HodgePodge: Brothers come in all shapes and sizes

HodgePodge: Brothers come in all shapes and sizes

HodgePodge by CHarlie Hodge

Brotherhood and brothers come in various shapes and size. This past week is a perfect example.

Last Tuesday night myself and two other Freemason ‘brothers’ ‘proved up’ at St. George’s Masonic lodge #431 following a lengthy period (for me anyway) of studying and memory work. It was true teamwork by the three of us, supported by other brothers of the lodge, that helped us get through the challenging process.

As I have alluded to in the past, becoming a Mason is one of the most rewarding and wise decisions I’ve made. When it refers to ‘brotherhood’ no other organization I’ve experienced comes close to capturing the true meaning of the term. Masons are such positive people who give their all for others. Their moto ‘making good men better’ is perfect.

Over the past few years my Mason brothers have been tremendous help to me when needed, and set examples of how I can help others.

Earlier this week Vicars, my only brother by birth, and his wonderful wife Carole (did I say patient?) arrived for a few days visit. They have worked like crazy the past few years with Vic running the Anglican parish in Sarnia, Ontario. He is now semi-retired as Reveryand Canon Vicars Hodge and hopes to hide completely for three months before heading back to Sarnia. The dynamic duo planned their exciting lengthy road trip to include Vegas, Arizona, and other ports south by heading west to warm Okanagan before heading state-side.

“If it’s warm that’s good with me,” Carole clarifies.

Visiting his old hometown of Kelowna allows Vicars to not only take the warmest route through Canada but also visit his not so healthy brother and try to make up for all the terrible things that big brothers do to little brothers. We have pretty much laughed our tummies sore at some of the childhood memories we churned out between us. Both Vic and even older sister Sylvia left home while I was still a very young teenager but not before Vic and I managed to drive our parents crazy.

Vic’s favourite memory was when he built a ‘great big prison’ out of the chicken coop. He then put a board on the top, drove a few nails through it, then stuck me inside and locked it. After 15 minutes of my whining and yelling he opened the cage. I immediately went to the door flung it open and jumped for joy – right onto the nails.

That was just four stiches and a tetanus shot.

Of greater fun for the Hodge brothers was the day we shot Sylvia with a roof shingle converted into arrows. Mom and Dad never should have left big sister in charge when they went shopping. Her slightly anal baby-sitter personality had no hope against two Taurus brothers and a bow. Sylvia insisted Vic would not be allowed to shoot his bow while Mom and Dad were gone. Vic started shooting at his targets (which he did every day), so Sylvia ‘took charge’ and gathered up all his arrows. Mistake. Vic warned her at least three times to give his arrows back or he would use the shingles. Instead, Sylvia ran back and forth in from the of the target saying Vic would not dare shoot or Dad would kill him.

We could not remember how many stitches she got but there was definitely a tetanus shot involved.

We reminisced about time spent with Old Steve at the Anglican Church Camp, Mom looking after us so well especially as pack leader in Cubs, and at the kitchen table late at night as counsellor.

Over the years it seems Mom would separately find quiet moments with both of us to visit our hearts with her wisdom.

From the living room chat last night Vic and I wandered around our various childhood neighbourhoods remembering summers on Knox Crescent where all the neighbourhood kids gathered on the front yard stone fence. Or Maude Roxby’s house (we rented) now owned by Norm Lehtnik, or the old doughnut shop and house literally on the edge of Mission Creek Bridge and Truswell road. It was there we lost our favourite dog Monday to a winter evening driver.

We tried to make sense of the enigma known as Dad but couldn’t. The kind, caring community man versus the mean, bullying father that one trusted at home. Mom we concurred was simply the best thing that either of us ever new.

Vic and shared how we loved each other, as well. That we were sorry we had not been able to spend more time together over the years getting to know each other. It seemed sardonic that it took a farewell visit by him to start his holidays but at least we got the chance – thanks to their holiday route planning. I got to spend more time with Carole as well.

I think perhaps the supreme architect of the universe played a hand in it but during the last full day visit by Vic and Carole, my brother by choice Curtis Tulman showed up at the house. Curtis has been burning the midnight candle in organizing this years living nativity hosted by Willow Park Church. A dedicated pastor there for several years now Curtis says the presentation will be the best ever. It runs from Dec. 8,9,10.

My only wish is that Vic and Carole could hang around long enough to take it in.

What a wonderful week of brotherhood.

Love you brothers – all of you.

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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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