I am not a political person. I really don’t know anything about politics. Pretty much the last Prime Minister I remember is Sir John A. McDonald and the only reason I know him is because I got the question “Who was the first Prime Minister of Canada?” wrong on a grade four social studies test. My teacher, Mrs. Holden, made me write the answer on the blackboard fifty times so I wouldn’t forget.
This past Christmas, I went to visit some friends in the lovely town of Sooke on Vancouver Island. I discovered a problem that unleashed my inner Norma Rae and I felt compelled to write a letter to the Mayor of Sooke and the local Sooke News. The last time I wrote a letter of protest about anything was when my box of Frosted Flakes failed to contain the super secret decoder ring and magnifying glass as promised. The CEO of Kellogg’s commented in his reply that he had never before received a letter so full of profanity and obscene suggestions. He thought my writing skills were very advanced for an 8 year old.
The fact that it has been 30+ years since my last protest letter should give you an idea of how strongly I feel about this issue.
Below please find a copy of my letter:
Dear Mayor Evans,
I am a visitor to your lovely community and I must admit, I am in awe at how beautiful it is here. The water, the trees, the wildlife, the friendly people – honestly, it is a hidden gem in this large world. I did, however, find one flaw. I am hoping that you can assist me to ensure that, upon a return visit, this flaw is rectified.
The discovery of this flaw came to light when I was attending a beautiful Christmas celebration in Sooke and to my horror I realized that we had run out of beer. Being a patriotic Canadian, I know that any good party would be ruined without a full fridge of Kokanee. As a guest, I offered to do a “beer run” and bring a nice stock of beer back for the gathering. I put on my boots and walked up to Sooke Road to go a few metres down the way to the Sooke River Hotel and the Castle Beer and Wine Store (a lovely establishment with a nice assortment of goods I must say).
I looked for the sidewalk and realized that there wasn’t one. I started to walk along the side of the highway but, given that my personal consumption was reason that there was no longer any beer in the fridge, I was scared that I would weave into traffic along the narrow shoulder. I was also worried that the on-coming traffic would weave into me.
I’m sure as a good Canadian gal, you must be able to imagine my frustration – standing on the highway, seeing the glow of the Castle Beer and Wine Store sign but being too terrified to get there. Fortunately, I ran into a local passerby who suggested I take an alternate route that didn’t entail the military bravery needed to run the gauntlet on the highway. I walked back to Bell Vista Road and proceeded to walk up Shortcut Hill.
I arrived at the top of Shortcut Hill and met six other parched fellows all staring down at their goal of Kokanee deliciousness that could only be found at the Castle below. Albert was the first brave soul to try the decent by taking the rope ladder, but his walker got tangled and he got stuck half way down the hill. Gretchen went next, but her wheelchair flag became tangled on Albert’s walker and she also found herself trapped halfway. I volunteered to go third as it was felt that I might have the best chance of success given that I once got a bronze ParticipAction badge. I assured my new friends that I would bring back enough beer for all. I began the descent. With a level of bumping and flailing that could only be seen at a grade 8 school dance, I arrived at the bottom of the hill to the loud cheers of my comrades. I made my purchases, detangled Albert and Gretchen and arrived back up at the top of the hill.
I am sure from my story you can understand the points I am making. First, it is important to buy more beer than you think you need for a party. Second, Sooke is in desperate need of sidewalks. The elderly, the kids and the beer deprived guests need a safe place to walk. Without it, Sooke will be a nice place to visit but guests will not want to live there.