Saturday, March 22, 2008

George Gross - R.I.P.

Readers from outside the Toronto area might not be familiar with George Gross. Please, do yourselves a favour and go through his columns online. I was saddened to hear of his death on Friday and wrote this.

The number glares at me from my cell phone, a high tech haunting.

I should have completed that call. "I can't! I'll be late for class! I'll wait until after Easter."

A few hours later, it was a moot point. George Gross passed away before I had the chance to meet him in person. We had exchanged emails, and he'd extended an invitation to a weekly get together he had with friends. Not being one to crash the party, I held back for a few weeks.

This week, I decided I would go. Oddly enough, George Gross and I patronised the same spot on Saturday mornings. He, being the early bird was there bright and early, between 7:30 and 9:00; this night owl usually arrived after 10:00

Today, I arrived earlier; I knew I could not meet "The Baron" but I had to keep the promise I had made to myself.

They aren't too many famous Slovak Canadians. To a Slovak Canadian writer, Gross is an inspiration.

Long before I knew about the hockey history lurking in the walls of an Etobicoke bakery, it was one of my favourite spots to read and write about hockey. Once I found out, it all made sense.

The best stories, the greatest insights are not found in musty, post-game dressing rooms. The best stories are found at the table - coffee, croissants, and conversation.

George Gross taught me that.

God Bless, Baron, God Bless.

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