There was no funeral for my Dad; there was no obituary in the newspaper. I just couldn’t do it. I wasn’t ready at Christmas 2010 and I wasn’t ready at the one year anniversary, either. But I’m ready now.
Another passion Mac enjoyed was woodworking. I don’t ever recall the house without some sort of project involving the cutting and finishing of wood taking place. Mac learned some useful observations while working with power tools which he passed on to me. Things like:
- It doesn’t stop when you say “ouch”.
- Measure twice, cut once.
- If you’re going to hire a carpenter, count his fingers….
The “real” jobs began with Household Finance which he joined in October 1951 and he remained in the Finance business for 20 years, moving from lackey to manager and from Ontario to British Columbia with a two year “sentence” in Moose Jaw.
|With Fred Watcher
I’d say a bit of Scotch had been consumed prior to this photo….
Ontario homes were in Burlington, Port Hope, Aurora and Strathroy. I gather Strathroy needed, or had just started, a pipe band. They required pipers, not drummers. “Drummers are a dime a dozen” was a phrase I recall from somewhere. Okay, maybe that’s my piper’s bias showing through….. They needed pipers, so Mac learned to pipe. He was given his friend Dusty Miller’s pipes and those are the pipes I later played. Another important friendship was formed in Strathroy. Fred and Voda Watcher became lifelong friends to my parents.
Mac didn’t think too much of Moose Jaw. He wasn’t much for howling winds and Saskatchewan gumbo, as he called the mud there. He did make a friend that he always spoke of with fondness. John Stolarski was an RCMP dogmaster who lived with his family near us. I have vague memories of a New Year’s Eve party with John in his red serge and Mac in his kilt topped by John’s buffalo coat. That could be the night I came in from playing street hockey with frost-bitten toes….. Mom was all dressed up.Mac took me to Taylor Field in Regina to watch my first Saskatchewan Roughriders’ game. I got heat stroke there…. Hey. *I* liked Saskatchewan! Sand dunes on the window sills, tumbleweed caught in the fence, snow drifts over the house. What’s not to like? And Dad gave me 25₵ a week to go to the Sprigs O’ Heather Pipe Band and learn to pipe. He said he wouldn’t teach me and likened it to teaching your wife to drive.
And another pipe band was born in his wake. I was in this one and that band took us all over. It seemed like every summer weekend involved a parade or band competition somewhere. The Seattle Seafair Parade was one trip of particular memory. The crowd was so noisy Mac had to walk alongside each rank of pipers and yell the name of the next set we would play. There was security on the tops of the buildings – and they were armed. We were *really* glad they liked bagpipes!
In the 80’s Mac was an industrial first aid attendant. I’m surprised he never studied to become a paramedic. He was fascinated with Biology. I still have his coveted Biology text book. Maybe it was the Latin he liked. Weird. First Aid took him all over BC, mostly to mining sites and construction.
During this time, my parents built and re-designed their home overlooking Cowichan Bay. They became cat owners and staff to furry ladies.
A belated thanks to Karyn Hatt for being such a kind friend and neighbor to both Mac and Marie over the years. You are a gem.
In memory of Mac, give your kitty or doggy an extra long hug today or listen to some celtic music. Or both.