Part II - Bear Referendum
Chapter 7 - Rich Poor Man
From the field journal of Anthony Marr
June 9, 1996, Sunday
[11:04 @ Annette and Scott Tanner’s home in Qualicum Beach]
Today is to be spent mostly on the phone to advance-book speaking engagements in the provincial-interior and to develop contacts. We can’t afford to have too many of these off days, since we have to cover 50 cities in 60 days, but from an organizing point of view, today would be more constructive off than on, and if used efficiently, this off-day could be used to generate many on-days. In other words, today is not going to be an off-day at all, just no driving.
Last night, I slept from 23:00 to 08:30. After weeks on 4-5 hours of sleep per night on average, finally I enjoyed a full night of uninterrupted rest. I have no idea how I’ve had so little sleep, compounded with the flu, and could still function to capacity these last few days. People are said to be able to perform super-normally under immense pressure, maybe the pressure of hunter confrontation is actually doing me a favour! Anyway, the flu has about run its course. I should be more on par today than yesterday.
Like Anita and Wayne, Diana and Eric, Cathy and George, Annette and Scott live in a uniquely beautiful house amidst a lovely garden, and specific to Annette and Scott’s, a panoramic view of the Juan de Fuca Strait to boot, and all have hospitality to spare. As usual, I offer to Erica the better bed, but in this house, even the lesser bed is wondrous, lying under a roof of glass, beyond which are the stars.
I must not take these people’s hospitality for granted. It has to be earned. So far, we’ve been earning it, that’s all.
[18:32] Just came back from a long walk with Annette and Scott, and their female Boxer Jessie. The Tanners are as lovely a couple as the other three, but Scott is the only plane crash survivor among them. It was last August, in broad day light. With him was environmentalist John Nelson, and wildlife photographer Myron Kozak, some of whose Kermode bear images grace the walls of WCWC. They were on an air reconnaissance mission in the vicinity of Strathcona Park, when their plane mistakenly entered a box canyon and could not turn around nor gain enough altitude to escape. It slammed into the trees on the steep canyon-wall. The pilot, a veteran in his seventies, was killed instantly. Myron, who was in the co-pilot seat, was also killed, reportedly instantly, but according to Scott, not. Scott said that Myron stayed alive and conscious, and screamed and groaned, and repeated the phrase “too much pressure”, and expired only after the rescue team had arrived. John Nelson , who shared the back seat with Scott, suffered a broken ankle, and limped out for help. Scott sustained a broken leg, two crushed vertebrae, a cracked pelvis, split sternum, and other internal injuries, but managed to drag himself out of the wreck, in which process he was soaked with gasoline. Both Scott and John tried to extricate Myron but to no avail. To this day, Scott has a limp, and has to wear a leg brace, but did walk the same distance as did Annette and I. Scott, a house-painting contractor, just began to get back to work in May. He believes that he survived for a reason, and I can see that reason in him clear as daylight. Annette described the scene of when a police officer came to her house to inform her of the accident. She recalls her initial reaction as one of denial, saying, “No. No. It didn’t happen.”
My Campbell River hosts Anita and Wayne had not been involved in a plane crash, but their ordeal was worse. Couple of decades back, they were driving their Mustang down a highway, with their two small children in the back seat, when they were rear-ended, which burst their gas tank and set the car on fire - inside and out. Due to the force of the impact, the frame of their car was buckled, and they could not open either door. Meanwhile, the back seat had become engulfed in flames, and the front seats had caught afire. Suddenly, an old man appeared at the passenger's window and, with apparently super-human strength, yanked the door open. He dragged Anita out of the car, and then Wayne, while he himself was getting burned. Tragically, the children had by then expired. Today, Anita and Wayne have healed well, physically and spiritually, look beautiful together, and have two grown children.
Hearing these real life stories, in which people had lost more than their most valuable material possessions, reminds me of a conversation I had with Raminothna when we first met, or should I say, when I first met her, while on my soul-searching solo-camping trip in Africa. I had given away most of my possessions because it was intended to be a trip of no return. After Raminothna had spiritually resurrected me, I realized that I had nothing to go back to, my net financial worth having been reduced to zero.
“I will give you a thousand-fold what you'd given away, if you will part with all the knowledge you have acquired since kindergarten,” Raminothna offered.
“You mean, you will pay me $100-million if I have a frontal lobotomy?”
“Or, in abstract terms, your power of higher reasoning.”
“You’ve got to be kidding. I wouldn’t do it for a billion dollars.”
“How about restricting the damage to just Evolution-vs-Creationism? A billion dollar if you become a true-blue Creationist.”
“I’ll pay you $10 billion if you will let go of your morals, ethics, conscience and compassion, and become a cruel psychopathic criminal."
“Not for a 100-billion dollars.”
“How about your health?”
“Not for sale.”
“Then consider yourself a very rich man.”
Health-wise, In spite of the good and long sleep last night, I’m still feeling weak and tired. Napped a couple of times this afternoon. But I did finish the long walk without much hardship. Can’t wait to get back to top form again.
Erica didn’t join us on the walk due to last night’s medical problem. But she spent the day on the phone advance-booking speaking engagements in the Cariboo-Chilcotins, and she worked until 02:30 last night, in spite of her pain. I appreciate that.
Good night, Christopher.
The Fortunate and the Called Upon
at your service
Anthony Marr, Founder and President
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)
Global Anti-Hunting Coalition (GAHC)