By Charlie Hodge
Christmas day was quieter than anticipated at Hodge House yet remarkable and wonderful just the same. Tez’s mom Otti Tomani and long-time friend Yves Beliveau shared our festive feast and a wonderful evening of stories and laughter was enjoyed by all. However granddaughter Chelsea, partner Sydney, and two great-grandchildren Arya and Stanley cancelled their highly anticipated visit due to a nasty bug.
We had looked forward to the squeals of delight and wide-eyed amazement three and five-year-olds display at Christmas, however my joy for the day was not diminished. I was thrilled to receive the only gift I wanted for Christmas—to be home with my Tez. When I went into KGH for surgery Oct. 25 there was no guarantee I’d be home for Christmas. (Or home at all for that matter). I remain thankful and blessed for the health I have.
Last week I recognized Angels submitted by readers, folks considered to have done kind deeds or acts to others. Below is the Hodge House list.
Fred and Darlene Finnegan top Tez’s list for their wonderful help, friendship and kindness. Fred has been a personal chauffer and confidant during the past two months and Darlene a rock of support.
Jim Krahn is next on Tez’s list. Jim has been there numerous times over the years but especially the past few months helping with a variety of things—and always with a smile.
Geoffrey White and Louise Elliott make the list for their kindness and caring in Kelowna and wonderful fundraising work with Haiti in my Heart. Also Tez’s co-workers for helping the newbie find her way—Deborah Courtenay, Braeden Rahn, Ashley Jeffery, Kayla Anderson and Dallas Elliott.
Attempting-to-be retired electrician and handyman Bob McKinnon gets Tez’s thanks as do the always kind and caring dear friends Deb Stone and Shari Deni.
It goes without saying Tez tops my list. She has truly walked the walk with the “in sickness and in health” part of our vows, having carried the load during my inability to do much. Living with me is not an easy thing, I am sure, but a sick, wounded me must be nearly impossible. Thanks bunny.
My lengthy, well earned angel nominees this year include an amazing cast of doctors and caregivers who saved my life or made the healing easier. I seriously owe a debt forever to doctors Graeme McCauley, Scott Williamson, Dr. Dwight Ferris, and oral surgeons Richard Bell and Russ Naito. All star nurses, respiratory workers, care aids and dietitians such as Kathy Walsh, Robin Carter, Colleen, and Christine, Stephanie, and Chantelle from Home Care.
My Masonic brothers have been rocks including Brian Porter, Joe Mandrusiak, Josh Stilborn, and Rob Nerbus. Dan McGauley has been a true and patient friend who has worked relentlessly on our book with me for the past couple years. Curtis Tulman for his endless love, prayers and brotherhood.
Secretary extraordinaire Jan Johnston and all my Kelowna City Council members have been remarkably caring and giving during the past year of challenges. Luke, Gail, Tracy, Colin, and Max went way above and beyond to keep me in the loop with council packages, visits, and goodies to eat.
Dave Harris is an angel for the hours spent deciphering an antique family letter I hope to turn into a short story.
Other Angels include Ralph Krehbiel, Keith ‘Papa’ Thom, John Adams, Jim LeGuilloux, Dave Cousins, Gene Carr, Noel Barber, Jude Campbell, Gary Smyth, and Chris Bradshaw and Lynn Osborn.
Last but not least I am humbled by the caring of total strangers who went out of their way to send me get well cards and wishes, sometimes with homemade soup. Not one, but six different strangers (who are Hodge Podge readers) humbled me with such a gesture. Much thanks to Pauline Marty, Hilary Maranda, Phyllis Cannell, Cynthia Lambrecht, Nancy Marlatt, and Carol Trenn.
On a not so cheery note, I would be remiss to not mention the passing of two great Canadians. One well known across the land and the other an icon in Kamloops and B.C. politics.
Toronto Maple Leaf legend Johnny Bower died early this week from a short battle with pneumonia. Considered by many to be the greatest or certainly one of the greatest Maple Leaf players in history, Bower was known for his gentle nature, caring personality, and love of the Maple Leafs.
I had the honour of meeting Bower a couple times, the most significant a lengthy visit with him when fellow Maple Leaf icon Howie Meeker invited me to join the two of them for lunch. Bower greeted me warmly and spent much of the conversation asking me about my life and interests. I was boggled with his humbleness and kindness.
A limited edition autographed print of five famous Leafs including Meeker and Bower, given to me by Howie, remains one of my most prized possessions.
Marg Spina was a fearless, dedicated and hard working Kamloops City Councillor who lost her battle with cancer a few months back. I had the true honour of sitting on the South Interior Local Government Association board of directors with Marg. I was always impressed and inspired by her logic and reasoning, ability to cut through the rhetoric, and sense of fairness.
Like many Kamloops residents and friends across the province I will greatly miss her friendly smile and positive attitude.
Happy New Years folks. Be safe.