The Life And Times Of A Traveller

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In Remembrance Of Hank

Originally published March 18 2010

I have been thinking about writing this post since February 4th, but haven't been able to do it until now because it is very hard. Here goes ...

Leonard Griffith Hawes was born October 28 1928 at Bueno Vista Lodge in Cumberland Beach, Ontario, Canada, just north of Orillia. Don't know why he was born at Bueno Vista Lodge when there was a perfectly good hospital in Orillia, but that's where it happened. And I don't know why a tourist lodge in central Canadian cottage country would have a Spanish Cuban name either. But there it is.

Throughout his life, he was a son, a husband to Mary, a father of four, a father-in-law, grandfather and great-grandfather. He was my Dad. A hard working man, he wore many hats: salesman, taxi driver, coin machine serviceman, construction worker, heavy equipment operator, transport driver, courier. He loved sports. He loved music. He loved to laugh and have a good time. He loved aeroplanes. He loved to fly. He went by the name Len.

**You:"So why are we remembering Hank'??"**

Well, let me tell the story.

Somewhere around 1980 or so, Dad (Len) was at my sister Sherry's house helping with construction of a new room in the basement. They were all working hard but ran into a bit of a glitch. While discussing various strategies, Dad went off on a tangent ... "Well, maybe if we do this ... No, no ... Well, maybe if we moved this ... . But then we would have to move this... Well no, maybe we wouldn't ... If we did this ... Well, no ... If we put this here ... No, no ... Let's do it this way ... No, that won't work... "

Meanwhile, my sister had wandered over to the stairs and sat down. Finally she blurted out "Ok Hank ... let us know when you're finished!". Well, you could have heard a pin drop. Everyone thought he was going to get angry and yell at her. But he burst out laughing, and everyone else did too, because they knew what my sister meant with her outburst. She was comparing Dad to the character Hank Kimball from the TV show Green Acres. If you've never seen that show, and don't know the character, watch this video on YouTube. So, forever more, certainly within the family, Leonard Griffith Hawes became affectionally known as Hank.

Moving forward to the near present, late in 2005, my brother Dan (an amazing guitarist/musician) put together a Pink Floyd tribute band called All In All It's Just (another brick in the wall .. get it?). Dad was the biggest fan (though the youngest child, Julie, will say she is) and was thrilled that Dan was going to live his dream. Somewhat earlier, it had been discovered that Dad had cancer. He remained upbeat and jovial, and fought the cancer hard, all the while supporting Dan in every way he could.

In mid-2006 I came aboard with Dan as the band manager, arranging single performance dates and multiple-date tours for the band. You can see the tour history of the band inside their website that I linked above. On February 3 2007, the band travelled to Powell River BC to perform at the Evergreen Theatre to a packed house. The band regularly performs a Pink Floyd song called Learning To Fly. Remember that I mentioned that Dad loved aeroplanes, he loved to fly? On this night, Dan dedicated their performance of this song to Dad.

He introduced the song to the audience like this: "We are going to dedicate this next song to my father, who has fought a very long battle with cancer, and uhhh, he is in his last days. He loved aeroplanes, he loved to fly. This song is for him."

I don't know how Dan got through the whole song, but being the consumate professional that he is, he did. The rest of us who were there were in tears. After the performance, I asked him why he did what he did at the spur of the moment. He said he didn't know, something just grabbed him and said "Do it".

Here is a video clip from that night, the last half of the song. Please pardon the sound - it is terrible because the camera was on-stage. You can follow links from the website to see/hear what they really sounded like.


into the distance, a ribbon of black
stretched to the point of no turning back
a flight of fancy on a wind swept field
standing alone my senses reeled
a fatal attraction holding me fast,
how can I escape this irresistible grasp?
can't keep my eyes from the circling sky
tongue-tied & twisted just an earthbound misfit, I

ice is forming on the tips of my wings
unheeded warnings, I thought I thought of everything
no navigator to guide my way home
unladened, empty and turned to stone

a soul in tension that's learning to fly
condition grounded but determined to try
can't keep my eyes from the circling skies
tongue-tied & twisted just an earthbound misfit, I

above the planet on a wing and a prayer
my grubby halo, a vapour trail in the empty air
across the clouds I see my shadow fly
out of the corner of my watering eye
a dream unthreatened by the morning light
could blow this soul right through the roof of the night

there's no sensation to compare with this
suspended animation, a state of bliss
can't keep my mind from the circling sky
tongue-tied & twisted just an earthbound misfit, I

- David Gilmour, Anthony Moore

A December Sunset Over Comox Harbour

Leonard Griffith Hawes, Dad, Hank, passed away in the early morning hours of February 4 2007, mere hours after Dan dedicated the song to him. We miss him dearly.


Randall Hawes

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