Home > Uncategorized > Big Eddie

Big Eddie

Eddie Sanderson was my oldest close friend. He’s been in my life for fifty years, since he started going out with my cousin. They were married for a while, but when they split, Eddie and I just went on, unimpeded. Forty years ago, he and Liz produced their only child, and it was she who phoned me yesterday to tell me that her dad had passed away on Christmas Day. I’d known he was ill, and so I shouldn’t have been shocked, yet I was, and I still am, because the idea of Big Eddie being dead, just seems, well, absurd, not quite believable.

When Biff and I had composed ourselves, we talked about him for a while, and at one point she said, ‘My dad wasn’t all that keen on Christmas,’ at which I could only chuckle and remark, ‘Well, he’s made his bloody point now.’ For that was him; once he had taken a view about something, or someone, he was pretty much unshakeable. The big fellow liked people for what they were, not what they did, and he was firm on that. Back in the old Lanarkshire days, I introduced him to someone. Later on he told me, quietly, ‘ I didn’t take to that guy.’ ‘Why not?’ ‘Because the first thing he asked me was what I did for a living.’ I understood him; he’d known that the question hadn’t been asked out of interest, but as a valuation. That litmus test was one of many things that he taught me, and it’s something I’ve tried to carry through my own life.

He was a big man in all respects, including kindness and generosity, a footballer in his youth (that’s if you accept that goalkeepers are footballers, as I’d say to him) and a short-swing, big-hitting golfer once those years were over. For all his size he was quiet, and deep, as was his sense of humour, but once you triggered it, he enjoyed a laugh as well as any man I’ve ever known, and better than all but a very few. In my early adult years, he was my main man; when my kids were born, it was with Eddie that I wet their heads. We were good at that, the pair of us; for a period in the late sixties Eddie and Liz, and Irene and I, lived quite close to each other. We had evenings at which brandy shandies were the standard, and later on he was a fixture at major events of ours in Gullane, and often at events of other people . . . even if our tastes in alcohol had matured a little.There was something reassuring about him. I remember being at a midweek football match at the old, huge, unsafe Hampden Park. They’d let way too many people in and, it being a dark night, many others had climbed over the gate or just jumped the turnstiles, as you could in those days. The Mount Florida terracing was a major tragedy waiting to happen. If I hadn’t been with Eddie, I might have bailed out, but I was, so I didn’t. Yet totemic or not, he wasn’t dull, not ever. There were scrapes; he managed to ruin a very expensive suit once, jumping over a fence in the dark. Don’t ask!

Eventually, after not too long on the loose, he found the right woman . . . and for that matter, Liz found the right man, though Wilson’s life was tragically short. (As was Eddie’s, seventy-anything being no age at all for a guy like him.) Una gave him the stable base he always needed, smiled at his quirks and eccentricities, and made the last half of his life as happy as any man could ever want. He became a grandfather too, and there will still be an Edward in the family. He’s inherited his grandpa’s telescope, and he’ll be able to look up at the star that Biff plans to name after her dad. She’ll need to choose a big one.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Liz Ritchie
    December 29, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    Thank you. If anyone could capture the essence of the man Big Eddie (my Dad) in words it would be you. It means more to me than you will know. Love Biff x

  2. jonathan beaumont
    January 1, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    could not of said it better myself and agree with biff only you could capture the true essence of my special uncle means alot to me thankyou all the best jonathan

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: