Just a Small Town Boy….
I didn’t grow up in a small town, unless you count Victoria as a small town, but it’s really a small collection of municipalities constantly at war with each other over which one gets to dump sewage onto the other one’s ocean-front properties.
But I have a romantic view of small towns and traveling through BC, along highway 3, we got a chance to see a few. Some are dying, for sure, but others are newly painted, with a few quaint stores, all revitalized.
We drove through several small towns. Bridesville. Rock Creek. Midway, which may have been, you know, midway between Calgary and Vancouver (and really shouldn’t all towns have simple names like that?).
The-Oldest decided he wanted to live in a small town. It’s a simpler life. He could walk to town where everyone would know him and cheer as he entered the local coffee shop to play the piano. People would ask how he’s doing but not talk to him too much because they knew he was one of those talented artists and those people like to be left alone.
Plus, there would be a day set aside for him, a day that honored all the great compositions he had made, and maybe a parade on his birthday. Something with fireworks and a marching band.
I had to agree, based on that belief, small towns would be a great place to live. It’s something I like to do. It’s the ‘wouldn’t-it-be-cool-to-live-there?’ game.
Most places I think, yes, it would be ok, a few (like Cinque Terra in Italy), I think, hell yeah, I’d LOVE to live there and a few, like Duncan or Mogadishu, I think no way in hell.
In Greenwood, we stopped to take a picture and stretch our legs. It had a delightful collection of old wooden and stone buildings (all well painted and restored), a nifty mine to explore and an ice-cream shop. The-Youngest begged for ice cream but I have learned that if you feed an 11-year-old sugar and then take him on an 8-hour car drive, it’s a horror story akin to The Exorcist.
But that town made me think we should do a small town tour. Not with the boys, they would hate us forever, but maybe in our twilight years, just the two of us (or 3 if you include my robo-walker.)
It would be nice.
In Grand Forks, we stopped for lunch. It was a larger town with businesses mostly strung out along the highway, but this quaint, attractive town had been ravaged by massive floods in the spring. It wasn’t exactly built on a low river bank and I was stunned the water could rise so far as to flood the town.
Still, there was a peacefulness to Grand Forks. No need to rush anywhere. No need to stress. A little oasis of calm.
But not far outside of town, we ran into an accident that shut down Highway 3. A fatal accident. One dead. Motorcyclist.
We were close to the accident but didn’t see it.
But even stuck in the line-up, no one honked, no one got angry, and we tried to have a good time despite The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World having a huge migraine – made worse by the altitude.
We had a laugh at the RCMP constable in funny shorts. He made his way down the line telling people it would be a while. Not sure how long, sorry, but a while for sure. You folks, ok?
Only in Canada, eh?
While we waited the-Youngest pulled out his games and the boys played Smash-up, though I think The-Youngest used very generous interpretations of the rules to win.
Me, I thought about what it would have been like to see that accident, then stop, see the results and having no cell phone reception, do what? Drive down the mountain to the nearest town? Or what if they were still alive? Stay and be with the motorcyclist in their last moments on earth? Or leave to get help?
(It’s how we writers think.)
We were there for 2 hours.
I took over driving duties after they had cleared the accident, The-Youngest wanting to stop for ice cream at every town. We went through the very weird sounding Ootischenia (founded by Doukhobors), through Yahk, Castlegar and Salmo.
No ice cream bought.
The last stop was Cranbrook, a larger small town with a cute town center and a long collection of restaurants, gas stations and hotels along the highway.
We stopped at one of the hotels and the boys raced to the waterslides, the highlight of the day (planned by The-Youngest). The-Oldest tried to skip himself across the pool as far as he would go, while The-Youngest worked on getting down in the fastest time possible and cannon-balling himself into the water with a great splash.
After a long drive, I was glad to rest and just watch the boys play.
I love these moments when the boys get to be boys and just have fun. The car ride was ok, no blood was shed, no one threw up and only one person got a migraine, but the boys simply had no interest in towns or history or mine tours. For them, splashing and laughing and screaming down a waterslide trumps everything.
Small towns need to be told this. More waterslides.
Next up, a big town.
Calgary. Zoo. Tower. No waterslides.
And hey, thanks for reading this! We writers love it when we’re actually read.