We just learned that a good friend has passed away. Johnny Kistabish had complications following an appendix operation. He got an infection during the operation and just never got better. Today, as I sit here, I remember Johnny’s laughter. It dances in the dark corners of my mind lighting the shadows.

Johnny was much like that, an unexpected guest at times who had you enjoying life to the fullest when you least expected it.

It doesn’t mean that “Johnny Rotten” or “Judge Rotten,” as he was at times called, didn’t have his serious sides, but that we all remember Johnny for how good he made us feel in just being.

His generosity was always taken for granted. I remember one time staying with about nine other people in Johnny’s apartment when I first arrived in Montreal. He never complained. That was Johnny. He never lost that tradition of native hospitality no matter how long or far away he was from his people.

It was with remorse that we learned Johnny passed away. Johnny was one of the bright stars in the Cree world and his physical presence will be missed, but his spirit will live on in our hearts.