I joined Re/Max in December, 1993. At the time, I saw it as a rather bold move because like many others, I was intimidated by these Re/Max agents. We assumed that since they were so successful, they must be aggressive, cut throat back stabbing Realtors. This of course was ridiculous and I knew this was wrong. I had worked with many of these people before and I was certain that I wanted to be as good as they were. So, of course, I joined the company.
One of the first things I did in my new "successful" career was organize a client party. This turned out to be a major turning point for me. It was very special to see friends and clients come together and celebrate the Christmas Season. I was glad to make this happen.
As I was organizing my second party, my friend Jackie Rix told me about a wedding she had been to. There was a square dance caller there and he was brilliant. In a matter of minutes, he taught complete novices how to square dance and he did it with humour and charm. So, I asked him if he'd come to my Naval Club event and show us a few steps. His name is Al Calhoun and he and his wife Renia are very special indeed.
They have been traveling the world "calling" dances for 40 years and are going strong today. Al is a veteran of WW II and a decorated veteran from the Korean War. He began calling dances at Base Borden and his talent has taken him to Hawaii, New Zealand, Mexico, England, Ireland, Scotland, Portugal, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Bermuda, most of the United States and all of the Canadian Provinces.
He received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in Korea. He and Renia have received the Trillium Merit Award for Square Dancing (that's as big as it gets folks).
I've seen him call at my parties and for the past few years, he has been the resident caller at the Riverdale Farm Corn Fest www.freindsofriverdalefarm.com . When they arrive at an event, Al and Renia light up the room. When I play banjo for his dances, I simply can't wipe the grin off my face. The joy he brings to a crowd of people who would never otherwise dance (and with complete strangers no less) is contagious. He is indeed a great Canadian and I'm grateful to have met him.