A life well lived
By Jenn Watt
Published Nov. 29, 2016
Gerald Irish, local educator, lifelong Highlands resident and prolific writer, died Nov. 17. Irish had been contributing a “senior’s moment” column to the Echo for years, which encouraged fellow seniors to examine their lives, contribute to the community and continue to look on the bright side. He was honest and open about his feelings, exploring both positive and negative sides of life.
Because Gerald was so productive, I still have a few columns he wrote in my inbox. After news of his death, I read through them, finding one titled “Lucky Me,” a beautiful piece on his love of life in the Highlands. Here it is:
I am one lucky individual. As I sit here, listening to the rains descend, the odd sound of thunder rolls, accompanied by the infrequent brilliant flash of lightning, my mind starts to stretch back over a long happy life. I will not pretend that everything so far has been sunshine and roses. How many people do you know who have reached my age (of over 80) without problems or adversity? I have started and am continuing to learn to concentrate on the positives and try valiantly to forget or ignore the negatives in life.
One of the luckiest things that happened to me was of being born in Haliburton, my beautiful village in my beautiful county. I was also fortunate to be born as a member of the Fearrey/Irish clan.
Education has always played a key role in this lucky life and the systems of education in Haliburton were good. They prepared me for and made me want to have a career in teaching. I was also very fortunate to have a long, happy job as a teacher in various locales in the Highlands. Haliburton village. Maple Lake. Gooderham. Dorset. Minden. Every school in every area left me with warm, loving feelings.
Today, when I meet men and women who were former students, and am greeted warmly and happily, it causes my old heart to give an extra beat of thanks and love. As we visit, and recall events we shared together during a part of our educational trip through the years, I am once again filled with a warmth that is hard to explain. I also love the hugs ... from former male and female students. Why discriminate between genuine affections?
The most absolute and complete form of good luck I have ever had was to meet, marry and continue to love my wife, Joan. We worked together. We have aged together. We have travelled together. We have lived, laughed and loved together. Marrying this lady was by far my smartest move. My love for her grows the longer we are together.
I hope all Haliburton seniors can looked back over their lives with the same happiness as I.