Saturday a.m. [9 Sept. 1950]
Here we are in Vancouver having arrived yesterday morning. It is now 9 a.m. with breakfast
finished and the forenoon before me to get some work done by the time
Thora and George arrive for lunch.
George Dalmage (Thora's husband) is a gov't geologist here and though I do not know him
personally I am inviting him to tap
in connection with mountain strata and
fossils. Some of the questions will be as follows:
- (1)Would fossils be discovered in the midst of the mountain tunnels several thousand
feet below the summit?
- (2) Are they found along the river beds?
(3) What makes the Kicking Horse River so chalky white, a dirty chalky? (Note specially
the nearest thing I can compare it to is the colour of a foul mixture doctors give to
patients when said doctors want to diagnose said patients in respect to trouble along
the digestive tract. It consists of a quart of milk containing a dissolved calcium compound
which under the X-ray shows up the shadows of things like ulcers etc. etc. etc. I took it
once when I was going through my fourth year at Vic and under the impression (fortunately
without foundation) that I had something wrong with the gastric juices. May I add just here
to lengthen this addendum that I never had the impression or sensation before or since.)
Well the Kicking Horse River looked like that concoction and if I can find out the medical
name I shall so describe it.
(4) Do wild big-horn goats drink of this vile unnatural product? Does it act like a poison
on grizzly bears when they descend the mountain side thirsty after a deadly bout with cougars?
(5) What was the nature of the sea-life from which the fossils were formed. The trilobites,
crinoids, brachiapods Did they just float around like jelly fish grabbing anything
within reach? Did they have any sensations, any social life such as dancing, cavorting,
in other words did they ever descend into such low form of activity as meditating in the
night watches or worse still, did they sing in chorus, that is, did any poetic strains ever
emanate from their gelatinous strings?
(6) Why do so many of the mountain peaks look like embalmed Egyptian mummies? they
are so placid, recumbent, never troubled with the cawing of crows or the squawling of
(7) Do they ever snore? Are avalanches a kind of snoring or a variety of swearing?
Well to move from these low planes to higher and more ethereal realms, I may say that your
mother has just gone down to the shore with a party gathering shells, while I stay here in
this room gathering wool as it will take me a day or two to get over those four sleepless
nights on the train and then to gather my thoughts. You may observe that my aforesaid
7-point classification does not reveal any supreme philosophical or poetic heights.
Well, how are you getting along chick? I hope you are having some parties. Make sure that
you get long leisurely week-ends to sleep them off. I shall be here at the Hotel till
Friday a.m.; then the address will be the Royal Alexandra Hotel at Winnipeg from Monday,
Sept. 18 to Thursday, Sept. 21 7:30 p.m.
Fossilized fanciful Father