Thursday, 1 November 2012

Peter Morton gave me the giggles

There are people in this life who make everything around them sparkle.
Peter Morton was one of those people.
He just couldn't help himself.
Peter was unconventionally handsome, a wiry little ginger all covered in freckles. He was nerdy in a Ronald Weasley way but it was his charm and infectious laugh that made him special.
As a financial journalist, he had the ability to take the driest subject matter and lift the words right off the page. He was at the forefront of a movement that turned bean counters into rock stars.
He made money talk cool.
I met Peter at the place I met most people in 1994, at Dapoe's bar at the National Press Club.
Peter walked into the place and decided it needed fixing. So he became its treasurer.
We became fast friends, spending hours playing tennis and drinking beer on various patios. We didn't have much in common. He was happily married, I was unhappily divorced. He wrote about numbers and lived in cool Westboro. I wrote soft stuff and lived in a mausoleum in Orleans.
What we had in common was this. We both loved to be silly and giggle.
Knowing Peter made me feel like a teenager again instead of the sad woman at the bar, crying in my beer and missing my kids, who were with their father that summer.
Being Peter's friend made me happy.
He was a great distraction that summer.
And then he was gone.
He had won an important job in Washington as bureau chief of the Financial Post.
I didn't realize how ambitious Peter was. He needed to be at the centre of things, and Washington was so much cooler than Ottawa.
So he packed up the family and moved on. With a wink and a smile, he was gone, like some magical little leprechaun who was sent in to light the pilot light in my little life.
I never saw him again.
Until this morning, when I saw that smile in an obituary.
He was just 58 years old.
Turned out that big heart of his was, in reality, a bad ticker.
Who knew?
I'm writing this to say thank you, Peter, for turning my frown upside down when I needed it most.
Rest well, pal.

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