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Meet the Neighbors

Wayne Bright

 

Main Road across from Bonny’s old farm “I want to give you a bit of context,” said Wayne, “just 100 years . . .”

   

In WWI, Wayne’s great grandfather was sent to protect the Port of Vancouver from the base in Esquimalt. He bought a copy of Poor Man’s Rock and sent it to his 16-year-old son back in Ontario. This fictionalized account of a Lasqueti fisherman’s life described Squitty Bay and Sangster island perfectly. Wayne grew up around the books in his granny’s house. He read Poor Man’s Rock and remembered it. He also went to Cub Scout jamborees with a fellow named Ross Thompson.    

   

Fast forward to the 1980’s. Wayne was a tugboat captain in the Arctic and thinking about finding the best place in the world. He researched. Hours of sunlight. First frost. Last frost. The Falklands War nixed those islands. Athens had too much pollution. Metchosin was too foggy. The Annapolis Valley had the same climate as Toronto. But Lasqueti Island was not too hot, not too cold. He stayed with a couple in Coombs, who said, “We know a guy on Lasqueti.” When they met, Wayne said, “We were cub scouts together!” So, Wayne stayed with Ross and started looking around.

   

While Wayne tugboated, Harvey Fink tended Wayne’s granny’s gardens, and Ingo - our own Ingo Dyrkton - renovated one room at a time. When Wayne found the best place on earth, they came.

   

No realtors, just word of mouth. “Angus’ ex is selling where Laila was . . .” (Annie and Ronaldo’s place), etc. As Wayne looked around, he realized it all looked familiar - as if he had read about it somewhere. He had, of course - it was Poor Man’s Rock. Gail Fleming, delivering the mail, mentioned that Peter Pearse was selling both sides of his field. Wayne and Harvey walked down the road. “I’ll buy this side, you buy that side.” “Deal,” Harvey said to Wayne

   

I didn’t ask Wayne what he would or would not change on Lasqueti, Instead, I learned about chromium blue leather, the shoes on the Titanic, the Acadian clearings, the invention of tailor-made cigarettes, and the front deck of Provisions, all of which tie into Wayne’s story. I also learned about a quarter of a million salmon per year, the proper slope of roof for a root cellar, how far a rain shadow stretches. Wayne’s World.


– Suzanne Heron

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