I have more than just a few friends out here. It’s a great community. But, I have to acknowledge, they are all a smidge odd. Which is OK, I like ‘odd’. Odd is good. In fact, odd is the more sane adjective applicable to many of my regional OTG friends.
Next up the descriptive ladder would be quirky and I like quirky, too. Sal is a big fan of quirky but knowing Sal as I do, that only makes sense. She was born in England and quirky is a bona fide industry over there. Sally is pretty quirky by Canadian metrics but barely registers on the British Quirky Standard (BQS). She claims her BQS rating is VSG (‘very stable genius’) so that kind of says it all right there.
After quirky we move up to eccentric and then, after eccentric, we get crazy and the last category of those heavily medicated but still living freely amongst the rest of us is mad-as-a-hatter or the more colloquial, ‘Whacked’. We have ’em all out here and they are all accepted if not frequently embraced (especially recently, what with Covid and all). This is a colourful (read: goofy) community and I am a big fan.
But the majority of the ‘local colour’ are also fiercely independent. Sometimes acting so independent in so many ways just adds to the Canadian quirky (CQS) rating. An Oddfellow can rise to the quirky or even eccentric fellow status when they carry independence to an extreme. And they mostly all do.
One fabulous fellow walked into the forest a decade or so ago with a chainsaw and some hand-tools and, a year or so later, launched his 45 foot hand-hewn, wooden sailboat. With mast. Then he launched it. Of course, you can’t make your own engine from the forest so his ‘yacht’ doesn’t have an engine. C’mon, that is not only odd, independent and genius, it is very, very unique.
Last week a friend-of-the-same-feather left for points south. I took his boat to our neighbour’s dock so that it could be watched while he was gone. Then yesterday he called and asked to be picked up so that he could go home. He had visited family enough and wanted back. I picked him up and took him to his boat. He needs that smaller boat to ‘zip up’ the coast 30 or so miles to get to his bigger boat that he had left at anchor in a remote bay. He had some groceries, a small pack and his best buddy, his dog. But he was moving gingerly.
“Yup. Jus’ a little sore.” Given that he, too, is almost a septuagenarian and still working physically regular shifts out in the boondocks, being a bit sore did not register with me as unusual. We are all a little sore out here. But then it came out. While visiting family he had undergone major surgery. He had all-too fresh wounds and bandages and stitches and the whole nine-yards. Ninety-nine percent of us would have spent a few weeks recuperating. I would have stretched it to a year!
So, here was this guy, all alone but for his dog, heading off to a remote bay miles from anywhere. It was raining, it was cold, the wind was up and he was wounded. Barely a peep out of him. He didn’t linger because the days are short and dusk was looming. He had miles of choppy seas to cover. Sal gave him some Xmas goodies and off he went. When he eventually got to his larger vessel, the boat was NOT where it was supposed to be – it had drifted a bit – so he pulled up the chain and the anchor and re-set it. In the dark. Alone. Post-op.
Barely a peep (which makes sense – there was no one there to hear one).
But this is where we add a little more colourful independence to the story: just before he came down to leave his small boat with us, he was setting up the anchoring system for the big boat and, when doing so, he fell and tumbled down some rocks and cut, banged and scratched himself all to hell. He had a bit more trouble doing the final part of the anchoring because his right arm wouldn’t go up past his chest. And, of course, there was all the bleeding and he was drenched. If he grabs the arm with his left hand and throws it up, he can hold it up there to do what he needs to do but lifting it under his own power is impossible. I suspect that he must have hit his head, too. Probably many, many times….repeatedly….over decades……
That is the only explanation…..
Heroic? I guess not by Hollywood standards. And no dogs, children or females were rescued in the scenes described above but this is a man who, in modern times, deals with what the world throws at him and does it rather nobly if not heroically. Never asks for a thing. Independent in the extreme.
Honestly? I do not know how you see it, but I am impressed all to hell.