Norman Richardson – October 8, 1940 to October 22, 2021
The birds they sang
At the break of day
I heard them say
Don’t dwell on what has passed away
Or what is yet to be
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in
This post is for our friend Uncle Normie and his wife and our dear friend Pauline. “Anthem” was one of Norman’s and Pauline’s favourite songs.
Norman like all of us was a complex individual. Although we were friends for over 25 years he was still a bit of a mystery. Not that Norm didn’t talk to us about his past but it was usually vague references to work here and there and even vaguer references to his family. Norm did like to tell stories of his misadventures with former workmates and friends.
Pauline was Norm’s 2nd wife and he certainly must have learned something from his 1st marriage, as marrying Pauline couldn’t have been a better choice for him. They had been married for a year or two before moving to Vernon in 1996.
Norm was also a very artistic fellow. He played classical guitar. He did stained glass projects and wood scrolling. He was an avid photographer and loved birds and photographing them. Below are a few samples of his work.
Norm was also somewhat of a pioneer in the food nutrition industry. Norm’s preferred diet of KD and hot dogs, to the exclusion of lesser food groups like vegetables, was critically acclaimed by circus carneys everywhere.
Norm loved watching comedy shows and had a wonderful if somewhat eclectic sense of humour. He needed that sense of humour to put up with the Captain for 25 years. More on that later.
Norm unfortunately was afflicted with a number of medical issues in his later years. He was diagnosed with COPD at least 15 years ago and was having difficulty giving up the habit despite ominous warnings from his doctor. Pauline along with the neighbours continuous nagging, threatening and cajoling eventually drove Norm to go to a hypnotist, where after just one session he gave up the evil weed and never fell off the wagon. Had Norm not done this we would have missed out on 15 years of his company.
We had our last visit with Uncle Normie just before our trip to Ontario. We miss having him around and during happy hour the Mayor’s Chair (read more on this in the next section) remains empty in his honour.
CC and DD Meet Norman
DD and CC first met Norm shortly after we moved onto “his” cul de sac in 1996. I say “his” because Norm was sort of like the self appointed Mayor of 47th Ave. As Mayor Norm would hold regular council meetings (aka Happy Hours) at his residence every Friday like clockwork.
The first time CC and DD were summoned to attend a Council meeting turned out to be a bit of a strange affair. While out walking past Pauline’s and Norms on a Friday afternoon the Mayor decided it was time for us to become official Council members and he issued a directive for us to attend forthwith. We returned home for refreshments, as this was required for one to attend. Now for the strange part. Almost immediately after our arrival The Mayor and all the Council members (except one) took their leave without so much as a by your leave. We were then advised that unfortunately everyone had made prior dinner plans which meant an early end to this particular Happy Hour.
CC’s initial hypothesis was once everyone realized that DD was an Oggorfian it may have put them off a bit. None the less we were able to subsequently persuade them that not all Oggorfians are bad aliens and we were accepted as fully fledged Council members.
The cul de sac Council at the time consisted of probably 14 – 15 members. Council meetings were often raucous affairs and continued for over 25 years. It is really difficult to figure out how such a diverse group of individuals could maintain a cohesive relationship for so many years. Norm I suspect probably thought it was due to his engaging personality? and leadership style? and it may have been, but it might also have been that Council members found Norm to be actually be a real nice guy despite his pretense of being a curmudgeon.
Becoming Uncle Normie
It was several years after meeting Norm and Pauline that the Captain adopted Norm as his Uncle Normie. The adoption took place in a very public setting. CC and DD were shopping at one of the local grocery stores. CC spied Norm at the checkout line and in a moment of rather bizarre behavior the Captain raced across the grocery store yelling quite loudly Uncle Normie, Uncle Normie, Uncle Normie help me Uncle Normie. As Normie had nowhere to run to avoid this embarrassment he stoically calmed his distressed nephew and hurried out the door.
Now I mention the above notorious incident to illustrate that Uncle Normie loved comedy and could certainly take a joke. Yes Uncle Normie had a sense of humour although often I could see him cringe sometimes when he knew CC had him in his headlights.
The following is a link to YouTube where the Captain has posted a video he made for Uncle Normie’s 65the Birthday. The video is 10 minutes long and not quite the quality of today’s standards but the message remains the same.
Love and Kisses Uncle Normie.