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Who we miss from the before: notes from Bowen Islanders

For last week’s edition we asked for notes about and to folks you saw regularly before the pandemic. The acquaintances we don’t Zoom with or check up on through Facebook.
A woman holding the hand of a child as they cross the street during the pouring rain of Bowfest 2018
Events like Bowfest (pictured here in 2018) were an opportunity for many to meet community members in a way they wouldn't in everyday life. However, such gatherings aren't possible during COVID-19.

For last week’s edition we asked for notes about and to folks you saw regularly before the pandemic. The acquaintances we don’t Zoom with or check up on through Facebook. Bowenites sent in heartfelt notes: 

Cereal buddy

Dear Earl,

Every morning I used to eat oatmeal with you on the ferry. It was my favourite morning routine. I stopped doing the morning commute and you moved away but I still think about you often and miss your cheerful presence! 


Bowen Island Pub opening in 2018A night at the pub looks different than it did back in 2018 (when this photo was taken). By File

The camaraderie

I miss the opportunity to just bump into an old friend and sit down with them at the Pub or the Snug or outside the library and catch up. Perhaps we’ve worked together in the past at Family Place or the preschool or BICS or TOTI or the Community Foundation or babysat each other’s children many years ago and have lost touch. 

We don’t linger anymore and chat with acquaintances. We tend to duck into a place half-hidden by our masks and duck out again trying to remember all the social distancing and sanitation requirements. 

Pondering the latest goings on on Bowen with someone you’ve bumped into at Artisan Eats doesn’t happen anymore.

I miss wandering around the patio at the golf course after a game on a sunny afternoon talking to everyone at every table. We’re not all the closest of friends but we all know each other and if we don’t we more often than not introduce ourselves.

 I miss that kind of camaraderie that is so unique to small communities where you can find an interesting conversation just about anywhere…recycling, the ferry waiting room, the art gallery or yoga class. I can’t wait for us to un-mask, open our eyes, lift our heads and see each other again.

–Colleen O’Neil

Moving to music with you

To all of the wonderful women who have met on the Nia dance floor – in the Fitness Centre, the Gallery or Cates Hill Chapel: we miss moving to music with you! The dancing, laughing, sensing, conditioning, expressing and healing we do! We wish you well and eagerly await the time when we can once again share the joy of Nia – together!

–Deb and Carol

Group picture of Nia women at Cates Hill Chapel in 2019The Nia crew poses for a photo in 2019. By Bronwyn Beairsto

Hiking together

I miss Steve and Sally’s hiking group. Every week, we’d go somewhere fabulous on Bowen (well, aren’t most places fabulous on Bowen). Every week, something kooky would happen. Lots of the same faces every week (Susan, Wendy, Pam, Cindy, Angelina) and often new faces we’d see only once. I haven’t seen these people in over a year now. That has not all been pandemic related (winters and injury also played a role) but the pandemic does make it hard to pick it up again.  

I miss going into Artisan Eats for my croissant, and chatting with Leoni while she put together my order. I miss her trying to convince me to go for the mimosa with my Friday brunch (and yes, she often succeeded). 

With some people, even though I have seen them a few times this year (at a safe distance), I miss what we used to do together. I miss going for a beer at the pub with Kiley after a long satisfying hike. I missed not being able to do turkey dinner with her and Baz this year. I miss my day trips to the nurseries and the foodie tours on the mainland with Holly. And I miss what could have been: plans we made for the year that we could not follow through on because of the pandemic. 

-Jen Ritchie

Ferry Friends

I really miss the cafeteria staff on the ferry.  

-Ellen McMahon

Water taxi bonding

...The wonderfully random conversations on the ferry and the water taxi!

I don’t miss commuting. 

-Sue Fairburn

Folks talking on the Queen of Capilano 2018COVID-19 has hindered ferry friendships - once a staple of Bowen commuting life. By File


The person I miss the most is you…

 The man on his phone, catching up on Facebook, Twitter or email, while we wait in line for our coffee.

 The couple laughing over a shared private moment, I look over and see them sitting next to each other, locked in their time and space.

 The child that runs past me as I see her parents following closely behind, with a smile that radiates love and joy.

 I miss the dog park and chatting with a fellow dog parent about the ridiculous behaviour of their golden retriever. 

 I miss sharing a moment with a stranger at the grocery store, as we laugh over the most mundane things that bring us joy in that very moment.

I miss public gatherings, social events and IRL (in real life) moments. I miss the chatter, laughter, noise and familiar voices all around me.

 But most of all, I miss the life we shared before this pandemic. I patiently wait to share more smiles, stories and moments with you one day soon.

-Tara Morin (Lazlo)


I miss all of you Bowen Island… 

-xx Carol Petersen & Pepper

Lois Meyers-Carter

Lois Meyers-Carter. This past weekend would have been her birthday. I had known her while being a “weekender” for so many years. She saw me at the Eaglecliff mailboxes shortly after we moved here full time and said, “Murray, I have some of the business people coming to the house tomorrow night, would you like to meet them?”

Since I really didn’t know anyone other than our neighbours, I went. Ninety minutes after arriving, I left as vice-president of the Bowen Island Chamber of Commerce. Thus started a 20-year history of volunteering on the island. 

Lois was a huge cheerleader of all things Bowen. 

In her quiet demeanour she always got her point across (and her way!) ‘Island Neighbours’ column in the Undercurrent was the first place I looked to find out who was doing what on the island and who was having an upcoming birthday. Her work with the Historians was beyond compare. I do believe she also was the first librarian either at BICS or the Library and was a volunteer proof-reader for the Undercurrent for years.  

Miss that lady! 

-Murray Atherton

Cupid not COVID

Rather than attempting to list everyone and everything I miss during this past year, while COVID-19 has tried to relegate Cupid to the sidelines, I prefer instead to express my gratefulness for our family’s, friends’ and neighbours’ good fortunes, especially health, through the challenges of the pandemic. 

That said, I do miss the “normal,” enjoyable life we had been so accustomed to and somewhat unknowingly taken for granted. 

So, as a group let us not miss this opportunity to thank all the dedicated healthcare and emergency services workers who are trying so hard to help us through this ordeal while getting us back to normal, to whatever degree that might be.

 Thanks as well to the businesses, local and off-island, who are struggling to survive while creating employment in order that we can somewhat remember what normal is like. 

Here’s hoping the “vaccine corner” is the last one we must navigate in order to see and enjoy better days ahead. As the health experts told us at the outset, the pandemic is a marathon, not a sprint – let us not ease up on our collective responsibilities prematurely. Let’s ensure we get over the finish line quickly but safely. The well-being and development of our youth, who are being denied some of the most formative and enjoyable years of their lives, deserve nothing less. (Not to mention the rest of us.) We can’t see the last of COVID-19 fast enough. It certainly will not be missed! 

-Bruce Russell