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Thursday, September 28, 2023

Memoir of a Rural Sisyphus-Redux, Marriages and Miracle Beaches


Memoir of a Rural Sisyphus-Redux

Bill Engleson



For a few years, I kept a diary of my inauguration into the Denman Community. This column, recently renamed Memoir of a Rural Sisyphus-Redux, will

extract several of my observations from a dozen or more years ago and share them. Hopefully, they will have some modern times currency.

Marriages and Miracle Beaches

(Memoirist’s contextual note, January 2022: For seven year, from 2005-12, I served as a provincially appointed Marriage Commissioner.)

July 29, 2007

Yesterday, I drove to Miracle Beach, a beautiful provincial park halfway between Courtenay and Campbell River. I arrived an hour early, as is often my custom with significant appointments.

Lay of the land and all that.

Provincial Parks have a pay for parking system. The cost would be covered by the bride and groom. I had no qualms about paying but alas, paying was not possible.

One poor woman, desperately seeking a positive parking experience and fastidiously connected to honesty was running around opining on the lack of a way to pay.

I had arrived a few minutes before her and come to the same conclusion. There is petty comfort in having someone else take an exaggerated stance on an annoying trifle which bothers you.

A third less concerned parking party, “Call me Walter,” he jokingly said, offered to be called as a witness if the State took her or me to Court.

As it was, the State clearly had no intention of charging anyone that day. The payment box was locked as tight as marriage vows are yearned to be. I suspect vandals had recently plundered the box and the locked container was a short-term resolution to the incommodious crime. That seemed a more sensible diagnosis than believing government had decreed a Parking Toll Freedom Day at Miracle Beach.

Incidentally, the wedding went well. The betrothed couple had reserved a large, covered picnic area just in case it rained, which it could easily have done. When I arrived at the park, there was a group of 20-30 adults and kids having a picnic in the covered area. They exhibited no regard for the posted notice that was the permit for the wedding to take place and the reservation for the shelter.

Eventually the wedding party dribbled in. One longhaired wedding party maestro with a camera scurried around attempting to hustle the invasive picnickers out of the shelter. Three of the intruders were in wheelchairs adding to the awkward angst.

As the reception was going to be elsewhere, and as it became clear that it wasn’t going to rain, his efforts seemed excessively frazzled and frenzied.

Shortly, the interlopers took their eviction in stride, repaired to an unsheltered location for the duration. I have no doubt they swarmed back into the shelter after the wedding party departed.

As for the wedding, it had a 1970’s theme (including, I believe, but wouldn’t swear to it, John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John’s rendition of “You’re The One That I Want” blasting out over the low tide) and, just for a moment, after the vows were given on the sand and I pronounced the couple married, I wondered if perhaps I had miraculously time-travelled back more than three decades.


It was a little disconcerting, but, overall, quite pleasant if only because I flourished in the seventies.

It was a reasonably good decade.

As is this one.



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