DonCredit: javrsmith

A man has died. Don was just a man. He was a man from Ontario, Canada, who moved around in the country. He lived in Ontario. He lived, later, in Alberta. He was in British Columbia, for a while. He died, but he lived first.

Don will not be remembered by very many people. He didn't do much that would be remembered. Don lived his life. That is all. He was never rich. Never poor. Never famous. No, Don was an ordinary person. Not only that, he was an ordinary Canadian. If you wanted to be anonymous, you couldn't be more so than Don was.

No, Don was a man. He lived. He died. But, he was a friend to everyone who knew him. He was not a threat to anyone. He helped anyone he could.  If anything, this man was the true picture of his time. The things he did, the people he met, the places he went: none were special. Except for a couple of oddities, everything in his life was amazingly ordinary. Never elected. Never arrested. Never in trouble.

I knew him all my life. He was a great friend of my father. Later I came to know that he was a great friend to everyone. The thing is, my father was a great friend of everyone, too. Don and my father met in about 1950, in school. Neither was a particularly memorable student, of course. Both were quite ordinary at the time. Later, my father blossomed into a leader. He travelled and was in charge of various company departments. The same could not be said of Don. Don never led. He never was in charge. But, he did travel.

In fact, Don was the only person I knew, for many years, who had travelled to the Bahamas. He returned from a trip there one time in the 1970's and showed me a $1 bill from the Bahamas. I was amazed. I was about 10 years old. This dollar bill was completely foreign to me. I knew about the Canadian dollar bill. Scarce, but I had seen them by then. I had even seen an American dollar bill. The Bahamanian bill was really unusual, and Don had one.

Years later, I started to learn about the Bahamas in school. Wonderful place. Tropical. White sand beaches. Sun. Beautiful women. Resorts. Don had been there. My father, nor anyone else I knew, had ever been there. I had never been there. There was no way to know when I would ever visit there. (40 years later, I have never yet been to the Bahamas. Disappointed!)

Don was an ordinary man, but he had a life. He had secrets, hopes, dreams, and realities too. He never married. Her never found anyone to share the most intimate parts of himself. There were rumors, but nothing developed. He loved the fact that others married, however. He loved family, and the expansion that happened when people married, and that children were born. He had passion.

Now that he is gone, I wonder if he was happy. I rarely saw him laugh, but I did see him laugh. He had a particular "Ga-fah" that I can still remember vividly. There was a time, a long time ago, when he was at our house, discussing another ordinary man. Don and Father kept bringing up different stories about this other man, whom I had never met. I just remember the laughing and that I laughed along, too. Everyone was happy that night, to be sure.

Don is the picture of the ordinary person who lives their life in society. He played his part. Maybe he didn't amount to the value of a famous person. He didn't cure any illness. He didn't invent anything. He just lived his life. For that, he should be remembered. He was able, in his 75 years, to exist in society when there were economic difficulties to overcome. Food. Warmth. Clothing. These basics were, at times, hard for Don to gather in sufficient quantities. He was never rich, but he was never really poor either. Except, perhaps at the end.

When Don died, he had managed to amass a sizable amount of credit card debt. Upon his death, the executor of his estate tabulated the estate assets and liabilities. Supremely negative. Don had managed to live his life and accumulate very little physical goods in the course of 75 years. Yet he had been able to rack up several thousand dollars in debt to his credit card account.

The executor was not very pleased to realize that Don's estate would not be able to produce sufficient assets to clear the debt balance. It would be unusual. While no children would be deprived of an inheiritance, distant relatives would go without as well.

Perhaps the only legacy to be left by Don were the six 1905 American $20 gold pieces that were located in his sock drawer. Found by the executor, these magnificent coins were valuable assets that were totally out of character for the owner. They were beautiful, famous, and stunningly beautiful. Qualities that the owner was not. They also represented a substantial credit in the balance sheet of the estate.

The executor held the coins, wrapped in their protective tissue. He felt the weight. The gold screamed value, enough to make a substantial dent in the value of the estate debts. Maybe they could absolve the estate of further liability.

Alas, the estate was deemed insolvent. The bank was forced to declare their debts uncollectable. The executor wrapped up financial affairs, and filed the necessary paperwork to the governement, the bank, and anyone else who was connected to this ordinary man.

About a year after the final funeral service, the estate executor was finally able to meet the nearest younger relatives of the man that had caused a financial headache with his passing. Two young men, in their teens, that had barely known Don. They, (of course), were ordinary people. With a bit of a laugh, the executor handed each an envelope containing three 1905 American $20 gold coins. "For you,from your Uncle Don".