Recently, an old family friend, Gary Cooper, passed away. Gary was more than a family friend though, he WAS family. To everyone!
I’d lost touch with him, and many more for that matter, since I’ve moved away, and more so since my own Dad died. Not necessarily through anyone’s fault, though I’m sure my own anxieties and stresses have not helped my own efforts at keeping in touch either. For that I’m sorry, and I miss you all more than I can say.
Thinking about his family’s loss, and my own, it made me think back to what was my first real memory of Gary, though probably not my first encounter.
Back in the days before paved roads in Apsey Brook, I rode the bike you see me on above. And, if you didn’t know, my dad worked at the highways (I guess Department of Transportation, but we never called it that). At the time I’m thinking of Jim Phillips also worked there. Jim, to my recollection, never drove a car, but at the time he used to get a ride back and forth with Dad.
In any event, on the day in question, Dad and Jim had mixed theirs up in the car. I believe it was after supper, most likely so, because by the time they got home from work, it was supper time, but I went, or probably was sent, down to Jim’s on bike to swap them back.
Now anyone who knows McGraths’ Cove, knows there are two big hills, going down in the cove, and then back up to the point. I’ve made that ride (and push) hundreds, if not thousands of times, but on this occasion, on the way back, with Dad’s lunch can looped over the handlebars, I hit a patch of loose gravel and went over the handlebars.
I don’t remember much about the actual incident, per se, though I remember lots of scrapes and scratches. And I chipped a tooth as well, but what I do remember was Gary, picking me up in that huge old Monte Carlo (at least thats the way I remember it, but we all know how our memories can lie to us) he had and driving me to the house.
I’m not sure if he put the bike in the trunk, or if Dad or I went and got it after, but he took me home for Mom to fuss over, and probably add Mercurochrome to my scrapes. Over the years, he’s done much more than that for me, and many more besides. I remember asking him to take me somewhere once when I was, for whatever reason, carless, and he just tossed me his keys and said bring it back when you’re finished.
RIP Gary. Love you. Rest easy, till we meet again.
Raised in outport Newfoundland in a town of 65 people, I pursued a post secondary diploma in Information Technology right out of High School.
I’ve always been a geek at heart, but yet I love the rural life I grew up with. Fishing, hunting, camping and the great outdoors are still loves of mine, even if I don’t pursue them as often as I once did. Sports were always a big part of our lives, and I played many (badly) and loved them all.