I would be remiss if I didn't write about yesterday's sad news. We Canadians have lost a wonderful part of our country's history.
Stuart McLean, Vinyl Cafe radio personality, humorist, author, and traveling raconteur, died yesterday at the age of 68...
two years younger than I am! ...the same age as my younger brother! I mention my brother because Stuart felt as close as a sibling in the hearts of many Canadians, male and female, young and old.
My husband Richard Schear and I were privileged to see him onstage here in Medicine Hat, Alberta, a few years ago. McLean was still healthy then, full of fun and joie de vivre (a bilingual country, Canada, don't forget) and kept the crowd laughing with his many Vinyl Cafe stories about Dave, Marley, and their son and daughter, all of whom got into one sort of mischief or the other, at one time or another.
Although McLean performed on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (now CBC), both radio and television, his passing is mourned countrywide, to people of every persuasion, and the news of his death was also carried on CTV News and on radio stations everywhere in the country.
I hope some of our American friends have been able to enjoy his stories, on radio and on television. He was a true Canadian treasure, his wry humour reminding us of events in our own lives.
One of the most wonderful things about Stuart McLean was his habit of talking to ordinary people in every city he visited, people on the street, in coffee shops and restaurants, always asking them about their own lives in a gentle way that never offended, and certainly never frightened, anyone.
There aren't enough adjectives to describe him fully, but he was warm and friendly, courteous, considerate, compassionate, amiable, empathetic, exuberant, frank, generous...the list goes on, it really does, check it out on
and you'll see I needed help finding the right words. Words were my thing when I was younger, I used to play with them and work with them, and toss them around like confetti, but they fail me now, and I have to look them up.
Somehow I doubt if words ever failed Stuart McLean, though. That great Canadian treasure always knew what to say.
Today I ordered a number of his books (I forget how many, but more than 10) from an online book store. It will take two weeks for them to get here, and it will feel like two months to me. Of course, you know what will happen...as soon as they arrive I'll remember where I put the ones I've had for years, but I believe there is no such thing as too many Stuart McLean books.