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Archive for August, 2009

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Friend and mentor

Friend and mentor

Its 5:30 am, I woke up at 4:30, and all I could think of is my friend Doug McNab, laughing.
Im going to his funeral today, Doug passed away last week.
To say it was a shock is an understatement, he was 74 but he wasn’t one to sit around in his retirement and watch life passing him by, no Doug was in the thick of it and enjoying every second of it.
I meet Doug when I became a volunteer with the Ottawa International Jazz Festival, Doug was the volunteer coordinator, he just retired from that job after 20 hears of giving up his free time in the summer to wrangle over 300 plus volunteers who make up the heard and soul of the festival.
I had the pleasure of working with him for 13 years at the festival, our days started early and ended late, working in the rain and the sun and the heat, Doug made sure his volunteers were where they needed to be, and made sure they were having fun, I consider myself very lucky to have worked as his assistant for a number of years.
Doug and his wonderful wife Jonnie were always opening their home to host great get-togethers and dinners and just any excuse for a party, being retired did not slow them down at all, ski trips in the winter and travel to Italy and around the country kept them feeling young.
Doug was a friend and mentor; I got to learn from a lot from him.
He had the uncanny ability to be able to recall phone numbers and address just of the top of his brain, and when you’re dealing with as many volunteers as he did, and not use a computer, very impressive.
Doug had a love for trivial facts, and when he would give you such a fact, and you knew he was right, why? Because Dougie said so. IF I ever wanted to find out about something, and Doug was around, I didn’t need Google, I just needed Dougie.
He introduced me to The West Coast sound, Chet Baker, Buddy Rich, Jonny Scott, and Ranee Lee, literally.
She was playing in the park one year and I say Doug chatting with this woman, as I cam closer I thought I recognized her, Dough turned to me and then introduced me to Renne , I was totally blown away, Doug knew this and just smiled, and Im sure laughed about it later.
I got back in to skiing because of Doug, spent a lot of beautiful days on the slope, and got to participate in the legendary Jazz Festival ski trips, Mt Blanc would never be the same, and the trip to the Rockies is one my high lights.
And why would Doug is laughing at me being up at 5:30 in the morning? He always said that was the best time to get up and get work done be for the day got too hot, Doug always gave me a hard time whenever I complained about early mornings and now I start my days around 7am, that’s late by Dougies standards.
Many good times, many laugh, many tears, we’ll keep a chair for you at the back stage BBQ my friend, and we won’t forget the mustard.