HodgePodge by Charlie Hodge
As some of you are more than likely aware, or just learned, I’ve survived another birthday.
I am very thankful for having sincerely come to learn that life truly is precious and not something we should simply take for granted. I have also come to learn how grateful I am for some people in it, people who have motivated me, or simply saved it. My life, I mean.
For one lucky reason or another I have bounced around this wonderful world for 68 year, which is exactly 18 years longer than my high school grad class predicted I would never reach. During Grad year my class had a ‘fun’ contest, and I was named the student “least likely to reach age 50.” Something about being wild and crazy.
In last week’s attempted birthday column, I wanted to express my thanks and recognize a list of people who had been most ‘influential’ in my life – then realized how long it was, how some had not been all positive, or all negative. So I wrote something else, deciding the delay decision until today’s column.
However, today’s procrastination solved nothing with ‘just naming’ 68 people. What it meant was adding or deleting names (some are ‘more gooder’ than others). Yet such deletion would only lead to unintentionally hurt feelings. Forget a name or two in my diverse, crazy life isn’t difficult and certainly not the intent and yet inevitable.
So, I am taking the easy route today and simply thanking a plethora of people with a promise of another list soon to come when comfortably completed. Meanwhile it starts with my Tez. When we met, I was a healthy, productive, active man. A year later (and 10 days before our wedding day) we learned I had emphysema. Five years later, I nearly died from Osteomyelitis, then four years ago CO2 poisoning tried to claim me. It’s been a nasty battle and Tez has been with me the whole way. Words simply are not enough. We still find time to laugh.
Naturally both Mom and Dad make the big-time thank-you list. No greater influence in my life than my Mom when it comes to life lessons, love and wisdom. What Mom was to plants and nice people Dad was to politics in his knowledge, dedication, and care for community. I have never forgotten hot chocolate after my hockey games.
While my brother Vic and sister Sylvia were not home for long (I was the brat younger brother) they have always been a huge part of my world. At the end of the day though it is my friends, school, and work buddies that have kept me going during different times.
Curtis Tulman is the finest man I’ve met, and I am proud to call him my best brother by choice. He is the only person that I can say in 40 years of knowing I have never been truly angry with. His kindness, wit and heart are to be admired.
I have a couple of other brothers by choice, including Jim Krahn who never let me apologize for being a writer and encouraged me to continue when many did not. Great carver and artist.
Dan Thiessen who gave up but came back and we are both glad he did. Danny and I shared a childhood and then rekindled our friendship30 years later.
Ralph Krehbiel who taught me many things but mostly patience and confidence.
Barry Mathers shared his music work and world with me. Many years on the road and lots of fun at home as well. Good man, Bill Greene for being a dear buddy and being there with Barry and Curtis, and also many, many heart-to-heart chats.
Two major influences that are gone but I will write about next week are my first brother by choice Butch O’Brien who was taken away from us all way too soon and Phyllis Kitson an amazing little old lady who served tea.
Next week I will remember properly some other huge influences in my world such as Eileen Cassidy, Maurice Reveryand, Douglas Moore, Mrs. Hare, Ian Middler. Josh Stillborn, Harvey Stolz, Dan McGauley, Dr. Graeme McCauley.