What We're Reading:

G&B: Apologies to Sting

It's been a blast, folks. The Worlds Most Popular Podcast is signing off. Truth to be told, there's not enough hours in the day for ...

Friday, November 20, 2009

a day in the life - remembering rivers...


November 20th 2004.

Woke up late that Saturday morning after a night of celebration. I was moving from the upstairs department of the market research company I was working for at the time to the downstairs. A few co-workers and I went out that night to swap stories and look back at the year that was. We knew it wouldn't ever be the same again. Things would change. We wouldn't be able to talk to each other as much. Have the same fun we had. I spoke about the goodtimes and the bad times. The energy that a dozen people brought to that office that made my love for my work that more special. However, we smiled. Because it was for the better.

Saturday morning, I woke up to a voice mail. I decided to answer it later. Needed breakfast. Ate and watched something on the tele. Taking my time. It was Saturday and hungover. I was allowed. Usually, the first thing I would do was to check my e-mail. Surf the net. Check my voice mail. But today was different. I needed to be in the realm of self for a while. Don't know why. Just thought it was because it was the first day of the rest of my life. I went back upstairs and headed back to bed. Woke up an hour later. Finally. Turned on the computer. Checked all the main sites. Then the Yellow Message board. Then. I read the news. Oh Boy.

Tom Rivers had passed away.


By that time it was late afternoon. My sister and her boyfriend were over talking to my Mom. I was in shock. I went to my phone. Had a feeling the voice mail had to do with the news. Yup. I was right. My friend Simon left a voice mail earlier on that day. He sounded confused. He called me to find out if it was true. I was also looking for answers. To a question I never thought I'd have to answer. Ended up that Rivers had been battling cancer. The evilness ran through his body too fast to catch it. The evilness took down the big six foot fiver. I told my family. Called my Dad. We were all in disbelief. To us, Rivers was someone who would always be here. Always around. Maybe not on radio, but just in our life - like he had been for the past 15 years. He was my best pal. My brother from another mother.

Took a few days off work. Just sat in my room and listened to old tapes. Re-educated myself on Tom's talent. His timing. His delivery. His creativeness. His humor. His insight. But what I thought about most, was our personal chats. The days we would talk over smokes and coffee during a news break at the wee hours of the morning. Everyone was getting up but Rivers was at his peak for the day.

I asked Tom once what he thought the inside of his brain looked like. He told me like one of those animals working a big machine on the Flinstones. That was his creative energy getting prepared. He added, but while they're were pumping juice from the big machine, the animal was also, fishing, listening to music, drinking beer and flying.

They were so many parts of Tom's mind that I was privileged to learn about. Fishing was his big thing. After he got his flying licence later on in life, that was all he was talking about. Of course, radio. Music. Family. His wife. All that too. But my favorite thing about Tom was his wise council. His friendship. His honesty.

Five years gone. Looking back now, I think that on Saturday, November 20th 2004, I looked back and shared stories to who ever who would listen on the goodtimes I had with Tom. The bad times, too. The energy that the big man brought to my life and to millions around Toronto for 4 decades. And I Smiled.