I felt a real connection with Hugh as a friend and someone I could call and asked about … anything. And, I did.
“Ok,” he’d say whenever I called him with a challenge, which usually involved a latest girlfriend — or, at least I thought she was a girlfriend, and planned a blissful life together — who put me on waivers, without the right to recall.
“We’ll go for a drive.”
We always stopped for a milkshake. Hugh enjoyed vanilla and I sipped chocolate. Sometimes we’d sit for an hour in a parking lot talking and laughing.
Hugh dropped me off back at work and I felt better.
“You’ll meet someone new soon. Call me with an update,” he said.
And he was right: within a few weeks, I’d be back on the telephone — these were the mid 1980’s when email wasn’t around — telling Hugh that, once again, I met someone new who, no questions asked, would be my future wife.
“What’s her name?” Hugh asked.
With glee, I’d tell him. And then he’d add a name.
There was Caring Karen. And Jolly Janice. Wonderful Wendy, too. Judy the Gem, even though Judy is spelled with a J.
In 1988. I bought a house in west Edmonton. Hugh came for a backyard visit with, of course, a milkshake. I was single at the time.
He squinted as he looked up at the bright afternoon sun.
“Since you’re not married yet, we’ll call this The House Without a Spouse.”
He kept adding names to the lovely women who accepted a date invitation. There was It’s you Sue, Lorraine you give me no pain. Dawne, don’t be gone.
Then, in 1995, I met Joan, who became my wife. We got married on Nov. 11, 1995, the day before the Eskimos met the Stampeders in Calgary in the CFL western final.
“I don’t know if I can be there. I hear there’s a football game the next day I might, just might, be interested in,” Hugh said.
Totally understandable. But then, 15 minutes before our wedding, Hugh and his wife Louise walked into the church with a gift wrapped in dark green paper with a golden bow on top: Eskimo colours.
Now the name Hugh picked for Joan.
“I hope you don’t get mad at me for this one,” he said.
“How ‘bout Joan, you make me moan?”
…. with Hugh plays Cam, and Cam plays Hugh