Dear Dad

From the time I started this blog, back in September 2017, my most supportive readers have been my mom and dad. Each post has been greeted with enthusiasm and generated a “can’t wait till the next one” response. Their encouragement has meant a lot to me. It’s a terrific feeling when your parents tell you they’re proud of you.

When you live someplace great, you want to share it with friends and family. My mom lives in Montreal and hates flying, so I know she won’t be coming out for a visit anytime soon. But I hoped my dad would make the trip out here one day, and I had plans for a grand tour—to see those roof-dwelling goats in Coombs, stroll the scenic parks in Nanaimo, and make a pilgrimage to that fabulous bakery in Ladysmith; my description of their cinnamon buns had my dad ready to hop on a plane.

But the tour is never going to happen. My dear dad passed away in early April, after a battle with cancer.

My dad once wrote that “grieving is the bandage we keep until the healing is complete.” As I grieve for my dad, I feel extremely fortunate to be living on Vancouver Island. There’s a tranquility here that I’ve never found anywhere else. It’s helping with the healing, and it’s why I’ll continue to write about this beautiful island.

I recently found a photo of my dad sitting in a field of purple wildflowers. I’d never seen it before, and I don’t know where or when the picture was taken. That doesn’t matter. What’s wonderful about the picture is the expression on my dad’s face, one of pure bliss.

I will treasure this photo always, a picture of a man at peace.

Feelin’ Groovy in Coombs

About 45 kilometres northwest of Nanaimo is a small town (pop. 1,600) that has gained a reputation as a must-visit spot for tourists and islanders alike. How did Coombs manage to earn such status? Well, the goats are a big draw, as is the jam-packed country store stocked with everything you need—and a whole bunch of cool stuff you probably don’t. And of course there’s the food, from farm-fresh, healthy fare to tasty treats.

If you cruise into town from the south end, however, your first encounter with Coombs might get you wondering if you’ve just time warped back to the early 1970s. Kumbaya indeed.

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Jingle All the Way!

We’re now in late January, and the Christmas holidays are well behind us. Ornaments, wreaths, and bells have all been packed up and stored away till next season. But out this way, Nanaimo continues to “jingle”; in fact, the city jingles year-round. For as I’ve learned in my local travels, the delightfully named Jingle Pot Road appears here, there, and (it seems) almost everywhere. Drive along the Nanaimo Parkway and you’ll cross Jingle Pot Road not once, but twice. The road loops around. It morphs from other roads. And at one corner of town, it even meets itself.

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