Monday, July 25, 2005

Jack

Most who read this blog will not have known Jack. When I think about the situation, I did not really know him that well either. I don't remember him ever visiting my house and I only visited his two or three times. He was a fellow wanderer! About 20 or 25 years ago I was a hike leader on the Bruce Trail. At that time I was known as a leader of faster and longer hikes along the Niagara escarpment. Jack was one of the fairly regular hikers. We all knew he was older than most of us but I do admit to being quite surprised to find that he was almost twice as old. When Jack was in his 80's, he was still hiking 20 to 25 kilometres (12-15 miles) in spring, summer and fall and cross country skiing during the winter with the local cross country ski club. As he hiked along, he told fellow hikers stories about his younger days and of some of his retirement activities. He went back to school and finally got the B.A. degree that he had neither time nor money for in his younger days. He got his degree from McMaster University in classical studies. He volunteered at the McMaster University Hospital as a subject for the study of ageing. He drove cancer patients to the hospital for treatments. He often walked to the grocery store to buy and carry his groceries 3 or 4 blocks back home where he lived on his own. I don't remember when Jack stopped skiing. I think it was in his late 80's when he stopped going with the club but he still skied trails closer to home. He stopped the longer hikes but came out for regular wild flower walks until he was at least 94. Jack stopped his earthly wandering last Saturday well on his way to his 97th birthday. I shall miss him! He was both special and an inspiration to many people.

7 comments:

pablo said...

The world is full of people like Jack, but we so rarely take the time to seek them out or even notice them. Let his passing always be a reminder of how glorious his presence was. He sounds like a worthy companion.

Elohimus Maximus said...

RIP

Anonymous said...

I met Jack on the Wildflower Walks. I guess he was 90+ at the time. He told me he used to be a birder but with age his eye sight was not as good. So he took up the wildflower walks, since at least the flowers stood in one place!

His mind was ever sharp too. When I see cherry trees I think of him as he taught us that their bark looked like burned corn flakes.

Rexroth's Daughter said...

I love when older folks maintain their interest in and communion with the natural world. They are the best role models for aging.
Thank you for sharing this lovely portrait of an older fellow traveler.

swamp4me said...

Here's to Jack. He lived life.

Trix said...

A lovely tribute, and we should all be so lucky to live as long and heartily as he obviously did.

Patry Francis said...

Thanks for sharing a little bit of your friend, Jack. I leave your blog inspired.