Growing up in Calgary
Sep 5, 2019 8:31
Steven was a long-time close friend of my son David Sawyer, ever since pre-school. Although David had lots of other friends, Steven was always very special to him, for all the reasons we know about Steven today. Although I can think of many stories about Steven growing up in Calgary, I have a few short stories that stick out to me, that I’d like to share here in his place of honor. I have also posted 5 pics of Steven, a few of which applies to the stories below.
Among the many traits of Steven’s always interesting personality, I learned at Steven was very bright and also very competitive, even at a very early age. When Steven and David were about 6 years old, Steven’s Dad John arranged to take our 2 young boys on their first fishing trip to Lac des Iles in Saskatchewan, just east of Cold Lake Alberta. Like most northern Canadian lakes, this lake was famous for Pike fishing and although Pike are not exactly attractive or good to eat, a fish is a fish to a young 6-year-old boy, so off we went in the Keating Chevy van and tent trailer for 3 days of fishing.
After setting up camp, we rented a boat and trolled lures all over the lake for miles and miles and hours and hours, with not even a bite to show for our efforts. The next day had the same boring result, despite our many attempts to hook a fish for the boys and to show them how it was done. The boys were surprisingly good natured, despite our lack of success and I’m sure we all shared many stories to fill in the time. Defeated on the third day before we drove home, we just took the boat offshore for about 200 yards and threw in our lines, knowing that it was all a big waste of time. Shockingly, we caught a couple of Pike right away and then a couple more- and at one time we actually had 4 Pike hooked at the same time! I don’t know how many fish we caught that morning and released, but I’ll bet it was at least 15 and the trip was suddenly a great success, with the boys squealing with delight at every strike.
During the evening, the boys played cards and I’m not sure what exactly the game was, but Steven was beating David at every hand. Maybe feeling sorry for David, I played a few hands with Steven myself just for fun and for some reason that wasn’t totally clear to me at the time, he beat me as well, cheering his success with fist pumps in the air, etc. That’s when I decided to REALLY try hard to beat Steven and although it was a struggle, I did manage to beat him a few times and I no doubt threw a few fist pumps into the air as well when I did. I’m pretty sure John wasn’t very impressed with my minor success, as he watched a 40-year-old grown man get excited about beating his 6-year-old son at cards. That was when I first learned how brilliant Steven really was. I knew he was good in school, but this child was gifted. He anticipated my every card move before I knew what I was going to play myself.
One of the pleasures of camping at Lac des Iles was the outhouse, since the tent trailer had no bathroom. Like all outhouses, these had to be pumped out from time to time and luckily one day, a big pumper truck showed up to do just that. “That boys”, John said, “is what you call a “Honey Truck!’”. The boys were fascinated at this procedure, as the truck driver pulled a large hose off the truck, threw one end down the hole of the outhouse and attached the other end to the large tank on the truck, and then started the pump. As you can imagine, the curiosity with the operation gave way to all of us plugging our nose and giving the Honey Truck a lot more room to operate. Never one to let a good educational opportunity go by unnoticed, I then said, “That boys, is the job you will be doing later in life if you don’t go to university!”. With big wide eyes the boys looked at me with concerned astonishment, as John and I had a good laugh.
The main reason I remember the story of the Honey Truck so clearly, is that later in life Steven brought it up many times, including 18 months ago when my wife Trudy and I briefly visited his apartment in Silicon Valley and had dinner with his parents. He told me that as a 6 year old he really believed it: No University means you pump out outhouses for a living. LOL, which is exactly what Steven would want us to do right now, I am certain of that. We miss you badly already Steven and we will never forget you. I know you were never into religion, but we still hope to see you again one day in another dimension.
Chuck and Trudy Sawyer
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