Paul St. Pierre - 1923 -2014 - This Was Not My IdeaSunday, November 02, 2014
Today on a cold, gray and ultimately rainy Sunday afternoon, I was immersed in a bittersweet experience that included fine Mexican food, a superb mariachi and a celebration of Paul St. Pierre’s death and life. The event held at the Fort Langley Community Hall, all decorated with Mexican artificial flowers, skulls and candles, was an old-fashioned commemoration of el Día de los Muertos. Paul St. Pierre had a warm spot in his heart for Mexico and he stipulated:
“If and when you wish to remember me…observe The Day of the Dead in the Mexican tradition. The day the souls return is not a day of mourning, but a day of celebration with music, beer, graveyard picnics, food, cakes, and candy for family and the entire community.”
And so it was. The large crowd enjoyed shredded chicken tacos served with a choice of salsa colorada, salsa verde and guacamole, lots of wine but in my case I drank agua de Jamaica (a deep red hibiscus tea usually served in children’s birthday parties) and a dessert of arroz con leche, properly sprinkled with cinnamon, and some incredibly dense and very delicious dark chocolate skulls.
Many people spoke of anecdotes involving the 90 year old Chicago-born BC man who lived a life that included some near misses, he was a pilot, between his Cessna and an airliner.
Like most memorials, it seems to me, people tried to find a meaning in their own personal lives that might have been urged to them by personal contact, or through St. Pierre’s many books and TV programs that he inspired. The evening ended with a two-block walk in the rain led by the mariachi (the guitar player I believe will have to buy a new instrument) and we all stood by St. Pierre’s grave marker. We had a toast and some lit candles, Mexican style.
Paul St. Pierre was the Member of Parliament for the riding of Coast Chilcotin from 1968-1972. His son Paul told us that he joined the Liberal Party misreading it as the Libertarian Party. One of St. Pierre's maxims was to consciously break the law when possible. I am not sure that in memory of the man I broke the law. Going and coming from Vancouver I had Abraham Rogatnick's Mexican skeleton, Pancho riding with me shotgun. I decided that with two of us up front I could then drive on the HOV lanes. Did I break the law?
As I drove home in the evening gloom, my partner most silent, I reflected that here was a man, larger than life of which so few are left. I feel lucky to have met and photographed him.
Death the cure for all diseases
|Paul St. Pierre, son, left|
|Pancho, bottom left visits with Paul St. Pierre|