Monday, October 20, 2008


... of the road trip I took to and from his memorial service.

Let me tell you about John and Mary Ann. They were married for 38 years, the last 17 of which they were live-aboards. In fact, they were an inspiration to us when we met them, because we hadn't 'taken the leap' yet. They were the first folks we'd met who were actually living the live-aboard life! They had one son, Tig (married to Christine) and a grandson, Kale. John's been a mechanic, a fisherman, and most recently, a boat broker.

John did battle with cancer the first time about 5 years ago, and won that battle. But it came back this summer, and as cancer often does the second time around, much more aggressively. We knew, when we were on Salt Spring Island on our holiday, that all was not well -- because John and Mary Ann have been really involved in the West Coast Workboat Association, and they weren't at the Rendezvous there. When we asked someone about them, we were told that John was 'very sick'. John died, at 58 years old, on October 2nd.

Michael wasn't able to come with me, but I drove up to Parksville on Saturday for the service. It was a lovely fall morning, and I gave myself lots of time ... I love driving up-Island, especially in the fall.

First stop, Goldstream Park, where the salmon run is just starting.

See that 'ridge' across the water? It's actually about a foot-high waterfall that the salmon have to hurdle to get to the spawning grounds. Here it is, closer up:

So I immediately spotted two salmon who'd made it over the waterfall, and were just probably just resting from the ordeal! (You can click on these to make them bigger ... I was standing on a bank and the fish were about 5' below me, in about a foot of water).

It was a lovely fall day - perfect for a little walk through a rainforest!

The parking lot at the Bradley Centre in Parksville was packed full when I arrived -- John was loved by anyone who knew him! The service was lovely, and I got to chat with Mary Ann for a few minutes, and give her a big hug.

I decided I was too tired to drive back home (it's about two hours if you don't stop, and it would've been almost dark) so I met my sister Julie and niece Trisha for supper at our favorite Chinese smorg place, and then spent the night at Julie's.

I wish there would have been a fourth person to take a picture, because we spent the evening curled up on couches in her living room, the three of us knitting. It was a lovely end to the day! I said goodnight at about 9 pm, read for about 10 minutes -- and woke up at 5 a.m. Unheard of for me to sleep through the night, OR to sleep for 8 hours -- I MUST have been tired!

Had a quick coffee with Julie and headed off again.

First stop, Parksville Beach (I lie. The first stop was the nearest Starbuck's for a latte, and THEN Parksville Beach!) I was knitting and enjoying the latte and the view out over the Strait of Georgia (complete with Canada Geese doing their morning lap)...

... when I noticed the 'fall-ness' in the bay...

... and then I saw a great blue heron on a rock over-looking the water, so I had to go for a walk to get a bit closer.

When I got to within 15' of him, he started to pay attention...

... and then decided he needed to *really* pay attention:

... but I didn't give him any trouble, I just walked quietly back up the beach. :-)

The rest of the trip was uneventful (although I did increase the stash at at least one second-hand store -- ok, maybe two -- and a stop at the The Loom in Duncan.)

When I got home and came down the dock, I encountered these two characters -- who also happen to be my two favorite men on the planet -- and counted my blessings.

They were having lots of fun, AND getting the porch fixed!

All in all, a lovely weekend to honor the life of John B. :-(

1 comment:

Monica said...

Did I meet John at the hospital in Victoria once when we were together?