Sunday, 20 October 2013
They Say It's Your Birthday
So on this day, some moons ago, May and Aubrey Mason welcomed what would be their final child into the world - lucky number nine of those who survived - Claude Selkirk Gordon Mason - referred to in these pages more commonly as 'Kirk' - a later-in-life addition to a very large brood. Growing up joyfully around the waters of Georgian Bay - a "rink rat" in winter following in the hockey tradition of his dad - tearing off on his bike with his friends in the summer searching for fishing spots where the daily catch would be thrown on the fire for their supper - supplemented by the food his friends would lift from their dad's grocery store. Hitch-hiking his way from Ontario to Victoria to chase after his first love - beautiful, free spirited Joan - picking flowers for her in the garden of the Empress Hotel. Finding his way into radio and setting up life in Brockville - welcoming his first child Aaron...then moving to the wilds of Dawson Creek - the end of the relationship and the beginning of his second significant union with the lovely and gentle Linda - with whom he welcomed his sweet girl, Miranda - moving on to the Kootenays before they ultimately called it quits. His life then a circus between his work and chasing after moments with the kids - neither of whom ever lived in the same city. I came into the picture decades later - when most of the dust had settled but the moments of separation had taken their toll. But he and they survived it all - Aaron an amazing commercial photographer in Toronto and Miranda a PhD student in medical anthropology. I look at them both now and see their love for him - their acceptance over the things you have no control over when you are small - that there is nothing he would not try to do to support them in the only ways he knows how. He is rich with love for his job, his children and grandchildren - he is the guy who doesn't just throw change at someone on the street, but stops to chat - he is the journalist with the gumption not to repeat some inane political or entertainment tidbit clouding other airwaves - on principle. He is a man who has dutifully spent almost a year walking up the street every day to walk the dog of an infirm, widowed neighbour twice a day - just because no one - not even her own children were willing - and takes the time to listen to her stories when they get home because he knows her days are long and lonely. He is the guy who calls the plays in every sport he ever watches long before the colour commentator -cheering for his beloved Habs. Everything you ever need to know about what he's been through and what he has become - his kindness, patience - armed with his beloved mom's gentle spirit and his father's wit - makes me appreciate being a chapter in what was and is a very full life. So what can I possibly extend to him on this day except how much I appreciate the man he is, the courage in everything we are now facing and struggling to accept - and his willingness to find the good and hold on to it - not jaded by the scars he carries - but with all of the joy of that little boy running into the waves at Georgian Bay and feeling the last heat of the sun before hitting that icy water.