Joy to the World
He was an imposing man and I'm amazed that I remember his name. I was ten years old and attending private school in Victoria, but was home to Ladysmith to spend Christmas with my Grandmother, also imposing and the doyen of the Anglican Church Ladies Auxiliary. HE was the ARCHBISHOP OF THE DIOCESE OF BRITISH COLUMBIA, HIS GRACE THE RIGHT REVEREND HAROLD B. SEXTON. I simply cannot evoke the memory of him without imagining his name and title in capital letters.
My reason for being enrolled in Malvern House Preparatory School really had little to do with affluence. We weren't rich. My Father died when I was seven, and without long term prospects, my Mother decided to spend the last vestiges of his earning power to return to nursing school. She and my Father met while she was a nursing student with six weeks to go until graduating. They eloped. She did not graduate. I know this because after twenty years or so, my Grandmother still brought it up at family gatherings. My Mother had a choice as to what to do with me while she took her training again. I could have stayed with my Grandmother. This was rejected for fear that this indomitable old lady might somehow leave permanent emotional scars. After all, she had managed to mess up all seven of her own children. Thus, it narrowed down to Malvern House.
I am convinced that Mr. Emerson had no first or second names. It's somewhat like not being able to imagine your parents having sex. He was just Mr. Emerson, Headmaster of Malvern House. I expect his first name was something like Clive or Percival as would befit an expatriate British stalwart. He brought with him an absolute devotion to the Monarchy, the Anglican Church and his perception of good manners. Malvern House had "day boys" and "boarders". I was a "boarder". For me it was a twenty-four hour immersion in the British public school tradition. To this day, I am a Monarchist with acceptable manners. I don't gulp when I drink and I was over forty before I could bring myself to fart aloud. I studied Latin in the fifth grade. Amo amas amat etc.
Mr. Emerson, like many transplanted Englishmen, had become "more British than the British". We went to church every Sunday morning where Mr. Emerson was the Sunday school superintendent. He'd don a cassock and vestments. I feel he really wanted to be a minister in the Church but was forced, for some reason, to take up teaching.
So, firmly brainwashed by the Malvern House experience, I was foisted on my Grandmother that Christmas vacation. My Mother was required to live in the Nurses' Residence so we did not have a "home" at the time. My Grandmother took me to church on Sunday. I was all dressed up in my private school uniform (grey flannel short-pant suit, school tie, knee socks and peaked cap emblazoned with school crest) and positively dripping with my newly acquired manners. In spite of the fact that I was noticeably dorky because I had to wear eyeglasses and was at that really awkward gangly stage of my development, my Grandmother was very proud in front of the other church ladies.
"This is my Grandson, Brian. Say hello to Mrs. Inkster, dear".
"I'm very pleased to meet you Mrs. Inkster" (I tip my cap).
She pats me on the head and says to Grandma..... "You must be very proud, Emma".
Grandma replies.... "Yes, and he studies Latin too".
The ARCHBISHOP is here to bless the new font, so it is a special day indeed. The church ladies have pulled out all the stops. The church glistens and shimmers with Christmas decorations. Our normally somewhat shabby minister has a new set of vestments thanks to bake sales stretching back for months. Grandma and I are seated in the third pew front beside the aisle. This is where Grandma always sits. It's her spot and everyone knows not to sit there. Grandma has coveted the pew in front„ of us and the exalted first pew for years, but they belong to the Inksters and the Ryans respectively, and both are large families, so my Grandmother's chances for status elevation are rather slim. She covers by saying that the third pew is best anyway, because the lectern obscures the minister if you sit in the first or second row. I told you she was indomitable.
The organist hits the chord for "Joy To The World" and the processional begins with the Senior Server bearing the Cross followed by the choir. Servers are the Anglican equivalent to Altar Boys.
I am singing my heart out.
A Junior Server bearing a huge bible precedes our minister. All are moving in that slow, stately, swaying, eyes-to-Heaven way peculiar to ecclesiastics.
I am singing my heart out, my mouth an "O". My eyes are glistening. My Grandmother is fair bursting.
The ARCHBISHOP has his own Server, somewhat superior because he is more accustomed to the grandeur of Victoria's Christ Church Cathedral. He sways more than the locals. His vestments are far more elaborate. He is carrying the "Bishop's Cross" and it's a dandy, all ivory and gold.
I am singing my heart out.
Here comes the ARCHBISHOP. It's HIM, and HE is truly awesome. HE has exactly the right mix of benevolence and piety. HIS vestments represent the take from ten years of bake sales. We can all see this, and we are hugely impressed.
I am singing my heart out.
THE ARCHBISHOP OF BRITISH COLUMBIA, HIS GRACE THE RIGHT REVEREND HAROLD B. SEXTON stops right beside me!
My mouth is agape.
All eyes are focused on Grandma's third pew. HE looks down at me, smiles, reaches over and removes the cap from my head.
I AM WEARING A CAP IN CHURCH! I have let down the old school tie and Grandma is humiliated. The Inksters and the Ryans, along with the entire congregation bear smug, satisfied witness to my transgression and Grandma's come-uppance.
There is an arrow in my heart. Time has stopped. The GREAT MAN is truly prescient. HE sees Grandma's face. HE knows.
"Malvern House eh? Come with me sonny, I'd like you to carry my staff".
I fall in beside the ARCHBISHOP and grasping HIS symbolic shepherd's crook, join the processional to the front of the church. In HIS sermon, HE refers to me as an exemplary example of hope for the future. I am redeemed.
Grandma one, Mrs. Inkster and Mrs. Ryan zero.
JOY TO THE WORLD.
Logging the Storm
'98 February on the Hook
We are tied to the dock in Refuge Cove waiting out the weather. I had hoped that we could go to Prideaux Haven to get some oysters, but the tides aren't right.
Sigred is making rice pudding for breakfast. I wondered if it was a "Norwegian" thing (apparently not).
Faith just got up and Ripley the Wonder Dog needs poohing.
Sitting at Big Bay Marine. We just had leftovers (chicken, scalloped potatoes, potatoes, stuffing, gravy}. Ripley got "lickers" on the pan. He's happy.
Yesterday we sat out SE 40 gales at Octopus Islands. I was a little nervous about the anchor, but it worked out OK. Our plan for accommodating loggers has taken a small step forward. Six fallers at Twin Islands need a place to stay, but we got the impression that they might not be happy with a retired tug. I thought that we might encounter a float camp in our travels and lo and behold here one sits in Big Bay at the Government dock. The locals tell us that it belongs to Wayne. Wayne will be back at 6PM from a job further up coast. Who knows? We might be able to put the two together and create a job for ourselves.
We got to meet Wayne. He indeed does own the camp. He's willing to rent it to us for $2500/month for a long-term contract (6 months). We have no cell phone service here, so we'll call Bill, the faller, when we can.
Left Blind Channel at 10AM after being stuck there for two days because of SE 40+ winds. Decided to go to Campbell River to pick up groceries, do laundry and get our messages. Our Cell Phone Carrier sucks! We have been out of cell range since leaving Desolation Sound.
Arrived at Campbell River at 2 PM. We tied up at Discovery Harbour Marina, but being Saturday, their office is closed for the weekend. The new shopping centre is very convenient though.
We called Bill the logger and told him about the float camp. He seemed pleased with the idea, however his crew's plans have become somewhat indefinite. We're supposed to get in touch at the end of the month. Seems like the loggers are reacting to the political fallout from clear cutting Twin Islands.
We also returned a call from Rick, the fisherman in Okeover Inlet. He wants to know if we'd be interested in taking his fish boat to have a go at scallop dragging. He says that they're getting $5 or $6 a pound. We have ziltch experience at it, but we might be willing to give it a try. We'll drop by his place on the way back down South.