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  • jolwajda


You how some people just like…radiate coolness? That's how I feel about Erik. The first time that I met him was through a friend who I was meeting for a drink. When I sat down with my pint, my friend casually mentioned that the manager of his band was going to join us. I was immediately intimidated. The manager of a band? Holy fuck, that’s so cool. I was nervous that I couldn't bring anything to the conversation. When he showed up, he was friendly and easy going. We mostly shot the shit about music, I think. I noticed during our conversation that he had a tattoo of a watch on his wrist, that was set to a specific time. I inquired about it. He told me that his grandpa had passed away recently - that he wanted something to remember him by. The watch was his grandfather's, and the time correlated with the day he passed away. I had recently lost my father, and I just remember thinking that it was such a thoughtful, well thought out tribute. I decided that somehow, I had to make this guy my friend. With annoying persistence on my part, and a bit of luck, I did just that. I can’t pinpoint exactly when our friendship became solidified; I just know that it did. He was so intelligent and well researched with everything that we would talk about. Always incredibly open minded and would often show me the other side of the coin that I wasn't always willing to see by myself. Everything he said always had stock behind it. And I hold his opinion of things in a very high esteem. We also fought. Man, have we had some yelling matches. I don't even know what about anymore. But those arguments didn't seem to faze us. He often put his pride to the side and his ego on the shelf. Something I haven't always been able to do. And I strongly believe that our friendship is as cemented as it is today because of that. Then he met Kristy, and as happy as I was for both of them, I was secretly grieving the loss of our friendship, because there was no way that any girl was going to let us keep such a tight knit bond. But with my second stroke of luck, she did. I say Kristy, but she is more accurately described as "Sweet Kristy" in my household. They were the first two people to venture out to visit me when I moved east. My mother instantly adored her. Kristy has the biggest smile, and was so helpful, generous, and courteous with everything we did on the trip. She brought an absolute lightness to the vacation. And brings an absolute lightness to every day in general. I don’t know if I've met two people that compliment each other as well as Kristy and Erik. They just fit. And I'm so over the moon for them that they've found one another. But I’m getting off track here. Back to radiating coolness. I've already said a dozen things that make Erik such an impressive individual, but just in case it hasn't sunk in, here's a few more: He opened up a music venue in a city that so desperately needed an outlet for it. Booking independent bands that most likely would have never passed through otherwise. It's a killer place for live music. He organized and put on a whole festival dedicated to his friend’s father who had passed away from prostate cancer, who himself used to put on festivals in his backyard for years. The festival was non-profit and brought awareness to the cause. He brought in bands to the

like of Dan Mangen and Wintersleep (What?!?). I remember him bringing me to the office when he was signing the cheque over to Wintersleep’s manager, because he knew I would be losing it inside. (I definitely was). It wasn't something he had to do, but he did it because he knew how much of an absolute trip that would be for me. What a legend. And most recently he opened up Trust Beer Bar, which is (obviously) easily the coolest place to drink in downtown St. Catherine's. Kristy also has that entrepreneur gene, and has her own incredible candle company with the sweetest lil candles. (How fitting). They both treat me like gold. Whenever I've come back to visit, they drive to Toronto to pick me up, like it's no big thing. Chauffeur me around, and are just the best hosts. They both make me feel so loved, it’s overwhelming. You know that old adage, “Find the helpers"? Well, Erik is one of those. He has helped so many people by breathing life back into his community through arts and culture. He has also helped me feel so confident in myself, and what I can do. How are you even supposed to repay a gift that someone gives you like that? I don't know. But I guess a good jumping off point would be to start accomplishing some of the things he believes I am capable of. Erik, I remember one of the early conversations we had after I had moved. You told me that one of your fears about me being absent geographically was that you just didn't want to end up being some dude I used to know in some town I used to live in. I hope that I've been able to show you that that’s just not a possibility. Thank you for always ALWAYS having my back. JW

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