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My story began where the Fraser and Nechako Rivers converge in the Northern town of Prince George, British Columbia. My time was short here, when at two years old, my family moved to Kelowna, BC in the beautiful sunny Okanagan Valley. Here life was very different, winters were warm, never dipping below -10 degrees, with summer temperatures in the high 30s. My siblings and I spent most of our summer days swimming, playing in the orchards, and hiking barefoot in the hills behind our house. I think our feet were permanently stained with dirt and tar until Fall.

But all this fun did not go without responsibilities. My father is from the old country and was brought up on the values of hard work and the notion of providing for his family by growing and harvesting his own food. It made perfect sense then that they bought a large piece of property that allowed for every imaginable vegetable and fruit to be grown. This also meant that every morning, my siblings and I would get up early, follow my dad out to the garden and pull weeds for what seemed like eternity. Very little consumables came from the grocery store…we even stomped and made our own “wobbly pop” from the vineyards on the property. It was also not uncommon to welcome the neighbours in the garden, as our family has always believed in sharing our plenty with friends.

Some favorite memories of mine, amongst many, were the strategically placed salt and pepper shakers at the end of the cucumber and tomato rows in the event you were feeling a bit peckish while out in the yard; just pick it off the vine, rub the dirt off…or not, sprinkle a little seasoning on and you were good to go. Another cherished memory, and one we still do to this day, is the dessert tree tradition; when we finish eating dinner, we each take a turn choosing the fruit tree to have dessert under, whether it be peach, apple, pear, nectarine, apricot, plum or cherry, we all lie under the tree, laugh, joke and enjoy our dessert… fresh off the tree!!

These, and so many other great memories are what builds the foundation of family values, and it’s comforting to know after all this time these traditions are still embedded in our lives. Yes some things have changed…and some remain the same, but above all else, it is a place you can always call home.

Pam W – Coril Holdings Ltd.

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