Hodge: A vacation gem discovered

Artist extraordinaire, Tia-Maria Soroskie more than a smiley face at the board table of the Bridge Youth and Family Services.

Teresa and I make the occasional brilliant decision and last week’s has to rank as one of our best.

With little time and a limited budget (yet a desire to have a short, fun escape during her holiday) we found ourselves at the luxurious Harrison Hot Springs for two nights.

Ironically we had been agonizing over deciding between either a quick trip to Ainsworth Hot Springs or an Osoyoos hotel on the lake.

But due to a series of odd scenarios and a lazy, rude receptionist at one facility, we wound up doing neither. On a frustrated whim Tez asked if I had ever been to Harrison, and before I finished answering, “Not since I was a child,” she was already on their website.

As luck would have it, Harrison was boasting a ‘two-night get away’ package and we jumped all over the idea like Tide on a dirty shirt.

It’s amazing how long it seems to take to drive a short distance to a really, really neat place and yet it takes seemingly no time to drive back home when the holiday is done.

I think it might have been the five different heated mineral pools that convinced me to give Harrison a try. Or it may have been the two breakfasts and one fancy dinner that was part of the package that got me.

Either way, the hotel staff was amazing, especially young Sky Lock who treated us like royalty the entire time. I am not sure how I failed to visit Harrison before last week. I can guarantee that will not happen again. I am still trying to get all tense and stressed again, but it’s just not happening.

•••

On the trip home we found ourselves once again marvelling at the beauty and power of our B.C outdoors. How lucky are we to have such a magical and bountiful land with such diverse climates and matching flora and fauna?

From the hundreds of acres of golden corn fields near Agassiz to the arid grasslands of Merritt, our entire adventure was highlighted by spectacular weather and awe-inspiring vistas.

Tez and I made a commitment that our next holiday drive west would include a round-trip route through the ‘old’ Hope-Princeton adventure. As we meandered back through the amazing peaks and valleys of the Coquihalla Connector, we traversed a section of land that had been touched by fires. It reminded us again of the thousands of brave men and women who put their lives on the line to fight summer forest fires.

Not only do they face the arduous task of packing heavy hoses and gear into blazing infernos, but they often do so in treacherous and nearly inaccessible wilderness.

Along with paramedics and ambulance workers, firefighters rank as the most selfless superstars in my world.

•••

It’s amazing how quick the mail can pile up when you are gone for a few days. I’m not talking about the snail-mail, I refer to emails.

A true testimonial to the fact I enjoyed myself was while I did take my laptop computer with us, the device remained disconnected for all three days. First thing to catch my eye was a joyful message that Kelowna’s own Tia-Maria Soroskie is having a dream come true this week. From Aug. 29 to Sept. 7, Tia is one of six featured artists taking part in a prestigious artist exhibition at Dacia Gallery in New York City.

Promotion for the show describes Tia thus: “Tia is a Canadian drawing and installation artist who creates work based on the female body and how the female body occupies space; explores, deconstructs and reconstructs the female gender; and examines gender implications regarding expectations, as well as issues of domesticity and femininity. Tia-Maria received a Master’s of Fine Arts diploma in 2005 at Washington State University…She has held positions as drawing area coordinator, and instructor of record of drawing and classical figure drawing courses in the Department of Fine Arts at Washington State University. She has a professional and progressive exhibition record that includes a solo exhibition in Kelowna at the Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art, a group show at the Woman Made Gallery in Chicago, and more recently, group shows in Sibiu, Romania, and in New York City through Dacia Gallery. Tia-Maria…will be an Artist-In-Residence in October 2014 at DRAWinterational in Caylus, France.’’

Wow! And I just thought she was a smiley face at the board table of the Bridge Youth and Family Services.

•••

On a sadder note, long time Kelowna folks will be saddened to hear that former resident Gordon Bromley has died.

For many years, Gord happily ran The Music Box, a funky tiny music store downtown, and later the Ticket Centre.

Childhood friend (and Gord’s youngest son) Doug wrote: “It’s probably been awhile (about 45 years), since you heard from one of your old line mates from minor hockey…but thought you might want to know that Gord passed away just shy of his 94th birthday.

“He always said that his move to Kelowna was one of the best he ever made, and he loved the fact that he was there during the city’s ‘formative’ years.

“We were the lucky beneficiaries of his decision to grow up in what was, at that time, an amazing little town…”

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