In under twenty minutes Rick and Misty arrived at Memorial Park. Misty couldn’t wait to get out of the car and have a look around.
“Look Rick. The park looks beautiful in the winter.”
“I can see that. Today’s snowfall makes it look even better. I love how the branches of the trees look when they’re covered by snow and the amber street lights reflect off them. There is so much in nature that we just don’t appreciate,” Rick said.
“Let’s walk through the park and go over the Osborne Bridge,” Misty suggested.
“Sounds good to me. Let’s do it,” Rick answered.
As he held Misty’s hand as they started to cross the bridge, Rick realized that this was the way he felt when he first met Sasha. This was definitely better than getting drunk or stoned. No feeling could compare to being in love.
The couple stopped walking when they were about half way across the bridge. Misty pointed out the beauty of the gnarled, snow covered branches of the trees on the river bank.
“This is a beautiful scene,” Rick agreed. If I had my sketch book with me I would start drawing what is right before our eyes,” Rick said.
“You’re an artist, too?” Misty asked with surprise.
“Yes, actually I’m pretty good at it. I mostly draw pictures of cartoon characters from Looney Tunes. Some of the little kids on our block like them,” Rick said.
“That’s another thing that we have in common. I like to draw too, mostly pictures of animals. I especially like to draw pictures of horses,” Misty said.
“That’s great. We should arrange a time when we both have our sketch books and do some drawing together,” Rick suggested. “Look Misty, there’s a Salisbury House just across the bridge. Could I buy you a coffee or a hot chocolate?”
“You bet,” Misty answered.
As soon as they arrived Rick found them a booth at the Salisbury House. When they got their winter clothing off, an attractive young waitress asked them for their order. Misty wanted a hot chocolate with marshmallows and Rick asked for a coffee.
The lights always seemed bright at a Salisbury House restaurant. The couple didn’t really notice but the Osborne Sals started to fill up with customers. As a result, all the ongoing conversations greatly raised the noise level.
Rick said, “You will need to speak up a little bit. I have trouble hearing in crowded places.”
“Why is that?” Misty asked.
“When I was a little boy I had a lot of ear infections. My doctor later told me that the infections probably reduced my ability to hear out of my left ear.”
“That’s too bad. I’ll speak more loudly for you.”
“I would appreciate that,” Rick said.
“Rick did you hear the rumour going around that I was hospitalized in a psychiatric ward when I was living in California?”
After the straight to the point speeches by Sheriff George Anderson and William Everett, there wasn’t too much for Elaine Tanner to say to the audience. After Elaine’s brief speech, the crowd started to disperse. Elaine and the other organizers had set up both a literature table and a refreshment booth covered by a bright yellow canopy. As it was very warm this afternoon several participants in the demonstration made their way over to the refreshment stand to buy themselves a soft drink.
Garry Hardy was one of the first people to buy himself a coke that was poured into a plastic cup by one of the volunteers. He turned around rather quickly and bumped into Stephanie Richards who was standing just a couple of feet behind him. Stephanie was deep in thought and was not watching out for Garry. When Stephanie and Garry collided with each other, some of Garry’s soft drink splashed on Stephanie’s tee shirt.
“Oh, I’m so sorry,” Garry said as he started to blush. I’ll get you a towel to dry you off.”
Garry would have dried off Stephanie’s shirt himself but most of his drink had spilled on Stephanie’s chest and modesty and decency were what was called for in this situation.
Garry was able to borrow a towel from one of the volunteers and handed it to Stephanie.
“Well, seeing that I kind of wrecked your tee shirt, the least that I can do is buy you a new tee shirt and pay for your soft drink. What kind of pop would you like?”
“You don’t need to buy me a new tee-shirt, man, but I would like an Orange Crush to drink,” Stephanie answered. Even though Garry’s clothes appeared to be rumpled, Stephanie found that she was somewhat attracted to the young man. She had always appreciated males that demonstrated good manners as Garry did.
“Did you come with anyone?” Garry inquired.
“No, I just came on my own to see what all the excitement was about. Plus, I wanted to get away from my Aunt Meg’s house for a while. I’m kind of having a rough day.”
“What’s making it so rough? Oh, by the way. I guess that I should introduce myself. My name is Garry Hardy.”
“And I’m Stephanie Richards. To answer your question it’s been a difficult day for me because I wanted to go on a research expedition to look for Ogopogo. My dad, my brother and his girlfriend are all going, but Dean Sanderson said they won’t have room for me. I’m really bummed out about it.”
Garry started to pull the tab off of Stephanie’s Orange Crush can and poured it into a plastic cup.
“I’m also going on an expedition to look for Ogopogo. In fact, we started on our first trip on the lake yesterday. My friend Wally and his grandfather, Winston took a boat ride out around Squally Point and Rattlesnake Island. It was awesome. We got a real close up look at Ogopogo and were able to take some pictures and to capture the creature on video,” Garry said.
“You’ve got to be kidding me!” Stephanie said. You actually saw Ogopogo and took pictures of it?”
“Every word is the truth,” Garry answered, removing his Vancouver Canucks baseball cap. “Winston said that we had done enough work for one day and was concerned about our safety, so he turned his cabin cruiser around and we rode back to his house.”
“What did the creature look like? Up close I mean?” Stephanie asked.
“It was like something right out of a horror movie. In fact I had a nightmare about Ogopogo last night,” Garry said.
“How would you describe the creature?” Stephanie asked.
“Well, we only got a good look at its head and neck. Its neck was very long, thick and muscular. It was at least the width of a telephone pole. It was a dark greenish color with a horse shaped head and a beautiful mane of emerald green hair running along the back of its neck. It had large amber eyes. The expression on its face was very ferocious,” Garry answered stopping to take a sip of what was left of his Coke.
“Why don’t I take you to see Winston Standfield. I’m sure he would let you join our expedition,” Garry offered.
“I would love to!” Stephanie said almost spilling her Orange Crush.
Chapter One Hundred Fifty-Seven:
Garry Phelge and Stephanie Richards were alone on the main deck of Winston’s massive cabin cruiser. Winston named his boat, Discovery. They were both leaning on the railings just enjoying today’s beautiful weather. It was a hot sunny afternoon and the water on the lake looked calm. They were both enjoying the cool breeze coming off the lake. It was the first time since their conversation in the town commons that Stephanie and Garry had an opportunity for some personal time together.
“Do you know what you would like to do in the future, Garry?’’
Garry chuckled, “How far into the future are we talking now?”
“Let’s say in the next five years,” said Stephanie.
“Do you mean, what do I want to do when I grow up?”
“That’s part of it, I guess,” said Stephanie.
“I don’t know. The best that I’ve been able to do is work some casual labor jobs. People who have schizophrenia are not that much in demand in the workplace. Plus it’s really hard to keep it all together for eight to ten hours at a stretch,” answered Garry.
“I think I understand what you are saying, Garry. Maybe that’s part of the reason that I feel such a strong connection to you,” said Stephanie.
“And I thought it was my irresistible, animal magnetism,” said Garry in a deprecating manner.
“Don’t take such a negative view of yourself. I do find you physically attractive, but that’s not the main thing that I’m looking for in a guy,” said Stephanie.
“What are you looking for in a
“A lot of things. I don’t mean to sound old school but I mainly look for integrity and character in a man,” answered Stephanie.
Chapter One Hundred Eighteen:
It was a short walk from the town commons to Winston Standfield’s house. When Garry knocked on Winston’s front door, He was immediately greeted by the smiling visage of Wally’s Grandfather. Wally put down his Diet Coke and got off the couch too as he had a good view of the front door from where he had been sitting.
“Garry, I see you brought a very beautiful friend along,” said Winston as he extended his right hand towards Stephanie. Stephanie gave Winston a warm smile and shook his hand, “Pleased to meet you sir. Garry has told me a little bit about you and I’d like to learn a lot more from you.”
“That’s quite the compliment,” said Winston. “I’ll try my best to satisfy your curiosity.”
Winston was not repelled in the least by Stephanie’s punk rocker presentation. Colored hair and piercings had never upset him. He liked kids that showed a bit of attitude. After all, Winston Standfield was just a big kid himself.
“We were just watching wrestling on tv. Do you like wrestling, Stephanie?” asked Winston.
“I love wrestling. You could say I’m a wrestling fanatic,” answered Stephanie.
“Can I get you a drink from the fridge?” asked Wally who was having trouble keeping his eyes off Garry’s new friend. “Would you like a Coke, ice tea or a beer?”
“Oh, that’s easy. I’ll definitely go for a beer,” said Stephanie.
“I noticed your Save Ogopogo tee shirt. It appears to have a large ugly stain on it,” said Winston.
“Well, Garry and I had a little collision at the refreshment stand at the demonstration. Garry accidentally spilled some of his drink on me.”
“Garry has always been a clumsy oaf,” laughed Wally.
“So you two met at the demonstration. What was the demonstration like?” asked Winston.
By that time Wally had handed Stephanie her beer and she was popping the zip tab off her can of Kootenay.
“Can I get you a glass?” asked Wally.
“No way. I’m a punk rocker chick. I have attitude.” said Stephanie. “Sorry about the tee shirt. Garry offered to buy me a new tee shirt, but I told him not too. The stain will probably come out in the wash.
“That Orange Crush is like battery acid. It can burn a hole right through your tee shirt if you are not careful,” said Garry.
“I’ve always liked guys with a sense of humor,” said Stephanie.
From his conversations with Misty, Rick had learned that Memorial Park was the place to be if you wanted to meet counter culture people. One hot, summer afternoon Rick walked downtown to buy a new record at a place called The Record Room. Rick still had a paper route and he used his extra money to keep up his music collection. He was thinking about buying the first album by Jimi Hendrix and The Experience. He had heard one of his favorite local bands perform Purple Haze, the second single release from this album, and decided that he wanted to hear the full LP.
After he had purchased the album at the record store and walked out the door he felt some one tap him on the shoulder and say, “Excuse me, man.” This was the first time that anyone had called him, “man”. Rick turned around and saw what could only be described as a female hippie or a flower child. He had previously only seen the flower children on television or in magazines. This girl definitely met the stereotype. Rick would estimate that she was fourteen to sixteen years old.
“Hey man, do you have a cigarette and a little spare change?”
Rick happened to have a pack of Sweet Caporal cigarettes on him and did have change left over after purchasing the Jimi Hendrix album. This must be what the hippies meant by spare change. Rick laughed and said, “Sure”. The young girl had long blond hair and freckles. Although she was very thin and appeared to have missed a few meals Rick found her to be reasonably attractive.
“Would you like to get something to eat? There’s a Salisbury House about a block from here and I’m buying.” Rick couldn’t believe that he’d found the courage to say this. This was like asking a girl out on a date and he had never had any success with this. There is nothing more shattering to a young man’s ego than rejection from a female. When a young man hears, ‘No,’ or I don’t think so,’ it is like taking a heavy punch to the abdomen. The air is sucked right out of you.
To his delight and amazement, the flower child said, “That would be very cool. Can I get a smoke from you now?”
“Absolutely,” said Rick taking a cigarette out of his pack and handing it to her.
While the two new acquaintances walked to The Salisbury House Rick felt like he was floating on air. It was hard for him to contain his excitement. He was about to have the company of a female all to himself.
Rick Miller had just turned eighteen. He lived with his family in St. Vital, a suburb of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Winnipeg has the largest population of any urban area in the province of Manitoba and it was the year of rock festivals in the province. This weekend’s event would be the third that Rick Miller had attended during the summer of 1969. The famous or infamous “summer of love” had come a couple of years later in Canada than it had in The United States. Rick loved these rock festivals. He was a loyal fan of all the local rock bands in the city. To Rick these musicians were of as worthy of his praise as world famous bands like The Beatles and the Rolling Stones.
Rick loved the music of the 1960’s. The first single record he bought was She Loves You by The Beatles. He especially liked the garage bands that sometimes had a single hit record during the years 1965 to 1967.
But now it was the psychedelic era. It was Jimi Hendrix and his band The Experience, with a beautiful yellow cover on their first LP, Are You Experienced? Rick wasn’t quite sure that he preferred psychedelic music to the garage bands but he figured that he would soon get used to the new sounds on the radio.
You see Rick was now “with it” or “hip” or at least tried to be. This transformative process had only come about in the last three months. The inspiration for his desire for hipness came through his association with his new female neighbor whose family moved into a small, red house next door to him. To be more precise.
His new neighbor, Misty, had recently moved to Canada from San Francisco, California. Misty was very attractive with her beautiful long hair, emerald eyes and almost perfect figure. Misty didn’t use any make-up because she didn’t need to. She would have been around fifteen or sixteen during the Haight-Ashbury Summer of Love. Misty claimed to have hung out with the original community of hippies on a regular basis. She told Rick that she would have moved right into Haight-Ashbury if her parents would let her. If she tried to run away, Misty said that her mother would definitely get the police to bring her back home. Misty’s cover story was that she visited the library every afternoon during that summer as she was writing a novel and found the library to be a comfortable place to do research and to write.
The more that Rick got to know Misty the more he realized that she loved to drop names and to stretch the truth, if not, upon occasion, make up outright lies. Rick had also heard rumors that Misty had spent some time in a mental health facility while in California. Misty told him that she was on staff there,but their were romors going around that she had been a patient there for about a six month period. Rick believed that there might be some truth to these rumors.
Misty loved to tell stories about the good life she had left behind in California. She greatly resented having to move to Winnipeg but her parents had split up and she had chosen to live with her father.
John, Stephanie and Ryan all chowed down on the burgers that Meg barbequed. They all had time to catch up on what had transpired in each others’ lives since the last time they were altogether. After lunch everybody went for a nap.
Ryan was so exhausted after the long car trip that he slept for two hours. When he arose it was close to 4:00 PM. Ryan pulled a Rockstar Energy drink out of his back pack along with his mp3 player. While he drank the Rockstar Ryan listened to Led Zeppelin’s, The Song Remains the Same. This had always been his favorite album by Led Zeppelin. His favorite track was the live version of Stairway to Heaven.
When he felt fully awake again he headed downstairs to Aunt Meg’s living room. The others were all watching an episode of X-Factor that Meg had recorded. It was one of those episodes where the judges were auditioning potential contestants and some of the performances were horrible. Ryan wasn’t that interested in watching the show. He told the others that he was going out for a jog and was also going to do some exploring.
A couple of minutes into his jog another jogger was just a few feet behind him. He turned around to see a very attractive young woman wearing a B. C. Lions jersey. She asked Ryan if he minded having some company on his jog.
Ryan told her that he would be delighted as he was just vacationing in Kelowna and really didn’t know anyone besides his family and relatives.
“Let’s stop for a few minutes and talk,” suggested the attractive, young female jogger. “We should introduce ourselves. My name is Monique Painchaud. I’m from Montreal, Quebec.”
Ryan stopped running and extended his hand, “Pleased to meet you. I’m Ryan Richards from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Obviously you speak English, Monique.”
“That’s right. I’m fluently bilingual in both French and English. I have just been in Kelowna for a week. My mother lives in Kelowna and I spend the summer months with her. During the winter months I attend university and live with my dad in Montreal,” said Monique.
“I hate to be so blunt, but are you married or do you have a boyfriend?” asked Ryan.
“Neither,” replied Monique. “How about you?”
“The same as you. I’m a free agent right now,” answered Ryan.
“Free agent, eh,” Monique laughed. “You must be interested in sports.”
“I am. I played both hockey and football at my high school. I just graduated this year.”
“What are you going to do in the fall?” asked Monique.
“I’ve applied at The University of Manitoba and intend on trying out for both their football and hockey teams.”
“What area of studies do you want to major in?” asked Monique.
“Education. I’m signing up for the four year Bachelor of Education degree.”
“So you want to be a teacher?”
“That’s plan B. I’d rather be a professional athlete,” said Ryan.
“Well, you’d make a lot more money. That’s for sure.”
“What do you study at university, Monique?”
“I’ll be starting my third year at The Faculty of Education.”
“Ah, so we’re looking at two potential teachers here,” said Ryan.
“Hey, Ryan, there’s a diner about a mile from here. Do you want to meet there for lunch?”
“That sounds like a plan to me.”