The Kitchen Table In Orillia

To everyone who has sent kind thoughts regarding my dad, I thank you all very much. I’m very touched, as is Luci and my brother and his wife Kelly, who have read these comments on this site and also on Twitter, Facebook and emails. Everyone has been so great, and I’m tremendously appreciative. It must be true – Habs fan are nicer people than other fans. And if you say you aren’t a Habs fan, you probably are and just don’t realize it.

I’m sitting at my brother’s kitchen table in Orillia, after a flight from Vancouver where I sat beside two toddlers and had one behind me kicking my seat.

My family seems to have issues. Two sisters aren’t going to the funeral – one has found God and says she doesn’t need to be near the physical dad and that she’ll be talking to his spirit, and the other who doesn’t want to go because she got into a tiff with my brother. But whatever. Aren’t most families screwed up? Or is it just mine and a couple of others?

Tomorrow I’m going for a walk to see the old arena, which is about to be torn down. Yes indeed, the Orillia Community Centre, where a smallish-yet-shifty right winger scored often, even with a mediocre shot. Imagine what he could have done if he had a decent shot? And was a tad bigger. And maybe a bit smarter on the ice. And probably a little stronger and faster. But aside from these few things, can you imagine?

I love my hometown. Good old Orillia. I couldn’t wait to get out when I was younger, and now I can’t wait to come back and visit. Just not for funerals, that’s all.

The funeral director was an old teammate of mine when I was a kid. He took over the family funeral business when his dad retired, and I haven’t seen him since high school. I guess I’ll be seeing him in a few days. His dad used to help with the driving when we would play out of town. Everybody wanted to ride in Jack Mundell’s car because he liked to go about 90 mph. My dad was the opposite, a slow driver, and it was embarrassing.

6 thoughts on “The Kitchen Table In Orillia”

  1. Dennis, my dad died July 13 this past year so I know how you feel. It is a deep empty feeling for me that is slowly being filled with memories I keep bringing back. I find myself thinking about the oddest moments and smiling a lot. This is after 5 months. I am sure your heart is deep in sorrow and will be for a long time. You will find quite a few answers to many questions and challenges your dad put to you. 5 Months later I am still recovering from losing someone so big and strong. But he did pass on some of that bigness and strength onto me, just as your dad did you.

    I wish you all the strength Dennis.

    Your Friend,


  2. My Dad’s name was also Ernie. Too funny. And don’t sweat the family issues Dennis. We all have them. There’snothing you can do but be yourself. Recognize this is a difficult time and be the one who is there for the family, regardless of what others are saying or doing. Be there and get it done. Your Dad was and will be proud of you. No criticism, just action and strength.

  3. Dear Dennis,

    I’m very sorry for your loss. You posted stories about your Dad often and we all got to know him a little as well.

    Stay strong. I’m sure many who read this post will say the same about their families. They’re all dysfunctional. A word from the wise Buddhists: “inner peace begins the moment you choose not to let another person or event to control your emotions”.

    Enjoy Orilla. I’m on the Pacific side of the world today!


  4. I could tell stories about my family that could make your hair curl. To say they’re dysfunctional is actually putting it mildly.

    Families sometimes can be a colossal pain in the ass. It’s a shame it has to be that way but it often feels like they cause more aggravation than your worst enemy ever could.

    Try to stay on an even keel Dennis and don’t let get into all the family drama. It’s an unnecessary headache and it can get you all worked up for nothing.

  5. And post a yellow riboon or rose somewhere on your website to commemorate him. Something that will remind us to remember out own dads. Maybe a symbol right beside the ‘quote of the day’? Like the hockey players wear a fallen comrades number, lets do the same gesture here.

  6. Dennis the healing has already begun, you mention your Dad was a slow driver & it was embarrassing, I bet that memory brought a smile to your face! Families are a pain but once again be strong my friend!!

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