Love and honour him this Father’s Day

I've grown into the role of being Frank Horner's boy

When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.

— Mark Twain



It was my first week in Oceanside after my 11-year nightmare in Quesnel.

“Oh,” my interview subject said. “You must be Frank Horner’s boy.”

“Um … well I am 45,” I grumped, “but yeah, he’s my dad.”

It wasn’t to be the last time I got tagged with that label. I had moved into the old lion’s turf. Some loved him. Some hated him, but many, many people knew him.

They knew him for his frequent letters to the editor, where he criticized the Qualicum Beach council for this decision or that, and for standing up to be counted on two occasions at election time, running for a seat.

He didn’t win the first time around, although it was close. Chris Burger beat him out by a handful of votes.

He put his money where his mouth was and ran again in the next election, but withdrew when his health began to fail. He didn’t think he could give the job the attention it deserved and didn’t want to have to quit part way through his term.

It was a classy, dignified move and, over the course of the nearly eight years I’ve lived in Oceanside, I’ve come to know him far better than ever before. I can truly say that this basic integrity doesn’t surprise me at all.

Some of what I’ve learned has been surprising — much of it gleaned from those letters.

I was surprised that at least one letter writer refers to him as a “loony lefty,” when I, with my teenage hormonal blinkers on, had always seen him as a strict authoritarian, a tighty righty.

There are some memories of him though that aren’t polluted by teen hormones. I remember as a toddler him driving through the streets of Montreal, chasing a bus that had flames coming out the back. He pulled in front of it and, when it stopped and the driver roared out, ready to kill, he pointed out the problem. I remember an old man leaning into the car window.

“Good job,” he said. “Well done!” Real Boy Scout stuff!”

Nobody else on Earth probably remembers that, but I do.

I remember, after returning from getting kicked out of Katimavik with nothing more to my name than $25 and a train ticket, how he showed up at the flophouse where I had taken refuge with a cheque to pay for the next week’s room and board. You don’t forget stuff like that.

This Father’s Day, if you still have a dad, cherish him. If he has wronged you, forgive him if you can and if he has helped you, make a point to thank him for it. If you have wronged him, apologize. He won’t be around forever.

And teens, your dad likely isn’t a monster. He’s probably doing the best he can and has likely given up all manner of dreams and adventures in order to get you to the point you are now.

For me, I guess all I can do is give him my assurance that whatever honours or awards, victories or triumphs come my way in future will be accepted by the person who is proud to be known, now and forever, as Frank Horner’s boy.

I love you dad. Happy Father’s Day.


Just Posted

The proposed running track upgrade at Ballenas Secondary is now on course. (PQB News file photo)
RDN: Parksville track upgrade project gains some traction

Staff recommends board approve $204,000 funding

The total earnings of Town of Qualicum Beach council and mayor amounted to $186,649 in 2020, including expenses. (Town of Qualicum Beach photo)
Nine Qualicum Beach town employees earned more than $100K in 2020

Mayor and council received earnings totalling $186,649

(PQB News file photo)
Fireworks report highlights enforcement challenges for Regional District of Nanaimo

Director: ‘I just think it’s wasting everybody’s time’

Terry Mazzei next to a truck after it was struck by lightning, with him inside, on Wednesday afternoon, June 9. He walked away from the incident without injury and the truck sustained only mild damage; a blown front tire and newly broken gas gauge. (Wendy Mazzei photo)
Nanoose Bay man walks away unscathed after lightning strike

VIDEO: ‘We like to think that his dad was watching over him’

Douglas Holmes, current Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District chief administrative officer, is set to take on that position at the Regional District of Nanaimo come late August. (Submitted photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo’s next CAO keen to work on building partnerships

Douglas Holmes to take over top administrator role with RDN this summer

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read