Months To Years Spring 2018 Months To Years Spring 2018 - Page 56

Over coffee, she told me she lived in a small town about management of non-profit organizations, especially an hour from the city and caught a ride each day with her those helping abused women and children. My area was uncle. advising companies listed on stock exchanges. Our work An hour later, as we settled into my car, I was surprised when she gave me an address in the city. My heart was set on the added time that driving her home outside of the city would have given me with her. “I’ve arranged to stay with a family friend the nights we curl,” she explained. For the next few weeks after curling, Judi allowed me to drive her to the friend’s apartment. She insisted I drop her out front. I kept hoping for time to get closer to her, but that wasn’t on her agenda just then. I learned later that her mother was a widow and as the eldest of seven children Judi’s earnings were important to the family’s fi- nances. One day she allowed me to pick her up and drive her to the curling game in addition to driving her home. A few weeks later, she asked me for a ride home and to then come inside to meet her mother and six younger siblings. While munching on cookies and coffee, Judi’s sisters looked at me like an unwelcome alien. But her only brother, Terry, at six the youngest sibling, made no effort to conceal his excitement at his big sister bringing home a male friend. Her mother was cautiously cordial, understandably. After more of our drives and visits, eventually there came an invitation to stay the weekend. But I noticed what seemed to be an ulterior motive: gaining my help with overdue home repairs that had accumulated in the de- cade since her father had died. I jumped at the chance! It often took us out of the office. We’d leave messages on Post-It notes stuck to each other’s computer. We always signed them, “ILY” (“I Love You”). One day a student intern walked into my office with a Post-It stuck to her left index finger. “I found this on the floor beside Judi’s chair,” she said, waving it. “Who’s ILY?” Besides our lovebird ways, Judi had become a firebrand advocate of support for abused women and children She was awarded the Canada 125 Confederation Medal for her achievements to society and was one of the few in Canada to receive the Queen Elizabeth Golden Jubilee Medal for the same reason. Although these high honors came during our years in business together, she quietly refused to include these in any company promotional material. She insisted that her focus was on bringing help to others, not on winning awards. As our three daughters became amazing and indepen- dent young women, we looked forward to retirement. Our preparations for retirement included a summer place on a mountain lake in western Canada. We loved observing wildlife, especially Great Blue Herons, from the deck. The majestic birds arrived almost daily to feed on minnows in a cove below our deck. They became our mascot. “Our 30th anniversary is coming up, honey,” Judi said one day. Let’s do something really different.” meant a legitimate reason to spend more time with Judi. “What do you suggest?” I asked. Years later, Judi confessed she had another ulterior motive. “Why don’t we commission a painting of blue herons?” She thought it a good idea for her mom and her siblings to get to know me. I had no idea at the time—but Judi had decided she was going to marry me. But no one knew this yet except for her. It was a year later that I asked her. The years sped by. In our last ten working years we were partners in a small company that supplied two kinds of consulting services. Judi had become an expert in the 56 A week before our anniversary we picked up the water- color, a pair of nesting blue herons. The artist rolled it carefully into a mailing tube, which we placed in a closet. There it remained as 30 years edged toward 35. One day, I secretly got our prized watercolor framed. On our 35th anniversary as J ՑѕɕѡɽѡЁٕ)͡ͅ܁ѡɅѥٔȁ'eչ)́ɱȸ