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SEASONS SUMMER 2016

COWICHAN VALLEY’S LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT A historical look at the mighty Cowichan

SUMMERTIME LOVE AFFAIR Ballpark memories last forever

Superstar

CARRIE UNDERWOOD headlines Sunfest ’16

A Cowichan Valley Citizen publication


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COWICHAN VALLEY CITIZEN


Editor’s Note

‘SEASONS’ GREETINGS ANDREA RONDEAU

T

he Cowichan Valley has many faces. From summer to winter, spring to fall, Shawnigan Lake to Chemainus, Lake Cowichan to Maple Bay, the valley has a myriad of personalities to love and get lost in. Like the seasons, it is colourful, thrumming with life and brimming with things to see and do. The people who have decided to call the Cowichan Valley home are a diverse lot as well, and each has at least one fascinating story to tell about their past, present or future. Seasons has been thoughtfully crafted to tell these stories of our people, our community and our environment to all of our friends and neighbours, to help us get to know each other —

ourselves, in the communal sense — a little bit better. It’s a celebration of what makes the Cowichan Valley one of the best places on the planet to call home, with a seasoning of some of the very real challenges we face together. It’s designed to give our readers a window into the lives, businesses and passions of the people around us, through the skillful storytelling and photography of our team from the Cowichan Valley Citizen and the Lake Cowichan Gazette. You’ll get to plunge into pastimes you never imagined, see what other residents think of this Warm Land we live in, and have a lot of fun along the way. Take a stroll through Cowichan’s seasons with us.

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What’s inside A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT

WHERE TO GET IT 30

T.W. Paterson

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COWICHAN STAYCATION

GRAPE PLACES

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Robert Barron

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12 YOUR SHOT GARDENING IN THE BLOOD

Cheryl Trudell

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17 MOUNTAIN MAN: TRAILBLAZER

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42 COVER STORY: SUNFEST SUPERSTAR CARRIE UNDERWOOD

MEMORIES OF THE BALLPARK

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Philip Wolf

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Water

A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT

Story by T.W. Paterson

A RIVER CHALLENGED – B.C.’s COWICHAN RIVER IN DANGER OF DRYING UP — CBC News Canada, Oct. 7, 2012 COWICHAN’S PEACEFUL WATERS HIDE A GROWING THREAT — Times-Colonist, Aug. 31, 2014 COWICHAN RIVER LACKS BOTH WATER AND A LEADER — Globe and Mail, June 16, 2015

W

e’ve all seen the headlines in recent years: salmon having to be trucked upstream to save them from dying because the Cowichan River is too shallow and too warm; salmon trapped in Cowichan Bay, unable to spawn upriver because the Cowichan River is too low. How could we have come to this? The Cowichan River, once world famous as a trout fishing stream; the Cowichan River, one of the richest salmon and trout bearing streams in the entire province; the Cowichan River, home and host for thousands of years to one of B.C.’s richest indigenous cultures; the Cowichan River that was formally designated a Heritage River in 2003! A good part of the answer lies in our industrial heritage, from the 1890s on. This was the heyday of clearcutting some of the best stands of old-growth forests on the planet and sluicing the logs downstream — 60-foot-long logs as round as automobiles that raced seaward with the force of giant battering rams — during the high waters of winter. Logs that, once loosed and stripped of their bark to reduce water resistance, indiscriminately destroyed spawning grounds and scoured new channels, or jammed and inflicted further damage to the river beds when they were cleared with dynamite. Some of these ‘B.C. toothpicks’, the finest of first-growth Douglas firs, made the journey in just eight hours; others never reached salt water, having wedged themselves, never to be recovered, to >>>> constrict and to divert the water flow even more.

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The Cowichan River and its main tributaries, Quamichan and Somenos Creeks, and the nearby Koksilah River form a drainage basin 795 square kilometres (307 square miles) in size.


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Long considered, for all of the damage done to it, to be the finest trout fishing stream on Vancouver Island, the Cowichan River is home to sea-going rainbow, winter steelhead, cutthroat and wild and hatchery brown trout, and has fall runs of chinook, coho and chum salmon. Brown trout, popular with fly anglers, were introduced from Scotland in the 1930s. The first restocking attempts at a government fish hatchery, at Lake Cowichan at the turn of the last century, imported Atlantic salmon stock.

These ‘B.C. toothpicks’ were anything but bits of kindling.

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There was further collateral damage in the form of erosion (some of it the work of nature) — square miles of river banks, gravel beds and bottom lands washed away or re-arranged wholesale. Much of that damage is with us today. Some of it, particularly Stoltz Bluff, has been repaired in recent years but some of it continues to haunt us more than a century after the last log drive down the Cowichan. Besides seasonal flooding, further erosion and damage to the fisheries, we’re experiencing increasingly stringent restrictions on our water consumption and usage because our summers begin earlier and last longer. We now have heavier winter rains and less snowfall at higher elevations, where there’s little in the way of ground cover to slow its escape to the sea. In effect, global warming has now joined in our assault upon this great and now beleaguered river. Perhaps the ultimate irony is that the problems and their solution were apparent even a century ago. But they were ignored and we must deal with them. First to build a sawmill, at Genoa Bay in 1880, was the William Sutton family. Although premised upon the acquisition of 7,000 acres of timberland in the Cowichan Lake area, the Suttons first cut logs provided by contractor Alphonse Verdier. He floated them a short distance down the Koksilah River from the Fairbridge area. He was followed by the McPherson brothers, also of Cowichan Station. Angus Fraser stepped up the pace by contracting with the Suttons to log five million board feet in Sahtlam’s Riverbottom area in 1890-91. “But his drive on the Cowichan,” the late historian Jack Fleetwood told us, “had disastrous results.” “The logs took out the [White Bridge] near Duncan and threatened the E&N Railway bridge, causing an outcry from residents.” Ditto the drives of Hewitt and McIntyre. The lessons, alas, were lost on both government and business; perhaps because Lewis and Dickie made several drives without, it seems, causing significant damage to private or public property, as they didn’t attract adverse attention. It remained for Joe Vipond to make a living (a fortune according to Fleetwood) by conducting successive log drives down the Cowichan River’s 58 kilometres (36 miles) of falls and 100 sets of rapids. Much of the resulting damage to the river, some of which persists to this day, can be attributed to Vipond’s handiwork on behalf of his own company and those of the logging operators who were his clients. He first made public notice in the Cowichan Leader in November 1906: “Mr. Joseph Vipond is now driving the logs down the river. Thirteen million feet of lumber is about what the season’s cut will scale. From present indications Mr. Vipond will have good water to get them into the sea. At the present prices of logs this means a large amount of money to the company who owns the timber.” That Vipond, the Leader continued in a later edition, “has taken advantage of the conditions is shown by the fact that not only are the logs sluiced, but many are in the sea, and with a strong force of men he is rapidly bringing up the rear. We learn that already he is below the [Skutz] falls and with the present amount of water for a few days will have them all down to the flats...” That November, with continuing high water, Vipond was on the way to achieving a record drive. But, already, there was public concern for the deteriorating state of the Cowichan River. The Duncan paper published a letter to the editor from saloonkeeper, miner and politician C.H. Dickie who urged permanent diking from below the railway >>>> bridge. Dickie didn’t mention the log drives, but others soon did.


For Joe Vipond the winter rains meant another log drive, as much as 15 million board feet in a single season. That November of 1907 was exceptional, the grand total being the combination of nine million feet just cut and six million feet “stranded along the upper part of the river owing to the partial failure of last year’s drive”. The emphasized the immensity of the fallen timber: “Nearly fifteen million [feet] in all!” It was now viewing the situation from both angles: “What a lot of money there is tied up in those logs, and what a loss it will mean to the loggers should the drive prove to be a complete failure this year. “On the other hand, if they are successful, think what the effect will be on the fish in the river to have 15 million feet of logs go rushing and rolling, and tumbling down the rapids of the upper part of the river with the possibility of forming jams below that will have to be broken with dynamite! Surely it will not be beneficial. Besides, the log drive is a menace to the bridge, and a damage to the river banks. Is any further argument needed to convince the CPR people that a branch is needed from Duncan to Cowichan Lake?” River rapids wait to sweep away the unwary. These days, Vipond’s December 1907 log drive was aborted only half accomCowichan Search and Rescue practise whitewater rescues on plished due to low water despite the herculean efforts of those the turbulent waterway. employed, some of them First Nations, to tackle the logs with peavies, chains, pulleys and blocks and tackle. As the Leader sourly observed, “The usual number of logs are stranded along the river banks, which will mean...that large numbers of fish will be destroyed during the usual method of dynamiting the jams and hauling the logs back into the water.” Against all advice, Harry McGargle (or McGarrigle) attempted to drive the last logs down the Cowichan in 1909 but he wasn’t successful either, losing most of his $10,000 log harvest. This, noted Jack Fleetwood, “broke him financially. That year, public pressure caused the provincial government to ban log driving on the Cowichan, putting an end to a cold and dangerous job.” That same year, the first remediation work was begun with the building of a $10,000 breakwater to protect the riverbanks below the Allenby Road crossing. Reported the Leader: “Somewhere in the neighbourhood of 1,000 acres of the very choicest land in the valley...have been washed away by the river. The practice of driving logs down the river is said to be largely responsible for this serious damage.” Nineteen years later, the Cowichan Valley Transportation Co. proposed to sluice logs with a 22.3-mile-long, V-shaped flume on the north banks of the river to utilize the 500-foot drop between Holt Creek and Cowichan Bay. Predating today’s weir at Lake Cowichan, this scheme required the building of a dam “to The Cowichan River is keep the lake at its present level”. By this time, of course, the CPR’s E&N Lake Cowichan Subdiveven more important to us ision and the CNR, both built primarily to transport the green today as it provides water bounty of logs from Cowichan Lake region to mills and markets, were in operation. This was the very ‘solution’ to the log drives for domestic, industrial, originally urged by the Cowichan Leader. Why, then, a proposed agricultural, commercial flumeway in 1928? Because, claimed C.C. Yount, general manager of the Empire Lumber Co., CPR and CNR freight charges purposes, and for “cultural were too high. As a result, he said, only the primest logs were values.” Its lower reaches shipped and millions of feet of otherwise marketable timber had to be left in the woods to rot. also serve to dilute and to Despite the endorsement of the Duncan Chamber of Comcarry away our sewage. merce many Valley residents objected. Sahtlam’s Maj. I.C. Rattray told the Victoria C-of-C that “The proposed abstraction of water during the summer months will be the final death blow to this once famous river, and also to the sea areas which depend on >>>> Cowichan for their stock of salmon.”

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Recreationally, the Cowichan River, adjoining Cowichan River Provincial Park and the Trans Canada and Cowichan Valley trails offer swimming, canoeing, tubing, whitewater kayaking, fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling, camping, hiking, cycling and horseback riding. Cowichan River Provincial Park covers 750 square kilometres and has 20 kilometres of trails. The Cowichan River Footpath is 20 kilometres long.

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Also outspoken in their resistance to the scheme were riverfront and Cowichan Lake property owners. At a special joint meeting of the Duncan and Victoria C-of-Cs, flume proponent A.J. Patton defended the finished product on grounds far removed from environmental. It would be “no more unsightly than a railroad. There would be no noise or dirt. People would be allowed to walk along the sidewalk beside the flume and thus a wonderful new forest trail would be opened up.” He even foresaw recreationists canoeing down the flumeway when it wasn’t being used to carry logs. The proposal was promptly rejected by the Comptroller of Water Rights, not out of consideration for the environment or for the traditional fishing rights of the Cowichan peoples, but in respect of corporate interests. As historian Darryl Muralt noted, the owners of the CPR/E&N and the CNR had more political muscle than the smaller companies doing most of the logging in the region. The Cowichan River’s log drives have become local lore, recalling as they do the colourful river drives of Ontario and French Canada (indeed, being related in that several experienced eastern lumberjacks were imported to oversee the drives). But, more than a century later, the legacy of the resulting damage to the river course and to the fish stocks lives on.


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Lifestyle

GRAPE PLACES “We’re now diligently looking to set up a winery in this area, and bring some of the expertise that we are developing in Argentina home to the Cowichan Valley” Story by Robert Barron

G

ordon Ryan and his wife, Katrina O’Reilly-Ryan, have travelled the world learning about wine production. After years of research, the couple, who currently live in Shawnigan Lake, invested in an Argentine winery called Bodega Chayee Bourass. The vineyard is located south of Mendoza,

Argentina’s wine capital, and is quickly becoming known for its red wines made from the grape variety Bonardo. Wines made from Bonardo grapes have been little-known in North America, but are becoming increasingly popular for their rich and full-bodied flavours. The couple, along with members of the Bourass family who are their partners in Argen-

tina and own half the winery and vineyards, have developed three different kinds of wine made from the Bonardo grapes, and have only recently started importing them into Canada. “We’re now looking at vineyards and wineries in the Cowichan Valley and trying to identify the right grapes for us to grow in this climate, and to find our place in the local industry,” Gor>>>> don said from his lakeside home.

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“It’s an increasingly dynamic aand global world, and it’s very exciting to be able to operate in a numb number of places around the planet at the same time.” The couple’s story began bega in Placentia Bay, N.L., where they are from. In 1999 the they decided to take a year away from their jobs and trave travel around Australia and New Zealand. themselv short on travelling money, Katrina Finding themselves star taking work in vineyards in Ausand Gordon started tralia’s world-fam world-famous McLaren Vale wine-making region. “We became eenamoured with the whole wine-making cculture and decided that we’d like to own our own w winery,” Katrina said. “We had no idea at the time where it would be or where we would get the money for it, but we w would eventually do it.” knew we O their way back from their trip, they On st stopped to visit relatives on Vancouver Is Island, fell in love with the place, and d decided to stay. Gordon found work in aquaculture a Katrina went back to work as an and e employment counsellor. But the idea of having their own w winery was still strong, and Gordon ev eventually took a job at the Cowichan V Valley’s Cherry Point Estate winery to le as much as he could about the learn i >>>> industry.

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Sickness in both their families back east led to the couple heading back to Newfoundland for three years, but they returned to Vancouver Island in 2005 where their research into the wine industry continued. Gordon had resumed his old career as an oil worker while in Newfoundland, and set up an oil and gas consulting company when he returned to Vancouver Island, a move that was instrumental in the family obtaining the funds needed to buy a winery. “We knew there was a lot of really good wines being made right here in the Cowichan Valley, but we were always partial to big and bold red wines and the climate here is too cool to grow the grapes for the types of wines we were interested in making,” Gordon said.

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“Vineyards in Argentina kept popping up as we continued our research, so we started to look there for a winery.” The couple learned that the owners of Bodega Chayee Bourass were looking for investors, and bought half the vineyards, about 50 acres, with eight of those acres dedicated to growing Bonardo grapes. With its ideal soil, and the fact that the climate sees hot days and cool nights, the area is perfect for the production of the Bonardo grapes. Katrina said Bornardo grapes are not new, they have been grown in Italy and France for many years, but the wines made from the grape are only now being appreciated in North America. In 2013, the couple set up their own wine-importing business, called Ryan Fine Wines, that is now bringing their wines into Canada. They currently are making three types of wine — the Rosado, Chayee Bourass and the Bonarda Reserva — and hope to add new varieties in the coming years. The wines, now available in select retail liquor stores on the Island and across Canada, are recognizable by the owl in their packaging and marketing. Gordon said the owl is in recognition of a snowy owl that nests in a palm tree at the entrance of Bodega Chayee Bourass. “We’re getting great feedback on the wines in Canada,” said Katrina, who is in charge of marketing. “We’re now diligently looking to set up a winery in this area, and bring some of the expertise that we are developing in Argentina home to the Cowichan Valley.”

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Garden Tour

GARDENING IN THE BLOOD I

n Saskatoon, it can snow from partway through August until the middle of June. Nevertheless, with several acres of land just south of the city, Sharon and David Baliski always had gardens, particularly to grow food. They just planned for them to be “winter killed” each year. So when the couple moved to three-quarters of an acre on Tzouhalem Road in Duncan on Halloween Day in 2011, the garden, first planted in 1895, that came with the house was a lot more treat than trick, even if it didn’t have all of the colour and fruit trees the couple favours. It took two viewings of the property to convince the Baliski’s buying was the right move, but when they were able to have their very first Christmas lunch outdoors in the gazebo there were no second thoughts. “We didn’t know what anything was,” Sharon said of that first year in the garden, whose green and white theme planted by the previous owner has since become an explosion of colour thanks to flowering cherry trees (the side yard looks like the wedding scene from Twilight, David says, when they bloom and drift down with etherial beauty), a host of rhododendrons, and at least one of just about every other kind of perennial you could name. They were also passionate about adding food gardens to the layout. “We’ve always grown our own food,” Sharon said, as she and David describe learning how to grow a food garden from their parents, now passing the skill down to their children and grandchildren. “I think gardening is in your blood,” Sharon said. What they grow and then preserve from their garden Sharon and David Baliski enjoy a beautiful May afternoon in the sanctuary of their lasts the whole winter, she said, and it’s a diverse menu. Cowichan Valley garden with grandchildren Phoenix and Juniper Muscat. Beets, carrots, beans, peppers, squash, corn, onions and garlic share space with thyme and rosemary. Fruit is forming that will later be picked as mature kiwis, peaches, plums, cherries, pears and apples, to name a few. The fig tree isn’t yet big enough to bear fruit. There are walnuts, hazelnuts and even almonds from a small tree that David proudly says produced in its very first year. “We grow almonds great here,” he boasts. And that’s to say nothing of the blackberries, raspberries and strawberries that rub elbows with a few more exotic edible species. The Baliskis don’t consume everything they produce alone. Three years ago they opened part of the house as Birds of a Feather Bed and Breakfast, and they source as much as they can for their meals from theirs and other local gardens. “It’s so important to be eating locally,” Sharon said. Growing your own food is vital “because we know what we’re eating.” >>>> “It’s not sprayed, it’s organic,” David explained.

Story and photos by Andrea Rondeau

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“It’s a therapy”

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Sharon hopes more people are now looking to grow their own food, especially on Vancouver Island. “You could grow a lot more food here,” Sharon said, referring to prime growing conditions like the area’s climate. She and David are always amazed at how much produce they can get from just their small piece of paradise. There are other benefits to getting your hands in the soil, too, David said. “I find it relaxing,” he described. “It’s a therapy.” Though there was that one time he had to run quickly out of the way of a large evergreen tree that toppled over, crushing one of the flower beds, a grape arbour and knocking

into a corner of their home. “I’m always trimming,” David said, indicating the trees that tower gracefully overhead, shedding dappled sunlight onto the hundreds of shrubs and flowers that make up their oasis. From top to bottom, the snakes that live in the various beds to the bats that have moved from the eaves into the bat boxes David and Sharon put up, the garden is a sanctuary. But it’s never finished, both insist, as they are always seeing some new plant or tree that they end up bringing home. “Where are we going to put it?” is the constant refrain, according to David. “It seems like >>>> there’s never enough space.”


You can visit David and Sharon’s labour of love during the 22nd Annual Cowichan Valley Garden Tour, put on by the Cowichan Family Life Association. This year’s tour is Sunday, June 5. The self-guided tour runs from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and tickets are $20. In the Cowichan Valley, ticket outlets include Buckerfield’s,

Dinter Nursery, Volume One Bookstore, Cowichan Family Life Thrift Store, Third Addition Gifts & Toys in Mill Bay, and Russell Farms Garden Centre and Sandpiper Garden & Glass in Chemainus. To find a ticket outlet near you from Nanaimo to Victoria, call 250-748-8281.

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Recreation

MOUNTAIN MAN: “I suck at art. I can’t draw. But this gave me a chance to create something and have people enjoy it.”

Story and photos by Kevin Rothbauer 20 20

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TRAILBLAZER A literal trail-blazing pioneer in the Cowichan Valley’s mountain biking scene, Trevor Prest has seen things change significantly during more than 20 years of serious riding. Prest is largely responsible for starting the trail network on Maple Mountain, which has become one of the gems for riding in the region. He personally spent years making trails on the mountain, many of which are still heavily used today. He started racing while attending university in the 1990s. During that time, he and his friends would take on what they called the “Quad Peaks Challenge,” a 100-plus-kilometre “big suffer-fest training ride” through the Valley that included mounts Tzouhalem, Prevost, Sicker and Brenton. “It would kill me today,” Prest laughs. He dreamed at the time of adding Maple Mountain to the circuit. “There weren’t trails here then, but I wanted this to be part of it,” he says. “I was living in Maple Bay back then, and I realized the potential of this place. It’s awesome. There’s a lot of rock, a big climb, a lot of terrain to play with.” Prest took it upon himself to make cycling routes on the mountain. He never cut down trees, but determined the best courses, and moved dead wood when necessary. “I probably spent 10 years building trails out here,” he recalls. Prest’s best-known trail is Maple Syrup, which is now endorsed by the Municipality of North Cowichan. It connects with Solar >>>> Coaster for a challenging nine-kilometre loop.

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“There’s so much good riding here” Now married with three children and working as a teacher, Prest doesn’t have time to maintain the trails themselves, so he is grateful for the work of the Cowichan Trail Stewardship Society. “It has been pretty neat to see people get involved in maintaining it,” Prest says. “I’m still riding, but I’m not able to do all of that anymore.” The trails originally instituted by Prest are now used for sanctioned races, such as the Island Cup series, which made a stop on Maple Mountain on May 15. “It’s fun to see what’s happening with the trails,” Prest says. While Maple Mountain is probably Prest’s favourite place to ride in the Valley, it’s not the only one he likes. “There’s so much good riding here,” he says. Mount Prevost, Prest says, is more “old school,” — more about downhill and jumps than the technical riding on Maple Mountain — while Tzouhalem is “awesome” and Cobble Hill Mountain has become well organized in recent years. The mountain biking scene is growing in

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the Valley, Prest says, supported by three well-established Duncan bike shops: Cycle Therapy, Experience Cycling, and Cowichan Cycles. “They’re all doing great things,” he says. “They’re putting on community events, and they’re good about working together.” It also helps to have supportive local governments. The CTSS works closely with the Municipality of North Cowichan, a relationship that is the envy of cycling groups elsewhere. “That’s why it works, because they’re on board with it,” Prest says. Although quality trails aren’t unique to the Cowichan Valley, Prest meets people from all over Vancouver Island who come here to ride. “There’s good riding everywhere, so they don’t necessarily need to come here,” he said. “It’s pretty cool when they do.” No matter where they are from, Prest is thrilled to think of people enjoying the trails he started. “I suck at art. I can’t draw,” he says. “But this gave me a chance to create something and have people enjoy it.”


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Cover Story

Sunfest Superstar Carrie Underwood headlines spectacular Cowichan festival nent outdoor stage west of Cavendish, PEI. It’s a space like this that helps music events attract big-namee he clock is ticking. acts like Carrie Underwood: Sunfest’s first female main stage Carrie Underwood is almost here. And although her arrival in headliner. the Cowichan Valley can’t come fast enough for fans, those who Emmalee Brunt, public relations and marketing manager have heard her latest album, Storyteller, are keenly aware there’s for Sunfest, said the festival is thrilled to finally have a female no need to worry. There ain’t nothing can get in time’s way. artist front and centre. “No, it don’t care at all/It won’t slow down, it won’t wait,” she sings in “A lot of people have said over the years, ‘Why not get one ‘Clock Don’t Stop.’ of the top females?’ and it just hasn’t worked out that way,” “The clock don’t stop ticking away.” said Brunt. “We’re really excited that it did for 2016… She’s so It’s a sentiment organizers of the Sunfest Country Music Festival likely lovely, so vibrant. also have on their minds as they work seven days a week, preparing the An amazing superstar.” grounds for the festival’s new home, just a stone’s throw from the scenic Brunt said that while the demographics of Sunfest attenCowichan Lake. The 172-acre event site — called Laketown Ranch — will dees are wide-ranging, the event draws slightly more feature parking, camp sites and (most importantly) the largest permawomen than men, and Underwood stands out as an excelSTORY BY JAMES GOLDIE

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lent role model, especially to young girls. She also said it’s no secret Sunfest’s organ organizers are all hockey fans, with its founder Greg Adams, a former NHL player. She described the festival as a “hockey family,” and added that it’s a pleasant bonus Underwood’s is too, with her husband, Mike Fisher, an alternate captain for the Nashville Predators. “Obviously that wasn’t a factor in choosing Underwood, but it is a kind of unique tie-in,” said Brunt. Another unintentional “tie-in:” the fact that Underwood’s performance coincides with the final season of American Idol this year, the talent search reality show that launched her career. Underwood was born in Muskogee, Okla., a city bigge not much bigger than North Cowichan. Her mother was an ele-

Country music superstar Carrie Underwood.

mentary school teacher and her father worked in a sawmill. As a child she had dreams of singing, but had more or less given up on them by the time she graduated from high school. She studied communications and journalism at Northeastern State University, however, afterwards music revealed itself as her true calling. When American Idol came to St. Louis, Mo., in the summer of 2004, she decided to audition. Over the past decade, Carrie Underwood has become a household name and many people aren’t even aware she got her big break singing for judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson during the show’s fourth season. She was named winner in 2005, and later that year her first album dropped. ‘Inside Your Heaven,’ her first single from that record, may or may not stand out in memories of fans and casual listeners, but just about everyone — fan or not — knows her second hit single from that album: ‘Jesus, Take the Wheel.’ Over the following decade, Underwood won dozens of awards (seven Grammys, 12 Academy of Country Music Awards, 17 Billboard Music Awards), was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry and had multiple songs and albums go platinum — sometimes double or triple platinum. Underwood’s last tour ended three years ago, and during that time she and Fisher have had their first child, a boy named Isaiah. “It’s been quite some time since she’s been on tour, so that was big for us,” said Brunt. “When you’re looking for an artist, that’s appealing because if an artist has toured a lot, chances are people have seen them in recent years.” Brunt said another factor was simply that Underwood is at the top of her game. She’s one of the leading female country artists in the world right now, and Sunfest has shown in the past — with headliners like Keith Urban and Tim McGraw — it can handle such big stars. Although Underwood was confirmed and announced before the Laketown Ranch deal was approved by the Cowichan Valley Regional District, and so her headlining was not contingent on the festival’s relocation, Brunt said Sunfest’s new home can only be seen as asset when it comes >>>> to attracting stars of Underwood’s calibre and popularity.

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Headline show July 30 “Like any festival with headliners at the level of Carrie Underwood and even Keith Urban last year, definitely a big [factor] is you need a large capacity in order to make it viable,” said Brunt. “Production values are a big one. So everything from lighting to sound, the actual stage size, any back line requirements for any instruments. Even the way the layout is, that’s always a big deal for performers.” Sunfest is Underwood’s only performance in British Columbia, which means excitement has been percolating throughout the province. It certainly has people buzzing in Lake Cowichan. Shelley Coburn hosts a weekly country music program at Radio Cowichan 97.5 at the lake, and she said the excitement there is palpable. Coburn has been a fan of Underwood since her debut on American Idol. “Her songs have a lot of meaning. For a little woman, in that tiny little body, she can just sing it out,” she said. “She’s a beautiful lady, in and out. She cares about people, she doesn’t flaunt her fame. [She’s] private in a way, and I admire that.” Coburn has been making a point of playing more Underwood songs in the lead-up to Sunfest this year. She wants to make sure everyone at the lake has a sense of who’s coming.

However, mainstream country music radio is notorious for its lack of female representation, and last year there was a string of stories on the subject in publications ranging from the New York Times to Vice to Spin Magazine. “Are women finally getting a fair shake on country radio?” Billboard.com asked in February 2015. “In short, not yet. But it’s complicated.” In March of the same year, Keith Hill, one of the country music industry’s top programming consultants, told Country Aircheck, “If you want to make ratings in country radio, take females out.” Coburn at Radio Cowichan can’t understand it. “I listen to the country radio too and you do hear more and more of the male singers, and I don’t know why. I don’t know if people are requesting more of them, but these women they can do it,” she said, pointing out Underwood’s skills on the piano, guitar and even harmonica. “She can do what the man can do. So I don’t understand that.” Underwood takes to the stage at Laketown Ranch on Saturday, July 30. For tickets, visit Sunfest’s website or phone 855-486-4776. James Goldie is a reporter for the Lake Cowichan Gazette

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Seasons 27 Seasons

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Top Five

OFF THE BEATEN TRACK There is so much to see and do in the Cowichan Valley. Here’s our list of the Top 5 things you should get to off the beaten track 1. Kinsol Trestle Located in Shawnigan Lake, there are two access points to the Kinsol Trestle. The first off Gleneagles Road. There is also an access off Riverside Road.

2. Chemainus Murals The Little Town that Did is worth a walking tour to view the stunning murals that have made the community famous. Take in the shops, too.

3. Crofton Seawalk With access just off the ferry terminal parking lot, the seawalk is a stunning

chance to stretch your legs. Grab an ice cream treat from a café on your way.

4. Mount Prevost lookoff You can access this spot with a panoramic view off Somenos Road just north of Highway 18. Follow and park by gates to the hydro station and wind your way up the gravel road to the top.

5. Cowichan Bay waterfront Enjoy a stroll through this Cittaslow-designated waterfront village with tons of local shops, restaurants and views.

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Summer Shopping

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IMPECCABLE JEWELLERY Turquoise stone with Figia Lava price range $500. Other turquoise with price range of $300 and up.

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ENRICO WINERY A bottle of Rosé called Red Dragon. Made from our Pinot Noir grape, this retails at $17.50 including all taxes.

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Seasons 31 Seasons

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Arbutus Ridge Performing Arts Society Presents

Good Vibrations MUSIC ON FIRE Songs from the 50's, 60's,70's & 80's by singers in their 50's, 60's, 70's & 80's

Friday, August 5, 7:00 p.m. Sunday, August 7, 1:00 p.m. Brentwood College Theatre Mill Bay, BC

Tickets: theatre.brentwood.bc.ca This project is funded by the Government of Canada’s New Horizon for Seniors Program.

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Hometown

Story and photos by Lexi Bainas

COWICHAN STAYCATION L

ooking for a vacation closer to home this year? Why not look right at home and explore Duncan? The city and its environs are made for tourists, with plenty to see and do within a small area. Duncan is famous for being the home of the World’s Biggest Hockey Stick and Puck, but there’s lots more, too. Staycationers can check out the fabulous Duncan Farmers Market, take a tour of the city’s totem poles, discover intriguing corners of the city, explore the exhibits at the Cowichan Valley Museum and the BC Forest Discovery Centre, and, along the way, enjoy some superb shopping and dining. A good place to start is the Cowichan Regional Visitor Centre, now located on the Trans Canada Highway beside the BC Forest Discovery Centre. The friendly staff in there know their stuff and can set your feet on the right path, whether your plans are for a day out with friends, gallery hopping and then dining, a trek to find your roots in the rich history of the Cowichan Valley, or just some family fun time with the kids, learning more about your community. While you’re at the info centre, why not just nip across the parking lot and enjoy a visit to the BC Forest Discovery Centre? As of June 2, it’s the high season and a ride on the train is a wonderful way to cool off on a hot day. There are so many things to see and do at the centre, and, if you time it right, you can ride behind the steam locomotive. It starts weekend service on Father’s Day, June 18. On the way into town, you can stop by the Island Savings Centre. >>>>

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You know the Cowichan Arena is called The Stick and you may have seen the big hockey stick outside but did you know it’s the world’s largest? Learn all about it by checking out the display on the side of the building beneath the local landmark. The Stick and Puck came to Duncan after Expo ‘86, which was packing them in at its Vancouver location 30 years ago. Another legacy item from the huge fair that also came to Cowichan Valley became the Big House at what is now called the Quw’utsun’ Cultural & Conference Centre. The sign advertising it still uses the iconic image from its days at Expo when enormous crowds from around the world lined up to hear First Nations stories. When you’re walking around Duncan, check out the plaques placed by the Duncan Business Improvement Area Society that commemorate the city’s historical buildings and businesses.

Cowichan Valley is rich in aboriginal culture,

and nowhere is this seen more clearly than in the City of Duncan itself

You never know what you’ll see or learn. The Cowichan Valley is rich in aboriginal culture, and nowhere is this seen more clearly than in the City of Duncan itself, which is located adjacent to the Cowichan First Nation reserve. With nearly 5,000 members, mighty Cowichan is the largest single First Nation Band in British Columbia, with about half its members living on the reserve itself. Throughout the downtown area of Duncan, visitors can see a unique outdoor display of totem poles. Free guided walking Totem Tours are offered seven days a week from June 15. One-hour tours are given every hour on the hour starting at 10 a.m. with the last tour of the day at 3 p.m. starting at the Cowichan Valley Museum at the Train Station. Walking through Duncan there are surprises galore. Families might want to make a scavenger hunt style game of it. Where can you find a mural with a blue bird in it? Where is the red-coated pirate likely to lurk on downtown streets? Is there a map of Duncan’s famous old Chinatown? Where is it? The Cowichan Valley Museum, in the historic train station at Charles Hoey Park in the heart of downtown is a treasure trove of fascinating things to see. >>>>

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They have an outdoor display, too. See if you can find the location of the interesting photo of a big convention held in what was then called Duncan’s back in 1917. If you’re out and about on a Saturday, another sure-fire favourite with visitors of all ages is the Duncan Farmers Market, which is held in and around Duncan’s City Square every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. This vibrant venue is now attracting vendors of all kinds, but it’s not just about buying and selling. On a recent visit we saw no less than three groups of entertainers all performing at the same time in different locations, which, added to the happy buzz from the crowd, gave a festive atmosphere to the entire downtown core of the city.

And take some shopping bags. From delicious locally grown or prepared food to locally designed clothing and jewelry to handicrafts and plants, you won’t leave empty-handed. Nearby, the merchants of downtown Duncan offer a myriad of merchandise, from high fashion to children’s toys, After you’ve strolled through the market, or scored the purchase of your dreams in one of the stores, why not take time out to enjoy lunch at one of Duncan’s many restaurants, which can tempt the finickiest foodie while also pleasing the entire family? There are even several spots where you can eat outdoors on a sunny day, and let your mind drift and dream in the welcoming ambience of The Warm Land.

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Valley View

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Summer Events What’s happening in June, July and August Lake Days June 5-12 Cowichan Lake

Family friendly event with games, cake, face-painting, races

Downtown Duncan Day July 16

• Shawnigan Lake Canada Day Celebrations 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. Shawnigan Lake Village and Elsie Miles Field

39 Days of July June 24-Aug. 1 Includes concerts every night, July 16 Grande Parade, Duncan Has Talent and more Charles Hoey Park, Duncan City Square and other locations in downtown Duncan

• Duncan Family Fun Day 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Centennial Park, Duncan

Historic Youbou Lanes’ 65th Birthday Party Celebration July 16 1 p.m. - 7 p.m. Youbou Community Bowling Alley Rock of the Woods July 21-24 4383 Irvine Drive, Duncan Hear from some of the best indie bands.

Sunfest country music festival July 28-31 Lake Town Ranch, Youbou Special Woodstock Aug. 21 Providence Farm Cobble Hill Fair Aug. 27, Cobble Hill Fairgrounds

Canada Day, July 1

Chemainus Theatre presents Footloose June 10 to Aug. 27

Islands Folk Festival July 22-24 Providence Farm, Duncan Hear international favourites

Oceanfront Suites Dragonboat Festival Aug. 27 Cowichan Bay

• Canada Day Celebration 5 p.m. - 9 p.m. Mesachie Lake Hall and Skydome

Youbou Regatta July 13 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Arbutus Park

Honeymoon Bay Days July 23 Events start 8 a.m. Honeymoon Bay Hall

Cowichan Bay 31st Annual Wooden Boat Festival June 25 Cowichan Bay

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WORLD CLASS LIVE MUSIC N

ewcomers coming to live in the peaceful Cowichan Valley are often astonished at the abundance of cultural activities and artistic presentations which make this such a rich living environment. There is no community in Canada with a population of about 70,000 that can boast an annual season of live international-class professionally-played full-scale orchestral classical music. This has been going on in the valley for 60 years and in the past, artists such as Glenn Gould, Lois Marshall, Joan Sutherland, and Anton Kuerti, to name but a few, have appeared with the Victoria Symphony and other major orchestras on the Duncan stage. As well, there are few communities of this size that make sure that all school children have the opportunity to experience live classical music. This has been going on for 1,500 children each year for the past decade. Each year the Cowichan Symphony Society works hard to assemble a season of magnificent classical music concerts played in the valley’s splendid 750-seat theatre. This task involves soliciting professional music companies for their touring plans, matching dates with openings in

the busy theatre, negotiating contracts, pricing the tickets, preparing the advertizing materials and so on. It is with feelings of great satisfaction that we announce that we have created another exciting musical season for the years 2016-2017. There are several remarkable aspects of the 2016-17 season that have serendipitously made themselves features of the programme. First, the keyboard of our historic Steinway piano will once again welcome the artistic fingers of two absolute masters: Krzystof Jablonski, and Pavel Kolesnikov. Both of these artists previously received standing ovations from the Duncan audience. We shall never forget when, two years ago, Pavel took a plane from Moscow, and after a journey of 48 hours, sat on our stage and played the Rachmaninoff third piano concerto. It was an astounding feat of artistic fortitude. From our own Vancouver Island, four of our beloved artists Benjamin Butterfield (tenor), Timothy Chooi (violin), Terry Tam (violin), and of course Tania Miller (conductor and music director) return to our stage this fall. Second, we shall hear no less than four world

premieres of new music by Canadian composers Christopher Mayo, Jordan Pal, Jeffrey Ryan and Jared Miller. Canada Council supports young composers in their work and they are often employed as composers in residence by Canadian orchestras. It is a privilege and always interesting to hear the way serious music is emerging from creative artists. Third, the season contains a wonderful selection of Eastern-European and Russian composers such as Rachmaninoff, Chopin, Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky and Sostakovich who should make our musical mouths water! Fourth, with sadness, next May we shall say au revoir to Tania Miller when she retires from her Victoria Symphony conducting position. We hope that the coming season will be welcomed warmly by the people of the Cowichan Valley. Please, become subscribers. We need a large audience to sustain us. Our live classical music concert season is the best value in all of Canada! Ted Rhodes President, Cowichan Symphony Society

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COWICHAN VALLEY CITIZEN


Food

How to host a summer party STORY AND PHOTO BY CHEF DEZ

Creole Halibut BBQ pouches are a perfect food if you are hosting a summer garden party.

F

or some individuals, the thought of organizing a summer garden party is equivalent to the stress level of a dentist visit. However, this does not have to be, and the execution of such an event can be pulled off quite enjoyably with a little preparation. The first step in planning the menu would be to determine the number of people attending and the time of day that the event will take place. This will determine how much and what kind of food you need to prepare. For instance, a brunch garden party may consist of scones, biscuits, preserves, crepes, fresh fruit, herbal teas and coffee, while a dinner garden party would be completely diverse. Try to choose recipes that can be completed a day or two ahead of time to ease the workload on the day of the party. If this is not possible, then at least do as much of the cutting, chopping, and measuring as possible to prepare yourself. Since this event will be taking place outdoors, food safety is also an imperative consideration. This is simplified by the following rule: keep hot foods hot, and cold foods cold. Hot foods should be kept at 60 C or above, and cold foods at 4 C or below. This will keep the production of bacteria and food borne illnesses to a minimum. The area between these two temperatures is considered a danger zone for bacteria growth and food should not be kept for any considerable lengths of time in this zone. An inexpensive hand-held food thermometer can easily save your party from turning into a tragedy. Serve an amount that will be consumed within a short period and replenish as needed. Attempt to do something different than the ordinary barbecue gathering. Themed parties are always popular, and a great opportunity for you to try new recipes! Here are some theme ideas to get you started. A Hawaiian Luau with barbecued pork and pineapple kabobs, coconut shrimp salad, and cocktails served in coconut shells with little umbrellas. Some finishing touches would be >>>> patio lanterns, grass skirts, tiki torches, and music from a Don Ho record (thrift stores are great).

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A British Luncheon with cucumber finger-sandwiches, canapés, pastries, and tea. Served with fine china, silver platters, and white cloth napkins. Classical music will set the mood nicely. A Jamaican Picnic with Jerk Chicken, banana fritters, an abundance of fresh tropical fruit, rum punch and reggae music. Ask your guests to dress in beachwear and host a volleyball tournament! A Country Shindig with chicken and dumplings, baked beans, cornbread, and apple pie. Bales of hay and country music will make everyone in their cowboy hats and boots feel right at home. As you can see, with a little imagination, planning a garden party can be immensely entertaining with no haunting recollections of root canals!

CREOLE HALIBUT BBQ POUCHES “The holy trinity of bell pepper, celery and onion; along with garlic, tomatoes, thyme, sweet smoked paprika and cayenne, give this seafood dish delicious Creole flavour” 4 halibut filets, approx. 200 grams each

PEOPLE ARE TALKING! Our #1 referral source is word of mouth!

Salt and pepper 12 cherry tomatoes, quartered 1 stalk celery, sliced thin 1 small yellow bell pepper, cut into small short strips 4 garlic cloves, minced 8 thin slices onion 12 fresh thyme sprigs 2 tsp smoked sweet paprika Ground cayenne pepper, optional 1 tsp sugar 4 tbsp cold butter 1 lemon 1. Preheat BBQ grill with high heat. 2. Cut 8 pieces of heavy duty aluminum foil – 12 inches x 18 inches. Lay 2 pieces of foil on top of each other to make 4 separate double-layer foil bases. 3. Place each filet, skin side down, in the centre of one half of each of the foil bases, and season each filet liberally with salt and pepper. 4. Top each filet evenly with 3 quartered tomatoes, equal amounts of celery, equal amounts of bell pepper, 1 minced garlic clove, 2 thin slices of onion, 3 sprigs of thyme, ½ (one half) tsp paprika, pinch of cayenne, ¼ (one quarter) tsp sugar, and season with more salt & pepper.

5. Top each mound with a 1 tbsp pat of butter. 6. Seal the pouches by folding over the foil in half longwise over the vegetable covered fish. Starting at one end, fold in and crimp the edges of the foil tightly and work around the whole open side of the foil to form a semi-circle pouch. It must be tightly sealed to keep all the steam and juices in the pouch. 7. Place the pouches on the hot BBQ grill and reduce heat to medium low. Close the lid and cook for approximately 12 to 15 minutes while trying to maintain a cooking temperature of 375 F on your BBQ’s built-in gauge. 8. Remove pouches from the grill and let sit for 5 minutes before opening. The internal temperature of the fish should be 140-150 F. 9. Cut open each pouch, squeeze over a bit of fresh lemon juice, and serve immediately. Makes four portions

*Alternatively you can cook these pouches in the oven at 450 - 475 F for 12 to 15 minutes. >> Chef Dez is a food columnist, culinary travel host and cookbook author. His column appears in the Cowichan Valley Citizen. Visit him at www.chefdez.com

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COWICHAN VALLEY CITIZEN


The Closer

Memories of the ballpark BY PHILIP WOLF

T

he annual onset of warm weather means many things to many different people. Some look forward to gardening. Others enjoy a return to fulltime golfing action. Kids might see it as the signal that the end of another school year is just around the corner. For me, it has always been about one thing: baseball season. My low-level playing days are long gone but the smell of the fresh-cut grass and even a hint of sunshine still evoke the same feelings every year. I now live vicariously through the young ’uns, through coaching, but the overall joy of simply being at the ballpark has never waned. Nor has the odd love affair I have had over the years with a very small number of baseball gloves. If you asked most ball freaks, they could tell you everything about every glove they have ever owned and I’m no different. I got my first black beauty at age six, a Cooper Black Diamond that dwarfed my tiny hand but would last five long years,

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through my second season of Little League. There’s always something special about your first glove and I gradually progressed from having everything bounce off it like a frying pan to being reasonably adept at snaring anything within my reach. Then came the dark period. The one baseball glove I never really liked. During one spring cleaning, the old Black Diamond mysteriously disappeared, right before the first day of ball practice for my all-important final year of Little League. My mom took me down to the old Bucky’s sports shop in Duncan but nothing really captured my eye. Since I had no choice, we basically went with a brown Cooper (pictured far right, bottom row, second from right with the classic Miami Dolphins snapback lid) that was pretty much the same as its predecessor, only a different colour. I spent the time working it in, oiling it up and carving out a pocket with a couple of baseballs and the overnight elastic band >>>> treatment.


But it never broke in quite right and I found myself flubbing catches I could have made in my sleep. I pleaded for another glove, but was flat-out rebuffed. “The other one lasted for years, so will this one,’’ I was told. I wasn’t smart enough to “lose” it, so I plodded away for two seasons. Then, just before Year 2 of what was then Babe Ruth play, I caught a break. We were playing a game of scrub down at my buddy’s house and I left my glove there. Apparently, it looked mighty tasty to their dog, who tore it to shreds. Time for another new glove. This time, I found true love. A beautiful George Brett-autographed special that carried me through the rest of my baseball days (augmented by a catcher’s mitt that I did eventually return to the Duncan minor baseball clubhouse). It was broken in neatly thanks to my Dad allowing me to back the car over it a few dozen times. Pretty much any fine play I can remember was made with old George. But sometimes, even the perfect relationship comes to an end. I began to play fastball, and George, despite his yeoman service, was a little small. So he received a

good home (a co-worker gave me a couple of bucks) and I moved on. I purchased a long, black Rawlings Ken Griffey Jr. special (see preceding page) and spent the perfunctory time breaking it in, giving it the oil-and-elastics treatment, driving over it a few times. Decades later, it’s the one I use to play catch with my son or

occasionally head down to the school with a lacrosse ball for some relaxation time; endless repetitions of ball against wall and into the glove. Just like I did when I was 12 years old. Philip Wolf is a regional editor for Black Press

>>

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Special Features - Seasons Magazine - Summer 2016  

i20160819084403486.pdf

Special Features - Seasons Magazine - Summer 2016  

i20160819084403486.pdf