I posted this on Facebook on September 26th, 2017. I was sitting down with thoughts running through my mind about how our community had just lost another. I spontaneously began writing and this is what came out. I wrote it and posted it without reading it. The response I received to it was pretty overwhelming and quite unexpected. I still haven't read this, but I feel like sharing it here...
I'm sitting here with a heavy heart after learning that our community has lost yet another wonderful soul to suicide. His was the fourth one I know of in the past year (the third since the beginning of July), all of whom I have connections to in one way or another. Also, in recent years I have known others who have taken their lives, and even a single mother who was dead on the table and brought back to life by doctors after trying herself.
These are all beautiful people of all sorts. You name it, single, partners, children spanning a diverse mix. This might shock most reading this, but I had endured a lot this past winter that had me pushed to the brink of the same thing...completely thought out and teetering on the edge. As messed up as it may sound, the only thing that kept me from taking that leap over the ledge was my doggie
I've had decades of tough pain stacked up against me, and have always had a knack of enduring in a way that has inspired many thousands of people from all over, whether I have met them or not.
My physical pain has never been a challenge. That stuff is easy, just toughen up and go forward has always been my way...and it is my genuine feeling for that. I just got hit by things heavier than I knew how to deal with, and found myself in a place I couldn't escape no matter what I did...all that were completely separate from the physical pain swirling within.
I never mentioned anything to anyone until this summer when we lost another good one in our community. It's not because I didn't have tons and tons of people I could have talked to, because, believe me, I am surrounded by countless people who would do anything for me. I am truly blessed that way. It was just a weight I felt was my own, even though I struggled so hard to navigate my way through it. Every day was nightmare that I was surprised I got myself through. Somehow I stuck it out even though I didn't know how to at the time.
Life can be a real tricky fucker that can throw us some heavy, heavy shit that feels beyond our knowledge of how to cope. It has pushed beautiful people to leave us, leaving behind children, partners, siblings and parents, friends... I'm not one to say I know what the answers are, but I know love is in there somewhere.
As we all have here on Facecrack, for years I have been seeing these posts that people post and copy to show that people are listening, and that their doors are always open, and such. Even with amazing people in our lives, it isn't as easy as that...at least that's how it feels. Even with the love that you know is there it's a silent burden that can be suffocating on all the senses with no ease.
It's such a hard thing. All the people I have known who have taken their lives have all had a lot of really good people in their lives, people who would be there for them in a second, but yet the weight was still too much.
I don't really know what to say next. I know love is a part of the answer, but how does one infuse love into something that is unknown and closed off? I knew I had literally hundreds of people I could have talked to...all who will be absolutely horrified reading this...but it wasn't as easy as that. It never is. It is a very crazy feeling when you can be in a room full of people who love you more than they could express, yet you feel completely alone...on your own, with the weight of the world crushing down.
It's absolutely heartbreaking seeing how common suicide has become. Even though people may be closed off with the burdens they might be carrying, showing love is never the wrong thing. Ever. Express it freely. Shine it brightly. Don't be afraid to embrace it when it is offered. Share it. Become it.
(I wrote all of this on August 9th, but never fine-tuned it til now)
I had about ¼ tank of gas when I left town on my way home from work. I was flying along the highway, gruuuvin’ to a Morning Dew blaring outta my stereo. I saw Taghum Shell approaching in the distance. It was the same as every other day…even the music.
Rollin' along n' gruuuuuvin'!
I keep the same tape in my van for at least a month at a time...usually much longer though. I love that I have a tape deck in my van. I went through a couple thousand Grateful Dead live show tapes from back in the day. I still have a few hundred that I refuse to get rid of. I love playing every one of them…even the dusty, shitty sounding old-school ones. From dusty soundboard to crunchy cracklin' soundboard, or even a good audience recording, they’re nostalgia in the literal definition of of the term!
Recently I gave Natalie a ride home from work. She picked off my tape deck right pronto and started making fun of me. “Who still has tapes?” (Daniella has since done the same.) I was quick to start making fun of her for Ipods, phones, n' shit. We made fun of each other and it was excellent...but I still stood my ground with tapes. Tapes kick ass!
Lately I have had the second tape of the New Year’s ’76 show at The Cow Palace in San Jose, California goin’. Every-so-often I think about changing it, but I don't. It’s just so freakin’ awesome! The transition from Good Lovin’ into Samson & Delilah is crazy. Scarlet Begonias is…well…Scarlet Begonias. The Help on the Way jam has something special about it; and of course, Not Fade Away > Morning Dew to close the show before encores = Daaaaamn!! Changin' it would just be stupid...no need to do that!
While I was blaring it, and gruuuuvin’ right along, whenever I glanced in my rearview mirror I would catch the odd glance of my doggie in her seat in the back. (By the way…Rearview Mirror is a great Pearl Jam song...just sayin'!)
Fennario always has such a big smile on her face when we’re cruisin' down the highway. That makes me thoroughly happy, as it wasn’t always the case when she was a little pup. She used to be absolutely terrified of vehicles to the point where she’d run and hide in the house if I even walked near my van parked outside. Inside the van she would slobber and foam at the mouth from anxiety or something. Now she’s totally stylin’ and I love it ‘cause I don’t like leaving her at home. I want her everywhere I am. I looove my doggie so much.
So, as I was sailing along the highway, gruuuvin’ full blast, I saw Taghum Shell approaching quickly. I didn’t need gas right away, but I was feeling ultra lazy, so, knowing they are full service, I said, “Fuck it!” and did a last second quick swerve off the road. I pulled up to the tanks like I was in a race car chargin' into the pit-stop scenario. I definitely rolled up to the pumps with some heat, that's for sure.
I’ve always felt kinda strange about a full service gas station where you don’t do shit. They just come and ask you what you want and take care of everything as you sit there doin’ nothin’ like a lazy-ass. Even when my body is completely broken down, I still feel like I can pump my own gas. It sure ain’t that hard of a thing to do after all. Sitting there though, as buddy was gasin’ me up, my lazy-ass did take time to appreciate the service.
Scott, Cam and Shawn Robertson…
(Photo by Matt Bolt for Kootenay Business Magazine)
The brothers who own Taghum Shell are awesome guys. For years I had no freakin’ idea that Scott and Shawn were two different people – twins! I remember finding that out and thinkin’ it was awesome, and of course laughed at my idiot-self once again.
For a long time they had talked about expanding their store and stylin’ out the whole place. After many, many years, they finally were able to get at it in 2016. I lived in Nelson during most of the renovation.
Every Friday I check out what movies’r playing at the theatre in Castlegar. I’ve been going to the movies since I saw the original Star Wars at the drive-in with my parents when I was a three year old kid.
(I miss the drive-in as a way to see movies…seeing classics like, Smokey and the Bandit, the original Superman, Cannonball Run, and many more!)
As I like to drive to Castlegar consistently on weekends to catch a matinee movie I got to see the progression of the remodel take place. I rarely ever see newspapers or anything, so I had no idea it was happening until I drove by for the first time after it had started. I remember yelling out loud, “Nice one boyyys!” As simple as that!
I lived up the lake for years, and after a 10 month stretch right in Nelson, I ended up moving on the other side of town again. Now I pass the Taghum Shell twice a day, 6 days a week. I always enjoy seeing it, because I know how long they had wanted to do that, and I’ve been happy for them to finally manifest it all. I love seeing people pull their dreams together. It's such a great thing.
Even back in the day, the boys always had the full service touch. It has always been easy to tell that they’re genuinely good guys. All you have to do is talk to them and you find it out right away.
(The way it was...)
As far as being a customer goes, they make you feel very welcomed and appreciated. It’s not a false front pitch to get your buck either. It’s as if they come from a lost time. Nowadays, in the service station industry, there is virtually no service whatsoever. It has all but disappeared. Everything is self serve "get it yourself, you pricks" gas stations everywhere you go. Not the brothers though. They still deliver the special touch from a seemingly forgotten era.
I’ve been going there for over 15 years, and I can say their level of service is not limited to them either. Their staff always shows that same standard too! That is simply because of who Cam, Scott & Sean are as people though. It brings to mind that old overused saying,
“Great leaders lead by example!”
All this rolled through my mind while I was sitting there getting gassed up today. It was more than confirmed when their employee walked up to my window after he was done gassing me up and asked if I needed my oil or windshield fluid checked.
"Freakin' right boys! Taghum Shell doin’ it right!
Their finished product is great. The building is gorgeous...the nicest gas station I have been in. There is a snack-y area that is on the side of the main store that has a variety of goods to grab and go, or chill out to sit and stare out the window if you desire.
The building is spacious, and stocked nicely. There's travel food, all the gas station-y things for your vehicle, fireworks, ATM, and a tad bit of party-time beverages.
Outside, they went from a simple two stall/two pump gas station set-up to a four stall/six pump system. Even with tripling their pump capacity they're still super busy. It's great. It shows how necessary their expansion was and that their longtime vision for their expansion was the right thing to do.
Scott, Shawn and Cam…I’m glad to support you guys all these years, and I'm really happy for you that you were finally able to pull off the massive site rebuild you have been dreaming about for so many years. The place looks freakin’ great! Nice one boys!!
I cruised outta there, back lost in my tunes with these thoughts rollin’ through my mind and a happy doggie in my back seat. Gruuuvin' down the road a little bit further thanks to the fellas.
5644 Highway 3A West
I've been fascinated with the movements and the mind-body-spirit connection in martial arts since I was pretty young. When karate first came to the small town I grew up in (Wasaga Beach, Ontario - Population 4600) I was given the choice of studying that or keep playing hockey. I couldn't do both.
I was too head-over heels in love with hockey. These were the Wayne Gretzky in his prime with the Oilers days and I was a little kid with a hockey stick in his hand. (Even to this day I still have the number 99 attached to the end of my signature.) There was no choice. Hockey is the funnest game ever. I'm sad I can no longer do it
Despite that choice of hockey over karate, I still didn't stop my fascination with martial arts. When you see what Zen Buddhist Shaolin Monks can do with their bodies when they cultivate and raise their qi through iron qi gong in their Kung Fu...it's absolutely awe-inspiring! The thought of being able to stick a spear in a guy's throat and not break the skin is nuts, but shows what we are all capable of! Everything about it is pure beautiful artistry!
(I highly recommend going to REO's and renting, "Shaolin; The Wheel of Life." It is a stage performance of those monks telling a story of Kung Fu through movement. Good-gawd it's incredible!
That's what really opened my mind to the potential of the human body...plus the movements are so poetically graceful. I wanted to study Kung Fu so badly.
Of course, my body fell to pieces and took all that away from me before I ever got the chance. That love and desire never wavered in my heart though, and it started me onto a thought I still hold strong:
"Everybody should study an Eastern Art...whether martial or yogic."
The possibilities that a human can achieve if properly trained with focused discipline is an almost insane idea. It's one of the major ways I feel ripped off with my shitty body because it has held me back from tapping my true potential I know that lives inside me. It doesn't matter what I ever do in life, I will always feel on the short side of my potential and it drives me crazy every day.
(I'd like to properly give yoga a shot, but I can only do it privately because of the state of my body doesn't work in a class. Private yoga 4-5 days a week requires serious cha-ching though!
All the garbage with my gibbled body aside, my feelings on studying an Eastern Art hold true. I am always into people who really pursue that in their lives, and I am very encouraging and supportive of it.
A buncha years ago, 8 or 9 or somethin' like that, I was talkin' with my friend, Al. She told me that her daughter, Willow, who wouldda been about 9 or 10ish, had just started into karate. Naturally I was psyched...and very inquisitive about it all!
(Willow in 2009. I love her...this won't be the last you hear about her.)
Willow was studying with Sensei Keith of the Nelson Kyokushin Karate club after school. There were classes twice a week. Al was only able to pick up Willow one of the days though, so she could only go once. As soon as Al told me that, I didn't hesitate to offer to drive Willow home so she could go to both classes if she wanted to. I thought it was great.
(Haha...Sensei Keith wondered who random guy was that showed up to class shuttling Willow around.)
I took Willow to a year end party too at Sensei Keith's house too. Somewhere in there is where I first met Christopher as he was also a student.
(Surprise, surprise...he's amazing with kids. Christopher with Hailey in 2011)
I got to know Christopher casually better because he has long been one of Paul's guys when he puts on his smokin' shows at The Capitol Theatre. He has also become a fixture as security at so many events we all know and love.
(Paul is my bro who picked me up at the hospital after I had surgery and made me stay at his house. He is that guy in my life.)
(Lookkit that freakin' guy! Yeaaah!
Photo: Prettylips Danceyhips Photography ( www.facebook.com/PRTLIPSDNCYHIPS )
Christopher has always struck me as a really good guy right from the start. It's never not good to see him.
I've consciously observed over the passing years how much of a respected person he is by so many...not just around town, but all over the place. It doesn't matter if it's him in person, or online, or what you hear word-of-mouth, I think there is a general consensus from a large amount of people who feel the same way I do:
"Christopher is a fuckin' solid guy!"
(There he is being Awesome as usual!)
I can usually expect to see him at one of Paul's shows I go to, which has become something I have come to appreciate as a part of the show...I might get to say hello. It's the only place I know the odds are good for connecting with him.
Shows aside, when I see Christopher it is always so random...which is really the case with everyone for me. It's great to see him though. Christopher elicits good in people. He brings a higher quality out of people. I've noticed that from him right from the start. The ability to be able to do that without even meaning to or trying is something special.
He's definitely on that pursuit of potential I mentioned. It's easy to see. It's easy to tell. He carries himself with a dignity that's pretty striking too.
There's a lotta crazy shit swirling in this world, but Christopher is like a pillar of kind ease. I like seeing him whenever the hell I do. Christopher is one of the good ones and I've never let that thought pass me by.
(Christopher often makes me think of cowboy movies...the barber guy with a pistol who'll always throw down if needed...so I wasn't surprised when I saw this photo. I pretty-much expected it without realizing it.)
Stuff Writin' About Kinda Guy
I am a simple guy who likes to dream of the impossible and go after it. I have found fun in writing about my journey as well as other things that inspire me too.