Who’s Who: Gail and Everett Butler, My A-Parent Situation!
By Mike Butler
I’ll never forget those Christmas mornings when I received some of my favourite gifts: my drafting table, my guitar, my VHS special edition copy of Gone With The Wind, and that really bright, checkered bathrobe from Phinney’s. This Who’s Who is very special to me because it’s about the two people that have given me more gifts than I can remember, including the gift of life: my parents Gail and Everett Butler.
I have pretty amazing folks! While applauding their accomplishments as great parents, grandparents, business owners, and people in general, is easy for anyone to do, I am so proud that I get to voice my praise here in my column for everyone to see!
Mom and Dad, Gail and Everett Butler, are Valley born and raised! Both attended local schools and both found a perfect place to raise three incredible children (wink wink) within the Valley, as well as succeed in the local business world. My father, an avid sports fan, started, ran, and met great success with his business, Everett’s Sporting Goods, which began in Kentville in the mid-1970s, branching out to locations in New Minas, Windsor, Yarmouth, Bridgewater, and New Glasgow.
For those who know me, it’s easily understood now where my retail savvy, people skills, and ability to work a crowd have stemmed from. My father was the ultimate businessman. He was the face, eyes, and ears of his business, while working closely with his incredible team (many of them family members) at each store. I learned so much from him, and I can safely say I’m the retail wiz I am (23 years strong!) because of him.
While dad was in the shops with the customers, my mother successfully raised three headstrong and independent children, all while handling all the bookkeeping for dad’s stores. I have “fond” memories of doing my homework for an hour after school thinking it was such a grueling task, not recognizing that my mother had been doing invoices, payroll, and ledgers for dad’s six stores all by hand. Yes, this was the days before computers. My mother worked very hard and, along with doing all that work for dad, there was always clean clothes, home-cooked meals, a neat household, and everything else.
Growing up in Kentville, my sisters and I attended KCA, and were involved in many activities. We kept my parents hopping! I can safely say there was never a time when they were not there to support, encourage, and reward us. We were not spoiled, but instead we were pushed to achieve great things and be ourselves.
This was an incredible year for me as I tied the knot with my now husband Ian back in July. Ian and I were both so incredibly lucky to have both sets of parents in attendance, beaming from ear to ear with love and support. We understood that it would be a potentially hard day for them as they were not part of a traditional wedding setting and that, as easy as it looks for Ian and I to be ourselves, it can be hard for the parents. We’ve never had anything less than their full support and love, and having both sets of parents celebrating their 50th wedding anniversaries this year made the day extra special.
Now that the role of parent has transcended to grandparent, my mother and father have truly found their niche and I am watching their love and support shower over their five beautiful grandkids, but with that Nana and Grampie sense of fun and good humour. Retirement has not slowed them down, and if anything they’re busier than ever, but they always take time to be there and enjoy the gifts that have been given to them. To my Mom and Dad, my greatest gift ever, and to all Moms, Dads, and Caregivers: a safe and happy holiday to each of you!
Photo Credit: Two Crows Joy Photography