My depressive thoughts while in Panama

As I spiral down into the abyss of depression, questioning my decision to come to Panama and reflecting on all that has gone so terribly wrong over the past year, I think of all the things I miss about my life in Canada.

There are so many things we take for granted living in Canada, things you don’t give a second thought to until they are gone. Everything from a decent steak to going to the movies.

But my life in Canada, particularly the past fifteen years living in the Okanagan, was all about the people in my life and it was filled with so many wonderful memories.

Boating on Okanagan Lake and learning to slalom ski; our “adventure boating”, camping on the far side of the lake across from Summerland with about twenty friends; going out to the middle of the lake late at night, shutting the engine off and just marveling at the night sky; counting all the satellites as they streaked across; making love and sleeping in the raw on a deserted beach.

Hiking in the mountains around Kelowna. I ran a hiking club and we went out somewhere different every Sunday, all year round. To climb to the summit of McDougall Ridge and view the panorama of the valley was truly breath-taking.

Biking the Kettle Valley railroad. I feel so lucky to have biked the old railway trestles before most of them were destroyed in the disastrous fire of 2003. In my mind the KVR was the eighth wonder of the world. It was estimated that, before the fire, as many as 50,000 people enjoyed hiking and biking the KVR.

Skiing at Big White and Silver Star mountains. Before it got too expensive, a day on either hill was exhilarating. After I finally got my shaped skis, long since gone, I managed to get pretty good, tackling many of the blue runs that had previously terrified me. To bask in the sunshine, enjoying lunch at Snowshoe Sam’s, after a morning of zipping down all the runs, was truly a thrill.

Snowmobiling around Kelowna and especially Revelstoke. So many days travelling miles through the Greystokes and Boulder and Frisbee mountains in Revelstoke. Of all the countless days we went sledding, the one of remember most was going up Boulder with my brother-in-law, Ron. We reached the summit early in the day and discovered a whole hillside of fresh powder with no tracks. Whipping around that hill, buried in fresh powder was the thrill of a lifetime. We stopped at the top, peeled off our helmets and suits and sipped our coffee and Bailey’s. It was so clear that we both got sunburned faces.

One of my life passions has always been dancing. When I first started going to the OK Corral, back when I first arrived in BC in 1993, I did little more than hang out at the stand-up bar, watching all the talented dancers, longing to be out there on the dance floor. After taking some lessons from the wonderful Tom and Deb, my confidence level was high enough to hit the floor. Over the many years of dancing I was fortunate enough that I never had to ask a girl to dance. I would barely get off the floor before someone else would ask me to dance. I was never without a partner.

Although I could pretty well dance with anyone, a few partners stand out from the rest. Jackie, who I dated for three years, was a wild one who would try just about anything. We instinctively came up with several of our own unique moves over the years and her favorite was doing spins. It became a challenge to see how many she could handle without losing it. One night we managed thirteen turns in quick succession and were thrilled at the applause we got from people watching us. Jackie moved to Alberta for a time and we lost touch, but when she came back we hit the dance floor and never missed a beat.

Another favorite was Heather, who I also dated briefly. She was light as a feather on her feet and we had that amazing connection where I did not need to lead her as forcefully as many others. She was also about the only girl I ever danced slow with. She had a sensuality about her and our slow dancing was more like making love on the dance floor. We literally tingled with anticipation, as if we were all alone on the dance floor. She disappeared from the Corral suddenly and there were rumors that she had serious health problems. I left a couple of messages for her, but she never returned my calls.

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Despite how horribly it all ended my undisputed favorite was Crystal. I had seen her dance with other guys and desperately wanted to dance with her, but I could not get up the courage to ask her. One fateful night, full of just enough liquor to embolden me, I finally approached her and asked her to dance. It was the beginning of a love affair, on the dance floor at least. We were simply amazing together. There were so many nights that we got admiring looks from people watching us and applause when we did something really well. Crystal was always approached in the washroom by girls asking how long we had been married; how many years we had been dancing together or where we competed. She always professed to be embarrassed by these comments, but I know she actually enjoyed the adulation. Who wouldn’t? Dancing with her was unquestionably the highpoint of my dancing career and I miss dancing with her beyond words.

My Dad

Of all my wonderful experiences of life in the Okanagan, none are more memorable that dirt-biking with my Dad. I could fill a book with all the incredible experiences we shared over the years together. We covered hundreds of miles throughout the Okanagan and in Revelstoke over the years together, every one of them filled with sheer joy. Of all the people we went biking with no one was gutsier than my Dad. I remember all of us sitting on the edge of what looked like a swamp in the mountains above Revelstoke, wondering if we could make it across. As we sat there waiting to see who had the guts or was stupid enough to go, along comes Dad who, without a moment’s hesitation, ripped right across the swamp, bouncing wildly and then going right up the bank on the other side. Talk about intimidating! We had no choice but to follow him or we would never have heard the end of it. Even at close to eighty years old, Dad was unquestionably the gutsiest rider I ever knew.

Another memorable biking experience happened before I move to BC. In hindsight this was beyond insane, but I picked my son Chris up from work in Mississauga on a Thursday and we drove straight though to Revelstoke, arriving late Saturday, despite nearly ending up in jail in Sweetgrass, Montana. Another story.

Dad had arranged to rent bikes for us and we headed off into the mountains first thing Sunday morning. I don’t remember exactly what time of year it was, but I think it was some time in May of 1989.

After we had gone up the trail to the old gold mine and zipped around the mountains and streams, we stopped by the Columbia River for lunch and a beer. It was a typically gorgeous day without a cloud in the sky. As we sipped our frothy beer Chris looked at me and said, “Dad, it doesn’t get any better than this!” He was oh so right. That moment has lived on in my memory ever since, even though the trip ended in disaster when we hit a deer in Jackson, Michigan, nearly totaling my van and killing us. Chris was asleep in the back of the van and the police said if I had instinctively swerved when she jumped in front of me the van would have flipped over on its fiberglass roof and we would both have been killed. We survived only because I braced and hit her straight on, which I compare to hitting a four foot high brick wall at sixty miles an hour. I will never forget that impact moment or the sound.

Now that Dad is gone my all-consuming regret is that I let him down so badly by not having the time to go biking with him anymore after I got involved with Tracy and the kids. I ended up selling my beloved Honda and left Dad going out on his own, something he hated and he eventually ended up selling his bike too. The incredible guilt has never left me. It was a matter of priorities and mine were unquestionably misplaced. I never realized what a terrible mistake I had made until Dad was gone and it was all too late.

There are countless other wonderful memories of life in the Okanagan. Sitting around the fire on the beach at Mum and Dad’s, with Mum playing her accordion and Dad singing songs like April Showers by the late, great Al Jolson. So many amazing times with family and friends, boating and swimming and steaks on the barbie and partying into the night. My friends were always welcome at Mum and Dad’s and my parents were the best party people ever. Oh how I long to relive those days.

My experiences weren’t limited to the Okanagan. There were all those crazy years going to the Merritt Mountain Music Festival, which was always a blast. Sitting in the river, drinks in hand, cooling off with thousands of other people. Being the “beer Gods” by handing out free beer to everyone. Riding the trailer pulled by “Speedy”, Wade’s converted lawn mower with the horns mounted on the front. Hundreds of memories, among my favorites, a very inebriated Wade, after we snuck into the reserved seating area to watch Johnny Cash, saying, over and over, “Hey, that’s Johnny Cash!” It was hilarious.

White water rafting all over BC, from Litton to the Kicking Horse pass. One fantastic week-end, arranged by my buddy, Lenny, when a whole crew of us from the Courtplex went rafting for the week-end. It was the best $99 I ever spent.

All the many hours playing racquetball at the Courtplex and the many friends I met there, first and foremost, my wonderful friend Laura, who was the very first person I met when I got to the Okanagan. I was never in better shape in my entire life, playing about three times a week. I remember, back when there was a bar in the club, how I would play for hours and then as soon as I hit the bar I would light up a smoke. Everyone would wonder how I ever managed that without losing a lung in the process. Not something to be proud of, I know.

Biking and blading in Stanley park in Vancouver. Hiking Lynn Canyon. Watching the amazing fireworks at English Bay. The IMAX theatre. Granville Island. The Science Centre.

Listening and dancing to my favorite band, the Salmon Armenians, with the lovely Sabrina Weeks. I miss all the bands I saw at the Blue Gator downtown, plus all the concerts in City Park. Setting up our lawn chairs on Friday nights and listening to the free concerts put on by Parks Alive.

Two other passions were roller-blading and cross country skiing. After I first learned to blade and got my excellent Rollerblade ones with the automatic brake, one of the last ever manufactured, I would go for miles around Kelowna and Peachland. It was the best exercise ever and free. Working up a sweat blading the Recreation Corridor downtown, then removing my blades and going for swim at City Park was awesome!

Brian Wall introduced me to cross-country skiing, nearly killing me in the process. I was running a very high fever, but I was so looking forward to going that I just couldn’t cancel on him. He ended up taking me on the very challenging Olympic trail for nineteen kilometers my first time out. Despite the exhaustion I fell in love with the sport and enjoyed it for many years. On one of the runs at Telemark in particular, a run that took me over two hours to do the first time, I eventually did it in forty-five minutes, much to the amazement of the folks who ran the place. Between racquetball and cross-country skiing I was in the best shape of my entire life. I remember going out one time with Darlene and Norma, both of whom were in excellent shape. I reached the crest of the first hill, which was quite an arduous climb. I peeled off my coat to enjoy the sunshine and a smoke and waited about half an hour before Darlene and Norma came huffing and puffing up the hill, cursing me for not waiting for them, especially when they saw me smoking.

Another passion was playing pool. I played in the Kelowna 8 ball league for about nine years and then played in the new Breakers league. I regret so much that my team fell apart after I left Canada.

It’s said that people come into your life for a reason. For me, I have never been a “loner”. Every single memory I have is about the people who shared my experiences with me. Without question this is what I miss the most.

Back in my boating days I had bought about thirty baseball hats, all in fluorescent colours, with Bones Crew written on them. The deal was if you crewed on my boat you got a hat. I have one wonderful picture of all my friends wearing their hats at Lenny’s parents place in Blind Bay. Truly special.

As I contemplate the end of my life I have to acknowledge the people who have helped to make a difference by creating all those memories. Hopefully I don’t forget anyone, but you know who you are. In no particular order –

Well, high up on the list has to be the only true love of my life, Tracy. Until I met her I believed I had been in love before, not the least of which was with my wife of twenty-three years, Janice. But Tracy showed me what true love is all about. If you have ever been lucky enough to have experienced that incredible, overwhelming, all-consuming sense of sheer joy and fulfillment, knowing that this person means more to you than your own life, then you know how being in love with Tracy felt.

Tracy

To this day thoughts of not going more than fifteen minutes without kissing; playing “downtown” with the kids; roller-blading, pushing Braydon and Madison in the stroller (We’re all gonna crash!); making sweet love, talking for hours every night; working together renovating her house; Survivor parties, Sunday mornings when the kids would crawl into bed with us to play and all the hours of laughing and sheer joy of life were all the best moments of my life.

Under the “best friends” category there are many people, but top of the list has to be Bianca. She has stood by me through thick and thin over the years. When my Dad died suddenly Bianca jumped on a plane and came to help me. There are no words to describe how she helped me to get through this most difficult time. My family were useless, never lifting a finger to help, not even speaking at my Dad’s service. There were so many things to do and Bianca jumped right in to help in any way she could. Most amazingly she took all my parents’ photos and made a collage of my Dad’s life. I remember the tears of emotion when I first saw what she had done. No one other than Bianca could have captured my Dad’s spirit the way she did.

Throughout the many trials and tribulations of my life here in Panama Bianca has been my rock. She has listened patiently to all my woes, offering her support and encouragement. She jumped in to help me financially when no one else would and she is the reason I am still alive today, be that good or bad. Like a true friend, she has chastised me for my mistakes, giving me the often brutal, but necessary, truth, good or bad. I have suffered unbelievable pangs of loneliness here but Bianca has kept me going in more ways than one. She is a kindred spirit and a truly genuine person.

On my buddy list, of course, at the top of the list has to be Wade. We have shared amazing times over the fifteen years we’ve known each other and he is a part of almost every memory I have. What he did to help me through the total disaster of the reno in Westbank is beyond belief and I can never repay him or thank him enough. The reno turned out to be the biggest mistake of my life, but without his incredible help my life would have been over long ago. He helped to make the best of a very bad situation. When all hell broke loose because my so-called friend, Ric, failed to look after the place as he had promised, paying the bills and taking care of the place, Wade not only jumped in to take care of everything, but he kept it all from me, knowing how the stress would kill me. Despite all the odds against it he managed to put a very creative deal together to sell the place, a deal which saved me from starvation long ago. He put up with a lot of grief from people who wanted a piece of me and he bore the brunt of their anger. None of what happened was his fault in any way, but he came to my rescue when I so desperately needed help.

There are so many other people who helped to shape my life, like Lenny (Linda), who once called me all the way from Turkey just to wish me a happy birthday. I will never forget when she and Dave surprised me when they showed up to do the zip lines with me in Puerto Vallarta.

The lovely Laura, the first person I met in Kelowna. She was working the bar at the Courtplex and we became instant friends. We shared many a laugh over the years, from getting all loopy on New Year’s Eve, to sharing a Valentine’s Day dinner together because neither of us were seeing anyone at the time. We were upstairs at a table by the window at Earl’s when it started gently snowing. As we sipped our wine I said, “oh, this is so romantic. It’s too bad it’s wasted on us.” That brought a tear to her eye and I felt bad. It obviously didn’t come out right.

My “Wifey” Karla

My pretend wife, Karla. I say pretend because we were acting out the part of husband and wife at a murder mystery hosted by Laura and Karla’s sister, Stephanie. Karla had no idea how much I wished we weren’t just pretending. I still remember ripping along the lake with Karla trying to take a sip of her drink. She hollered at me to “slow down to drinking speed”. Many of our friends at the time figured we would end up together, particularly when I saw her through her pregnancy, but it was not to be. My last memory of Karla was going to an Okanagan Sun football game and the tailgate party with her and Les. Good times for sure.

One of the greatest guys I ever met, Mike, alias “Sparky”. Mike was just one of those genuinely nice guys that everybody liked. In all our years together I don’t remember him ever getting angry and losing his cool. He was a genuine friend and so darned likeable.

Brian and Donna

One of my first real buddies in town, Brian Wall. From introducing me to cross-country skiing, hanging out at the Corral, to going sledding in the Greystokes, Brian was always fun to be around. Although we kind of lost touch in the end it was funny when one of his daughters, who was a Realtor, showed my place in Westbank. We knew that we knew each other and finally made the connection. She was all grown up now and as gorgeous as ever. It was a time when I realized just how old I was getting.

One of the best, Greg McCarthy. My two most vivid memories of Greg were adventure boating at Summerland. We had left our camp on the far side of the lake to head down to Penticton. On the trip down Wade and I had all the girls split between us. A wicked storm came up late at night and we didn’t know if we would even make it off the dock, let alone make our way back to the camp. Wade had his 21-foot Summer Thunder boat, and I had what can best be described as a “cork”. All the girls immediately piled into Wade’s boat, of course, leaving me alone. Greg immediately jumped in with me, telling me he would not let me go down alone. It was a wild and scary trip back in the darkness and huge swells and I will never forget Greg volunteering to risk his life with me.

My other memory of Greg was running into him at the Corral. He had moved to Victoria and we hadn’t seen each other for quite a while. I was there with Crystal on our first real arranged date and she didn’t know me that well. Given that Greg is a husky, muscle-bound, tattoo covered guy, it came as quite a shock to Crystal when Greg gave me a big bear hug and kissed me on the cheek. I had to do some fast talking to explain to her that Greg and I were both real men who liked women.

The always corny and comical, well, at least in his drinking days, Don. No one had more one liners or tired jokes than Don. As happens to many people, when he got married and quit drinking he changed a lot, but he was always a fun guy.

Can’t forget Darlene. Besides being the best knee-boarder ever, she was the one who introduced me to Glacier Berry, which I drank for years; our little thing was that I always told her that her happiness was my first concern. When I first met Dar she was living with Norma, the Okanagan’s very own Marilyn Monroe. Norma was every man’s dream – blonde, gorgeous and with a body to die for. Although she was very smart and a wonderful girl, she was the object of much jealousy from all the other girls. Norma was simply one of those girls who was so gorgeous that guys were intimidated to approach her, but she proved to be very approachable once you got to know her. In all the years I knew her she never had a steady boyfriend and I suspect she was actually very lonely. The last time I saw her she had given up being a stewardess, had been married for three years and was working at Household Finance. She was still as lovely as ever.

Who could ever forget Darlene’s eventual husband, Larry. He was the definition of the good-looking, tanned, buff, beach party guy, who, until he married Darlene, many suspected was gay. Until he married Darlene, and they were just friends for many years, Larry never really ever had anyone special. He was always surrounded by gorgeous women, but they were always just friends.

Another favorite person who I met through Darlene was Suzy. The quintessential blonde, Suzy was just one of those people who seemed to genuinely enjoy life. She was a real party girl who was always fun to be around. When she left ICBC I lost track of her. I remember something about her marrying a German soldier boy and I never saw her again.

Part of my life in the Okanagan involved Karen Falloon. Although we lived together for over a year it was admittedly a relationship of convenience for me. Although we enjoyed many things together I never once told her that I loved her, which was a mistake on my part and unfair to her. She got the best of it though because I busted my ass renovating her whole place. What ended it for me was when, jokingly, after I had spent weeks reclaiming a large part of her lot for her, I asked her what half was mine and she freaked on me, telling me it would never be mine and it was her house and on and on. When a friend at a party started telling me how Karen had planned our retirement years together I knew it was time to move on.

While I was with Karen I met the only woman I have truly lusted after, Wendy. She was very flirtatious and suggestive and we had many a moment of playful flirting. She was married and of course I was with Karen, so nothing ever happened. Years later I ran into her at the Corral, with a young hunk on her arm. When I confessed to her how much I had lusted after her earlier and said it was a good thing she was married, she informed me that she wasn’t married anymore and gave me her number. I called and left messages a couple of times, but I guess it was the drink talking at the Corral.

Another good friend over the years was Julia, a friend of Laura’s. I stayed at her place in Vancouver a couple of times and we shared some great times in Merritt. It was her birthday and we made our own dance floor in the middle of the dirt and danced our buns off to the Mavericks, one of my favorite country bands.

Julia was also a part of the only real clandestine, if that is the word, affairs I ever had.

One night at the Corral Wade introduced me to his sister, Tawny. For me it was love at first sight. She was gorgeous, intelligent, funny and, in a way, a challenge. This girl was no pushover, that was obvious. I begged her for hours to dance with me, but she professed not to dance. Finally she gave in and we danced our butts off for hours. As closing time approached Wade asked me if Tawny could crash at my place for the night. Knowing how I felt about her and that she was Wade’s sister, and not to mention she was engaged, all I could smell was danger here, but I agreed. I would be good. Yeah, right.

When we got back to my place I put the music on, poured her a drink and asked her to dance. When she resisted I leaned down and kissed her oh so gently. At first she pulled back, but then, to my considerable surprise, returned the kiss. We slow danced, stroking each other affectionately, not in a sexual way, although I will admit that is where my mind was going rapidly. Knowing, I guess, where this could lead, she said she had better get to bed. I asked, jokingly, “alone” and she said “yes”.

I gave her my bedroom and crashed on the couch, but something told me there was more here, so I knocked on her door and asked if she wanted company. My heart skipped a beat when she whispered “yes”. Without going into details let’s just say we did everything but make love. She was incredible, but also smart enough to realize that she was engaged and if we crossed that line she could never go back.

The next morning over breakfast she surprised me by telling me that the kiss and slow dancing had been the most romantic thing that had ever happened to her. I could not believe that her and Peter had been together for five years and that they had not had more romantic moments. It became more and more obvious that the relationship was more one of convenience and a business partnership. It didn’t sound like there was a lot of love involved.

She returned home and over the next few weeks we talked on the phone for hours. I started sending her romantic poems, which she had to read and delete right away because she said Peter had access to her email account. It was all so juvenile, but exiting and dangerous at the same time.

To my considerable shock, a few weeks later she called off the wedding. She went off to university in the States and we kind of lost touch.

She emailed me to share that she had passed a milestone in her courses. I managed to track down where she was and sent her flowers anonymously to congratulate her. She called immediately, saying she knew they were from me. She told me she had to be in Vancouver in a couple of weeks, so we arranged to meet. This is where Julia came in because that was the ruse as to why I was going down to Vancouver, to spend the week-end with Julia.

One of those cute little things between people is that, whenever I asked Tawny about the marriage thing she would respond with “don’t go there.” Before we went to pick her up at the airport I got a T-shirt with the words, Don’t Go There printed on it. When we picked her up and I gave her the T-shirt she laughed.

Although I had no clue where this was leading I did hope that we would get a chance to talk and rekindle some of the feelings we shared in Kelowna. I had made arrangements for a hotel room, but when we got there she said she was tired and said goodnight. It was all confusing for me and I was glad Julia was there to lean on. Julia suggested that maybe this was all moving too fast for Tawny and she just wanted some breathing room to think things out a bit. I agreed to back-off and Tawny and I spent a wonderful week-end together, blading in Stanley Park and doing Granville Island. There was no real affection or romance though. When I left her at the airport she just said she didn’t know what she was doing or how she really felt and she just needed some time to think. Nothing ever came of it and today we only exchange the occasional email.

The funny part, if there is one, of this whole saga is that it burned a hole in me not telling Wade all this. We never had secrets between us and it killed me not being able to confess everything to him. I was so worried that Tawny might blurt something out to him and then he would be pissed at me that I had not told him about it.

As luck would have it, the night of my Dad’s service, when the weight of all that had to be done was finally lifted off my shoulders, Wade and I were sitting on the beach late that night. I had way too much to drink and finally, in a moment of slobbering weakness, blurted it all out to him. As is so typical of Wade, he said he knew something would happen if Tawny spent the night at my place. I got the feeling that he didn’t much care for Peter and felt that Tawny was making a big mistake marrying him. He saw how much fun Tawny was having with me I, I guess, figured that I might stir something in her to make her question what she was doing. He said that when she called off the wedding he figured I had something to do with her decision. Most importantly, he wasn’t upset with me at all. I breathed a huge sigh of relief.

Countless others, like Sheila, Sid’s ex, who I always had a thing for. Celia, Mike’s ex, who played on my pool team and the only twenty something I ever lusted after. Darla, another great dance partner, who ended up moving to the States to be with her daughter. Brian, alias Aquaman, and his fiery red-headed wife, Linda. Two of my favorite people in the world, Ron and Suzanne. Merle at the Corral. Deb, the receptionist at the Courtplex and the first girl I ever asked out in the Okanagan and also the first one to turn me down. Francine, the little French bombshell, who I spent a night of incredible passion with camping just outside Vernon one week-end. My other Frenchie, Sylvie Sanson, one of the most passionate women I ever met in my life.

John Grant, a good buddy over the years and a great dancer. All the people who I met through the ski club, Kelly, Krista, Teresa, Rob, Cathy, Donna, DJ, and so many more. Darlene Garnier, another great dance partner and a woman I always fantasized over ending up with. She was a very successful lady and as close as I ever got was planting a bunch of bushes for her at her house in Westbank. If I were ever to be a kept man, Darlene would be my choice. Doris Bonn. Carolyn and Craig on my pool team.

Trish Major, another one of those girls you only dream about. Ask Trish about the secret music tape I made for her, the one that nearly ended up with me charged for stalking over. Tom and Norm, the only openly gay guys I ever knew in my life and who threw the best Christmas parties. Jean, another one of my favorite dance partners with whom we invented a little hop step that was uniquely ours. The lovely Waneeta, Greg’s ex, my favorite Budweiser girl. Gloria, the oldest woman I ever had sex with in my life. I knew I was in trouble when she took her teeth out, although this did have some benefits later. My lasting memory of Gloria was the night she told me Wade got all drunked up and told her that I was a womanizer and cruel to women, including Tracy, who, in fact, had asked me to move out, not the other way around. I remember being devastated that someone I thought was my best friend would say these things about me, but I never spoke to him about it.

Good or bad, I also met a lot of people through my various jobs in BC, which is the reason I have almost four thousand contacts in my Outlook program. From busting my ass working on the line at Western Star, unquestionably the worst job I ever had in my life, through computer consulting, part of that with Northern Computer, to Shaw Fiberlink, my all-time favorite job, to selling cell phones with Pacific Cellular and Sunwest Cellular, to travelling the south Okanagan selling tax programs for FBC, to briefly working the Okanagan for Business Thompson Okanagan newspapers and, finally, my fateful renovation in Westbank, I came into contact with hundreds of fellow employees, bosses and clients. Although no one position stands out, Shaw Fiberlink shutting down suddenly, costing me some eighty thousand dollars in lost commissions is certainly memorable for all the wrong reasons.

When you think about it, it is truly amazing all of the people who pass through your life. What I have dealt with here are only those people who made a difference in my life during my fifteen years in the Okanagan. Others, long forgotten, are part of my forty-three years on the planet before I moved to the Okanagan.

No doubt I am but a distant memory in their lives as well, but for the purpose of this record of my life, just some people that come to mind are Zak and Joyce Marshall, truly close friends. Zak and I played in a band for over ten years together. Others in the band were Nolan Yearwood, who was the Commissioner of Finance for the City of Toronto, and Alan McQuillan, the forever child of the sixties in our band. I wonder where they all are now?

My very first band was at the tender age of only fifteen. We were the Tempests and included Dave Kirk, Don Thurston, and Chris Hayes. Surprised I even remember that far back.

Tons of friends made from high school in Streetsville and from my years in Brampton. Ontario. Roxanne Rollings, my first sweetie. Doug Church. Brian and Lynn Jamieson. Glen and Dale Ellis. Gary Ellis, who my ex ended up marrying. Greg Smith, my Realtor. Jim Webb, who I was in business with for a time at GlassVision Solariums. Gerry Waterhouse, my one time boss and eventual business partner. Jim and Trudy Fox. Bill and Gerri Peters. Steve and Rosemary Vass. I worked with Steve at the TD Bank. Bobbi and Dave Rogers. Keith and Rhonda Graham, my next door neighbors at our only new home. Too many names to ever remember.

The people I miss the most of course are my kids and grandkids. Forever the loves of my life, no regret of my life is larger than losing contact with them and their five kids. Had I known when they encouraged me to move to the Okanagan to find happiness that it would mean losing all of them in the process, my life would have taken a completely different course, one that certainly would have been better than where I find myself today. Leaving this earthly world without ever connecting with them again is my regret for all eternity.