A few weeks ago, I started reading “The Vinyl Cafe Notebooks” by the legendary Stuart McLean, which has made me miss him even more. Stuart left us earlier this year. Since his passing, Canada and the world have been deprived of his art, talent, voice, and unforgettable stories.
I miss listening to him and his ever-lasting Dave and Morley stories on CBC Radio every week. I never personally knew Stuart! The closest I ever got to witnessing his magic of story-telling was when I took my sister to one of his Christmas concerts over a decade ago. We loved every minute of it and laughed our heads off the whole time. To this day, we still talk about the concert!
What was so special about Stuart was the fact that he made you feel like he was that one teacher whom you admired and loved the most. He was serious with a wonderful sense of humour.
I miss Stuart! Most importantly, I am saddened that there won’t be anyone like him again (at least maybe not in my lifetime) who can make you smile and tear up at the same time. For the past few weeks, if someone has been watching me read my book on the bus, they have probably wondered what I was reading that made me smile, chuckle, get choked up, or even shed a tear here and there. I hope their wondering has led them to look closely at my book, find out the name, and perhaps buy a copy of their own and read it! (Here is to wishful thinking!)
If you have never heard Stuart on the radio, read his books, or watched him at one of his concerts, don’t feel like it is too late! He may be gone, but his work is still amongst us. Let’s celebrate him and his work by spreading the word. Look him up online, look for the Vinyl Cafe podcasts, or even search for his audio books. I will guarantee that you will love him and his stories.
If I knew your names and addresses, I would send you each one of his books with a sharpened pencil. Because believe me, you will want to write down and/or mark your favourite quotes and sayings in the margins. We could then exchange our books and read each other’s notes and thoughts. Like Stuart said – in his one of his stories from the Vinyl Cafe Notebooks – it will be like reading another person’s testimony.
Read one of his books or listen to one of his stories! I hope you find as much happiness and joy from that as I have over the years.
“We do this thing. We open our hearts to the world around us. And the more we do that, the more we allow ourselves to love, the more we are bound to find ourselves one day – like Dave, and Morley, and Sam, and Stephanie – standing in the kitchen of our lives, surrounded by the ones we love, and feeling empty, and alone, and sad, and lost for words, because one of our loved ones, who should be there, is missing. Mother or father, brother or sister, wife or husband, or a dog or cat. It doesn’t really matter. After a while, each death feels like all the deaths, and you stand there like everyone else has stood there before you, while the big wind of sadness blows around and through you…”
– Stuart McLean
So long for now, Stuart ❤
And to the rest of you, be happy! See you next time…
P. S. I couldn’t help but to share one of his stories: Love Never Ends.