Driving the Tractor (Feb 2000)

The front cover photo is of my brother David on the tractor, which was donated to the family by my Grandma in Oregon. It was well used for many years and sold only when we left Rosswood. This great invention was used to ford flooded creeks, till the land, carry loads of potatoes or hay and ferry people up the mountain to go goat hunting. It could climb hills like a billy goat and made carrying down the dead one much easier. Aunt Cathie is in the trailer with Mom, who has a gun propped against her knee. Aunt Cathy wasn’t a hunter. She wanted to see the valley from high up and this one-time trip let her enjoy Mom’s love of the North. Camps were built at intervals so that the long hike into the mountains was successful and manageable. The tractor went up as high as the tree line and then the trail was too narrow, so everyone hiked the shale path on foot. Aunt Cathy was not the outdoors type and stopped often to get her second wind. David was their guide. He built the fire, put up the tent and while Aunt Cathie enjoyed the scenery, he hiked higher up,shot a goat, skinned it and hauled it back down. This picture reminded me that bringing home the bacon takes planning, intuition, skill and should be enjoyable if not fun.

This picture also reminded me of the responsibility our parents gave to us as children. David developed lots of self-esteem and confidence by learning to operate a tractor. He was an excellent marksman by the age of fourteen and continued to develop his hunting skills early in life. He has built his own house, workshop and roofing business, as have most of my brothers. I also like to do most of my own fixing-up — I guess living in the wilds instilled many talents towards self-sufficiency. Planning and organizing come easy and I enjoy coordinating my day so that many things get done, all with very little stress.

1999 was a year of change for me, a time of constant flux. Some days it felt more frustrating than stressful and at times I got tired and had to rest but as usual I survived. I now feel all the wiser and richer for I am gratefully the sole owner of two commercial buildings on Ellis Street in Penticton. My partner, Jan has moved on.

Jan was my neighbour when I met her eleven years ago.. She caught me stealing a rose early one morning. We talked and she attended a few Metaphysical Club meetings. She attended a Reiki weekend and loved it. Over the next year she helped organize more Reiki weekends and gave sessions to her family and friends. She practiced her typing skills by putting ISSUES articles on disk and took over the registration for the Spring Festival when Marion retired in 1993. In 1994, after her divorce was complete, she started working as my receptionist. Less than a year later the building we were renting came up for sale and we decided to purchase it. Together we had enough for a down payment. We both worked long hours and ISSUES and the Centre continued to grow. In 1995 Marcel decided to buy shares and become a working partner. I used that money as part of the down-payment on the building next door which hadn’t sold after being on the market for awhile. Jan and I owned the buildings and the three of us owned Visions Unlimited Network Inc., (the company that hosts the Spring Festival of Awareness, Wise Woman Weekend, Issues Magazine and the Holistic Health Centre). I really enjoy having partners, even though my family and friends don’t advise it. I appreciated Jan’s many skills, her honesty and the fact that she was an avid reader. She learned to run several computer programs and as her self-confidence grew she took over the proofreading and wrote the book reviews and even a few personal stories so that you, our readers, got to know her a little better.

By the summer of 1997 we had outgrown the old building, for I no longer had a desk to work at and the practitioners’ rooms needed improving. We decided to move into the new building next door, but first we needed to renovate. The time and money needed to expand depleted Jan’s energy and renting out the buildings was not as easy as we expected — complications including a lack of time, money and communication left us both feeling a little disillusioned. Her vision shifted of how she saw her life evolving and the tension between the two of us started to appear. It was just a matter of time as the wedges were put in place.

By the beginning of 1999, a year long process of separation started. She wanted out of the buildings we owned. I convinced her that both of us would lose our money if we sold now, as the real estate market had dropped since we had invested. I negotiated and we came to an agreement that I would pay her back the money she had invested. By the end of summer Jan had made another decision: she no longer wanted to be part of Visions Unlimited Network Inc. The computers were making her vibrate. We put an ad in ISSUES to sell her shares. After several inquires and a few meetings, I decided that I would prefer a partner that I already knew… so Gerry offered to buy her shares and became a silent partner and we would hire staff.

I am glad that Jan came into my life for she believed in my vision of developing a Holistic Health Centre long before the banks would have trusted me with their money. As with all completions there is a letting go — and Jan did that as gracefully as possible. Since her leaving, the roses she had planted in the back got transplanted to a new location as the city ripped through our back yard, levelling hills and developing a new walkway. These roses will remind me of Jan and her help to make the Holistic Health Centre a reality.

I have always known life to be quite magical but this past year has felt like a rollercoaster ride that just kept getting faster. Negotiations have a way of stirring things up in my mind and my stomach so I am glad it is over — maybe now my stomach will settle down. I expect the year 2000 to be spent streamlining and learning more about the retail business as my two buildings become a happening place for the spirtual and holistic people in our community. My three year goal is to design and build a three-story building that will house a proper yoga studio with heated wood floors, overlooking Penticton Creek with an organic restaurant, juice bar, book and gift shop on the ground floor. If you have money to invest in such a project drop me a line as I would prefer to pay interest to someone I know rather than the bank.

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