April 07, 2010

heavy hearts

John Laird Macdonald was a gentle old soul who shared everything he had and really wanted nothing more than to see people smile. I found out Monday night that he had passed away two weeks ago and that his sister had not bothered to notify any of his friends or extended family. Poor form.

I met John February 27, 1986 at Jon Jon's birthday party and we hit it off right away. Tall and gangly with a shock of Billy Idol bleached white hair, eyes deeper than an artesian well, and a laugh that started at his toes. A great lover of music we shared an obsession with David Bowie, Iggy Pop, and the Sex Pistols. And though his voice wasn't anything to cheer about he loved to sing, enthusiastically.

John's experiences before I met him had taught him some hard lessons, the first of which was that you just never know when it'll be your turn to go so you better enjoy your life while you have it. He lived his motto, "go hard or go home". And no matter what happened to me in the intervening years, that lesson was something I never let go of. There were times when it was relegated to a back shelf but it was never lost. It's the reason that I will always be 8 years old in my heart. Thank you for that John.

Like many friendships that span decades, you occasionally lose touch and then find each other once again - but we rarely missed the birthday phone calls - just to keep up. I haven't seen him for about 5 years (his last visit here from Halifax), and though neither of us are aging particularly well - it was like there had been no time in between. I last spoke to him in December and he didn't discuss any health issues. We talked about my impending trip to Jamaica (he loved to travel especially on the train), how my kids were doing, what he was doing to keep himself busy (same old)and sharing news of mutual friends long since spread all over the nation.

Memories are churning, John as James Bond for Hallowe'en in a white tux, and leather and jeans at the Idol concert in Calgary. John on the floor playing lego with my kids. The road trip we took to go camping in South Dakota in the valiant - what a freaking gong show that was. Meeting Keppel - another soon to be lifelong friend. The Alice Cooper show. Extra Old Stock and port. The raid on the Winnipeg street house. Sheila & Kelly's attempt at a turkey dinner - lordy - what a mess. Deck parties. Taking the train at Christmastime cross country to Halifax to meet his parents in Liverpool N.S., and the 5 days we spent in Montreal. My first subway ride. Snow gently frosting the cobblestones in the old town, visting the Hotel de Ville and sitting in the Presidente's throne in the council room. Walking along St. Denis at midnight warmed by wine and convinced we really did understand french. Exploring the Halifax underground. Getting Screeched. The perfect snowfall christmas eve and listening to the carols in church with his mum & dad. Running into the ocean at the end of December so we could say we did the Atlantic Polar Bear. Taking university classes together and banging our heads on the tables in the Lab Caff. West Edmonton Mall, black heaven and the drop of doom. And all the crowd back then. Jon Jon, Cookie, Sheila, Kelly, Kenny, Shelley, Dodi, Magnus, Little Kelly, Preston, Billy, Dave, Sandy, & Lynn. I actually still know where over half of those people are.

SO thank you John for all the high drama and low, for sharing your joy and your framily, and for singing every Bowie song we knew. You will always be in my heart and I am really going to miss those phone calls.

2 comments:

Schmutzie said...

I'm sorry you lost your friend :(

dk said...

3rd one in 6 weeks - apparently I'm on a roll.

improvise & overcome

... and why would I choose to associate myself with a term that most used used in a derogatory manner?
In order to change the meaning of a word or create a new meaning for a word, one must own the word. Over time and use the word may evolve to mean other than was originally intended & to that end...
my definition: an independent woman

dictionary definitions:

1. informal term for a (young) woman
2. an unsupervised umarried woman
3. a young woman or girl, esp. a peasant girl.
(usually facetious)
3. a woman servant
4. a wanton woman
5. Archaic: a strumpet
[Origin: 1250–1300; ME, back formation from wenchel, OE wencel child]

synonom :"dame"

acronym:
Women Entitled to Nothing but Complete Happiness

International Wenches Guild

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