Sunday, August 26, 2007

Brad MacArthur

Brad MacArthur was my friend. He died yesterday.

He was an ordinary guy, but an extraordinary guy in a lot of ways as well. He never had much in the way of those 15 minutes of fame, but that's just as well, he was no celebrity.

He was a traveler - I guess when you come from a small town you either want to see some of the world or you're content in your oyster. Brad was both. He got to see Canada, or a large chunk of it, and did some traveling in the States, as well, as far south as Texas. The time he spent in BC working with his brother Terry were formative years for him. It was there he developed his knowledge of forestry and horticulture that would provide him with a start in life.

Those travelling times created tales and engendered a 'family' of Bud's friends from one side of the land to the other. For Bud was good at attracting, and keeping, friends. From the beach on South Padre Island to Lumby BC , Brad's travels and adventures were the treasures of his lifetime.

I met Brad when we moved into the house next door to his folks some 30 years back. He was just leaving on the first of his out-west peregrinations, so meeting him, as opposed to his Mom and Dad, had to wait a year or so. There are some people you meet you have an affinity for, and Brad was one of those for me. We were constant companions in a number of projects and adventures and capers over the next decade. It got to be that some people confused us thinking I was him or vice versa.

Brad was a constant in our house at Christmas and birthdays - our kids got to know him as an uncle. It was at our place that Brad met the gal he married, Marianne. We were involved in a Church group, so was she, they met at our place. One night Bud dropped in .. the wedding was about 8 months later. Brad and Marin had two kids of which Brad was immensely proud. His family became his focus and that was perhaps the most remarkable thing about him. He was as constant a husband and father as he was a friend. Not being particularly 'churched' or describing himself as 'holy' by any stretch. Brad became a Roman Catholic - to be a better example to his kids. He became a 'good' Catholic, attentive to the requirements of his faith, and perhaps holier than he would have admitted to being. There's every chance that faith has paid-off for him to-day.

Life gave Brad a number of knocks, like everybody, I guess, but he dealt with them well. He had a government job, in the Highways Department for a number of years. He was 'downsized' in the eighties and work for him became a series of 'contract' positions. He always had work, but it was never secure work, the kind you could plan on. When he died, on the job yesterday, he was working two jobs seven days a week. His health had been up-and down. He smoked for years and found quitting hard, but eventually he did it. For a while he looked ill, pale, grey, diminished. But taking another full-time job as a meat inspector seemed to revitalize him, he waxed and looked well, healthier than ever. A burst appendix emergency revealed an undiagnosed heart problem a few years back. Whether that, or the strain of too much work, affected him, who knows?

He went quick. He would have wanted to go that way. He missed his Brother Terry who died a year ago almost to the day. Every one of his nieces and nephews, some from out west, just happened to be 'at home' this week when he died, so they're all here for his funeral. His sisters, Mom and Dad as well. He couldn't have planned things much better - other than for his buddies out west.

Brad's the first of my friends to go. A dear friend and a good buddy. I'll miss him, but I'll have the tales, and memories.

Brad MacArthur wasn't as great as some men, or wealthy, or brilliant - he was just good at everything he did, I think he deserves to be noted for that and writing this is something I owe him, and me.

Be seein' ya Bud! No more "Running on Empty."

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