A few days ago in Burns Lake, a frustrated and confounded Ministry of Forest’s official, whose home is on Vancouver Island, asked me in exasperation, “Who in the hell or what the hell is a Southsider and what makes them tick?”
I smiled, took a deep breath and thought to myself that every Southsider would answer this question a little bit differently, but all would contain common refrains like freedom, independence, self-sufficiency, compassion and solitude.
You see, a Southsider is composed of big dollops of grit and gumption and a healthy dose of compassion. They are generally fearless, painless and steady. A Southsider can be dignified when it’s called for and haywire when it’s not, all the while proud and protective of their lifestyle, the land, the ferry and each others privacy. Southsider’s don’t flock, they are like eagles and if you search, you will find them, one at a time.
So in answer to his question, I plainly told him that Southsiders don’t like to be pushed around and they damn sure don’t like their freedom to move about curtailed by in-your-face roadblocks and invisible silly beaurocratic policies. I explained that if he hung around for a couple of weeks, he would grow to admire and respect the Southsiders for what and who they are, and that he’ll want to come back to the Southside, in a gentler time, to enjoy everything the people and land have to offer.
A proud citizen of the Independent Republic of the Southside,