Shady Old Kitsilano

Yesterday was July 1st, Canada Day, and moving day for my daughter. Everything went perfect until my affordable 20 year old Astro van decieded to go on strike. Outta nowhere, at least outta the atention of the operator, yours truely, it wouldn't start, lottsa power to everything else but...we're stuck, me, my daughter, her new roomate and our dog Pancho in a loading zone.

Within a minute of opening the hood to check the connections a european sounding guy stopped to ask if i needed help, he stayed and helped check thing for at least ten minutes then said he had to get back to his restaurant a couple doors down Broadway and i should come by if i needed a phone or phonebook. He and i did figure out though that it had lottsa of battery power and that the trouble was probably the starter. We were on a side street so we started to push the van accross the street to a non-tow-away regular residential parking spot. Along came another fellow who quickly jumped in and helped us push/manouver the van in a piroette into the legal site.

The girls borrowed a friend's van and completed the main mission of 'the big move'. Halleuja, halfa halleuja anyway. Oldtimers and long time beater owners learn a few tricks as time goes on, a sorta trail and error that's mostly error with an occasional moment of elation. One of the most widely know folk mechanic tricks is to tap/hammer on the starter to rattle it into fully disengaging from the flywheel. i tried, a few times, i checked and rechecked all the connections a few times. i ate the falafel my daughter left for me and tried to dream up a scheme.

It was a shady spot in old Kitsilano, i let Pancho out and we walked around the block for a pee. On the way we met a few other people walking with their best friend too. When we got back to our hood raised van another fellow was there, chinese this time, peering in at the motor. We greeted, he asked if i needed help, though his english wasn't great he too knew of the hammer and the starter trick, tried it again, nothing. As he was leaving the guy who helped push us earlier came back and offered to try to find an open garage and see if he could get a mobile mechanic to come by. i said sure, please and thank you, off he went. i tried the hammer miracle again, 4th or 5th time, zero expectation of success and VROOM it started, full Halleuja, off we headed for the ferry back home, back to our hideout on Mt. Elphinstone.

Pancho and i spent two hours busted down in shady old Kitsilano. We met a series of generous friendly people all happy to instantly go out of their way to help a huge long haired total stranger. A longtime ago i rented a couple of Kits' old houses, many are gone now but many other old beauties remain, a few are renovated but most are still as they were surrounded by big shady trees along quiet streets. But the best thing about our 2 hours in Kits was being blessed by a spirit of community that still lives there all these decades later. Couldn't imagine a better place to break down.