Dispatches

Gulf Island Sojourn

Saeko Usukawa

8 am bus to Horseshoe Bay. 9 am ferry to Nanaimo ($15.80). 10:45 bus down island ($3.90). Arrive 11:40 am, noon ferry from Chemainus ($2.50) to Thetis Island. Arrive: 1:15. Five hours, about the same as a flight to Toronto.

We have: camera, film, rusks, li­brary books, dolphin-free tuna, coffee, black-eyed peas in curry sauce, chili beans with tofu, tofu wieners, garlic, white wine, romano cheese, Italian bread, Tetley tea, orange spice tea, soy "bacon bits."

Overheard on ferry: "I like mashed potatoes made with heavy whipped cream." Older German tourist: "I'm going to catch a twenty-one foot salmon." And: "Campbell River, best fishing in the world. They do every­thing for you. All you have to do is bring yourself and decide what you're going to drink."

Captain Bill meets us at the Thetis ferry dock, 1:15 pm. We arrive Law­rence Spring Farm 1:30. Ann tells us what to feed whom when and where, hands us detailed chore list for more complete info. Bill demonstrates elec­trics, propane heater and clutch in truck. We hand over city apartment keys, tell them they can ignore the fax, the portaphone, the answering ma­chine.

Ann breastfeeds Sheila as Bill fetches Stephanie from school. Then Peggy burps Sheila as Ann packs and Bill carries.

2:45: Bill, Ann, Stephanie, Sheila depart for 3:00 pm ferry. Saeko falls asleep reading the chore list (three pages); Peggy falls asleep reading li­brary book, wakes in time to fetch Josie at the ferry. At 4:30 Peggy feeds the chickens, collects eggs (2); Saeko feeds five dogs, two cats. Peggy and Josie put the rabbits in the hutch. At 5:15 Peggy's dad arrives to take us to dinner.

Lasagna, Caesar salad, red wine, home-grown apples and pears, home-baked brownies. We go through the family photo album. 9:00 pm, arrive home: put dogs and chickens and selves to bed.

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Saeko Usukawa

Saeko Usukawa (1949 - 2009)was born in an internment camp in Lemon Creek, B.C. She worked as an editor in Toronto until she moved to Vancouver in the 1970s. She is the co-author of two pieces published in Geist: "Gulf Island Sojourn" (No. 8) and "Okay, So If the Seventies, Then What? An Evening Wiothout Television" (No. 14).  


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