OUT ON A LIMB: Send my mail to ‘Alistair’s house, Campbell River’

SPECIAL DELIVERY...Whenever we send a snail mail letter these days, we still are never completely confident it’s going to get there

SPECIAL DELIVERY…Whenever we send a snail mail letter these days, we still are never completely confident it’s going to get there.

It may be unfair, a remnant of days when volume and technology restricted the reliability of mail delivery. Letters went missing in those sorting machines, maybe flung out onto the floor by a glitch in the roller. Sometimes, they were diverted to Mississauga.

Then there was geographic ignorance. When I lived up north, letters intended for Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, often went to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. Because they’re kind of the same place, right?

But despite that history, there are times when letters get delivered against all odds and you just wonder how.

I got one the other day from Denman Island. It was addressed to ‘Editor, Campbell River Mirror, Campbell River B.C. V9W 2B2.’ Who needs a street address? And forget about the postal code  – our postal code is V9W 1X9. But it got here. Of course, everybody knows where the Campbell River Mirror is, right?

So who needs an address? Any mail for me can be addressed to ‘Alistair’s house, Campbell River.’

HOLIDAYS REVISITED…You think Campbell River is off the beaten track sometimes but it is still a fairly well-known place. I checked into a hotel in Golden, B.C. and the manager informed me she was going to be in Campbell River in the fall for a wedding.

A Banff Park ranger had worked at Strathcona Park Lodge. An American we chatted with in Glacier National Park had a cousin in Nanaimo, so knew about Campbell River. And as usual, whenever Campbell River was mentioned, some reference was made to the fishing.

I’m always unsure of how to describe where I’m from whenever I’m in the U.S. One old guy asked me where I was from last year and I said ‘Canada.’ To which, he replied dryly, ‘Canada’s a big place.’ On a Park Ranger-guided nature walk, we all were asked to introduce ourselves and where we’re from. About eight of the 11 or so of us were from Wisconsin or somewhere.

The ranger looked at me and said, ‘Please tell me you’re from somewhere different.’

I didn’t disappoint. Sometimes when you get into a conversation, people will ask where you’re from and you brace yourself to explain because there’s some Americans who are familiar with Canada and there are others who don’t know there’s another country above them on the map. They think that map of the U.S. on the classroom wall showing a disembodied Lower 48 with Alaska and Hawaii floating off to the side like satellites is how the world actually is.