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Posts Tagged ‘Day Of 1000 Musicians’

Today is Don Ho’s Birthday! (August 13) I know this because every year for as long as I can remember, I received a text, phone call or facebook message (sometimes all of the afore mentioned) that went like this. …

“Today is Don Ho’s birthday, my Cutes. Have I ever told my Cutes my Don Ho story?”

That message won’t come this year and it breaks my heart. We lost my “Cutes”, Harry Warner Reid, December 5, 2018.  Harry would often tell me he was still waiting for his miracle and my response was always the same…”You are the miracle.”

Harry Warner Reid • Photo Credit Judy Breadner

It’s hard to say when Harry became “Cutes”. I can’t say I remember either one of us calling each other anything else. Applying the perfect nickname to anyone he came in contact with was one of his special talents. If Harry was your friend, you had a nickname, and you were a friend for life.

Cutes & I • Out front of the Chimney Restaurant in the early ’70s

Harry’s best friend is “Wheelz” who in later years became “The Doctor”.  They had the kind of friendship that made them inseparable even when it was physically impossible to be together.  In December of 1973 they headed off on an adventure of a lifetime and spent nearly three months backpacking on a shoestring through Europe, Morocco and the Canary Islands. Actually, it was more than one adventure. It was many, many adventures and I received documentation of the craziness in the form of a postcard from every stop. But, those stories are best left to Wheelz to recount.

When they returned they went about their “normal” lives, with Harry eventually landing a high paying job at the Ford Glass Plant. He had a car, a motorcycle, a girlfriend and multitudes of friends. Life was good. And then, suddenly, not so much.  I don’t know if you can still do this, but in the ’70s, you could rent the ice dirt cheap at a local arena for use in the middle of the night. Friends would get together and play hockey. In July, 1975, Harry & company did just that. They played hockey with skates, a sponge puck and a stick. There was no other equipment, including helmets. Somehow, Harry was hit and received an unremarkable little bump on the side of his head. He left the arena and drove to his girlfriend’s. Early the next day he was rushed from our local hospital to a bigger city hospital in Hamilton. When Wheelz called me to come (I was away at college) nothing could have prepared me for the trauma I witnessed. To Harry, Wheelz and Harry’s parents. Things got worse before they got better and often it was one step forward and two steps back. Harry fought hard along with everyone who loved him. He survived, regaining all his faculties but not all of his physical abilities. There were some very dark times, but eventually, our Harry, with his big smile, breathless laugh and keen sense of humour returned to us.

I spent many hours at Harry’s home and became very attached to his dad, Earl, his mom, Lorna and his brother Stan. I’m pretty sure I spent more time there than at my own home. They were family. My memory fails me as to exactly when Harry’s Love, Linda joined him. That’s probably because it’s hard to picture her ever not there. She is the love of his life. He called her his “Serendipitous Angel”. I called her a Saint, oh, and also, Mrs. Cutes. My faith in miracles was restored when these two found each other. Linda’s energy seemed endless and because of her, Harry didn’t miss out on much. Even after his MS reared its ugly head, they lived their lives to the utmost.

Mr. & Mrs. Cutes

Harry kept a journal and made note of absolutely everything. He would often contact me and tell me things like, “Today is the day, when three years ago My Cutes brought me a Hard Rock guitar pin from Maui”, or “My Cutes visited me on this day five years ago”. I don’t know how he kept track of it all or how he remembered the things he did. There were times he would entertain me endlessly with wee stories in what seemed to be his own language. A few years ago He-Who and I drove to Florida. OK, I drove, He-Who passengered. Harry started texting me and because I was driving, He-Who had to read them out loud and respond for me. Up to that point He-Who had not been privy to what I like to call “Cutes Speak”. Harry had us laughing, tears rolling down our faces through several states. He was relentless with his tongue-in-cheek humour and often pranked me when I least expected it.

Many years ago I bought the first car that actually had my name on the ownership. It was a maroon Monte Carlo. I loved that big beast. It wasn’t new…just new to me. One day as I was making a left hand turn from St. Paul St. on to Pelham Rd. in St. Catharines, Monty just stopped in the middle of the intersection. The person I called for help was my Cutes. Somehow, he managed to organize a rescue mission with Stan leading the team. I say “somehow”, because this was long before cell phones. All I know is a tow truck took my car to the Reid’s house where it sat in the driveway, while I sat at their kitchen table. That’s where I was when Stan came in and asked me when was the last time I changed the oil.

“What do you mean? Changed the oil? When the oil light comes on I put in more oil.”

Stan’s eyes did that bulgy thing and I could see my Cutes trying really hard not to laugh.

“No. I mean when was the last time you changed it?”

“What do you mean change? I told you every time the oil light came on I put oil in it.”

Apparently, “changing” the oil was a different thing from “adding” oil. My engine had seized. Monty was in a bad way.

Every day after work I would go to the Reid’s and Monty would be there with Stan trying to bring him back to life and my Cutes was in his wheel chair with his head under the hood. I would ask for a progress report and then go inside to commiserate with Lorna.

Finally the day came when Monty and I were reunited. Stan handed me the keys and made me promise to change the oil on a regular basis. Cutes had a grin a mile wide on his face as I pulled out of the driveway. Days later I stopped at a gas station on Lundy’s Lane and asked the attendant to fill the gas tank and to please check my oil. He did. When he closed the hood and walked towards me wiping the grease off his hands he had the goofiest grin on his face. I recognized that grin. I had to dig back, but that was the postman’s grin when he delivered postcards from Harry to me addressed in big bold letters to “Cutes”. When I got home I parked Monty and went around front and lifted the hood. There, in big bold letters, hand painted on the air filter cover, was the word “Cutes”. I can still hear Harry laughing.

Harry loved Rock & Roll, bands and guitars. The band he kind-of-sort-of organized was called None The Whyzer and he was always teasing me that He-Who was to join them on his banjo. Last year Harry was absolutely thrilled to be able to participate in Day of 1,000 Musicians in Niagara.

Harry at Day of 1,000 Musicians in Niagara Falls 2018 • Photo Credit Tim Shafley

This year his band, family and friends sported a specially designed designed T-Shirt in honour of Harry.

 

Day of 1,000 Musicians 2019 • Photo Credit Dave Wheeler

Designed by Zach Bury

Through The Harry Warner Reid Memorial Music Fund, Harry has been able to continue to share his love for music by donating cash &/or instruments to the Niagara Elementary Instrumental Music Program, DSBN Academy, Beamsville Secondary School, Eden High School, Thorold High School, Greater Fort Erie Secondary School, A.N. Myer Secondary School and Eastdale Secondary School.

Harry had the ability to make people feel like they were the most valued person alive. He made me feel that way every time I had contact with him. Being a part of Harry’s life was a gift. A gift, I for one will cherish forever. As I always said to him whenever we said good-bye, “I love you, my Cutes”.

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