Sunday, September 20, 2009
For many years until recently the pianist and I went to Gabriola Island to celebrate with old friends the weekend of Halloween. I,ve never met Jeffrey Simpson's mythical uncle but the island is full of characters. Our host, we have known for 40 years, and there is a gathering of some twenty other old friends. At least there was, before time has taken it's toll. We party, drink a bit, eat well, and continuously talk. There is not much exercising. We, of course carve pumpkins. The pianist always made Sunday breakfast of bacon and blueberry pancakes,the last berries from our patch. These were friends from another era that keep in touch once a year and we never run out of things to say . The clean up is as much fun as the dirting down. It is in fact the annual closeup for the summer and fall cottagers. We say goodbye each year, hoping it is au revoir! Years ago our host showed us the large cored holes in a granite tumulous near her cottage. There were dozens of them, measuring four feet across and five feet deep. The large intact grindstones extracted from the holes were transported to the Vancouver Island pulp mills to grind pulpwood in the old days. By Halloween the holes are full of water and, in attempting to traverse them I was less nimble than my hostess. I fell in up to my armpits and eventually struggled out. As I was falling I had that split second thought that the holes might be 30 feet deep and I was a goner. It is hard for an old fellow with gumboots and a thick, soaked, parka to extricate himself from such a situation. That night at the party, my cracked rib and the heady atmosphere caused me to faint and, since my fellow celebrants were less than perspicacious at that time, they thought I had no pulse and called the fire department. The firemen had just finished their fireworks display in the harbor and were in need of action. All was well. It was an inconvenient way to be the center of attention, but we were invited back the next year, hopefully for me to provide further excitment.