A friend recently announced that her and I were on the wrong end of 60.
That should be chiseled into my headstone- if I had one.
Here lies Rob.
Still and- on the wrong side of 60.
It was a few weeks ago that I began another search for a friend I hadn't seen nor heard from in almost 20 years. It is quite easy to lose contact with someone.
Life just gets in the way.
Cate was an airline friend.
We worked together in the late 80's at Wardair at Pearson International in Toronto. In fact there is a circle of friends from those airline years that The Mister and I are still in contact with on a regular basis. I don't now what it was about that time with Wardair that forged forever friends.
But it did.
However, Cate disappeared off the radar a couple of decades ago.
In the summer of 2017- before The Mister and I set foot on this Island, a group of airline friends had a summer goodbye for us at a cottage in Muskoka. It was fun. At some point the conversation turned to "our" Cate- a Brit by birth. It seemed that none of us had heard from her or knew where she had gone. Someone suggested she had returned to England. Others suggested she had got lost in Toronto or some other big city.
No one had any answers or clues as to her disappearance.
Shortly thereafter, I began an online search. I had her surname from both marriages I was familiar with and knew approximately where she might have been in England. I also had her daughter's name in Ontario. What I didn't have was her maiden name.
Anyhoo, that first search failed, although I did find someone with the same name listed at an airport in southern England. I e-mailed a contact at the airport. He replied that this might be the person I was looking for but she no longer worked at this particular airport.
For employee confidentiality purposes, he couldn't tell me more.
I am sure he knew, he just couldn't say.
I let the searching go for a few months until a few weeks back when I re-visited the airport website in the south of England once again. No clues there as I re-read the information but it did allow me to focus on that general area. I knew that she had to be within a comfortable driving distance of that airport. There were many communities from which to choose.
A few days later when I returned to the search, I wondered if she had returned to Canada. I did a 411 search.
However, a bell went off.
If there was a Canada 411, perhaps the UK had the same thing.
I searched several websites but they all wanted a few pounds to look for phone numbers and addresses. Finally, I found one website which was free.
I typed in Cate's name.
One response appeared on my computer screen in all of the UK.
Her name- Catherine, along with a familiar last name, a cottage name, street and village name and phone number was right there in front of me.
I was beside myself.
I called The Mister- "I think I've found "Our Cate"!- I cried.
|Wardair's DC 10 and 747|
What if it was someone else?
What if it was an old lady who lived in the cottage thought she was being followed or scammed and sent Interpol after me or the very least- Scotland Yard.
No, the safest, most gentlemanly thing to do would be to write a note in a nice card saying who I was and including a business card with all my particulars on it.
I did that and posted it on Family Day weekend.
I didn't have to wait long.
The following Friday, Cate's name and the first line of her e-mail-
"You could have blown me away with a feather" appeared in my inbox.
There were tears.
I couldn't believe it.
Here after almost 20 years was the elusive friend who never left our hearts and minds.
The following day we made a call.
I was anxious. Happy. Beside myself.
Once the ringing stopped there was the sound of a familiar voice...
From the past.
Tom picked up the extension and for the next couple of hours we caught up like it had only been a couple of weeks.
That is true friendship.
We don't know how the time flew.
She told us she had decided to go "back home" to England.
We had moved west to Vancouver Island.
We won't let this happen again.
There's no time.
Another 20 years cannot be allowed to pass.
We will meet up- in person, soon.
"Rob, we are on the wrong end of 60, you and I"- Cate said.
Life is short here at the wrong end of 60.
The Ides of March is waiting for us all.
So, look for an old friend.
Renew an old acquaintance.
You'll feel good about it.