesterday that I was crossing Cambie at Broadway for a semi-clandestine (it felt clandestine, even though it was not) appointment at Starbucks with Darcy Patko who fixed my non-operational iPhone 3G in a jiffy while I finished a tall whipped cream macchiato.
While crossing I spotted a familiar man with glasses. I was not sure but became so when I noticed he had a battered and faded Duthies Book Bag (littera scripta manet) over his shoulder. I went up to him and said, “Kerfoot, it is you but I don’t have time to talk to you because I have an appointment with my iPhone repair man.”
Perhaps 15 minutes later I was walking up Cambie to my car when I spotted Kerfoot sitting at a bus stop by City Hall. I sat down and we chatted, “What are you reading?” He produced a paperback High Fidelity by Nick Hornby and proceeded to give me a detailed explanation on the excellence of the author.
Believe me I always did trust Kerfoot’s literary tastes. In fact we both shared a passion for Jerome Charyn (the other who shared our like for the Manhattan writer is George Bowering). We visited on the bus shelter bench. We traded other favourite books we had recently read. I mentioned that I had loved J.J. Lee’s book The Measure of a Man Lapsed. I told Kerfoot, “Since you have a sense of style you would really love this book.” He countered with, “ I woul love to read that book. My step-father was E.J. Lee (no relation to J.J. Lee) and my step-brother was Barron Lee (who had taken over his father’s exclusive Vancouver business in high end suits and dinner wear for men)”. Which explained for me that iconic photo of Kerfoot by Gregory.
The bus arrived and as Kerfoot got on the bus I said, “You are a snob!” With one of those Kerfoot smiles (some people can indeed smile with intelligence and panache) he corrected me, “I am not a snob, I am an elitist and there is a difference.”