Did you ride the magic bus with Ed?
To the Editor,
Fortunately, we may be lucky enough to have somebody special come into our lives. If you rode the big yellow bus with Ed Pritchard, you had the company of such a person twice each school day!
For more than 30 years Ed got you to and from school, safe and sound, in all kinds of weather. But it was more than that. It wasn’t just the Halloween treats or the candy canes before Christmas break. It was simply Ed, or Mr. Pritchard. It was his warm greeting, his friendly goodbye, and that infectious smile. No matter what else was happening in your daily life, you could always count on Ed. For some readers, your children may have also ridden with Ed. Ed’s last run on the bus was in June of 2012 when he was eighty-one years of age.
I’m writing this article because many of you may not have heard that Ed passed away on November 22nd in his eighty-fifth year.
Ed, the bus driver, was a man of many talents. He worked in construction most of his life. If you or a family member attended the University of Waterloo and lived in the Village One residence, Ed helped build that. Locally, Ed’s most proud achievement in construction adorns a lovely farm acreage along the Gull River down Deep Bay Road. As a boy in the late 50’s and early 60’s, I remember that farm while riding down the original route starting at what is now Orde Street, while on the way to fish at North Pigeon Lake. Just imagine what that old intersection by the River Cone would be like with today’s traffic! Well, when Ed and Joan moved to Minden with their family in 1974, the Deep Bay bypass had not yet been built.
What about that farm off of Murdoch Road? Well, Ed was hired to do a major renovation on the original log house which included the addition of a beautiful cedar-lined sauna. But that was nothing compared to the task of turning the old barn into a lovely multi-storey residence. Ed kept a photo album of the work in progress. It was a major project involving structural work from the ground up. Now don’t get me wrong. Ed never bragged about the project. If you knew Ed, you knew him as the quiet spoken and modest man. However, when asked, he was always willing to share his knowledge and even lend a hand. I confess that my wife and I admire Ed’s work whenever we paddle past that farm.
For those of you who never rode the bus with Ed, you may have called Minden Taxi to be driven home or elsewhhere by Ed or Joan. The Pritchard’s owned and operated the taxi business from 1974 to 1986. Ed laughed when recalling a blizzardy night some winters ago. He got a call to pick up a passenger who lived a good ways down Scotch Line Road West. Ed said he was making good progress up that first big hill out of the river valley, when the rear wheels started to give way and gravity started to take over. Somehow Ed managed to bring the taxi back down the hill backwards without going into the ditch on either side. Just another day in the 24/7 life of the Minden Taxi for Ed!
Oh, and did I forget to mention that Ed was a “dyed in the wool” fisherman? Also, Ed took up cross-country skiiing which he enjoyed regularly until a few winters ago. Ed enjoyed playing his guitar and his pleasant singing voice was enjoyed in the living room, on the dock and around a camp-fire.
Ed was a kind and considerate man. His smile, laughter, and his mischievousness could light up your day. When somebody like Ed Pritchard passes away, they leave an empty place in our lives. Those of us who had the pleasure of knowing Ed are all the better for it.
My family has had the good fortune of having the Pritchards as neighbours. I considered Ed to be more than a neighbour, and more than a friend. He was my buddy, and I will miss him.
John Gibb, Minden