Follow by Email

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Heading home.......and a tribute to our Fathers

  We are returning to Florida, docking the boat, and heading home. It is a very sad day on Algonquin. My Dad passed away today. Today would have also been Dels (Garths Dad) 84th birthday. We are trying to concentrate on all the good times we had together, and we are recalling all the wonderful memories we have of these two great men.
When Garth and I returned home in November we celebrated my Dads 85th birthday with him.  He told us at that time that if something were to happen to him to that we were to just keep going and do not come home.  My Dad loved life, he loved his family, and he loved to travel. When I was young I never wanted to leave home. My parents, but more so my Dad, made sure that I got out and about.  When I was fourteen we went on a family trip to Europe, and at fifteen my Dad thought it would be a good idea if I went to Finland to teach English for the summer - by myself! That trip got me hooked on travelling and I have never stopped. My Dad and I travelled differently. One year he asked  if anyone wanted to go to England. Of course we did. Then the kicker, he was going to walk across England and invited anyone who thought it sounded good to them to join him. None of us took him up on his offer and off he went by himself. Although a veterinarian by profession my Dad was kind of a jack of all trades. He wrote a pet column for the Toronto Star, had a radio talk show, and did several TV shows on pets. He had a garbage business, and even a restaurant at one point. After retiring for the fourth or fifth time he went into teaching. All this and he still did volunteer work,he was in the Lions Club and the Rotary Club.  Dad loved politics and so when the town decided to put a median down the highway, and block the entrance to his animal hospital, he ran successfully for city council. After that he just continued on up the ladder. When driving around the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) the traffic reports for our area would always uses the Williams Parkway as a reference. They usually don't name roads after you while you're still alive so that was pretty neat. He was a fabulous veterinarian, a good husband, and a great Dad. My Dad taught me to stand up for what I believe in, and that right is might .He will forever be missed. I called home last week, when we were heading over here, and our last words to each other were I love you.
Dad at a Meg's recital. She was the apple of his eye, granddaughter number 1.
Dad last August on Algonquin

Del would have been 84 today and we lost him in the summer. He was another wonderful man, and we loved him dearly. A banker by profession, he retired the day they put a computer on his desk.  But, it turned out, that he was the one that learned the computer in the end. It ended up interesting him, and Dad was interested in everything. He would read the paper, play games (poker), and send the occasional email. We even got him onto skype when we were in Europe. Del, had an infectious smile, and always had twinkle in his eye. Dad was was one of those people who, when he asked you how you were doing really meant it. It didn't matter who you were you got his full attention. He knew more people, and I mean really knew, than most people could ever dream of. In his later years he would say that the bank had been a perfect job for him. He got to meet a lot of people, and play a lot of golf. He was an avid golfer. How he could hit a ball so far with that corkscrew swing of his is still a mystery but boy could he sure crank a ball. After he had his stroke the girl in rehab brought him a picture of a wheelchair that allowed you to golf from it. That made him sit up a little straighter and I know he was thinking about whether it might be possible. Ever the conservative in the end he didn't think it could work and we couldn't talk him into it! If there was a man alive that knew more about baseball I haven't met him. He pitched hardball into his 30's and, even in later years playing toss, you wanted to be sure to catch his throws in the webbing. Great arm! Dad cared about people. He fought head office at the bank when they wanted to change the lending rule and apply the same requirements to the farmers he dealt with as they had in place for the city folk. Farmers plant in the spring and don't have the cash until the crop comes in. A good old time banker he got people to listen. In our hearts he will always have a special place but he left his communities better off. One of his, in my opinion, best works was being the driving force in getting a Seniors Retirement residence built in Newcastle where there was nothing. I guess the most important thing I learned from my father was that you aren't the most important person in the room. Through helping others you get much more back than you give. Love you Dad!
That impish grin and the twinkle!

Del on skype
His passion!

The Bahamas will always be here and winter will always come to the north so we will be back, hopefully next year. In the meantime the winds have started to subside and it looks like we can escape from Green Turtle Cay on Monday and cross over to Florida Thursday.