HodgePodge: I’ve never met a Charlie I did not like
HodgePodge by Charlie Hodge
I had the pleasure of watching Barry Mathers singing in Kerry Park last week and it inspired me to find a column I penned a few years back about his dear old dad.
Here it is:
It took less than three minutes for the two of us to become friends. If memory serves me correct, that was faster than his son and I bonded. Of course, what would I expect when meeting a guy with the name Charlie?
I’ve never met a Charlie I did not like, except the occasional glimpse in the mirror after a bad day or night.
Regardless, in less time than it took to take off my jacket, throw my suitcase in the backseat, and fasten my seat belt Charlie Mathers and I were already swapping stories and sharing grins and chuckles. Charlie Mathers was the sort of fella that one liked instantly and though he was not a man of a lot of words, those he chose usually held significant weight. His sense of humour was engaging.
And while Charlie did not rush into negativity or lean towards snobbery, if he did not have much use for you – he would let you know it in his own sort of quiet way. He could give you a look that said ‘bull****’ louder than any voice could yell.
Charlie Mathers, like his son Barry, was never shy of hard work – and he expected the same of others around him. Work hard and good things happen, slack off and that’s what you are.
It was an odd couple connecting that first day. Charlie M was a hard-working farmer and I was a lazy, wanna-be writer/band manager. Off course the common denominator for our friendship was Barry – and our shared caring about his only child. In fact, it was Barry who had arraigned our first meeting.
I was heading to Vancouver to try and arrange some gigs and demo-recording sessions for our band (I was manager, Barry lead singer) and Charlie Mathers was heading to the coast for some business regarding his farm. By the time we hit Hope we had basically solved most of the world’s problems, analysed the multiple sides of son Barry, and agreed that nothing was much better in life than warm sunshine, good ground to grow food in, and a cold beer at the end of the day.
Near as I can recall that road trip was somewhere around 1981 and marked the beginning of a long-time mutual respect and friendship. Ironically it was the longest road-trip to that point that I spent with the Mathers clan, but certainly not the last. The rock band in question at the time was The Silvertones (I believe) a few years before The Fanatics and Sea Cruise which eventually morphed into the hugely popular and successful band The Cruzeros. For the next 20 years or so I spent a lot of time on and off the road with Barry which meant occasional meetings with his Dad. It was always a pleasure.
Ironically, as I got out of the truck near Abbotsford that first day, Charlie reached out and shook my hand and said, “Do me a favour, will ya? Keep an eye on Barry for me. He’s a good kid and I love him lots – but I’m his Dad so he only listens so much to me. Look after him for me out there on the road will ya cause I may not be around forever.”
Like a mighty tree, Charlie went on and on in life, weathering multiple storms while providing shelter for those he cared for. A few years back Charles Joseph Mathers left this world. He was 97.
I share this because Charlie was a humble man who went about his business and life with a gracious heart and a tremendous work ethic. I also can happily state that I no longer have to worry about ‘looking out’ for Barry. He did listen a lot to his dad over the years, gained much of his wisdom, and has grown in to a fine, hardworking husband, father and recently a grandfather.
The fruit does not fall far from the tree.
Ya did good Charlie.