Paul St. Pierre at his 90th unbirthday party.

Paul St. Pierre at his 90th unbirthday party.

Paul St. Pierre celebrated

On July 28 of last year we celebrated Paul St. Pierre’s 90th “Unbirthday” in Fort Langley.

On July 28 of last year we celebrated Paul St. Pierre’s 90th “Unbirthday” in Fort Langley.

His actual birthday was on Oct. 14, but he never liked to celebrate on that day. Why? I received several answers to that question, all equally plausible.

Maybe it really did have something to do with Napoleon whose birthday was on Aug. 15.

It was a lovely backyard celebration, the sun was bright and hot, his favourite “Plonk,” as his family called his red wine, was flowing freely, and St. Pierre was holding court and telling tall stories, mostly from the Cariboo.

He was just so good at that! One of the very, very best.

He would sit there, look into the past, suddenly get this little twinkle in his startling blue eyes, a wicked little grin appeared, and off he went.

He could do that for hours. I loved every minute of it and felt so honoured to be there. If you have not read his books, please do so.

Start with Breaking Smith’s Quarter Horse, his best known one, and go from there. You will find them all at the public library.

Many of you will remember the TV series he created, Cariboo Country.  St. Pierre was the one who insisted on actually using First Nation actors in his films and it was he who discovered Chief Dan George.

And did I mention he was a passionate politician?

Now his voice is silenced.

St. Pierre passed on July 27, 2014, not quite a year later, peacefully and surrounded by his family.

He died at home, as he detested being held “captive” in a hospital.

The funeral was a private family affair.

When I first was informed about it I was sad for days.

I know there always will be a little hollow spot inside me as there is just no other one like him.

When I went to the celebration given for him on Nov. 2, I still had a heavy heart. But then it all turned around and I suddenly enjoyed myself immensely.

St. Pierre had very close ties to Mexico, had a house there, even adopted a little girl to be able to give her a good education in Canada.

That little girl is now all grown up and a beautiful young woman and mother. Her name is Yesica and she looked after the refreshments.

St. Pierre always liked a good party, so one was organized for him. The women wore beautiful traditional dresses and flowers in their hair. They made huge amounts of delicious Mexican food and drinks, and once again the “Plonk” flowed freely.

There were about 150 people, talking, laughing, having a great time in the community hall of Fort Langley. Even his oldest friend managed to be there.

Ron Rose started as a journalist for the Vancouver Sun in 1938 and met St. Pierre in 1946.

They were friends for all these years. Rose is turning 95 on Nov. 8. Happy Birthday, Ron! I was happy to bring greetings from the Cariboo, including Williams Lake and TRU.

After all the speeches had been heard and much laughter had been shared, three Mariachi players entered the room and got everyone’s toes tapping.

After a couple of songs we gathered the flowers from the tables, many took burning candles and we followed the Mariachi players outside into the rain.

It was dark by then and we slowly wound our way toward the graveyard, the music playing all the way.

We gathered around the grave marker, placed our flowers on it and then each one of us received a small shot glass of Tequila.

It was a magic moment— standing there in the slow rain, the dark lit up by so many candles, the band playing spirited melodies, and then we all together gave a loud cheer to Paul St. Pierre, now a true legend.

And yes, his grave marker really does say: “This was not my idea.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Williams Lake city council is interested in acquiring the former Poplar Glade School property on Eleventh Avenue. (Greg Sabatino photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake city council sets sights on two former school properties

School District said there is a five-step process for property disposal

School District 27 (SD27) issued notice Thursday, Feb. 25 of a COVID-19 exposure at Mountview Elementary School. (Angie Mindus photo)
School district reports positive COVID-19 case in Williams Lake elementary school

A letter went home to families of Mountview Elementary School

The City of Williams Lake is asking for public feedback on whether it should explore the opportunity to host a Greater Metro Hockey League team in Williams Lake. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
City of Williams Lake seeks feedback on hosting junior hockey league team

A league expansion application in Quesnel is also pending

A rainbow shining on Kelowna General Hospital on May 12, 2020 International Nurses Day. (Steve Wensley - Prime Light Media)
New COVID cases trending down in Interior Health

24 new cases reported Thursday, Feb. 25, death at Kelowna General Hospital

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A pharmacist prepares a COVID-19 vaccine at Village Green Retirement Campus in Federal Way on Jan. 26. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
Canada approves use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine

The country joins more than a dozen others in giving the shot the green light

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Carolyn Howe, a kindergarten teacher and vice president of the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association, says educators are feeling the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic and the influx of pressure that comes with it. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Stress leave, tears and insomnia: Island teachers feel the strain of COVID-19

Teachers still adjusting to mask and cleaning rules, pressures from outside and within

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of 3 B.C. men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Most Read