Thursday, July 18, 2013
April 16, 1944 - July 10, 2013
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me,
I once was lost, but now I'm found
Was blind, but now I see.
My brother Gary LOVED THIS song – I remember how excited he was, the day when he realized with his first cellphone that this could be his ringtone. He often sang this verse to me and goodness knows how many others he shared his voice with.
My brother was always kind and considerate. When we were kids, he was always bringing home a wounded bird or a stray cat or a salamander or turtle. It seemed these small animals were waiting for my brother to rescue them. My brother carried his kindness and consideration to many throughout his life – family, friends, his service in the Black Watch, his job as an Iron Worker, the Veterans, many Organizations, Volunteering and reaching out to many people personally- with his smile, his words, his song and small gifts. He especially had a soft spot for the VETERANS and the SPCA, WHICH HE DEVOTED MANY HOURS TO.
We used to go fishing down under the Falls Bridge –with the group of neighbourhood kids and “because I was the only girl”; I got to carry all the fishing poles. My brother taught me to fish….and - I can say that we brought home the big ones. Tourists back in those days would borrow our poles and our catch of fish to have photos taken by their friends and family and pay us 25 or 50 cents a photo. Whatever few dollars we earned that day was always evenly split……and I still had to carry all the fishing poles home.
My brother taught me to dance, and we competed at dances and usually won – we danced on early local TV and then we sang together. Many a warm summer’s night was spent up at the top of Fort Howe, gazing out into the Bay Of Fundy towards Partridge Island. As the sun was setting behind us and our shadows were stretching towards the water, one could hear the strain of voices on the wind and “Amazing Grace” was always at the beginning or the end.
Gary called me frequently, sometimes just to say hello and have a nice day and always “I love you” – he laughed when one day I said, “I love you more”, so it was a competition after that to see who could say it last – then came the “ 5 Dolla” love – As he was leaving one day, he said “I’m broke”, but then he pulled a $5 dollar bill out of his pocket and put it in the palm of my hand, closed it and said “I love you $5 dollas’ worth”, for it was all he had but it meant everything. One of us would close our conversation with $5 dolla and the other would repeat $5 dolla back.
My brother was also my best friend. How magical it was to share secrets as we grew through life. I was the one to unlock the back door when he came home late and I was always eager to iron his dress pants and shirt for 25 cents when he went out on a big date. I remember how he made me feel confident and always safe and how he always let me win our nonsense arguments and silly childhood wrestling matches. – I know there is no easy answer as to why he had to leave us without notice – I believe NOW, he sits among angels, singing his morning song -
You taught me a lot of things,
I otherwise might never know
But you forgot to teach me one last thing
How to let you go.
I know you didn’t plan on leaving
Sometimes we have no choice
I will miss you laughing with me
And hearing my name called by your voice.
Just last week, I said I loved you
You replied with “ $ 5 Dolla love “
You were called as a guardian angel
And now you’re working “above”.
The day is done, and the darkness -
Bears a light from the wings of night
As a feather spins gently downward
My brother has taken flight.
You’ve always meant so much to me
I could never love you less
I know it’s true when I hear folks say -
“HE ONLY TAKES THE BEST”.