First Place Winner

Beacon Bio - Don Hume

By Ted Ross

In 1994 Don Hume became minister for James Bay United Church. He retired in 2006, and after a couple of years away, returned in 2008 to live in James Bay.

A member of the Wednesday Writers' Drop-in Group at New Horizons, Don credits that body for encouraging and polishing his writing skills. He regularly presents stories about his experiences dealing with real human issues.

Tea and a Grilled Cheese Sandwich

By Don Hume

She had wanted to move to Victoria when her husband retired, but he loved ‘his’ little house with the big garden. So they stayed where it was cold in the winter and hot in the summer.

After he died she sold up and came to James Bay, close to the ocean, where she could walk year-round, and where bus-travel was easy.

The years slipped by; eventually it became apparent she couldn’t manage alone anymore. Tea and toast was not enough, and her memory of the here and now faded. Her daughter spent several weeks with her, and they found a care facility she could afford, only a block from her apartment. But there was a wait list. So her daughter reluctantly returned to her neglected family and left her mother’s friends and the Minister to move her within the 24-hour time limit when a space became available.

The call finally came. As she stood by the elevator with her suitcase, she felt faint. The Minister helped her into a wheelchair, and took her down the street.

She was greeted by a nurse who asked if she had eaten lunch.

No? Well, then, I’ll call the kitchen, get a pot of tea and a grilled cheese sandwich.”

As she sat by the table at the window, sipping her tea and eating that grilled cheese sandwich, a smile came onto her face, and she said, “I’ll be OK now!”

Second Place Winner

Fifteen minutes in James Bay

by Deborah Hall

Start the clock. The heady scent of Lilac fills my nostrils. I pause, close my eyes and take a deep breath. My face softens, a smile is inevitable. Cherry blossom petals flutter to the ground, their beauty fading now. As I step onto the path an elderly man is making his way toward me. His walker supports his shuffling gait. I slow my pace. Our eyes meet, we smile and say, ‘Good morning,’ as neighbours do. Seagulls call overhead, yes I see you too. A soft breeze from the ocean swirls around me like an old friend.

High rise tower blocks, condos old and new, find their place among the eclectic architectural mix of homes from Victorian to West Coast contemporary. Veggie gardens and classic cottage gardens delight my senses. Diversity at its best. The beauty of this place is in the details: heritage colour paint fading, chipping, a fairy door in a tree, stained glass window or hand forged, iron gate. It is best seen and admired on foot. I take time to wander.

South Park School at lunch time. The air is full of children’s voices at play. A huge green space for forts, thinking spots, room to run. Boisterous play as a small group whizzes past in a game of tag. A trio of girls sit picking daisies, heads almost touching as they chat. Children using the jump rope in the yard, chanting their rhythmic songs to keep step. Stop the clock.