By Craig Funston
Just so you know, my wife left me the other day.
Okay, okay, it’s not quite the way you’re thinking, but at least I got your attention. She left me for a brief getaway with our three adult daughters, a mother-daughter reunion for her 60th birthday.
Normally, I don’t drop my guard and speak about personal or intimate things, and this column is no exception. I just need to combine a personal perspective on a recent news item.
These three daughters are scattered across Canada—one each in Kamloops, Langley, and Halifax. Getting together, even for a weekend, is a massive undertaking.
Somehow they pulled it off and as I write, they are together in some backwoods BC hamlet, hooting it up. Okay, knowing them, maybe not hooting it up, but at least drinking a pine float (a mug of water with a toothpick) on the sundeck of their rented airbnb.
I use the word “backwoods” simply because the hamlet: a. doesn’t have wifi; and b. doesn’t have a McDonalds.–both hallmarks of civilization…not.
But that’s not the story.
The real story is the rock slide that my wife and Halifax daughter discovered had trashed their route, some 25 kilometres west of Revelstoke. Things had gone swimmingly well for them, up to that point.
If you know your BC geography, when Highway 1 through the Rockies is washed out, it’s a no-go zone. (Actually, even if you don’t know your BC geography, it’s still a no-go zone.)
The alternate route was a very convoluted one: Head south of Revelstoke on Highway #23, catch two ferries, then head west to Vernon, which is still two hours from Kamloops.
And here’s the real, real story: The ferry normally carries thirty cars at a time, the round-trip is an hour, and everything shuts down at midnight. So when my wife and the Halifax daughter showed up at the ferry, already miles and hours out of their way from their destination, there were three hundred (as in 300) vehicles ahead of them.
If you do the simple math, that would be at least a ten-hour wait, though the ferry would be shutting down in a few hours (at midnight, remember?). Based on the normal schedule, my wife and Halifax daughter would have to sit all night, with the inconvenient chance of getting on by mid-morning.
It’s the middle of nowhere, so there’s no bathroom, no coffee shop, and nothing to do but inch ahead every hour. And no wifi or McDonalds, to boot.
But the “Canadian way” kicked in, and the unnamed, unknown ferry crew did an all-nighter; that is, then ran and ran the ferry through the night in order to accommodate the stranded travellers.
My wife and Halifax daughter had high-tailed it back to Revelstoke for the night to get a motel, then made a point to show up at the ferry by 6:30 the next morning. Because of the selflessness and Canadian-esque efforts on the part of the ferry workers, they were on their way to Nakusp, then over another ferry, finally arriving in Kamloops, and on to the airbnb.
Like the Americans who were stranded and served in Gander, NL, during the 9-11 crisis , we saw another example of Canadians stepping up and out when the travelling chips were down.
That episode on the part of the ferry crew probably won’t make the news, but it’s front-page news to me, and fourth-page news for you. I think it’s worth celebrating.
Can someone pass me a pine float?