My Dispatch from Winnipeg (“Winnipeg Tans”) was taken to task on gender equity grounds by two avid readers (both men!) for lack of interesting men. It seems, says one, that the only people I meet are attractive women. This Dispatch will remedy that.
Traveling from Winnipeg across northwestern Ontario, we stopped at Thunder Bay, formerly known as the twin cities of Port Arthur and Fort William. In fact, one person I spoke with still said she was from Port Arthur (old habits die hard – it’s only been Thunder Bay since 1970), but she was a woman so we must move on.
One does not normally associate Australian men with basketball, but there was Jack, all 6’9″ of him, now in Thunder Bay on a basketball scholarship at the local university. Melbourne, it turns out, has a special school for prospective basketball players, and he was recruited to Thunder Bay from there. All smiles, and friendly as all Aussies seem to be, he has two more years to go before deciding where he wants to end up. Probably not Thunder Bay. By the way, Jack is not standing on a stool, and Carol is not kneeling.
Sometimes, you just end up parked at an RV site next to really neat people. Glenn Convey was one of those people. Originally from Thunder Bay, he had a career in IT, ultimately as head of western Canada operations for Cisco. He retired at age 40, bought a 50’ sailboat, and he, wife Linda, and two kids now grown but then aged 5 and 9, sailed the world’s oceans for 6 years. Recently living on Vancouver Island, they are now building a new home on a lakeside lot on one of the many picturesque lakes in northwestern Ontario. He is returning to the vicinity of his youth because “the summers are wonderful here, Vancouver Island was cold and gloomy and rainy.” “Hey,” I told him, “I’m from Portland and I can relate!” They will winter in Mexico or Arizona or wherever they end up wanting to go, hence the reason for an RV. The boat purchase was an interesting life lesson. Glenn went to buy a boat from a company, already knowing what he wanted. All the salesperson needed to do was say “sign here.” Instead, because he looked young (40 is young!), she talked down to him and treated him “like a Mercedes dealer who says ‘what makes you think you deserve to drive one of our vehicles.'” He was so upset, he walked out and bought a sailboat from another company instead. The salesperson not only lost the sale, but her job. The moral: treat everyone with respect. Linda home-schooled (ship-schooled?) their children. Indeed, the most expensive part of their 6 years on a sailboat was the cost of sending reports and exams back and forth to the mainland. We discussed politics, mid-life crisis sports cars, business, life in general, and each of us were affirming each other’s comments, and finishing each other’s sentences. I’m not sure, but I think he might be my brother.
This statue commemorates a true Canadian hero, Terry Fox. He set out to run across Canada in 1980 to raise money for cancer research. He ran almost a marathon a day in order to make it across Canada in a year. His goal was to raise $1 for each Canadian – $24,000,000 at the time. Oh, and he was a cancer survivor himself who had already lost a leg to cancer, so he did all of this on one leg. He started in Newfoundland, and made it Thunder Bay before the cancer returned and spread to his lungs. The run ended, and he died nine months later, but his legacy has continued, with a Terry Fox Memorial Run taking place annually in his honor to raise more money for cancer research. How much? $650 Million and counting. This statue is just outside Thunder Bay, close to the spot where he fell and could not continue. Tear-filled, we continued to our next destination, Wawa, Ontario.
I am not kidding, the town is called Wawa. And this goose is honestly and truly the pride of Wawa. It commemorates the completion of the Trans-Canada highway in 1960. Why a goose? God only knows. All I know is that it was not a true rendition of a goose because there was no green poop behind the statue. (This was brought to you as a public service for the benefit of my grandchildren who go into gales of laughter at any reference to animal butts or poop).