Had to wait on my girlfriend up on the hill in old Point Grey until she returned to her mansion. She left me a late phone message that I didn’t get until about an hour before the ETA I’d given yesterday in my message. Doesn’t matter.
My girlfriend’s off to Peachland, British Columbia tomorrow to attend, with his consort, once more, the “Remembrance Day” ceremony there on Sunday.
His older brother’s name, as you will recall, is one of the dozen or so on the fine, small, granite cenotaph on the waterfront.
Raymond H. W., although in the RCAF, was flying with RAF bomber command squadron 51 out of Snaith, Yorkshire, England. It was his third “mission” as they used to be called. The Handley Page Halifax Mark III four engine bomber, LV857, didn’t return from the attack on Nuremberg the night of March 30-31, 1944.
R.H.W. also has a grave marker in the Hanover, Germany war cemetery. He was 22 and grew up in Peachland.
So his younger brother, the old girlfriend, who will be 85 next year, heads up to place one of the wreaths, as he has for the last several years.
The ceremony takes place in the community centre rather than on the waterfront at the cenotaph itself, as used to be, as some of the old guard are getting a tad elderly and it can get a bit cool down there in November.
Indeed, some of the participants of the past, since they brought the day inside, have past on. My dear girlfriend has the little place above the lake on Lakeshore Boulevard, a dead-end two lane blacktop with a fine view of Okanagan Lake.
Summerland and Penticton are to the south, West Kelowna and Kelowna to the north. His parents owned the place starting in the 1920s. It was the little cottage up behind the house they lived in on a fine, sloping patch of ground at the south end of town. The house as well as the cottage are still there, but the house hasn’t been in the family for decades. The highway has more traffic now than it did in the 1920s.
In fact the whole town has expanded alarmingly in the last few years. But there’s no return to the past. People like my girlfriend remember how it used to be. Is he really my girlfriend? Sure, in a jokey sort of way.
“Not necessarily a blue dog moment.” — American TV commentator. No one outside of himself had a clue what he was talking about last night.