By Lyle Carter
We played scrub baseball together as kids in Brookfield and, of course, I didn't realize at the time that ‘Joe' would later become Dr. Gerry Fisher.
So getting together with my old friend in Calgary recently after not seeing him for more than 50 years was certainly exciting.
Fisher and I were joined at a coffee shop by longtime friend Rev. Frank Locke and Frank's wife Hazel. Immediately, the four of us were reminiscing about things that happened up to five decades ago back home in Colchester County.
"My strongest memory of my youth and growing up in Brookfield is the involvement I had in the scouting program," said Fisher, now 67 and a Calgary resident for 39 years. "It not only developed many skills but also my love of the outdoors, which I continue to indulge here in the foothills and mountains of Alberta."
Fisher and I were softball teammates during the early 1960s with the Brookfield Elks.
"Brookfield was a great sports place," he said said. "Like many of my friends I played sports almost every day of my childhood and youth. It was ball games in the summer and hockey in the winter. I can remember playing two seasons for the Brookfield Elks in the Truro Commercial Softball League under the capable and enthusiastic coaching of Terry Henderson."
Fisher left Brookfield in 1963 to attend Acadia University. After receiving his BA in history and economics, he earned a Masters of Divinity.
"I met my wife Janet at Acadia," Fisher said. "In 1969 we moved to Dauphin, Man. where I was the minister at the First Baptist Church."
Fisher accepted an invitation to play for the Dauphin RCMP team even though he was a not a mountie.
"The RCMP had a team in a local league and they did not have a catcher," he recalled. "It was a position I had played during my university days."
"The team immediately had a new nickname. They began calling us The Law and The Prophet."
In 1973, Fisher moved to Calgary where he became principal of the Baptist Leadership Training School. Always involved in ministry-related work or education, he pursued studies at the University of Alberta in education and received a PhD in curriculum research.
Currently, Dr. Gerry Fisher, as he is known to many, is vice-president of development for the CBWC Foundation, which philanthropic work on behalf of churches, individuals, camps and Carey Theological College in Western Canada.
Locke, 83, a native of Brookfield, played both hockey and softball for the Elks.
Ordained as a Baptist minister 61 years ago, he still does some preaching. Some time after the passing of his first wife, Barb, Rev. Locke married Calgary resident Hazel Sharpe in Calgary last December.
"After living in Brookfield the previous two months we have been living in Calgary for two months," Locke said. "We will stay here until next summer and then we plan to make Brookfield our permanent home."
Locke recalled that some of the most meaningful years he spent in the ministry were the 10 years he spent at the First Baptist Church in Truro and the two years he served his home church in Brookfield.
"If I had to choose I would want to do it all over again," Locke said. "I am thankful to God for giving me the opportunity to serve him."
Hazel, 82, grew up in Bass River and also played a number of sports growing up. She was a star pitcher for the local girls softball team and later, while attending Dalhousie University, played inter-varsity ice hockey, field hockey and tennis.
Her lengthy teaching career included stops in Nova Scotia, northern British Columbia and later Calgary. She also taught for a number of years at the Canadian Nazarene Colleges in Red Deer and Winnipeg.
"The early grounding I had in sports was valuable in my teaching career," said Hazel, who arrived in Calgary in 1962. "I coached volleyball, softball and soccer. I am indeed thankful for my growing up years in Colchester County."
Hazel said she felt "honoured" to be included in the reunion.
"It was so good to see everyone," she said. "The four of us are uniquely bonded in our appreciation of Calgary, loyalty to Nova Scotia, love of sports and commitment to Christ."
Lyle Carter's column appears every Tuesday in the Truro Daily News. If you have a column idea, contact him at 673-2857.