The Cannery Kid: Sunday, a Chance to Explore.

Working at the cannery was not a Monday to Friday kind of job It was more 24/7. However on Sunday my dad did his best to come up with an adventure while Mum was in the city picking up groceries and visiting .

The adventures were many and there was never enough Sundays in the summer. One year my cousins Gail, Wendy, Allan and little Russell were up at the cannery. Dad decide to take us all across the Skeena to where Old Ben lived. I had heard of Old Ben, he was a hermit trapper that lived on Smith island and loved cats. (There was a theory that the cannery cats were descendants of Ben's cats). When my dad was younger he would watch from the NP side for the smoke to rise from the chimney each morning when Ben made coffee, that was the signal that Ben was fine. One morning there was no smoke, so dad went over and brought the body back to town.

On Sunday the 8 of us headed over to Old Ben's, once on shore we decided that it would be best to look through the window before going in the old cabin that mother nature had done a good job reclaiming, after all what if there was a Mrs. Old Ben and she didn't drink coffee! So Wendy and Gail gave me a leg up and I looked through the window. Laid out before me on the floor of the cabin were forms of cats. Dead cats that now had moss growing on them. My poor eyes would never un-see dead green cats.

The Skeena had a many canneries along it and my favourite was Inverness. There was something about Inverness that I loved. Dad would take us out there on Sunday and we would stroll along the boardwalk.

It was no longer in use but I could feel and sense the families that had once lived there. The office still had its furniture and the houses were left as if the people were coming back. The sun seem to dance off the houses making them sparkle.

One night in 1973 my dad got a call that Inverness was on fire, he raced out there but there was no use, it went up pretty quick.

It was not long until we knew who had caused the fire and every time I saw that boy from the village of Port Edward I wanted to punch him. How could he walk down that boardwalk with those pretty houses and the wonderful company buildings and then burn it down?!

There was never enough Sunday trips to Osland. The Icelandic settlement on Smith Island that had been started by my family and other Icelandic families in the early 1900s. We would leave NP when the tide was high with our picnic. With my dad at the helm of the Casey Point he would give us kids driving instructions. You were never too young to learn how to drive a boat.

Osland was made up of old houses and a boardwalk. We were allowed to explore inside the abandon houses and find treasures. The rules were that the treasures had to remain hidden under the boardwalk until the next visit. If I could remember the hiding spot on the next Sunday we ventured out then I got to keep the treasure.


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