Saturday, May 16, 2020



On a recent Sunday, sons Michael and Neil rented an ambulance and took their frail father to sit beside lock 25 on the Otonabee where he had fished so often. David sipped his favourite drink, an extra dry martini - to hell with all the medication - gazed with contentment over the river that flows through the heart of Peterborough, and tried to forget the hospital where his wife had died weeks before in the room they shared.
And then he returned from his last birthday party to that hospital to die a few days later. Fortunately Michael and Neil were with him, thanks to some compassionate nurses.
The pandemic robs us all of peaceful passings when even loved ones can't visit or are hampered at the end by the emergency rules, when David was blocked from moving to gentler surroundings by a decree announced even as the transfer stretcher was in the hall.
I wrote in when his Margaret died, the gentle matriarch of Plewesville, about how families at such artificial times, when virtual reality services of knots of mourners strain to replace funerals, when we deal with doctors by email and telephone and hope and frustration, that we all must share the love woven through our nostalgia.
When the world stumbles along this path to the unknown, we must spend more time savouring the past before the shroud drops on the future.
There is much to discuss about men like David Prescott who did everything so well that those around him, whether at CIBC or the golf club, recognized his graceful skill. So he would be bank manager and then assistant general manager for the country, or a steward ready to defend the rules during the Canadian Open.
You and I might decide to catch carp one morning but David had the special rods and knowledge and knew about web sites and shops that dealt only with carp. No trout or pickerel was safe when David scanned the water with an expert's eye.
He loved wood turning and became so good that he gave his bowls as gifts (thank heavens) and sold them at shows and became president of the Peterborough wood turners. He drove hours to buy special woods, but was great at scavenging. We were driving a country road and he shouted stop. He went to the farmhouse and asked if he could have the twisted stump he had spotted in a woodpile. The surprised response was yes.
I could barely see the woodpile, let alone the lovely gnarled knot, but he had a keen hunter's eye. He would identify the hawk swooping above the point when I could only see a dot, but he loved to label birds and fish and trees and wild flowers and when I challenged him with a guide book, he was right.
He had an affair with Mother Nature because he understood her right down to the roots.
The list is endless of what he enjoyed doing. And he was good at it, from bluffing with two deuces to dropping the fly just behind the rock where the trout had hunkered against the current.
 Most of us are content in retirement to take it easy many evenings, but David was always on the go, from theatre to lacrosse to all music, especially opera and choirs, so of course he was a leader in the choral activities of his adopted city.
He was willing to play cards until the cows came up for milking. He would search endlessly in the markets for the right tomato or sausage. He would ....but let's just leave it at that. Name some activity, whether urban culture or hunting, and David had done it with finesse and passion.
He was a man to be envied because he had come from a humble background and education to milk the joy out of life and then to sip it like that extra dry martini that Sunday afternoon with his beloved boys around him.

1 comment:

Angel17 said...

Thank you for sharing this update about David Presscott's life. Keep posted.