Re­tire­ment not all roses for Green’s Har­bour man

De­spite ad­vanc­ing years, for­mer busi­ness­man still has the de­sire to work

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY TERRY ROBERTS edi­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Af­ter more than a half-cen­tury in busi­ness, Gra­ham Tay­lor ad­mits he misses the sat­is­fac­tion of go­ing to work each day and deal­ing with the pub­lic.

“I en­joyed ev­ery minute of it for the first 40 years. But as we got older and things changed, it wasn’t as much

fun any­more.”

— Gra­ham Tay­lor

Green’s Har­bour, Trin­ity-Bay — It’s a warm, week­day af­ter­noon and a white-haired man sport­ing a dis­tinc­tive han­dle­bar mus­tache is con­fi­dently strolling down a side street in this scenic com­mu­nity.

He’s wear­ing a red dress shirt, green pants with sus­penders and a blue wind­breaker with a dart logo on the front.

There’s a pen in his breast pocket, and judg­ing from his ap­pear­ance and de­port­ment, a stranger might as­sume he is a for­mer drill sergeant or law­man.

Meet Gra­ham Tay­lor, a 74-year-old re­tired busi­ness­man whose name is well known among many older adults in the Trin­ity South re­gion and be­yond.

That’s be­cause for 53 years, Tay­lor and his wife Cavell ran a busi­ness in the small com­mu­nity - Tay­lor’s Esso and Res­tau­rant.

They sold the busi­ness in 2007 af­ter can­cer and ad­vanc­ing years made it dif­fi­cult for Gra­ham to main­tain the well-es­tab­lished en­ter­prise.

Three years later, Gra­ham spends his time tak­ing walks in the town, en­joy­ing the com­pany of his grand­chil­dren, and go­ing on leisurely drives with his wife.

Af­ter more than a half-cen­tury of open­ing his busi­ness at 6 a.m. and de­vot­ing nearly all of his en­ergy to his work, Gra­ham ad­mits his life s a lit­tle empty these days.

So he wel­comes the chance to talk to a stranger who strikes up a con­ver­sa­tion with him near a fish­er­men’s wharf in the com­mu­nity. Sur­rounded by lob­ster pots and with the late-af­ter­noon sun warm­ing his fur­rowed skin, he re­flects on a life­time of mem­o­ries, most of which bring a smile to his face.

He re­flects on the year he spent in Bishop’s Falls in 1953. His mother Ella, a teacher, ar­ranged to have her son com­plete high school in the cen­tral New­found­land town be­cause she felt he would ben­e­fit from the ex­pe­ri­ence. One of his class­mates that year was fu­ture NHLer Alex Faulkner.

He started his busi­ness, an auto re­pair shop, the very next year, open­ing on the same lo­ca­tion where his fa­ther, Gra­ham Mercer Sr., op­er­ated a lum­ber busi­ness.

His fa­ther died at age 38 of a fail­ing heart. Gra­ham was just nine years-of-age and his sis­ter, Judy, was four months old.

Gra­ham’s busi­ness suc­ceeded and in the early 1970s, the cou­ple added a res­tau­rant. He op­er­ated the garage, while Cavell took care of the food.

Gra­ham has many fond mem­o­ries of his years in busi­ness.

“I en­joyed ev­ery minute of it for the first 40 years,” he said.

“But as we got older and things changed, it wasn’t as much fun any­more.”

None of their four chil­dren were in­ter­ested in tak­ing over the busi­ness, so they sold it.

Gra­ham said he had “more grease run down his neck over the years than you can shake a stick at.”

He stressed that while they made a liv­ing, it wasn’t all profit and pros­per­ity. There were ups and downs over the years, and they both worked end­less days and long hours to make it work.

It’s no sur­prise, then, that Gra­ham is still in work mode. He’s awake ev­ery morn­ing at 5:30, and still has trou­ble get­ting to sleep at night be­cause there are so many ideas and thoughts rac­ing through his ac­tive mind. And what’s with the pen in his pocket? He never leaves home with­out one. It’s a habit car­ried over from his work­ing days.

“I’ll even go back home and get it if I for­get,” he said. “I’ll some­times go weeks with­out us­ing it, but it’s al­ways there.”

And the mous­tache? The han­dle­bar, or spaghetti, has been his trade­mark for 35 years. He re­moved it dur­ing his bat­tle with can­cer, but is once again ap­ply­ing the wax each morn­ing.

The dart logo on the jacket is a trib­ute to Cavell, a one-time Cana­dian ladies’ sin­gles cham­pion who once com­peted in an in­ter­na­tional event in Eng­land.

“I went along as well to take in the sights,” Gra­ham joked.

Af­ter about 20 min­utes, Gra­ham po­litely ends the con­ver­sa­tion and con­tin­ues his walk. It’s nearly sup­per­time. His ap­petite, it seems, is just as for­mi­da­ble as his spirit.

Gra­ham Tay­lor of Green’s Har­bour was once a well-known busi­ness­man. Now re­tired, he ad­mits that life with­out work can be chal­leng­ing. Photo by Terry Roberts

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