Hank Shelley

Column: An exciting school bus ride

The twisted bull pines swayed in the wind, on that early January morning.

Across the sage brush covered hillsides, along the winding Pavilion Road. Snow swirled in gusts on the road, as the lone black car made its way toward Lillooet. Behind the wheel, seat sat provincial circuit judge William Deibolt.

Judge Deibolt was to hold court at 9 a.m. after court in Clinton and Williams Lake. Now, suddenly the vehicle started to miss and steam emitted from the radiator. Lifting the hood, the judge could tell the radiator hose had burst.

Standing in the chilling wind, he reached in to grab a heavy overcoat, as a mini-school bus approached. Not wanting to be late for his own court, he flagged the school bus down. As it came to a stop and the driver swung the door open, a small group of smiling First Nations children inquisitively looked on at the man with the black suit and overcoat.

He smiled at the children and then told the bus driver that the bus was now the property of the Crown, and the driver was ordered to proceed to Lillooet.

Judge Deibolt, then explained the situation to the kids and made them feel relaxed. Soon he had the whole bus singing/laughing, and children thought it a real great morning. Arriving in front of the courthouse in Lillooet, which happened to be on the main street, he then thanked the driver and kids for the fun they had. He then declared that the school bus had now been diverted from the Crown, and the Province, back to the Lillooet school district.

Bill, as he was called affectionately by all his classmates at Armstrong high school, was also a personal friend, as his Mom would drive him out to our small farm, on the Back Enderby road when we were kids. We’d built tree forts, herd the cows in for milking, and roam the mountain side together.

Hunting/Fishing report: It seems that few hunters bagged their deer or moose this past season.

Deer seemed to be scarce due to much activity including ATV travel, heavy clear cut logging activity, and reports of predators like wolves. LEH hunters did a bit better.

Overall, moose are having a tough time. In the Thompson region/Bonaparte, 137 cows were captured and collared.

Four were taken by unregulated hunting, others by accidents and predators. Deer numbers appear to be down as well. This heavy snow will be tough on all ungulates.

Fishing: Ice angling had begun on most upper elevation lakes like Pillar and Joyce. Gardom and White Lake not good yet.

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