One of the disadvantages to leading a busy life in a small town is that unless you make it to the Store on a regular basis (which I don't), you have no clue what is going on in the neighborhood.
Last week Mike was giving his 'apprentice' handler, Richard a tour of the valley and as they drove down the hill was explaining what a small, quiet community Perryvale was. Imagine their shock when they turned the corner to find cars spilling out of the community hall parking lot and up and down both sides of the road. Rhonda (the postmistress) explained that it was a funeral.
I was saddened the next day to find out that it was Allan Baker. Al is one of the neighbors that we saw more then most as he was an AVID berry picker and spent a lot of time down on our land. Most early fall evenings we could hear his ATV quietly puttering around as he checked on berries and picked up bottles and cans carelessly left in the 'green land'.
One of my favorite memories of him was coming screaming around a corner on my ATV one day with 5 or 6 older puppies furiously chasing me. Al was off the trail picking berries and when the pups figured out he was a person, they swarmed him. It took a few crazy moments with Al trying to hold his berries high out of the reach of puppies mouths before I got them all focused and chasing me again! He took it very well.
Al had lived in the valley for most, if not all his 77 years, so when I had questions about the history of the area he was the one I always turned to.
We will miss him and I was sorry to have missed the funeral, so when Mark and I passed the Perryvale Cemetery on our run on Tuesday we let the teams rest while we walked up and found Al's grave.
It was nestled among the graves of a number of other 'Bakers' Many of them, Al's included, decorated with flowers and other remembrances.
That's one of the things I adore about the Perryvale Cemetery, unlike the sterile and spotless cemetery that my Dad is in in Calgary, they don't discourage folks from leaving flowers and other special remembrances. Everything from small toys to garden gnomes to antler racks grace the graves in Perryvale.
It's really a quiet and lovely place.
Rest Well Al.