Tag Archives: British Columbia

#FFFAW Flash fiction for aspiring writers. “Creek runs through it” by Raymond Roy. 

Photo credit Maria at doodles and scribbles
Summer days fishing for rainbow trout, wading through a snow melt creek of British Columbia with my older brother Danny,….those days could never be long enough.
Our hearts would flutter as we hiked into the trees toward the creek. As the sun warmed the trees you could smell the sweetness of pine sap and hear the dry grass and twigs snap under your feet. At times snow stubbornly hung on in the shade.

As we stepped into the water for the first crossing of a pool, I could feel the icy water flood through the eyelets of Converse Allstars, it took my breath away. I could feel life’s challenges melt away in the purity of that pristine snow melt creek water that was Mill Creek.

Working our way through the pools of crystal clear water, we would dip our lines in, the shadows in the rocks would come alive . The small trout would flash in the sun as you felt that exhilarating tug of your first bite. 

Word Count=167
This is a portion of one of my favorite stories called “A Creek Runs through It”. Submitted to  Flash Fiction for aspiring writers. The entire story can be found by clicking here. Peace to you. 

Presentation of his first fishing vest to my Grandson 2016

Cherry Pie

Cherry Pie                         

Funny how a taste or smell of certain food can open a floodgate of memories. Recently, after a long enjoyable afternoon of fellowship at church, I sat down, with a piece of cherry pie. As I took my first bite, I was transported back to October 1972. I was still living in Ontario Canada with my two older siblings and our Dad. There is truth to the saying that still waters run deep. In our case the more things seem to have stabilized the more the foundation was actually crumbling. At times it was like living in a rain cloud. You couldn’t see far ahead and knew it was just a matter of time that the next storm would arrive. At this point Dad was either cold turkey heroin sick or slipping in and out of heroin induced coma. He might wake up just long enough to promise a fishing trip that never happened or to take us running down the street in a paranoid state terrified of one of his many demons. It was never a dull moment, as my siblings Danny 12, Lorraine 10 myself 9, taking our Dads word for it that we could go fishing after he was shaved…… With Dad passing out again on the couch and daylight burning, (I smile inside remembering) Lorraine and I lathering him up and with Danny being the eldest, he was in charge of the razor. Lorraine and I pulled Dads head back to tighten the skin just as we had watched him do countless times over the bathroom sink. Eventually daylight, exhausted, Dad woke up, puzzled why his face was dotted with blood clotted toilet paper where we had nicked him with the razor. Needless to say, no fish were caught that day.

It wasn’t unusual for us to be pulled out of or having to change schools. By the 4th grade I had already attended 6 different schools. But this time it was different, we weren’t on the run, or going to a foster home, but rather we had all our belongings and seem to be making the rounds to Dad’s family in Ontario for a visit as if to say goodbye. For all we knew we were moving back to BC (British Columbia). Hearing my father speak primarily in French to my grandmother as he often did when things were serious, gave me sense that something was going on. At that particular moment, we were all together, that’s all that really mattered. 

We boarded the bus in Sudbury, Ontario at night. The heated bus air was a mixture of diesel exhaust, damp air and cigarette smoke. Unfortunately I was one of those kids that got car sick. The next four days in the bus were somewhat of a nauseous blur. “Hey Porky”(my nickname) wake up, we are at the next stop”, my Dad would say. And there it was, in every bus stop from Manitoba to Vancouver, day or night, like a beacon in the night, behind the glass case…”Porky, what do you want to eat”? “Just some cherry pie please”… On the fifth day on the road, we arrived in BC. It was around 6 in the morning and only then did we find out we were coming to “visit” my Mum. It had been 3 years since we had last seen her. Regardless of society’s view of our Dad, he was our world and all was right with the world, as long as us four were together. The bus stopped in Abbottsford, BC (being a felon, Dad couldn’t easily cross the border)> We did not want to get off. We stood at the base of the steps. I looked to Danny and Lorraine as I always did for reassurance or direction. Danny stood there as he always (and still does) quiet, strong as not to upset us. In the cold morning air Lorraine’s tears glistened in the light from the bus stop waiting room. Like so many times before, I held on to my Dads leg, pleading for him not to leave. 

“Come on, let’s go meet your Mum”.The bus stop waiting room was illuminated with concession machines. In front of the lights were silhouettes of two woman. . As I walked closer ,they each looked similar and familiar. One was my mum but I wasn’t sure which one she was. The second woman was Mums sister, Sharon. Up until this point I had only visited Mum, twice in my 9 years. I wrapped my arms around the quilt stitched dark blue coat. As I hugged my mum around the waist, I could feel the cold fabric against my cheek as an unfamiliar hand stroked my besheffeled hair. We piled into the white leather backseat of a blue thunderbird. Patsy Cline’s “walking after midnight” played on the 8-track and through the vapor of our warm breath we could see lights of the greyhound bus station fade in the distance. I looked at Danny and Lorraine, as many times before, when the only known was the unknown.

Tbird

Later in life I heard reasoning of why we were finally brought to Mum. One line of discussion was that we were in danger as some of Dad’s unruly dealings had left him as a marked man. Whether this was a part of his paranoia or truth, makes no different to me. Another reason was that my sister was coming of age and needed a Mum. That went without saying. Regardless of the reason, one truth I have no doubt about is the fact that my father saw the value of a stable family environment which no matter how hard he had tried, he could not provide. Today I am a father of five. And yes, I love taking my kids fishing and at times I may over promise and under deliver which reminds me of my Dad’s good intentions, but as God is my witness I strive to harvest the seed my Dad planted by putting his kids first.  A seed planted at a bus station early one October day back in 1972. For this I am truly thankful. RIP GJR.

 

2nd Eldest Zachary
2nd Eldest Zachary
Eldest Son Ty with a blue cat
Eldest Son Ty with a blue cat

 

“A Creek Runs Through It”

Summer days fishing for rainbow trout, wading through a snow melt creek of British Columbia with my older brother Danny,….those days could never be long enough.

Before the Cocahalla freeway was built, it was a 4 hour drive from Lynden, Wa. along winding mountain roads to Merritt. First through Hope, Boston Bar, Spences Bridge and then finally “Merritt, Copper Capitol of Canada, a Lake a day, as long as you stay” the sign read.
Just before getting to our Grandfather’s house, your nostrils were filled with the sour mash-like scent of the wood mill. If it were after dark, you might see a series of sparks ascending from the metal domed screens of the scrap wood furnaces. The embers danced like fireflies twirling to escape into the pitch black abyss of the Rocky Mountain sky. Magically they transformed into the stars that shone so brightly, you felt you could reach up and touch them. This was my First Nations homeland. For over 10,000 years, land of the Shuswap nation.

Long before Feng Shui, Grandpa’s small wood tar-papered house provided all of life’s essentials, Running water was found at the kitchen sink, Heat was a Wood burning stove in the living room. Security- At night the front door was locked by a hunting knife wedged between the door and the jamb. The Entertainment center was the laminated kitchen table with a pint of 5-star Canadian Rye whiskey, deck of cards and a cribbage board.
I remember thin fabric hung over the kitchen sink window, futile in its efforts to filter out the intense mountain sun. On the window sill, there was a miniature prank outhouse that when you opened the door, a little boy figure would pop out and whiz water on you. The sweet smell of Old port cigarillos and scent of rye whiskey hung in the air. For a 10 year old boy, the best place in the world was sitting on Grandpa McIvor’s lap during a poker game.
“What a bunch of fisherman I’ve got “” “boy you’re a real smart feller”, Grandpa would say, waiting to see the gleam in my eye at being praised then like a skilled showman , ” “oh I meant a fart smeller”… What kind loving man Ernie McIvor was. Watching him surrounded by his grandkids was to imagine a king with his treasure.

“Well we better dig some worms if we are going fishing.” Grandpa would declare. Outside the foundation of his house stood a one foot high berm. This was home to a bounty of Canadian crawlers. With a coffee can full of worms Danny and I jumped into Grandpa’s truck and off we went.

Just on the edge of town, we would stop for some Old Dutch salt n vinegar chips, and always the generous one , Grandpa would treat us to penny candy.

Mill Creek was a ways past Lundbum Lake with gravel roads, steep drop offs and hairpin turns.

Grandpa would drop us off at the the top of the mountain , “see you guys at the bridge this afternoon”.

Our hearts would flutter as we hiked into the trees toward the creek. As the sun warmed the trees you could smell the sweetness of pine sap and hear the dry grass and twigs snap under your feet. At times snow stubbornly hung on in the shade.

For bait, we carried a Band-aid tin with worms, tackle boxes were a few split shot and hooks in our shirt pockets.
Our poles were 6ft branches with plenty of fishing line wrapped around one end.
Our stringer was a snapped off “y” shaped branch that looked resembled a divining rod. We left one part of the y long and snapping one short.
As we stepped into the water for the first crossing of a pool, I could feel the icy water flood through the eyelets of Converse Allstars, it took my breath away. I could feel life’s challenges melt away in the purity of that pristine snow melt creek water that was Mill Creek.
Working our way through the pools of crystal clear water, we would dip our lines in and shadows in the rocks would come alive . The small trout would flash in the sun as you felt that exhilarating tug of your first bite. One time I got so excited, I yanked my line out so quickly that I flung my poor trout far behind me into the woods.

While threading our long stem stringers through the trouts gill and out it mouth, scarlet blood residue was a sure magnet for horse flies and bees.
Walking down the creek it was almost best to stay in the frigid water as to keep your legs numb. Once your got out and they began to warm, they ached as the circulation returned, sending shocks to every nerve as if turning on a power grid.
All too soon our shadows lengthened as approached the bridge where Grandpa was waiting. Welcoming us with a chuckle and a wisecrack, we would head back to Merritt with a handful of small rainbows and a lifetime memory.
For those times so long ago, I still cherish them today. Thankful for two great men in my life, my brother and a loving father figure. Ernie McIvor, May he rest in peace, Amen

History Note from my Aunt Sharon McIvor:

“Wonderful Ray. The Mill Creek area is our traditional territory It is called Zoht in our language. The Creek runs right by where your Grandma Suzy, great Grandma Mary, great great Grandma Enulx and their ancestors lived and many were born there. It is traditional unceded Nlekepmux (Thonpson) territory. Grandma Suzy and her siblings fished that creek as did me and my siblings. When you got to Boston Bar that was the beginning of our Territory. It runs all the way to.kamloops. Kamloops is the beginning of Scwepmux (Shuswap) territory. Your Grampa Ernie was Swepmux although he was born in Merritt .”
Thanks Aunty.

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