Sunday, December 28, 2008


He came and sat next to me on the bench I had cleared of snow earlier.

We each partook of our own habits. He crack cocaine and I of Hashish and Kush crammed in my pipe bowl. We were the same age.

His features looked like the Cossack he claimed to be in his watch cap.

“My name is Roman,” he began. He had come over in a wave of immigrants from behind the iron curtain and was now stateless. He took out a handkerchief and told me that he had less than a year to live. “Asbestoses”

“I came to Canada in 1979” he went on, “I worked hard saved money, bought farm in Abottsford, learn to grow pot for big money” “I never become a Canada citizen” “I am stateless person because my country now gone!”

“Now I don't care no more everything gone” he was not unable to laugh at his fate. We had a good chuckle over what I told him that I was doing. The crack was the only thing keeping him going, he said. He showed me faded documents. A trail of government bureaucracy speaking of evil intent toward Roman, who had actually given up his lungs to de install government buildings of asbestos insulation, or install it, I forgot. He was not homeless or without and proudly mentioned that.

“They never tell me to wear mask!”

“I got $20,000.00!”

I told him that I was a lucky man. He didn't begrudge me that and wished me well, as I did of him, on parting.

We had shared some common moments in the marijuana grow industry. Roman and I, had some belly laughter, ending up in a coughing spasm when I told him of my involvement in the aftermath of Mayerthorpe. I trusted the RCMP. He was mentally alert and aware of current events, including the fact that Canada refuses to sign the UN bill to ban asbestos, and continues to export this carcinogen for the profit of a few.

We parted friends, and I looked him in the eye as we shook hands. I told him honestly, that I would never forget him and our meeting. He believed me, that I am a lucky man, that I would carry his memory for a long time.