Robert Cromar Davidson

rcdavidson1smBob with his racing car. RC Davidson Power Sweeping painted on the side. 

Our family received word today our Uncle Bob passed away at the age of 90 in Hamilton, Ontario.

I only met him a few times but he sure made an impression on me.

Our Mother Isabelle talked about her younger brother often with pride and love. They were poor growing up and life wasn’t easy. They more than likely depended on each other. She said, Bobby always looked after people.

rcdavidson2smBob and his father, Jim Davidson at their wood lot.

When my Mother accidentally got pregnant and had a baby at the age of 40, eight years after her last child, she named the boy Robert Cromar after her beloved brother. That boy was me. I often asked her, during my school days, what kind of a name is Cromar? She said it was Scottish and carry it with pride.

I was about 10 years old the first time I met Uncle Bob. He, his wife Muriel and children drove out to visit us. His car had something none of us had ever seen before, an 8 track deck that allowed you to listen to music while driving. I was blown away! We were all amazed.

During the same visit we were walking around our small town browsing. He caught me looking at a small transistor radio. He asked if I liked it. I said I did and immediately felt embarrassed, because I didn’t want him to think I was asking for it. We continued browsing on our own and when we got out of the store he presented me with the radio that he bought when I was looking elsewhere. That radio served me well for many years, during a time when I was just discovering music. After 11 pm I could pick up all the FM stations out of Vancouver, Seattle and sometimes, as far away as San Fransisco.

At Christmas Uncle Bob and Aunt Muriel would send a big box filled with all kinds of goodies and presents for all of us. Back then and even now, it hurts me to call us poor. We always had food on the table, wild meat and fish from the bush and vegetables grown in the garden. Those presents we received were wonderful.

rcdavidson3smBobby and Isabelle.

The last time I saw Uncle Bob and Aunt Muriel was when our mother was dying. They drove from Hamilton with their trailer. When they arrived I told my Mom her brother Bob was here to see her. She said, I can’t have him see me like this. I was stuck, I didn’t know what to do. Then Bob came through the door, forgoing the invitation and they reunited. I can still hear their voices. My Mother saying, Bobby. Bob saying, Isabelle. Like they were poor youngsters, again, protecting each other.

They talked and talked, laughed and then my mother slipped into a deep sleep. She awoke once and awhile and then never again.

Isabelle always said Bobby looked after the people around him.

Lisa and I send our deepest condolences to Uncle Bob’s family.

rcdavidson4sm.jpgUncle Bob and Aunt Muriel.

Early September

RCE_1099Fall Fireweed gone to seed.

Whew! Thank goodness the summer is over. There is always a sigh of relief after Labour Day. All my white clothes have been cleaned and pressed and put away. This morning there was no standing in line at the coffee shop while a herd of tourists looked at the chalk board menu like they had never seen the word ‘coffee’ before. I was in and out like a wedding dink. It’s fall, back to Carharts, plaid long sleeved shirts and not driving ten miles out of the way to avoid downtown.

RCE_1114Solomon’s Seal berries.

It was close to frost this morning. My wise sister Deb has covered her plants tonight. I’m going to risk it. I could be sorry come morning. We have had a great year of tomatoes with most of them ripening on the vine. There won’t be many green ones to ripen inside this year. They are delicious! It will be at least February before I’ll be able to buy one in the store.

RCE_1097.jpgWild Asters.

I got a text from my good neighbour. He is on a road trip going across BC visiting his kids and grandkids. It’s been awhile since he’s been able to do that. I thought he may want to know how his garden is doing, I’ve been looking after it in his absence. Instead, he said his laptop was stolen from his vehicle in Vancouver. He was pissed. In the spring he stopped in Canmore and had a giant block of cheese he bought at Costco stolen from the cooler in his vehicle.

He really has to start locking his doors, but I wasn’t going to say that. I texted back, ‘on the bright side think of the fun you will have filling up a fresh laptop with brand new porn’. An hour later, I was getting worried I’d stepped over the line, then a bing on my phone, ‘you know it.’

RCE_1108Rose Hips. As plumb and full as I’ve seen in the wild. It is said they have 20x more vitamin C then oranges.

It’s good to have the land cooling after another bad summer. Winters are traditionally bad in the valley. Work drying up. Only minimum wage. Cold and overcast in the valley bottom. No doubt this winter will bring challenges.

Fall is underway. The firewood is in. I worry like usual, maybe someday all the demons will come home to roost. ’til then the colours keep changing and the birds keep flying above the creeks.

Joy and Ray

_LME8410smRay Crook and Joy Bond

It’s not everyday you get invited to a 100th birthday celebration. It is especially rare to be celebrating two 100th birthdays at one party!

Joy Bond and Ray Crook are both lifelong residents of Invermere and the Columbia Valley. Their birthdays are within a week of each other. Today, among friends, family and provincial and federal dignitaries they celebrated their birthdays at the old Invermere CPR building.

_LME8393.smRay and Joy with Brianna Rota, representing Kootenay-Columbia federal MLA Wayne Stetski, and Columbia River-Revelstoke provincial MLA Doug Clovechok.

Lisa and I were born in the valley so we know Joy and Ray and all they have contributed to making this area so special.

_LME8390smJoy

Joy is an active member of the Windermere Valley Historical Society. She still cares for a large garden and delivers vegetables to people without a garden.

I spent a lot of time on Lake Windermere in the winter. Mrs. Bond was a wonderful skater and we would meet often and share a few words. I believe she skated and skied into her 80’s.

Ray lives down the street from us and we talk often. I am always amazed at his ability to recall the early days. His father sold my grandfather his first house in Windermere when he arrived back in the valley after WWI.

ray.sm.jpgRay

He told me about cutting trail in Kootenay National Park with my father. How they were chased by a moose and later had to cut a large fallen spruce blocking the trail into Flo Lake.

To have two original citizens of a town the size of Invermere turn 100 in the same week has to be some kind of a record.

There is nothing that can be said or written to sum up such wonderful and full lives.

Lisa and I wish Joy and Ray many more years of health, happiness and peace.

clearing

KMS_6497rt
Lisa and Scarlett. Two peas in a pod, believe me, those smiles mean trouble.

A wonderful few days with our grandkids, Cooper and Scarlett, while their parents slipped away for a mini holiday to the Okanagan.

Lisa and I decided the best plan of action, since they haven’t been away from Mom and Dad overnight, was to keep them busy. Each morning found us up the creek behind the mountain. Cooper and Scarlett did plenty of walking. Cooper worked hard on his rock and hill climbing. Scarlett learned to call Willow to keep her close. We walked through trees and bush, noting the colour in the leaves, the rabbits ducking into the undergrowth and the wild chickens (grouse) that seem plentiful this year.

By lunch and supper Cooper and Scarlett were hungry. By bedtime they were tired and didn’t put up a fuss for Mom and Dad or wanting to stay up late. They slept through the night. In the morning we were off to it again.

IMG_0185
Cooper with supper and his pretend smile.

Cooper did seem to get a little tired of my boiled carrots and spuds at every meal – hey you eat what is ready in the garden. On their last night here I made a big spaghetti dinner. Mom and Dad were back and everyone enjoyed it. Of course the sauce had plenty of carrots.

Lisa and I are lucky. . . and I’m not talking about being able to grow carrots.

***

Light rain tonight. It feels good, cool and fresh. Today the clouds were as high as they’ve been for awhile. The mountains showed up and lo and behold had a coat of snow.

Very fine extended weekend.

mid august

RCE_0886sm
Dean

The turn is underway from summer to fall.  The moon grows, still red, sitting close to mars. It’s been a bloodbath up there this season.

It’s hard to figure what effects us more, the news or stars above. I’ve been taught not to believe what I hear. Would those red stars inspire me in a different day? Does the good news quiet our basest instincts, make us insignificant to each other and the environment?

The mornings are cool finally. That I know and can report with confidence.

smoke show

RCE_0894s

We had a touch of rain on Monday morning. The smoke has cleared enough to be able to see the mountains.

BC Premier, John Horgan toured some of the places hit by wildfire, shrugged his shoulders in front of the cameras, and said this could be our new normal.

You hear it a lot – this is our new normal.

It’s been two bad fire years in a row.

***

The garden seems to be wilting early. The tops of the spuds are dying off same as the onions. There is a couple of big holes in the garden where the peas and garlic were. The red cabbage has formed good heads and will do plenty of growing once it cools. The carrots are getting large the same as the Detroit Dark Red Beets. Every meal contains both prepared in some form or fashion, from grated raw to boiled to roasted or barbecued.

***

Perhaps it’s the heat or the orange haze that blankets everything. The mountains obscured, the traffic, the gentrification of downtown, yoga, soaps and massage, just another place of haves and have nots, the lake, misted, picturesque if not for the hundreds of motorboats running hither and yon across it’s surface, seemingly oblivious to sky, mountain, shore or water. It’s still summertime after all, but I can’t help feeling sad.

***

The mosquitoes are out in force. If you’ve read this far, you know I find them the least of summer irritants. The nights are getting longer. The moon is waxing gibbous, half full, not blood red. The constellations can be easily seen. The temperature will drop to 5° just before dawn. It feels good.

Everything’s fine I tell myself until it will be again.

it’s story time again

RCE_8820-sm

he blurted it out.

we were talking
about mines
fishing or
forest fires
shit i can’t
remember
exactly
and then
he pipes up
out of nowhere.

celery
makes you
shoot
a bigger
load.

he s about
twenty five
the youngest
in the crew
coming
off a
bad break up
with
a seventeen
year old.

celery
i said
yup he says
it’s what the
porn stars use.

fishing
mining and
stripping logs
were
forgotten.

ole’ denny
weighed in
can it increase
your distance
he was laughing
bits of
sandwich
taking
flight
of his lips.

doctor says my
prostate is
smooth and about
the right
size for
a man my age
but when i wank
it s like stepping
on the end of a
toothpaste tube.

the youngster
was digging in
his lunch kit
for an energy bar.

don’t know about that
he said
just know
eat a bunch of
celery
the night before.

ole’ denny
had sausage
gouda on
buttered bread
and a tin of
beans.

me
a turkey leg
some dressing
and coffee.

next day
ole’ denny was
using a
celery stick
for a spoon
in his beans.

he said
it s not
something
that comes
natural
you have to
work
up to it.