Sam Totah: In Memoriam Carl Beigie 1940-2010

Written by  //  March 11, 2010  //  Absent Friends, People Meta, Sam Totah, Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

The night that was! The place as always the Nicholsons’ home and the soirée the Wednesday Night. It was very special by the very fact that the man who gave initial life to these soirées was no longer of this world. He passed away…………March, 2010.I attended the soirée — especially to bring a picture of Carl Beigie — and to put it on the table where everyone could see it. Why? Because when people pass away, the physical memories of their being passes away with them, or it simply fades away, and the only thing that is left to us “the living ” is the legacy they leave behind.
Carl Beigie makes no exception to the rule and he left quite a legacy. Maureen Farrow who knew him as a colleague expressed it beautifully. In one word –Mr. Beigie had a mission. If I understand it well, Mr. Beigie began his career as a communicator as a circuit preacher and thus, he acquired the excellent capacity to deliver his speeches to his audience. I had the pleasure to hear him often at the Canadian Pulp and Paper Association (CPPA) annual meetings giving his speeches on the economy. It was clear, concise and no two ways about it – there were always a couple of words not even found in the dictionaries such as “complacency”,”stagflation” – whatever that meant to the speaker – it did attract the attention of the audience.
No need to add he was a giant not only in size but also in economic thinking. You would almost call him a “one-handed Economist” while he made use of both hands in his deliveries. I liked the man because he was likable, not because he pretended to be! The soirées at the Nicholsons’ without the presence of Carl Beigie would not have pleased the American Express who always advocate “do not leave home without it”. And so it was for Carl Beigie’s presence at the Wednesday Night soirées.

Back to the night of Wednesday soirée March 10th. It was dedicated to him. It was a scant summary of his accomplishments, including his love for Canada –while he was a product of Made in U.S.A. And the new country embraced him and profited from his wise advice. While the dedication of the soirée was to his name – true to the spirit of the night – lots of subjects were touched upon: the CIA; the declining empire called USA ; the great empire that is called USA; what is wrong with our current institutions; what is specifically wrong with our governments and the leadership; the crisis in Greece; the coming crisis in the Euro countries; the touch of Obama and his one year legacy already in the works — plus ça change plus c’est la meme chose as Kimon Valaskakis expresses it. The subjects were so numerous that a clip of the recent Economist magazine articles would do more justice than enumerating them all here.
But, as expressed in the affectionate words of Diana Nicholson – Carl would have loved it all. I believe her. As she believed in him for so many years. Last but not least, I loved the fact that there was no mention of “death”—I mean the philosophy of death, why do we die? And for that matter why do we live? True, some people outlive us – those are taboo subjects, including in a soiree of deep intellect like the Wednesday Night. Why? No idea. Death is a taboo subject!. Let’s enjoy life and the living.

What is interesting about the year of birth and death of Carl Beigie and his life spam is the following: Born in 1940 in the midst of War World II, where almost 50 million people (people of all political persuasions and religious affiliations) were killed – yet, in the year 2010 marked by our good friend Carl Beigie passing away – the newspaper headlines carried the innocent deaths of some 500 people in Nigeria. Progress the humanity made from the 50 million to the 500 is encouraging and that during the life time of our Carl! Yet, as spoken by the views expressed in the rectangular table audience (discounting the backbenchers!) the views expressed varied from the two to too many!
In conclusion, the moral of the story—the important thing in life is not to add years to our lives but to add life to our years and this has been accomplished by  Carl – he also added a legacy – call it inspiration, call it friendship, call it economic views, call it professorship – it all adds up and we shall remember him by these good deeds. Let him rest in Peace as he truly deserves it.
Thoughts by Sam Totah
March 11, 2010

Leave a Comment

comm comm comm