A Little Something for Down Gibsons Way

December by

With local elections growing smaller in the rear-view, the Christmas respite just ahead in the lights, here’s a little piece about a little piece of my initial foray away from things urban and the professional.

If you check out the biode on this site you will read of a number of transitions, including a rather stilted series of stops along the journalistic turnpike, a sharp diversion off the ‘straight’ and narrow, a foray into what most folks would call the wilderness and a seminal ferry trip out this way to begin what now amounts to a tad under four decades on our blessed Sunshine Coast.

My lady Aus and I, she with child, obtained renters rights to the old Chamberlain homestead, reputedly one of the first two such non-aboriginal holdings on the Sechelt Peninsula.  On it stood the main house, the core of which stands today and serves as home to the caretakers of Shirley Macey Park, a termite-tenanted 12’x16′ single-room log cabin and another building of similar size that would serve a variety of purposes. Ah yes, there was one other building about 12’x10′ which served first as a stable and then a tool-shed.

Daughter Megin, winter '75

We lived there for four years, drawing our water from a dug well and making do with outhouses in the absence of toilets and septic fields.

It was a touch more rural then than it is now and, while part of Grantham’s Landing and politically within the electoral area of West Howe Sound, it was for practical purposes much connected to the town of Gibsons.

We were poor in assets, but rich in our affection for one another, ever-more-so with the births of our daughters, both of them on the property, which, by the time of their arrival was shared with goats, horses, dogs, cats, ducks, chickens and bees. I have no sense of either of us feeling deprived of the amenities most folks find essential, perhaps in part because we knew they could be acquired if we so chooe.

Nevertheless, scraping by on a few dollars from a bit of work here and there wasn’t cutting it and I got a job on the booming ground at Andy’s Bay. It would give me the knowledge to eventually work on other such grounds and move from there to salvaging deadheads before they sank from and with the sanction of the various log sorts in Howe Sound, using the ‘Kathy,’ Archie Haleta’s tough little towboat.

That in turn would lead to me spending eighteen years salvaging logs and working log spills from bases on Nelson Island and Trail Islands.

But six winter months was about all the time I was willing at that point to give over to a structured working life. I had a garden to plant and a lady and new babe .   So delighted was I at the prospect of returning to them full time, while still relishing my new experience on the logs and the water, that on the ride home in the crummy after my last shift ‘Fine Mel, Fine’sprang into existence as of its own volition. It features Keith Bennett on Harp.


[audio:http://www.johnmarian.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Fine-Mel-Fine.mp3|titles=Fine Mel Fine]

A lot of songs, five albums of them, have come out of life here and on the wider West Coast of Canada.  Like it, they cover a lot of varied terrain, rhythm’s and styles.  There are multiple ways to access them on the site.  Enjoy.


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