Being from Alberta one must accept certain truths. The first, is that we are a unique bunch, the second is that we are more alike than we care to admit. Last May 6th 2015, I was reminded of both by a good friend, Mr. Will Munsey.
Mr. Munsey is, as he will tell you, a railroader, a farmer, a father, and – rural to my city. But he is more than that.
I met Will in our tireless, some would say fruitless, pursuit of establishing the Alberta Party as a legitimate option in Provincial politics. I left the party a year after serving as it’s Provincial Board President. Will, assumed the role and worked it amazingly. We both wanted the same thing, a centrist government – but I was frustrated by the inability of the party to consolidate support from average Albertans. I chose two years later to track that with an attempt at the PC seat in Edmonton Rutherford, he stayed on the Alberta Party Board and has ran as a candidate in two elections for them.
As I ran in May 2015 for the PC’s, Will was good enough to support me by delivering brochures in Edmonton Rutherford, easily against his disdain for the 43 year reign of that government. That is Will, friends above party.
But, this story is not about politics. It’s about the thing we should truly care about, friendship.
The day after the good citizens of Edmonton Rutherford delivered me our well-deserved loss, something terrible happened. Our dog Murphy, of ten years, suddenly went into a complicated diabetic shock and we were faced with the inevitable choice but to have him put down.
I was devastated and in utter shock.
The election, the day before, was frankly a shot of relief. As I have mentioned before, serving politically was always an uncertain pursuit. But being the master to a mediocre hunting dog, the one that our whole family loved more than anything, was certainly who we were.
The day after the election, in total disarray and without any idea what to do, I remember calling Will – he knew I was crying – and we both ignored that, as men do. At the veterinary clinic with my wife and two daughters, all of us in disbelief and emotional ruin, I reached out. It was 2:00 in the afternoon.
Will, who was working and on a train somewhere in Alberta, had built a newly started pet cemetery on his farm in New Serepta. He was immediately supportive and invaluable. The best of friends. Will suggested that he would pick up Murphy, well after midnight, from the Vet, and make sure he would respectfully bury him on his beautiful farm. He did it without question, without payment, and certainly on top of what would have been another long day for him on the railroad. We, as a family, could go home and not be burdened with the horrible reality of dealing with the physical outcome of the day.
I am writing this tonight because I need to thank Will. He was and remains, a very important friend. I can’t ever properly thank him for his kindness. I love him and his family because, at the time, he didn’t need me to do anything – he just helped.
I can’t place where politics matter much anymore. It’s a game where sometimes people take advantage of those who can’t see past the first layer of what partisanship is. But beyond that layer, there is a place where most of us reside, and that is where we stand behind each other as friends.
Thank you Will for your support and friendship. I loved my dog, you honoured that. You are the best of Alberta.