Another One Gone Too Soon

I usually tag these posts, so they can be easily searched on Google for reference at a later date from the keywords.  But I can’t tag this one.  I’d like to, but I don’t want to overstep my bounds, considering the fact I didn’t really know the family.  Also, there are too many words a person could use to describe him and too many lessons to be learned from the life he lived, at least from what I witnessed.  He ties into former MLA Roger Parent.

As most of you are probably aware through my blog posts by now, I knew Roger Parent when I was with the Sask Party.  I started out as the VP of the Saskatoon Meewasin constituency, with Roger as president.  Then, when he became the candidate, I assumed the presidency and got re-elected in the year following.

Back in 2007 Roger had his first kick at the can running as a candidate for the Meewasin riding.  The Sask Party brought in one of their best campaign organizers to lead Roger’s campaign, a guy from the Grant Devine days, by the name of Ron Larson.

I only knew of Ron from my time spent in that campaign, but the qualities he emulated were in step with what was written about him in his obituary.  That’s an example of a life well lived.

He was…… I don’t know how to describe him that would do him justice.  I suppose, for starters he wasn’t the loud, know-it-all type that you sometimes have in political circles.  I wouldn’t say he was quiet, but low-key, sociable and he had quite the sense of humour, never letting the small stuff bother him.  Sure, political campaigns are taxing both physically and mentally, but he always kept his composure, treating those around him with respect.

I ran into him a couple years ago at Sobeys, I believe it was.  He had metastatic cancer for the last five years.  He looked a bit different, a bit thinner than what I remember.  But he followed me on my personal Facebook page.  That’s a compliment, because even though I only saw him once after the campaign, for him to think enough of me to follow me, coming from a guy like that, means something.

He came up to me at Sobeys and asked me where the maple syrup was.  It took me a couple of seconds before I realized it was Mr. Larson’s unique way of saying “hey!  long time, no see.”  I think he remembered that I did stand-up as well.

He was so much fun to be around, for the jokes he told, the way he playfully teased others and could take a joke too, and for the stories, and there were plenty of those to go around.  But, I was struck by something that I read in his obituary, which is the main reason I wanted to write this post and pay tribute to him.

I don’t know why, but the funeral home website will have a complete obituary written compared to the couple of lines the Star Phoenix gives it.  So I went to the funeral home website to learn more about Ron.  There were accurate descriptions of his personality and character, but what I read surprised me, although in hindsight I suppose it shouldn’t have, in knowing the type of guy he was.

His obituary had the words “Ron never worked at anything he didn’t like”, then proceeded to list all the different jobs he had in his lifetime.  He was 68 and had at least 20 different jobs in his lifetime.  He was a board member, stock trader, political organizer and salesman, among other things.  But despite doing all those different jobs, he was blessed.  He had a nice house that had a new addition, so it appeared he never had financial hardships that working at least 20 different jobs might afford a person.

My parents like to ride my ass about all the different jobs I have held in my 45 years.  Well, it’s mostly my dad, and he does it with an air of arrogance.  He’s gotten pretty good at it over the years, but with me growing in the Lord, I’ve changed the way I respond when he goes on this ignorant tirade of his.  I just sit there and let it go in one ear, and out the other.  Based on the events at Christmas, our family has grown into disfunction, and it’s so bad that everyone around me accepts it as normal.

Ron’s life gives me hope.  Now, was he fired from some of those jobs?  Quite possibly, but I’m thinking with his integrity and character that I remember, I’m sure he walked away from plenty to start something different.  It’s a bit different in my case, because a good chunk of the jobs that I’ve had were ones I got canned from.

Nobody knows that from looking on the outside though.  For people like my dad, seeing someone have that many jobs in their lifetime, when dad only four, he would begin attaching labels to the person.  The labels of failure, loser, lazy followed by the assumption that the person didn’t do things the right way or there must have been something wrong with him to go through that many jobs.

Then again, if your own head is that far up your ass, you’ll never have the ability to see what’s going on around you.

In the jobs I’ve had, regardless of how they ended, I always like to think that I left the place a bit better than before I was there.  Whether it be the quality of relationships or the way I did my job, I like to think that the people I interacted with were better off for having known me.  I do’t say that with arrogance or pride.  I say that because I know the type of person I am, and I value quality over the quantity of relationships that I have.  It just so happens that I enjoy people and know lots from different walks of life.

Do what you can, with what you have been given.  One mans junk is another mans treasure.  Simply put, what one person might not like about you, you can easily find ten people that do.  Labels that others put on you aren’t permanent.  They will become permanent if you let them.  Now, that doesn’t mean ignoring them and pretending life is good.  That’s a bit naive.  It means that you speak to those mountains (labels) and they will be removed.  But you should do it by faith, with a bold confidence to expect good things to come your way.

During the Christmas season, I’ve made it a priority the last few years to message some of my Facebook friends, or send them an e-mail and see how they are doing.  I know they appreciate it.  I rarely get that same treatment in return, but that’s okay.  Sometimes, at moments like these, you wish it was something others did more often.  Sure, you have family, career and personal responsibilities, but how long does it take to send someone a message to encourage them, or see how they are doing?  You’re on social media most days anyhow, why not make the best use of it that you can?

In 2019 let us not take each other for granted to that degree, where we get so bogged down by our responsibilities and life, that we use them as an excuse not to reach out to others.  I call it an excuse because if you can take the time to post a status update on Facebook or Twitter, you can just as easily send a message to a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while.

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