Many of us who frequent certain downtown Montreal bars have lost a friend. His name was Marc Williams and he was just fifty-years-old. Often referred to as the Welshman, or more appropriately the Bitter Welshman, Marc was proud of his homeland. In my first Christmas poem, I made the egregious mistake of spelling his name Mark. He thundered at me “…there’s no f*cking K in the Welsh alphabet”. I responded that is was OK as I had written the poem using the Canadian alphabet.
Marc worked in bars, owned bars and generally loved them. He was known to hundreds if not thousands of people. Often someone would come up to him and ask how he had been keeping. He’d respond politely, then turn to me and shrug, pointing out he had no idea who that was.
He had cheated death on several occasions: strokes, heart attacks, and even a medically induced coma. Just when you thought he was down, he would show up grumbling about the hot weather or bright sunshine.
We will miss Marc. I don’t know if he believed in an afterlife, although he did claim to have been there and back once, but wherever our friend is now I just know it is always a dull day, that there is a never-ending supply of flat, warm beer. And of course, more teddy bears than you can count.