Way back in August, I took a trip to Kamloops, British Columbia, to visit Pat and Mike. I used to work with Mike at the Graduate Center years ago. Pat invited me to come and visit them, so I took them up on their offer. I flew from JFK to Calgary, getting stranded there because of storms in the Greater New York area. So I arrived in Kamloops the next day, and Pat met me at the small airport. I was there for nearly a week.
I stayed in a room that’s for people who know people in the complex way up on a hill above the downtown, and I house-sat for Pat and Mike’s friend Joanne. Her house in the complex was very nice.
What I loved was the faux running stream outside; it ran on the other side of her patio wall. Though you couldn’t see it unless you peered over the wall, you could hear it. The first evening I was there Joanne had a little get-together for the four of us. Joanne used to be a librarian. Pat was a medical librarian; Mike, like me, is an academic librarian.
Mike was usually busy at work, so I hung out with Pat. Mike works at the Thompson Rivers University, which Pat took me to the first day I was there.
It is an up and coming university, and the campus is beautiful. Pat showed me an auditorium based on a First Nations communal house. Though the acoustics isn’t too good, the interior was beautiful. And the door was absolutely gorgeous.
We went walking along the trails above Kamloops. This is what the interior of British Columbia is like: much more arid than the coast. Pat told me that the area was usually much more brown and yellow at this time of year, but they had more rain than usual. Matter of fact, Pat arrived at my room the first morning with a coffee. She was soaked as it poured around her. “This is not a typical day in Kamloops,” she explained.
We also went walking along the Thompson River–North or South I couldn’t tell you. Pat explained that the river is known to have a
very swift current. It is a very cold river as well. People drown in the river every year, fooled by the docile look of the river.
One day Pat took me to a nearby provincial park. This area is what people–at least people I know–think of when British Columbia is mentioned: green, green, green, with water. It was very different from the arid area not too far away by car.
Kamloops held its fourth annual Pride Parade. Pat, Mike and I attended. The parade was about fifteen minutes long; we stood three times that waiting for it to start. I have never been a fan of parades, but this one was nice and short. However, there were very many people marching in the parade, and there was a nice crowd looking on from the sidewalks. Afterwards, there were vendors in the street and in one of the parks.
I enjoyed myself in Kamloops. I ended up as an unofficial judge–and celebrity–at a drag show that we attended the night before the parade. The MC asked who was from out of town. Pat just had to point me out. I came the furthest than anyone, and the MC would occasionally ask my opinion on this performance or that one. It was all in good fun, but I am not used to being a focus of attention.
Pat and Mike have a three-legged cat, Sid Vicious. Sid could be vicious if he was played with too long. Pat blamed it on Sid’s not being socialized as a kitten. (Sid was a rescue cat.) You needed to know when to break off the play before things got nasty. I was good at this. For three legs, Sid could move around quite well. Sid was certainly the king of his domain. He had a penned-in area open to the weather, and grass growing on the balcony for him to snack upon.
Pat, Mike and I took a walk in one of the downtown parks where they have music in the summer. There was another path in the city along one of the rivers. The path was also a place to display art.
Before I knew it, it was time for me to go back to New York. I had a fun time with Pat and Mike. Actually, I was sad to go. Still, the old saying about fish and guests smelling after three days is something to keep in mind when visiting friends and family. Pat and Mike saw me to the airport and we said our good-byes.