What do residents of a remote island do for fun? That question inspired this short story...
An Old Man on a Small Island
Once when I was new to this flyspeck in the Pacific Ocean I went down to the bakery. I wanted to meet some locals. So I grabbed a coffee and a muffin and headed to a table of self-described old geezers. They were talking when I joined them but wanted to know what I was about.
"I'm into history." History, I said because I didn't want to get into the whole mess about how I was an author out harvesting stories. "That's how I get the flavour of a place." I asked them what they'd done on the island for fun when they were young.
Well, it turned out that most were from elsewhere--Vancouver, Toronto, the prairies. And too quickly the conversation flowed into gardening, sports, politics--no story there. I was getting ready to leave when one of them--he was balding with a wiry, grey beard that stuck out from his chin--piped up. Everyone shut up, immediately.
"I used to take my bike and head down to the ferry terminal." He had a thin, gravely voice. "I pedaled like mad--faster than the ticket agent could run. The ramp was on its way up. My goal was to land on the deck and win a free ride to Vancouver. But I always ended up swimming to shore, carrying my bike--and, let me tell you, that's no mean feat. That's what I did on this island for fun when I was young."photo by ldyck
Friends asked me to confess, "Who was that old man?"
And I hope I didn't disappoint when I replied, "He lives only in my imagination."
It's Literary Award Season...
Sunday, September 25 on this blog...
...opened this Westerner's eyes.