My mother’s side of the family is from Nova Scotia, just outside of Halifax. As kids, my sister and I spent many a summer (and a few winters) there with our extended family. We had 5 aunts(Emily, Gloria, Fran, Rose, Laverne) and two uncles (Bill and Eddy) who all lived in close proximity.
Our Aunt Fran was married to Roy Geddes, who we learned passed away today. Roy had been having heart problems for some time, but was still spry enough to pop out to Peggy’s Cove with us the last time we visited.
When my sister called tonight, we shared some memories of Roy. It’s amazing how indelible some of those childhood images are. Roy would take us out onto the lake that crept up to the back of their house. In the beginning, it was in the canoe. But as we got older, I can remember vividly a yellow paddle boat. Roy had to be in his 60s then, but he always had enough energy to head out on the lake. For me, we’d paddle out to the island in the middle of the lake to explore. This involved Roy helping me explore all the caves and lost civilizations a young boy could form in his imagination. For my sister, it was collecting worms to head out and fish. It’s so easy to forget about family in the haste of everyday life. And as sad as I was to hear the reason for my sister’s call, sharing those memories was a welcome moment.
I can remember a day when we were caught in the middle of the lake in the driving rain, because I had begged Roy to paddle just a little farther. He always wore plaid shirts and round eye glasses. With water spots covering his glasses, he looked at me and smiled as we made our way back to shore. I’m positive I got in trouble when I got back, but Roy just sat there smiling. I may be making up my own memories, but I remember something along the lines of, “Oh, cmon, Dianne (my mother). The boy was having fun.”
For me, Roy was always about finding an adventure. I know he had other qualities for his wife and children he leaves behind. But for me, I’ll always remember Roy taking the time to let me explore.
These memories make me feel like it was yesterday. After not visiting my family for 10 years, I showed up a few years ago, wife and daughter in tow. It was like I never left. Roy is a great example of the family there that loved us and help raise us.
He will be sorely missed. But I suspect that somewhere up in the clouds, he’s blazing a trail through the woods. And that thought makes me smile.