Take Photos, You’ll Be Glad You Did


I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:

Keep taking photographs — they will always increase in personal value.

I took this picture on September 14, a day when John McDonald — shortstop for the Toronto Blue Jays — was autographing merchandise at Eaton Centre.

I got a call from Arliin close to lunchtime. She was the only friend who knew my work phone number, and nine times out of ten when the display showed “Outside Call” it would be her.

Arliin: “Hey, do you have your camera with you?”
Me: “Is the Pope Catholic?”
Arliin: “Can you take a photo of me with John McDonald?”
Me (obviously not a baseball fan): “Who?”
Arliin: “He’s a shortstop for the Jays, a real cutie.”
Me: “You actually WANT me to take photo of you?!?”

I hightailed it over to Eaton Centre at my lunchbreak before she changed her mind, and got there just as she arrived. It’s the first time I’d ever seen her wear a dress.

“I didn’t recognise you without your bike gear,” I joked.

We didn’t wait long in the queue before she got up to the front and I snapped a bunch of photos. This one turned out the best, although I didn’t have my external flash with me and I’ve been trying to Photoshop down the reflections in her glasses. I’m not adept enough in PS to churn out results quickly, so I’m posting this version as is.

Arliin hated the Toronto Maple Leafs (she was a Detroit Red Wings fan) but supported the Blue Jays and took me to a game back in July, where that guy — and many others taking advantage of it being 07/07/07 — proposed to his girlfriend Nicole on the Jumbotron.

Arliin was a rower, runner, cyclist, skater, you name it… I am… not. I know — how on earth did we become friends? But I surprised her one day talking about attending rugby international matches and soccer games in Germany, so she started inviting me to different sporting events around town like rowing regattas and such.

We also went to aviation museums, festivals, the air show (both days), musicals (Peter Pan was the latest), Doors Open, and plenty of other events — more had I been in town more often.

We did the Terry Fox Run together in High Park and we said we’d do it every year.

We even rescued cats together.

When I say she was a big part of my Toronto life, she truly was. I just wished she’d let me take her picture more often, but at least she let me do it once. (For those people who’ve arrived at this site hoping to see a picture of Arliin, you are welcome to download a larger version here. Please contact me if you’d like the original.)

Arliin Caster

Posted in the Toronto Star on Monday, January 7, 2008:

CASTER, Arliin Louise
Suddenly on January 3, 2008. Beloved daughter of Pat and Tom. Dear sister of Diane. She is survived by many aunts, uncles and cousins. A private family service has been scheduled with cremation to follow. Donations in Arliin’s memory to The Toronto Humane Society or The Terry Fox Foundation would be greatly appreciated. Arrangements entrusted to the Murray E. Newbigging Funeral Home, 416-489-8811.

There is currently a guestbook hosted by the Toronto Star online, although I’m sure there is an expiry date. Click here to view the guestbook and here to sign it.

This is a broadcast notice for anyone searching for a memorial service for Arliin: a memorial is being organized for this weekend by her friends currently/formerly of the Argonaut Rowing Club:

Saturday, January 12th, 2008
2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Argonaut Rowing Club – Henley Room
1225 Lakeshore Boulevard West
Toronto, Ontario
Memorial Announcement in PDF
(added Jan 13) Memorial Handout

I was going to post my picture and some stories of Arliin tonight, but I think the events of the past few days have sucked the energy right out of me. The cats and I are going to hit the sack and try again tomorrow.