I heard about an event on the radio that I felt absolutely compelled to attend. The fundraiser was for “YES”, Victoria Youth Empowerment Society. For $30 you pick out a bowl of your choice made by local artists and then you use that bowl to try soup created by Master Chefs. The money raised provides emergency shelter, life skills, health care, mental health, detox services, counseling and assists youth to transition from high risk environments like the street to healthier and more constructive life situations. I invited 5 people to come with me. No one was able to go so I went by myself.
It was held at Inn at Laurel Point. I had never been there before. After paying my admission, I was sent into the bowl room. There were at least 4 tables filled with beautiful hand-crafted pieces, all different shapes, sizes, styles, designs and colours. I picked up the first one that caught my attention and held on to that one until I found a second that spoke to me more. Then I found my bowl on the second table. I didn’t have to look further because I knew this was the one for me. I was then given a bag to put my bowl in because this year they were serving soup in the hotel bowls instead.
There were 3 soup choices. I had the seafood chowder. It was delicious. Huge chunks of salmon, clams, white fish (maybe halibut) potatoes and carrots. I had 2 bowls. There was also tomato basil with little bite sized grilled cheese sandwiches that people put on top as croutons. The third choice was vegetable mulligatawny.
I took my bowl and walked into a lovely room that overlooked the ocean. It was a beautiful sunny day so I decided I wanted to look out the window. I perused the round tables that seated about 12 but decided to stand up and eat at a higher table. As soon as I placed my bowl down on the table a gentleman came over and asked if he could join me for lunch. He introduced himself as Frank and I told him my name. He was wearing what I thought was a military dress uniform and he was wearing a poppy.
I have never had such an enjoyable conversation with a man in a very long time. We were fully engaged with each other, laughing and joking for at least 20 minutes. We showed each other our bowls and why we chose them. His had a very manly, deep dish shape with a beautiful chestnut, brown glaze. It was gorgeous. He had also never been to this event. He is originally from BC on the mainland but he just moved back here from Sudbury, Ontario, 2 years ago, where he plans to retire. I am from Ontario so we talked about life back east versus west coast. He has two daughters, as do I. They are ages 22 and 14 (similar in age and gap as my girls). His older daughter stayed back east to finish up university. This is her last year and she will have a teaching degree in French and PhysEd. He went to Western University (as did I) to get his Masters degree. We talked about Western and he stated, “So you are one of the Western babes.” “Well, yes I am I confirmed laughing.” There used to be ratings of the hottest girls at university and when I went to Western, and when Frank did, too, it was ranked number 1 (it clearly had nothing to do with me) but it had this reputation. Frank said he suggested to his daughter that she attend Brescia College, the all girls school affiliated and on the campus of Western University. He said she would have nothing to do with that. I told him that was good because it is the last place he would want his daughter because that is where all the guys hang out. He laughed and said that he never thought about it being a magnet for men. His wife was a teacher in Ontario but when they moved here she got a job at UVic critiquing student teachers.
While we were talking people would come up and shake Frank’s hand and say “hi” to him. He had on a name tag but I couldn’t read it as it was on the opposite side of me and we were standing side by side. Another man came to our table while were just starting to talk about Hawaii and shook his hand and asked if he could eat with us. He was a Victoria city councilor and commented to Frank that he was happy to see him two days in a row. He introduced himself to me as Chris and when I told him my name he said, “I know who you are.” He definitely does not know who I am. We have never met before. I just stared at him and he said, “I can’t remember where but we have met.” Nope, we haven’t. He then started name dropping and as he was taking away my new friend from me I was able to look at Frank’s name tag. Frank Elsner, Chief of Police, Victoria Police Department.
I stayed for a little bit longer at the table and then excused myself. There was a raffle, live auction, silent auction, dessert trays, coffee and tea, and booths to buy bowls, pottery, cards and other art work. I had a thoroughly enjoyable time, helped a great cause that I didn’t know existed (last year they raised $80,000 and this was their 18th year of the event) and I will definitely attend next year as well.