I am beginning to get the itch to travel but, at this point in time, I don’t trust international travel at all. The rules are very inconsistent. I hope it will become easier by the Spring… but with new variants emerging, who knows!! Three of us are flying to Mexico City for six days over Christmas. I haven’t been there for many years, but I remember there are great museums and sites. I am told that Christmas there is very beautiful.
Life continues here in Ajijic. Lots of activities of every kind! I could be busy every day—all day. It’s quite amazing, and never boring.
I had another sad death: my very old friend of about 40 years, Hugh Mckeown. He had been ill with cancer for about 10 years, and the doctors had no idea how he kept going. I have shared below what I wrote for his wife Judy, who is a very special and brave lady. The night before he passed, my phone rang at 4:00am. It was Hugh! He left a voice clip which was just his breathing on his oxygen machine in the hospital. That was all that was on the message. I knew then…it was close!! That was tough!! Since I have been in Mexico last trip and this trip, I have lost eight people in my life; not all close but some very close. I guess it is the age…but, the truth is, they were all ages.
I will enjoy the pre-Christmas activities here of which there are many. With what’s going on in the world, I believe it’s so important to enjoy the best life possible.
P.S. I also saw the movie The House of Gucci. Very disappointing: boring, too long, and very one-dimensional.
Remembering Hugh in Mexico
My friend Hugh, was a very special human being: thoughtful, a creative and deep thinker, a great friend, and one who understood the world. He was kind, sweet but with dry humor, and a great teacher in every way.
When I met Hugh I was a young mother doing volunteer work in the community. I was very naive about how things worked. I didn’t understand community, politics, etc. I had had three mentors in my life when I worked with the North York Board of Education: the late Karl Kinzinger, Ted Gould and (the now late) Hugh. They showed me the ropes and protected me. I always asked why they wanted me around. The answer was: I could get things done behind the scenes that they couldn’t do as part of the system. I think I got the best part of the deal…lessons for the rest of my life.
Hugh was the principal of a school in the early Eighties, and he did a very radical thing, The school was very multicultural. So Hugh organized a potluck dinner where every parent brought a dish from their culture and all the community shared. It was the first lesson in understanding, and just brilliant in its simplicity (that was Hugh)!
When I had my home in the Beaches in Toronto, Hugh was often part of the events and gatherings. He was always working on getting politicians to understand Multiculturalism and why—if society was going to grow and flourish — this had to be understood. What was my best memory on this? We took a group of School Board Trustees on a trip to see the school system in Jamaica and to meet with teachers and people at all levels of society, from Prime Minister Seaga (who was a client of mine) through to the late Kaye Baxter, Counsel General and good friend, who both helped us arrange the visit.
I wasn’t too keen on the trip and didn’t want to have to watch the Trustees all the time, but it was important to Hugh and the policies he was attempting to change for the good of the students…so we went. He kept me calm and entertained by making a bet with me that he could have lobster a different way every night for dinner. I said, “no way.” But you know Hugh! He won the bet, even if it meant going into the kitchen and getting creative with the chef.
Now, I have to mention Judy. Hugh and Judy had one of those special love stories. They adored and respected one another in every way. I remember when we all first met Judy. She was so nervous at meeting Hugh’s friends…but we were just so delighted that Hugh had found his true love. They took care of one another in the most loving way. When Judy was hurt a few months ago, I remember Hugh saying to me: I can’t be sick because Judy needs me to be strong.
I had the great honour of knowing Hugh, and would call him on my travels, from anywhere in the world.
My condolences to Judy and all of his family.
He will always be in my heart as one of my very special friends.
I will sign off ‘Elizabeth’, which Hugh always called me because he knew that name bugged me.