As followers of this blog will already know, David, Our Mister Nixon, passed away on February 9, 2017, at the age of 82. At that time, it was a typical Victoria winter – grey, wet and cold. It even snowed! Rather than mark David’s passing then, I decided to wait until the weather and the mood were both better and more to his taste.
After a prolonged cool and grey first half of the year, summer finally arrived, so it was time to remember David and wish him well on his journey. When I picture him now, I see David at the centre of a big, boisterous canasta party, with lots of cocktails, cigarettes and laughter. All of his now-departed friends and family are there and it’s just a great big bunch of fun.
Saturday, July 29th was chosen for a gathering of friends from across David’s life here in Victoria: old friends, new friends, neighbours, and former Birks colleagues came together on top of Moss Rocks, in the heart of Victoria’s Fairfield district.
Moss Rocks was chosen because David and I lived adjacent to the park for several years in a lovely old house (now gone) and the park was essentially our backyard. Many glasses of wine and sherry, and many, many joints, were consumed there while we enjoyed the view and the air.
July 29 was a beautiful clear summer day, with just enough clouds here and there for good cinematic effect, the Olympic mountains looking pristine, and the South Fairfield neighbourhood spread below the park. Stories were told, memories jogged and shared, a few tears shed, and the essential David was celebrated with love and laughter. It’s amazing how many times David’s rock collection came up in the conversation. He really was a committed rock-picker!
Present on the hilltop were Suzanne Olson, Kathleen Moffatt, Jennifer Nell Barr, Laura Wright, Charles Joerin, Christine Guille, Margaret Harrison, Melaney Black, Tom Dekker, and me, Ken Sudhues. Present in spirit, and mentioned several times, was Sylvia van der Stegen (Tysick), who lives in Paris. It was also noted that several of us felt David “hanging about” and probably enjoying the view.
And it wouldn’t be a “David party” without a bit of a hiccup, would it? Following our gathering on the rocks, we planned to reconvene for dinner at Rosie’s Diner, a favourite eatery in the Cook Street village. We all rolled down the hill, by car or on foot, and found Rosie’s door firmly shut. It was 6 pm and they close at 3 on Saturdays! After a few bad words and a bit of reconnoitring, we found room on the patio of the Beagle Pub, just a few doors away from Rosie’s. Those joining us for the dinner portion were duly notified and we all settled in. It was a rather tight fit, what with an exit gate, the number of bodies, an unforgiving fence, and stringent Rules, but we made it work. And then unexpected guests arrived! Welcome as they were, we really needed a shoehorn to get everyone seated… but it worked. Drinks and meals were ordered, David was toasted, and a great evening ensued. Added to the party already on hand were Jim Lee, Pamela Madoff, Bryony Wynne-Jones, and Douglas Moore. We were quite sure that David would have hooted at the change of venues and been complimentary of the admirable recovery.
All in all, it was a fitting “wrap” for Our Mister Nixon.
So here, as a fond farewell, is David through the years: