Sunday, August 23, 2009

SaltSpring Island 17th Annual AA Rally - Saturday

Tenting is a truly remarkable experience of learning again what one so easily takes for granted. Friday night was chilly. The ground was hard. I woke being elbowed and kicked by Laura who had learned that there were showers which opened at 6 am. "If I'm first there I'm sure to get one. But there's only 4 showers and there's 400 or more people. And the sign said they closed the showers at 11 am. " The next thing I remember is wakening again to, "There was no hot water. There wasn't any light. Men kept trying to get in the door because they didn't know I was in there. It was freezing. I couldn't find my clothes in the dark. The soaps still in my hair."
She was agitated to say the least and it didn't look like I was going to get any more sleep. So I crawled out of my sleeping bag and had one of God's luxuries. A Starbuck's can of Double Shot Expresso. It was a grey morning. My back and joints ached. The expresso helped. I left Laura thrashing about in the tent.
Walking up to the men's washroom improved things somewhat. Motion does that. The dogs were out. They're happy creatures in the morning and delighted to see another human afoot. When I got to the washroom I peed. It's a God given joy. My bathroom is steps from my bed at home so taking a long walk across a camp ground before having a pee makes it that much more enjoyable. I shaved after that. Looking in the mirror before and after didn't improve things all that much but I knew that if I didn't shave it would only get worse.
Then I showered. No line up. The women and men who'd thought like Laura had come and gone. There were also showers in the camp ground and some people are just downright dirty or preferred to remain so rather than take a cold shower. It was a bracing experience to say the least. But I was clean and that felt a whole lot better. I was awake too, maybe not as awake or excited as Laura had sounded but definitely awake. The coffee was brewed and ready in the hall so I got another cup and headed back to the tent.
Kiwanis makes a great breakfast for the Rally. By now Andrew and Brian were out and about. Brian likes morning and wakes happy. Bill, despite his mattress or because of it, wasn't early out of the tent and when he did get going it was in slow motion. I saw the other Brian passing with a towel and there was Rafael looking uncharacteristically dishevelled. Kate passed bleary eyed and character after character I'd seen in some other dimension appeared in morning mode. The pancakes and sausages were great. Now here we were clean, shaved and fed and ready for the morning meetings which were terrific too.
After Laura and I headed into town for the Farmer's and Artists Market. It's one of the events Salt Spring is known for, people from all over coming to buy the fresh produce, lamb skins, pottery, paintings, exotic art and colourful clothing. We counted ourselves lucky getting away with only a purchase of beautiful unique but inexpensive jewelry. After that we were headed off to Sabine's Fine Used Bookstore. Now there's an institution. I've been to Salt Spring dozens of times and love it best when I bring my boat so I can fill up on books. The motorcycle limits what we could haul but we still got a half dozen treasures . I founds Miles Smeaton, the great sailor's, book" Moose Magic" about Beryl and his animal farm in Alberta.
Lunch at Aunt Pestas Cafe sitting on the deck overlooking the boats was a truly relaxing fine dining experience.
Back at the Rally they had the Lamb Roast dinner. They made vegetarian chili and had smoked salmon along with salads but for me and many others the experience was the delicious lamb that had slow roasted on the spit all afternoon. Another bit of heaven on earthy especially when followed by blue berry pie and ice cream.
After that here were more speakers and then our tent area because a place of great fellowship. Bob is an amazing guitarist with an inexhaustible repetoire of songs we all could sing to. I'd had Brian bring one of my drums which turned out to be a god shot. It happened that Andrew played drums with Jeff Healy. I told him later "you made that one drum sound like it had a whole drum set hidden inside it." Well Kate, Laura, Nadine and and Cathy harmonized Bob sang and played guitar with Andrew making the drum sing. I had the Washburn filling any empty unused space in that wall of sound we created. Johny Cash joined us later. Then it was the Beatles, Eagles, Crosby Stills Nash, Bruce Coburn, Dylan, Lightfood, Stan Rogers, Lead Zeppelin and Yes all making incredible appearances.
Little Brother was the band that played after the speaker. The dance floor filled to them. What a great group. Laura and I sweated up a storm surrounded by young people who seemed to do this thing effortlessly. After a while we went back to join Bob and Bill singing with Andrew drumming out by the tents. Story telling and music continued into the night with the Milky Way running overhead across the crystal clear sky.
Laura climbed into the tent and sleeping bag first and I followed sometime later. Sleep was incredible. The night warm and the ground a whole lot softer.

1 comment:

michael ross said...

Hi William. My name is Michael Ross. I am the lead singer for Little Brother, the band that played Saturday night at the Salt Spring rally. I may be mistaken but I think maybe you are the same fellow that we were talking to on the ferry on the way over to play the gig. If so I remember you taking a bunch of pictures both on the ferry and at the show. I would love to see them. We are working on a web page of our own and those photos would be a great start to our web page. My email adress is Thanks!! and If I have the wrong person, I'm glad you had fun dancing to our music and hope to see you there again next year. Best wishes

Little Brother