Friday, October 09, 2009

Back To The Previously Solved Case

I had a free airline ticket that was about to expire and I've been around small groups of women off and on for a couple of months now so I decided to do something manly. What more manly thing is there to do than fish? So that's what I'm doing or plan to do for a few days this weekend up in British Columbia.

Originally, I was going to stay near the northern end of Glacier National Park in Montana, but the temperature there dropped 20 degrees this week. The expected high was 25 F. The expected low was -3 F. That's a little too cold for me to go fishing even at my manliest. So I went to Plan B. I'm in Nelson right now staying at a hostel. Tomorrow I'll head to a remote lake for a couple of nights. Rumors are that the fish have heard of my pending arrival and are already in a state of fear. They damn well should be scared!

Many moons ago, 37 years ago to be exact, I hitchhiked across Canada, staying in hostels along the way. So this trip is a bit nostalgic for me. Back then hostels had a hippie-dippie glow. Now they just are a cheap place to stay for mostly young people (and a few old codgers like me).

My travel partners back then were an interesting mix of people that I'd find and lose along the way. There was one guy whom I met in Montreal. He was, it turned out, a manic depressive. When we started, he was manic. Three days later he was in some kind of dark mood from hell. We were sitting in our bunks that night. He could barely talk. "You know, I only have one testicle," he said to me out of the blue. "But that's OK, because Hitler only had one too, and look at all he did." Creepy. It was time to find another travel partner.

In Sudbury, I joined up with a couple of runaways, a boyfriend and a girlfriend about my age. When I told them I'd already graduated from high school and was just traveling, they didn't believe me. They had a big fight in Thunder Bay, and so then it was me and the girl. I thought I was in love. But she decided to find her old boyfriend again and turned back east in Winnipeg.

Then I met up with a girl about my age and her 12 year old brother. She had a calm about her that I'd never seen. I've seen it in other people now and then since that time. It's a state of grace people like her possess. I have no idea where it comes from. About two months ago, I ran into a woman in Santa Cruz who possessed it too. I almost blurted out, "How can you be so calm and full of peace? It just radiates from you. Tell me where I can find it, please." But I restrained myself. I'm not all id thank god. She would have thought I was crazy.

Anyhow, back to the 16 year old girl and her brother. They had been living with her mother somewhere in Ontario. Her mom found herself a boyfriend who moved in and started to get abusive. My travel partner decided it was time to split and find her father on Vancouver Island . She had her mind made up that this was going to be so much better for her and her brother. I asked if she had told her father that she was coming. She said no. I was surprised. I didn't say a thing about how I thought this plan was doomed.

It's my tendency to assume that dreams and aspirations are seldom met and bet accordingly. I would have lost the bet that her meeting with her father would be an unhappy one. We spent about a day wandering around a tiny town on Vancouver Island, trying to find her father. She didn't know his address. She didn't even have his phone number. But we did find him. To say he was happy to see her and her brother would be an understatement. To say he was ecstatic, was one shade shy of reality. I left thinking that I had just witnessed a happily ever after moment.

I doubt that I will meet any people this interesting on this manly trip of mine. It's all about the fish this time not the people. I'm not trying to find myself. I'm already found. Tonight I went to the organic grocery and did another nostalgic thing. I bought some kasha, broccoli and tofu. Then I cooked it all up. I lived on kasha and broccoli for two years straight in college. And you know what? After a hiatus of 30 years or so, it tastes pretty damn good.

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