Birds, Food & Clown at Hedley Reunion

The Hedley Reunion on August 9 demonstrated again that former

Kerry Lomax & Curtis Armstrong inspecting the meat.
Kerry Lomax & Curtis Armstrong inspecting the meat.

residents have deep roots here. They came from Princeton, Keremeos, the Okanagan Valley, Victoria, and as far away as Alberta and the Maritimes. For some it was an opportunity to connect with former classmates they had not seen since graduating from high school.

Planning for the event began a year ago when Don Armstrong of Hedley and Darryl McDonald of Keremeos started brainstorming about a reunion. They enlisted longtime Hedley resident Judy Turner and made the decision to get serious.

Jan Leake and daughter Cassie delighted children with face painting. In the afternoon the crowd was entertained by Jason Charters of Merritt who bills himself as the “Get Down Rodeo Clown.” He had brought his “assistants”, a couple of wonderfully realistic, long legged and nimble footed marionettes. Attached to him with wires and poles, one danced seductively in front of him and the other behind. Their enthusiasm, energy and sassy demeanour greatly pleased onlookers.

Postmaster Ruth Woodin opened the Beer Garden at 2 pm and toward dinner time appetites were aroused by the enticing aroma of 60 pounds of inside round roast sizzling on the Keremeos Fire Department’s giant barbeque. Head chef was Curtis Armstrong, ably assisted by Kerry Lomax, both of Kelowna.

Removing the meat from the extremely hot rod proved to be a challenge. Don Armstrong needed to run to his home and find several pairs of additional gloves. “We were just a bunch of amateurs doing this for the first time,” he said. A number of salads and desserts were supplied by the ladies of Hedley. With all that good food in their stomachs, guests may have needed a little respite to prepare for the Street Dance.

Music for the dance was provided by the Blackbirds of Keremeos. “They did our kind of music,” Judy Turner said. “People got up to dance, some of whom I didn’t think would. There were about 150 people all over the street.” The high octane Blackbirds brought an aura of vibrant enthusiasm and excitement. All comments about the band were favourable, including from people who enjoyed the music sitting on their patios at home.

When it was over, each of the organizers gave a lot of credit to the numerous individuals who played a role. And each expressed positive thoughts about the year long experience of making it happen. “It was a success for me,” Darryl McDonald said. “I got to meet a lot of people I had not seen since high school.” Judy Turner summed it up with “I had fun. Maybe we’ll do something else next year.” Don said, “everyone was happy. And if there is money left over, we will donate it to the organizations of Hedley.”

The Reunion brought people together and renewed relationships. Also, it once again demonstrated that the citizens of Hedley have mastered the art of throwing an exciting, class act party.

 

Meeting the Knowles of Hedley

I was vaguely aware that Thomas Cameron Knowles (T.C.) had

Former home of T.C.  & Thomasina Knowles, & their 5 children
Former home of T.C. & Thomasina Knowles, & their 5 children

played a key role in Hedley’s history. He was the Postmaster for many years and his wife, Thomasina, played the organ at the United Church for 60 years. Several members of the Knowles family are interred in the Hedley Cemetery. Those still living have re-located to other communities. Having become deeply intrigued by the fascinating history of this little former gold mining community and the people who made it their home, I hoped I might one day have a conversation with a member of the family, even if only by telephone.

Recently Linda and I attended a presentation about the “Hedley Boys”, young men who enlisted and saw combat in WW1. Andy English and Jennifer Douglass, two local researchers collaborated in meticulously gathering information about the lives and military contributions of these Hedley men. We learned that T.C. Knowles was one of the young men who served our country, participating in several major, well known campaigns.

We were sitting in the second row, directly behind a man and two women. All three were strangers to us. Leaning forward in their chairs, they were obviously totally focused and absorbed, not wanting to miss a single word spoken by Andy and Jennifer. They seemed utterly mesmerized by what was being said.

After the presentation we understood why they had been in the front row and had listened so carefully. The two women were Beverley and Anne, daughters of T.C. Knowles. The man was Gordon Lloyd, husband of Anne. They live in Kamloops and had driven here in the summer heat for this presentation. Much of the information on T.C. Knowles had come from Gordon.

After the 2 hour presentation we walked to the Museum with them. As we walked, Gordon pointed to the Hedley Fire Department. “The Red and White store used to be there until it burned down,” he said. “And next to it, where that new house is now, was the butcher shop.” Each of them recalled the town as they had known it when they were young. Both Anne and Beverley graduated from the Hedley High School several years prior to its closing in 1951.

We spent an hour with them over lunch at the Museum, and it was like striking Hedley gold. They were quite willing, even eager to share their knowledge and experiences. “We played ball with Jimmy Douglass,” Beverley said, referring to James (Jim) Douglass, author of the best seller, “JFK and the Unspeakable”. Memories from the past continued to pop up, still fresh and vivid in their minds. They had been at the Hedley cemetery the previous day and Anne named each member of the Knowles family laid to rest there.

Several days after our visit with them, Gordon sent an e-mail in which he mentioned Marlene, as though this was a name familiar to us. I wrote back saying, “I don’t know who Marlene is.” That evening I received an e-mail from Marlene, telling me she is a member of the French family. The Frenches, like the Knowles, are names of some renown in Hedley’s history. And both families understand that it is important to share their early memories so they will not be lost to future generations.

There are rich veins of history in this once bustling gold mining centre. We are fortunate that the Knowles and French families are opening the vaults of their memories so we can all benefit.

What’s Eating Us?

“What’s eating us! Is that an ant colony we’re standing on?”

"What's Eating Us?"
“What’s Eating Us?”

This scene was captured by Jean Robinson at the Hedley Museum’s Hawaiian Night celebration. We had enjoyed a lavish meal and now anyone wearing a Hawaiian shirt was called up. The ants, understandably, were miffed at us for invading their turf. These men were the unfortunate victims of their displeasure. Standing on the far left, I was quite oblivious of their bad luck. Was I just “in the right place at the right time?” None of us won the prize for the most attractive shirt. That went to a young lad who had the courage to wear a grass skirt as part of his outfit.

Mary Agnes Celebrates 100 Years

Until the day of her birth, the world was a relatively stable place.

Mary Agnes standing at head table with Constable Pankratz and Mayor Armitage
Mary Agnes standing at head table with Constable Pankratz and Mayor Armitage

People pretty much trusted their government to get things right and to keep them safe. Communication systems were not as sophisticated as today and when there were contentious issues in other parts of the country, most people were blithely unaware. They needed to focus on earning a livelihood and raising large families.

On August 4,1914, the day Mary Agnes Roberts was born, the conflagration we know as WW I erupted. From that point on, change accelerated and the globe seemed to shrink.

Mary Agnes was the first to ride a bicycle (wood rims) on her block. Her family owned the first radio. Music was played on a hand turned gramophone. Ladies wore pantaloons for swimming.

She was still a pre-teen when Henry Ford introduced his revolutionary Model T in 1924, and then the more advanced Model A.

As a young woman of 25 she fell in love and married George Roberts. They were like-minded in many ways and had almost 26 years together. Their happy marriage ended abruptly when he suffered a heart attack and passed away. This made it necessary for Mary Agnes to develop the character and strength to carry on, in a time when society did not yet have an advanced network of supports for women living without a mate. She did not feel entirely bereft, however. “My husband gave me two wonderful children,” she said. “They have been a great support to me all these years.” In spite of having lost her husband, she was determined to make a difference, especially in her family.

Until a few days before her birthday, one of the remaining items on her “bucket list”, was to ride on a motorcycle. Grandson Tim Roberts has a bike and was delighted to make this wish a reality. Once she had mounted the passenger seat, with the help of 2 men, she expected they would go in a straight line. She was startled when Tim turned the bike around to return to their starting point. Although they stayed on the parking lot of the longterm care residence, she was pleased

At the August 2nd birthday celebration, it was noted that she had made the first financial contribution to the One Way Adventure Foundation. This organization, established to work with troubled teens, was founded by her son Len, and daughter-in-law Jean.

Nearly 100 friends and family members came to the party.Constable Anthony Pankratz, a 6 foot 8 inch Mountie wearing the traditional Red Serge and Stetson, held her left arm as she walked with careful steps to the front of the Baptist church in Princeton. On her right side was Princeton Mayor, Frank Armitage. During the program, messages were read from the Queen, the Governor General of Canada, Premier Christie Clark, John Horrigan, Leader of the Opposition, and other dignitaries.

Toward the end of the celebration, Len invited guests to speak briefly of experiences with Mary Agnes. Several grandchildren expressed appreciation for her many prayers for them. They said, “ this has made a positive difference in our lives”.

Mary Agnes was a member of the generation that contributed significantly to the creation of Canada as we know our nation today. In her personal life she was sustained by her faith in God, the support of her family, and her determination to not stray from the good path she had chosen many years ago. She is inwardly strong, wonderfully resilient, and she possesses a great clarity of purpose.

By her words and example, she has pointed her family and many of us to a path that promises a life of significance and hope. Congratulation Mary Agnes, on 100 productive years!

 

The Impact Of Walter Paetkau

It was a sunny afternoon and Matsqui Institution’s Citizens

Walter Paetkau in retirement, MSA Community Services photo
Walter Paetkau in retirement, MSA Community Services photo

Advisory Committee was on a tour of the prison’s skills training shops. Walter Paetkau, Executive Director of what was then MSA Community Services was walking with me. I respected Walter and his organization highly. He had my immediate attention when he said, “we are getting a government grant to do some projects in the community. You could apply if you’re interested.” Two weeks later I was working for Community Services.

When Walter assigned me to work on a project with seniors, I wasn’t excited initially. For several months I had a partner. Joan was a fun loving red head who laughed easily. She had the looks and personality to be on stage. We organized two town hall meetings that stirred considerable interest among seniors. They liked us and were ecstatic that Community Services was taking an interest in them. When we asked if they would like to have a centre where they could drink coffee, play games and meet people, they quickly said “yes.”

We enlisted several seniors to work on the idea of creating a centre. When we learned there might be money available from the provincial government, I took three senior ladies along to Vancouver to talk with the official who had the power to provide funding. The ladies loved the excursion. One of them insisted on buying my lunch.

We named the centre Friendship House and to my amazement, the seniors persuaded family and friends to donate all the furniture, including a piano. I could plunk a little and Joan had a good voice. For several months we visited the centre once each week. I played the piano and Joan, with her uplifting personality and strong voice quickly created an atmosphere of excitement. The people loved it and I learned that it’s possible to grow old and still be enthusiastic about life.

Knowing I had an interest in writing, Walter began asking me to accompany him to meetings about issues important to the work of the organization. He had a growing vision and the ability to attract people to it. Personal media attention seemed unimportant to him. However, he understood that the media could play a critical role in alerting the community to needs and issues that required attention. In pursuing goals he could be relentless, but he was also able to work patiently at putting pieces in place.

Walter accepted two capable Matsqui Institution inmates as volunteers. One had been successful in a Vancouver radio station until a judge sentenced him to prison for murder. Several individuals on social assistance made a substantive contribution through participation in a work experience program. Walter was able to discern the potential in people, even if their track record was dismal. Observing the blossoming of some of these individuals, I came to realize that through encouragement, guidance and support, a life of failure can be turned into a life of productivity and fulfilment.

Unfortunately, one of the inmates fell in love with a young female volunteer. Desperate to be with her, he persuaded her to run away to Mexico with him. He had concocted a clever scheme to gain control of some Community Services funds. He used the money to finance this poorly thought through plan. His girlfriend returned after a week. He phoned the prison a few days later to say he was coming back. For him it meant no more temporary absences.

The media created a huge uproar and the government withdrew funding for some projects, including the one I was working on. Fortunately, I had learned a lot and felt ready to move on.

Looking back now, I realize it was a stroke of ultimate good fortune to begin this phase of my work life in a position to observe Walter in action. The Community Services experience and the personal influence of Walter Paetkau altered my attitude, outlook and thinking. Walter’s unassuming but forceful leadership style, his values, compassion and perseverance continue to impact my life to this time.

Down The Mountain On A Broom

IMGI have come to have a great deal of respect for the hardiness and ingenuity of the men who worked in the Mascot and Nickel Plate mines in the first half of the last century. The mines were high above Hedley and for those who had a wife and children in town, transportation was a constant challenge. According to historian Doug Cox, miners were allowed to ride in the skips used to transport ore down to the Stamp Mill. Permits were required, though,  and they were limited. Tough and determined, the miners resorted to innovation.

Cox says “some men got around the pass system by hiding near the upper ore bin until the skip had started down. Then they jumped on. The hitch hikers jumped off the skip before it reached the bottom ore bin and kept out of sight of the supervising staff. They skirted around the bluff, then down to the Hedley town site.”

In my opinion, it is the “broom riders” who were the most inventive and enterprising. In a letter to The Western in the June 20, 1990 edition, miner Bob MacRae (now deceased) wrote about placing a broom on one of the ore car rails and riding on it down the mountain. “This ‘broom affair’” he says, “consisted of a piece of rubber belting and a piece of tin channelled to fit the rail. It was nailed to an old house broom.” He wore old rubber boots for brakes and found that if he cut the handle off the broom, he could double his speed.

His record for a trip down the mountain was four and one half P0359minutes, including walking several flat stretches. On one occasion a worker had wiped grease on the rail and Bob’s rubber boot brakes became useless. His speed increased considerably. “I think I probably broke my record,” he says in his letter.

Bob’s sister Effie, a Hedley high school graduate, told me he had a good reason to rush down the mountain after work each day. “Bob had a new English bride from Manchester.” When I asked her if her brother had been a dare devil type, she said, “oh no, he was very cautious.” Possibly there were things about Bob that Effie didn’t know.

In time, others joined Bob in broom riding. Not all copied his more advanced innovation. Some just borrowed a broom and rode down.

Ken Jones, a former miner now living on Old Hedley Road, tried it once, “just for the fun. I couldn’t get the balance or the speed,” he told me. “It wasn’t for me.”

In time, company officials banned broom riding, but this left them short of more than 20 miners due to lack of transportation. To make up the deficiency they brought in a bus, and Bob MacRae was one of 2 drivers assigned to driving duties.

Bob’s description of this assignment suggests the bus ride may have been more dangerous than riding the broom. “Snow, ice, rocks, cows, horses and deer on the road with numerous blind corners made it treacherous driving,” he said. “There was times I wished I was riding carefree down the mountain on my broom.”

I wonder what present day union bosses and the WCB would have to say about this practise. Unfortunately, I have seen no photos of these ingenious, hardy men racing down the mountain on their brooms.

Matsqui Citizens Advisory Committee

In my volunteer role with M2 I had frequent meetings with inmates and also staff at Matsqui Institution. Very likely someone in a high position noticed that I was there on a fairly regular basis and decided I should be invited to join the Citizens Advisory Committee.

These committees were being developed in Canada’s federal prisons at that time, in response to public concerns about prison policies. Certainly the Temporary Absence Program was a concern in the Fraser Valley.

At the first meeting I found myself sitting around a large

Citizens Advisory Committee, Art Martens front row, 2nd from far right
Citizens Advisory Committee, Art Martens front row, 2nd from far right

boardroom table in a conference room. When introductions were made, I realized the others were all successful in business or a profession. Among the members was the owner of a real estate agency, a well known radio talk show host, a newspaper columnist, a parole officer and the executive director of MSA Community services. I was a truck driver and cat operator with a BA in sociology and political science. Unlike the others, I had no claim to fame. Also, other than being on the board of M2/W2, I felt I had little experience to compare with these elite members of the Abbotsford community.

When the head of the inmate liaison committee resigned after several months, the chairman surprised me by asking if I would take on that role. Very likely he reasoned that my prison experience would enable me to facilitate dialogue between inmates and the committee.

Eventually the chairman himself also resigned, due to business pressures. Even now I don’t understand why he decided to throw the mantel of leadership on my shoulders. My leadership track record was brief and unimpressive. It occurred to me much later he may have asked other, more capable committee members to take on the role, before approaching me. If others were asked, they may have said they had too much on their plate already.

There may have been another reason to turn down the position though. Prisons, even relatively modern ones like Matsqui, have an intimidating, oppressive presence. The high steel fence around the grounds and buildings immediately informs the visitor that security is taken seriously here. At each corner of the fence a tower with armed guards overlooks the prison and surrounding area. The visitor’s first close encounter with the prison’s intimidating presence is at an electronically controlled gate in the high perimeter steel fence. If the officer in the Guard House is preoccupied, the visitor may stand at the gate for a minute or two, wondering if the door will open. Next is the Guard House itself, where a uniformed officer pushes a sign-in book through a slot at the bottom of a sheet of glass. There may be invasive questions.

This was the routine at that time. I had grown accustomed to it but I could never totally relax. Sometimes a new officer, or an older grumpy officer was overly security conscious. I was always aware that bad judgment on my part in any way could result in being black listed by Security.
The members of our committee had agreed to an advisory role. They had no reason to seek significant involvement with the tightly regulated systems that functioned machine-like behind that high steel fence. Accepting the position of council chairman could entail greater involvement.

I was prepared to interact somewhat intimately with the rigid forces inside the fence because I knew some of the men living there. One of these was Roy. He had a step mother who didn’t want him to come around and a father who showed little interest in him. Albert, now in his sixties, had one sister, but she didn’t visit. Steve, who had killed two prostitutes, had no close friends in or out of prison. Robin had died recently of a knife attack in prison, but his own mother had refused to claim the body.

I felt a deep responsibility to the men behind the fence at Matsqui. Their faces were scarred by years of despair and apathy that comes from a drought of hope and meaning. They knew that when they were released, they would return to their former criminal haunts. The addicts would go to “the corner” to buy drugs for a fix. The entire time they would be looking back over their shoulder, wondering if they had been seen by a cop or a nark.

I accepted the responsibility of chairing the committee because I knew the men and their plight, and I wanted the community to be more informed and involved. Chairing the committee would give me greater access to the Warden’s office. I probably hoped this role would also give me increased credibility with other prison staff.

I didn’t have the skills or experience to chair the Citizens Advisory Committee, but the members and also the Warden and senior staff were gracious. By working together, we made a difference, and I learned a few lessons about leadership.

 

On The Board By Default

As coordinator of the M2 program at Matsqui Institution, I was more able to see what was happening at the Board and Executive Director level. The Board members were all individuals with demanding careers. Some had little or no time to sponsor an images (1)inmate. Like the Executive Director, they had been appointed by Richard Simmons, the American originator of the M2/W2 concept. A high energy visionary, Simmons had begun the program in Seattle, Washington. Charismatic and in a hurry to get things done, he had contacted several individuals in B.C. and with their help had managed to establish the program here.

We, the sponsors, respected the individuals on the Board, but some of us felt our views, ideas and front-line experience needed to be represented at the organization’s policy setting level. At times we weren’t entirely comfortable with decisions coming out of the fledgling office. M2/W2 was experiencing the growing pains common to a startup in any realm.

Wanting to maintain an amicable relationship with Board members and yet have an impact, we suggested two Board members be nominated and elected by sponsors. After considerable dialogue and some prodding on our part, they agreed this would be a positive move.

I had been in frequent conversation on this matter with fellow sponsor and friend, Hugh Wiebe. He was young, vigorous, and a force in his family’s agriculture related business. I felt he had the experience to represent sponsor views. He agreed to let me nominate him. It was with the understanding, however, that I would take his place on the Board for about three months so he could deal with a number of current business issues. I very much wanted him on the Board and I agreed to occupy his chair temporarily. The Board accepted this arrangement and at the next meeting of the organization, Hugh was one of 2 sponsors elected.

In the ensuing months I began to realize that Hugh’s responsibilities in the family company were increasing and I was concerned his considerable management experience might not become available to M2/W2. He wanted to take on the role and assured me the time would come. Unfortunately, business pressures never allowed him time to take his seat on the Board. I served his entire one year term and then let my name stand and was elected for another term. My leadership experience was limited but sponsors apparently felt I was committed to representing their views and desires.

I was willing to serve on the Board because it enabled me to influence our work in prisons. We hired Mel Cox, a balding, middle aged ex-con. Mel had embraced the Christian faith and came to us through the recommendation of his pastor. Having done time himself, he had a pretty comprehensive understanding of prison systems and of prisoners. His sense of humour and quick wit appealed to sponsors and also inmates. He provided us with a better understanding of inmate thinking and how to avoid being conned. Most of us had little experience with individuals whose lifestyle and circumstances made constant scheming a virtual necessity. Mel’s insights enabled us to become at least a little less naïve.

Sitting on the Board provided me with a basic understanding of how organizational decisions are often made, and what it takes to get things accomplished. The experience was of immense benefit in coming years when I became an M2/W2 staff member and also subsequently in other organizations. Whenever possible, I now advise young people to volunteer in an organization that provides solid training and practical leadership experience. My time as coordinator of the program at Matsqui Institution in a volunteer capacity, and also serving on the Board has convinced me that a volunteer investment is likely to pay generous dividends in the future. In my case it laid the foundation for work and life experiences that brought me a substantive sense of purpose, satisfaction and fulfillment.

Down the Tram Line to Party

The following account was told to Ruth Woodin of Hedley, by her father-in-law Barry Woodin. He was battling cancer and near the end of his life. He evidently never lost his sense of humour. She says he was more of a father to her than her own father ever was.

****
Barry and Jean Woodin were in their early twenties and just married, ready to contend with any challenge life would present to them. Barry applied for a job at the Nickel Plate Mine near the peak of Nickel Plate Mountain. He was hired and they moved into one of the homes on the mine site, about 6,000 feet above sea level.

It was a delight to them when they learned that each Saturday night the mine provided a tram down the mountain to the Hedley town site. Workers and spouses could catch a ride in empty ore

Ore cars on exhibit at Hedley Museum
Ore cars on exhibit at Hedley Museum

cars. The ore cars were small, not equipped with seats, and not comfortable. It was simply a means of rapidly descending the steep mountain to enjoy an evening of partying in a more civilized setting. The ride down the mountain in what was essentially an open metal box was not for the faint of heart.

Former Tram Line on Nickel Plate Mountain
Former Tram Line on Nickel Plate Mountain

On their first Saturday at the mine, Barry burst through the door of their home after work and said, “hurry Jean, I don’t want to miss the tram!” Jean was doing her hair and pampering her face. “Leave me alone Barry,” she said. “I’ll be ready when I’m ready.”

After working in the mine all week, Barry was eager to get away and have some fun. “The tram won’t wait for us,” he told her. “If you aren’t done with your prettyin’ in time, I’m going on my own.”

Maybe she didn’t believe he’d go without her. Or maybe it was a young bride’s way of asserting herself. We can only guess at her reasoning but she wasn’t ready when it was time to leave. Barry had not been bluffing. “Good bye Sweetheart,” he said. See you later.”

He found a party and danced well into the night. Then, in the early hours of the morning, the tram rattled noisily back up the steep grade of Nickel Plate mountain, returning the weary but satisfied partyers. When Barry arrived at his front door, he fumbled with the latch. The door seemed stuck. Had he had one drink too many? After fiddling determinedly with the latch, leaning against the door, speaking to it in terms I won’t repeat here, he paused to consider.

After a moment of reflection he understood the problem. Fortunately, even with the cold mountain air nipping at his face and bare hands, he saw the humour in this. “She’s locked me out,” he said with a chuckle. “Well, there’s more than one way to skin a cat.”

He went to the mine workshop and found an axe. Returning to the house, he began chopping at the rear door, which was also locked, until there was a hole large enough for him to squeeze through. Before going to bed he hung a blanket to cover the opening. It would remain in place until he was able to find another door.

In spite of this incident, and probably at least a few more, Barry and Jean remained happily married until his passing at age 52.

When Barry finished telling Ruth this little story he said with a wink, “she was never late again.” According to Ruth, Jean never disputed any of the details of Barry’s story.

 

Two Senior Boys On Motorcycles

When Linda and I pulled into the parking lot at Manning Park this past Monday morning, my attention was immediately drawn to a couple of motorcycles. The riders were chatting with a third individual, obviously also a bike enthusiast.

The two bikes interested me in part because they gleamed, as though they had just been taken out of a showroom. Of greater interest was that one had two wheels in front, something I don’t

3 Wheel Harley
3 Wheel Harley

recall seeing previously. The other was a Harley with two wheels in the rear.

While I was looking with great fascination and admiration at the first one, the owner came over and we talked a few minutes.

Bob told me the bike was made by Bombardier, with some custom

Art With Bob & His Bombardier
Art With Bob & His Bombardier

items. “The Bombardier suspension system gives it great stability,” he said, “I like the three wheel design. My left hip doesn’t have the strength anymore to support a two wheel bike.” He obviously felt pride in the machine’s performance capacity, but he gave no indication of wanting to boast.

“It’s obviously in great shape,” I observed. “Is it be pretty new?”

“I bought it three months ago,” he answered.

I have no inner compulsion to own such a bike but I did have a need to know what an impressive machine like this would cost. “About $30,000” he said with just the slightest reticence. Maybe a few people have expressed surprise he paid that much for a bike. A decent car can be bought for that kind of money. I wasn’t surprised though. It is a very special bike.

I was now permitting my curiosity free reign. “Does this fall into the category of what we call a mid-life crises?” I asked.

He smiled a little and said, “It’s probably more of a senior mid-life crises.” I had noticed that his neatly trimmed beard did appear to be greying somewhat.

They were from Chilliwack on their way to Princeton on a day ride. Just two senior boys who apparently had been financially prudent when they were younger. They’d had the smarts to set aside something so that now they were able to afford this expensive item on their bucket list. It’s pretty awesome that they have the health and also the chutzpah to do what a lot of us just dream about.

Bob, for me seeing those two intriguing motorcycles and talking with you certainly made it a memorable encounter. In retrospect, I realize now I should have asked a few more questions. But maybe there is enough here so the example of you and your friend will inspire some of us to risk more and live our dreams.