Today marks a year that Gary arrived in Nunavut, a year since he went to Kugluktuk to join us at the Fort Hearne for the Northwest Passage. I'm sure there have been many days that he regrets the day he answered the phone and heard me ask if he was interested in coming to the Arctic to build our B&B, oh and as a bonus, sail the Passage to get here. I'm hoping that most days though, he's happy he did.
I knew Gary from my days in LaRonge Saskatchewan, and was lucky to have him in our circle of friends there. His easy going, thoughtful nature makes him one of those people who you warm to immediately. Gary had his own contracting company there, I had even asked him once if I could work for him in my spare time in order to learn carpentry. Spare time, however, wasn't something I had a lot of, working at one of Canada's busiest RCMP detachments so it didn't happen. Gary left for Japan a little before I was transferred out of La Ronge, and we lost touch after that.
When we first started thinking about this project Gary was the first person that sprang to mind. We had decided to build ourselves and we needed someone with skills to be the Project Manager. Gary, I knew, had skills to spare. I didn't know where to find him, but suspected he was back from Japan. Luckily for me a couple of mutual friends, Pam and Russ, were able to track him down for me. He was in Vancouver, building high-end homes. When I first proposed his coming north for the project he was immediately interested, depending on the details. As it happened all of our ducks still weren't in order and we had to delay a year for the next sealift.
When the next year rolled around Gary was still interested and we managed to work out the details we needed to get him up here, and we anticipated we'd be done in January or so. As an added bonus, Gary agreed to come up to Kugluktuk, work on the repairs of our ship, the Fort Hearne, and then sail with us through the Northwest Passage.
I doubt Gary will ever believe another word I say.
Mother Nature conspired against us, and the ice never opened on a critical section of the Passage. We never even put her in the water. And as for finishing in January... well... what can I say.
I can't imagine anyone better suited for this project than Gary. He has an amazing eye for detail, and when we are finished the house will be better built than any other, I'd venture to say, in all of Nunavut. You'd be hard pressed to find anything out of plumb, or out of square anywhere in the building, and just when you think you'd nailed the last piece of wood into a wall, he'll find another reason to put one in.
He's gone through a winter of building outside in -35, crew with almost no skills, no crew, my lack of skills and altogether too laid back nature, being away from Family and friends, and more. He's never taken more than three days off the whole year. He's stuck by us and the project when I'm sure most others would have left a long time ago. I can think of no one I'd rather have beside me, or teaching me carpentry. One year ago I couldn't even spell carpenter, now I are one.
As much as I hate to see him go, I'd dearly love to give him his life back, and look forward to the time he can come back just for a visit, hopefully on the Fort Hearne next year.
Happy Anniversary my friend.