Thompson Park I

That was close. Let’s take a break and see what’s happening at Thompson Park.

I’m a pretty talented guy. I’ve got charisma. Children and dogs run to me wherever I go. It’s been obvious to me for as long as I can remember that I have all the brains, all the talent, all the looks and all the modesty in my family. There’s no doubt I’m special.

But enough about me. How about Thompson Park. There wasn’t anything called Thompson Park when I first started. No park. No road down. No vineyards. Just a large stretch of pasture rising gently all the way up from the seashore to the farm. It was a big, wide open patch of ground. It was bigger than that.

If you wanted to be here you had to come in by boat or take the trail down from the end of the road up top. Beer is a food. It was the American writer Ernest Hemingway in a book called “Green Hills of Africa” who pointed that out. Has anybody heard of Ernest Hemingway these days?

One time my craving for cerveza muy frio became such agony I actually did make that trek from the beach back up to the trail and up and then down from the top all the way to East Point Road and down to the only place that was selling “off sales” which was the “Lighthouse Pub”. I wonder what happened to that place. Then it was all the way back to the beach with that cardboard case of a dozen bottles of “Hi-test”. Those were days of determination and putting that much effort and time into getting something I wanted made the whole epic feel almost virtuous.

What’s here now to drive down I don’t know what it is. “Private Road” it says. What bull. So much for privatization. You can die on this road. It’s like something out of Slieve League in wild Donegal and there’ll be no lost action figure of Big Bird in the grass on this one. There’s no grass.

The guy who dreamed up this nightmare ought to be flayed. I’m not saying it’s a bad road. All I’m saying is it’s the only road. Do you want to get to Thompson Park or not? This road asks a simple question. It’s kind of exhilarating and suddenly your full attention is engaged. Wow. This is really a wonder of engineering. So thrilled.

It’s a struggle to find anyone at Thompson Park. That’s because, as is usual or what almost strikes me as not unusual, I mean not usually… Let me put it another way. I’ve never encountered anyone at Thompson Park except the scant few that have had the guts to accompany me because I’m trouble. It’s part of the place’s charm.

Because I remember this place. We never saw anybody in the era of “The Beach” either. Except the kind people who welcomed us here, shipped us in then left us alone in our cabin up from the beach then shipped us out at the end of our stay. Great service. Jim C. had gone to high school with my bride’s father so there was a bit of a connection there.

Here it comes, rolling in. The fog of nostalgia. Suddenly you can’t see a thing. The occasion of the last lamb barbecue held down here. This was another time we were down here. Yes, it was the end of an era. Actually, the era kept going but it took up a new residence. It was a wet day on the occasion of the last lambs at what was to become “Thompson Park”. There’s a first time for everything and for us this was it. If there was some guy named Thompson who was going to get the future park named after him he kept a very low profile because I didn’t hear word one.

I remember the beer garden. There was a gigantic soggy tarp continuing to bravely delineate the designated beer garden area. Everything was so green. Take me and use me. The things that inspire you. That touch of real emotions. There were several wet, hairy people, fearless in their determination. It felt good to be among my own.


First Nations Logging Show

We spoke to Bob and Doug at their individual stations on East Point Road Wednesday. Both gentlemen are from Campbell River and are acting as safety flagmen. The stars of the show are the 13 fallers sawing away up in the woods. There’s more fallers joining them this weekend. The boss is a gentleman named Steve Venus and “Blue Thunder” is the name of the company. While we waited and chatted for about ten minutes we could hear the occasional heavy wump of a tree hitting the ground. Nothing else sounds like that and a few wafts of nostalgia fog floated around my brain, fortunately dissipating fairly quickly as we got the all clear to continue our drive.

It’s standard safety practice when fallers are working as close to the road as two tree lengths. Communication is by two-way radio. Tree faller used to be the most dangerous profession in British Columbia. I don’t think a lot has happened to much change that stat. There’s a lot of things to keep in mind dropping big trees and not flattening some hapless car driving by, and whoever’s in it, if something goes sideways, is one of them. Good job.

Bob said the work needs to be wound up in March and there’ll be another harvest in the fall. The crew come in on a crew boat from Sydney and head back to Sydney at the end of each day. They’re high-balling and have a lot to do to stay on schedule. The wood being harvested is all second growth which tells you a little something about the history of logging on Saturna Island. It’s not exactly a recent phenomena so there’s no reason to be scared. It frees up other things to be scared of or you can decide to be totally fearless. Today’s homily I suppose would be don’t over do that either. There’s all sorts of good ideas out here in the woods.