Nelson Calling


I knew we shouldn’t have brought Gaston along.

Arrived in Nelson today after a serious mountain climb that took 45 minutes to go up and 30 minutes to go down just before Castlegar. This is the kind of thing I really tried to avoid when I was a semi driver working out of Calgary. Long mountain slopes. Lose control on a winter day and you’ll meet your maker.

Nelson’s always been quite a place. A popular destination in the ’60s and ’70s for American draft dodgers to hang their hats on, and a mecca back then for hippies from far and wide to set up housekeeping and eat rice and granola. I still have friends in the area who moved here in 1970.

Nowadays, on Baker Street, the main drag, it’s almost like going back in time. Long-haired kids busking and prancing about, stuck in some kind of time warp. I just want to tell them that the ’60s weren’t all it was cracked up to be. I was there in the thick of it. There was serious peer pressure back then, meeting a certain level of hipness was important, and often it was only the length of hair only that a person was judged by.

You could be be the biggest nincompoop on the planet, but if your hair was halfway down your back, you still got lots of chicks and revered by guys with shorter hair who desperately wished theirs would grow faster. The thinking was – if a guy had really, really long hair, then he must have become cool earlier than others because hair takes a while to grow. So he was well-respected in hippiedom, even if he was a blubbering idiot.

And frankly, when I see a guy my age looking like a refugee from Haight-Ashbury and asking for change, all it tells me is that he’s probably tremendously lazy and is using the old-age counterculture in this new age as a perfect excuse for not having to work, and nothing more than that.

My daughter and the gang are doing just fine. They have a new dog and a bunch of chickens that lay a whack of eggs every day. The two young boys are non-stop, and little Cameron’s pants fell down when we were crossing the street and cars were waiting.

The two girls, older and in school, are terrific. Jasmyne’s in grade seven and is a classic teenybopper. Delaney, who’s seven, wants to sit on my knee all the time and she demands to sit beside me at the dinner table.

I’m grandpa and she makes me feel like a grandpa. I love this so much.

I have a daughter I’m proud of, a great son-in-law, and awesome grandkids that wear me out. It’s about as good as it gets.

Below, Adam. And below that – Delaney drew a picture of me. It’s a little hard to tell, but that’s a Habs hat on my head.



3 thoughts on “Nelson Calling”

  1. Thanks Ian. What a busy household it is here. Already we’ve been waken with a loud thump. And it’s only 5:30! Today it’s Calgary, where my son, a good Habs fan, lives.

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