I dreamt last night that a friend who had recently died picked me up in a truck with bald tires and we went off for a ride. It was pleasant enough although there was that part where we were going down a hill and were about to hit some other cars and then of course I woke up. I have no idea if it was just my subconscious at play or if I was really on the “other side” hanging out with Don.
Don McConachie was bigger than life and an interesting and engaging man. He was always “fantastic” and willing to assist anyone needing help whether they knew it or not. He was also known for taking in strays like me and I heard many stories at his celebration of life where he did the same for many others.
I remember first learning about Don while on a fly fishing trip in the Nicola Valley with Terry Mulligan. We spent the night at the Quilchena Inn many years ago when we met up with the owners. When they learned that I would be moving to Kelowna they were kind and offered to have a friend call to help us get settled.
It seemed like a well intentioned offer and sure enough weeks later Don McConachie called me during my last days at the Toronto Star and introduced himself. Don took over most of the arrangements getting us settled into a new city. Within hours of his call he had arranged a lawyer and now another good friend, a real estate agent and he made dozens of suggestions that proved invaluable. Perhaps most of all, he became more like an uncle over the years checking in frequently and inviting us over to have dinner with him and Penny and trying to get me more involved with the Conservative Party, golf and the Okanagan Foundation.
I was reminiscing this morning and wondering if I had become like my grandparents and obsessed to see if I knew anyone in the obituaries. Fortunately, I have not taken to that past time just yet however when I think about it, I have been saying goodbye to friends throughout the years and like Don, remembering how important they were to me and the lessons they taught. I miss them.
I know that you know this but every moment is precious and we shouldn’t count on them to keep reoccurring. When they do it’s another very special day to do what Don did and so many of the friends we have had over the years do – make a difference.
Have a “fantastic” day!