This was what I found on the doorstep this morning where the Star Phoenix waits for us to get out of bed. It sunk it for awhile, and then I wrote a Letter to the Editor:
There’s a big lump in my throat that even hot morning coffee can’t fix. I pulled the paper in from the front porch to see the news that Cam Fuller had died. We’ve lost a good friend and I only ever met him in person once, for about two minutes. But he made us laugh out loud and brought us to tears, sometimes with the same piece of beautiful storytelling, as we sat at the breakfast table. I called him periodically with story ideas. When our California-based musician son came to town with Alice Russell during the Jazz Festival, I thought he might want to do a ‘home town boy’ story. He did, and even worked in Ben’s favourite waffles. Over the years, as editor of Saskatoon HOME magazine, I sometimes asked him for help with a search for sources. He was always quick to reply, generous with information, and treated me like a good colleague. Whenever Rick and I pored over which Fringe play to see, our catch phrase was “What did Cam say about it?” His observations were thoughtful. His reviews were generous, salient, but he wasn’t afraid to point out where a play was lacking. Always fair, never mean. His writing was brilliant; he wrote with economy, clarity, and grace; he had a rare combination of the three. Our sympathies to his family at home, and his Star Phoenix family.
A bright point of humanity and humour has gone out and we hope, as we gulp down our hot coffee this morning, that the Star Phoenix will soon publish a book of his collected columns (The Glass Half Fuller, perhaps?). Sign us up for several copies.
Youngest son Benjamin had some good news from his music world. He played keys on Leon Bridges’ album, Good Thing, and it was just nominated for R & B Album of the Year. Ben also played on the track, Bet Ain’t Worth the Hand. It was nominated for Best Traditional R & B Performance. The 61st Annual Grammy Awards ceremony will be held on February 10 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. So we’re all crossing fingers!
It’s fitting that today, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, that I’m reading a story about Justin Clark. His fight for an independent life put him at odds with his parents; it was the first hard look I had at what it means to live life with a disability and how people are often surrounded by those who, even lovingly, think they know better. I had just started a job with an advocacy organization, now the Saskatchewan Association for Comunity Living, back in 1982. A job that would change my life in ways I couldn’t have imagined. Because of Justin’s sheer determination and convictions, his example was a clear lesson to me as I started a new career path. I wish him well today of all days. You can read his story below, and there’s also this. The work continues.
‘In 1982, Justin Clark, who was born with cerebral palsy, took his own parents to court in a bid to prove that he was a mentally competent adult. Clark won his case, and the decision was a pivotal moment in the Canadian disability rights movement. Advocates say there is still a long way to go, but Clark’s case paved the way for other people with disabilities fighting to make their own decisions, rather than have legal guardians decide on their behalf. CBC’s The Sunday Edition explores the lasting impact of Clark v Clark. (photo below by Norman Pellerin).’
I am always thrilled to be warmly welcomed to one of the most talked about holiday gatherings of the season. I was so pleased to have as my date, the incomparable Heather Fritz. Anthony Bidulka and Herb McFaull host a fantastic gathering for dozens of friends and family for an evening of good food, fun, great conversation, beautiful holiday decor, and many pleasant surprises if you keep your eye open for someone wonderful to meet, a stranger who suddenly becomes a friend. Thanks Herb and Tony.