My friend Tony

Six Mile Lake is a lake in the Muskoka region of Ontario. I should note this location is definitely not chopped liver but certainly not the foie gras of THE Muskoka lakes frequented by Goldie Hawn, Cindy Crawford and various NHL hockey players (although Martin Short does have a place on Lake Joseph so Canadian content is not out of the question on prime Canadian Shield properties). But I digress.

I have not done a statistically valid survey, but for the most part Six Mile is a seasonal destination, mainly because many cottages are boat-in or otherwise not conducive to winter. Those with benefit of plowed drive-in locations or who wait patiently for full ice-in and fire up the snowmobile to embrace the winter season laugh in our general direction and enjoy the beauty of the lake 3.5 or 4 seasons of the year. Going a step further, several have chosen to spend their retirement at the lake 24/7 and 365 (not withstanding any winter vacations, for which none of their peers would quibble). And our friends Tony and Julia did just that: settle into a glorious second act in a cozy house nestled on a peaceful bay with full road access, garbage pickup and mail delivery (which is to say, unlike many of us seasonal people, they managed to realize some value from their property tax, but I digress yet again…).

There are about 600 cottages on Six Mile and it is a very spread out lake (actually more than six miles spread out, but that’s another story) so it isn’t out of the question I’d never met Tony and Julia until about four years ago when luckily our paths finally crossed and we became friends. As many things go, there were surprisingly few degrees of separation. Among them: their previous cottage on the lake was right next door to the cottage of a family friend where we had spent a bunch of time, they had myriad mutual friends in the photo industry, and we shared the same financial advisor.

Unfortunately, Tony got sick with the kind of sick that is annoying, undeniable and just plain inconvenient for a bunch of time until you get the short end of the stick. His response was to just live his best life as long as he could. I think we could all benefit from what I have observed about Tony’s approach to life:

• Shirts have a place and time and that time is not in the summer (or spring or the fall or even not the winter, circumstances willing).
• There is no single malt scotch that does not deserve a chance.
• The glass is always full (see above).

Tony missed seeing this year’s official spring by five days but the fact he went out the same day as Julius Caesar is not that shabby in my book. And to my dear friend Julia: When the hummingbirds appear at the feeder and the loons are swimming with their young and the summer evenings melt into languorous, sultry, star filled nights, I hope you will find it a comfort that Tony will be watching it all through your eyes.

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