Eulogy of Awna's younger years by Carmen and Robert Johnson Nov. 24, 2018

Shared by B B C Johnson on 27th November 2018

Good afternoon. I am Awna's oldest sister, and this is my husband Robert.

Everyone here today knew Awna as an adult, as Colleen's partner, a father, a trucker, a teacher, a musician, a mentor and a grandpa. But I am one of the few people, along with Awna's older brothers, Sid and Shadde, Sid who is here with us today, who knew him when he was a toddler, and a precocious young boy. We along with Awna's three younger sister's Betty, Janna and Pearl, Pearl who is also here today, have fond memories of him as a teenager with a big smile and with much to say. Which, come to think of it, isn't much different from what Awna was like as an adult.

The truth be known, as a kid no one could shut Awna up. While we were growing up we were expected to write a few lines or a verse and add it to our Xmas gifts. The year Awna was 12, I wrote a poem that I think says a lot about who he was as a young boy. Rob will read it to us.

To Anno

His mouth is open all the time, He chitters and chatters line after line.

If he isn't happy, he's sure to be sad, If he isn't blue he's terribly mad.

If it isn't this it's sure to be that, It's often because he's lost his hat.

Or something that he wants to use,  at times like this he's down in the blues.

He roars at a person who calls him a name, Pulling a toy gun will sure bring him fame.

And though he has some of the family brains, He thinks of nothing but toy guns and trains.

Even at that I can tell you for sure, someone will come and bring him a cure.

So friends I tell you to leave him alone, without him in the house it wouldn't be home                                             Christmas 1958

There is an expression that says “ he could charm the bird out of a tree”. Well we all know Awna could do just that, but I would like to share with you his “special charm”. Awna lived with me and my three young daughters for several years. Everyday, after dinner, he would bring out his guitar and sing a few songs before going to the roller skating rink. Oh, maybe you didn't know about Awna's prowess as a dance skater. Yes, although he didn't start roller skating until he was in his mid teens he was a fantastic dance skater competing individually and in groups in competitions in Ont. and the US often making a full sweep of the prizes.

But getting back to Awna's “special charm”. My daughters, Somani, Tamara and Wannetta, Wannetta who is also here today loved it when Awna played and sang, however their eyes were never on their uncle. No, their eyes were focused on the floor. You see Awna could “charm a mouse out of its hole”. Yes I kid you not, whenever he sang, a little grey mouse would stick it's nose out of the hole in the corner of the room, have a quick look around and then scurry back and forth and nibble on the crumbs that the kids had dropped during dinner.

The mouse disappeared only when Awna stopped singing and playing. I knew that this was a “special charm”, because after Awna left my home it didn't matter how much food the children tossed on the floor to entice the little critter, we never saw that mouse again.

During the time that Awna lived with us he wrote several songs. It was the mid to late 60's, an era of the “Talking Blues” his favorite genre at that time. To listen to, what I think is his best composition, “Evolution Blues”, visit Awna's memorial site on “”.

Sometimes Awna and I didn't see each other for long periods of time, but when we got together we literally picked up where we'd left off, picking and singing our favorite songs. My fondest memories of Awna will always be that of a curious toddler and a young boy who could be found by following a trail of clothes that he shed as he explored the fields and the bush with a dog and cat in tow. The teenager with the voice of an angel when he sang in the operetta's in Vancouver, and the young man who was a “mouse charmer' and a wonderful male figure for my three daughters.

Today we celebrate all of Awna's life. Thank you

Charmed From Birth

Shared by B B C Johnson on 26th November 2018

Awna was charmed right from birth. Twice in his young life he had a close shave with death. The 1st time, at around the age 2, when his faithful companion a dog named Bobbie clenched his teeth onto Awna's jacket and pulled him back onto the road when he tripped and was about to fall into the canal. From that day on Bobbie always walked on the canal side to keep Awna on the road. 

The 2nd time was at a family picnic when he was about 8 years old. Awna who was always bold and daring lost control in the fast flowing river. When Dad noticed what was happening, he grabbed him by the seat of his pants and, held him up in the air while Awna coughed and sputtered. After that Awna was quite happy to take swimming instructions from Dad.

Shared by Carmen Johnson

Always helpful

Shared by B B C Johnson on 17th November 2018

We all know that Awna was always willing to help everyone, however, all of his willingness to help did not always pan out. There was the time when Awna at the age of 6 tagged along with his 2 older brothers, Sid and Shadde, when they were tapping maple trees. They'd spent days collecting the sap and then an entire day boiling it down into maple syrup. The final result was a half full mason jar of hot amber syrup. While Sid and Shadde were removing the spouts from the trees and collecting the pails  Awana said something about cooling the syrup. Well because Awna was always talking no one paid much attention to what he said, but they should have listened to him that day.  Awna took the precious jar of syrup to the creek and set it in the ice cold water. In an instant the jar cracked and the sweet liquid was " syrup under the bridge", never to be tasted by anyone. Shadde showed his disgust by muttering "dumb". Momentarily, Sid was speechless. He couldn't believe that he wouldn't get to enjoy the syrup after all the hard work. Awna took one look at Sid's face and hightailed it home - he knew he was in trouble. Sid yelled and screamed and Shadde spewed a few choice words until they decided they had more fun things to do then to berate their little brother. It was not one of Awna's most helpful days.

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