Saturday, October 1, 2022


 Almost exactly a year ago, on a stunningly beautiful weekend, I texted Val and asked her if she'd like to go for a walk through the Othello Tunnels with me. 

Ten seconds later she responded, enthusiastically (meaning, there were exclamation marks) saying YES, and that John would like to join us. 

When I got to their place, they were in their vehicle, waiting, with John offering to drive. 

After we got on the freeway, it was suggested (by Val? agreed to by John? or the other way around?) that we should stop in Hope and pick up a coffee and snacks at a great little independently owned coffee shop. Which we did. And even though there was a line-up to get in, everyone was happy and patient and totally fine. 

We hung around Hope for a bit, enjoying the sunshine and scenery, then left for the tunnels. (Can I say how very glad I am that we did that? One month later, that whole area was DESTROYED by the great flood of 2021. I'm not sure that walking through that area will ever be a possibility again.) ANWAYS, we walked, stopped, gazed, were awestruck, took lots of pics (their 40th wedding anniversary was in November, and I thought these would be great backdrop pics for when they re-did their wedding vows. Haha. And, I suggested, if not that, they'd be beautiful in their funeral slide shows.) WHAT THE HECK JANE?

(They didn't re-do their vows, so I threw in a couple of these pics into the slide show. Good photos should be shared.) 

We left the Othello River area as the light was fading. John thought we should go to Harrison and have dinner at the Black Forest, which was an excellent idea. I hadn't been there in years, and it's one of my favorite little communities in BC. So many good memories. 

It was a perfect fall day. Lots of fresh air, good company, great food etc and so on. 


I have another travel memory with John. The same John, but a little bit different. It was March 1986 and for the first time in our three year marriage, Mark and I were going on a vacation. The plan was to spend 10 days in Palm Springs. I'd found a 2 bedroom condo that we were going to share with John n Val, and Fish n Margret. (I guess Fish and Marg slept on a pullout in the living room?) 

Val flew down with 3 month old baby James one day earlier than we planned to arrive.  

John, Mark and I were going to drive. (Fish and Marg must've arrived a day or two later? Shrugs shoulders. Memory is not what it used to be.) 

Anyway, the decision was to drive John's VW Rabbit, because it was diesel, and diesel was cheaper than gas. With three drivers, we could drive straight through, and not stop for night. I learnt how to drive stick for this trip so I could take my three hour shift, while someone slept. (Spoiler alert: No one slept while I drove.) I learned how to gear up (?), so I could get us onto the freeway from a rest stop, but never got the hang of gearing down, so I was never allowed to exit the freeway into a town or intersection; I was only able to pull into not-busy rest areas. 

We filled up with diesel only at truck stops NOT conveniently located beside the I-5. Truck stops off the beaten path, on dumpy little intersections always were a penny or two less than the sparkling big tourist-friendly ones. 

We ate at roadside dives. And John only ordered the cheapest thing on the menu. 

We were in The Amazing Race, (racing against ourselves, I guess) and arrived in Palm Springs at 6 am (5 hours ahead of schedule), when no one was awake and we had nothing to do. 

Isn't it lovely the way we learn and evolve and grow and end up being slightly different than the people we were 40 years ago? 

John was really great in his 20's. But SO much more great in his 60's. I hope that can be said of me too. 


It's John's funeral tomorrow, about 15 years too soon. 

We'll be remembering with tears every version of the man; the one who ate grilled cheese for every meal, adding all the free condiments available to add bulk and flavor to his sandwich - to the man who spontaneously suggests we celebrate a good day by going to a lovely restaurant that's a big detour from our drive home and doesn't even have sandwiches on the menu. 

John, thank you for showing us how to live and serve with joy. Thank you for loving your family so very well; your kids and grands have been sharing, and will continue to share, stories about you and how you showed each one of them, in unique ways, how precious they are to you. And of course, Val. You loved her, thoroughly and completely and consistently, every day of your life together. A woman who is loved has confidence, peace and a beautiful smile. Thank you for being The Best Husband.

Then ^ . She had just turned 19 when they got married. LOOK at her cute face! 

Now (below). They haven't changed a bit. 

They were the classic Green Acres couple. She was pure city, classic and cultured. He was 100% country, happiest in a field with his gumboots on. 

Psalms 127:3-5 (NLT)

Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them!


Three things I'm thankful for:

1. The way this man has welcomed me into his home every single time I've dropped by, unannounced to hang out with Val. He often sits at the table with us, eating M+M's peanuts with a glass of cold milk. (And brings me a glass of milk too.) He has been like a big brother, from taking my ugly green couches to the dump, offering to look after ALL THE CANS that accumulate at the lake, to praying for my boys, and encouraging me to plan another European vacation for us all. Below is a pic of him and me on my 40th birthday in their backyard. I think he's praying for me. Or leading the choir in singing Happy Birthday. 

2. I am thankful for emotions and tears and laughter and memories and photos and faith. 

3. I am thankful for the anticipated record-breaking sunny temps forecast for next week. (When I was navigating my way through that first year without Mark, we had SO many beautiful winter days. I believed they were a gift from God, "I know things are shitty about your marriage, Jane. But I'm here, and I love you. Here's a sunny day. Don't be too sad. It's gonna be OK. I have a good plan; you're gonna live a good life...") Val would call me on a really unexpectedly good weather day, and say, 'God did this for you.'

When I was sitting with her this evening, after a spectacular sunset had faded, I showed her the forecast for next week (first week of October and every single day the temps will be in the high 20's) and said, "This is for you. God loves you and has a plan."

She said, "I know. I remember."

And they we both started crying again. 

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