Category - People Props


Shan says that she always knows when her Dad was on the phone because my voice would suddenly get deeper when I was talking to him. I guess I wanted him to know that she was taken care of in that way. I think he felt like I was putting it on for him just like when we were building stuff and I would measure once and cut twice…sometimes three times!

It didn’t take long for JD to make me feel like a part of his family. It started long before Shannon and I were even dating. Well before any of that, he was “Mike’s Dad” and revered among our group of friends like a God of Thunder, or maybe it was that he was revered at the Thunderbird, I can’t recall…but… “anyhoo” as he would always say.

Back in those days he provided for our group in many ways. He coached us in roller hockey, he provided a safe place for us to gather where we always felt welcome and safe, where bathing suits were optional in the hot tub, and in turn he helped us foster the friendships I hold most dear in my life to this day. Mike’s friends came over because of the welcoming home JD provided, and they stayed for the bacon and eggs at breakfast.

JD was a master sleeper and my admiration for him magnified one day when Mike and I came home for lunch. I thought we were home alone until JD came out of his bedroom, yawning and stretching out in his office clothes (likely from Mens Furnishings at the Bay where he once worked). Told us he was just home for his lunchtime “toes up”, like that was a thing! At the lake we would chat after dinner until JD would nod off in mid sentence and just for sport Shan and the boys would compete to see what kind of things they could dangle from his mouth without waking him up.

JD was a giver. He was true and loyal, and would do anything for his friends. He joked with me that he wouldn’t let himself pass in the summer months or his Royal Lake Gang might not make it in.

JD would do anything for his kids. Mike wrecked the truck, Shan wrecked the truck, and Tim…well he still wears sandals all winter.

He would go so far in fact that this one Christmas, Shannon was away from home all the way in Thailand. JD had asked her in an email what he would like for Christmas and she said “Tom”. He had me over for dinner that week and asked me if I would go. That he would send me there on his dime because that’s what Shannon wanted most for Christmas, and that he wanted to do this for us. Not knowing how I would ever be able to pay him back I joked about having to cut his lawn for the rest of my life…to which he replied without missing a beat…

“I like mine at a 45 degree angle.”

We watched almost every single playoff game together this year and when the Jets were out we watched Ovi raise the Cup for the first time. On October 9th, just a couple weeks ago, we watched what would be our last Jet game together at Jocelyn House. At one point he took my hand and told me that I was everything he could have asked for, for his daughter. I told him that Shan and I fell in love in Thailand and that I didn’t know how I could ever repay him for the life that he helped set in motion. Especially since he had gone so many years without a lawn to cut. He said that he always knew that one day he would need me to take care of his most “special” possession, and I intend to do just that.

It would be cliche to say that JD had a great life and it’s too soon for him to be gone. But I do admire his thirst for living. I don’t know much about heaven but if there is a lake there JD has already set up the tarps and should be out in the boat by now looking for someplace calm to float on his pool noodle.

He did what made him happiest and brought much happiness to those around him. I am so blessed that Lexi and Ashlyn got to have so many great memories of a man who wore his heart on his sleeve and loved his family to the fullest.

Here’s to breakfast JD!

Heaven Is A Better Place Today

I woke up this morning and after my shower instead of heading downstairs to find some underwear I went straight to my closet and put on my Hip shirt. I know that doesn’t sound like anything odd but I ALWAYS do shirt last, after a teeth brush and layer of deodorant so that I don’t get anything on the shirt. As I was looking through my shirts I also brushed past the shirt I had made for the last concert that reads “Here’s a glue guy, performance God…” and it was just enough to put it in my head. I walked back downstairs to brush singing “heaven is a better place today”.

I was in the movement room at work, alone, when my phone started blowing up. “Gord died…” was the first thing I read from Al and it hit me like a tonne of bricks. I just had trouble pulling it together. Then as other people started texting me it was just too much emotion. It was definitely a tough day working with kids. One woman I work with also loves the Hip and when I first met her we were both wearing Hip gear. I was the one who told her when she got in this morning and her eye’s just welled up and she went straight to the phone to call her husband. The impact of it all was just so HARD, HUGE, and HAUNTING.

I tried hard to compose myself throughout the day but it was hard. One text I received said:

“sad day – I was thinking of you this morning. Great memories – thank you for bringing the Hip into my life!”

Back to square one. I just kept telling myself that Tom Petty died just a few days ago and I don’t remember any grown men walking around the office all welled up. Pull it together man, I kept telling myself. Then I read the obituary on Maclean’s – that was a mistake.

What I realized was that it wasn’t just about the passing of an amazing man. A man I feel some kind of personal connection to that I have never met. I realized it’s about all of you. All of the people who share this music with me and the memories that pop into my head when I hear it. The concerts, the road trips, the parties, the clubs, the camping, the hockey, the socials, the weddings, the friendships…all of it.

It’s the knowledge that today is the day the music died. Literally. What I can only explain as the soundtrack to my life now has a beginning and an end. I know that the music lives on but it makes me sad to think about the flame that brought so much happiness to my life has gone dark. Knowing that I will never again sit in an arena and see Gord live weakens my will a little. I can clearly remember them all and never wanting that feeling to end. Even just sitting in my car alone and cranking it up – it could never get loud enough, no number on a dial could ever explain it.

So that’s what I did on my way to pick up the kids after school. Got lost in it.

When Shan got home we asked GOOGLE to play some HIP and opened up a bottle of wine I never thought there would be an occasion for. We drank for Gord – and then Al came over and we all drank for Gord, just as we have so many times before.

RIP Gord Downie – Thank you for everything.

Honker Boards

This morning I went to Steinbach to pick up a bike rack that Shan had found on Kijiji. We figure it will go nice with the new camper and bring our camping game up a couple notches.

Honker BoardsI end up at this beauty house just on the outskirts of town and end up meeting this really cool guy and his family out working in the garage. They invite me in for a little look at what they are working on and I am blown away. They make long boards under the name “Honker Boards” and the craftsmanship and branding is incredible. Just looking at the few he has in the garage immediately makes me think I am cool enough to handle one of these things. Tenfold if they are being crafted locally in Steinbach by a guy in his garage, it really doesn’t get any better!

We talked for a bit about some of the ones he is currently working on and possibilities are endless. Custom trucks, colors, wood grain, etc. Anything you would like on it basically. If you think this is something you would be interested in let me know and I will put you in touch. When I get mine we can surf some pavement like it’s 1999.

Ashlyn is 6

Wow this girl has done some amazing things this year. Much like she coined the phrase “Danger 4” she has has assured me that being 6 will be just a dangerous. Just last night I was swinging her on the rope swing and swung her so fast that she flew off like she was trying to clear the fence in our back yard! To add insult to injury as I tried to catch her in mid flight the swing came back and smoked her in the face. Oh what will the road to seven look like?

Tragically Hip Live

It’s hard to (say it’s sad but true) believe that I may have seen the Tragically Hip Live (between us) for the last time this summer (is killing me).

In an effort to truly appreciate and retain this notion Shan and I bought tickets in both Calgary and Winnipeg. It would be futile to discuss which was the better show because they were both brilliant performances. Everything from the outfits to the playlists. Both performances from the heart and genuine like only Gord and the boys could deliver.

For the Winnipeg show we had some shirts made each with our favorite quotes on them. All 20 or so of us met before the concert at a restaurant and looking around that room at my friends with these shirts on flooded my thoughts with memories of the Hip. Camping with Al, Another Roadside Attractions, looking for Gord with Timmy in the Keystone Centre, Pigeon Camera 20 times at Boston Pizza, that blizzard, the countless concerts with the boys, and skating our hearts out as Three Pistols.

Standing beside Ratte at this one when “Ahead by a Century” came on thinking about how many times I drunk dialed that song for him at concerts when we were apart. In fact I remember when the internet was still a mystery and using Ponch’s 56K modem to download that song when it was brand new so that I could play it back for Ratte over the phone. It took like 9 hours but I stayed up.


On my other side; arm in arm with Shannon swaying back and forth to “Wheat Kings” and singing along. Thoughts of our wedding and how we had to have “Are we Family” as our exit song. Tonight her shirt reads “If a song can’t save us, then nothing can” and tonight I believe that.

Watching Gord, Shan said it felt like she didn’t want to take anymore from him. Like he was giving us what we needed in spite of himself. But I also saw a man doing what he loves to do and in the process saying goodbye to the fans who truly adore him. Imagine being diagnosed with terminal cancer and deciding it was time for one more trip across Canada. It’s pretty amazing really and I’m truly richer for having seen them this summer. When Gord stayed out and waved goodbye to the crowd I felt as if I got to say goodbye too.

Hey can we get a little New Orleans is sinking for Paul Ratte? It’s his birthday!

Goodbye Grandma

“You are loved.”

That is what I wish I could have said to you before you left us. Before you were taken from us again. I hope that the love a person gives to others in their own life comes back to them tenfold. That way I can be sure your jar is full, that you’re taken care of. I don’t know anyone who has loved more than you. I hope you know how much your love meant to me.

The time we spent as kids at grandma’s house will be with me forever. I loved nothing more than falling asleep on your living room floor watching “Matt Houston”, “Knot’s Landing” and staying up late enough to see who shot J.R. on “Dallas”. In the morning we made cinnamon buns and drank the weird tasting orange juice you always had in the fridge. In the summer it was Pic-A-Pop and you took us to the pool and “Pete’s” for a special treat. In the winter you tied my skates and warmed me up with kid tea after a full day of hockey on the outside rink. I’m pretty sure I ate your spaghetti 1400 times over countless weekends and each time you seemed more happy to see us. Not just me…but Marcy, Tracy, Kristy, and Jody. But I was always your favorite grandson.

When Mom was sick you were there to take care of us. I remember you walking me to birthday parties and breaking up street hockey games to get me in for dinner.

Once I was old enough I started riding my bike to the Dudley house. Mostly just to get a reaction out of you and chat over tea. Not long after that I was mobile and we could go to lunch, shopping, and take in the odd movie here and there. Erin came into my life and you were like a second grandma for her. I loved seeing you with her.

Every person who came into my life got to meet you. Al especially, he loved that you always him David from “Roseanne”.

If you would have asked me what I wanted to be back when I was a little boy running around eating dandelions and turning off grandpa’s TV I probably would have said “hockey player” or something like that. Instead today I find myself helping kids working as an EA just like you did at Grosvenor School all those years ago. I’m a lot like you and for that I can’t thank you enough.

You always had a special love for Shannon and my girls. Words cannot express how grateful I am that Lexi and Ashlyn got to spend even a short time with you. They love their great granny very much.

You will be missed dearly.

Positive Approach

I feel like I have been carrying so much weight these past few months. No, it’s not that Five Guys kind of weight (well that too) it’s life weight. Things revolving around work, money, the kids, my wife, my family, and the future. Lot’s of things that I feel like I can’t control…things that are controlling me. I’m working hard to take some of those things back and it’s really started with being more positive about things and distributing that life weight.

One article I read that really made sense to me was The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by blogger and author Mark Manson.

In my life, I have given a fuck about many people and many things. I have also not given a fuck about many people and many things. And those fucks I have not given have made all the difference.

The more I read, the more it made sense. As a parent I am constantly doing my best to ensure that my kids give less fucks.

What we don’t realize is that there is a fine art of non-fuck-giving. People aren’t just born not giving a fuck. In fact, we’re born giving way too many fucks. Ever watch a kid cry his eyes out because his hat is the wrong shade of blue? Exactly.

Someone took away your toy? Not what you wanted for dinner? Other kids not sharing? You got called a bad name? It seems from birth we start building or should I say tearing down the emotional intelligence to D.G.A.F.

If you are offended by the word “fuck” you may not enjoy this article. I sure did.

Vegas Peever The Golden Retriever

I will miss you. We all will. Best friend ever.

  • I will miss the way you look back at me in the morning when it’s time to eat and go out.
  • I will miss the way you look at your sisters when they are eating peanut butter toast. I am sorry for calling you “Begas”.
  • I will miss the play fights, the butting heads and knowing your hardly biting. Thanks for all the times you have distracted me from playing dolls to get in a little scrap.
  • I will miss on our walks to the park, to the school, to the river.
  • I will cherish our winter walks on the that river especially the late late ones.
  • I will miss watching your bury your head in the snow looking for your ball.
  • I will miss the way you chase the kids down the hill on their toboggans. I’m sorry the snow stuck to your feet so much but I will miss watching you try to get it out.
  • I will miss shoveling the snow with you (on you).
  • I will miss you around our campsites. Sioux Narrows will never be the same without you.
  • I will miss swimming with you the most.
  • I will miss sneaking and chasing you off the dock, and pushing you off!
  • I will miss watching you bob for your wubba in the shallows.
  • I will miss sleeping with you on those big pillows.
  • I will miss playing frisbee with you. You were amazing, the best. Such a fast learner. I could hardly wait to show people what you could do.
  • I will miss kicking that frisbee out of in front of the lawnmower with each pass.
  • I will miss you finding every puddle to lie in at the field.
  • I will miss the Scooter runs, the bike trips, and the roller blading.
  • I will miss tug-o-war and the way you try and use your paws!
  • I will miss watching Lexi and Ashlyn hold your leash. Thank you for being so gentle with them.
  • I will miss you drinking in the backyard pool while I am filling it up.
  • I will miss Al chasing you around the yard.
  • I will miss you in Joel’s pool this summer but I am so glad you got to swim there.
  • I will miss your excitement when you hear Papa’s car.
  • I will miss the weight of your head in my lap when I’m sitting on the floor.
  • I will miss spoonsies and the smell of your coat. Not that lake stank smell but your smell.
  • I will miss the way you kiss Lexi’s face when she gets home from school and she yells out “YUCK VEGAS LICKED ME” and runs to the bathroom. I will just miss you at the door period. In the window.
  • I will miss your gentle nature. The bunnies appreciate your tolerance and sharing of the yard.
  • I will miss watching the girls dress you up.
  • I will miss watching the girls cuddle you up.
  • I will miss listening to you drink water in the night and the rattle of your tin bowls as your try to get off any remaining morsel of food.
  • I will miss your nudging in while I read the girls their stories and the way Ash yells at you to get out of her room so she can have all my attention.
  • I will miss hearing you flunk down on the floor in between their rooms at night to make sure we are safe in the night. No seahorses!

Sully’s 40th

This one goes out to Scott Sullivan who will join the 40’s this weekend. One of the original 3 Pistols this man is a legend and I am happy to call myself his friend. Happy birthday Sully…