With some joy and great sadness I have been viewing pictures and reading the tributes and memories on the blog over the last few days. It has stirred up a plethora of my own fond Matthews memories - summer holidays picking cherries off your tree, playing with old Pom, and early extended family Christmases in Nanaimo. Travelling to the island to spend time with you guys was always eagerly anticipated; the Matthews house was the most welcoming and fun place to be. I remember so many “Mike” things with surprising clarity – many Messiah dinner “debates”, fishing trips to entertain his young nephew and his passionate (it seems everything he did was with passion) espousing of certain ideals: political correctness, cooking of curry spices, proper care for the printed word (no folding of pages! But writing on the pages was fine …).
Without question, however, my favorite memory is from more than 30 years ago. I was spending a few days with you guys after Christmas one year (I must have been about 10 years old) and we took a day to go shopping. Mike pulled a purple rubber octopus from his pocket and as we wandered through the mall he tossed it onto shop windows and watched with glee (I have to steal Jean’s word here … I think it is the only one that fits) as it flipped and fell down the glass. At one point he picked a particularly tall window on the other side of two very serious men wearing serious suits in a serious office having what appeared to be a very serious discussion. As the little toy reached the bottom of their office window, they were smiling and laughing. I remember thinking at the time “Wow. Most adults I know don’t do those kinds of things. The world would be a much better place if more grown-ups were like my Uncle Mike”. In hindsight, it was an epiphany.
You and Mike have been such a positive influence on me (and, clearly, so many others) – I would not be where I am today (quite literally!) without your help and kindness over the years. Thank you both.
With much love,
PS – I am sure you are overrun with offers for help and visitors, but if there is anything I can do (I am local, after all) please call on me. I am not good for a lot, but I am a capable dog sitter/walker, coffee fetcher, or general gopher …