So, a while back, I asked people to send inspirational energy through personal means, be it prayer, meditation or intention to my dear friend, Peter Loster. He was battling leukemia fuelled by radiation treatments for a brain tumor a few years back. Most of us believed he would win but sadly, I must tell you that Cliffy lost that fight on January 15th of 2012. I meant to write about this sooner but anyone that knows me knows I am a bit of a procrastinator, especially if I am having to do something unpleasant. Until today, it was not pleaant to even think about losing who I have aptly described as “my best friend”. Why today? Well, Peter didn’t ask for much in his life an even less in his death but one thing was to not mourn but celebrate and in Vernon, B.C. on Sarurday, January 21st at the Elks Lodge, there will be a party. I love parties so I hate missing them but I am particularly disappointed to not be able to partake in this one. Unfortunately, my work as a professional speaker doesn’t allow me to easily call in sick. In 35 years of speaking to groups, I have missed three gigs and all were weather related. I mention this not to brag and particularly not to excuse my absence from Cliff’s memorial but I felt compelled to do a little writing.
For the majority of people who read my blog, you may right now be thinking…why would I care about this blog? My simple answer is I cared about Peter Loster.
I met Peter Loster somewhere around 1965 and I say “around” because as much as we tried, He and I could not recall exactly when. What we did agree on is it felt like we knew each other “forever”. You might imagine that for Alvin Law, making friends wasn’t easy. That may seem because I had no arms but it was actually because I was very precocious. I wasn’t spoiled since my family didn’t have much but even at 5, I was used to getting my way. Peter was one of the rare individuals who put up with that. Peter and I became fast friends and we played together whenever we could. “Dinky Toys” (die-cast metal cars, trucks, etcetera) were common, as were Hot Wheels. One of our favorite games was pretending to be pilots “flying” in my Dad’s Rambler but our absolute favorite was table-top hockey. I got a game for Christmas and it was awesome. It had metal players and removable plastic sticks that we would use a lighter to put a bend in the stick for harder shots. It came with two teams; the Montreal Canadians and Toronto Maple Leafs. Pete loved Boston so he played the Leafs as Bruins and I played Montreal and that’s when they became my favorite team. You can imagine the rivalry was part of our lives and was both heated and respected. What remembering that game reminds me of was how accommodating Peter was. He knew I couldn’t play real sports so he accommodated me. One of our favorite activities then continued into our adult lives and some of the most fun Cliff and I had together was hunkering down with some beverages, cigars and video game battles in each other’s basements. In fact, the day of my Mom’s funeral in March ’96 ended with a fierce battle of rally car racing in Peter and Sharon’s basement in Yorkton.
Rather appropriate then that Peter asked for a party not a funeral…they aren’t much fun, are they? Speaking of fun, there isn’t enough time today to recall all the special moments and creative events that Cliffy either planned or participated in. Shoot The Shit…a personal favorite. Pardon the grammar but this was a game Pete invented that involved two porcelin toilets (used), four toilet plungers wrapped with duct tape so they wouldn’t easily bounce when striking the toilets, which were placed twenty to forty feet apart and players would toss the plungers at the toilets with the aim of landing and staying in the bowl. If you did it handle down, you got bonus points. I have often told people our home town was boring…proof! But did we have fun.
I think of all the places he lived and who came to the best ever parties. The roof of Haus Nissan on Broadway (the old one); Seradaville. Hell, Cliffy lived with me and a biker chick in Saskatoon in 1983 and just about got my beloved Green Hornet Sportabout Station Wagon ruined after borrowing it to Deejay a dance at a remote reserve in Northern Saskatchewan.
He was my best man at my wedding, twice. I was part of his, once. He was more than a friend…he was a brother. In fact, we used to borrow Johnny and Lenny’s (Pete’s older brohers) albums, sneak them down to the celar on Darlington and pretend to be rock stars…Creedence Clearwater Revival our favorite. We both dreamed of who we’d be, what we would do and where we would live and of course, we thought it would be forever. As we learned last week, that would not be true. Strangely, it reminds me of something Cliffy loved to do and it bugged us all. He’d be the life of the party (he was good at that) and then he would just disappear. Usually walking, at all times of year and usually after midnight, he would just leave. He’d never warn anyone or say goodbye…he’d just vanish. Somehow, we knew he was alright and no matter what, he’d always end up at home.
Well Cliffy, you did it again. You were the life of the party, you had enough and you split. But we all know you are home, safe and sound.