Monday, January 23, 2012

Year of the Nephew: Matthew ...

I got to be there when you were born.

You. Were. Perfect.

And as I watched you grow I learnt so much from you. You were the one who, at the ripe old age of 3, had this conversation with your Aunt Cathryn when we were all at a restaurant together:

You: Those people didn't say thank you to God for their food. I don't think they love God.

Cathryn: Matthew, you can't see what is in people's hearts. They might love God.

You: I know, Cath - sometimes I am so judgative ...

My mind often harks back to that conversation when I am ready to pass judgment on someone without knowing all the facts. Judgative has become part of my vocabulary. Your influence, even from a child, has been remarkable, all the more so because it is often unconscious.

You are an astute observer of the human condition; couple that with an incredibly sharp brain and a quick way with words, and a conversation with you is bound to be engaging and lively. But you also have an enormously compassionate streak in you that emerges at the most incredible times. Remember my friend Ron, the engineer-turned-bottle picker who lived under a parking slab near where we all were in Bankview? You reached out to him when you were a tiny boy, walking with him around our block and talking to him as he pushed his cart. You accepted him as he was and treated him with respect - probably the only child he knew who did so; he in turn loved you, calling you one of his friends and bringing you little treasures that he unearthed in his travels. You visited him in hospital some years later after he had had parts of both his legs amputated from remaining outside one bitterly cold winter's night. How you grieved at his funeral; but you derived reassurance that he had trusted in God and was now with Him, far better off than struggling on with the day-to-day that had become his life.

I used to love listening in on your conversations with your grandmother, my mother. The two of you would read stories together and then discuss them - the discussion was invariably more thought-provoking than the original story. To this day your grandfather loves it when you come by to see him. You are such a connection to your Grams for him.

On the "Action Couch" at the TH.
Now THERE's a story that should be told ...
And yes, you can have the couch when I die!
And the TH is always a brighter place when you grace it with your presence! Thank you for all the hours you worked here when I needed help. You did whatever you were asked, and that means a lot to me. You chatted with customers of all ages and they loved you. It's your picture that's the first picture people see on Nilgiris' web page ... you're standing there chatting to Oscar as he sits by the fire place. Our dear Oscar was in for coffee today, very frail and fading into the sunset of his life, but he still asked after you today. I told him it was your birthday and he remembered how you would talk to him when he was "a little low."

But then again, that's just you. Because you are so perceptive, you know who needs a word of encouragement and when. You have the power to move people and to leave them feeling better about themselves should you choose to do so.

As you start a new year, my wish for you is that you discover the true purpose for your life this year, and that you pursue it with all the intelligence, zeal and passion that you have inside you. You are one of the most interesting people I have ever met, and I can only imagine what you can accomplish when you channel all that you know, have experienced and can intuit into your life's calling, whatever that might end up looking like.

Happy birthday, my middle nephew. You are the bridge between the two elder and the two younger of your cousins. You are a vibrant thread weaving throughout all of our lives. You are a gift to our family. 


  1. Words can't say how much this young man means to us! Happy Birthday, Matthew S. Ironside. Unique, distinctive, yet belonging at the heart - you find that fine line and live there! Love you!

  2. All that and not a word about Matt being the sharpest dressed young man I've ever seen -- I'm embarrassed by my clothes every time I bump into him. Nice work Matt -- keep setting the bar high.

  3. Andy, when you look at the infant photo, can you wonder?? These things begin so young! However, put an Indian raw silk suit on you and I must say you're a fair match for that young lad!


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