Long will Moose roam

As I was working at my dining room table early Monday morning, assembling the stories and photos for this week’s paper, some movement through the window beside me caught my eye.

I glanced over and was startled to discover a full-grown cow moose, its hazelnut brown coat glowing with health, right next to me. It seemed like its curious eyes were peering through the glass to oversee my edits of Ted Clarke’s story on the passing of Glen “Moose” Scott.

Seeing I was reaching for my cell phone to take a picture of this close encounter, the moose glanced away and then started a slow amble towards the road and the woods on the other side.

This was a moving reminder that Moose will always be with us in Prince George.

The giant of a man in body and spirit passed away Friday at the age of 75 but the fingerprints from his massive mitts remain all over the city.

I first met Moose more than 20 years ago, shortly after moving to Prince George and joining The Citizen. 

I only ever referred to him as Moose in conversation with others about him.

Up close and in person, I always addressed him as Mr. Scott.

Besides the obvious Star Trek reference about the tireless and talented chief engineer of the original Enterprise, my nickname for Moose was appropriate for two reasons.

First, it was quickly evident that if Prince George had a chief engineer tending to its warp core and keeping it moving, it would be Moose.

Second, when dealing with someone whose commanding physical presence and booming voice filled every room he ever entered, it just seemed like a reasonable idea to call that man mister.

During the fall of 2002, when Moose was making his first run for a seat on Prince George city council, he would often appear in The Citizen newsroom in the evening, getting some political advice from Jim Swanson, the paper’s sports editor at the time.

One night, he wandered over to my desk and handed me his campaign brochure, which featured his name, some bulletpoint platform points and his slogan: “A vote for the average guy.”

“Can I count on your support, Neil?” he asked in the same way he would ask when he was selling raffle tickets, more of a statement than a question.

“Mr. Scott, you can count on me,” I replied.

“I just have one question,” I added, holding up his brochure. “Who are you calling average?”

His brow furrowed and his eyes narrowed in that classic Moose way whenever he was gauging if the person in front of him and what they were saying or doing was being a problem in need of his immediate attention or not.

After a second, where my life may or may not have hung in the balance, he smirked and waved one of those massive mitts at me dismissively.

“Aw, go back to writing your three-dollar words,” he said, before walking away.

To this day, a “three-dollar word” is my shorthand for using jargon or a fancy word when a simple one will do just as well.

Moose needed no help getting elected to Prince George city council, except for one small but significant detail: he knew that if his name appeared as simply Glen Scott on a crowded ballot, people might not know who he was and that could cost him the election.

As usual, when Moose wanted something to happen, it inevitably happened and so the name “Glen (Moose) Scott” appeared on the ballot.

Moose served two terms on Prince George city council, from 2002 to 2008.

Until I read Ted’s story and heard Ron Edgar refer to Moose as “Councillor Flip Flop,” I had no idea Moose was called that beyond the confines of The Citizen newsroom.

During his six years in office, whenever he would stop in for a visit, someone would inevitably - usually sooner rather than later - refer to him as “Councillor Flip Flop.” 

Whenever I did it (after I had first greeted him as “Mr. Scott,” of course) and I would often include the wonderful Ben Meisner phrase: “flip flop, belly flop, give the dog a bone.”

The usual response: the furrowed brow, the narrow eyes and then the dismissive wave.

I saw Moose almost daily a number of years back, when my mother-in-law was recovering from a stroke in the rehab unit and Moose was there at the same time, dealing with one of the ongoing health issues that afflicted him but never sidelined him for long in the last 20 years of his life.

I learned he was there when I heard that booming voice, followed by an equally thunderous laugh.

“Neil, what are doing here?” he asked when I followed the voice into his room.

After I told him, he demanded to know my mother-in-law’s name and room number so he could go see her at some point and raise her spirits.

He then proceeded to sell me some raffle tickets, before picking up his phone to work out the details on the next Elvis tribute show coming up.

Moose wasn’t so much a man as he was a force of nature, much like the creature that appeared at my window Monday morning.

I’m eternally grateful I knew him.