Monday 24 January 2022

Late at night the mind wanders . . .

For some reason one insomnia-riddled night I was thinking about Captain Blaine George Brown otherwise known as Boogie Brown. Actually this was a fragment of many thoughts related to one place where I used to live. It probably had something to do with the recent nasty winter weather.

I spent about four years of my childhood, grade school, in a place called Cassiar in British Columbia which does not really exist anymore. Cassiar was a small place, a company town, with one grocery store, one dry goods store, one gas station, one school that went from Kindergarten to Grade 12. The nearest airport was in Watson Lake in the Yukon and it sticks in my mind it was one hundred fourteen miles away. There was not much in Watson Lake.

To get to any real civilization you had to drive a very long distance or take a flight. CP Air, one of many Canadian airlines to fall by the wayside, had a route that would include Vancouver, Whitehorse, Watson Lake, Fort Nelson, Fort St. John, Grande Prairie (where, if I remember correctly you switched planes), where we would end up in Edmonton. Once in Edmonton relatives would pick us up and drive over an hour out to the farm. The plane on that route was a Boeing 737. One summer I had flown from Watson Lake to Whitehorse to Vancouver then Edmonton.

One winter the family left Cassiar to catch a flight in Watson Lake. Near Good Hope Lake we ran into the aftermath of freezing rain which was extremely rare for northern British Columbia. It was absolutely treacherous. My father had two sets of tire chains. He found a configuration that worked, one on the driver’s side front tire and one on the driver’s side rear tire. Our vehicle at the time was a 4WD Blazer. After crawling along for some miles we got past the area where freezing rain affected the roads. Off came the chains. Not long after that it started snowing. It got incrementally worse to the point it was quite nasty when we finally made it to the airport. The trip was slow due to the horrible road conditions. We were two hours late and it looked like we were going to rebook at the airport and stay overnight in Watson Lake. The weather was not worth driving all the way home and driving back the next day. When dad asked about our flight it turned out our flight was over two hours late. We had not missed it.

It was a small airport with one counter and one gate. Things were different in those days. If it was iffy weather people waiting for their flight would ask the guy at the counter if he know who the pilot was on the day's flight. If you were told it was a certain pilot you knew you were getting on the plane and you had nothing to worry about, that plane would arrive. That day it was snowing damn hard and the plane appeared in front of the terminal. I remember getting on the plane and the stewardess got on the mic in a cheerful voice and said “Welcome to CP Air flight (whatever number it was) Captain Boogie Brown is your pilot”. A few minutes later that same voice said in a more serious manner that "Captain Brown is your pilot". There were other pilots on that route but for some reason after all these years his is the only name that sticks out. I have no idea why he was called Boogie Brown.

Memory is not always perfect. These days with the internet at your fingertips you can search and maybe find some piece of information related to some late night memories of escaping winter for a week from a small northern town. I did a search for Captain Brown and found out he died in 2018. He seemed like a decent guy. Yes, he was known as Boogie Brown. It is odd the things one remembers.


  1. Interesting story and "way to go!" Captain Boogie Brown!

  2. That was a good story from where I'm sitting. Getting these memories written down is a good thing.

  3. WOW what interesting memories! I can enjoy more of them if you have them.