Anyone wishing to pay tribute to a friend of Atlantic Star Music or Newfie Fever Band (Music and Friends), please e-mail Rollie (or contact me otherwise) and we shall share it on this page. Thank you. Rollie
Daughter of Guy and Maisie Herritt, sister of Jeff and Paul Herritt of Sandyville, Newfoundland. Grandaughter, Niece, Cousin to many in the Herritt and Skinner Families. Daphne was born on September 30, 1969 and being a preemie she spent her first month of birth at the Grace Hospital in St. John's NL. Just after a month she returned home and her family had the privilege of celebrating with her five birthday years. And then unthinkable grief comes to her family and friends when she loses her life in a car accident, on February 18, 1975. A little girl, five years old, on her way home from school, having just gotten off the school bus was how she lived her last earthly moments.
The love of a little daughter, the love of a dear sister, the love from so many family and friends still lives today as we treasure the memory of this precious family member. Through the years we have cradled inside the pain of her loss. No words we can offer, no thoughts we can think have diminished how much we still miss her. To remember her every day is how we still express our LOVE for her. It seems on her birthday, September 30, we wish to remember even extra. Happy Birthday, Dear Daphne. You are always in our hearts and we thank you for all your gifts to us in these few short years. Always..Our LOVE to you.
This wonderful friend passed away and we wish to say
TO OUR SINGING FRIEND
We have such fond memories of you on stage
We remember well the songs you used to sing
And of all these memories today we hold
We treasure most of all that we were friends
And each time on stage as we remember you
We are forever your musical friends
May you now sing in heaven with the angels
And someday together we might sing again
(Rollie Herritt, Cyril Engram and Everett Simms)
"Let beautiful friendship offer music to the heart"
(©Rollie Herritt 020828)
Dedicated to the memory of
Leona (Engram) Harris
(July 5, 1938 – July 19, 2002)
(May 17, 1945-August 28, 2002)
I wrote a letter to Santa to share with him my plan
And I’m sure he’ll see that I will need a big, big helping hand
This year I’d like to send some cards to friends who passed away
And hope that he delivers them before it’s Christmas Day
When Santa checks his Christmas mail and finds my little note
He might say this is different after reading what I wrote
He’ll know it’s up to Santa to try to do his best
And maybe find a way somehow to grant me this request
And on Christmas morn when I got up I was surprised to see
Christmas cards all hanging on my Christmas tree
So I opened them one by one and joyfully I read
"Gone but not forgotten and we thank you" each one said
Yes somewhere in God’s plan and what Santa tries to do
There’s an understanding bigger than might appear to me and you
May not know how it happens - but there’s a message loud and clear
These friends are not so far away at Christmas time of year
And on Christmas morn when I got up I was surprised to see
Christmas cards all hanging on my Christmas tree
So I opened them one by one and joyfully I read
"Gone but not forgotten and we thank you" each one said
"Gone but not forgotten and we thank you" each one said
And thank you Santa for the cards on my Christmas tree!
(©Rollie Herritt August 30, 2002
NOTE: This song has been recorded on a recent
Christmas CD - MERRY CHRISTMAS FRIENDS.
LADY "KAY" BOWMAN
Funeral services for the late Catherine Anne "Kay" Bowman, Monastery, Antigonish County, were held December 19, 2006 in St. Peter's Church, Tracadie, with Father John Barry officiating, assisted by Father Dan MacDonald and Father Patrick O'Neill.
Mrs. Bowman passed away December 16, 2006 in St. Martha's Regional Hospital, Antigonish.
Born in Marydale, Antigonish County, she was a daughter of the late Dan Alex and Jennie Agnes (Cameron) MacDonald. She was a secretary, employed with the Department of Social services for more than 30 years and later with the continuing education division of the Department of Education . She was an active community volunteer. She enjoyed music, crocheting and attending local dances.
And it was at these local dances I first met Lady Kay and her husband Ronnie. I particularly enjoyed seeing the Bowmans gracing the dancefloor.
As well, we shared a number of 'get-togethers' especially when Mary, Cissy, Laura and Isabel were all back home in the Antigonish area.
Lady Kay, I thank you for the power of your gentleness, the graciousness of your genuine smile, and the unmistakeable courage with which you faced a number of health challenges.
Dear Lady, I say thank you for the privilege of knowing you and these treasured gifts of character with which you touched our hearts. And may you still hear the music of all who love you.
I offer sincere condolences to husband Ronnie, daughter Janice and all family members.
Your friend....... Rollie Herritt
Patrick (Paddy) Septon
(December 31, 2006)
In most ways his life was always more than ordinary, and in a number of ways he managed as much as life could offer anyone.
Over the years Paddy has met many, many people, and one thing is almost definite. Seldom, if ever has anyone met him without remembering him. His presence easily left an impression, one that no reasonable memory would likely forego. Without a doubt, in most ways his life was more than ordinary and in a number of ways he was truly on top of life’s game.
I have been very privileged to have known Paddy for perhaps twenty years or more. Among my first memories is seeing him and Jennifer grace the hall in Summerside with their dancing maybe in the early to mid-eighties. It was a joy to play on stage and watch as they danced away the evening. One could not help but notice them on the dance floor. And for hundreds and hundreds of weekends that was a gift they offered me and hundreds of others. Yes we enjoyed a dance even more when they were there with us for you could not help but feel their upbeat presence.
Even as a young man Paddy chose the sea as a significant part of the life he would live. On a few occasions Paddy gave us glimpses into his fishing world. I recall steaming out from the wharf in Bayside into St. George’s Bay onboard The Jenny Wren. While the boat itself was ever impressive I was struck more with the natural manner of his captain ways. With his arm gingerly over the steering wheel and his eyes fairly frequently peering the horizon it was easy to see that boat and captain were a natural fit. They truly were on the same ‘wavelength’ (Please smile, Paddy). On one of these little marine outings I took dozens of pictures of The Captain and His Boat.
I also remember November after November popping into the Gold Star Christmas Tree Office to say Hello and often said I wanted to write a song called ‘We’re gonna pin a gold star on Paddy Septon’ for all the Christmas Spirit he has shared. In his modest manner he would simply chuckle and attempt to dismiss the notion. It seems the Good Lord got to do it before I did.
Paddy was blessed with a marvellous spirit to help others know the fun and joy of merriment. He had your rapt attention with stories he would share and I have never met anyone who could tell a good ‘Turnip’ story like Paddy. Not only did he offer an animated presence to a gathering, but he helped generate more smiles on more faces, and we were all beneficiaries of his good medicine.
And too there was the man we knew with the big, big heart. For those of us who were recipients of his generosity, and those who knew how he shared to help someone else’s day, we are so aware that we are witness to a legend of goodness. In so many ways he gave to others and yet never once asked that anyone else know about it. But we did learn about some things because we couldn’t help but let others know that there was something so admirable about this man with the biggest heart.
Paddy was no stranger to hard work, both as a self-employed fisherman and an exporter of Christmas Trees. From all that hard work he certainly knew the satisfaction of well earned success and we congratulate him. Still he took tremendous amounts of time to share with family and friends. He told us stories, he made us laugh, he danced with us, he smiled with us, he helped countless people in various ways. He was our friend and we are ever grateful to him for all these gifts he gave us to enrich our lives. And we thank you Lady Jennifer in equal measure.
We wish to say Thank You, Lord for Paddy and we already know we want to remember him forever.
Yes in many ways Paddy your life was more than ordinary, and in a number of ways you helped our lives to be much more than ordinary.
We thank you Dear Friend.
“It is one of the easiest things I’ll always do
To remember a friend as great as you”
FARRELL, John Gregory
FARRELL, John Gregory - 88, Hawthorne St., Antigonish, died on Saturday, March 24, 2007, in St. Martha's Regional Hospital, Antigonish. Born in Roman Valley, he was a son of the late Lewis and Margaret Ellen (Quirk) Farrell. He attended school in Glencoe and in 1943 he married Helen (Long). They were married for 60 years and raised five children. He worked with Dunn's Construction and McManus Construction and later worked with the Department of Transportation for 12 years and with Antigonish motors as an automotive mechanic for 21 years. He then worked with Stora Forest Industries for nine years, from where he retired in 1987. In retirement, Greg spent 12 years as a crossing guard at the intersection of Hawthorne and Brooklyn, where he safely saw a generation of school children across the walk, a duty he cherished and for which he was honoured in 2001 by the Mayor and Council for the Town of Antigonish. Greg was a member of Arras Branch 59, Royal Canadian Legion, Antigonish, he was also member of St. Ninian's Parish, where he served as a Hospitality Minister for many years. He was a devoted husband, father and friend. He is survived by daughters, Beverly (David) Renny, Antigonish; Mary (Jerry) Jewers, Dartmouth; Kelly, Antigonish; sons, Brian (Carol Coote), Whitehorse; Tom (Liz), Antigonish; grandchildren, Kirsten Johnson, Patrick Renny, Shannon and Robin Jewers, Sara Muzzatti, Jessica, Emily, Michael, Erin, Gregory and Colin Farrell; great-grandchildren, Emma and Jaimie Johnson; sisters, Alice Brophy, Antigonish; Lydia Vincent, Pomquet; brothers, Hughie (Colleen), Art, Gus (Maureen), Floyd (Patsy), all of Antigonish; James, Erinville; Lewis (Florence), Marydale; Clarence (Mary Kate), Lanark. He was predeceased by his wife Helen; brothers, Finley, Doug, Joe; sister, Marcella. The remains are resting in C.L. Curry Funeral Home, 135 College St., Antigonish, with visitation today from 7-9 p.m. and Tuesday 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. Funeral Mass of Christian Burial Wednesday 2 p.m. in St. Ninian's Cathedral with Rev. Ray Huntley presiding. Burial at a later date in St. Ninian's Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to CACL (Canadian Association for Community Living), 83 Kirk St., Antigonish, NS B2G 1Y7. On-line condolences at: www.clcurry.com
REID, Rev. Canon David Collins, BA, BEd, MDiv - 66, Cole Harbour, formerly of St. Lambert, Que., passed away peacefully surrounded by his family and friends in Dartmouth General Hospital on October 11, 2007. Born in St. Lambert, he was a son of the late Lewis and Mabel (Collins) Reid. David is survived by his beloved wife of 41 years, Patti; loving son, Tim (Jennifer) Reid; daughters, Angela (Scott) Logan and Alison (Sean) Farrell, and his grandchildren, Kayleigh, Ben, Miranda and Cameron. He will also be deeply missed by his sister, Glenna (John) Vipond; twin brother, Tom (Rose Ann) Reid, and many nieces and nephews. A man of deep faith and compassion, he touched many lives through his 39 years of ministry. After his ordination as priest in 1968, he served faithfully in Durham, England, prior to serving the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island in Neil's Harbour-Ingonish, Annapolis-Granville, St. James, Kentville, St. Francis by the Lakes, Lower Sackville and The Church of St. Andrew, Cole Harbour. He was actively involved in many diocesan and national committees and organizations, including acting as an examining Chaplain for the Diocese, serving on the National Financial Management and Development Fund and chairing the Growth for Ministry Fund, Planned Giving and the Leap for Faith campaigns. He served on A.C.P.O and on the St. Anne's Camp Committee, and was involved in the Cursillo and T.E.C. movements. He served as president of the local Canadian Cancer Society in both Annapolis Royal and Kentville. He acted as a spiritual director and mentor for many (in both a formal and informal capacity), as well as serving as a student supervisor in conjunction with the Diocese and the Atlantic School of Theology. David had a great passion for life and lived each moment to its fullest, touching lives in his personal life as much as in his professional. He loved to ski and golf and was able to make lifelong friends during a single trip up the chairlift. Vacationing with extended family, particularly at Moody Beach in Maine, was a joy for him and those who gathered with him. Cremation has taken place under the direction of White Family Funeral Home, Kentville. Visitation will be held from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. on Sunday, October 14, in St. Francis by the Lakes Anglican Church, Lower Sackville, where the funeral service, followed by a reception, will be held at 10 a.m. on Monday, October 15. A private interment for family and extended family will take place in Garden of Rest Cemetery, Parish of St. James, Kentville. Donations in memory may be made to the Growth for Ministry Fund, Leap for Faith Campaign or St. Anne's Camp Endowment Fund, care of the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, 5732 College St., Halifax, or a charity of your choice. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to White Family Funeral Home, Kentville. On-line inquiries may be directed to: www.whitefamilyfuneralhome.com
(If I should have the privilege of having a funeral in a Church where I so often worshipped and if I could offer those in attendance a few of my thoughts, I know I would be most comfortable if they could hear me share a few Gospel Lyrics called JOURNEY HOME. Perhaps I learned much of it listening to Rev. Reid. Perhaps he might too include some of these thoughts....)
I have come to your House one more time Lord
I am here with family and friends
Heavens knows how much I enjoy it here
But I know another journey now begins
You have called me Lord from this earthly place
And I could say My the time has flown
Just as everyone in time gets called by you Lord
It is now my turn to journey home
I can’t answer all the questions humans often ask
Can’t solve all the mysteries still unknown
But I know your precious love inside my heart
As I begin Lord, my journey home
Lord I thank you for the faces you have sent my way
And all the gracious ways they have shown
There’s no greater joy than the love we have shared
I thank you as I start my journey home
If I’ve helped someone the privilege was always mine
And if others thought I never seemed alone
It was all these moments when you walked beside me
I thank you Lord, as I now journey home
Today I share with you prayerful wishes
That little seeds eternal we have sown
May you help in the harvest of God’s Gracious Love
Please carry on as I now journey home
(©Rollie Herritt Oct. 14, 2007)
(Rev. Reid, we thank you for sharing your Love Of Christ)
MacEachern, Yvonne Doreen, 33, Summerside Road, Antigonish County passed away on October 28, 2007 at the QEII Health Science Centre, Halifax.
Born in Antigonish, she was a daughter of Hilda MacEachern.
Yvonne was employed with Atlantic Guardrail as a traffic controller. She loved animals and raised Valley English Bulldogs.
Surviving, besides her mother, are her common law husband, Gerard Boyle; sisters: Annie, Glace Bay; Louise, Monastery; brothers: Gordon, Antigonish; Johnny, Monastery; Roland, Lantz; Charles, Mount Uniacke; Anthony, Lower South River; Ernie, Grand Prairie, Alberta and many nieces and nephews.
She was predeceased by her grandparents, Roland and Annie Worth.
Visitation will be from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 pm on Wednesday in C.L. Curry Funeral Home, 135 College Street, Antigonish. Funeral Mass will be celebrated in Immaculate Conception Church, Heatherton on Thursday at 10:30am with Reverend Charles Cameron presiding. Cremation to follow.
Memorial donations may be made to the IWK Children’s Hospital or Antigonish SPCA. Online condolences: www.clcurry.com.
MacDONALD, Mary Violet - 73. Our hearts are heavy as we announce the sudden passing of our beloved wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, on November 22, 2007, in QEII Health Sciences Centre, Halifax, after undergoing risky heart surgery. Born in St. Mary's, she was a daughter of the late Gordon and Dorothy (Marchand) LeBlanc. She is survived by her loving husband of 52 years, Floyd; children, Dennis (Linda), Ann (Jack Hearn), Austin (Augustine), Brenda (Glen Ranson), Ross (Gail), all of Janvrin's Island; Burkeley, Port Hastings; Donna (Gordon Swain), Denise (Yvon Thibault), both of Halifax; 14 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren; sisters, Helen, Jean, Jeannine, and Yvonne; brothers, Sandy and Ronald. She was predeceased by sister, Anna. Violet was an avid supporter of the community. Her passions in life were dancing, music and her family. Her caregiving to Nanny Mac touched everyone who knew her. Janvrin's Island has lost an angel who will be sadly missed and always loved. Visitation will be Sunday from 3-9 p.m. in I.M.L. Funeral Home, 3450 Highway 206, Petit de Grat. Celebration of her life will be Monday at 11 a.m. in Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, West Arichat, with Rev. Duaine Devereau officiating. Donations may be made to the charity of your choice. Words of comfort and condolences to the family can be sent to: email@example.com or at: imlfuneralhome.com
ENGRAM, Mollie Claudine - 89, Halifax, passed away peacefully January 7, 2008, in the Halifax Infirmary, QEII. Born in Sandyville, N.L., she was a daughter of the late Charles and Gertrude Crewe. She was predeceased by her husband, Gordon James. She is survived by her daughters, Betty (John) Campbell, Linda (J. Ross) MacKenzie, Sharon (Donald) Deveau, and son, Ronald (Pauline) Engram; sisters, Melita Saunders and Gertrude Rose; brother, Douglas Crewe; seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. She was a loving and devoted mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She was a lifetime member of St. George's Anglican Church and was very active in the Ladies Guild. Although she made Halifax her home for over 60 years, she was in heart and soul a Newfoundlander. The love of her home province was abundantly evident in the stories and memories she shared, her modest and steady manner, and especially in her expressive turn of phrase. Her wisdom, laughter and loyal heart will be sadly missed by her family, friends and neighbours. Visitation will be held 2-4, 7-9 p.m. today in Atlantic Funeral Home, 6552 Bayers Rd., Halifax. Funeral service will be held 1:30 p.m. Thursday, January 10, in St. George's Anglican Church, Brunswick Street, Halifax, Rev. George Westhaver officiating. Reception to follow in the church hall. Burial in Oakridge Memory Gardens, Lower Sackville. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Canadian Cancer Society or St. George's Anglican Church. On-line condolences may be made at: www.atlanticfuneralhomes.com
ARCHIBALD, Brian David - 59, Lower Sackville, passed away peacefully on January 9, 2008 at the VG Site, QEII. Born in Halifax, he was the son of Alice (White) and the late Donald R. Archibald. He was a teacher and principal with the Halifax Regional School Board for 33 years. After his retirement, he substituted for two years and then worked for Ambassatours as a guide and recently worked at Kent. Everywhere he went, Brian made friends. Brian will be sadly missed by his loving family; wife, Eileen (Smith); sons, Kyle and Chris; daughter, Kati (Billy), and a proud "poppy" to grandchildren, Morgan, Jayden and Jack. Brian is survived by brothers, Capt. Donald L. (Doreen), Halifax; Graham (Kathy), Ottawa; four nephews and two nieces. Visitation will be held 2-4, 7-9 p.m. Sunday, January 13 and funeral service will be 11 a.m. Monday, all in Atlantic Funeral Home, 125 Sackville Dr., Lower Sackville, Rev. John LeBlanc officiating. A reception will follow in the funeral home family reception area. Interment will follow in Oakridge Memory Gardens. The family wishes to thank Dr. Rayson, Dr. Killeen, VON and staff, respite caregivers and the staff from the Palliative Care Unit in the VG, especially he many friends and family for their support throughout this difficult time. Donations may be sent to Canadian Diabetes Association. On-line condolences may be sent to: www.atlanticfuneralhomes.com
"Wadden, Robert Eldon, 65 of Lower Sackville, N.S. passed away at the Halifax Infirmary site of the QE2 on April 4, 2008.
He was born in Glace Bay, N.S., a son of the late Ernest and Sarah (Ferguson) Wadden. He is survived by his wife Janet (Troop); his daughter Laura-Lee (Aaron) Knowles of Salmon Arm, B.C.; his two sons Michael (Kim) of Kentville and Richard of Lower Sackville; and his two beautiful grandchildren, whom he adored, Rachel (5) and Patrick (8).
He is also survived by his sisters Henrietta (Peter) Gaigneur, Oromocto, N.B.; Carol Ann (Michael) Metcalfe and Sandra (Dave) Crawford, both of Ontario; brothers Earl (Bernice), Victoria B.C.; Fred (Loretta) and Calvin, both of Ontario. He is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his sisters Donna and Emily; brothers Edwin, Raymond, Ernest, Arthur, Frederick, Roy and Bruce.
Eldon was formerly employed as a CNA at the Nova Scotia Hospital, and in later years was a classification officer at the Halifax County Correctional Center. He was active, when his health allowed, in the community as a volunteer, was a former Kinsman and involved with his church. At the time of his death, he was a lay reader at St. Francis by the Lakes Anglican Church and particularly enjoyed the monthly men’s “healthy” breakfast. He also enjoyed watching the servers and other young people growing up within the church family. He will also be missed by his toy poodle Sandy who he loved to take out with him in the basket of his scooter.
Eldon had a long chronic illness and his family would like to thank all of the nurses, doctors (especially our family doctor, Dr. Brian Ashton) and other hospital staff (including cleaning, dietary, technicians, etc) who have been there for him over the 28 years of his heart disease. Thank you also to our church family, in particular the parish clergy Mark, Ken and Marjorie.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Atlantic Funeral Home. Visitation will be at Monday from 2 – 4 pm and 7 – 9 pm; service will be on Tuesday at 10 am. The interment will take place after the service at Oakridge Memorial Gardens. There will be a reception to follow at the church hall. All will take place at St. Francis by the Lakes church located at 192 First Lake Drive in Lower Sackville.
Donations in Eldon’s memory may be made to St. Francis parking fund, Cobequid Multi-Service Center or to a charity of your choice.
OUR FRIEND, ELDON
A FEW REMEMBERING THOUGHTS by Rollie
Sometimes knowing someone is there is the next best thing about knowing someone. I suppose I could say I saw Eldon many times before I actually met him. For a number of years I enjoyed seeing him as a fellow St. Francis parishioner. In fact, St. Francis was our common meeting space.
However, I had the good fortune of more than simply acknowledging him and wishing him a Good Sunday Morning. Even if only In small ways I was getting to know him more and more, and as these opportunities presented themselves, I knew I was smiling more, laughing more and just plain enjoying him more as I listened to things he said. The fact that he often sat in a pew sometimes in front or just one back from me gave us occasions to engage in little ‘pew’ chats. I always found him entertaining and more and more I realized I was learning about this rather interesting St. Francescan.
It was evident that his sense of humour was shall we say strident – that is, what he had to say would end up ‘in your lap’ in a striking manner, and if you knew him less well you may be left sorting out his style of humour.
Just this past January and February I attended the Rev. Mark led Thursday “LeaRNING Nights” at St. Francis – Reading The Bible Again For The First Time based on a book by Marcus Borg. During these occasions Eldon always welcomed me at ‘his’ table and we “supped” together. Week after week I came to enjoy the anecdotes, the jokes, the social commentary that enlivened our table and I thank you Eldon.
Knowing you Eldon in some small St. Francis manner, it was rather evident to me that you enjoyed this spiritual family. I am delighted to witness your special relationship with St Francis.
Another facet of your personality of which I was a BIG FAN was your care, concern and interest in our young people. You always took time to say Hello to the children, often to amuse them, maybe sometimes to ‘tease’ them, but always to assure them they mattered. A love and care of children is so essentially human and one of the true underpinnings of Christ’s teachings. Totally ‘good Christian stuff’ , Eldon
Another recent image (of memory) is Eldon joining the ‘on-stage’ singers at our Thursday evening Reading…Again For The First Time. His stage presence spoke (or should I say, sang) volumes. Neat moments for me to resurrect in memory.
He participated as a lay reader at St. Francis and so many times he assisted in offering Communion and I was often a recipient of his serving. He served in Church; he served his Church.
There are many, many images of this gentle human being I find so easy to remember, and to remember with appreciative enthusiasm. It is with sincere gratitude I thank his family for sharing him with us at St. Francis.
Sir Eldon, your earthly time ran its course on April 4, 2008. Already April 4 is a significant date in my life. My Dad passed away on April 4, 1987, 21 years earlier. His memory has not faded one iota. In fact it has transcended to total treasure status.
My simplest way of thanking you for all the little ways you offered a certain energy to add to my life, is to remember you. Kind Sir, it is indeed with joyful Christian charity that I remember you – THE ELDON MAN.
P.S. My use of the phrase Christian charity is not at all an intellectual invocation of theology but merely to illuminate a smile on Eldon’s face. Not just one last smile, but a smile that lasts. May your legacy be always. God Bless.
by Rollie Herritt
For more than twenty years I have had the most enjoyable occasion of sharing Atlantic Sounds Music with a number of people throughout Nova Scotia, especially in Antigonish, Pictou and Guysborough Counties and too in Cape Breton. I have met hundreds and hundreds of people who have been coming to our dances in the local areas where we have played. I really appreciate that special privilege of meeting and getting to know so many delightful people.
I started out playing music by others, but as I met various people, before I knew it, they were becoming the focus of words I was tinkering with – encouraging them into melody and lyrical form. First one song was born, then another and so it grew into more than a hundred of the nearly three hundred I have written and still growing. At this point I wish to share a little of how significantly the people I have met have played a part in many of the songs I have written.
Among my earliest recollections, I go back to meeting Tory Snow from Canso and how his livelihood on the sea triggered in me the wish to write about the challenging life of someone who fishes for their living. As a tribute to those who brave the sea to make a living I wrote TIP OF THE OL’ SOUWESTER. Meeting Tory was all my mind needed to write that song. Thank you Tory.
Moving along to New Harbour, Guysborough County, I met Shirley and Keith Luddington and I learned a lot from them. As they celebrated another wedding anniversary I knew I wanted to salute them in a song called SWEETEST YEARS. That was my first anniversary song; since then I have written ten others. Thank you Keith and Shirley for teaching me something beautiful.
Later I met Tannie and Eileen Keizer from Port Bickerton. However, I met him while he was in Halifax receiving treatment for cancer. During that meeting he asked me if I would write a song for him and all he asked was that I include something about a rainbow in it. I felt so humble about such a gracious request in the midst of such challenging circumstances. I met him for only an hour on that occasion but was so inspired by him that I wrote WISH ON A RAINBOW. The greatest gift for me was how grateful he was when Jeannie and I visited his home in Port Bickerton and sang it to him. Today that is a beautiful memory I hold. Thank you Tannie and Eileen. Thank you Willie for recording that song on the JOIN ME TONIGHT CD.
Another occasion of facing the health challenge of one’s life was meeting Francis Dhooge of Antigonish. During his terminal illness, I visited many times. We shared meals together, we chatted, and even found occasions to smile. I was so touched with this marvelous gentle spirit despite the circumstances, I just knew I had to capture something in song to salute him. I asked myself, if I were in that health challenging situation, what might I like someone to write for me, and so I wrote about all the love and comfort he received from all the tireless efforts of his wife Mary to share and care for him. I called the song YOU RIGHT NEXT TO ME. Thank you Francis, Thank you Mary for allowing me to witness something so noble. This song is being prepared for my next CD.
Meeting Jennifer and Paddy Septon of Tracadie, Antigonish County and hearing about how they met for the first time, I knew there was a song there somewhere just waiting for me to write it. I wrote for them BLIND DATE and only recently (March 2004) it was played on a country music radio show in London, England. Thank you Jennifer and Paddy for sharing the idea, and I’m glad I wrote that song.
Along the way I met Don and Kathleen Gillis of Port Hawkesbury, and knew there were so many wonderful things about them that I wanted to salute them in an anniversary song called MY MOTHER AND MY FATHER’S WEDDING DAY. I chose to write it from the point of view of their children as they celebrated with their parents. That song is recorded on LOVING YOU – ONLY FOREVER IS ENOUGH CD and it has been played on several country music radio shows – as far away as England as well. Thank you Don and Kathleen. And too Don, I thank you for taking the time to share with me about your son Zach. I remember the day we visited his graveside. From that occasion and your gracious willingness to share, I would choose not to write directly about such painful memories, but I did write YOUR EXTRAORDINARY WAY recorded on the JOIN ME TONIGHT CD. That song arose from all your sharing. Thank you indeed.
Then the occasion arrives to meet Angus and Grace MacDonald of Glendale, Cape Breton. Their hospitality is legendary and thanks to them I wrote CAPE BRETON CEILIDH SATURDAY NIGHT and recorded it on the LOVING YOU CD. To witness true Cape Breton hospitality is undoubtedly ‘as good as it gets’. Thank you Angus, Grace and Jean. Big Time!!
To add to my long list of delightful people to meet is Michael Breen of Antigonish. I only had to meet him once and hear about his Martin guitars; the very next day I sat down and wrote THE STORY OF A GUITAR recorded on the LOVING YOU CD. That song was nowhere in sight without meeting this gentleman. Thank you Michael for being so inspiring.
Nellie Cypher taught me so much about the joys of having a grandchild and I knew in due time I would draw on that ‘totally awesome experience’ and coax some thoughts into song. I recently wrote GRANDMA, I’VE LEARNED A LOT FROM YOU and hope to record it on A FAMILY ALBUM later this year. Thank you Nellie and your grandchildren for offering me every reason to write about something so beautiful.
On one occasion, Ches Parsons of Port Bickerton asked if I would write a song that he would like to offer his father-in-law as an expression of gratitude for marrying into the family. I listened and then I wrote FAMILY LOVE which I hope Willie records later this year.
Without that small request Ches, I probably would not have known the richness of these moments. Thank you, and we both salute Tannie in that song. With his help we’ll get that song to the airwaves yet.
Music and Friends is something we have so often shared on stage. Donna Pettipas sang at our dances for years and years. Many, many times she sang her own song MEMORIES, a beautiful song indeed. When she passed away, I wrote a song called I STILL LIKE HEARING HER NAME, which I have not yet recorded. However, in another CD – MERRY CHRISTMAS FRIENDS, she is front and centre in the Christmas song ON MY CHRISTMAS TREE. Some decorations are put on our Christmas tree to celebrate, and some are carefully placed on our Christmas tree to remember family and friends. Lady Donna we remember you.
Howard and Shirley MacKenzie of Whitehead, Guysborough County and also of Halifax celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in 2003. Knowing them was every good reason to write THROUGH THE YEARS, recently recorded on SAILOR’S HALL OF FAME CD. Howard and Shirley, knowing wonderful people like you just makes it that much easier to write something beautiful. Thank you.
There are so many other songs I have written for special occasions – Happy Birthday Mother for Violet Richards of Charlos Cove, Cameron Family Reunion, Wheelbarrow Song inspired by Freddie Rossong’s special humour, Everett Simms gave me all the right reasons to write LOOKING FOR MOMMA, and I wrote LITTLE ANGEL to welcome a newborn baby, also wrote a song for Aunt Effie Spears of Whitehead on her ninetieth birthday, and THE PRINCE AND THE PRINCESS for Lori Ann Hallett, a young lady currently living at Shady Oaks in Westville, NS. Just as Lori is the Princess, so did Jimmy Boudreau inspire me as the Prince in that song. And there are still many, many others who have managed to weave their hearts into my songs.
In 2004 I visited Mildred Bowles who was then in St. Martha’s Hospital, Antigonish, Nova Scotia. I felt the need to write a few lines to let her know that we care and the words came out as I WILL PRAY FOR YOU. I know what it is for people to pray for me and I am truly grateful. Mildred, I love that smile you shared with us so many times at our dances. That day, recently at the hospital when I shared your song with you, you offered your smile again. Thank you Mildred and God Bless You. It is with thoughts and well wishes for you Mildred that I shall wind down this ‘little note’ thanking so many wonderful people for making my life so, so rich because of them.
This dear lady passed away in April of 2005. I remember her well.
Kind regards to all.
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