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I never had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Hornstein, but in a very ethereal way, our paths have crossed …
Our careers, in many ways, were quite similar. We grew up on modest farms in Ontario, worked for our national weather service, briefed pilots, made the move to media and wrote of the things we were passionate about.
Perhaps that’s why Mrs. Hornstein picked up the phone one cool spring day in 2013 and invited me over for tea.
Sitting next to this kind-hearted stranger, I got to know a man I had only heard others talk about. Mrs. Hornstein’s eyes lit up as she told me about how they met, the fulfilling life they lived together and the pain of losing her best friend. We spent hours flipping through photo albums. We talked a lot but we also just sat… and sipped our tea. There were times I truly felt that Rube was in the room with us.
Before I left, Mrs. Hornstein gave me a few precious radio transcripts and a couple of beautiful photos of Rube in front of his weather maps, doing what he did so very well.
She said that Rube wanted me to have them. He told her they wouldn’t mean much to most, but he knew I would appreciate them. He was wrong; I cherish them.
I returned to visit Mrs. Hornstein one more time before she was reunited with Rube. I brought her a copy of my book and some tea. I can still feel her tiny hand squeeze my fingers when she said: “Rube would have loved it.”
Rube Hornstein was the real deal: a professional meteorologist, a kind, gentle man, a loving husband and a role model to so many. I wish I had had the chance to meet him, but I am so very grateful to have spent some time with his widow, Helen. I learned a lot about Rube over tea that afternoon. It’s not hard to see why or how he left such a lasting impression.
Thank you, Mr. Hornstein…
READ PART 1: Looking back on a legend
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Cindy Day is the chief meteorologist for SaltWire Network.