Most of you know that I articled to my Dad. Some of you do not know much about me prior to my articling. First of all, Mum did not want her ‘boys’ to become land surveyors. She got one-half of her wish; my twin brother Fred followed a different path while I got my commission in 1975. This was a welcomed event in my life, well 50/50. The nice 50% was the fact that my daughter Chelsea and my son Todd were born; the other 50% which was not a bad thing but still scared me. On the day I received my commission, the Association office [Adam Burhoe] had called and told my Dad [I was working on a job site] that I passed my exams and that the actual swearing in was a formality. When I returned to the office at the end of the day, Dad told me the good news then proceeded to tell me that he and Mum were off to Europe for a month-starting the next day!!! I was scared yet proud that my Dad trusted me with the business. We became partners that day with a handshake. He told me that if there was any money left in the pot at the end of the day I could have half. Only 37 years later, did I find out that my Dad had asked another land surveyor [Tony Loach] to keep an eye on me. Thanks Dad. Thanks Tony.
While I articled to my Dad, I was working under another Party Chief in the field by the name of Alf Thu. Alf was as good a PC as he was a character. We can’t publish some of the stuff Alf did!!! but he had fun. Going back a little further Fred and I worked for Dad during the summer months before University. During my articling days and like most budding land surveyors then, I would do the field work, go home for dinner, return to the office after and hand draft my plans for my Dad to review and sign the following morning. I realize that young articling students land surveyors these days need time for their families but I cannot stress enough the impact that this type of training did for me.
My wife Sandy and I were talking the other day and she mentioned how hard I work when I am out in the field. I reminded her that even though it is sometimes hard work I always have fun. [Even when I use her as a guide for height and make her stand in the middle of the street with her finger over her head and then conveniently forget to tell her she can move. I have stopped doing that as she has made it quite clear that it is not funny any more.] I so enjoy what I do for a living and the reward more than compensates for the physical and mental labour. I especially have fun when I am dealing with the owners ‘one on one’. I get to watch them get excited when they also learn more about their special piece of property.
I’ll end this note with a little tale: I had an appointment at 5 one evening a few years ago and some of you know that my watch does not keep the correct time most days. I was to walk the boundary with a client on fairly rough terrain. On the way there [cursing myself for being late] and upon my arrival I reached for my boots. It was at that moment I remembered they were at home. So, loving my job the way I do I knocked on the front door and the client answered. She looked at me and for some reason noticed my feet. I had taken my shoes and socks off and was willing to walk the site BAREFOOTED!!!