Sunday, 22 June 2014

Go West Young Man

Mike moved from Ontario to BC in 1985. He and a friend hopped on a bus and made the journey as far west as it went. It was for the adventure mostly, but Mike always said he had to come to BC to meet the girl of his dreams…he said he followed his heart half way across the country to find me.

Mike’s friend stayed for about two weeks and when his money ran out, he returned home. But Mike doesn’t give up that easily - Mike stayed and signed up for the army. While he waited for the summer session to start, he found a cozy spot in a lovely bush on Royal Avenue in New Westminster. We would drive by when our children were little and Mike would say, “Look kids, that’s where I lived when I first moved to BC.” And they would point and say, “In that big building right there?” and he would point and say, “No, in that bush over there.”

Mike had been in the reserves in Ontario and decided to sign up when he got to BC. He joined the Royal Westminster Regiment and that’s where he met fellow ‘Westie’: Bob. Funny thing, our son Nathan become a Westie too and funnier thing, Nathan had the same commanding officer Mike had twenty-five years earlier.

Anyway, Bob became Mike’s first BC buddy and when their time in the reserves came to an end, Bob invited Mike to move to his home town; Maple Ridge. This is where Mike eventually met his true love - ME! 

Mike and Bob first lived in an old run down house in town on Macintosh St. with a few other guys. They each kicked in $80 a month to cover the rent. From there they moved to the “Shack” — five guys and a cat named ‘Mow’ (rhymes with 'how'). Poor Mow could have done better on his own. We were always surprised that cat kept coming back. Those guys never fed Mow, so he was a great little hunter and always appreciated when one of the female visitors would bring treats or a can of cat food. Rent at the Shack was eighty bucks (each) as well. The Shack is where Mike and I first met. After the Shack was torn down, Mike and Bob moved to a small apartment over a corner store in Port Coquitlam. It was just the two of them…no cat and I’m sure rent was more than eighty dollars. 

Mike and Bob were good friends for a long time but eventually lost contact. To Mike’s surprise, he received a Facebook message from Bob the other day. Bob said he was so sad to hear through a mutual friend that Mike wasn’t well. And said he would love to get together some time.

Mike’s reply:

Hey Bob, 
Its good to hear from you. I hope you have been enjoying a good life. I knew you had gotten married and worked with boats but it's been a long time, so perhaps things have changed. You will have to fill me in with the details. As you have heard I am not doing so well. I have ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease)…I've had it for the past four years. They give you three to five years to live, so you can do the math. I am okay with my situation - I have had so many good memories including the ones I have with you. Everyone has to go sometime...the trick is to make sure you pack as many good memories in as possible and I think I have done that. Also, I have a strong faith in God and look forward to going to Heaven. Anyway, let me know how you have been doing. Mike

John 14:2-4 - My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Mike and Bob leaving Nanaimo, BC after completing summer session in the army, 1985

With Mike on your team, you could stand around and watch.                                                                Mike in the reserves in Barrie, Ontario, 1982

Mike: a lean, mean fighting machine! 1985

Nathan as a Westie, front and centre and a little tired after a weekend assignment below

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