Ray

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Last month we had the honour to accompany Ray Crook out for his 101st birthday supper. 

Lisa and I took him out for his 99th and we attended his 100th. His 100th was a big celebration with lots of his friends and dignitaries.

The conversation was good as it always is with Ray. It seems we always learn something. He enjoys talking history and told us some tales of Kootenay National Park where his family had a service station at what is today, Crook’s Meadow.

Ray also talked fondly of my Grandfather and Father. He and my Father cut trail throughout the Park when they were young men, boys really. Many of those trails they cut, such as Floe Lake and Marble Canyon, are now used by many people.

Ray liked going to Strand’s Restaurant for fish and chips. Unfortunately, it recently closed so we went to Elements at Copper Point Resort. Lisa and I thought it was a good choice because we knew they served fish and chips, not that Ray eats a lot; he does, however, like his ice cream.

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Many people came over and wished Ray a Happy Birthday! A little girl came over to see what was written on his dessert, when she saw 101 she had a look of amazement!

We were treated to dinner by one of Ray’s old friends Bernice Hathaway, a long time local, who now lives at the coast. She said, she only wished she could be there. She stays in touch with Lisa and Ray and was insistent she pay for our dinner out. There was no arguing with her, as often is the case when it comes to the generosity of her and Ray’s generation.

Ray enjoys good health, a sharp mind, likes to laugh and can still climb into my truck on his own, which he always remarks is very quiet. We should all be so lucky.

leaping lizards

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After all the hoops, even the ones, I jumped high. Here it is; my ankle caught, everything I enjoy caught also.

It’s a struggle. Deeper than flesh. To be free.

anger or instinct

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The dog before Willow was named Slinky, she was brave like Willow, but also a physically perfect specimen of her breed.

She would dig for hours for gophers and mice. Once I saw her leap into the air and catch a bird taking off out of the long grass. She didn’t like the cold and wouldn’t swim. She often looked at me like I was crazy, as if to say, isn’t there an easier way.

In the bush she was always on guard, refusing to sleep as long as we were in the open. 

When the girls were young they would light a fire in the yard and have friends over. This was the same time my good neighbour Larry had a constant stream of couch surfers at his place, most harmless enough. Lost souls he was lending a hand at the expense of his wife and children who had moved out.

Every now and again Larry got a real winner. Roy was one of those. He came off like a salesman, he had the bloated look, the laugh when nothing was funny, but no teeth, except one right in the front. Larry told him, try to hang onto it as it could be the anchor for a plate.

Roy even got a job running the local bar, until he was drinking more than they were bringing in.

Roy, once a long time ago, was coming home drunk and ran up on the kids having their fire. Slinky got him before he got there and bit his hand, she was aiming for his nuts, but he wisely got his hand down in time. 

Roy’s night was over. The booze and dog bite will take it out of you, especially if you have no teeth to bite back.

The kids got me, I escorted Ray the remaining way to Larry’s. I was concerned he might report being bit by a dog. I told him I was pissed off, because my dog might have caught rabies from him. 

Lisa was concerned that Slinky was turning angry, the friendliest dog, could bite someone. Lisa asked me to take her to the vet to see if she was in pain, maybe she had bad teeth. It turned out I had bad teeth, Roy had one bad tooth, but Slinky’s teeth were in perfect condition.

Slinky was doing what just came natural.

In this day and age we have plenty of threats running up on us. Some of them are real, most are not. I’m like an old dog and can’t tell the difference. My hackles are up, my bad teeth are sensitive to hot and cold. It’s a miracle I have any bite at all. 

Mid September

CRW_0028.jpgPlenty of moisture for September. Still good to have the seasons change, with longer nights and cool mornings. The mountains have a touch of white. Plenty of mushrooms for soup in the bush. Lisa never eats the soup the first day, she lets me eat it, if I’m still alive the next day she’ll have some.

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A small sparrow braves the rain to have a chance at the garden’s sunflowers. Lots of overcast, the full Harvest Moon has passed and still no frost.

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The smoke blossoms have ripened and need to be cut and dried. They have done well considering the lack of sunshine. It really is a beautiful fragrant plant. As usual there is much more than we can use. The rest will be given away or traded to friends, who like I, refuse to get from the government. 

RCE_3518.jpgFall is still on.

I’ve heard it

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Seen it this way before.

Still disconcerting.

It looks hopeless,

this time with science

on their side.

It was in the sixties. . . or seventies

eighties even

they said it the same

but different.

mouse

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My dog has her tip toe shoes on. She is after a mouse. Walking slowly from edge to edge. While, more than likely the mouse is running scared. The mouse’s best chance is Willow falls asleep.

Surprise, surprise we have more than one mouse.