Yes, yes, yes. How’s your afternoon? Here’s Cam’s column from today’s Edmonton Sun.
It’s especially timely this week as I fondly think of my favourite memory of Winston Tait and sit back and silently chuckle.
Winston is my dad’s first cousin and farmed all his life in Meota, Sask., where one of the most common four-letter names is Tait.
Dad and Winston grew up together and, even though they are cousins, their deep friendship lasted some eight decades.
They became my entertainment, absolutely. They reminisced about their eventful youth that rolled into adulthood — but their love of having fun and pulling pranks remained fresh as the cup of tea they just enjoyed.
And as they told their treasured tales, their voices rose in volume and they shared belly laughs — probably heartier and more heartfelt than the original chuckle.
Winston and Dad talked for hours. Runs in the family, I guess. After Dad retired, he and my mother shared much of their time in Meota, a good cup of coffee’s drive north of North Battleford in a cabin which, interestingly, was built by Winston’s son David.
Winston stopped for a visit many summer evenings.
“Well,” he would say, getting up from his chair in the kitchen, “I guess I really should get going.”
He’d put his cap on, grab the door handle and keep talking. And talking … and talking.
It became his signature. Winston stood at the door, in his work boots and the visit continued. One evening, when he had been standing for close to an hour, Mom dragged a chair over to the front door.
“Here, Winston,” Mom said, on more times than once. “Have a chair.”
He shook his head. “No, I really have to go,” he’d counter and then opened the door … but only halfway.
Before we knew it, Winston and Dad were entrenched in another conversation and it was another 20 minutes, if not more, before Winston left the house.
For fun, I timed his doorway discussions: the longest was 90 minutes.
There were no cellphones for distraction. Nobody was checking for emails or texts or social media updates.
The meaning of face time back then was exactly that: people shared time with each other and heard voices and saw reactions to their comments in person, rather than over a handheld device or even several keyboard characters trying — but failing, really — to show laughter and smiles.
Winston and my parents’ generation loudly embraced every opportunity to visit. They didn’t preface time shared together with coffee, or tea, or even a meal. Those were secondary.
What mattered was being in the same room with someone who made us challenge our own way of thinking, offering different points of view and, of course, sharing laughter.
I never wanted Winston to leave.
So, it’s rather fitting I hold that memory close to my heart today.
Winston, who taught me so much about life and not just conversation, passed away on the weekend at age 91.
He’s in heaven right now, having a great conversation and he won’t be in a rush to leave … a lesson we all can learn from.