“There were people there I haven’t seen in 30, 40 years, and to look up and see them standing in line ... it was a great day, a proud day.”
Nearly a week after he and his wife Leah held a big Canada Day celebration in recognition of his Order of Canada, and iconic Oceansider Howie Meeker still got choked up talking about it.
“We put out about 150 invitations, but we had over 250 people turn out,” Leah Meeker said of the catered function held on their property.
“The way it started was that we decided we would invite all the people I haven’t seen in 25, 30, 40 years, and from there (the list) just kept growing,” Howie chuckled.
“And so many of them showed up ... we were just thrilled,” said Leah. “We had such a good time ... it was so wonderful to see all those happy faces.”
“So many people,” Howie marvelled when asked about the long line of adoring public, “some people must have stood there an hour and a half just to say hello.”
“We just wanted to be able to welcome everyone to say hello and give them a hug. It was just wonderful to reconnect,” Leah said of the well over two hours they stood at the end of the receiving line.
“We were so,” Howie said when asked if they were bushed by the end of the day, adding “we were on such a roll though, having so much fun it didn’t matter (about standing so long).
“To see all those people, it puts ‘ya on a high, like you’re smoking something,” he laughed, then made the point, “it was nice to see so many people talkin’ and laughin’ and eatin’ and drinkin’ and sharing memories.
“The world is full of neat people,” Howie said, “and we had a lot of really neat people here on Canada Day. It was great.”