I loved my Uncle Roger. As a boy he was a surprise to me and a wonderment too. His youngest son and I are near the same age. But Jeff lived in Winnipeg and Fargo, North Dakota so we didn't see each enough to be real close. Before they moved south from The Pas for economic reasons, Uncle Roger and Aunt Phillis's family lived in The Pas and later in Brandon where uncle was stationed during World War II. My cousins Doreen, Arthur, Ken, Joan and Jeffery were nomads since they moved often.
Nonetheless, Roger loved to come visit us. As my Grandparents got older my folks and I moved next door to live with them. Mom spent much of her time caring for her aging parents. Roger and family came to visit often. We always had big gatherings for New Years. It was more important than Christmas was. I think Roger loved his father, my Grandfather and would emulate him in his life. Early in his life he learned the fur trade business from Grandpa. Our house became the gathering place for generations of family. Therefore, the culture and customs became mine to observe. Roger and Cecile (my mother) were always close. French was their mother tongue so I think Roger enjoyed exercising his language muscle while visiting us. Mom enjoyed sharing her concerns with him.
During the war mom lived in Winnipeg and later lived near Roger's family in Brandon. She told me about seeing prisoners of war disembarking the train while armed soldiers lined the length of the train to watch over them. Mom attended dances on weekends. She saw the best 40's big bands of the day. The commonwealth sent it's flying officers to train in Brandon. Cecile met well mannered young officers at these dances.
Over the years, Roger remained close with mom and dad. He ran his own fur store in The Pas before he retired. He sold and managed fur coats for people. A fur coat always required proper storage in the spring and summer months and he looked after storage for folks.
As both my mother and Roger approached their late eighties uncle kept in regular phone contact with mom. Since she shared things about me, he felt a need to look out for my welfare. He could no longer see and had reached the ripe age of 90. Roger called me in Ottawa. I was working on the start of a new television network. He said I should forget about this television nonsense and return to merchant trading. He upheld the custom and history we had as merchants. He said since I was of his clan it would be better for me and I would be more successful doing that. Here I was in charge of building a television network from scratch and couldn't be a more professional job. I laughed and thanked him for his advice but I assured him this was a wonderful career opportunity. His call came on Friday evening. On Monday, Mom called to tell me he had past away. If anything, he left me with a sense of courage and strength as I face the future.