Sunday, October 06, 2013
The passing of our friend and neighbour, Ed Pawlovich, was one of the things that made us sad this summer. We knew Ed by reputation even before we met him. Eleven years ago, on the day when we first viewed our current house and wondered whether to buy it, the owner took us out on the front veranda and pointed to Ed’s house. “Ed and Sharon live there,” she said. “They are wonderful neighbours.” We were soon to learn that she was absolutely right. Sharon and Ed made us welcome in the neighbourhood. Ed was a social guy. He worked hard, but he loved to take a break and come over for an hour of what he called ‘porch time’. This involved sitting on the steps of our veranda, petting our dogs, and chatting to us about anything and everything. He never failed to be gracious to us. Even though his flowers were beautiful, he would announce that our flowers were putting his to shame. His snow shovelling was always done before the flakes hit the ground, but if we were shovelling first, he would notice that and say he’d better get to it. . When he saw us building a crooked fence, he came right over to help us straighten it. Ed was a protector of the neighbourhood. He carried a bag on his walks and picked up garbage every day. He made friends with people who lived in the bush and because of that, he could assure us that they were doing no harm. If he noticed that things were getting out of hand, he would be the first to call the City. Ed had interesting things to talk about. Some might have called him a gossip, but people loved to talk with him and to hear what he had to say. He introduced himself to workmen as soon as they entered the neighbourhood. Because of this, he always knew what they were doing. If somebody was building a new house, Ed found out how long they thought it would take. If they were digging sewer lines under the river, then Ed was there for a tour. On our veranda, he would tell us about walking through the underground pipes. He told us stories about growing up in Riverdale. He knew how to find fresh asparagus in the bush. He never told us where it was, but he brought us some to eat when it was at its very best. Ed had a tool for everything. He taught us how to burn off weeds with a torch. He helped us lift ceramic tiles with an ice scraper and scrape off the grouting with an old brick. He had long tools for reaching treetops and short tools for tiny spaces. Once, when our electronic keyboard went silent and no tool would awaken it, he invented long skinny pliers to fix it. We and Ed travelled in different social circles, had different interests. He attended the Big Valley Jamboree. He hated politics and public meetings. He never cared for what he called ‘long-haired music’, the background softness I liked to play at parties. He wouldn’t have thanked you for tickets to the theatre. But Ed was our buddy, pure and simple. One of my favourite Ed memories was made near the end of his life, on his last day of porch time. He was sick. He was exhausted. He was grumbling. I wanted to cheer him a bit, so I smiled at him and called him a curmudgeon. This was a new word for him. After he got home, he sent Sharon out to ask me to repeat it and give her the definition. When we went to his house for ‘kitchen time’ he wanted me to sayit again and he rolled it round and round on his tongue like a shiny new treasure. These days, when we walk in the park, people stop to give us their condolences. They tell us how much they will miss Ed. They know we will be lonely without him. We are lonely, but he has left us all with some really great memories.