Six thirty AM comes quickly to someone like me, who likes her sleep and likes a lot of it. But I got downtown to meet Bo and Carol to get on the bus to go to the ferry. We were chatting in a desultory kind of manner, just beginning the long descent into Horseshoe Bay, when the bus stopped. And stayed stopped. It had broken down, and whoops! We had 15 minutes to catch the ferry!
We made it. Just. We boarded after all the cars, so took seats to keep an eye on the cafeteria lineup. It was about 45 minutes before we got our food and I even ate the bad ferry eggs, I was so hungry. I’d like to say that I consoled myself with the ravishing scenery, but I was too tired and grumpy and hungry.
Dad met us and we drove the hour back to his place. As usual when I see my dad, I was trying to think of things to say. Now I was overfull, tired, and grumpy, so I didn’t have a lot to say.
Dad’s place is a condo. It overlooks the bay. It looks nice with the family furniture in it, but I kept having moments where I’d go, “Oh, we have that too! No, wait, that is my family’s hall stand.” Very strange.
I got the town tour. Dad introduced me to many of his new friends, including the carver, Herb, who works at the Maritime Center, and several boat owners. We toured the Center, and this may be surprising, but I am actually the more capable, of his two kids, of appreciating the restored 1932 outboard engines and restoration projects on old boats. There was a really cool Evinrude from the fifties, all in aqua tones. They are doing some fine work there on the boats, too. The docks there are busy with people conferring and commiserating with one another. I really liked it. I saw a handful of boats I knew, and some I wanted to get to know better. I was happy to see that one of my old fishing pals had donated his eighty-year-old double-ended gillnetter for restoration. That is a damned cute boat.
After the town tour, we all went inland a bit to visit my cousin’s winery. It’s just a small operation, but my cousin showed us the bottling machine and explained the process. When I saw the hand-bottling machine, it made me regret drinking his wine so freely, not thinking of his efforts.
There was another winery around there that sells the most amazing blackberry port. You know how so many things that purport to taste of blackberries don’t? This stuff does. It is gorgeous, so I bought a bottle.
We came back to Dad’s place and Bo and Carol and I picked blackberries from the bushes that grow beside the condo property. I was feeling kind of weird about the whole day, but then, picking the blackberries, all of a sudden, it was normal. I was just hanging out with my family. Dad took some pictures of Bo and I picking, him high, me low. Carol assiduously getting the ones we missed. Pictures of his family, hanging at his new place. Bo was planning a pie. I’m making tarts.
We had an early dinner at a fish restaurant where they knew my dad. Then he drove me back to the ferry. Coming into Nanaimo, he said, “Look, we can keep going and go to Hardy if we want.” I confessed that I sometimes missed it. He asked how. Was it the people, the job, the town? I admitted that it was everything. That sometimes, I’ll be in the middle of something and just think, ‘Hey, I have to go to work now!’ And the barge is the job I’m thinking of.
I told my mother something like that once. She told me I was imagining it.
What I just realised today is that my father loves me. He wanted to introduce me to those people. He wanted me to meet the people and see the boats. He is proud of me. And it even looks like the person he’s proud of, he knows pretty well. At least, he knows my love of old wooden boats and mechanical things.
This is pretty cool to me. I spent most of my life hiding my opinions, as well as many of my likes and dislikes. Is it possible that my father actually noticed them anyway?