06 May 2006

Just say "Weezie's"!

My last few days in the Kootenays were the relaxing ones. Plus, lots of incredible borscht -- I'd picked up a gallon of it (literally) at Weezie's Borscht Hut as I passed through Castlegar on my way back to New Denver from Kimberley. Linda Crosfield introduced me to Weezie's during my autumn 2005 trip, and man, it was good to taste that Doukhobor specialty again.

Progress on my novel ground to a halt as I lay in a hammock in front of Slocan Lake. Suddenly, it looked both unfinishable and terrible to me. I was going to put it in the wood stove, but I guess I'll just see if it can grab me by the throat again sometime in the future. Once I thought that novel was so close to completion; now I just don't know about it.

Great paddle with Terry in her two-person kayak one sunny afternoon. We headed towards the middle of the lake (where the depth is 200 feet!), when Terry said, "I think Tess is following us." Tess the dog had been running along the shore, charting out progress, but I looked and she was no longer there. "Can't you hear her?" Terry asked. I listened. I listened hard. I heard the river flowing by the foot of the glacier; I heard a few birds; I heard the lake water splishing a little; I heard the wind.

I peered out into the lake behind us, and finally I focussed on what looked like a black rat water-skiing along the surface. It was Tess's snout. She was heading out to meet us. Would she get all excited and jump onto the kayak and tip us? Terry assured me that Tess knew better. And sure enough, she did. Tess reached the boat, and guided us towards the shore, figuring we'd gotten ourselves lost out there! She was panting and paddling, and I figured she'd collapsed exhausted when she reached the shore again, but she just hopped up on to the rocks, shook herself, and began running along the path again as we all headed home.

A final dinner at the Wild Rose Cafe, in nearby Rosebery, with Terry, her daughter Kate, and Kate's friend Eva. Perhaps the best Mexican food I've ever had: a spectacular burrito made with spiced tofu! Far as I can tell, the Wild Rose is the only business in Rosebery aside from the logging thingie at the lake.

Back in the cabin, I was sorta sad that it was too warm to light a fire on my final night. But the smell of the wood stove lingered from previous days. Comforting. Even now, back home, I miss that smell. It's New Denver, and it's Nicaragua.

Saturday morning, had a great final chat with Terry and then hit the road. I really, really, really hope I get back to the Kootenays. It's so great, too, that my poetry has connected me with people as fine as Terry. That my poetry has created friends for me. And that my poetry has brought me to the best borscht on earth -- I had another bowl of the stuff at the Pie in the Sky restaurant at Castlegar Airport. Almost as good as Weezie's. Almost.

Over and out.


At May 07, 2006 2:37 am , Anonymous rox. said...

city slicker part 18 starring stu art ross as a mountain man in the kootenays! i love it. crocodile dundee couldn't match his surrealism. no end to his kayaking prowess. man of cross continental mystery and novel intrique. secretly (oops), i wonder if his novel is done and perfect and waiting for michael critchon and andre breton to drool all over it...

At May 07, 2006 10:28 pm , Anonymous Stephanie W. said...

I'm glad the Kootenays were good to you -- both food and people! I happen to know exactly the scandanavian food stand you're talking about. I remembered it being beside Ainsworth hotsprings, and the borsht was indeed wonderful.

At August 06, 2006 3:52 pm , Blogger Terry said...

Paddle Dreams --
Hey -- that paddle sings in my heart too -- as well as all the other paddles that Stu and I haven't yet had ---

paddles in August moonlight with Tess in the bow, Stu's arm holding her close
paddles in crisp September air with sun so warm it feels like Fiji, contrasted with fall lake coolness
June picnic paddles with wraps humuus stuffed, grated carrots, and sprouts exploding forth and coooool glasses of Sauvignon Blanc
winter paddles in January suns, white blanketed beaches on east and west shores, passing steaming mugs of hot tea from stern to bow along with fresh baked lemon anise biscotti that just happened to appear as essential kayak provisions
scary hair on the back of your neck paddles in the waves for my fave Toronto friend's terror and delight

and oh so many more...

may we dream and paddle and drink deep of life in all its rich moments forever..

Miss you, dear friend.
Come Kootenay ways real soon!


At December 04, 2006 11:15 pm , Anonymous WHL Traveller said...

Weezie's Borscht Hut was one of two highlights of the annual hockey road trip for my friend and I (the other was the rail museum in Cranbrook, which you almost certainly drove through). For a town that has a huge Russian heritage, it's a shame that Weezie's is the only place in town that deals borscht; thank God it's fabulous.


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