Saturday, June 9, 4 p.m.: I am writing this from our room on the third floor of the Surf Motel, a family-run establishment for more than 50 years on Dallas Road, just up from Beacon Hill Park - less than 100 feet from the raw Pacific.
The sun is out and the wind is brisk, and from my chair on the balcony, I get a front row view of the joggers and dog walkers, the convertibles and horse-drawn carriages, and just down the street as we drove by, a group of 50 or 60 nude cyclists apparently embarking on an annual ride - and with the wind coming off the ocean, I'll bet there's not a soft nipple in the lot.
We are here for the Girl's graduation/convocation on June 11, and three days in what may be the country's most beautiful city, not only for the ocean and the Olympia Mountain Range - which because of the fog at its base, seems to be suspended above the horizon - and the temperate climate, but also for its accessibility: you can hop on a bus outside the Surf and be downtown in two shakes of a whale's tale, or anywhere else, for that matter.
Politicians don't really deserve a place this lovely; they should have put the legislature in Quesnel or Fort St. John.
In the meantime, I'm off to the nearest beer store so that I can toast the ocean and Queen Victoria and my accomplished daughter during the next three days.
I will also raise a glass to Dave Alexander, Maple Ridge's one-time eccentric junk collector who died recently at his home in Mission. While Dave, who generated a lot of ink in this space, may or may not have wished to be interred at the site of Dave's World, I would think it respectfully appropriate for the municipality to place a plaque at the site, to honour Dave's place in local history, his removal from there captured for all the country by CBC TV.
Sunday we walk the cement pier out to Ogden Point near where the big cruise ships dock. These waters were recently featured on YouTube when an octopus came to the surface to devour a seagull blissfully floating along, pondering its own next meal.
After lunch, we walk some local beaches, breathing large draughts of the salubrious ocean air, which must prolong the lives of the seniors who live in the luxurious oceanfront carehomes along Dallas Drive.
If I could afford it, I would love to live here permanently in the Surf, watching the seagulls ride the wind, a wind strong enough to blow the lawn chairs along the length of the balcony, the wind that you can hear in the walls and that produces little white caps on the water in the toilet. So captivating is the seascape that it's hard to keep one's eyes on the big screen TV.
This is the poor man's Wickaninnish Inn. Monday, we put on our Sunday-go-to-meetin' clothes - although the last time I went to a meetin', Diefenbaker was prime minister - and we head off to watch the Girl receive her sheepskin in environmental biology.
All pomp and poignancy at the U, with the cap-and-gown set and the awarding of two posthumous degrees to students who died before they finished their studies, accepted by family members to much applause.
Proud I was, as our girl knelt in front of the chancellor so he could whack her on the head with his goofy hat, making it all official.
Cellphones and digital cameras were brandished by the assembled to capture the moment for friends and rellies. And there's Tim, with his bank manager threatening to foreclose on the house, to cover the student loans. I am accepting donations at The TIMES office to cover costs. Or better yet: give the Girl a job in her field.