When Jody Comes Home

JWR Opens Up

The site took rare advantage of an opportunity to re-visit the University Women’s Club of Vancouver in my old Shaughnessy hood on McRae there at “Hycroft”, courtesy of an invite from the Liberal Party of Canada.  The Member of Parliament for the federal riding of Vancouver Granville was taking a meet and greet with constituents in the lower ballroom of the venerable old institution, site of many weddings over the years.

The last time I’d been here was some years ago to attend a wedding.  It was a fine wedding with all the pomp you’d expect of a wedding at Hycroft and the marriage lasted one year.

Many are the memories of me tricycling around “The Crescent” when we lived close by before Dad had to go to jail and our family became destitute.  The Crecsent was lined with cars tonight but we found a spot not far from the venue and eased in our beautiful old car.

We’d thought first to walk up from our residence down the hill several blocks but with the threat of rain, a threat we took seriously, the car it was.  I had my own, personal reasons for coming to a thing like this.  Not only had I voted for Jody Wilson-Raybould in the last federal election but I had never been to anything like this before in my life and I was curious.  And it was Hycroft.  In my old Shaughnessy.

I’d had invitations before to functions like this because I’m a pretty important person to the Liberal party.  I give and no donation is too small, which is a good attitude.  In a fit of reverie one lost night I’d thrown the party a fiver in hopes they’d call off their dogs and stop hectoring me for a donation.  It didn’t work but I guess that’s politics.

And politics can be good in minute doses infrequently, and in my case, very infrequently. And this was a case of that.  And she was with me.  My consort had attended that old Hycroft wedding and had also voted for Jody Wilson-Raybould in the last federal election.

It must be admitted we were also here because our MP was a pretty important person and one who had also recently experienced some pretty intense, career-altering events.  These events, as everyone knows, have been all over the news all over the country.  Jody Wilson-Raybould, until recently, was Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and the reason she was no longer in that fine position, to a lot of people, had some unseemliness attached to it.   A lot of controversy had erupted and, you guessed it, politics.

So it sounded like fun and we both had the evening off and it would be an opportunity to be in close proximity  to the very public person of The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, P.C., Q.C., Member of Parliament for Vancouver Granville.

Even though the event is more than two weeks ago the Honourable Member’s saga won’t die.  It wasn’t dying before the event either.

It was a good-sized crowd.  There was wine and beer at the bar by donation and most people from what I could see were donating a fiver.  I didn’t see what brand of beer was on offer but the only wine label I could see was “Oculus”, a retail $135 a bottle red Bordeaux-style from Mission Hill in the Okanagan.  Everybody knows that.  We took two modestly filled glasses from the barkeep for a fiver each and were well pleased with our adventure.

Occupying seats against the wall near the grazing table it was scant minutes before a nice gentleman in his mid-forties, impeccably dressed in business caj and sitting to the right of my partner initiated conversation with her.  I wasn’t close enough to hear exactly what he was saying above the hubbub prior to the start of the show but it turned out he must have surveyed the cut of my Kitten’s jib and deemed her harmless and was sharing a few jokes with her.  Something about lobsters and surfing or something.

He was most pleasant, a largish white guy with french cuffs, monogrammed, and nice looking links on his sharp, blue stripe shirt under the dark blue jacket below which, right again, were blue jeans.  He’d introduced himself and we’d done the same but his name blew right past me and I didn’t catch it.

It developed that he was a member of the legal profession, had worked in Ottawa but was now back home working downtown.  I gathered he’d been a supporter of the federal Liberal Party for some time, but then, in reality, so had we with the one difference that up until tonight we had pretty much been closet liberals but not our  jovial friend.

I always wonder in a crowd if I’m going to run into somebody I know.  It happens, right? So it was gratifying to see Leslie Hurtig happen by.  Leslie and I are old friends and contacts from the book business.  These days she’s doing an excellent job as artistic director of the Vancouver Writers Festival.  We chatted a second, joking about marriages at Hycroft and other stuff.

The constituency president came to the podium and said a few words then a middle aged gentleman in a light grey suit took over and introduced Jody Wilson-Raybould to the assembled multitude to enthusiastic applause.  But not before mentioning that the event was being held on the land and traditional territories of the Squamish, Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.

Jody Gets down. Baldy guy unknown

She looks just like she does on TV and in the newspaper.  Exactly the same and her visage, as above, has been splashed all over everywhere these weeks.  Jody Wilson-Raybould comes across as a very solid, down-to-earth person but no less a polished professional at ease at centre stage.  She was relaxed.  One of the first things she said was the acknowledgment that we were on traditional territories meant a lot to her hearing it.

That revised my opinion somewhat that this statement regarding First Nations “traditional territories”  heard at the beginning of just about any event of any sort now was already in a state of tiresome cliché with barnacles of political correctness all over it.  The Honourable Member is First Nations herself.  I already knew that and that she’d done a lot of growing up here but she brought the message home somehow.

She said she’d been in politics five years and had been drawn to the idea of doing politics differently, which, as everyone knows, was a campaign concept from 2015.  Jody added that she was also drawn to an idea of, “non-partisanship to grapple with the serious problems we face.”  And that, “The last five weeks have been hard on me and my family.”

I don’t know why, but I felt myself choking up slightly because with those words Jody Wilson-Raybould  got choked up just very slightly herself for an instant.  I know it’s difficult to believe the hard-assed administrator of samoyeddogs.net has feelings but I was thinking here is a human being.  This is the person, not the TV and newspaper packaged semi-cardboard cut-out for consumption.

The member for Vancouver Granville said she’d been very proud to be the minister of justice and attorney general and proud to be the minister of veteran’s affairs.  There were a few more words.

Photo Op Post Address

And that was more or less it.  We strode purposefully up the stairs and out into classic grey month of March twi-nite Vancouver rain.

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Thomson Park III

It’s a state of mind when you get to the third in the series and at the start you didn’t even know it was going to be a series.  Is this one any good? Does it suck?  Is there too much animation, cardboard plots and bad acting? What is it?  As a professional critic we get paid to get out to things otherwise we might not go.  We might do something else. But this one is pretty good.  It’s right up there with the others.

Thomson Park III is a hit!  Get down!  Get down there and get all over it!

By the strangest coincidence, the most bizarre concatenation of events all too common when you get right down to it, there’s an article in the current Saturna Scribbler about this selfsame patch of ground Thomson Park. Just when I’ve got another movie coming out.  That’s great.  Syncronicity is still out there.  I believe.

There it is in the distance, the “Thomson Park shelter structure” which needs to be improved, apparently, “so it better reflects the historic, social and even spiritual values of this place.”

I just wonder what that can possibly actually mean?  It’s looking like a bomb-proof heavy steel pavilion structure on a concrete pad with a bunch of big, solid picnic-type tables under a pyramidal green metal roof.  With barbecue. There’s no improving on that. But we understand that it’s all volunteer. That’s what we’re doing ourselves.

Thomson Park is a “site” apparently.  It has a “spacial configuration” and a “functionality over time” and a “broader context in which it played a role”.

I must pause to ask the author of the article what is meant by “deep history”?  Is there “shallow history”?  Is there “not too deep history”? There’s one kind of history.  But that’s enough of this.

Wild speculation that the population of the region may have been “one million” just sounds like bunk.  I’m sorry.  And on to the concept of “settler”.  I’ve seen this before.  This was invented, this idea of “settler” or “settler communities” by one person, somewhere, somehow, in a dark, bureaucratic hole of bureaucratic bs.

There is no “settler” and no “recent settler community” and never was. There are no “settlers” around here and never were.  It’s an academic invention with an agenda and time it was exposed.  It’s heartbreaking.

We need first of all better writing about “Thomson Park” and what it is and what it was before it was “Thomson Park”.  You can’t have lousy writing talking about a special place. It diminishes.  Everything is turned into highly unsanitary mush.  Let’s get with it.  My opinion.

That isn’t what we’re talking about here.


First Nations Logging Show III

Oh deer, what is happening to my habitat?  Make them stop, mother.

We left Bob Stanley in good shape at the foot of Fiddler Rd.  We said “hi” again and told him we had to head back to civilization.  Everybody laughs at that joke and Bob was no exception.  Practically overnight he’d become like a diplomat and a diplomat trying to stay warm standing around all day in this beautiful cool, clear skies week.

He’d had to interact with all sorts of wonderful people with different, wonderful opinions on what was going on here and he was getting through it.  He was okay. He seemed to be a man of many moods, all of them good and the feeling emerged he’d been exactly the man for the job. Good on him and good on good old Campbell River where Bob’s from. Woo woo!

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Shadowlands of the Blue Dogs

 

Had to wait on my girlfriend up on the hill in old Point Grey until she returned to her mansion. She left me a late phone message that I didn’t get until about an hour before the ETA I’d given yesterday in my message.  Doesn’t matter.

My girlfriend’s off to Peachland, British Columbia tomorrow to attend, with his consort, once more, the “Remembrance Day” ceremony there on Sunday.

His older brother’s name, as you will recall, is one of the dozen or so on the fine, small, granite cenotaph on the waterfront.

Raymond H. W., although in the RCAF, was flying with RAF bomber command squadron 51 out of Snaith, Yorkshire, England.  It was his third “mission” as they used to be called. The Handley Page Halifax Mark III four engine bomber, LV857, didn’t return from the attack on Nuremberg the night of March 30-31, 1944.

R.H.W. also has a grave marker in the Hanover, Germany war cemetery. He was 22 and grew up in Peachland.

So his younger brother, the old girlfriend, who will be 85 next year, heads up to place one of the wreaths, as he has for the last several years.

The ceremony takes place in the community centre rather than on the waterfront at the cenotaph itself, as used to be, as some of the old guard are getting a tad elderly and it can get a bit cool down there in November.

Indeed, some of the participants of the past, since they brought the day inside,  have past on.  My dear girlfriend has the little place above the lake on Lakeshore Boulevard, a dead-end two lane blacktop with a fine view of Okanagan Lake.

Summerland and Penticton are to the south, West Kelowna and Kelowna to the north.  His parents owned the place starting in the 1920s.  It was the little cottage up behind the house they lived in on a fine, sloping patch of ground at the south end of town.  The house as well as the cottage are still there, but the house hasn’t been in the family for decades.  The highway has more traffic now than it did in the 1920s.

In fact the whole town has expanded alarmingly in the last few years. But there’s no return to the past.  People like my girlfriend remember how it used to be.  Is he really my girlfriend?  Sure, in a jokey sort of way.


“Not necessarily a blue dog moment.”  — American TV commentator.  No one outside of himself had a clue what he was talking about last  night.

 

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