Today March 2, 2013 marks the 5th year since my soulmate Chris passed away from metastatic Prostate Cancer at 47 years old. I want to focus my tribute to him this year on his life. After his funeral held here at home, I received many letters of condolence from friends including alot of cherished memorable stories about his young life. I’m going to share these with you today. Remember, that much of these ‘adventures’ took place before I even knew him, so I take no responsibility for his actions (disclaimer, lol). Enjoy a good laugh – Chris would have wanted it that way.
“Hi everyone. I just thought I would drop a couple of lines for ‘MAC’: ‘Smitty’ was at the garage the other night and jumped on the subject of Chris known to everyone as ‘Mac’. There were quite a few people who knew him as Chris but when you mentioned Mac everyone knew him. One story goes : Chris and a few of his friend’s thought they would put the north half of town out of power, by removing lightbulbs from people’s outside house lights. The next night after Hydro replaced all the bulb’s they would put the south side out. Well I guess after they got stopped by Bondo Bob (Chief of police) with 2 pick-up trucks loaded with blown and smashed lightbulbs they knew they certainly would not get away with it the following night. Game was over.
One Halloween they had decided to shower vehicles and people with eggs. They positioned a truck at the north, south, east and west boundaries of town and the crew of 10-15. They all had keys cut for these truck’s and loaded them from local merchant’s (as if the stores wouldn’t have thought something was up) with dozens upon dozens of eggs. They spread out throughout town and atop any roof and started pelting eggs. Needless to say they all didn’t make it back. Yet again Bondo Bob and our local police force thought they would take them down. Who won, Chris and the crew. I guess Chris’ name was the first to go over the loud-speaker “Mac off the roof” yep he was on the roof of the old Red & White store. And when they came down, there was a pick-up waiting there for them. What a smart bunch. I had a few good times with him as well. I was introduced to him by his father Mel the handy man. Mel had once did alot of reno’s at the garage but when they moved on, Chris was next in line to take over. This past summer we were building on and putting a roof on the garage and looking for someone to do it and all I wanted to do is pick up the phone and call him. I know that he would have been there to do it for us. I was able to work with Chris out at Jeff’s garage and had a blast out there too. They would get me to tear down engines and help me put them back together. 12:00 noon came and Mrs. B would call to say lunch was ready and we would fight to get out the front door and who ever got to the house first won the t.v. channel. That was me but Jeff and Chris whimpered so much I would have to put on the wrestling channel. Yahoo. If we were done for the afternoon we would load up the boat and ski’s and head for the Rideau River. There we would meet up with Sue & Hawk, Harry ‘Top drawer’, Dean H., Johnny and some other drifters along the way. One day Chris had this great idea of trying to put 10 or 12 of us up on ski’s – wasn’t that an accident waiting to happen. But he accomplished another goal, we did it! But the poor boat. I had the joys of a big brother in my life because there was not going to be any boyfriend unless they met him first – so much for that idea because he told them if they bothered me, he bothered them – even worse. Thanks – I didn’t date anyone for the next 5 years. Chris was my savior when I needed someone to talk or share something with and he was always there. He walked me through my problems and led me into a direction that he knew I would have great accomplishments in my life. I didn’t come out of school a wizard or have the opportunity to go to college but I did have the opportunity to meet someone really special. I hope you enjoy reading this as I did writing it. Chris may you always be in our hearts and memories and may your memories carry through your family and friends. Love Andrea”
Steve K. wrote – “I certainly have a story or two about Mac’s youthful adventures: unfortunately, I wasn’t involved directly with the light bulb caper or the great pumpkin stunt to the best of my knowledge. Anyway, here are some stories in no particular order:
One of the stories I was thinking of the other day, was when Mac and I were still at Holy Cross in grade 8 (yup, 12 years old) and went into the Ottawa Civic Centre to watch the rock band ‘Nazareth’ in concert. Since we were too young to be travelling such great distances and staying up that late on a school night, we came up with (what we thought of at the time) a ‘brilliant’ plan: He told his parent he was sleeping at my place and I told Dad I was sleeping over at his place. (I’m sure no teenager has ever come up with such geniousness before!) Anyway, around 6 PM we took the Voyager bus from the Fina gas station in town and arrived in time for the concert around 7:30. After the conclusion of our first rock concert experience, we again took the bus and arrived back home around 1 AM. It was around this point that we realized our plan wasn’t very well thought through as we had no place to sleep! We ended up hanging around town (and freezing our butts off) for the night, but still managed to get to school on Friday morning in time for class. If I remember correctly, we had a pretty long, yawn-filled day. The tickets for the concert were $12.50 ha ha!
This one takes place during the summer holidays in 1976 on one of those beautiful, hot, cloudless Ontario days…
Mac and I had just returned from a boating adventure on the Rideau River and were tying up the boat behind the sewage treatment plant on Bridge Street. As we were tying up the boat, we smelled something burning and noticed there was a brush fire. (It was later determined that someone was back there playing with fire crackers – Paul C. had been an eye-witness) Anyway, I grabbed the bailing bucket out of the boat, scooped up some water and dashed towards the flames to put them out. In order to get access to the flames as quick as possible I dashed through what I thought was a clearing. As I stepped into this clearing I quickly realized that I had departed terra firma and sank up to my waist in some quicksand-like substance. As I was slowly sinking I had the presence of mind to notice a horrible aroma. Something like manure, but worse. Then it suddenly dawned on me, I was in a sewage pit! As the horror of perishing in human waste quickly washed over me, I screamed out, ‘Holy shit!’ By this time Mac had arrived to my rescue and calmly replied, ‘Yes, I think it is.’ Anyway, Mac hauled me out laughing about as hard as I had ever seen anyone laugh. One of my shoes was sucked off during my extraction, but I figured it would make an acceptable donation to the town and left it down there in the muck. (I wasn’t very keen on sticking my hand in there and having a feel around for it needless to say) Who knows, my shoe might still be there to this day. The jeans I was wearing were in horrible shape as you can imagine. Mac suggested that to clean them in an efficient manner, we could tie them to a rope and tow them behind the boat. Not bad thinking I thought. Anyway, we got the anchor rope re-positioned to the back of the boat and snugly tied the other end through a belt loop and darted off down creek at full throttle on his 9.8 HP Evinrude. After 10 minutes or so I pulled in my jeans to see how it was working, but to my dismay, not well at all. So we continued out to the big Rideau where we figured the big waves and thrashing around would be just what the doctor ordered. After 30 minutes or so of donuts and figure 8s, I pulled in the rope to have a look. Thinking about it now I shouldn’t have been too surprised, but we weren’t so smart back then. As you guessed, at the end of the rope I discovered a single knot tied tightly around one belt loop which was clearly no longer attached to the jeans! We laughed so hard we cried. The afternoon was finished off with the indignity of me having to ride my bike up Bridge Street to the Farm in my underwear and with one shoe on with Mac riding beside me snickering the whole time. Ah, sweet youth.
Another story that just popped to mind occurred one autumn day when we were on the school bus to Holy Cross. The bus had just arrived in the parking lot and was slowly driving up to the school to let everyone off. I’m not sure whether it was Mac or I who thought of it, but we decided we could get ourselves off the bus early and opened up the emergency door at the back and hopped down to the pavement while the bus was still moving! Neither one of us were injured and we ran up to the front of the school so our colleagues, who were still seated on the bus, could see us standing there waiting for them. We were sure they would be amazed at our magical dexterity and, in a way that only teenagers can, we stood there with proud grins on our faces. Well, our pride was very short-lived. Little did we know, the school Principal had seen us from his office window and had promptly ran out and unceremoniously escorted us into his office by the scruff of the necks. I think we ended up having to sweep the parking lot during recess as our punishment. Our colleagues and class-mates seemed to enjoy this much, much more than our ‘vanishing and re-appearing’ act from early in the day.”
Sue said: “I keep envisioning ‘Chrissy’ driving his hot-pink plow truck across Heaven, gently moving the clouds for God to have a clear pathway while he considers Chris’ offer to spiff up the Pearly Gates with a coat of paint and possibly, a renovated, more modern look to them. I always thought of Chris as a gentle giant and a gentleman in his own inimitable way. He was a loyal and loving husband, Dad, and friend and we’ll sorely miss him – his witty cracks, his joyous, infectious laughter, his infinite love of family and friends. He was a true gem, one whose memory we shall always treasure. He’ll always be in our hearts.”
Chris told me a few stories about himself, so here’s some that I’d like to share:
This one Steve’s referred to ‘The Great Pumpkin Caper’ as Chris called it. One Halloween night when he was a rambunctious teenager, Chris and his buddies had this ‘brilliant’ idea to make use of all the extra pumpkins around town. Back in the day, there were two main bridges into and out of town – they thought that they would set up all the extra pumpkins in the middle of the road on the bridges after all the little kiddies were done trick-or-treating. I guess they didn’t think of the consequences of blocking a main road in case an emergency vehicle needed to get through…….. Police Chief Bondo Bob was pretty ticked and knew exactly where to look for who was responsible….
or there’s his experience as an 11 yrs old angelic Alter Boy …….. who got into the Church’s communal wine and got drunk – brought back home by the priest because he was SO sick ‘with the flu’.
or there was the story about when he was a bouncer named ‘Buckwheat’ for the rock’n roll band Eddy and the Stingrays in their early days down at the ‘Dirty D’……….some drunk guy got too close to the band, so Chris decided to ‘remove’ him and before you know it, all hell broke loose – people were flying across pool tables and everything. I’m glad THAT was before my time.
There are a lifetime of stories about Chris that I could regale, but I’ll leave that for another time.
Amanda said “the remembering has more smiles than tears”……..oh, so true.
Last year ‘Remembering Chris’ can be found here