When my dad discharged from the army all the Hockey family's belongings were loaded into a steel container by movers paid for by the army. My dad never killed anyone or anything, he joined the army just after Canada figured they had better things to do than fight 1,ooo,ooo,ooo Chinamen in Korea, and still the army covered his move for him. He was awful disappointed his country never sent him anywhere to do some killing. If there is one thing a Newfoundlander likes better than clubbing baby seals over their sparkly noggins it is a fucking war.
Once the last bit of the family's shit was loaded into the container we piled into my dad's first new car and my dad floored it all the way to British Columbia where a new life of riches awaited us. We left on Friday, dad had a job all lined up for Monday morning.
Mom and dad sang along to the music on the radio the whole way there. It kept them distracted from their children beating the shit out of each other in the backseat. Since we did not have seatbelts in cars in those days the backseat was like a wrestling cage match with no referee and no bell.
As we crossed the Fraser River, on our way to the motel we planned to live in until we found a house to buy, a news bulletin interrupted my mom and dad singing along to yet another wretched fucking Beatles song. "Dope City Industries has been hit by a wildcat strike. Workers carrying placards and the occasional baseball bat have blocked the entrances to the factory. We'll have more details about the wildcat strike on our next news break."
I was leaning over the front bench seat when the report came over the air. "Isn't that where you are supposed to go to work on Monday dad?" The look of fear in my dad's eyes said it all: he had a wife and four kids to support and no fucking job. He turned the car around at the next exit and headed back across the bridge to Sliverville. He told my mom, "One of my buddies back at the base told me if things did not work out at Dope City Industries we could have our choice of cheap motels to stay in Sliverville. And he told me Sliverville would remind us of motherfucking Alberta so much we'd think we never left!"
Once money ran so low and the job disappeared like common sense in a national capital after the wildcat we could not afford the luxury of a Sliverville slum motel. We then had to camp for several months while dad tried to sort things out. And it rained every day that summer. But dad found work and eventually a house in Sliverville. I can still remember all us Hockey kids sliding in our socks on the home's slick hardwood floors as mom and dad negotiated a price without trying to seem like they had been camping in the mud with four insane children for months.
When the container of our belongings arrived at our new house the neighbours looked out their windows in awe. They had arrived from the Prairies with their shabby belongings jammed into U-Hauls. Clearly the new neighbours must be from Hollywood to be able to afford to jam their belongings into such a fancy container and have it driven by two guys who had to be paid all the way to Sliverville.
They did not know it but it did not take them long to find out that the new neighbours were from Hollywood, Alberta (same as them) and they liked to party even more than they did. Uncle Ben probably had his heart attack from brewing up the beer needed to keep our new neighbourhood loaded.