© Neil Bennett Photography 2022.

Some years ago I had a number of survey projects to complete in Haida Gwaii before winter set in and my workload in the Lower Mainland was such that I was in a rush to get to Haida Gwaii and complete the work there. Bags were packed, survey equipment at the airport, reservations made at a motel in Queen Charlotte city, job files ready, vehicle arranged; all the usual arrangements for an out of town stint.

My helper and I had completed our first day’s work and had returned to the motel after supper. The main part of the motel was full so we were billeted in an adjacent house that had a very small kitchen area in the front and a few bedrooms in the back. My helper was in the back watching television and I was at the kitchen table doing some survey calculations. It was dark outside and with no curtains on the windows some local kids could see me.

“Knock, knock, knock”. I went to the door, opened it and saw three little kids at the door …. dressed up in costumes. It was Halloween and I had completely forgotten.

The kitchen table was bare. The fridge was bare. I didn’t have a single thing that would even come close to something for trick or treaters. But maybe … there on top of the stove … next to the salt and pepper … the only thing that might work. “I’m really sorry but I just arrived this afternoon and I don’t have anything for trick or treaters, except maybe a tea bag. Would anyone like a teabag?”

One little kid nodded his head so I dropped a tea bag into his sack, closed the door, turned off the lights in the kitchen and went into the back to watch TV with my helper. I felt terrible.

I can’t help but think this probably wasn’t great in the career awareness department. I would hate to think this is why no land surveyors have come out of Haida Gwaii in recent times, but you never know.

- Neil Bennett

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