Harry was first matched to Dave when he was 13 years old. Their friendship lasted over five decades.
My father passed away when I was thirteen. Big Brothers in Hamilton took me and my younger brother on. Within a month I met Dave. There was only a ten year age difference. Fishing was one of Dave’s favorite pass-times. Our first winter together we went ice fishing; I remember my mother wrapping me up in so many layers, and Dave picking me up at 3 am. I don’t remember catching anything, but we had a good time.
Certainly it was no fault of my mother’s that she couldn’t provide for us. The stigma of being poor was tough. The first time I went to their house Dave barbequed steak! I thought it would be like a hamburger so I covered it in ketchup. The look on Joan’s face… I got along very well with Dave’s family, his son Christopher was two years old when we met. We spent a lot of time looking after him together.
When I was 15 I got into some trouble, and I went to live with Dave for a year. I went to school, and Dave’s wife got me job. They were keeping me busy. I got a thought in my head; I wanted to work. Within a week of my 16th birthday I quit school. My younger brother loved school, and if I helped my mother out, he could carry on. I was dating a young lady who’s uncle was a baker at a big chain coffee shop. He was looking for somebody to teach. The work ethic I learned from Dave came into play. Over the years I learnt all I could about the business. Over 25 years ago, my family relocated to Brantford to manage a store here. Later we bought into the franchise. Within four years we were the top store in Canada in sales. My son learned the business, now runs it, and has set some sales records of his own. I am very proud.
Every important occasion Dave was there: he was my MC at my wedding. Last year I drove the three-and-half hours to his 75th birthday party. In January I got the call: Dave had passed away. I was so glad I had that last hour with him. At the service I was asked if I could get up and speak… and Christopher actually introduced me, as his big brother…
Not every match is going to last 50 years like ours did. You get out of the match what you put in. I owe a lot to Dave… I am very lucky and thankful I had him in my life.