It is a cold winter morning in Toronto, sometime in the mid-1940s. My grandfather clears the final few shovelfuls of snow from his driveway.
He looks at his watch. He is running a bit behind. If he doesn't catch the next streetcar, he'll have to drive to work.
He sees his neighbour's yard still full of snow. A recently widowed mother of one, she has to get to work this morning, too. Grandpa picks up his shovel and begins to clear her front walk.
Her door opens a crack.
"Good morning, Gerry!" calls the woman. She smiles. "What would I do without you?"
Grandpa stands and waves.
Ten years later.
"No offense, Gerry," says Grandpa's boss, "but the prime minister and his wife are here to hobnob with the mayor and council, not us. Probably best that we keep a low profile at this reception."
Grandpa nods politely. He is a secretary in the clerk's office at the city of Toronto. A legendary fast typist, it's Grandpa's job to take the minutes at city council meetings. This fame isn't enough, apparently, to win an audience with Prime Minister John Diefenbaker or his wife.
"They're coming," says a voice from across the room.
The doors open. The Diefenbakers enter the hall. The prime minister is immediately snatched up by the mayor and a handful of councilors.
Standing demurely next to her husband, Mrs. Diefenbaker scans the room. Her eyes light up as they land upon a familiar face.
"Gerry!" she calls. "Gerry Trueblood!"
She makes a beeline past the waiting row of city councilors to my grandfather. She gushes over him as if he was the only person in the room. Grandpa's boss (and the row of snubbed councilors) looks on in shock.
"Hullo, Olive," says Grandpa.