About 1975. Paul Sylvest ( a Danish friend – hi Paul, where are you ?) had birthday – about 30 ? and we planned it well. His girlfriend would invite him to a quiet lake, Arrow lake, on the southside of the highway, and actually a part of the Garibaldi Lake, created by the dam on the road to Whistler, thinking it was just ging to be the two of them. Margaret … my secretary at the time, (yes, in those old days one had secretaries, and totally helpless without them), and me was in charge of getting the barbecue steaks. She ordered the finest horsemeat steaks at the butcher at East Hastings, and I picked them up.
I was one of the last to arrive at the campsite. The bonfire was going, the tents were up, the canoes bobbing in the water, and the spirits were flowing freely, singing from several places, is always a good sign. There must have been about 25 of Paul’s friends, a warm nice summer evening at the lake.
Margaret had set up a large grill, and took care of grilling the steaks and potatoes. We told nobody that it was horsemeat, nobody guessed, and from almost everybody we heard complements of the best barbeque steaks ever ! I purchased horsemeat from this butcher once in a while, and it was always good. I could never send any of my own horses to the slaughterhouse, my favorite horse I buried by hand, one easter.
Fun party, many went swimming and paddling around on the lake, some smoking funny stuff, everybody having fun. It was a long weekend, so it would last for a couple of days. Some people drank too much, some could not handle the liquor, some were just stupid, and at least one could not swim.
Sylvia …. started screaming down on the beach. Her husband Bjorn ….., was out there, with a turned over canoe, and could not swim, and not being able to hold onto the canoe. He was splashing and trying to scream. I did not stop to think, pulled off some clothes and swam out. It was not far from shore, but Bjorn was now in panic, a fairly big Swede in panic, not a good case. I tried to grab him gentle and guide him towards shore. He was beyond that.
Kicking and screaming, trying to grab on to something to keep his head over water, pulling everything else, me, down, he was now very difficult to handle. For some reason he had Sylvia’s hat on, a pretty ladies summer hat. It was now floating in the water, and I put it on my head, it was a nice gesture for Sylvia to bring it back to shore, with her husband. We both swallowed a lot of water, but somehow I dragged Bjorn in to the shore, we both vomited, and was laying there exhausted on the beach, one luckier than the other. In the struggle on the way in to the beach, I had lost the hat. She gave me shit for that, while her husband was grasping air.
For many years later, when in parties, and this incident came up, Sylvia always told the same story; she only remembered that I had lost her hat. Not a word about sawing her husband from drowning.
But I felt good about it. ( I have not got hold of you for many years, so Bjorn and Sylvia with a very common Swedish last lame, contact me) Bjorn came to help me in my furniture business for a couple of weeks once when I needed help and he needed money, and stayed for 11 years. It was their dog I was taking care of when I almost drowned myself in the currents one night at Lighthouse Park.