My father and I did not have a warm, “let’s play catch” relationship. He was not that kind of guy. But he was a one-of-a-kind individual, who lived life large, when he could, and followed the beat of his own particular drummer. I admired the good side of that, such as when he cajoled our six-member family into a small, Singer station wagon and drove us across Canada in 1961, camping and sleeping in pup tents. No one did that, then. This was before Rogers Pass, and we spent a whole day nervously driving the precarious, twisting gravel road known as the Big Bend Highway, from Golden to Revelstoke. Who could forget Boat Encampment, where the Columbia River made its “big bend” and headed south, its old-style gas pumps and rustic general store now flooded by the Mica Dam? That trip to B.C. changed my life. The province grabbed hold of my heart, and when I was ready to make my own way in the world, this was where I headed. Without my crazy — in a good way– father, the rich life I have had in beautiful British Columbia might never have happened. His own roots were here, as were my mother’s. So, thanks for that, dad.
Thanks, too, for not throwing out that cool, black leather jacket you sported in the 1940’s. One day, at the height of “the Sixties”, I discovered it in a back closet, and wore it for years. Some fathers pass down wisdom to their sons. My father passed on his black leather jacket.
He’s wearing it in that cool photo at the top of this blog. The shot was taken on what were then known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, when he was 24. And here’s the same black leather jacket worn by his callow stripling of a son, on a back road near Naramata. Not bad, eh? Happy Father’s Day, old man!