As I toured Chemainus this evening I was reminded of many happy memories. As I drove by a particular sign it made me laugh out loud.
In those days we didn't always get official permission to do public projects. Sometimes it was easier to get forgiveness later than go through the long and arduous process of doing things strictly according to the rules. This particular job was the parking sign for the center lot in town. Some business friends donated money for supplies. Another with a tractor dug the hole. A third friend with a concrete truck supplied the concrete. My job was to build the sign. This was all done at night - without official blessing or permits.
As 'luck' would have it the Prime Minister of Canada was visiting our little town the next day. I was offered the chance to meet him and shake his hand - quite the honor. I was told to dress nice (not my normal work clothes) and to be in our art gallery at exactly nine o'clock in the morning. The whole entourage (complete with RCMP escort) came up the street, and poked their head into the gallery. I was nowhere to be seen. Janis appologized to the organizers and they carried on. They came to the corner and stepped off the curb to cross the street... and as they did I stepped out from behind a planter. I had my work clothes on. I also had a brick in one hand and a trowel in the other. As they approached, my friend, the organizer had little choice but to introduce Prime Minster Mulroney to me. I shook his hand and asked him if he wanted to lay a corner stone on the sign I was building. He readily agreed and with the press documenting the event the ceremonial block was laid. It of course was the headline story in the local papers the next day.
As I recall there was a bit of a curfuffle afterwards with me once again being reminded of protocol and official proceedure. My argument to this day is that I had the highest official in the land give the project his blessing. Was that not good enough? :)