Hodge Podge by Charlie Hodge – Remembrance Day (Curtis a Pastor)

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I’m fortunate in the fact I have a number and a variety of Brothers in my world.It is one of those special beacons of light that helps combat any dark times in my life.Brothers get you through. They lift you up, they help you down, and quite often help to either find you or keep you in your place. Brothers keep you on the level, empower you with encouragement when few others sense you need it, laugh at jokes no one else gets, and best of all – know when nothing needs to be said at all.That’s what brothers do.

Deputy Mayor Charlie Hodge - Remembrance Day
Photo Credit – Larry Gray (Facebook)
I was reminded of that wonderful bond or camaraderie one has with a chosen brother when Tez and I attended Remembrance Day ceremonies. I was pleasantly surprised at the large crowd that blanketed the foot of Bernard Avenue downtown and City Park. I do not recall such a large audience turnout in a long time, if ever.I’m sure warm weather and perhaps the not so warming results of the United States election a few days before inspired the turnout. I believe those surprising results rattled a number of Canadians into recognizing just how fortunate we are to live in Canada and to be part of a nation which despite its flaws has great compassion, tolerance, and respect for one another.Regardless, the large crowd loudly hailed the parade of young and old soldiers who filled the Cenotaph.All my life I’ve found Remembrance Day events to be touching and meaningful, however this year’s service  seemed even more significant than others.Perhaps that was simply due to the aging process, recognizing with each year less veterans remain. I was reminded how much pain and suffering is inflicted in war, ultimate sacrifice so dearly paid by so many so that I and others could live in a free world.Perhaps my emotions were on high alert because once again I realized how the horrors of war impacted my family in so many ways. I recalled how my father and grandfather carried mental and physical scars to their graves, how their war experience impacted the rest of their lives and all of those around them.I was reminded how my Uncle Roy, my Mom’s only brother was blown to bits in Italy at the age of 20; never to have children, chase his dreams, or share his world with a wife and family of his own. My mother never really got over that loss.I remembered how she wept the day that Vic, my only brother by birth, joined the local militia as a young man. Mom’s tears a blend of pride and fear, terrified that her son may someday march off to war and never return. Thankfully, for my generation that call to arms never came. Ironically Vic went on to become an Anglican minister, called by God to march to a different beat.However I am also confident that a great part of the emotion I felt November 11 was that I had been bestowed the special duty as Deputy Mayor to lay a wreath on behalf of the City. That may well have been the most humbling and honour filled moment of my life. After a lifetime of attending services at that very cenotaph being granted the role of representing the Mayor, my fellow Council members, and Kelowna citizens in such a way was an unexpected, knee rattling experience.As a young boy or teenager attending services I never imagined one day I’d be one of those paying such homage to our heroes. It is a moment I shall forever cherish.My amazing day was far from over, though.Following the service Tez and I joined hundreds of other folks at the Parkinson Rec Centre for the traditional gathering and celebration and spent a couple of enjoyable hours mixing and mingling with a diverse cross section of folks. A plethora of seniors, Legion members, community leaders … filled the building with laughter and celebrations of life. I watched as close friends were reunited with one another on that special day, veterans, musicians … sharing their own brotherhood and special bonds. I even ran into a couple of special ‘brothers’ in my life.
Photo credit Curtis Tulman - Facebook
Photo credit Curtis Tulman – Facebook
To close the poignant and wonderful day Tez and I attended dear friend Leslie Tulman’s birthday celebration, organized by my ‘brother by choice’ (and Leslie’s husband) Curtis. A small crowd gathered for the special evening and part way through the night Curtis and long time musical partner Barry Mathers wowed the full room by playing a couple of wonderful original tunes. As their stunning harmonies and song writing skills enveloped the room I gleefully remembered the many years the three of us had spent as musical brothers on the road together.In quiet conversation later that night, however, Curtis informed me that after years of studying and testing he had finally received his official papers recognizing him as a Pastor of Willow Park Church. My special brother was now Pastor Curtis, and truly a brother to all.I cannot think of a finer, kinder, more rounded person to carry such a title or trust. Few folks I personally know have faced some of the harsh and hurtful challenges and hurdles that Curtis has overcome. Certainly I have known no one to do so with such grace, humbleness or lack of anger or self-pity.
curtistulman
Photo Credit – Curtis Tulman Facebook
My brother Curtis is truly a champion of everything his new title implies or demands and I know from personal experience that the hope, faith and hearts of his church members (or anyone he meets or ministers in future) could not be in better hands.And I must admit it’s a comforting feeling knowing that when I finally face my judgment day that two of my brothers have an inside connection on passing on a good reference.

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Charlie Hodge is a best-selling author, writer, a current Kelowna City Councillor, and a Director on the Regional District of the Central Okanagan Board. He spent more than 25 years as a full-time newspaper journalist and has a diverse background in public relations, promotions, personal coaching, and strategic planning. A former managing editor, assistant editor, sports editor, entertainment editor, journalist, and photographer, Hodge also co-hosted a variety of radio talk shows and still writes a regular weekly newspaper column titled Hodge Podge, which he has crafted now for 41 years. His biography on Howie Meeker, titled Golly Gee It’s Me is a Canadian bestseller and his second book, Stop It There, Back It Up – 50 Years of the NHL garnered lots of attention from media and hockey fans alike. Charlie is currently working on a third hockey book, as well as a contracted historical/fiction novel. His creative promotional skills and strategic planning have been utilized for many years in the Canadian music industry, provincial, national, and international environmental fields, and municipal, provincial, and federal politics. Charlie is a skilled facilitator, a dynamic motivational speaker, and effective personal coach. His hobbies include gardening, canoeing, playing pool, and writing music. Charlie shares his Okanagan home with wife Teresa and five spoiled cats.

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