Sharing with you things that are on my mind...Maybe yours too. Come back to Wrights Lane for a visit anytime!

13 March, 2012


Did you ever have someone come into your life as if predestined and then after time sadly leave it without you ever knowing anything about it?

I had not seen my old friend Grant all winter and I was beginning to worry about him, almost anticipating the worst. I found out earlier today that he passed away some time last fall.  I think that he died alone, as he had lived the last couple of decades of his life.

Grant was in his late 70s or early 80s.  I first noticed him on downtown Southampton streets soon after Rosanne and I moved into the community.  It was fair to say that he was a town fixture.  Everyone knew him, but very few took the time to know him, if you understand what I mean.

Initially I passed the time of day with him when we would cross paths in the coffee shops and restaurants that he frequented on a daily basis.  He was a slight, frail man who was stooped and walked with a laborious shuffle that was painful for me to watch.  As time wore on, and his health declined, he relied on a motorized scooter to get around.

He was always alone and I got the impression that he might enjoy company.  From time to time I would buy him a coffee just to have the opportunity to get to know a little more about him.  Eventually, I was able to joke with him and always enjoyed getting a laugh out of him during our chats.  One of our favorite conversation topics was fishing.  I even joined him a few times as he dangled a line from the Southampton harbor breakwater.  He was originally from the Maritimes and had worked for many years as a miner in Sudbury, before coming to Southampton to retire.  He lived in a subsidized seniors complex and in bad weather, he could often be seen trudging on foot across the cold and windy Saugeen River bridge, making his way to a favorite eating spot at noon or to a local grocery store on Highway 21 later in the day.

I picked him up in my car countless times and dropped him off at either destination.  I was, and still am, in the habit of grocery shopping in the late afternoon, around 5:30 or 6:00 o'clock, at least four times a week.  It was not unusual for Grant to hail me in the grocery store parking lot and to ask for a ride home on evenings when weather conditions were not conducive to scooter navigation.  His grocery purchases never amounted to more than one bag -- maybe a can of soup, some cookies, a left-over sandwich from the day's deli and always a couple of scratch-and-win tickets.

Even though I introduced myself to him on our first meeting some eight years ago, I don't think he ever remembered my name.  As a matter of fact, I never asked him for his last name either.  We just chatted, one old-timer friend to a younger one.  I enjoyed him, and I think that he enjoyed me too.  Whenever Lucy was with me riding shotgun, she also had a wag of the tail and a couple of licks for him. "How're you doing boy!" he would always say to her with an affectionate chuckle.

He once told me that he had a lawyer relative who managed his affairs in trust and doled out living expenses from his pension money on a monthly basis.  He may have had a daughter living elsewhere, but I was reluctant to ask him about that part of his life. I tried to impress upon him my willingness assist him in any way possible and gave him my telephone number on one of the last occasions that I gave him a ride home, some time last September or October.  He never called on me.

My neighbor, who just happens to be produce manager at the grocery store I mentioned, told me this evening that he thought that one of the Southampton restaurants held a wake in Grant's memory shortly after he died last fall.  I didn't know anything about that either. Too bad!  I would have liked to be there.

I am struggling with a feeling of melancholy as I type this farewell to an old codger I befriended along the way and who never really knew my name. I hope I occasionally filled a small void in his life...Now I kind of feel that I am the one with a void.  

God love you Grant.  I wish I could have been there for you in the end, but I trust that you are in a better place now.  See you anon, I hope!

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