When Susan married Guido he already lived in Powell River and had gone back to Italy to find a wife. Guido had several members of his family in Powell River where there was good employment at the paper mill. At one time it was one of the largest employers in BC. They were married on the 12th of November 1961 and the newlyweds arrived in Powell River on Boxing Day. Coming from Tuscany and knowing nothing of Canada Susan says it was quite a shock. But that is a story for another time.

Anastasia was the wife of Guido’s brother, Joe, and they lived close to Guido’s house in Wildwood, a suburb of Powell River. It was Ana who took Susan, frightened and bewildered, under her wing and helped her adapt to her new country and home. Ever since Ana has had a special place in Susan’s heart.

Looking towards Howe Sound from Horseshoe Bay.

Those were times long ago and we are all older now. Much older! Ana’s eightieth was this past February and her family was having a party for her, to which we were invited.

So 26 February we were at Horseshoe Bay to catch the ferry on our way to Powell River. I have always enjoyed the trip up the coast. Two ferry rides and a very enjoyable drive through small towns and forests with incredible scenery along the way. What’s not to enjoy? Especially if you take your time, stop for lunch, it can be a wonderful trip. (I obviously don’t get out of the city enough!)

I know people who say they don’t like the ferry but I always have. The scenery is wonderful, the air is always so clean and fresh, and, if you have your camera with you, there are so many pictures to take!

In Gibsons we stopped for lunch at the famous “Molly’s Reach”

Good food but pretty basic!

We had the time before the next ferry so we wandered around in Gibsons which I had never done before. The day was grey but pleasant enough.

It was evening by the time we got to Ana’s. We sat up and had a visit and Susan and I went out and got some “take out” Chinese food. By the time we had finished that we were pretty tired so we turned in for the night.

In the morning we went for a walk in the park across from Susan’s old house and walked back past the Church where Ana’s kids were putting up decorations for the party later in the day.

Susan standing in front of Ana’s house.

And here she is standing in front of her old house where she and Guido first lived when she first arrived in Powell River.

The park across from Susan and Guido’s house is large and has wonderful trails through he trees. We started walking and got quite lost. Not serious lost though as the trails are well developed.

Ana’s Party was being held in the basement hall of St.Gerard’s Catholic Church not far from Ana’s home. We walked past it on our morning walk when all was quiet.

When we walked past the Church on our morning walk they were busy decorating the basement for the party later that afternoon. It looked so nice I took these pictures before everyone began to arrive and mess it up.

I think every culture has family parties. At least every culture I have come across. There is something special about people who are related sitting down together, eating together, talking and laughing together. There is a richness to it, a cohesiveness that is at once comforting and joyous. And even though I am not born to this family, or indeed any family that has invited me to their private festivities, I enjoy being there. It satisfies something in the soul to be part of these ancient rituals.

The food was great and there was lots of it along with some really good red (home made) wine.

And of course there were games and speeches.

After the party, in the morning, we took the ferry from Powell River across to Comox (a first for me). We were on our way to Victoria to Visit Sam who is going to University there. The drive down the Island Highway is delightful. We stopped at second hand stores along the way, bought a great camera, and took a side track to Cathedral Grove.

On the ferry to Comox

It was a cold wet day to be on the water!

Cathedral Grove on Vancouver Island

We stayed over night in Victoria and went out to dinner with Sam. Not the best restaurant, as it turned out, but we had a great time never the less. In the morning we got the ferry back to Tsawassen and home. A great trip all around!

Out for Dinner with Sam.

Susan in Bastion Square, Victoria