Opinion » Alta States

Alta States

A raucous lunch across the tracks



"Your character is your destiny."

- Heraclitus, Greek Philosopher


Hard to know where to start when you have such a vast palette of anecdotes to recount.

Do I begin with Don's crazy cross-country epic from New Brunswick to B.C. in 1951 on a Triumph Speedtwin motorcycle purchased from Crazy Canuck Dave Murray's dad Bill? Think about the hard miles covered on such a trip. Think about the discomforts too. After all, in those days Canada didn't even have a highway that went from sea-to-sea - MacLaurin had to cross the US instead. It's a great story.

"It was lot of fun," says Don. "Bill was my best friend at university. A great guy." He pauses for a breath. "The biggest adventure, however, was saved for the return journey." He chuckles quietly. "We did it together, you know - on the same motorcycle. In September-October. We were quite the sight: me, 5'8'' on a good day, and Bill over six feet tall. And we alternated the driving chores! Now that was a trip..."

What he doesn't mention (and doesn't want me to mention) is that Dave Murray might have never reached the ski racing heights he did without a certain call Don made to his father in 1962. "Well," he admits, "I did encourage Bill to buy a lot here after we did. And he trusted my judgment." This, remember, was before any lift had been built on the mountain. The MacLaurins were living in a tent then. Trust indeed. "We were pretty good pals," says Don. "Bill knew I had his best interests at heart. As it turns out, our two families - nine children in total! - virtually grew up together on this side of the lake..."

Isobel can't help it. She has to throw in her two cents. "And Dave was a lousy babysitter," she says with that special glint in her eye. "Every time we came home the house would be a mess. There'd be pillows everywhere. It was like they'd been doing extreme gymnastics or something..."

But that's just the tip of the storytelling glacier.

What about those spring camping trips the couple took to Mt. Baker in their candy-red MG back when Whistler Mountain was still just a glint in ol' Wilhelmsen's eye? Feast your eyes on this young couple. She in belly top and shorts - fit and smiling and sexy as all get-out - while he leans against the car, proud and happy and tough and competent. An old khaki frame pack leans haphazardly in the back of the sports car. The snowbanks are huge.