Editorial: Happy Anniversary, Tumbler Ridge

Trent Ernst, Editor

Dear Tumbler Ridge:

I bet you thought I had forgotten.

But no, I knew this day was coming for quite a while.

Okay, so maybe the specific date came and went without me noticing, but I didn’t forget.

Or rather, I did, but I was reminded.

It has now been 15 years since the two of us got back together.

Yes, I know, you still count that brief, torrid affair we had back in the late 1980s, and, while I still remember those days with fondness, there was the better part of a decade where you and I? Just didn’t hang out that much.

But it has now been 15 years since I came back.

You want to know how I know? It’s a bit silly.

Okay, I went to get a book out, and my library card had expired.

Yes, my library card. You know. Good for 15 years? Had expired. They had to renew it for me.

And I know it’s been 15 years since I moved back because one of the first things I did when I moved back to Tumbler Ridge was to get a new library card.

Yes, I know, I already had a library card from 1988, but apparently they want you to get a new one after you leave for a decade. Go figure.

15 years ago. 2001. It was in the heart of the original shutdown. You weren’t doing very well at all, but we decided to move here because we were doing even worse down in the Lower Mainland. Colette had just lost her job, and I was freelancing, so I could be anywhere.

Ah. Yes, Colette. While I was away, I found a wife. I still consider her my Vancouver bride, even though when we moved up here, we had only been married seven years. We has spent more than twice that together up here in Tumbler Ridge.

And when we moved up here? It was just she and I.

Now, there’s four of us. We were a couple when we moved here; now we’re a family.

Since we’ve been here, you’ve gone from bust to boom and back to bust again.

A few thousand people have come and gone, but we’re still here, you and I.

The thing is, if I don’t think about it, the passage of time seems to be no more than a few days. I’m still the same person I was when I moved here. I still have the same foibles. While many people have moved away, there’s still a couple people, like Jerrilyn and Ray, who haven’t, and they help define the continuity.

But when I stop to really think about it, that snowy day that I moved here 15 years ago was, well, it was 15 years ago. It was a third of a lifetime ago. I still remember the road hadn’t been plowed, and my Ford Escort Wagon was pushing snow with the front bumper as we made our way in from Chetwynd.

My Ford Escort. That was three cars ago, now. I’ve owned more vehicles since owning that one than I owned before.

And 15 years? That’s just about (but not quite) half of the time that you’ve been here.

15 years ago Wikipedia was founded. 15 years ago, George W Bush had just been sworn in as president. 15 years ago,Mac OS X was released. Windows XP (aka, the last decent Windows OS) would follow that summer.

15 years ago, when I moved to Tumbler Ridge, 9-11 was still six months in the future. The world’s first self contained heart transplant surgery was still four months away, and the world was still blissfully free of Nickleback’s ‘How You Remind Me.’

Time passes us by, unaware, or only vaguely aware of its significance. Choices made then are covered, like fossils, forming the strata of our history. We can ask what if, or what might have been, but we must live with the results of our choices.

For me, that choice was to return to Tumbler Ridge. 15 years on, I still don’t regret that choice.