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Copyright, Li Read, 2006
March 31, 2006.
Here's another "opening event", to mark in your calenders -- on April 13th, from 5 to 7
p.m., there will be an opening reception showcasing Diana Dean's latest paintings, called
"The Passion of Diana Dean".
To be held at the Salt Spring Woodworks location on Churchll Road, the exhibition will run
from April 13 to April 30, with the gallery open from 11 to 5.
Don't miss this! See you there!
March 30, 2006.
An upcoming annual event, to mark on your calender!
Judy Mitchell Gallery, in Grace Point Square, is inviting the Islanders to a Spring
Reception, on Friday, April 7th, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
The reception is to celebrate the opening of the Gallery's 2006 season, and one can meet
the local artists represented by this terrific "local" gallery.
Paintings, sculpture, jewellery, basketry, ceramics, glass work...it's all here, and it's
Enjoy the talent of your fellow Islanders!
See you there!
March 29, 2006.
"Any life, no matter how long and complex it may be, is made up of
a single moment -- the moment in which a man finds out, once and
for all, who he is."
(writer, Jorge Luis Borges).
March 28, 2006.
Salt Spring Blues...
Frannie wore her blue & silver caftan, and wound her hair into a turban of magenta silk.
She pushed her beaded silver slippers into the pockets of her anorak, and knelt to pull on
the old black boots she always left waiting at her back door..
Carefully balancing the cookie tray with its two pavlovas, she cut across the lower field,
a short cut of ten minutes between her cottage and Peter and Mattie's farm.
Maybe it was Mattie's birthday?
She couldn't keep all these little celebrations straight, and relied on Ann or Florrie to
remind her of these small niceties of friendship.
She was late, though. Boots of all kinds were already lined up, haphazardly, on Peter and
Mattie's back porch.
The twang of John Coley's guitar and Peter's banjo welled out into the night, as she
entered the steaming kitchen, pushing the tray of pavlovas, intact, onto Mattie's littered
"At last!" crowed Mattie, bursting through from the living room, evervescent and brittle
at the same time, definitely in party mode. "We thought you'd never get here!"
"It's only 9 p.m. Nobody ever arrives on time."
"Well, maybe not, but it's a special occasion. I began to think you weren't coming."
"You need to put those desserts into the fridge, Mattie, or we'll all get food poisoning
from the cream. It's too hot in here!"
Frannie leaned against the door for balance, as she slipped on her silver shoes, and
watched Mattie struggle to find room in her bulging fridge for the pavlovas, pale clouds
of meringue and cream and passionfruit.
"Well, don't just stand there! Put your coat over there, Frannie, and come in. You know
Frannie took the glass of wine suddenly thrust at her, and followed Mattie into the
crowded living room.
She did know everyone, even though she hadn't seen many of them for months. Maureen Coley
smiled shyly back at her. She and John always spent the winters in Mexico, but this year
Maureen had to stay behind, as her mother was in the local hospital, dying by inches.
John's bear hug of a welcoming embrace interrupted the music, and the room stopped swaying
to its rhythm, to pause in clumps of conversation.
"Here, Frannie. Come meet Carter McCulloch...he's going to be staying at the old Salter
place for awhile...he's designing a house for the new owners."
Suddenly, Frannie understood it all. They were trying to fix her up with the new person on
If it hadn't been so sad, she would have laughed.
She shook hands with the newcomer, who was finding it difficult to take his eyes off
Florrie, who, across the room, was fanning herself with a piece of lace.
Florrie was wearing that slinky black dress she'd brought back from Argentina, and looked
like she might suddenly give a demonstration of her latest tango lessons.
Frannie smiled hello, and drifted off to speak with Ann and Terence, knowing that she'd
barely registered on Carter McCulloch's radar. Terence built beautiful stone walls, and
Frannie had often wondered about creating a stone terrace outside her studio.
"So, Fran, how's it going these days?"
Frannie liked that Terence called her Fran. It made her feel grown up, somehow, and in
charge of her life. Frannie was that little girl who had run away from home, and married
"I heard you were presenting at that gallery on the Peninsula, now?"
"Yes. They invited me to be a part of their Spring show."
"Good. Do it. You're too big for the Island. You've got talent".
Terence had been with Ann a long time, and now spoke with her bullet precision, no wasted
words. Frannie found it a relief, and decided to stay put beside them. She wasn't in the
mood to mix it up. If anyone else wanted to speak to her, they could come up to her.
Salutory waves had welcomed her into the room, but most groups had already formed, and
were now embroiled in what looked like deep discussions. It was restful to stand with Ann
and Terence; they didn't care about making conversation.
"We're like the sheep in the fields", thought Frannie. "We're just standing and looking."
She giggled. They were even standing in a row, observing the rest of the room, their feet
neatly in a line.
This would never do. She should have stayed home, and she would leave, as soon as the
pavlovas had been brought out. After all that creating, she felt like a piece, too.
"So, Frannie, how goes it?"
Frannie swirled, her silver slippers sliding her round to face the voice that had
whispered behind her. It was Frank Roland, who raised horses at the north end, and
commuted between Vancouver and the Island. No one really knew what he did in the city.
One side of his face was mottled with a recent bruise. Impulsively, Frannie reached out
and traced the welted outline with her fingers.
"What happened to you?"
That was it. No further explanation. Frannie looked at him with interest. Maybe Frank was
another short talker? What a relief.
John & Peter had begun to play again, and some guests were dancing in the bare hallway,
furniture and rugs pushed out of the way for the occasion. Frank continued to wait beside
her, leaning slightly against the wall, and Frannie liked the way she only came up to his
shoulder. She liked to stand next to tall men.
She watched as Carter worked his way across to Florrie, trying to appear as if it was all
accidental, not noticing that everyone in the room was following his seemingly haphazard
route to Florrie's side. Florrie was blushing, but she agreed to dance, and Carter held
her firmly in a tango position.
Frannie was touched that her friends would have thought of introducing him to her, and
shocked at how little they understood her. There was nothing about Carter that had caught
at Frannie's innards. He could turn out to be a friend, perhaps, but that was all.
There had to be that spark. Without it, there was no point.
Suddenly, she wanted to escape from the stuffy atmosphere of Peter and Mattie's house,
away from the harsh twang of the music, and out into the calm of the night. Crowds made
her anxious. She found it difficult to draw breath.
"Are you leaving?"
Frannie jumped, having totally forgotten that Frank was still lounging beside her.
"Here, I'll walk you home."
"It's ok, you don't have to...I'll be fine."
"I know that. I'd like to, though".
Without being rude, which was something that Frannie found it difficult to be, it wasn't
possible to insist that she really just wanted to be alone.
"All right," she shrugged.
Outside, taking the long way back, by road, Frank began to talk about the stars that
splashed across the night sky, naming constellations and pointing out the feathery streak
of the Milky Way.
"I once thought about becoming an astronomer", he volunteered.
"How odd. So did I. Do all kids want to do that?"
"Maybe. Maybe it's because we came from out there, and, when we're young, we want to go
It wasn't a question. Frannie thought about his comment. Frank was a bit of a mystery. Did
he mean what he said?
She watched their feet, striding in unison on the gravelled roadway, and listened to the
frogs singing raucously from the pond at the bottom of her land. Something lifted, where
her heart had been lying, injured and faltering, for so long now. She was shocked to
discover that she was happy.
The stars pulsed away, above her, as she stood in the lee of her back porch, watching
Frank's back disappear into the night. It looked as if he had taken the same shortcut back
to Peter and Mattie's, across the same field path she'd taken earlier, but the darkness
had swallowed him up, and it was hard to be sure.
He hadn't asked to come in. He'd simply bowed, once, an oddly touching gesture, and
saluted goodbye. He really had just walked her home.
"Interesting", she thought.
She hoped he liked the pavlova.
She was surprised to find herself smiling.
March 27, 2006.
"Problems cannot be
Resolved at once.
Slowly untie knots
Divide to conquer."
(Deng Ming-Dao: Tao...Daily Meditations").
March 26, 2006.
Looking for a special place, with an oceanview, and where you can walk to town? From this
gem, just stroll to the restaurant of your choice, browse the art galleries, check out the
latest arrivals at the clothing stores, pick up a book at one of the five bookstores in
town, watch the floatplanes arrive, check out the yachts as they tie up at the marinas,
enjoy the music at the Treehouse Cafe...it's all at your doorstep, with all the
conveniences of townhome living, but with the freedom of single ownership. Custom designed
and built quality home, offers 3 ensuite bedrooms, plus many unique and wonderful choices
(fir floors, stained glass windows, country kitchen, sunny and private rear patio, etc.).
Just move in and enjoy! See Li for the details!
March 25, 2006.
* Interested in sailing? They're always looking for crew, at the Salt Spring Sailing Club!
Various regattas, throughout the year, including the May Long Weekend's "Round Salt Spring
Sailing Race", plus Wednesday evening races in the summer season, and Sunday afternoon
races in the "off season". Drop by the clubhouse, and check the list for skippers needing
* Ground was officially broken, for the indoor pool construction project, on March 8th.
Many people have contributed to the fundraising efforts, here, myself included -- it will
be terrific to have that indoor pool facility.
* The Fall Fair focus group is already meeting, planning this year's fair. The theme has
now been set: Celebrate Farming's Future. This will be the 110th anniversary of the Salt
Spring Fall Fair (to be held this year on Sept. 16 & 17). If you're off Island, try to get
here for this super weekend event. It's the "heart" of the Island, on display!
* Don't miss the Women In Business gala event, held at the Harbour House Hotel, on April
27th. LImited tickets are available, so book now, and don't be disappointed. Contact the
Driftwood Newspaper for information/tickets (250-537-9933).
* Don't overlook the Zen Calligraphy course, on April 2nd. Call Candace Cole at:
250-537-0022 for details!
It's Spring! Try something new!
March 24, 2006.
"Give back what you've learned.
Share your experience."
(Deng Ming-Dao: "Tao...Daily Meditations").
March 23, 2006.
A modernist's dream? Like to buy your furniture at Inform? Always look at Roche Bobois
furniture ads? Here's your house! Ocean glimpses and easy access to a private oceanfront
point of land (warm swimming here! keep your kayak just mere seconds from your home!),
plus a hugely interesting and unique home, with indoor and outdoor living options. Zebra
designed/custom built, sep. garage & carport, easy care landscaping, on comm. water,
sunny, private, and quiet, this beautiful home has been featured in Canadian Home & Style
and in Boulevard Magazine. Just move in and enjoy!
March 22, 2006.
"Remember that you are an actor in a drama of such sort as the Author chooses -- if
short, then in a short one; if long, then in a long one. If it be his pleasure that you
should enact a poor man, or a cripple, or a ruler, or a private citizen, see that you act
it well. For this is your business -- to act well the given part, but to choose it belongs
(Epictetus -- c 60 to c 138, A.D.: "The Enchiridion")
March 21, 2006.
Ahhhh! The "good life"! It's waiting for you, here, on this private and sunny acreage,
with spectacular wrap-around ocean/islands/mountain viewscapes! Four bed/three bath,
radiant infloor heat, tile floors, wonderful "accents" (two bedrooms are ensuite -- B & B,
anyone?). Ready to just move into and enjoy! Sep. studio, too! See Li for the details.
March 20, 2006.
Some "around town" things to see & do!
* don't miss the terrific photography exhibition currently playing at Moby's Marine Pub --
it's on till the end of March. Enjoy Ken Ketchum's vision!
* the 9th annual "Gumboot Gala" is set for March 27th, at Fulford Hall! Tickets are on
sale at Salt Spring Books & Acoustic Planet, in Ganges Village, & Stuff and Nonsense, in
Fulford Village. Valdy & Bill Henderson, of Chilliwack fame, will be participants, plus
"surprises". Don't miss this gem!
* on March 25th, to raise funds to complete a multi-purpose project for the high school,
that was initiated by Nairn Howe, who passed away recently, there will be a dinner and
dance event. Held at Meaden Hall, tickets are available at: Acoustic Planet & Island Star
Video, in Ganges Village. Blues are the focus, & there are some great groups in the
line-up! Wear your dancing shoes!
* Saturdays, at Barb's Buns locale, starting on the 25th, there are more live music
groups. Dinner is served, at Barb's Buns, on Thursday, Friday, & Saturday nights, right
* The Tree House cafe, in Ganges, is open for the season -- it must be Spring! See you
March 19, 2006.
"You can't please everyone,
So you've got to please yourself."
(Rick Nelson, musician: "Garden Party").
March 18, 2006.
Salt Spring Blues...
After that first day of escape to Pender Island, Frannie had disappeared on three other
occasions; once to check out Mayne Island, then Galiano, and, lastly, the distant shimmer
There had been something on each of them that had caught at her attention, and, on
Galiano, there had been that unexpected & exhilerating meeting with a fellow potter,
someone who was clearly experimenting along the same lines, seeking to release the light
that the clay had ensnared.
It had eased something tight around her heart, to know that she had company out there,
that the ideas that had her waking in the middle of the night, to make rough sketches of
what had appeared, fully formed, in her dreams, weren't just a crazyness that had
momentarily possessed her.
Misery loves company, she'd thought, cynically.
Cynicism wasn't Frannie's mindset, though, and this stabbing at herself soon dissipated.
The work, as usual, caught at her whole being and swallowed up her attention, totally.
When Ann, who lived a mile away on a sheep farm, and who took tourists out on horses,
riding the trails around Burgoyne in the summer months, phoned to remind her to bring
something to the potluck party on Friday, she was at a loss.
Then she noticed her squiggling writing on the calendar by the phone, and, sure enough, it
said "party", there, in lopsided letters, and an 8 p.m. time.
She must have agreed to go and must have agreed to make her famous pavlova dessert. She
couldn't remember either promise, but there it was, in writing.
"What's the occasion?" she asked Ann, trying to appear sensible.
"Not sure. Billie's the organizer. Call her!" Ann was always taciturn, monosyllabic, not
great at small talk.
Frannie stared at the phone, but she didn't dial Billie's number. Instead, she drew a
looping concentric series of circles, around the date and the time, and propped the
calendar back against the wall.
She didn't always attend the various soirees that were organized, on a haphazard basis,
simple suppers to potluck gatherings, often to welcome a new arrival to the Island.
Maybe she should stop being so isolated? Isn't that what Florrie had said to her, the last
time they'd met for coffee at the Roasters, in Ganges?
"You have to make more of an effort, Frannie, or nothing will ever change for you. Running
off to another Island isn't going to change things. You're the one that needs changing!"
"Is that why you went to Buenos Aires, then?" Frannie had snapped back,
uncharacteristically goaded into a reply.
Florrie had ignored her outburst, slurping at her latte. Frannie had pretended to sip her
cappucino, which was too hot for her taste. She preferred lukewarm drinks.
So, maybe Florrie had been right. She could make a little effort.
She would make two pavlovas, and she would make sure that she added passionflower to the
She walked to the door, left slightly ajar, as she hungered for air these days. Beyond the
porch's overhang, the fields lay wreathed in early evening mist, the light growing, daily,
as the day's lengthened into true Spring.
She sniffed, tasting the freshness after the unusually warm day, the grasses, the earthy
odour of the fields, the scent of some wildflower closing itself up for the night.
What she hadn't said to Florrie was that she loved this space, this strange little wooden
house, with all its nooks and crannies, and so how could she bear to leave behind the
wheel and the clay spattered studio, with the view of the mountain framed so neatly in its
off kilter window?
Besides, she had buried that pearlescent stone, found on the beach near Cape Scott, where
Paul's fishboat had foundered. It lay, inches deep in the earth, under the cedar tree by
Whether she liked it or not, this was home, and Paul's ghost would have to stay out there,
by the gate, ambling and mooning through her thoughts and dreams. He was in her blood, and
that was that. She would have to accept his fitful presence and get on with things.
Florrie was right about that.
She did not, though, go to the wheel, or stare at the clay's inertness, waiting for her to
pound it into readiness to accept her visions.
Instead, she poured a glass of Billie's home made wine, a gift for her birthday, and sat,
feet up on the Moroccan hassock that Paul had bought her, at a long ago garage sale.
All this rushing about, lately. It had disoriented her. It had deflected her from her
work. What was behind all this restlessness? Too easy to say it was Spring Fever.
Well, she thought, lifting her glass to toast the photo of Paul, stuck haphazardly into
the edge of the mirror, above the round dining table that had come with the cottage.
So, I will go to this party, whatever it's about, and I'll take two pavlovas, and I'll
even dance, if anyone asks me.
She frowned, and set down the empty glass. Who was she kidding? All that was over for her.
She started for the bedroom, and veered off, without choice, to the cramped little studio.
She only felt alive in there, even without working. She leaned against the clay splattered
wall, and stared at the stars, beyond the high window on the west wall.
Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight...what was the rest? Oh, yes... I wish I
may, I wish I might, get the wish I wish tonight.
A tear dripped over her lip, falling into the blackness at her feet.
Hello, Paul, hello, hello, hello. I'm still here.
Meanwhile, beyond the window, a ewe dropped a lamb, in the fields beyond the house, and
the wind breathed through the grasses in the upper pasture, and the distant barking of a
dog echoed mournfully from the Valley and the whisper of cars from the last ferry for the
evening hissed along the Valley road, and the Island sank into its individual pods of
life, each to their own, while the night wrapped the Island in its net of peace.
March 17, 2006.
"An Irish Blessing.
May the road
rise up to meet you,
May the wind
be always at your back,
May the sun
shine warm upon your face
And the rains
fall soft upon your fields,
And, until we meet again,
May God hold you
In the hollow of His hand."
Wear the green, and have a happy St. Patrick's Day!
March 16, 2006.
"We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and
not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm,
childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward,
or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations."
(writer, Anais Nin)
March 15, 2006.
Did you know that Salt Spring now has its own Dragon Boat? It was christened on March 5th,
and the first full-length practice will be on March 26th. Contact Mary Rowles for more
Did you know that a new Provincial Park is underway? It's being created on the Cusheon
Cove site of the former aquaculture business, operated for over 20 years by the currrent
owner of this exceptional oceanfront acreage. The land is a mix of forest and farmland, &
approximately 100 acres of forest will be added to beautiful Ruckle Park. Fund-raising for
the buyout continues.
Did you know? A 12.8 percent increase in property taxes is a part of a proposed $4.68
million 2006-07 budget that Islands Trust Council will consider at its next meeting.
That's basically the amount needed to maintain Islands Trust services at their current
level, according to one of the Trustees.
Did you know? There's a new group bringing forward the idea of incorporation for Salt
Spring Island. The previous effort resulted in a "no" vote. The Trust would remain in
place, and a Council would be voted in, too, to manage Salt Spring Island. Bowen Island
turned down the first bid for this specialized form of a municipal structure (a Gulf
Islands Municipality, where the Trust and the "preserve and protect" bylaws remain in
place), and then voted yes, on the second try. Perhaps Salt Spring will seek this route,
Did you know? The B.C. Ferries is considering an expiry card system, as opposed to the
current purchase of books of tickets, for frequent users of the service. If you have
opinions on this change, now's the time to make it known!
Here's an evening not to be missed! Leon Bibb, famous in Vancouver for his role in Jacques
Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, is coming to Salt Spring on March 17 & 18.
He's joining forces with Tuned Air, in a concert called The Art of the Spiritual.
This legendary recording artist and Broadway performer will present a program of
Afro-American spirituals, telling the stories of slaves that created this truly unique art
Don't miss this! See you there!
March 14, 2006.
"I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. I
rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no "brief candle" to me. It is a sort of
splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as
brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations."
(George Bernard Shaw -- playwright).
March 13, 2006.
Here's 6+ acres of easy-access high bank oceanfront, warm swimming water in this area, and
expansive ocean/island/mountain vistas -- sunsets forever! Almost 7000 sq. ft. home offers
perfect accomodation for a corporate retreat, or, a family compound, or a "high end"
B&B / country inn. See Li for the details! Opportunity, here!
March 12, 2006.
Is only actual
In one place
And one time."
(Deng Ming-Dao: "Tao...Daily Meditations").
March 11, 2006.
Jim, from Santa Cruz and Salt Spring, turns 50 today -- Happy Birthday, Jim, from all your
friends on Salt Spring!
March 10, 2006.
"Demand not that events should happen as you wish; but wish
them to happen as they do happen, and you will go on well."
(Epictetus -- c 60 A.D. to c 138 A.D.: "The Enchiridion").
March 9, 2006.
Beautiful pastoral acreage, with exceptional home, and expansive horse pasture. Pristine
garage/workshop. Terrific barn, tack room, and paddock area. Outbuildings. In lovely
Yellowpoint, a "microclimate" area on Vancouver Island, with a serene location, close to
ocean and to lakes.
Some ocean and mountain views from the property, which is adjacent to a large ecological
reserve, so lots of privacy, too.
Sunny and calm -- perfect for horses, and lovely as a private estate acreage (20 acres!).
See Li for the details.
March 8, 2006.
Some restaurants have been closed, over the January/February "pause", while their owners
were researching new menu choices and taking in ideas from other areas.
March signals "everyone open", again, and specials are part of the fare, in this March
Break "vacation time".
Some "let's eat out" suggestions are:
Artist's Bistro, in Grace Point Square (250-537-1701)..
Calvin's Restaurant, in Ganges Village (250-538-5551). Calvin's does catering, too.
The Glass Onion/Barb's Buns is under new ownership, and the food is great -- hearty and
good. Live music in the evenings keeps dinner "hopping". You have to search this place
out, as it's in the "inner area", between McPhillips Ave. & Lower Ganges Road, in the
Creekside development. 250-537-4491.
House Piccolo is the place for truly "fine dining" -- on Hereford Street. 250-537-1844.
Hastings House is open again, too, for "the season", and is another "fine dining" choice
Chinese Food? The Golden Island, of course, in the Upper Village Centre (250-537-2535).
Pizza? The Uptown Pizza, in the Upper Village area (250-537- 5552).
More pizza? The Raven Street Cafe, at the Fernwood Dock (250- 537-2273). Wood fired food
is the offering here! Also, the food concession at the Golf Course, on Lower Ganges Road,
is now run by the Raven Street Cafe group (great lunches!).
Oystercatcher, La Cucina, and Shipstones Pub, on the Boardwalk in Ganges Village, provide
good food and a great ambiance. (250- 537-5041).
Moby's Marine Pub is newly reopened, with flair, and is operated by the Oystercatcher
Tree House South offers dinners plus live music, along with their famous baked goods,
breakfasts and lunches. Worth going, even if you're not in line for the Fulford ferry!
The Harbour House Hotel's Porter's Restaurant and Lounge is open for breakfast, every
morning, and they have different lunch and dinner specials, every day. An Island favourite
is the Sunday Prime Rib dinner. (25-537-4700).
The Seaside Kitchen, in Vesuvius, still has the best fish and chips, plus other
"delicacies", created on site. Don't forget that wonderful feather sponge cake, made by
More choices? Your favourites? Share! Enjoy!
March 7, 2006.
How to Help?
Canadians considering making a financial donation can contact the following relief
Canadian Red Cross: www.redcross.ca or 1-800-418-1111.
UNICEF: www.unicef.ca or 1-877-955-3111.
Oxfam Canada: www.oxfam.ca or 1-800-466-9326.
World Vision: www.worldvision.ca or 1-800-268-5528.
Salvation Army: www.salvationarmy.ca or 1-800-SAL-ARMY.
Care Canada: www.care.ca or 1-800-267-5232.
Doctors Without Borders: www.msf.ca or 1-800-982-7903.
March 6, 2006.
"For attractive lips, speak words of kindness. For lovely eyes, seek out the good in
people. For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry. For beautiful hair, let a
child run his/her fingers through it once a day. For poise, walk with the knowledge that
your never walk alone. People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed,
revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. Remember, if you ever need a
helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms. As you grow older, you
will discover that you will have two hands: one for helping yourself, and the other for
March 5, 2006.
Build your dream home on Salt Spring Island -- here's a wonderful oceanview acreage,
awaiting your design ideas! Close to both Ganges Village and to Fulford Village, with
trails to lakes and hiking/walking park areas. Close to beach accesses, too! Panoramic
views of ocean, islands, and exceptional mountain vistas -- enjoy! See Li for the details!
March 4, 2006.
Salt Spring Blues...
When Carter McCulloch emerged from the floatplane, at Ganges Village's Coast Guard dock,
there were three separate reports of his progress up the gangway and into the Silver
Shadow Taxi service's latest purchase, a grey Ford.
The fact that he carried three rolled up documents, and a black attache case, and had only
one small bag as luggage, was duly noted in each report.
"Lawyer?" suggested one person.
"Developer, more likely!" answered another.
"Maybe both?" wondered the third.
None of them were right.
The taxi carried him up the hill behind the village, to the B & B which advertised the
best view on the Island, and, if it wasn't, it was pretty close to being so.
After that, the rumour mill churned the airwaves. By late afternoon, it was a confirmed
fact that he'd arrived to buy the old Shickley farm, and that he'd be subdividing it into
1/2 acre lots, and selling them off for over 400,000 each. Maybe 800,000, for that knoll
with the oceanview.
Oblivious to all this background chatter, Carter took the taxi back to Piccolo's
Restaurant, to enjoy an early dinner and a welcome evening on his own, relieved that he'd
been able to come without his partner, Alice. He loved Alice, or so he believed, as there
hadn't been any reason to have doubts, to date. Just the same, it was very relaxing to be
without her presence, beneficial though that presence was.
He stared at his menu, and gave a great deal of thought to the appetizer list, before
deciding to pass, this time. A 'piccolo' of champagne, a salad and the wild salmon entree
were served with a flourish and he sat, doodling on the pad of paper he always carried,
enjoying the feeling that always came, after a very good meal.
Some of his best ideas arrived after he had eaten and relaxed and before he felt sleepy.
For years, he'd been going to bed at exactly 9 p.m., and was always asleep, almost
Tonight, though, he felt restless. It was still fairly light out, when he emerged from
Piccolo's, the clarity of Sarah Brightman's voice, on the sound system, following him out
the door. Memory...it was pretty well under his control, and, so far, he had been able to
ignore any whispers of the past.
He strolled down Hereford, towards the boardwalk and the Harbour view by the marinas.
Leaning against the boardwalk railings, the village's shops and parking lots behind him,
the patterns of light shimmering on the evening grey of the water, he watched a seal glide
and dive. He kept expecting it to pop up in one place, and it would suddenly emerge, fifty
feet to the left or the right. He watched for some time, but never guessed correctly where
the sleek head would rise above the rippling waves. He felt himself smiling, as he turned
to acknowledge the voice behind him.
"What?...sorry, I didn't hear you."
"I think you might have dropped this notepad?"
Billie held out the heavily marked and scored paper, her dog sitting, for once, docilely
at her feet, just observing the stranger. His run in the park had tired him out.
"I don't...oh, yes. It is mine. Thank you." He patted it into his jacket pocket. The
lopsided smile was still on his face, and Billie thought he looked sadly out of place.
Impulsively, she asked him if he'd like to join her at the Glass Onion, for a coffee...she
knew the group playing there that night, and they were good.
Carter found himself agreeing, something he would never ordinarily do, and followed her
slow pacing to the restaurant. It turned out to be one block over from Piccolo's, and, he
thought, standing on its deck, while Billie tied the dog's leash to a railing, that it
would be interesting to sit out here, in the summer. He'd be back, of course, if he got
The music was loud and no one had to try to talk. When the coffee came, a cappucino for
Billie and an espresso for him, there was a pause, and Billie managed to get it out of him
that he was an architect, from Vancouver, though really from Toronto, and he was here to
do the preliminary design for a client who had just purchased a waterfront lot.
He waved goodbye to Billie, putting down a bill to pay for the coffees, at a particularly
raucous moment in the performance. He had no idea whether they were good or not. It wasn't
He had to walk almost a block before he could find a cell signal, to call the taxi to take
him back to his B & B. Bed was looking good!
Meanwhile, at half time, from the pay phone outside, Billie called Florrie, and she called
Joyce, who called Mattie, who remembered to call Jill, who then called Caroline, and she
always remembered to keep Frannie in the loop.
"An architect. He's going to be staying for awhile. The couple that bought the old Salter
place are going to build a new house. We should have a party, and make sure he's invited."
Frannie was in the middle of a double glazing process that had occurred to her, in the
middle of the night, and she had been desperate to try it out, all day long. Her attention
was only half on Caroline's words, and she just wanted to hang up.
"A party? Whose birthday is it?" Without waiting for an answer, she pushed the phone onto
its cradle, and returned to the slow wiping of the glaze. Caroline was used to Frannie's
ways and was already dialing Amanda's number.
Frannie had been in some sort of dazed state since she'd gone off for the day, without
telling anyone or inviting anyone for company. This had caused comment.
Carter, unconscious of the interest his appearance on Island had caused, snored gently in
the B & B's feather bed. Along with the best view on the Island, it also boasted it
provided the most restful sleep.
Meanwhile, the Island dreamed its way into real Spring, not just the promise of same, and
the days lengthened, the temperatures rose, and daffodils and tulips danced and swayed
into gardens, and the nurseries were busy selling fruit trees and some people had started
their vegetable gardens, with early lettuce and radishes, and new peas.
Meanwhile, the artists were organizing their studios for the "season", and store owners
were stocking up for the tourists, and realtors were driving prospective buyers around the
Island, and people were throwing open windows to the light and the sounds and smells of
Boaters were down at the marinas, making sure boats were ready, work parties were down at
the sailing club, repairing docks, and, on clear days, sailboats could be seen tacking out
the Harbour, carrying their skippers to a day's adventure.
The magic of the season beckoned.
March 3, 2006.
"Seven geese pierce straight line over frigid
Intervals between them constantly
Pointed wings slash as if joined to an axle:
Today is the ideal moment between yesterday
(Deng Ming-Dao: "Tao...Daily Meditations").
March 2, 2006.
There's a fundraiser dinner/dance tonight, at Treehouse South, in Fulford Village, to
benefit the Salt Spring Rowing Club.
Gourmet dining, and dance till midnight -- great live music, & a good cause!
See you there!
March 1, 2006.
A wonderful country house, with authentic character, awaits you on special Salt Spring
Island! Built by a Scottish Lord, it's a classic "Georgian" design. On 10+ acres (can
subdivide, if desired), the property enjoys forest and meadow, plus easy care landscaping,
and offers all day sunshine (s/sw/w exposures). Close to golf, beaches, lake, cinema, and
to all services/amenities, yet in its own very private and serene world,this is a genuine
Salt Spring treasure. Enjoy!
Entries from Past Months
Contact Li Read at RE/MAX Salt Spring, 131 Lower Ganges
Road, Salt Spring Island, BC, V8K 2T2, Toll-Free 1-800-731-7131