When I started using Facebook, I needed a photo for my profile. I hit on the right one, and I use it on Twitter as well. But it’s not me.
It’s my dad, who joined the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 1934. He was 21 years old. He left the Mounties a few years later, then rejoined in 1941 and served throughout the war.
Being in the RCMP was not the high point of his life. You could say that he had a whole mountain range of high points, from old friends who’d drive miles out of their way to see him, to some tea and biscuits, to his joy in recalling one sunny afternoon playing with two greatgrandchildren.
He’d slowed down in the last few years, but as recently as my wedding in February of last year, he told stories, joked with the caterers, and tapped his cane in time to music.
His health failed in the past two weeks–though when time came to arrange for hospice care, my mother had to get a referral from her doctor. Dad didn’t have a primary care physician of his own.
Dad died a little after 8 this morning. He was 96.
I know he’d have been pleased for people who’d never met him to share one of his great pleasures: music from down home. If you’ve got 10 minutes, listen to some Cape Breton fiddling. The fiddler is Buddy MacMaster, a great friend of Dad’s–who if he were here would say of Buddy, “you couldn’t ask for a nicer fella.”
I especially like the set that Buddy’s playing here (from a 2000 concert in Boston). The first air is Niel Gow’s Lament on the Death of His Second Wife. Buddy eases from that into three dance tunes, and if your feet don’t tap, you may want to check with your own primary care physician.
(I’ve decided not to have comments on this post.)