Today, we said goodbye to a good friend.
Goodbye in the sense that Anse MacDonald, now entering his ninth decade, is starting a new chapter in his life by leaving Pictou County after 60 years of residency and moving closer to family in Bedford, Nova Scotia.
I am sure anyone who ever worked at The News office has met Anse. As soon as a new reporter was listed in the staff directory, he would make his way to the office to find out their background and welcome them to the area.
If he found out they had ties to Cape Breton then all the better for them.
You would always hear Anse before you saw him. As he made his way through the office he stopped to talk to each person before he reached the newsroom.
Anse was our biggest supporter and critic at the same time.
If he didn’t like something you wrote, he would visit.
If he liked your story, he would visit.
If he had a news tip, he would visit.
If he thought we missed a news story, he would visit.
Whatever the reason that took him into the office, we didn’t care. We were always glad to see him walk through the doors.
And he never left the office without telling a story, either about his love for Cape Breton, basketball or his family.
We even had some interesting discussions over the years about his opinions in politics, religion and the role of women in the workplace, but in the end, it always with “see you next time.”
In the sporting world, Anse is known to many as “Mr. Basketball” for his dedication and passion for the sport either by playing or coaching. When the walls of New Glasgow High School came tumbling down, Anse reminisced about days coaching young men in the sport who have later gone on to do good things in life.
“I think that I spent more time around that school than any student or teacher,” he said. “There’s a lot of memories.”
His legacy will forever be remembered with North Nova Education Centre’s Anse MacDonald Invitational Tournament that was started a few years ago in his honour.
Others fortunate enough to have his support were those who attended Our Lady of Lourdes Church. He walked through its doors as a newlywed where he shared joy and sorrow with fellow parishioners for 60 years.
If I had to sum up with one word to describe Anse, it would be gentleman. He shook your hand, looked you in the eye, respected your opinion, lifted your spirits, acknowledged your accomplishments and challenged how you thought about your community.
He showed us that we can have it all in terms of family, employment, faith and community.
On Thursday, Anse visited our office a last time, while the movers were packing up his home for the move, to write a thank you note to the community – his community – for its friendship and support.
“May God hold all of you in the hollow of his hand and may the sun shine on your face and the wind be at your back,” he wrote.
Right back at you, Anse. Right back at you.
Sueann Musick is a reporter with The News