Mike

Mike

We came across Mike on a mild day in late August of 2017 as he was about to go into the Barrie Bayside Mission Centre in Barrie, Ontario for supper. He kindly agreed to delay eating his meal for a few minutes while I photographed him and my dad asked him a few questions. “Well, it’s a nice day today”, my dad said. “[It’s] a good day folks, eh?”, Mike acknowledged with a chuckle. When asked how long he’d been living in Barrie, Mike replied, “Oh, uh, 24 years. I was born in England. Yeah, South Country [in] Lester. I was just a young kid in those days. I come from a strict family. [I have] good memories [of my time there].” When my dad asked Mike if he had any family in Barrie, or even Canada, he replied, “Uh, no. I’m just a quiet person. [I] don’t drink alcohol, don’t take pills. Nothing. Alcohol will kill ya, [and] too many have gotten into that these days.” After a brief period of silence, Mike, with a note of excitement in his voice, and a nod toward Kempenfelt Bay, which is only a couple hundred metres south/east of where we were standing, said, “Snowbirds came across here. Those jets, oh, about two weeks ago. Yeah, [I saw them].” [Mike was referring here to the performance over the Bay, about two months earlier, by the Canadian Forces Snowbirds.} The conversation then, suddenly, turned to the time when, on September 3, 1989, two Snowbirds collided in midair during a performance at Toronto’s Canadian National Exhibition. “They crashed in Toronto at the Exhibition. They hit wings”, he said. Anxious not to miss his lunch, Mike, then, said, “I’m going to have to go”, at which point we said goodbye.

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