Isla Mujeres Mystery ~ Lynda L. Lock

My forty-year love affair with Lawrie Lock (March 3rd 1942 – Sept 3rd 2018)

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Lawrie and Sparky – before the ALS appeared.   

(When I first wrote this article he was still alive although struggling with the rapid progression of his disease: Rapid Onset ALS. He left us on Monday September 3rd 2018.)

Paradise is normally considered to be a place. 

For me paradise is a person; my husband, adventure partner, world-traveler, lover and best friend – Lawrie Lock. We met in June of 1975, and by 1978 I was heart-over-head in love, long before he even realized I was a female.

While I plan this article in my mind I am floating in our swimming pool on Isla Mujeres, looking back at Lawrie sleeping in our recently built main-floor bedroom. He is in the final stages of Rapid Onset ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, a horrific disease that first appeared in his body late in 2017. 

He is resting in a hospital-style electrically adjustable bed. This man who has had a diverse range of careers and businesses is almost helpless with extremely limited use of just his right arm. His ability to speak is rapidly diminishing although his mind is still active and sharp. He also has difficulty swallowing. His damn body just won’t listen to his brain.

Sparky, Lawrie and Max enjoying a cuddle on the deck

We built this house with the bedrooms upstairs never considering that either one of us wouldn’t be able to navigate the nineteen-step winding staircase to the second floor. We took great pride in being able to zip up and down the stairs a dozen or more times a day – doing household stuff – without any shortness of breath or joint complaints.

Our large upper-floor bedroom with its and spacious palapa-covered patio was our secret little hide-away, our nest. 

It was a place to enjoy the beauty of the Caribbean Sea, to chat about our day, or perhaps just enjoy a glass of wine and the familiar comfort of being close to one another. We have shared this deck with our various cats and dogs; Tommy, Chica, Sparky, Perla and Max. 

2015 – Lawrie’s side of the family

Born John Lawrie Lock March 3rd 1942, in Winnipeg Manitoba he has lived most of his life in British Columbia.  

Each person who knows Lawrie holds a different part of this man in their hearts – all carrying different memories from each stage of his life. 

His parents  John and Evelyn Lock, siblings Linda Grierson and Richard Lock and their families. 

His loving son John, grand kids Ethan, Evan, Caitlin and daughter-in-law Maia. 

My sister’s Val’s family waiting to surprise her for her 75th

My sisters and their families plus the blended families of nephews, nieces, great-nephews, and great-nieces. 

Old friends some whom Lawrie has known since he was 15. Work colleagues that value his friendship and upbeat attitude to life. 

And new friends we have discovered since our move to Isla Mujeres. 

Each person holds different images of this amazing man with the huge smile. 

He has the ability to make you feel that you are important, that your opinions matter. That you are his friend.

1991 – France, on Aston Martin tour of Europe

Some will remember him as a car-guy, a man obsessed with classic cars especially temperamental British vehicles like Aston Martins, Austin-Healeys, Jaguars, Bentleys, and Triumphs. 

Others will think of him as a dedicated volunteer fire-fighter and ambulance attendant serving for seventeen years on Bowen Island in British Columbia. 

Fire Chief Lawrie Lock Bowen Island

He was Fire Chief for the last six years before we moved into the city of Vancouver. He was also the area representative for the GVRD in the mid-1970’s, and Chamber of Commerce president for several terms.

Some of his many careers included managing a couple of the stores in the family-owned companies such as Blink Bonnie Cosmetics, and Sight & Sound. Sight and Sound carried musical instruments, records (yep, 45’s and LP’s), cameras and televisions. He and his family members met personalities such as Bob Lummin, Conway Twitty, Ike and Tina Turner Bobby Curtola, Stevie Wonder, Roy Orbison, Lulu, April Stevens and Nino Tempo, Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass, John Gary, Santiago. (Big name music stars from the mid-1960’s. Check ’em on your smartphones.)

Sight and Sound with guest Herb Albert and Tijuana Brass

Lawrie was also the area sales representative for Panasonic for most of British Columbia in the early 1970’s. And he worked for the now defunct Woodward’s Department Stores. In Prince George he over-saw the building and operation of Ron Newson’s furniture store.

Moving to Bowen Island in 1974 with his first wife Pat and young son John, he was the Chevron Oil agent, and Chevron gas station operator on Bowen Island. 

When we got together in early 1980 he immediately thought up a fistful of new businesses for us to start.

Lynda driving Rusty Duck Antiques delivery truck

Under the name of Snug Cove Enterprises we jointly owned Rusty Duck Antiques, Howe Sound Freight, and a mini storage. Glen Wolfe operated his vehicle repair service on our rental property located near the fire hall.

I joined the Bowen Island Fire Department in 1980 as the first, and to date, only female firefighter. As a long serving member of the department no one was going to argue with Lawrie about my inclusion as a firefighter!

We also held the GVRD contracts for municipal garbage collection as well as the contract for Crippen Regional Park maintenance and development. 

Lynda, Carl, and Lawrie 

Yep, that’s right!  He and I and one other employee, plus son John during his summer holidays, humped garbage cans for eight years on Bowen Island. 

One thousand stops every single Monday for eight years. Sun rain, sleet or snow! 

As a teenager while his friends were lazily enjoying their summer holidays, son John learned to drive big garbage trucks, and swath-cutting lawn movers, and a Sealander freight boat.

Lawrie was also project manager for the then-brand-new Bowen Island elementary school, and completed another big school project in Telegraph Creek in the far-frozen north of British Columbia in 1980.

1948 MG TC 

In his spare time Lawrie liked to restore and paint classic cars as a way to unwind. We once sat down with a pen and paper trying to make a list, including make, model and year, of the vehicles he had owned but gave up when the total reached into the hundreds. 

In the years before remote key fobs many times we would exit a shopping centre and stare in bewilderment at the parking lot wondering what we were driving that day. A car? A truck? An SUV? What colour? What brand?  

John inherited a little of the car ‘thing’ owning a few interesting cars while still in his teens, a 1955 Chevy, a Barracuda, a big black Buick convertible, and a sporty little red Triumph TR6. John now prefers Harley Davidson Motorcycles instead. (I’m not sure who is crazier. Dad or son.)

John and his TR6

In Vancouver, while I was the supervisor at the SkyTrain Control Centre, Lawrie and I decided to sell off our various Bowen Island companies. 

He then tried his first stint at retirement. 

His retirement lasted exactly twenty-six days before he was bored silly and driving me nuts.

He then hired on with Air Limo driving a huge grey  limousine. The stretched vehicle was too large and heavy for the braking system. Lawrie was always a good driver, anticipating problems before they happened but at times that damn car was a tense handful.

He has told me a book-full of funny stories of just regular people celebrating special events plus the antics of several well-known personalities, race car drivers, movie stars, and rock stars. It’s a book idea that is on the back burner while we deal with his health crisis.

15,000 cookies for guests!

From Vancouver we moved in 1992 to the interior of British Columbia, to the Okanagan Valley, when it was just beginning to become known for wine; admittedly extraordinarily bad wines. The valley now has in excess of four hundred wineries – some that consistently win international awards. 

While we lived in the Okanagan region we started the award-winning Castle Rock Bed and Breakfast, serving huge anything-you-want-breakfasts and sending our guests off each day with freshly baked cookies. He was the master chef. While I was the clumsy forgetful waitress; the comic relief. 

3 Ales + Killer Bee plus Peaches & Cream

When his sister Linda and brother-in-law Richard Grierson moved to the Okanagan Valley in 1994 the four of us created the still existing Tin Whistle Brewing Company, making British-style ales. 

Along with Lawrie we enlisted son John and nephew Jim Stansfield to be the sales reps for our products. Richard, Linda, Lawrie and I did whatever else needed doing: book keeping, brewing, bottling, store sales, marketing, cleaning, ordering, beer festivals, liquor store tastings, and, and, and…. We even had their eighty-year-old parents hand gluing neck labels on the bottles. 

Lawrie scrubbing out drains in brewery

To promote our new brewery we attended the annual Victoria Beer Festival in 1995. Lawrie was so enthused about the event he suggested to our good friend Donna Briggs that Penticton needed a beer festival. Donna and Lawrie combined their energies and got the idea off the ground. Lawrie remained on the board of directors for a number of years. 

The very capable board of directors keeps the festival ticking along year after year.  The Okanagan Fest of Ale, is celebrating its twenty-second or twenty-third festival.

We eventually realized that owning a micro-brewery was an intense learning experience, with tons of hard physical work.  We physically moved, carried, and shifted many metric tonnes of grain and bottles and kegs!  We, the four partners Lawrie, Richard, Linda and I, were in our late-forties and mid-fifties. What the hell we were thinking?  We finally got smart and sold the company in 1998 to its present owner. 

2000 Lawrie and I – Santa Claus for hotel staff parties

Still not able to cope with retirement Lawrie’s next career was managing restaurants in the Pencticton area. First it was Villa Rosa, then he was hired away to manage Magnum’s on the Lake, and finally he was hired as the general manager for Hillside Estate Winery and The Bistro on the now-famous wine district of the Narmata Bench. 

While he was occupied with restaurants I got back into the hospitality industry, managing hotels.

Sept 2007 – Patricio Yam, the keys to our casa

Lawrie’s last job was in 2008. He was the Operations Director for the condo-hotel development the Skaha Beach Club that was proposed for the southern end of Penticton. Then the economic crisis hit the USA and funding dried up for projects world-wide. 

At the time we were in Mexico enjoying a three months sabbatical from our jobs in Canada, trying out life at our new casa on the beach. 

He got a phone call from his boss who was also a good friend. 

“Don’t rush back to Canada.” The man said, “My project is dead. Enjoy yourself and come back when you are ready.”

We shrugged, we weren’t concerned. He was 67, I was 58. We were debt free. 

We returned to Canada on March 10th, leaving a warm and sunny country, arriving to knee-deep snow.

Lawrie looked at me and said, “Why are we doing this?”

“I don’t know!” I replied with a big grin.

August 2018 – Lawrie and John sharing good single malt 

And here we are. Over the past almost forty years we have traveled somewhere between thirty-four and thirty-five countries – depending on which one of us is doing the counting. 

We have strong loving families and deep supportive friendships that will sustain me despite the large black hole this man’s eventual passing will leave in my universe.

We have loved deeply and lived an amazing adventure.  I’m not ready for it to be over, but his body says otherwise. He is slipping away a little more each day.

I will love this man until my last breath. 

2012 Paris with the man I love.

“Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body,but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming:

                       WOW– What a Ride!”

Attributed to Bill McKenna, Anonymous and in a Nissan ad.

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