Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Donation Box Notes


   I was digging around in my old desk this morning and came across a familiar bulging folder overflowing with hundreds of little notes, all crinkled still from being stuffed into the enlarged coin-slot of the donation-box I installed down at the hot spring years ago. 
Chances are, if you ever put a note the the old donation box, I still have it.


   In 1996 I installed a donation box down at the hot spring between the two foot-walks to help out with some direct costs and a few small improvements, the donation box itself being one of them.
I recall being excited over maybe getting $25 on a packed weekend, and used to joke that I was having a hard time paying for the donation box.
   After a bit people did warm up to the idea a little more and it was not unusual to have an outfit leave a thank you note with $5 to $20 or more.
   Also stuffed into the coin-slot was all manner of proposed legal tender such as, and not limited to, Canadian Tire money, a partly used boarding pass to Bowen Island, cigarettes, joints, cigarette butts, pull-tabs, and pounds of flatted beer bottle caps.
   Crinkled-up notes often tumbled out with the debris when I unlocked the bottom. Strips of cigarette pack was a common medium, as were words written on the back of Petrocan, or government liquor store receipts, or maybe a spare coffee filter.
One notable exception was written on a strip of paper thin birch bark.

Some were a few bold words with a stubby felt tip pen, while others wrote carefully on both sides, or scripted carefully on a sheet of toilet paper.
Generally they followed the same theme of, "Thank you Thank you Thank you!!

Some were propositions, such as the offer of a sail boat trip,  dinner and places to stay in the city, ...and worse. 
A scented note of the same hand would appear every few months, all it would say was, "Cute bum!". 
I like to assume it was from a woman.

                                         They came from all over to enjoy Tsek.

    As awful as it may sound now, I used to have my name and address in all the old outhouses at the hot spring campsite. I had notices stapled up in there with some basic rules of the establishment, and a box number in Mt. Currie for the campers who didn't have money at the time, but wished to mail a cheque, flattened beer caps or Canadian Tire money later.
Well OK that only happened a few times but still.
   Most of my notices ended up down the outhouse hole for purposes other than reading, and I had a hard time keeping them up..
If you look on the walls of the older outhouses, you will see about a million staples.
Eventually I managed to get my notices printed up on sheets of sand-paper which drastically slowed down the consumption in the outhouses. 
   I almost hate to bring this next one up, but a letter arrived once from a large young couple I remembered from a summer or two before. I recalled them as, 'The Splashers'.
It was a full page and neatly typed, and went on to explain they,
"...had tried for a considerable time to conceive a child prior to their camping trip to the hot spring". They mentioned a 'particular evening' one starlit night. I'll quote their words,
"...however, it was the magic of Tsek that did the trick'.
The letter came with  a picture of a newborn baby of huge proportions.

   Not all the notes were complimentary either, at times there were complaints about users who disrespect the place, or to bring my attention to a certain outhouse that required attention, or had run out of notices.
There was a nasty one too...
Well you can't please them all. 
That was the first time I've been called a loser, goof, and an a-hole in the same sentence.
I recall it was over a disagreement the night before about the level of his music.


                               
                               Might be my favorite, pretty much sums it up.

   Well, you get the idea. Theres been times over the years I've come across the note-folder and had to question keeping them all. But I always put them away again, thinking I might want to write about them someday, which time has come.  I remember the good feeling I always got from these notes way back, simple thanks in a different time.  It is the same thing now, when I open that folder during a desk clean and then sit going through them all. They always make me smile, and a few make me laugh. While most are from people who have gone on to other places in life, some are from folks that still frequent the hot spring, while some are from those that have passed on in the ensuing years. 
   I think I better put all those notes away once again to enjoy another day, they always take me back to a simpler time and the prime of life.
I'll save them to enjoy at the old folks home someday.
Thank you.

1 comment:

  1. Some wonderful memories of a much different time around there.

    Thank you for all you have done and continue to do, it wouldn't be what it is today without you.

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