Aulde Lang Syne

By Lloyd Erickson

It was January 1, year 2000 AD. My computer hadn’t crashed. The world hadn’t crashed. It was time for a significant New Year’s resolution to start the new millennium. Well, for the next decade. Well, realistically for the coming year. I had decided to reconnect with a friend I had lost touch with decades before. I will call this friend, Paul.

The last time I had seen Paul was in High School. I don’t remember exactly the date. Paul moved away to pursue his career. I stayed to pursue a higher education, and to pursue the pretty skirts. Paul and I had become friends at Elementary School; we had a few classes together, we lived quite close, but most of all we went fishing together. We had tremendous adventures together, fishing, walking about a mile along the railroad tracks to a small creek into which we cast worms on hooks and lead shot. And usually we didn’t catch anything. We also attended Scouts together, and went on various hikes, and campouts, and Jamborees. Paul’s father was a great supporter and I recall his help on bottle drives. Paul had the biggest comic book collection of anyone I knew and was thus the source of much of my early reading. My mother was worried that this would be a bad influence on me. If she only knew how much those old comic books would be worth now! I clearly remember a trip we made when we were in high school, at Easter, to Long Beach near Tofino. It rained the whole time. We stayed in a government campground, and couldn’t get a fire going because there was no firewood anywhere. Previous campers had scrounged it all. We had a cold night in a cold tent. And we had a cold day standing on a windy beach watching the rollers crash in. On the way home, as we crossed the hump, it was only a rough logging road back in those days, we hit a jagged rock hidden in a berm of snow. We plugged the hole with a band aid and a woodscrew. We had a wonderful time.

The last news I had had about Paul was at our twentieth anniversary reunion from high school. Apparently, Paul was working in England. So I started looking there, using the Internet. From the telephone directory for the British Isles I learned there were 7 persons there with the same name as Paul. The directory also supplied the mailing addresses for them. I composed a very chatty letter and addressed it to all 7 persons inquiring whether they were Paul from Victoria, BC. Then I checked the provincial telephone directories for all of Canada. There was one match from Ontario, and 2 from British Columbia. I managed to contact 2 of these by telephone almost immediately. No luck. So I mailed the letters to England. A couple of days later I called the last telephone number, at a place called Roberts Creek, just a little bit south of Sechelt.

Hello, can I speak to Paul, please?” There was hesitation on the other end of the line. “Yes, this is Paul speaking.” I recognized his voice immediately! I introduced myself, and the rest of the conversation was exactly what you would expect from two old friends who hadn’t seen each other for more than 33 years!

It was a lot of fun finding out what Paul had done, where he had gone, and kind of a life he had. We continued to share many of the same hobbies and interests, and comforts like a woodstove in the basement.

Of course the outstanding moment was to actually get together. So the following fall I caught the ferry to Horseshoe Bay and the ferry to Langdale. Paul picked me up there and we returned to his home. I met his wife. And, for old times sake, we went fishing. And didn’t catch anything. The friendship had come full circle.

Julie Winkel

Julie is a graphic artist - who has worked in the newspaper industry since 1993. She runs her own Graphic Design business (Island's Edge Graphics) here in Lantzville, as well as Publisher of The Log. Julie moved to Lantzville with her 4 kids and husband in 2008 and is thoroughly enjoying life on the Island.

Posted in A View from the Outside, Editions, January 2011

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