20 years ago today, my world changed; I think I became someone else. I am the baby of a family of 3, 2 years apart one from the other. I think I had a nice youth. I never really missed of anything although were not the richest on the street. My mother was part to f the cleaning crew at the Canadian Border Services Agency training facility in Rigaud while my father was a long distance truck driver in the Windsor/Quebec corridor with the occasional trips to the Bay James. In order to get the small luxury items every kid in school had or wanted, we (the 3 kids) learned to work young. It was really not my cup of tea but I did appreciate the few dollars landing in my pockets after mowing lawns, emptying garbage bins and preparing the potatoes to be fried at the local burger joint. Life was ok. I eventually landed working in the gift shop of Our Lady of Lourdes shrine. It was a lame job but with regular hours right on my home street. I did that for 2 years.
I never connected much with my father. Being with my dad typically meant working in the yard or chopping wood for his fireplace wood business, which I hated. You would think that with all the hours spent working weekends together we would have found something to talk about. I never connected like my brother did and I was always envying that. It did not really matter. I kept telling myself that I would eventually hit puberty and the hormones would make me wish I was living far and away from home anyway. None the less, deep down, I liked the guy very much.
On July 29th 1991, I came back from work from the shrine and my dad was there. He stopped by on his way to the Bay James. When I walked in the house, he asked me if I wanted to go with him. 2 days in the truck; me, him, the road, Willy Nelson and Kenny Rogers. Did I ever wanted to say yes. A few hours before that, my boss had ask me if I could work the next day do the inventory and I said yes. I was now facing the dilemma of taking the roadtrip offer and letting down my boss or declining the offer and stick to the previous commitment. I was 16 and I knew the 2nd option would make my father proud to see that I was capable of sticking to commitments. “Nah, maybe next time Dad”. He smiled at me, kissed my mom, told her he would see her in 2 days, got in the truck and hit the road.
I would still give everything in the world for 5 more minutes. This was the last time I saw him, those were the last words I ever got to say to him.
July 14th 1945 – July 31st 1991