In 1958 in the remote fly-in community of Gunnar, Saskatchewan, new female faces were rare.
So when pretty Marion arrived at the uranium mine, George Rainey, a heavy-duty mechanic, wasn’t about to stand in line. He quickly “borrowed” an enormous ore truck and drove over to her office window and invited her out for a ride. Marion could only see halfway up the eight-foot wheels, but still, she said yes.
It’s ironic that the reason George had left Belfast was “everyone else was getting married and settling down,” because shortly after meeting Marion he wanted to do just that.
Oct. 23 marks 60 years of officially “settling down.”
Having lived in Williams Lake for almost 50 years, George and Marion are not what you’d call a flashy couple. They are simply solid people who believe in courtesy, hard work and their community. With them, the term “salt of the earth” is no cliché.
When they retired, George from Gibraltar Mines and Marion as a bookkeeper for Williams Lake Homemakers, they jumped into driving for Meals on Wheels.
Marion has volunteered cooking and baking at the United Church for decades, while George does the same there, as handyman or groundskeeper. George is also eager to set up tables for church events — likely because he scores as many free desserts as he can eat (which is a lot).
Read More: Meals On Wheels looking for new volunteers
George also does volunteer building maintenance and groundskeeping at the Seniors Center, where Marion helps make the quilts for the Center’s raffles. No matter what weather, George is the first to shovel a neighbour’s driveway, help clear gutters or fix a lawnmower.
They are patient, supportive parents to Bert and Sandra.
Enthusiastic in-laws, they don’t hesitate to drive 600 miles if you mention a deck that needs building or wallpaper that needs replacing. George’s highest praise for someone’s cooking is “you’d pay good money for this in a restaurant.”
They are quietly but immensely proud of their grandchildren, Robyn, McKenzie and Marlowe. While discretion is the better part of valour, their secret, in parenting, grandparenting and in-lawing, may be simpler: as Marion says in the kitchen, it’s knowing “when to get out of your road.”
In their children, I see their values, of hard work, loyalty and common decency.
I couldn’t be prouder to call them my in-laws. Happy 60th anniversary, George and Marion!