You see, I was a Chef and First Aid Attendant in logging camps. Working relief shifts for other Chefs and First-Aiders, this odd arrangement put me in many different places, though rarely the same place twice. Fine with me! It offered a new view each time I went to work, and, because I was relieving other staff, the stints varied from a couple of days to weeks. With the great wages came benefits, like meals and travel paid for, plus afternoon naps! Also a nice arrangement if you wanted to feed the female ego, with a group of muscular, good-looking, swarthy, healthy, macho, strong, robust… (well, you get the picture) ahem, men.
So, the view, the food, travel, great pay… what’s wrong with this picture, you ask? Where is she going with this? Well, actually, home. Or at least the route to home, with one small stop along the way.
While the boys were happy to slap each other on the back in tiny, isolated enclaves, this girl was cutting the testosterone with her meat cleaver and needed the occasional breath. I love humanity, and I loved the boys, but I also loved my downtime, and that included estrogen and the white wicker chair. Leaving camp at the end of each shift, I beelined out of the cookhouse to the plane, the route mapped and timed in my mind. Hurrying to my car after landing, and driving home to Comox, a side street detour took me to my favourite little shop. There, I’d pull into the parking space – and breathe. This was Huckleberry’s. Inside this little quilt store were shelves of cotton, batting, threads, and all things for quilting – plus the white wicker chair. On the rare occasion a man stepped inside the store, he was warmly invited to wait, or rather, rest in the chair, so it was normally empty when I arrived. Not the store though; within was a gentle, soothing female energy to nourish my soul. With their welcomes and quiet queries of, "Just home from camp? Sit, sit. Tell us of your week…”, these women, this place, this chair, were the restorative balm for my tired spirit. Many times I sat for a while and then headed home, not buying anything. Many other times I shopped intensely there! But on ‘going-home’ days, they allowed this goddess-peer to decompress, do nothing and say nothing, and simply breathe in the progesterone. When sufficiently flaccid, I would wend my way home, thankful for these women – and white wicker.
Sandra Chow is an Avatar Master and longtime quilter, who currently resides in Campbell River, enjoying another career or two.