Today, I'm wishing my brother Alvin AND his wife Francie, my sister-in-law, a happy birthday. Vin lucked out that way, it was easy for him to never forget his wife's birthday. They share the same day.
Alvin worked as an Registered Nurse and later a nursing supervisor at the Penetanguishene Mental Health Center (now called Waypoint) for well over 30 years. As I worked there as well, I was always identified as "Vin's brother." And I constantly heard: "I loved working with him!" "I loved working for him!" "What a great guy!" "Vin was a great supervisor!" "Such a nice guy!" "Such a good staff!" "Great to work with!" Surely the greatest compliments one could receive. I was always proud of hearing that. My mom and dad would have been proud. I'm sure they are.
A great joke teller, he had the uncanny ability of hearing a joke once and remembering it. I can still picture our late brother Pat starting to laugh at a Vin joke even before Vin even started telling it. Pat just had to look at him, especially when he started into "Rindercella." My favourite Vin joke was the skit which he acted out, was of the drunk, smoking, 100 year-old-looking lady who in actuality was only 23. Vin was so funny that when the legendary fiddler, Cindy Thompson, saw him perform once at a BBQ, she asked Vin to perform for 15 minutes between her sets at a Kings Wharf Theatre Show. He was that funny.
And how often would Francie feed him the name of a joke or a song to keep him going with his large repertoire of both. She was the ying to his yang. Certainly the life of any party he was at, Vin could also belt out a country song. Mom loved Vin singing, "My woman, my woman, my wife" by Marty Robbins. Her eyes always sparkled with pride. He and Pat singing together, accompanied by our sister Anne on the piano, was priceless and them laughing together, ensured entertainment at many a Dupuis function.
As a big brother, he introduced me to chess and fishing. Once we were fishing in a small plywood boat while he had a cast on a broken leg. He caught a big pike and stopped its flopping around in the bottom of the boat by yes, clomping it with his leg cast. Plunk. Too funny! A good and natural curler, he organized many Penetang Curling Club fishing trips to Cognashene and for many years organized an informal men's softball night and got the town to clear the first field which is now Phil Marchildon Park. And yes, he can cook and make pie dough and bread like nobody's business. Not to be outdone, Fran is a great cook in her own right. He'll suggest something for supper and she'll quickly have it on the go. Like I said, ying and yang.
The father and mother of four, he and Fran have been blessed with fourteen grandchildren. It's a treat to see how much love their family have for both of them. Vin and Francie have needless to say done a lot of babysitting but with a lot of love given and even more received. Their grandchildren adore them. Its vice versa I know.
Vin's claim to fame was once being tripped on a breakaway by Parry Sound's own Bobby Orr in a minor hockey bantam game. The other day, I told Vin, who is not a Donald Trump fan, that his hockey idol and hero, Bobby Orr, had taken out a full page add in support of Trump for President. I could feel his disappointment. Sorry about that. Anyway, Happy Birthday big brother and sister-in-law! Here's to many more! Love ya! In tribute I'll fry up a can of Klik!