I would like to join with Newfoundlanders and Labradorians everywhere in wishing Ed Smith ‘Bon Voyage!’ as he goes on to the next phase of his life.
I hardly knew Ed, although our paths did cross when we were both teaching on Fogo Island, he with the Integrated Board in Joe Batt’s Arm, and I in Tilting with the RC Board. NTA meetings were where we met, but we never became more than ‘union comrades.’
I got to know Ed much better through his newspaper column, and then in his books.
He never gave the slightest hint of self-pity, or of resentment, as he described his accident and the resulting quadriplegia. Whatever depression he experienced, he would not share it until he had found a way to make it entertaining. “The Ashes of my Dreams” (2002) is worth reading just to see how much a person can suffer without losing faith, and without letting the sense of humour fade away.
I doubt that many of us could acquit ourselves quite as well as Ed did.
I know I couldn’t.
I have never ceased to marvel at the strength of character and the sheer determination Ed showed us, as he soldiered on, writing and enjoying the little absurdities of human life.
I don’t doubt for a moment that his family and his attachment to the Church helped him during his hospitalization and his physical incapacity, but it is also a lasting tribute to the man himself — he just wasn’t the kind to surrender.
After all, he was a Newfoundlander (which is more than I’ll ever be, despite living two-thirds of my life here), and that surely gave him the kind of stubborn will to survive that has kept this island afloat for so long.
I’ll miss Ed; all of us will. But as a fellow Ed, and a fellow Christian (discounting denominations), I’m expecting to deepen our mutual acquaintance ‘hereafter.’
I hope Flanker, or somebody else, will make sure that the rest of Ed’s literary output is made available to the reading public. Ed deserves that, and so do we.