A Beautiful Man

Posted: September 13, 2010 in Life
Tags: , , , ,

Twice last week, I panicked.  In both instances, it was iPad-centric.

The first time I was at work, on my way to wash some dishes from my lunch.   As I walked toward the kitchen, thoughts whirling, I momentarily lost track of where I left my iPad (it was sitting locked up at my desk).  I turned around and began sprinting back to my desk, only to have that reclusive memory come to the fore, while I skidded to a stop.  A woman sitting at her desk, looked up at me and laughed.  I grinned, face red.

The second time was this past Saturday.  I had rented a car to drive about two and half hours away to a beautiful Ojibway native reserve to attend the funeral of a distant family friend.  Before leaving, I debated leaving the iPad at home.   But, I had no idea where this place was, and figured it would be good to bring the iPad for its GPS ability.

On getting to the church, I placed the iPad beneath the passenger seat.   If someone came by (and let’s face it, for thieves, cars at a funeral service become optimum targets), then at least they wouldn’t immediately see anything worth their while to steal.

After the service, my brother-in-law and I walked together beneath the warm sunlight toward the cemetery. As we passed the spot where I parked I looked over and saw an empty parking spot.  I gaped in disbelief.  “Where the fuck is my car?”

Jim (not his real name) said “what?”

“My car.  I parked it right here.  Oh dear God no.  No way.”

He said “are you sure you parked it here?  There’s another lot—”

“No.  NO!  I parked it right here.  RIGHT HERE”  I could feel my heart racing.

I took out the key fob and activated the lock, hoping to hear a horn beep.   I pressed the button like crazy, but the only sounds were birds chirping.

We turned around and began walking back to the church.  My mind was already churning with everything I would need to do. Had to start by remotely wiping the iPad of all data.  Thank God I had purchased insurance.  I would only be out the deductible, which was $300.00.  I could get a ride home with one of my relatives and—-

Then we saw the other parking lot.  It was identical to the one we had just left.  In every way.

I looked at Jim.  He grinned and shook his head.  We began to fast-walk to the end of the other lot, with me holding my key fob out, pressing the button like mad.

Eventually we heard it:  a faint far-off but hopeful “beep!”

Jim stopped, getting ready to head back to the cemetery.  But I wasn’t quite convinced yet, so I kept walking toward the now incessantly beeping little car.   “Wolf.  It’s there.  You can hear it.”

“I know.  I just have to check something.”   I had to check that this was my car and not someone else’s.  I also had to check to make sure my imagination wasn’t running wild again.

It was there.  Right where I’d left it.

In the meantime, the rest of the congregation had paraded down to the cemetery, getting ready to bury a beloved man.  And here I was, panicking over an iPad.



Fred was the husband of my mother’s best friend.

I first met him as a child.  In the midst of the horror that was our continually upset household; when the Beast would roar and rage at everyone; where we stepped carefully around him, wary of setting him off; where we lived in fear almost all of the time; where we reacted to the continue pressure by the use of humour; where we lived for the weeks – because the weekends promised hell; Fred (Freddie as his friends called him) would visit with his wife.

At those times, the Beast somehow managed to control himself.  His conversation toned down to the occasional grunt.  He acknowledged these visitors while us children gathered around them in relief.

Freddie face would light up in a smile, at everyone, including us kids.  His soft voice promised acceptance and care.  And he was an amazing storyteller.  Toward the end of his life, he wrote a book of his stories, which was eventually published.   They read one of his stories at his funeral, involving the raid of local police and the RCMP at his apartment early in his marriage.  They thought he was involved with a moonshine gig, and they tore his apartment apart looking for the elusive booze.   Turns out they got their intelligence wrong.  But not before they terrorized his household, as well as that of his landlord.   Freddie said that they came storming into his apartment, and into his room, stomping on the floorboards looking for hollow spots.  Then they upended his mattress, causing him to fall out the other side, where he hit his head against the wall.  “It was then that I woke up” he said.

The congregation laughed at this.

That was Freddie.  He found humour in everything.   As we eventually learned to do, as well.

He was such an amazing gentle man.  He was one of those quiet unassuming people who you could overlook, if you weren’t careful.

To us, he was a God-send.   I remember often wishing that he had been my father, instead of the Beast.

He was 84 years old, and he lived a full life.  And he was well-loved, as was evidenced by the standing-room only attendance at his funeral.

I truly wish I had kept in better touch with him over the years.

You know something?  I think his influence was the one factor that proved to me that you didn’t have to be a bellowing monster, to be a man.

He was beautiful.

I think he would have laughed at the iPad story, too.

  1. So, my first thought was to write: I’ll send you a naked picture if you’d commit to writing three blog posts without mentioning your iPad! . . . but I read on anyways (cuz you are a kick ass writer after-all!). And then I read about Freddie. Sounds like a very beautiful man for sure! And if he would have laughed at your iPad story — then, yeah, I have to admit, I did too!

    Sorry about Freddie, Wolfie.



  2. redriverpak says:

    Yep, I bet Fred would have a good chuckle over this story! :)


  3. Lisa says:

    Well, I’m happy the car was there with it’s cargo! I know how that can happen in those situations, for it’s that type of situation it would happen to me, too. Usually I’m a good navigator, but all levels of grief & that goes out the window. I’m sorry for your loss, but it sounds like Freddy was an angel of sorts for your family as well as a community:)
    We all gotta laugh!


  4. contoveros says:

    When I first saw the headline of this post I thought, is Wolf going to tell another sexual preference story? Then I learned what a truly “beautiful man” you neighbor was and still is through his spirit and I wanted to hit myself upside the head.

    Freddie sounds a lot like the Wolfman wants to be and could be well on his way, you know? Loved the story-telling. There’s gotta be someone else we know that spins such great yarns.

    But that I-Pad is going to kill you, man. You’re becoming a slave to it, rather than the other way around.

    By the way, I got a look at Carmen’s photos. And I read her offer about other types of photos she’d provide you if you wrote two more I-Pads stories in a row.

    Any chance of you sharing them with the public? C’mon, I want to know more about the device you can’t live without. It’s better than sex, isn’t it?

    Oh, that’s what Carmen seems to be saying, isn’t it? Or, rather, she’s saying she do just about anything to get your mind away from it.

    Go for it, man. Go for it.

    michael j
    whose dreams never seem to come true in the states anymore.


    • I suspect Carmen’s just teasing. Still though – a wolf can dream. :)

      I thought about that during the funeral: would I like to be like him?

      Not really – he was a different character than what I would want to be. Still though, he certainly shined, as a (in the truest sense of the word) gentleman. Had God granted my wish and changed everything so that he could have been my dad, life would have been….different. Not better, necessarily just different.

      I wondered if there was one word that would have summarized him. I think there may have been. If so, that word would have been: peace.


  5. Molly Malone says:

    I do this kind of shit all the time, and it never stops being embarrassing…


    • *nodding* Exciting but….so frustrating too isn’t it? I mean it’s probably healthy to work the heart out so hard every once in a while but….

      Wonder how many ADDers drop dead of heart attacks?



  6. izziedarling says:

    OK, Wolf, this iPad thing is getting out of control. Please get an iLeash for it. Thank you. Your story about Freddie was amazing and wonderful. Maybe that one word is: angel?


    • I think that’s the word for him. Nothing else seems to fit.

      The iPad thing: I don’t know if I need a leash for it – or for my messed up mind. It’s like (what I would imagine to be what) a heroin addiction (would be like).

      Fever, shaking, overwhelming paranoia – right up until I see it again, safe and sound.


  7. Don MacIver says:

    A wonderful tribute. We should all be so lucky to have someone that special in our lives.


    • I agree. Now that I think back – his was the unseen presence all through my life who kept me sane and basically on the right track. The Beast was certainly no example. Freddie provided the anchor to all things “normal” when it came to understanding what a real man is all about.

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting, Don!


  8. Momma Fargo says:

    You need a chain around your neck for your iPad. LOL. Beautiful tribute. He sounded like a wonderful man. It’s special when someone like that touches our lives.Thanks for the nice comments on my blog, btw. You made me smile. I’m ready for something, but I don’t know what it is. Hope you find peace somehow with the loss of your friend. He had a long life and made an impact while he was here.


    • Makes you wonder sometimes. Maybe some of us are put here to serve as a buffer for others. I would imagine a lot of police officers feel that way. Anyway, that’s what Fred was for us when we were kids.

      That one post of yours that I commented on today was one I truly *felt* much more strongly than the others. Anyway, I’m in your corner on that and will just look forward to seeing what happens when you make whatever change seems right. Maybe we can compare notes someday.

      In five years, I do *not* want to be in the same spot I’m in right here and now. We’ll see what happens.


  9. A wonderful story about a wonderful man. You know who he reminds me of? My Nana. :)

    Thanks Wolfe


    • Glad you liked it.

      They had a point in the service where they asked if anyone wanted to say something about him. I did, but there were others who knew him more intimately than I did, so it wasn’t the right time. This blog therefore had to be written.


  10. I’m with Carmen on the iPad thing; I almost didn’t read this one when I saw you were writing about it again. I’ve read all the others, but enough’s enough. I still think an intervention may be in order. Anyway, I can’t think of a bribe off the top of my head; definitely not naked pictures. The very idea makes me cringe. It’d be like offering them to my brother and then we’d both need therapy to get over it.

    Anyway, let’s get past that right quick!

    I’m glad I read anyway because I got to hear about “Fred.” Over the course of my life I’ve known a Fred or two, men who became surrogate fathers for me, in a way, by being beautiful, warm, and kind right down in their bones – no on-and-off switch, just authentic love.

    (You hit the sweet spot again, my friend.) BFG


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