Creating this gallery brought on so many wonderful memories, plus a lot of regrets and tears. My fourteen years in the Okanagan were the best years of my life, for SO many reasons.

After twenty years apart I got to spend great times with my Mum and Dad. Of course, it helped that my mother had beaten the odds with her cancer, surviving until 2007 when she was only given a five percent chance of survival back in 1991. We spent many good times at Shady Rest and in Revelstoke with family, playing bingo and hours of poker, and going to the horse races, which she loved. After my Dad died in my arms in May 2005 caring for my mother who had Alzheimer’s was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done in my life.

So many memories came flooding back of all the great friends I made, from my long-time buddy, Wade, to my first friend in BC, Laura, to my pretend “wifey” Karla, to all the people I played pool with for more than ten years, to the people I taught to roller-blade a lot of Sundays, to those who joined me on our weekly hikes to places like Rose Valley Dam and McDougall Ridge, to the first true love of my life, Tracy, with her awesome kids and her Mum, Judy, to the friends I camped with and to those I went whitewater rafting with, to those I went skiing with at Big White and Silver Star, and to the many, many dance partners I had at The Corral.

Since being forced to leave the Okanagan by my disastrous renovation chaos my life has never been the same, or as good. Yes, life in BC had its fair share of troubles, like losing my father and mother, my relationships with my sister and brother both being destroyed by their stupidity, like my sister pulling my Mum out of the care facility she needed to be in, and which had taken me eight months to get her into, plus dumping my Dad’s ashes in the lake without even telling me, and, my brother? Well, let’s just say that getting a young girl in Thailand pregnant, then asking his then wife if she would look after her, pretty well speaks to his incredible stupidity. Enough said.

The regrets were two-fold; one, the few photos I took don’t come close to all the fun I had over those years. Back then it wasn’t quite as easy to take photos with a smartphone and I wish I had hundreds of photos of all the good times I had. My Dad and I dirt-biked in and around Kelowna, and in Revelstoke, for ten years, yet I hardly have any photos. I went whitewater rafting several times but only have one photo. I danced at the Corral pretty well every single week for the years I was in the valley, and with so many beautiful women, but not a single photo was taken. I took a group hiking many Sundays all over the area, even in the winter months, but only have a handful of photos to remember. I spent more hours than I care to remember boating and had three boats during my years, but, again, only a handful of photos. Considering how I learned to slalom, when Wade and Mike basically threw me overboard and wouldn’t let me back in my own boat, it would be great to have a video to remember that feat (I got pretty good at it). 

The second reget falls under the heading of you can’t go home again. When I was living in the group home back in Belleville and knew my time there was coming to an end, plus they had just put my rent for a room up from $379 a month to $479, which I couldn’t afford, I thought about returning to the Okanagan. Two problems with that idea. First, the cost of living had skyrocketed. An apartment I had rented for a short time after Tracy kicked me out had gone from three-fifty a month to a thousand dollars! At one point I spoke with an official at tourism for the City and after hearing how much my pensions were going to be he said there was no way I could afford to live in Kelowna. He actually told me to find somewhere else!

The other part of the problem was that I realized my life would be vastly different even if I could somehow afford to move back. My Mum and Dad were gone. Their wonderful place on the lake was sold and gone. My “toys” like my dirt-bike, my boats, and my snowmobile were all gone and there was zero chance that I would ever be able to replace them. I didn’t own a thing so even things like my downhill skis, my cross-country skis, my roller-blades, and my bike, all of which had provided many wonderful hours of fun, were no more. About the only good things I could think about going back to the Okanagan was reconnecting with all my amazing friends and being able to go dancing at The Corral, but would things really be the same? Would my old friends accept me as a pauper? Would they understand just how poor I was and still be my friends? I had a lot of questions that I couldn’t answer and that’s why I ended up in Mexico. What a mistake that was!

Here’s the gallery and I hope my friends will circulate the link around to friends that are in the photos if they still know how to contact them. It’s been a whole lot of years since I lived in the valley and I’ve lost contact with most of the friends I had. Karla shares some things with me on Facebook (I still call her “wifey”). Although my best buddy for fourteen years, Wade, does share things on Facebook, he had never once responded to any comments I made. My best lady buddy, Lenny, who I love to death because she was a true friend, hasn’t talked to me in years. I had a falling out with Bianca which was totally my fault so I never hear from her either. Same with my very first friend in BC, Laura. So many other people I miss and I often wonder where they are now. I hope they get some good memories from the photos. I hope they might just remember me and, when all is said and done, I hope that they will miss me a little when I’m gone.