I have to admit something. When I was stepping into the Rod and Gun Club awards, ready to snap some photos last Saturday evening, I was going in with a bit of an assumption about the folks there.
It wasn’t huge, but I figured anyone who would be involved in the Rod and Gun Club could be categorized into one general lump full of cliches and bad movie dialogue that I replayed over and over in my head.
Of course I knew this was stupid to think, even before I got inside, but I won’t lie to you about my gut reaction for who would be a part of this organization.
Needless to say, I feel ashamed and pretty stupid for what I found inside.
Once I walked into the legion hall and sat down at the end of one of the long black tables and settled in, I took a few minutes to get a feel for the room and see just who would be there.
I saw Hoss Cann, the president and part-owner of CutRite Meats. I saw his wife, Jill. I thought, “That makes sense to me.”
Then I saw Terry Warren, the fire chief.
Then Chris Evans, the computer tech guy who works out of Home Hardware.
Then Hank Scown, a retired school teacher who worked at Nakusp Secondary School for years and years before settling down in this very village.
Over to my left was Reg Gustafson, the senior girls basketball coach.
Across from him was Andrea Coates, the fundraiser for Nakusp Minor Hockey and the main organizer for the ‘Nakusp is Hockeyville’ campaign.
There were men, women, boys and girls alike sitting in the legion that night to see the awards their parents were possibly receiving.
I looked around again and felt nothing but shame for myself. There I was, pitting people into a cliche in my head without really giving them a chance, and I couldn’t help but feel silly.
So for all things considered, I have to truly apologize for my ignorance.
The club obviously attracts a diverse and unique crowd who has travelled down many walks of life.
I don’t know why I didn’t think that to begin with. I always walk in with an open mind, but for some reason or another, this was pestering at the back of my skull like a woodpecker knocking on my brain.
For what it’s worth, I feel a lot differently about the Rod and Gun Club now. I know there are folks out there who don’t believe in what they do, and that’s fine.
It’s a diverse crowd who do what they do for many reasons, and from all the chats I had with people there, not one animal went to waste.
They used it all for food, so don’t picture something out of Dances With Wolves.
So there it is, my deep confession for the week.
I went in expecting a classic awards show, where people line up and the MC calls them up one by one to give them the award and have a photo snapshot taken of them.
Instead, I left feeling a bit better about myself and the people in this village.
If there’s anyone I offended with this, I apologize. I’m merely trying to explain that I was a silly man for making assumptions before experience.
I promise I won’t do it again.
Have a great day, Nakusp.
Sam Smith is the reporter/photographer for the Arrow Lakes News based out of Nakusp, B.C.