The word hero gets thrown around a lot. We all have our own personal heroes – parents, grandparents, business partners, fellow blog writers. And then there are the public heroes. The ones that played a pivotal role in your childhood, the ones that have inspired from afar.
Stuart McLean was one of those heroes to me. I can thank my dad for our introduction. He was the one who welcomed Stuart into our van every Sunday on the radio. We’d mostly listen and almost always laughed. Stuart had a distinctive voice, in timbre and in point of view. His stories were unapologetically Canadian, about Canadian life and Canadian values. And through Stuart we got to know Dave and Morley, Sam and Stephanie, plus an entire community of fun and wacky characters. Although they were all fictional, they became real friends. Friends who we visited on a weekly basis. Stuart had this uncanny ability to make seemingly mundane activities, like cooking a turkey, seem like an extraordinary adventure. He gave value to the little moments, the moments we tend to take for granted.
When the news broke on Wednesday that Stuart had died, I immediately went to the Vinyl Cafe website and began listening to the archived episodes of his show. I couldn’t pick a favourite even if I tried. His distinctive voice filled the air and I got transported to the back seat of my dad’s old van, listening and laughing. Thank you for the stories, Mr. McLean. So long for now.