Thursday, April 8, 2010


I'll always remember the night my son Sno-Cone (nickname) was conceived.

It was late July, 2001. We were living in White Rock, BC, and I landed around 5:30 PM in Vancouver that day after a week away. I'd missed Tracy a lot and eagerly jumped in the car to begin the forty minute drive home.

I flicked on the radio as I pulled on to Highway 99, and heard an advertisement for what was then called "The Symphony of Fire" (now "Celebration of Fire"), Vancouver's annual fireworks contest held in English Bay. They haul a giant floating platform out into the water, and then teams from all different countries come and take turns shooting off their fireworks displays every night over the course of a week or so. Judges then award prizes for the best displays. In that instant, listening to the ad, I had an idea.

I grabbed the cellphone and called Tracy, telling her I'd just landed and that I wanted to take her out for a special overnight adventure, and to pack and put on something she'd feel comfortable going out in. When she asked what we were doing, I said it was a surprise, but not to eat. I made a few other calls to get everything arranged, including overnight babysitting, got home, hugged and said hi to the kids, jumped in the shower, threw on some clean clothes, and then we left, heading back to Vancouver. So far, so good, I thought.

It was another amazing sunny summer Vancouver evening, slight ocean breeze, the odd eagle overhead, pines and firs felt great to be back home, and to be out with Tracy. She seemed excited and curious, which was pretty charming, and looked beautiful as ever - like a cross between Brigitte Bardot and Marilyn Monroe. No one could believe she'd already had six children.

As we parked a couple of blocks from English Bay, I revealed that I'd made reservations for us to eat dinner at Rain City Grill, a restaurant we'd never visited, but which I had noticed always got rave reviews in local papers for the top flight dishes it served, using only fresh, seasonal, local food.

We walked in, and to my surprise, the greeters recognized me, and seemed thrilled to meet us. Even with my songs pumping on radio, I wasn't recognized very often; and while I honestly couldn't care less about that sort of thing normally, I have to admit that on that particular night, out on a special date with my wife, hoping that everything would go well, it felt kind of nice to meet people who seemed excited to meet added to the "specialness" of our evening thus far.

I can't for the life of me remember what Tracy ordered that night, but I do remember that I got the short ribs, and they were phenomenal. We ate and chatted and laughed as the sky outside more and more turned indigo, and took bites of each other's dessert, until finally we were done.

We walked down to the beach, just a few metres away from the restaurant, and found a nice place to sit. The fireworks displays were breathtaking, and...I can't really find words to describe how I felt, sitting out there in the warm summer air next to the mother of my children, watching the shooting flames and sparks, thrilling along with the crowd to each surprise, smelling the ocean air and catching glimpses of reflections coming off the water. Everything seemed right in the world that night.

After the climax of the last fireworks display had ended, we made our way a block up the street to the quaint little hotel I'd booked for the night, and, well, you know. Our surreally, powerfully beautiful evening ended in similar fashion.

Well, you know where this is going. A few months later on Salt Spring Island, where we had moved in the meantime, Tracy got the predicted due date of our seventh child after having an ultrasound, and out of curiosity, looked at the calendar, and then exclaimed: "it was the night we went to the fireworks - it had to be!".

Sno-Cone was born April 5, 2002, in Bellingham, Washington, a hale and hearty boy, with white-blonde hair (which he still has), his blue eyes shaped like almonds (like his mother's), and an unusually calm, solid demeanour.

More to come on Sno-Cone.


Anonymous said...

Sounds truly lovely, what a fortunate woman. I look forward to hearing more about Sno-cone.

Erika said...

::smiling:: I had no idea that just a couple miles down the road in 2002 a white haired angel was born! Looking forward to hearing more about Sno-Cone. What a romantic and beautiful memory to have and to share.

Jewelz said...

Just reading that account was a truly beautiful experience. I have tears in my eyes.

June said...

U so romantic,you.

Erika said...

As a side note, it's funny to me that you feel the need to put the word "nickname" in parentheses after Sno-Cone - as if one might think that's his real name.
I guess with celebrity kid names like Kal-El, Apple, etc., anything is possible.

Lisa Portolese said...

I am smiling from ear to ear. thanks for letting us share great memories with you.You are the type of man that women write about in romantic novels.I find it very encouraging because if there is someone as amazing as you on this planet, well there just has to be more...I can't wait to hear more about Sno Cone(stunned, that it is not his real name) LOL

Anonymous said...

T'was a bitter sweet story...
I was in Bellingham that same time, only losing a baby boy rather than bringing him home.