It’s a cliché worth repeating: the most precious resource we all have is time.” Yet it`s also one of the most squandered. And once it’s gone, you don’t get it back. Friends and family are like that. Like time, gifts to savour and enjoy but all too often taken for granted. Time stopped for me today. Actually, it stopped yesterday when I first heard that Peter Komarnicki, a friend, died suddenly and unexpectedly. I paused then, stunned by the news, casting about the office for others who knew him and with whom I could share my grief. I called Mary, his wife, to see how she was doing, completely at a loss for something appropriate, supportive, to say. After hanging up I managed a few more dangling to-dos before giving up and leaving early.Now it’s the day after. I have just finished calling the last retiree on my list with the sad news, and time really has stopped. I am too distracted to work and choose instead to lay down these few cathartic ramblings. Peter retired almost exactly six years ago as the Chair of Accounting and Computer Education, the position I now hold, and the one I will be leaving myself next January 11th. Peter hired me 16 years ago as an instructor. Over that time he grew beyond a boss to become a respected mentor, a trusted colleague, and a faithful friend. He wasn’t a best friend. More like so many of the friends we have that are always on the periphery: a lunch here, a fish-fry there, a birthday party, a beer. Separate lives that intersect infrequently but fairly regularly. One of our more regular meetings, at least until Peter and Mary sold their house in Winnipeg to move to Victoria Beach, was our weekly therapy group, the Pope and Bears. I attribute what little sanity I can boast to those meetings the King’s Head pub. Peter was at the origin of the name some seven or eight years ago when someone emailed the question, “King’s Head on Thursday?” Former Dean Dave Williamson replied, “Is the Pope catholic?” Peter replied, “Do bears crap in the woods?” The name stuck. Dave was the Pope; we were the bears. Though we are down to four regular bears on our sacred Thursdays, there’s always a table reserved and spirits rise up a notch when Peter and Mary come to WInnipeg and join us. Sorry, rose. Peter’s last beer with us was a couple of weeks ago. I can’t remember the Pope’s. Time just slips by.
This will be a sad Thursday, but Peter will definitely be there with us.