The Fella’s Father. A profile.
More than just pastries!

I’ve always wanted to do a small profile of the fella’s father but never got around to it. Even though the fella isn’t around anymore I’ve always loved the fella’s father. He’s just like the fella but funnier. And believe me when I tell you that’s a very difficult thing to be.

You may know the fella’s father from his much loved posts here on my site, True Squares, True Soups and of course, the post that started the entire True Food series, the ever popular True Pies.

If you haven’t already read those posts, you must before continuing on here.

I always worried that you maybe had the wrong impression of the fella’s father. You see he’s quite passionate about his series of True Foods and comes off as a bit … nuts. Perhaps curmudgeonly. And those two things are partially true.

He also loves corned beef in a can which really makes it difficult to take his view on any foods seriously.

But today I thought I’d let you in on the true him because I feel like I’ve been holding a secret all these years. As it turns out the fella’s father isn’t some crotchety, opinionated man nesting in an old chair in the corner of a room. He’s actually an award winning journalist, too.

The Fella’s father started out his career as a reporter for a small town newspaper in Ontario. From there he moved to larger and larger newspapers working as a journalist until he made it to the largest publications in Canada.  You know … true Newspapers.

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From there he delved into the world of television where he stayed for the rest of his career working as a field and senior producer at Canada’s most prestigious news shows W5 and The Fifth Estate.

His work as an investigative journalist uncovered corruption, ended political careers and resulted in accountability for people who otherwise would have gotten away with it.  Canadians may remember the Starkist tuna scandal where federal fisheries minister John Fraser allowed the sale of tainted tuna or the bribe scandal behind De Havilland airline sales. The fella’s father is the journalist who broke those stories.

I know. And you thought he was just tough on pastries.

So now it’s been revealed. The fella’s father is smart. In fact I can easily say that I have never in my life met anyone smarter than the fella’s father. Ever. Funny, brilliant and ruggedly handsome.  He’s read Proust.  WHO READS PROUST??  Kind of the perfect man really. Other than the whole pie dictatorship thing.

So it pains me to tell you that the fella’s father died suddenly this past week. It was his heart. It was a shock. It is a shock.

The fella’s father, Mike Lavoie, was there when I needed help with work.  He was there with the answer if I ever had a question. And he was even there when the fella left. For both of us.

He read every one of my posts and I dare say he was proud of me. One of the highest compliments I’ve ever received was when he referred to me as a humourist. If Mike thought you were funny and liked your writing you were doing something right.

He and his wife Michelle often spent Chrismas and Thanksgiving with us. The fella’s father was family. He and I never broke up.

I travelled to Ottawa this weekend to attend his funeral and tribute. I was joined by his family and friends.  The gathering was a reflection of the fella’s father.  A group of those who Mike loved and who loved him.  Everyone from the guy who does odd jobs around the cottage to an Emmy award winning journalist.

I brought the 4 True Squares with me. Nanaimo bars, date squares, brownies and lemon squares (the honourary square). All cut to the requisite true square size of 2″ x 2″.

And yes, that is indeed the size of a true square. I know … because a true friend told me so.

My mother came with me and my two sisters did as well.  None of us had seen the fella in a year.  But we didn’t hesitate.  There’s a difference between doing something because you know it’s the right thing to do and doing something because it feels like the right thing to do.  It felt right to go.  To hold the fella’s hand and support Mike’s beautiful wife Michelle.  I’m not one for cliche lines, but sometimes they’re so popular because they sum up things so well.  So I have to say that I have never seen a love like the one between Mike and and his wife Michelle.

It was true love.

And that’s what this is all about isn’t it?  Love.  It’s a bitch.  Because love, the one thing that brings you more joy and happiness than you ever thought possible, is also, inevitably the thing the brings you the deepest sorrow.  You cannot have one without eventually having the other.

The miracle is that the sorrow will eventually dull, if not completely go away, making room in your cloudy mind to remember once again how remarkable, how breathtaking it was, to have loved.

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218 Comments

  1. Hope says:

    Just wanted to join the chorus…loved and lost but better than going without the relationships that add SO much to our lives!

  2. Barbara says:

    What an elegant tribute. Sorry for your loss.

  3. Deva says:

    Some people take a huge part of our heart when they go. We are left with such sadness, but the wonderful memories are there and such a big comfort. I am so sorry for your huge loss and so glad you knew and loved this a wonderful man.

  4. Gretchen Sexton says:

    What a beautiful tribute. He kind of reminds me of you.
    Thoughts and prayers coming your way.

  5. Ev Wilcox says:

    Class and compassion. I will keep a good thought for you and his family. Thanks, Karen.

  6. Feral Turtle says:

    Awe this is so sad. I am sorry for the fella, his family and you, as it seems you lost a father figure Karen. How nice to hear you stayed close. He sounds like an incredible man!

  7. Laura Bee says:

    I re-read all the True posts, just because they are all so good, before coming back to read this one. I had already decided True Cookie #2 would be a good idea on this damp overcast day. Even more so now.
    My thoughts are with you and everyone who loved The Fella’s Father. Thank you for sharing his True lists & a little of his life. You always write from your heart when you aren’t writing with your funny bone. xxoo

  8. Heather (mtl) says:

    I am so sorry to hear of your loss, Karen – je te donne mon coeur!
    It takes time to peel back all the layers of life, but remember that all those layers make for a life well lived. I must say, it sounds like his life was a delicious one!
    Heather

  9. Terry says:

    What a lovely tribute to the other fellow in your life.
    You did the right thing in attending the funeral.
    It shows the best side of you, your strength and decency.
    May his memory always remain in your heart
    and the thought of the good times with him remain in your mind.
    I am so sorry for your your loss.

  10. Michelle says:

    This must have been hard for you on many different levels, but you did the right thing. Seeing your post reminds me that everyone has a story, whether it is a little picture book, or an encyclopedia. Thanks for sharing.

  11. mickey says:

    Thank you for sharing with us, Karen. My condolences to you and the fella’s Father’s family. You are in my prayers and thoughts.
    mickey

  12. Jodi T. says:

    So beautifully said. The Fella’s father would be proud.

    So sorry for your loss, Karen. <3

  13. Debbie says:

    This was a beautifully written, heartfelt tribute. Mike would be proud! Condolences to you, the falla and the family. May his memory be for a blessing.

  14. Melissa in North Carolina says:

    Please accept my sincerest condolences, Karen, Michelle, the fella, family and friends. True love is an amazing gift. Those who experience it are truly blessed. What a beautiful tribute to an amazing man. Thank you for sharing the trueness of Mike with us.

  15. Anita says:

    Karen, my condolences on your loss. You have really had a rough year. I am fighting back tears and I never new the man. My loss, I’m sure. I love how he was there for both of you when the Fella left. That shows true class. And love. Did Mike have any True Rounds? All I have to honor him is a doughnut, but I figure a journalist probably ate his fair share of doughnuts and coffee.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Anita. And yes. As far as years go this one has been … trying. And it’s close to exactly one year as a matter of fact, so maybe when that date passes in a week or so things will get less dramatic and traumatic. And you know what, he did have some very specific thoughts on doughnuts, one of which was the fact that he thought the true way to spell it was Donut. Yes. There was an actual discussion about the true spelling of doughnuts. I think you’ll be safe with a Honey Crueller. ~ karen!

  16. Su says:

    A beautiful tribute. My condolences to you and those who loved this man.

  17. Sandy says:

    This was a beautifully written post and tribute to Mr. Lavoie, Karen. My sincerest condolences to you and his family. Hugs

  18. Nan Tee says:

    Condolences, for you and your family. What a wonderful way of remembering a special man.

  19. gogothrift@etsy.com says:

    Karen,
    I’m so very sorry.

  20. JF says:

    Karen,
    writing this @ my desk in the Office of Doom with tears in my eyes

    thank you for sharing The Fella’s Father with us — he sounds like an amazing human being and I am SO glad he was in your life

    much love and sympathy to you and his family

    JF

  21. Mary Werner says:

    Sounds like he grabbed the world by the tail and gave it a good shake so it wouldn’t be the same for his living in it. When someone larger than life is no longer physically present, they can’t help but be present later at other family functions, worker get-togethers, and other completely unexpected times for all those that knew them. His work related accomplishments, true loves, and many opinions means he will be present for a very long time. My condolences to Mr. Lavoie’s family and friends. A true tribute, Karen.

  22. Megan says:

    So sorry to hear, but what a beautiful tribute. He has a kind face.

  23. susan w says:

    Lovely. Truly.

  24. nicole d says:

    :( many sympathies for you, and all who are grieving the loss of someone you cared for.
    It’s beautiful to remember him so fondly, and for him to leave such a “sweet taste” in everyone’s lives.

    One can only hope to be remembered at the end of their lives with so many kind and wonderful memories.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you, and his family and friends.

  25. Donna says:

    A wonderful tribute to a fabulous man! I loved the “true” series and was giddy thinking I was in for another one, but sadly no. I am sorry for your loss and thank you for sharing him with us all.

  26. Donna says:

    Such a lovely, well written article about a well loved man. I enjoyed your stories about the true pies etc. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this sad time.

  27. Jebberjay says:

    That was beautiful. I’m so sorry for those who loved him.

  28. Ruth says:

    I am so truly sorry for your loss. There is nothing that really seems right to say at a time like this….
    (If I were well enough, I’d bake today because I suddenly have the urge to bake a true pie)

  29. SuzyMcQ says:

    I don’t know if they make men like that anymore. As a mom, I’ve tried to instill goodness in my children because I think that’s really what being true is. So, I’m pessimistic, but ever optimistic.

    My condolences to everyone Mr. Lavoie touched with his trueness. I suppose it’s quite a long list.

  30. Robin F says:

    I’ve had a couple of hard losses in the past couple of months and your post about this beautiful person brought on the tears, the like of which I haven’t had. So sorry for your sudden loss. It is clear how much this man meant to you.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Robin F – Sorry to make you cry. But … it’s probably a good thing. Sometimes we get stuck in survival mode and grief is an important part of surviving. It helps us move forward. So cry away. ~ karen

  31. Mary says:

    Dare I say that this is your best post ever? I am moved by the love you had for this man and I am sorry for your loss.
    Mary

  32. Linda J Howes says:

    When it’s true, it breaks your heart. May your memories mend our grief.

  33. Reg says:

    Condolences to you and Mr. Lavoie’s family.

  34. Biggi says:

    My heart goes out to you and all family! What a great GREAT tribute!!!! He must have been a remarkable man. Makes me think I want to live and love as he has done, passionately and uncompromising (in food, and work, and life, and love)!
    Love is all there is!

  35. Laura C says:

    I made date squares this weekend. They weren’t “true” squares because I added coconut. I will eat one tonight with tea in his honor. Hugs.

  36. Marcie says:

    A beautifully written loving tribute. It truly touched me. My heart goes out to all those who knew and loved him.

  37. Suzanne @ Le Farm says:

    I feel like Forrest Gump saying this, but all I can say about death is how much it reminds me that it is as much a part of life as living. It’s bittersweet like the best chocolate is.
    “…and that’s all I’m going to say about that.”

  38. Linda says:

    I’m sorry for your loss Karen, and your family’s loss. It sounds to me like he was larger than life…a very good quality indeed.

  39. Lynn says:

    I’m so sorry for this loss. Thank you for sharing a bit more of this great man with us. The “True” posts have been some of my favorite.

  40. Laura N. says:

    Yes, the fella’s father was right. You’re like a modern day woman’s Erma Bombeck. So sorry to hear about the fella’s father. Besides all of your funny pieces, I think that this was my favorite post. Just curious? What is the fella’s occupation.

  41. Suanne says:

    I add “Amen” to all that has been said. May the memories he left all of you, be a healing balm.

  42. Deb J says:

    I was thinking the same as Tigersmom, that this is a true tribute; so beautifully expressed. My deepest sympathy to you and his family.

  43. Tigersmom says:

    I’m so sorry for such a big loss.

    I’m not trying to be funny, but I think he would have felt that this post qualifies as a true tribute. I’m just saying that the writer in him would have appreciated and been proud of the way you brought him to life for those of us who didn’t know him. And the way you made us wish we had.

    My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family and his.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Tigersmom. And it’s fine to be funny, lol. The fella’s father would have been the first one to laugh. Honestly, I’ve never met someone who could say such inappropriate things at such inappropriate times and get away with it because it made everyone laugh, lol. ~ karen!

    • Tanya H. says:

      My thoughts exactly. Very sorry for your loss, Karen.

  44. Beckie says:

    what a lovely tribute

    I am sorry for everyone’s loss

  45. Brenda says:

    Karen,
    My sincerest condolences to you, the Fella, his family and all who knew and loved Mike. Your post is a wonderful tribute to his life and love for family. So sad to lose the ‘good ones’ who embraced life so well.
    Hugs, Brenda

  46. erin says:

    What a beautiful post to honor someone so special. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  47. marilyn says:

    karen , such a loss! for all of you,,my sincere sympathy..and what a beautiful tribute..mike would definitely be proud! i use the true pie to describe true friends..a top and bottom and everything great in the middle …a true pie kinda friend..sounds like mike was that kinda guy. you were lucky to have known him.

  48. mayr says:

    Beautiful writing. You are a dear heart.

  49. Jody says:

    I’m so sorry. My thought are with Mr Lavoie’s family and your family. Loss hurts and it sucks.

  50. Edith says:

    How sad. My heart goes out to all of you.

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