Tony [76?]

August 23rd was my dad’s birthday.  He would have been 76 this year, which is almost impossible to imagine — he died at 50.

I usually like to light a candle for him on his birthday and on the anniversary of his death.  I was traveling for work this week on Wednesday and was in Montreal.  After I left my meeting, before I went to the airport, I went into the Cathédrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde, the blatantly baroque revival basilica near the Gare Central.  I think it’s my favourite church in Canada — it’s so in your face — and I usually go in and light a candle when I’m in Montreal.

IMG_9663 There was a noon Mass happening when I crept in this time, and I was surprised at how many people were there.  I left my little wheely bag at the side and snuck up to far left of the altar.  I fed loonies noisily into the slot and lit a candle.  I stood for a few minutes thinking about the line of history stretching back from my dad, French Canadian and Irish, the catholic church in the centre.

When I was at my mother’s earlier in the summer, I went through the one remaining box of Stuff that belonged to me in her basement.  It was mostly things I didn’t want — blurry, off centre, faded photos from the 70s, postcards I’d collected as a child, a doll I don’t even remember.  But there was a photo of my dad I’d never seen before.  Straw hat, grass skirt, joy and sunglasses inside. The essence of Tony.

Tony grass skirt.jpg

Happy birthday, Dad.


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