My growing up years on a floathouse and later in a truck-logging camp were nothing like those my mother experienced. Except for a few short years in Vancouver, she grew up on a farm, first in Alberta, and later on a piece of very wild farmland in remote Jackson Bay. When she married my father that transition from the farm to the floathouse must have been a terrible shock.
Having no soil in which to plant anything, she made adjustments. Dad built her long narrow boxes he set on the float. She filled them with a mixture of needles and bark bits scratched from the roots of the undergrowth along the beach and mixed that with the seaweed that had blown up on the beach after a storm. In it she planted dahlias and gladiolas. No vegetables grown there, she was determined to make her outdoor surroundings as beautiful as possible. When our house was hauled on to the camp land she brought those boxes along too.
Later in her life when they moved to Campbell River – I was at university then – I witnessed the result of her labours with the land on which our house stood. Her garden was undeniably beautiful and she made no effort to grow vegetables there either. Save-on-Foods was only a few miles away then.
Mom had grown up the youngest of three brothers and their life was outdoors. She learned to shoot along with them, and became a better shot than they were. I was less enthusiastic about being outdoors and at no time was I involved with sports as she and my younger sister were.
I Have Found Similarities
I can now acknowledge that there was at least one way she and I were similar, when I had always noted how dissimilar the two of us were. I love my garden and go to great lengths to create beauty around me.
But back to Mom, whose skin tanned easily, as mine does, who loved the sun too, but with added years I’m discovering those same facial wrinkles she had are appearing almost overnight. Something else I’ve discovered: long hairs on my chin telegraph to the world I am her daughter and that I have reached a certain age. I began by tweezing them, with little success.
When Mom’s chin whiskers – she called them that – appeared, she quietly made an appointment with an esthetician in downtown Nanaimo for electrolysis, and then enjoyed a bonus of visiting with our children on the way out of town before she returned to Campbell River. Over several years of regular appointments most of the offending hairs were no longer evident. Guess what? I am following her lead on this.