Hump Day: Father may have passed on, but his gifts just keep on giving

Hump Day 2 croppedHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
Moncton Times & Transcript

It’s interesting what stories you hear and the connections you make after a loved one dies. My father died three years ago on Aug. 26, 2012, and I’m still surprised to hear stories from time to time.

My father could be gruff at the best of times, some would even say grouchy, which would annoy me to no end but which actually endeared him to some people. As many people age, their filter melts away. If you ask them their opinion, they’ll tell you. Even if you don’t ask them, they’ll tell you.

Bernard Cormier
My father – Bernard “Bernie” Cormier.

My father’s doctor’s assistant was one who found loved his grouchiness. I remember her telling me that she thought he was hoot. He wasn’t one to visit the doctor and tell him that there was nothing wrong. The doctor found out in blunt language what was going on with his aging body.

More than a few times I just sat there with my mouth open in shock after my increasingly filter-free father would explain some new symptom to a doctor. There was no sugar-coating anything by then. I suppose that was good, though. At least no one had to figure out what the real story was.

Then there was the time I took him to a dermatologist to try and figure out a lingering skin problem. The next thing I know, without being asked, he was lying stark naked on the examining room bed. “For God’s sake, Dad, she doesn’t need to see everything,” I said. His reply, “Well how is she going tell what’s wrong if I have my clothes on?” The doctor politely told him he could cover up a bit, if you get my drift, and she did eventually figure out the problem without needing to see everything.

My father used to love to hang out at the Sports Rock pub in Dieppe. You could usually find him either at Tim Hortons not far down the street or at Dooly’s on Elmwood Drive. He had his favourite staff at each place. Veronique at Dooly’s could do no wrong in his eyes. And there was Nicole at Sports Rock who just loved him. In fact, my father used to talk to her young son quite a bit about fishing – a particular love of my father’s throughout his life, but one that he could no longer pursue due to declining health in his later years.

Bernie figurine
The figurine nicknamed ‘Bernie’ that  was brought on vacation by Nicole and her family.

Nicole and her family actually found a figurine one day that they told me looked exactly like my father, so much so that they named it Bernie, my father’s name. They even brought ‘Bernie’ on vacation with them once. The kids didn’t want to leave him behind. I saw a photo of the figurine after I found out about the story and had to admit that it bore a striking resemblance to the real-life Bernie.

There was also some mysterious other waitress at Sports Rock named Olivia. My father obviously liked her because I remember him taking her Christmas presents one year. Of course, I looked at him and wondered what that was all about. Why is this man in his 70s taking Christmas presents to a young waitress?

My cousin Paul passed away in July after a nearly year-long battle with cancer. Family and friends gathered shortly afterwards at Cheers Beverage Room on Brandon Street for a celebration of his life. At one point, a young lady – my cousin’s son’s girlfriend – came up to introduce herself to me. She told me she knew my father and that she used to work at Sports Rock. Her name was Olivia.

She told me how fond she was of him. His grouchiness made her like him even more. As long as you laughed it off, he was great. Some of the other waitresses took him a bit too seriously and didn’t like him, but she liked him just fine. In fact, when she broke up with an old boyfriend just before Valentine’s Day and was feeling blue, my father brought her a little Valentine’s Day treat to cheer her up. Well, how could she resist not thinking the world of him after that?

I told her that I remembered him mentioning ‘Olivia’ from Sports Rock, and asked her if he’d ever bought her Christmas gifts, too. She said yes, and we both laughed when I told her that I remember telling him he was crazy for buying ‘Olivia’ gifts.

I hope I keep getting surprised from time to time with stories about my father. They always bring a smile to my face.

2 Responses to Hump Day: Father may have passed on, but his gifts just keep on giving

  1. Hi Brian
    I truly enjoy reading your articles as you cover a wide range of interesting business/social events and topics. Enjoyed reading about the memories and articles about your Father.

    Keep up the good/interesting reading work

    Vincent