pioneer homesteader & bush pilot
Ayliffe “Pat” Carey
1903 – 1999
in his own words – as told to Ben Nuttall-Smith
Ayliffe “Pat” Carey’s experiences – as homesteader, logger and bush pilot –provide an exceptional insight into pioneer life in the first decades of the twentieth century on Canada’s West Coast.
While logging his homestead island in BC’s Fraser Valley, Pat developed a passion for flying, overcoming countless barriers and setbacks, including repairs and alterations to his aircraft. He speaks matter-of-factly, without heroics, about flying missions over mountains and glaciers, often in dangerous weather conditions. He recalls details vividly – taking us with him on his amazing journeys.
$14.95 Canadian – 146 pages
Pat’s earlier experiences as a young man growing up in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley and as home-steader and logger, provide an exceptional insight into pioneering days in the first decades of the twentieth century. His stories of flying from Chilliwack B.C. to Canada’s Far North are fascinating tales of aviation history
Pat tells his story as if he’s reliving every moment. His attention to detail and his memory for names are amazing.
Pat Carey died on October 9th, 1999, aged 96. Following his memorial service, Pat’s widow Jean asked me to honour the memory of her late husband by continuing the biographical work.
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Pencil drawing by Ben Nuttall-Smith The current manuscript contains 28 sketches
In early 1996, as a volunteer for the Sunshine Coast White Cane Society, I met Ayliffe “Pat” Carey, a blind ex-bush pilot. When he heard I wrote stories for the local newspaper, Pat asked me if I’d consent to write his biography. I soon began weekly visits to the Carey trailer home where Pat and his wife Jean told me exciting and often humorous stories of his life from Fraser Valley pioneer to bush pilot.
My faith in a world at peace has not died. I wrote this poem several years ago. Please feel free to share the link.
NEWSLETTER OF THE BC BRANCH OF THE EDITORS’ ASSOCIATION OF CANADA
Some perils of self-publishing:
intro by Anastasia Koutalianos; piece by Ben Nuttall-Smith.
miles and miles of tanker cars
rumble past our homes
rattling our windows
banging at our walls.
hydrochloric acid and sulfur dioxide
trichlorisane ammonia sulfuric acid exaldehyde
hydrogen peroxide hot asphalt heating oil
crude oilfuel oildiesel fuel petroleum
ethanol methanol coal unfit to burn
butylene octanes petroleum and gasoline
liquid hydrocarbonsexplosive toxic flammable
residue from sewer pipesin tanker cars of tin.
they’ll find us as we’re sleeping
or sitting by our fireplace
or digging in the garden on a summer afternoon.
we’ll never know what killed us
when the train derails.
when the train derails.
when the train derails.
when the train derails.
Ben Nuttall-Smith Surrey, B.C
Away from it all
beside the warm sea
collecting sea shells while
dancing in the sand
Each day is a bonus
I count my blessings
joined by my sweetheart
kissed by the sun
loving every moment
My darling by my side
thankful for good fortune
unburdened by winter blahs
victims no longer of winter cold
we are replenished
Xmas present to each other
WestJet holiday tour to Hotel Tuxpan, Veradero, Cuba.
Following our flights from Vancouver via Toronto to Cuba, with airport waits and a night of dozing upright, we were warmly greeted by sunshine and a friendly welcome to Cuba by our West jet shuttle-bus hostess.
By the way, be sure to fill out one visa form per person or visas at the airport will cost an additional wait and $15 US each, plus exchange, at Cuba Customs.
Rooms at the Tuxpan are clean, somewhat comfortable and the staff super friendly. Some rooms are more agreeable than others as constant renovation goes on. Our mattresses this time were less than comfy.
All-you-can-drink bars need no explanation, however, it might take you a full day or two of meals to learn what to choose from the vast selection offered at the buffet. Having tried the various cereals, which tasted like cardboard, I enjoyed the as-you-like-it omelette for breakfast. Spare ribs in the hotel or hamburgers at the beach for lunch, roast beef and chicken in the hotel buffet for dinner sounds good. I found the meat often overcooked and learned to take small portions and go back for more once I discovered what I liked. Despite the variety, all this tended to be rather low on the good flavour scale for Canadian pallets, but better – I overheard – than restaurant meals in town.
Hotel entertainment ranged from string and keyboard quartets to sax and piano in the bar, as well as dancing lessons and a mariachi band from Mexico. Tours are available to suit taste and pocketbook. A snorkeling trip was well worthwhile, although the forty-minute group swim above the coral was rather exhausting for a senior such as I. I can’t remember when I worked my arms and legs continuously for so long in one session. Was it worth it? Oh yes. We swam through thousands of beautiful creatures of every shape and hue.
It takes little willpower to relax on the beach
after months of “must do” routine, obeying the clock.
Obey the call of the surf to dream in the shade of a thatched palapa,
stepping out on occasion to absorb a natural dose of vitamin D – not in tablet form.
Forget the sleeping pills. Catch a barrage of forty winks, lulled by the pounding berceuse of waves on white sandy beach.
Overall, I would happily return anytime for a two-week retreat from rain and snow.
Leave the laptop and iPad in the lock-up. In general, wi-fi is not available. Where it is, I’ve been told, it can be outlandishly expensive.
Bring sufficient sunscreen or pay double at hotel shops.
Visit the beach early morning to reserve your spot in sun/shade.
Leave something recognizable to mark your spot.
Hitchhiking is the national sport of Cuba. There are no drinking drivers.
With zero tolerance, any trace of alcohol results in life suspension of drivers’ licenses.
Single pale-skinned dude
among multiple shades of tan
gratiously sizzles in double layer
smear of Coppertone Six-O
Timer ticks ‘til time’s up.
Back to shady chaise
‘neath palm-fond roof.
Hearts in the Sand
Lovers with driftwood sticks
write statements in hearts
on inconstant sand.
Will those promises endure
as each returns to winter toil?
We collect shiny shells
to place in bowls
with those from seasons past,
reminders that our love remains,
to plan another sun-kissed sojourn
on a sandy foam-swept beach.
Pelicans search the shallows
end to end in graceful swoops
and somersaults for shrimp and tiny fish.
Pelican stands at waters edge
waiting for a handout
grabs a morsel in his beak
shakes the excess sand out.
A squadron of pelicans follow shrimp sellers
along the frothy beach.
One big fellow, first in line to be rewarded and fed
by fearless bikini-clad giggler.
Huge beak opens to gobble shrimp and hand.
Aggressive but gentle, pelican takes the gift,
leaves hand to be rinsed
by awe-struck feeder in salty wave.
Sunbathers and Other Tourists
Babel lines the sandy shore.
Incessant chatter in multiple tongues,
memories of Montreal market mornings,
the language loud and expressive.
Curvaceous creatures tanned and oiled
stand knee-deep jumping waves.
Potbellied elders patrol in pairs.
Toddlers toil with buckets and spades.
Row upon row of blue and yellow deck chairs
sunbathers doze sunny-side-up.
I stubbed my toe on something in the sand.
First cursed the pain but then to my delight,
glistening in the froth, it stood alone –
orange, purple, streaks of sparkling white,
sculpted as by Greek or Renaissance hand.
In perfect symmetry with line so fine
a treasure from this warm and happy land.
They line the beach
myriad shards of broken porcelain.
Step with care, you’ll find perfect jewels,
amazing patterns of Nature’s sculpted art,
perfected by the Master Craftsman.
Many shells are readily pierced
for diadem or necklace
fit for royalty in any place or time.
Early Morning on the Beach
I breathe deep the perfume and sounds of early morning.
Pellicans and seagulls follow the return of a night fisherman.
The deserted beach bears the scars of last night’s revelers.
Plastic glasses, straws, coconut shells and cigarette butts
will be gone by breakfast time.
I mark our place with strips of clothing –
a prospector staking his claim.
By seven, all seats will be spoken for;
every inch of mid-day shade snatched up.
Footsteps in the Sand
Footsteps in the sand, yours and mine
along the crystal shore.
In this here-and-now we walk in peace.
Let’s keep a taste of paradise
to warm us on those chilly days
when we together roam through rain and fog.
Powder-puff clouds sail cerulean sky.
The sea is striped cobalt, turquoise,
then fringed in frothy light.
Just above th’ horizon line,
mauve turns to tumescent clouds
where seagulls glide.
Yellow sails tipped blue and white
compete past dots of orange buoys
and bathers near the shore
Families of waders chat waist-deep
then strings of lace fall smooth as silk
and bubble light-beige beach.
sport shades of tan with scarlet
and pallid white from Canada’s frigid climes.
Back from the land of sunshine. Although beds were lumpy and the food left something to be desired, Cuba was fantastic. No Internet. Just total rest and relaxation. Music was great. Margot and I have returned refreshed although not quite ready to meet the cold of Canada. Still, spring is not far off.
If you intend to be a serious artist, whether graphic artist, painter, sculptor, composer or writer, it is essential that you set aside your own sacred place where you may think and work creatively. The following quote has been shared on a number of creative blogs:
“To have a sacred place is an absolute necessity for anybody today. You must have a room or a certain hour of the day or so, where you do not know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody or what they owe you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be.” (Joseph Campbell)
The following is an article I passed on to the Federation of British Columbia Writers entitled “Passing the Torch”.
Those of us who take our writing seriously spend days, weeks, months, even years in the writer’s cave. It would be easy to become myopic without a support community. The best sources of stimulation for writers are good books and peer networking. The ultimate encouragement comes with that first acceptance by a publisher. However, the road to publication is strewn with pitfalls.
Having struggled for ages to find a publisher, despite numerous conferences and workshops, and despite having self-published a handful of books, I had all but given up hope of ever being professionally published. How I found two publishers for four books in three years is everything short of a miracle. Now, I’m delighted to share my good fortune with other struggling scribblers.
My strongest advice is Get Involved. Become an active member of the Federation of BC Writers. Volunteer. Share your talents. Attend readings and launches. Attend writers’ conferences.
Another very important piece of advice is to find a good editor. Grammar and spelling editorial skills are not enough. Try to find an editor who understands your specific genre of writing. If you write for children, find an editor who deals with YA Literature. If you’ve written a novel, find a story editor. It was necessary to find an editor for my poetry. She knew what would be a marketable style.
Editors can be expensive. Since it’s your name that will be before the world, how much can a good edit be worth to you? Might as well bite the bullet. If you’re writing to get rich, quit trying to get published, but don’t stop writing! You may improve, get recognition elsewhere, and eventually get published.
Through one of my workshops, I advise writers towards good Query Letter writing. The query letter is generally a make or break introduction to a publisher. That letter has to be nothing short of perfect.
A concise précis is a must. The précis is sometimes called an elevator speech. How much can an eager writer tell a prospective publisher between the parkade and the first floor of the Sheraton Hotel?
When all else is ready, ask an established author to read at least part of your manuscript and write a blurb for the book jacket. If the author is fairly well known, this blurb will also serve as an excellent piece of information for a publisher. Some authors, although very busy with their own work, are very happy to encourage an aspiring author.
Another skill I pass on to fellow poets and authors is the ability to read a work in public. Many authors are a delight to listen to. Some, however, despite being excellent writers, are dull and almost inaudible. As a trained actor and having taught voice for many years, I’m able to pass on the advice and skills that help participants to quickly learn to overcome shyness and anxiety to become dynamic and exciting presenters.
Quite a few established authors offer workshops in Memoir Writing, Characterization, Poetry, Developing Setting, Dialogue. Each of these is always an excellent investment.
My final piece of advice to all is: Keep Writing. A gift to two of my grandchildren was a set of hardcover notebooks with pen attached. Writers learn to write by writing. Even in the primary grades.
WRITE and KEEP WRITING – WRITE SOMETHING EVERY DAY. Ben