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by Kris Klaasen

In one of the first conversations I had with Lolly I used the word “poignant” to describe something. And he said, “I like that word. I use it too. But do you know exactly what it means?” I had to admit I didn’t know precisely. So we poked around a bit and agreed it probably meant something wistful, bittersweet, maybe slightly melancholy.

I knew at that point that Lolly was a man after my own heart. He liked words, he liked to get at the meaning of things and he wasn’t afraid to ask a question when he didn’t know something. Later on I looked up the meaning of  “poignant”. The dictionary says, ”keenly distressing to the feelings” and “affecting or moving the emotions”.

In the same spirit of finding out about the meaning of things, this week I looked up the song “Guantanamera”. The melody to that song is the one we use when we sing: “One Lolly Lawton, there’s only one Lolly Lawton”. Obviously, I’m not much of a soccer fan. Otherwise I would’ve known that this is a soccer chant.

The lyrics were written by a Cuban poet named Jose Marti and the title refers to a woman from the Cuban village, Guantanamo. It’s one of Cuba’s most famous patriotic songs.

The four short verses go like this:

I am a truthful man
From where the palm tree grows
And before dying I want
To let out the verses of my soul

My verse is light green
And it is flaming red
My verse is a wounded stag
Who seeks refuge on the mountain

I grow a white rose
In July just as in January
For the honest friend
Who gives me his open hand

With the poor people of the earth
I want to share my luck
The stream of the mountains
Gives me more pleasure than the sea

Not only is it a great tune for a soccer chant, but it also speaks to some of the aspects of Lolly’s spirit.

We are indeed having a poignant evening as we dedicate this tree and this bench. And, we’re also celebrating some of the gifts that Lolly has left us. One of the most important ones is the feeling of community we have as friends. And – as friends – honouring one of our missing.

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