Sunday, August 31, 2014

Annis Bay

Larch Haven, Annis Bay, British Columbia, Canada

My connection to this "window into heaven" is deep and cannot be measured by the number of summers I came here as a granddaughter, the number of summers I didn't come here as a young adult, or the number of years I have lived here as a mother.

How can I measure my connection to "the lake"? In the number of paint rocks I crushed at the beach? In the number of books I read from the Salmon Arm library? In the number of belly-laughs, joy-filled moments or deep sorrows I recall from time at "grandpa's cabins"? 
Today, on my early morning walk, I measured it by the number of rocks I pick up and tossed to the edge of the road. In the number of blackberries I ate that were perfectly ripened. In the number of pieces of driftwood I stepped over as I walked along the beach.

But perhaps I will measure it years from now in the number of family and friends who joined in person or in their hearts in the celebration of 50th anniversary of the company that holds it all together: LaRue.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Doral Pilling - Let me know if you want an audio tape of the book!

I don't know how many of you have a copy of Doral Pilling's book (the one where he was interviewed by Charlie Ursenbach as part of the Western Oral History Program).

It is an awesome book.

This summer, i read the inside cover, which says that the original audio transcription was held at the Provincial Archives of Alberta.  I wrote to the archives asking, and here is what they said: 
We do indeed have the recordings. In fact, we have the 226 page transcript in the reference room. The  accession number for the recordings is GR1975.0122. You should be able to get copies of the recordings (assuming they are not damaged). The recordings are currently on audio reels and will need to be transferred to CDs. Please note, effective, September 2, 2014, our fees for audio reproduction is $100 per hour of content. As well, there is a cue to have AV work completed so your order may take 2-3 months.   Should you like a photocopy of the transcript, that can be ordered online and I would be happy to send instructions.
They they followed up with the AV archivist to get more info on how to get the tapes reproduced, and how to order (since there is no option to order tapes online).  Here is what I was told:
The interview lasted a total of 590 minutes (over 5 reels). The cost for audio reproduction (CDs) is $35.00 per half an hour and $17.50 per 15 minutes thereafter. So, by my calculation 590 minutes is 9.8 hours, so it works out to $700. As of September 2nd, it will be $100 per hour of audio content (so best to order soon if you still want to). As I mentioned before, it will take several months to complete the order. To order copies, we would need you to send us a money order made out to the Government of Alberta along with a letter stating that you want all of GR1975.0122 (oral history of Doral William Pilling). Our address is: Provincial Archives of Alberta8555 Roper RoadEdmonton ABT6E 5W1
In short, I have placed the order!   

I don't expect to hear back for several months.  

While other people can order if they want to, I think the smarter strategy is just for us to divide the cost between all those interested in having a copy.  Indeed, given how many of us were at LaRue's 50th birthday party, I suspect we could have a really reasonable cost per copy.  When the thing arrives, i will send out another note asking who wants one (and maybe can arrange to bring them out to the lake next summer for those people who want to pick them up rather than covering the shipping costs.  

When the CD arrives, I will send out another note, and those who would like a copy can just let me know.  Or... you can just comment to this note to let me know you are provisionally interested (and i will keep a running note then of people to follow up with later)


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

LaRue's Party Planner

I got a note from Catherine Jarvis. Here is what she said:

 In another life, I would have been a party planner. I love parties.

Here are some ideas for the next LARUE party.

1. Give away door prizes. I am willing to contribute $50 to the prizes even though I won't be there. Suggested prizes: Deck of rook cards, deck of face cards, case of freezies, bag of licorice, s'mores kit (bag of marshmellows, graham crackers and chocolate), water gun, water balloons, etc Everyone who comes should get to put their name in the draw once, after filling out a card with their favourite Shuswap memory.

2. Jeopardy

Play one game of jeopardy and mix up the families. Let the little kids consult with the grown-ups. Just ask questions, instead of give the answers like in Jeopardy.

Who ate a slug?

Who started the Litter Patrol?

What was the name of the boat Uncle Earl brought to the lake? (Viking)

What is swimming at night with out a swimming suit called?

Who made up a play called "Sweet, Young, Thing?" Who played the role of the thing? (Amanda on both counts)

Which cabin has a bunk bed with no ladder? (Noisy cabin)

Who built the cabins?

Who caught a bat in the quiet cabin? (Amanda, Catherine with help from Uncle Don)

How was the laundry done in the old cabins? (A raising of the hands for anyone who ever got their fingers caught in the ringer.

What did Uncle Kelvin buy the summer it rained non-stop? (2 crates of paper)

Who nearly died (strangled himself) riding his motorcycle when a rope he had around his neck got caught in the spokes? (Cohl)

What is "King of the Dock"

... a favourite game of this baby ...
Who set himself on fire accidental, when trying to help grampa light a fire? (Kelvin)

Where were the litter patrol sticks hung? (Quiet or noisy house, and where exactly)

You get the point of the game I want to play.

Everyone who comes shoujld submit one question.

3. Favourite memory cards - invite everyone to fill out a recipe card with their favourite memory. Tweet or post these throughout the year.

4. Cherry pit spitting contest with prizes.

5. Play a round of spoons with the older kids.

Wishing I could be there to enjoy the fun last week.

Please show your photo and/or blog, tweet or post them on Facebook.



Monday, August 11, 2014

LaRue's Fiftieth: More

... Michaela and cousins ...
The heat is too much for Braeson.  Everyone else is good.
It has only been a week since the party, but still we are getting together to see each other’s pictures.

It seems that every camera was pointed in another direction.
 ... Joshua after Tiger-Tiger ice cream ...

“Did you even come over to the party?”, I asked Bonnie Wyora. “I didn’t see you there.”

“Yes, I was there, but I was the woman in black and no one noticed me. I have found there is anonymity when wearing black.”
 ... Senya gets help from Moiya ...

It would have been possible to have missed someone at the party – I didn’t know that Laynie passed bottles of bubbles out to children.

And I didn’t take a shot of the Frisbee game.
... down for the count ...

Nor would I have noticed the Robertson cousins on the porch had I not taken the short-cut back to my house to bring back some item I have forgotten.

How cute was that to see them sitting there where many cousins before them have enjoyed an evening meal.
... wheelbarrow race ... 2 people carrying Nathan

Today Janet was wondering if we should have announced the games at the party.

But that didn’t seem necessary. When the little ones tired of one game, another seemed to magically begin.
... the wheel barrow race crunches ...

And would the party have gone on, into the late evening hours?

Well, families with little children always pack it in when it is time to put their little ones to bed.

That is really when the party ended – when the little ones were closing down on their day.

I am out of words.  Perhaps the following pictures will tell their own story.


 ... Cohl and Anita watching the fun ...

... Glen wonders which group to join next  ...
 ... Duncan watches the gunny sack races ...
LtoR: Alicia, Chelsie, Senya, Zach, Michaela
Audra: I don't know which ice-cream flavour to choose.
Kelvin tries to push Wyona through the Red Rover line

The morning walk

... roses from the bushes at the front of the house ...

That is not a red cushion on the chair.
It is a red towel folded up to prevent
a wire tattoo on the person who sits enjoying breakfast.
Bonnie, Rebecca and I have been having morning walks ... not for weight loss, but iin an effort to start the day right -- a little Vitamin D and a big chance to talk to one another.

We use the imaginary talking feather, passing it from one to another -- sometimes tossing it high in the air and letting it float down until someone else grabs it.

On this day Rebecca passed on the walk in favour of a little more sleep.  Well, not just a little more.  She wanted a full 12 hours of sleep since sleep deprivation was catching up with her.

Bonnie and I had breakfast together after our walk.

But before eating, we walk up to Bernie Road and touch the stop sign at the Trans-Canada Highway.  Then we walk the other way and touch the Reid Robertson - Misty Rhoades Wedding Sign at the other end of the property.  The sign is on a piece of driftwood and points down toward the place where they got married.

On this day, instead of that walk, we slipped down to the beach and sat on some logs to watch the water sparkle in the early morning sunrise.  We were lucky enough to see the fishermen launch their boat from the ramp-camp (Teague, Art, Chelsea and Gabe -- in one small fishing boat).

On the way home, we looked for a new home for the hammocks, and moved them from the cherry trees into the cool of the woods.

And finally, Bonnie pulled out the good china, peeled some mangoes, toasted some whole wheat bread and I thought, "Already a perfect day and I have only been up for 2 hours."

Can you remember when I started a new journey -- the best 100 days of my life. 

I am on day 85 now. 

The journey?  Yes, that is the fun, not the destination. 


Waiting for the train ......

Photo by Marcia Bates
... mostly Bates ...
I've only have to stop at the tracks once this year. and wait for the trains.

Duncan, Ben, David and I were there while two  were pausing, a third was going by, and I felt that the walk to the end of any of them was too long.

Here the Bates kids get a pause before crossing the tracks. There was another pick-up truck on the road behind them, not in the picture, and the yellow machine had been blocking more of the road when they arrived.

"Thiry-five trains a day pass here," one of the railroad crew told Marcia.

I sometimes think all 35 of them go through at night, but that is only how I feel when I am sleeping fitfully.

Most of the time, I hear the trains only during the day and I have to stop either my conversation with someone or my phone call for a minute while the engines pass.

The idea of having trains and a working crew in your back yard  seems idyllic.  Especially if you love trains or are a Thomas-theTrain enthusaist.  But if you have been here on a holiday, you will know what I mean.  The noise is not always that good.


Sunday, August 3, 2014

LaRue's Fiftieth: An Orchestra of Crickets

A Photo Essay

 Sidney Wood: "Look.  Janet gave me a whistle."

Put it in your mouth.

Take a deep breath.


Position it in there again.

The sound is way back there.

Celeste Wyora
  "Can I have a try?"

LaRue's Fiftieth

... what kind of chip is this? ....
 ... Piper Hicks and Graham arrive at the party...
The August long weekend party on the property has shifted over the years.

First it was a practise to see if Richard and Miranda really wanted a pig roast for their wedding dinner.

For a while there was an annual pig roast on the property.

 ... Nolan Pilling heads for the bouncy castle ...
Then there was an August long weekend when Reid and Misty got married.That party couldn’t have been more fun.

Laynie offered to take over the party planning tradition this year, first designating the place as under the cherry trees.

The party was named Happy 50th Birthday, LaRue, for she was incorporated in 1964, birthed January 14th, Doral’s birthday though she was just a shell company belonging to Ruth and Lawrence George Kearl, Jr.

... Kelvin, the oldest party goer ...
And that is enough preamble.

The open invitation to family and friends was put up at Five Corners – a home made poster tacked to an old piece of plywood, decorated with helium ballons and propped up on a dolly.

“Follow us on twitter” it said.

 ... Laynie, preparing bottles of bubbles...
“What is twitter,” asked the older folks who are mainly those over 30 with small families. The really old-older folks raised their eyebrows, looked at each other, shook their heads and said, “Twitter? Beyond us.” The social media savvy younger took note of the address and followed the party at #LaRue50th.

“Twenty-five of us are coming,” tweeted Paul Lund.

Janet made sure everyone had name tags, which seems a little strange, since it was a family party.

 ... Zach photobombs Jeremy ...
But there are a plethora of under five year olds…so little that to see their eyes you really have to squat way down on the ground to speak with them.

Way, way down.

LaRue could have accommodated even another dozen people or so.

 ... Nolan, determined to move forward ...
Two BBQ’s were lit and the good-times began. Already there were twelve dozen buns, sixty sausages, 80 wieners, and five oversized bowls of chips, which were replenished and replenished.

Pop was there, water, juice, Mr. Freeze sticks and ice-cream: Bubble Gum, Tiger-Tiger and a 2 ½ gallon tub of ice-cream of Black Forest.

Both the size of the tub and the flavour appealed to the adults.

...  Landon getting permission to get to the bouncy castle ...
If it is true that families are linked genetically with certain genes, our link is manifest in the size of ice cream cone or bowl that we think is a single serving.

No counting how many times you could go through the line.

The only call out for food was … “The bubble gum flavour is going fast. Get in line if you don’t want to miss it.”

 ... Zach by the woodshed ...
wo hammocks were in the cherry trees.

The Robertson teen-agers helped put up the other two hammocks.

Together, the four hammocks created a square between the cabins.

Teague wonders if the hammock will support his weight
The manufacturing spec on the hammocks were tested: one hammock can hold 200 kilograms.

They were used as chairs, swings or as a place to throw yourself into with a good book. The sides will close in and to know who is in the hammock at that point requires a peek inside.

The games began. I pulled out the rope that Doral bought for me at Chesney’s Hardware when I asked him to find me a double Dutch rope that I could use with my own little family.

... the hammock stands up to the test ...
“Pretty old looking – a lot of road wear on that,” someone said to me.

I never look at it that way.

I only see on it the patina of  years of skipping doubIe Dutch on the rope.

... Kalina...
I remembered again the day he brought it to me, fashioning it first into a lasso and showing me how he could rope a calf when he was young .

We jumped to “I had a little teddy bear / his name was Tim” and then switched to that game where everyone runs through, then in and out of the rope with they jump, first one skip, then two, then three.

 I couldn’t remember all of the skipping rhyme, “Spanish dancers turn around, round, round / Spanish dancers touch the ground, ground, ground / Spanish dancers to the splits, splits, splits ….”

 ... Senya Bates under the cherry trees ...
I thought old people were supposed to have long term memory, but that skipping rhyme from my childhood is now only half there.

Janet was full of more games ideas than I.

She had a beautiful new multi-coloured parachute for a tag game.

 .... Audra, head wreath from Spittlefields ...
Frisbees were thrown in another corner of the double cabin yard.

The motor of the bouncy house was humming in another corner of the yard.
 Some families ate on the fragile deck of Panabode 1.

Others sat in their Roots and Blues chairs, or had laid out towels on the ground.

 .... Robertson cousins arrive ...
Dave Wood made a sweep of the beach with his truck and delivered the sturdy white rose medallion imprinted lawn chairs, a great addition for those who find it harder than they used to, to get up and down from the ground.

Kelvin sat in his walker.

Theresa Oldham
The food was delivered in waves: “all under five – bring an adult to help you dip up”, “all under fifteen” and the call-out continued.

“A great idea,” said Trina. “No plates – just a napkin to handle the bun and potato chips.” “No planning there. We are just cheap.”

“Years of planning and having big families,” she countered. “Intuitively you know – what is the use of having all of those paper plates laying around.”

When we were finished eating the games continues.

Kalina Oldham                   
Janet had laid out sturdy white plastic bags

Either malt or hops comes in those bags. They are study”, someone explained.

For today the bags were doubling as gunny sack for the races.

It was the moms with young children who lined up first and hopped their way to the finish line.

Rita went down. Anita tried to hop through her. Laynie hopped over her.

Rita kept going and made it to the finish line, victorious on her hands and knees.

Every age group continued, some so young they needed help, either getting the whole bodies into the bags which now came up to their shoulders, or by receving the kind of help that meant they were nestled inside the bag with their dads carrying them along.

The older male cousins got into the bags for their turn – not determined to make it to the finish line, but scheming how to get in the way of someone else who might make it to the finish line.

Some low level injuries were sustained.

A slight fear crossed over my heart that there would be the need to call an ambulance.

Duck, Duck Goose – could there be a family party without everyone having their turn to be the goose?

Rita Lund
Some of the young ones didn’t know which way to run when it was their turn.

Others ran and then squeezed in anywhere in the circle and sat down fast enough to make themselves the winner.

Who cares if they made it back to the spot they left from?

Nathan getting into the "gunny sack"
Having your wits about you.

That is what the game is all about.

Music from the 60’s was playing in the background.

After all, this was a party about being born in about the sixties.

Celeste Wyora
Tunes like "Money" and “You Can’t Make Me” played as easy listening music and some people sung along.

 ... getting the hot dogs fixed just right ...
The women from the Bates group evoked Woodstock when they came with flowers either woven into their hair or encircling the crowns of their heads.

Janet had bags of party favours. Everyone under five got a whistle.

Chelsea, Alicia, Dave Wood
Not the kind of whistle that gets taken away from you when you have blown it too many times at Christmas. No. These were whistles that you could blow and blow … and blow.

Paul Lund
“Listen,” laughed Glen. “It is like an orchestra of crickets in the evening. They are not going to quit blowing those whistles until they hit their beds tonight.” 

Red-Rover, Red-Rover – hard not to say the words and not feel a wave of nostalgia for the number of times I can remember seeing that game played in that space.

 ... Aiden getting ketchup off of his fingers ...
No wonder that game is banned from playgrounds these days.

The three year olds were playing; the 83 year old was playing.

Alex hadn’t played this game before and wanted to know the rules of the game.

 ... Rex rests in the hammock ...
Oh, not the rules per se, but the social rules, since it was pretty obvious that no combination of hands could stop Nathan or Alex should they really want to get through.

The party set up in the morning was done by a mystery committee.

I don’t know who was on it. By the time I got over there with 2 utility tables and a couple of table clothes, there was already a brand new tent up in the middle of the lawn, with garbage cans there, and a pop-can recycling area.

Norah and Adam
Someone else had opened the cabin doors, airing the rooms out for the cabin tours.

... Zoe flashes a smile ...
The clean-up after the party was equally seamless.

People took home what they had brought and soon the area was clean.

There was no paper or plastic left on the ground.The litter patrol at work.

The katabatic evening wind was sweeping down from Larch Mountain.

... the hot dog line-up ...
Moiya, Wyona and I stayed behind to talk a bit – alone now, over by the boat shed.

Charise brought over a flashlight in case Wyona needed it for her journey home.

If we had stayed later, Wyona wouldn’t have needed the flashlight.

Lexi Robertson ... without her motor bike
The night sky was clear and the stars were bright. I could find my way from one house to the other by the light of the moon later on in the evening.

Happy 50th Birthday, LaRue.

I don’t know who it was that made the party a success.

My guess is that the help came from the moms and dads who have hopes that their children will be around to celebrate LaRue’s 75th.