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Yesterday James L Saunders' family celebrated his forty years of medical practice in Summerside. I didn't hear the stats of how many people he helped along life's irregular paths or how many babies "he brought into the world", but I do know that he is a dearly loved doctor and I'm not surprized. He got his love of people, his curiosity of our individualities and his compassion from caring parents whose home in Kensingston instilled those features to all who passed through. And many passed through.
I first met James fifty years ago last week. It was at my father's wake. I had met James's father and mother many times before. His father had gone to St. Dunstan's with my father and his brothers, but that was the first time they had brought James along. It was the beginning of our long relationship. A family of four girls took on "a sort of brother" with enthusiasm and our Kensington family taught us much. How they put up with two Smith girls and Johanna "helping them farm" is beyond me, but that's what often happened. Cavendish Picnics, music and more music, all sustained with Modder's cooking made a period in our lives ever memorable.
So, yesterday, it was a special honour to be with James's family to celebrate his life's work. No more wonderful tribute could be made to a man and his wife, Mary Claire than what I saw yesterday - a tribute by loving children and their children's children. The grand daughters' musical performance showed that the genes carry forth their talents to new levels. Children Susan, who lives in the house her father was born in, Billy from Calgary, Ann from St. Catherines and Special Paul, at home, all spoke of their love and it filled the room and I know must spread out from their lives, touching others, continuing that special world I first met fifty years ago.
Thank you dear Saunders for having me there and may life continue to keep you well and in service to your families and your communities. You all, and Summerside, were luck to have James.
Written Thursday, August 10, 2000 at 02:05 PM