It’s a beautiful thing to have friends who journey the years with you…while not WITH you exactly, they are in your heart. Everything I’m about to write comes from the rewriting of memory. It’s interesting that when Randy Bogner sits down and recalls a story or two, it seems to me, that those stories can be completely different from the ones that I recall. But, such is life and its richness. In telling stories, people can create something new each time…you know what I mean? If you don’t share a zillion years then you don’t get to discover how this works. One must laugh and enjoy these experiences. They are the blessings of lives well-lived.
I met Randy what seems THAT zillion years ago. It was through those years when I had a beautiful and young circle of friends early 70s, in Lethbridge, Alberta. I was blessed to be able to meet and live with my dear friend, to this day, Gloria. These were the years of EOF projects, Employment Opportunities For Youth and several of our group were employed teaching drawing, clay and painting in tucked away places, like the Civic Skating Rink. I remember listening to one teacher-friend reciting poetry while sitting on a table and at the same time, braiding a bracelet. I remember riding my bike every where.
Given that my family had moved east again, as was my father’s military obligation, I found myself plunked into a world that was strange and unfamiliar to me. So, along with the new, that same bike would regularly be parked up against the outside wall of a variety of churches, finally resting up against the brick wall of St. Patrick’s parish and so began my journey toward becoming a Catholic.
These were the days of hippie earth children, long hair and the White Album. Randy’s hair was admired by everyone, given that it extended the full length of his back. And he was/is a tall drink of water, so that’s saying something. Cabarets were also big and while I didn’t drink, I enjoyed the lively music and dancing late into the night. Hmmm….a good time to inject some music. S’alright…you needn’t listen to the entire album, but you might set it to play while you’re reading this nostalgia.
These were the years of back yard visiting, Yukka Flux and communal foot washing/rubbing rituals. It was a different time.
I remember, as well, that Randy played classical guitar so beautifully and during gatherings there would be this amazing sound going on while our friends talked over it. These were the days when we had it ALL FIGURED OUT and we were going to change the world.
Glo was/is the one who I must give credit to making sure that, over the years, we all stuck together…stayed in touch…were informed on births, deaths, marriages and she is a blessing to us all! For example, she created this collage of photographs, some distant past and others from 2000. Her card…I save them all…is dated August 25, 2001.
I lost touch with Randy for a chunk of years as he disappeared into the Slocan Valley…lived with a family of wonderful brothers and sisters and created pottery. This, from the outside, appeared to be a spiritual quest for Randy and contributed to his forever-formation as a Christian, I’m certain. We joke about the only visit I made out to Slocan, along with my daughter and a then-boyfriend. The ‘Shack’ seemed to be so tucked away in the trees of the valley, that from the bottom of a dirt road, I started calling out to the trees…”Randy! Randy! Are you there, Randy?” It turned out to be a beautiful visit, however other-worldly.
A few photographs, snappled up without permission, to illustrate Randy of those days…late 70s-early 80s.
I am blessed in that I have been the recipient of a couple of pieces of pottery created by Randy.
What happened after that…I don’t know. Years passed. Gloria, again, became the reason I reunited with Randy and his beautiful wife, Jane, and their girls. A lot had transpired for the Bogners before this meeting. But…not my story to share. It was such a blessing to meet Jane and now to know her as a true Ya Ya. Wonderfully warm and generous of spirit, I can now say that I’ve had opportunity, along with Glo, to share much home made bread, soup and pastries with Jane’s family. Another family that loves dogs as much as I do! Jane is a wealth of knowledge, especially around book recommendations and always has the right question to ask to inspire and to provoke thought. I admire Jane’s ability to cook, and especially delight in her baked goods, but I’ve also had opportunity to look at her art portfolio and I still look forward to a paint-out opportunity. We share many laughs when we are visiting the Bogners and I’m so grateful for these times.
The last huge body of work I painted was an exhibit titled The Places I Have Been, hosted by the Wallace Art Galleries and the Bogner family, Glo and several of her friends came out to support me. I don’t know what I’d do without friends like these. That collection of landscapes somehow represented, also, the landscape of these friendships and what they have come to mean over time.
I could go on and on with photographs and anecdotes, but suffice it to say today, Sunday, I’m grateful to the friends in my life. I’ve appreciated your support, your humour and your genuine love all of these years. Let’s remember always what these years have meant.