Tuesday 5 July 2022

Barb Marshall

                            The photo shows some of the equipment we used while timber cruising.

One of my co-workers when I was working for the BC Forest Service was Barb Marshall.  Barb was a petite, attractive, chain-smoking, independent woman with thick dark hair, who probably had a reputation as a “wild woman” largely I think, because she wore “leathers” when she roared around on her Harley.

        Barb was often my workmate out in the bush when I was timber cruising and she never seemed very wild to me.  At work she was always dedicated to the job and took the rain, snow, Devil’s Club, and mosquitoes in stride.

Of course, I only saw Barb at work and so didn’t really know what her life was like during the weekends.  I know she was quite creative and did a lot of building, renovating her house, and dabbling in the arts.

One morning I arrived at the office on a day when Barb and I were supposed to work in the bush, I noticed that she hadn’t come to work.  Shortly after 8:00, I got a call from her.  She told me she couldn’t come to the office, but could just pick her up at her house and then proceed out to our work in the forest, where we were supposed to finish up a cruise.  

Her behavior seemed a bit strange on the phone, but I agreed to swing by and pick her up at her place.  When she climbed into the pickup, I understood why she didn’t want to go to the office:  She sported a black eye, having been assaulted by her boyfriend.  I, being naive, had never run into anything like that before and didn’t know quite how to react, except to try to be kind and understanding to her.   She was quiet most of the day, but she persevered and did her work as usual.

Barb always seemed so slight and it always seemed so unexpected when, after work, she climbed onto her big Harley, and then loudly rumbled away.  I always remember her telling me that one day, while riding her Harley, she had to come to a stop, lost her balance and the Harley tipped over sideways.  She wasn’t strong enough to pick it up to make it upright, and had to rely on some help to do so, before she could continue her journey.  That in itself seemed like a valid reason for her to find some other form of recreation, but of course she didn’t.

Another memorable story Barb told me had to do with her helping a friend move to  Dome Creek.  Barb and her roommate loaded her big blue pickup truck with the furniture and headed out.  As they were roaring down the highway to Dome Creek, Barb was smoking.  When she got to the end of her cigarette, she flipped it out of the window.  A bit further down the road, when she happened to look in the rear view mirror, she noticed smoke blowing out from behind her truck.

She came to a stop and got out of the truck to check.  I guess when she flipped the lit  cigarette out of the window, the wind blew it back onto a couch, which then fanned by the wind, caught fire.  They had to pull all of the furniture out of the truck to the side of the highway and put out the fire, before loading it back in and proceeding to Dome Creek.

Barb eventually moved away from McBride to Creston, BC.  In the Fall of 2015, news filtered back to McBride that she had died, which saddened everyone that knew her, but she certainly remains alive in my memories.

View my paintings at:  davidmarchant2.ca


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