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Sunday, July 17, 2016

My Cousin Jock's 'Celebration of Life' and Its Aftermath

I've already had a nap today, climbing back into bed around 11:48 a.m. and remaining there until something like 1:03 p.m.

But I still feel rather rough.

Yesterday, my younger brother Mark and I arrived at the Surrey home of our maternal cousin Jock (John) Halverson's widow Donna somewhere in the neighbourhood of 1:30 p.m. for the 'Celebration of Life' being held in Jock's memory.

There were many attendees, and lots of food ─ none of which I had.  I don't know why it is that I always feel uncomfortable about helping myself to anything at these affairs, but it remained so.

Mark and I had each brought a dozen cans of Kokanee beer.  It didn't take too long at all to get into them when it became obvious that some people were indeed drinking.

I have some photos, of course.  All of them were taken out in the backyard.  The sky was overcast, but warm; and the Sun did eventually start appearing in the latter afternoon.

In the first photo, my cousin Rocky (Roxanne) is standing at left, while my cousin Wendy (younger sister to Jock) and her husband Barry are seated close to the house ─ I cannot identify the shaven-headed fellow:


Changing the direction of the camera a little by facing slightly towards the left, I included Rocky's husband Graeme in the shot, seen standing and speaking to shaven-headed Brady, the son of my cousin Randy (older brother to Jock), and my brother Mark with much of his back to the camera:


I cannot identify the man coming down the stairs in that photo above.

In the following photo, that is Jaime, the beautiful daughter of Rocky & Graeme:


Another shot of Rocky and Graeme:


I cannot identify the blonde woman seated over by Wendy and Barry, and now holding the little puppy:


In the following photo, Jock's widow Donna is seated over by the cooler, near Barry; Shane (another son of my cousin Randy) is standing with his back to the camera; and Donna's brother Mark is standing nearest to the stairs, while Shane's beautiful girlfriend Tara is standing nearer to the camera:


Tara is looking directly at the camera in this next photo, and that is my cousin Tim (Jock's younger brother) seated at the very left, and wearing a cap:


The final two photos I have were taken by Tara, and show me between brothers Shane (left) and Brady (right), the sons of my cousin Randy (Jock's older brother):



That last photo was taken before 3:40 p.m.  For whatever reason, I took no further photos ─ maybe I just focused on drinking beer.

My brother Mark left the celebration at some point later on ─ it was still broad daylight, but he wanted to hook up with his girlfriend Bev and his drinking pals.

I could have left with him ─ he was my ride, after all; but I remained, feeling that some social/familial compunction would have been attached to leaving.

Besides, Mark drinks with friends every day, yet I have no drinking companions beyond him.  It may have been more difficult for me to have left.

But there was a price to pay.

More on that a little later ─ I have some photos that Jaime (my cousin Rocky's daughter) took at the celebration.

This is Jaime (left) with Kimberly (Jock's daughter):


Now Jaime is posed with Crystal (my cousin Wendy's daughter):



I cannot identify the gal at the far right posed with Crystal and Kimberly in these next two photos:



Now Jaime and Kimberly ─ I can never get straight the name or relationship of the chap in back of them, but it may be Kimberly's husband (Justin, I think):


And finally, Jaime with some other lass I cannot identify:


The celebration was supposed to officially finish at 6:00 p.m., but I was there until long after it had gotten dark.

I am positive that I drank at least 10 of my beers.

It was when my cousins Tim and Wendy were taking their leave that I decided to slink off, for Tim was the last remaining male relative I had there to drink with; also, I did not want anyone going out of their way to drive me home.

I had never been to that home located on 146-A Street between 88th and 89th Avenues before (as shown on this Google map), and did not realize that the most direct route would have been to seek out 88th Avenue and just follow it back to King George Boulevard or even 132nd Street.

Instead, I tried to follow the route taken by Mark in arriving there ─ I followed 89th Avenue to 148th Street, and then took to Fraser Highway.

Ultimately, I needed to get to roughly 132nd Street & 96th Avenue.

I was terribly hungry!  I had it in mind to stop at FreshSlice Pizza over by the King George SkyTrain Station in Whalley.

However, as I hustled and sometimes even tried to jog along Fraser Highway in the dark, my wife Jack started texting me.  I later learned from my brother Mark this morning that she had even phoned him.

I would stop and text back as the exchanges continued, and she asked if I wanted her youngest son Pote to come and pick me up.

She finally phoned me when I was near the King George SkyTrain Station, and I learned that she had left lots of food at home.

So I forsook the pizza plan.

I was supposed to let her know when I got home; but the text I created at 12:01 a.m. after arriving here did not send ─ I had failed to properly direct it, and only her initial was in the address bar (I was to discover this in the morning).

I ate heartily, and may have gotten to bed around 1:00 a.m.

Mark had preceded me home and was long asleep, I expect.

I tried to sleep in and properly recover, but I couldn't get much beyond 8:30 a.m.  I was somewhat anxious to put some work into a new post at my Latin Impressions website.  When I had checked out that website yesterday, its WordPress statistics for the past 28 days revealed that there had been absolutely no visitors on each of June 18, 23, 24, 25, 26, and 29; as well as July 3, 6, 7, 8, 12, and 16.

And today, I discovered there to have been no visitors yesterday either.

This is the worst 28-day performance I have ever seen with any of my websites.

Anyway, I started work on a new post. 

My youngest step-son Pote was already gone when I got up ─ he would have had to work over in the sporting shop where he's employed over in Guildford, so he had a bus to catch.

After finishing what I wanted to do today on the new post ─ it was late in the morning while Mark was outside doing yard work ─ I sought that needed nap.  My body was especially full of aches today ─ particularly my knees from the pounding I took last night beating the pavement for home.

By my estimation, I probably hoofed about four miles.  And I was pretty darned drunk.

Mark was still at the yard work when I rose again, but he soon came into the house to ready and leave for the afternoon ─ he said there was a meat draw starting at 2:30 p.m. that he wanted to get to at one of the bars or pubs he frequents.

I don't know how the guy can function with the amount of beer he ingests ─ he'll probably be in dreadful shape when he arrives home later today.

It's nearing 3:30 p.m. right now as I type these words.  I'm going to venture out into the backyard and sit in the sunshine for awhile.

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I put in just over 40 minutes out in the backyard, although the Sun was generally hazed over.

I sat in a chair facing towards the Sun, wearing nothing but cut-offs.

I had texted an apology to my wife Jack, explaining why I failed to let her know when I arrived home last night.

I had never told her about the 'Celebration of Life' for my cousin Jock ─ I had intended to when she was last here on Tuesday, but I then forgot.

And I don't much like texting ─ my vision is quite poor, and I don't do well with the tiny keyboard on my phone's viewing screen.

Anyway, she said that she became concerned because her youngest son Pote had wondered to her on my absence ─ it turns out that she was in Langley helping her friend Fanta celebrate that lady's birthday.

She said that she figured I was involved with my relatives in memory of Jock, but it bothered her that neither she nor her sons knew where I had gone.

I still don't feel all that hale, but I am certainly looking forward to having some drinks this evening to  help me feel better.

Before I leave this discussion, I want to mention that my brother Mark keeps mentioning that his wrists bother him ─ he cites some arthritis from the  heavy loads he has to deal with on the big delivery truck he drives when he works.

On our way over to the celebration yesterday afternoon, he revealed one of his wrists, and it does indeed have a most pronounced swelling at one side.

It was nearly the equivalent of the touch of lymphedema that I've incurred since possibly last December at the inside of my right ankle ─ a remaining symptom of the weeks of some sort of infectious invasion I had to deal with beginning late in November when my mouth became dramatically inflamed following some scratches made to my gums by excessively vigourous tooth-brushing.   

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Normally I include health-related reports of one sort or another in my blog posts.

As of today, I am going to stop doing that.  The information takes far, far too long to research and put together.

Abandoning that practice ought to free up much more of each and every day henceforth. 

I had originally started my blog as a venue for reporting on and recording various details of my life after my wife's two sons came from Thailand to live with us back in September 2008.

I think I will return to that format, by and large.

So to close today's post, here is an entry from my journal of 41 years ago when I was 25 years old, and living in a basement housekeeping unit in New Westminster

The house was located on Ninth Street at Third Avenue.

That week, however, I had been sleeping over at the home of my younger brother Mark and his girlfriend Catherine Jeanette Gunther.  They had gone on a trip to the Edmonton area, and they needed me to tend to their German shepherd Daboda in their absence.

The house they were renting was located in Whalley, and was situated on Bentley Road ─ not too far at all from 108th Avenue & King George Highway (the former name for King George Boulevard).

I usually walked back and forth between my room and their home.
THURSDAY, July 17, 1975

Upon arising, a clock check revealed the time to be 7:18 a.m.

It almost seems as if every muscle group has an ache.

It is overcast, and was nigh all day.

I walked home, and among other things, stamped a letter, mailing for 2 Greenpeace lottery tickets on my way to mom's.

I fed well there; no mail.

From there I leisurely walked back to Mark's, leaving at 4:00 p.m.

I exercised and bathed, then about 6:50 p.m. or so, I freed Daboda.

While awaiting his return, just past 7:00 p.m. after a long series of rings, I answered Bill's phone call.  He broke one of his glasses' ear rests, and said he wasn't going to work tonight.

I got the dog tied 7:44 p.m.  He  perhaps enjoys the recently begun light shower.  He did have me concerned.

I am rather hoping Bill and some Kentucky chicken surprise me with a visit.

Bedtime (no Bill) is 11:00 p.m.
I was sore from the amount of walking and running I had engaged in the previous day.  Not only did I walk to my room in New Westminster, but I then went down to Columbia Street to cash a cheque and do a little shopping.

And then, after returning to my room, I hiked all the way out to my father Hector's apartment on Sunset Street in Burnaby.

I have been reporting that he lived on Sunset Street, and roughly midway between Boundary Road and Burnaby Hospital, but I now see that I was sorely mistaken.

He lived at 5870 Sunset Street ─ an entirely different strip of that street than where I had been focused.  This Google map should identify the correct location. 

It was still a long, long distance.

Anyway, I had hiked there for supper that previous day, but I only visited about two hours in total.  And then I hoofed it as fast as I could all the way back to my brother's home in Whalley.

I can't even guess the miles I would have racked up that day.

Anyway, on this new day, I revived enough to hike to my room in New Westminster; and then I left there to hike out to my mother Irene Dorosh's home in the Kennedy Heights area of Surrey.

Her little home ─ my main mailing address back then ─ is gone now, but its address was 12106 - 90th Avenue.

There was no mail for me, but she saw to it that I was well fed before my hike back to Mark's home ─ a distance of maybe 4½ miles.

After I let Daboda loose so that he could exercise himself, my old friend William Alan Gill gave me a call ─ he had a bachelor apartment in New Westminster, not too far from where I was living.

His current work schedule at that time was a 2:00 a.m. start.

Dear Bill loved to eat, so it was perfectly possible that he might come on over with some food to share.  However, he did not.

Daboda would go cruising whenever he was let loose, for he was chained and all by himself for hours on end.  I obviously grew a little concerned for him until he finally made a reappearance.

Remember, this was essentially downtown Whalley ─ not the countryside.  A very energetic German shepherd on the loose was probably not the wisest option, but I had done enough traveling on foot by then and not in any mood to be taking him off on some kind of worthwhile lengthy walk.

But all was well ─ or at least, insofar as I was ever to learn of.

Daboda wasn't any kind of threat to people ─ he was entirely indifferent to people.

However, absolutely any other kind of animal or fowl would have been a different matter.
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