The photo above shows Vern, turning in surprise and disbelief, at the sudden eruption of “Happy Birthday” after he walked into what he thought was an empty Elk’s Hall in McBride. It was his 70th Birthday and he had spent the day as he always did on his birthday, working outside with his chainsaw. He had never had a birthday party except in the past with his immediate family. This surprise birthday party for Vern included a potluck dinner and presents, was attended by 30 friends.
Remote and isolated small villages tend to have a lot of unique and genuine characters. Vern is one of them. He spent his whole life in the same small farm in the Robson Valley. For most of his life he worked on that little farm taking care of his mother. His life was pretty sheltered. I was surprised to learn last year that he had never been to the annual Dunster Ice Cream Social a big community event just 15 miles from his home.
With the death of his mother, Vern has really expanded his horizons. Now we see him everywhere, at square dancing, at the library, out on hikes in the mountains, doing trail work, helping with the community garden, and ripping down the highway on his bicycle. He is making up for lost time.
This summer he is planning a fund-raising event for the library, gathering pledges to sponsor him in a 200 kilometer biking and hiking ordeal from McBride to Berg Lake in Mt. Robson Park in one day.
Below are some more shots of Vern’s surprise birthday party.
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