Burnett: On snow and a loved family patriarch

…if we wake up to snow on another morning before this winter ends, go out and make a snow fort—just for fun.

Interesting how waking up on a Monday morning earlier this month to the snowfall  was a bit of a “now I have to go out and shovel” moment while a call from my daughter let me know my granddaughter Ellie was having the time of her life.

I remember Master Dan Zaleski explaining in one of our mat chats at Quest Academy how we can see things two different ways.

It’s generally the kids that will see the positive in things such as snow and deep mud puddles where as we adults try and avoid them both.

So if we wake up to snow on another morning before this winter ends, go out and make a snow fort—just for fun.

From a gardening perspective, snow is the best thing that can happen in the Okanagan, as it provides a wonderful insulation for our plants from freezing temperatures and that much needed moisture for our arid climate.

The more snow we get, especially up in the hills, the more water we will have in reserve come spring and summer.

•••

Our family, and indeed much of the community, are remembering a fine gentleman this month with the passing of Harold Henderson.

I was shocked to hear of this news. Uncle Harold, my mom’s younger brother, moved to Kelowna with his family in 1937 at the age of 17.

Leigh and Helen Henderson with their children Evelyn, Harold and Kay left Calgary to begin a new life in Kelowna while their oldest, Leigh Jr. stayed back while working with a dental equipment company.

My grandfather Henderson was a dental mechanic and Harold became a dentist as did his son Bruce who still practices in Kelowna. So with a dad that made dentures, a brother that sold dentistry tools and a son that followed in his footsteps as a doctor of dentistry, Harold really made an impact on our community when it came to dental health.

However, his influence didn’t stop there  as he was very active in all sorts of community work including his support of the First United Church, the Boy Scouts and his many years of Rotary International which led him to the very demanding and revered position of 3rd vice-president in 1978-79.

Uncle Harold’s obituary further describes his many accolades and awards he so rightfully received over the years but I personally want to say the following about my favourite uncle.

He humbly took on the role of family patriarch helping his extended family whenever he was needed.

As the executive turkey carver at our many Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners at Grandma Henderson’s, I could see he was take charge person and I used to watch his technique with awe.

He took time to make sure all the cousins were included in the seasonal home movies and he made us feel welcome at his family cabin at Green Bay.

So many great memories were made back then. Over the years I welcomed and was inspired by his counsel.

Even though I had a relationship second to none with my own father and still consider him my hero, my Uncle Harold gave me support in other ways and I admired him so much for that.

Quiet yet fun loving, calm yet assertive and wise beyond measure; he helped me over the years to accomplish many of my goals.

My heartfelt condolences go to Bruce and Peg, Maureen and Mel and all Harold’s family and his close circle of friends and colleagues. In particular my thoughts are with my dear Aunty Kay McLeod who lost a wonderful brother.

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