At first the words won’t come, just the tears. We knew the day was coming and yet…
The tears are both a mourning of who he was and a celebration of what he gave us, because what he gave us was a sense of ourselves. Gord was a troubadour, a stenographer of a national consciousness, a historian of our little ways. I hope you don’t mind me calling him Gord; he wasn’t a stranger. He was family.
I grew up in Kingston, Ontario. Our main exports are limestone and the Tragically Hip. Kingston is a town that rallied around its native sons like it hasn’t rallied around anything else. If you’ve lived in Kingston — hell, if you’ve been to Kingston — you know the spark that comes when someone brings up the Hip. Kingstonians have this look — a look of pride, and familiarity, and home. “They went to this school,” “they played that venue,” “they lived in this neighbourhood.”