From 1994 to 2000 we lived in a little house on the Kingston Road.
One day I was at home alone.
There was a knock on the door. A disheveled man was standing there when I answered; he asked if he could use the telephone.
I invited him in, showed him to the phone. He proceeded to conduct real estate business for what seemed an interminably long period; I don’t recall quite how long, but it was certainly longer than the generally accepted limit on telephone usage in a stranger’s house.
That man was Eddie Rice.
Over the years that followed Eddie came into my life in innumerable ways: he was my city councillor for 8 years (instrumental in getting new lights installed at an important intersection near to my heart); he led the effort to move all residences in Charlottetown from flat-rate to metered water; he was the real estate agent that sold my brother his first home, sold my neighbours theirs.
And, as my first meeting hinted, Eddie was, above and beyond anything else, a character. Irascible, profane, gentle, kind, honest (often too much so). He would often pull his car over if he saw me walking down the sidewalk, and have a chat; I thought this was something I benefited from uniquely until I talked to others and learned it was his metier (and that he’d often relay the stories of stop number one to the people of stop number two).
Eddie had strong opinions about downtown Charlottetown and its preservation, and feared — as some might argue has happened already — that we downtown livers would become primarily animatronic characters in a Disney-like heritage pageant put on for the benefit of cruise ship passengers.
What may have got lost in Eddie’s colourful, acerbic shuffle is that he was a very effective city councillor: engaged, in tune, opinionated, forthright, by times cooperative. He got things done.
He will be missed.