This past Sunday, I joined two other Leacock winners, Trevor Cole and Dan Needles, friends both, at Theatre Orangeville for an afternoon of laughs celebrating the legacy of Stephen Leacock. It was a wonderful afternoon before a soldout audience of nearly 300. At the book signing thereafter, a couple approached me and pulled out a photograph (below) of Norris “Cubby” Burke, age 93. He lives in the Eastern Townships of Quebec and served in the RCAF as a radio operator. He’s an avid follower of politics and public affairs. The couple with whom I spoke at the event are friends of Norris. Some time ago, they thought he’d enjoy my first novel, The Best Laid Plans and so they sent him a copy. It was so gratifying to learn that he loved the book so much, he carries it with him on his daily walks around the beautiful village of Knowlton, where he lives. You can see it in the basket below.
But that’s not the whole story, lovely as it is so far. The kicker is that his late wife, Angeline Hango, won the third Leacock Medal for Humour back in 1949 for Truthfully Yours. I have a copy in my Leacock collection, and it is very funny. Apparently after this recognition, she never wrote again. It’s wonderful to have even a slight connection with the author of a Leacock Medal-winning book from more than 60 years ago.