As expected, Fulford Hall was jam-packed on Sunday afternoon for Arvid Chalmers’ memorial.
The mix of people sharing memories and thoughts in words and music appropriately touched all corners of Arvid’s lives on Salt Spring and in Melaque. Laughter and crowd singing featured prominently. He would have been pleased.
I want to add something to Sid Filkow’s presentation, though. I know how complete accuracy must be sacrificed for brevity (and a superior story), but do not believe Sid when he says that he and Arvid had no clue what their shows would be about before they went on stage. They always came by the Driftwood office a couple of weeks in advance of opening night to get the creative ball rolling, flinging out scraps of ideas, which I dutifully scribbled down for a promo story while we all cracked up at the crazy stuff they came up with. They needed an audience to tap into their funny veins and I was usually it for the early part of the process. I’m going to miss that.
In the market the day before I had a chat with an islander I’ve known for a long time but not talked to much for years. We both said it was hard to believe we would never see Arv again. She said she had wondered who could possibly be “the next Arvid” for Salt Spring. While she knew it couldn’t be her, she suggested that if we could all be “a little bit more Arvid” — meaning more friendly, caring and willing to give each other double-sided hugs — the void might not be so huge.
She’s right. Arvid left such a legacy of love for us to make our community an even better place than it already is. Let’s not lose that.