When I moved to Prince George for my very first job as a teacher of the deaf, I was a fresh-faced 24 year old, crazy with excitement about what the North might have to offer. It was a very interesting five years, and I can honestly say that town taught me how to drink.
At the same time a woman named Marilyn arrived for her very first teaching gig as well. Naturally we became fast friends and I’ve kept in touch with her ever since.
Last week she was on her way through Kelowna to Cranbrook, so she spent the night here. I asked her if she still remembered the night I made spaghetti with green sauce and she replied she’d never forget it.
It was some disgusting pesto sauce, made with basil, pine nuts, garlic and olive oil. I think, as that was 36 years ago and I’ve never made it again. For accompaniment I made Margaritas, and we began the evening with a whole can of snails.
Escargot was all the rage at that time, thanks to the Keg, so I bought a can and stuck them into individual shells along with a pile of garlic butter. I felt a bit sick doing it as some of their antennas and underbellies were hideous and repellent. I closed my eyes at times.
Anyway, I made the 36 escargots and after we’d each eaten 18 we went on to the spaghetti and basil sauce. All of this was washed down with endless Margaritas.
The next bit is fuzzy, but I recall a young twentyish male neighbour from upstairs, who we’d somehow coaxed into our lair, saying we should all head downtown to a club. I thought this was a marvelous idea so off we went.
That was a Friday, and I was so sick that I was hungover for two days. Finally by Monday morning I was able to get up and dress and head out to teach an adorable group of kids.
I’d forgotten that Marilyn only endured it for two years and then she had to get out of Prince George. I made it a whole five years there, so I feel quite hardy. In those days, the winter temperatures were routinely minus 35 degrees with a lot of snow.
And tomorrow Lori and Beverly, two more teachers of the deaf formerly from Prince George, will be arriving for a weekend visit. We’ve all known each other for 36 years and have kept in touch. I think it’s likely due to the bonding one has to do in such a harsh environment.
I still laugh whenever I think of the identical pair of cowboy boots Beverly and I bought at the Woolco. They were completely treadless, hence a stupid purchase for the frozen north.
One night after we’d drunk ourselves into a stupor someplace, we were walking along the sidewalk to my apartment, and I was wearing the boots. I started slipping on some ice and grabbed Bev. I pulled her down and she fell, yet somehow I remained upright. I still remember how mad she was at me for that.