Conversations with Mary: Mike Scott

Mike Scott’s friends say he is soft-spoken and always willing to help.

Mike and his sister

Mike Scott’s friends say he is soft-spoken and always willing to help.

“Mike is well known as the kind of guy that comes at a moment’s notice to help you out of a fix or with a repair job,” says his long time friend John Kinnear.

“He’s very adept at renos and car repairs. At Line Creek he was a respected individual who could be counted on to get the job done in field maintenance.

“He almost always agrees to piper requests for parade, wedding or funeral. He’s a gentle soul and I always enjoy my time with him reminiscing or catching up on the latest news.

“He’s well read and well educated and can converse with you on just about any topic.”

This praise is shared by all who know this soft-spoken man.

With a Scottish dad and a Latvian mother, Mike has an interesting heritage. Alexander Scott was with the King’s Own Scottish Borderers 4th Battalion and Edith Reinsons was three months shy of becoming a neurosurgeon when Russia marched into Latvia. She fled the country to Germany and there she met Alexander.

“When dad moved back to Scotland, mom went to England, they wrote then decided to marry,” says Mike. “Dad’s sister had moved to Canada, mom was eight-and-a-half months pregnant and they came to Canada on the ship Empress of Canada,” says Mike.

The ship flew both Canadian and British flags so if Mike had been born while on board he could have had dual citizenship. The ship landed in Montreal on February 1951 and they made the trip west by train. Mike was born two weeks later in the Calgary General Hospital on February 20. His sister Karina was born in Barrier a year later. The family lived in Calgary for 10 years but, prompted by his dad’s desire to own land, the family moved to a 15 acre farm in Barrier.

“Dad’s primary work was as an instrumentation fitter, plumber and pipe fitter. He was an inventor, a very good one. I graduated in Barrier. It was a pretty simple life, we had chores to do, we built barns, fed animals.

“In February 1953 our house burned down. Mom was asleep on the couch. The fire started under the bedroom. She was supposed to be there. The propane tanks caused the fire, she got out, house was levelled in an hour. Dad was away at work, when he came home he found the charred mess.”

Mike says he grabbed his dad and hugged him. “We rebuilt. Dad still lives in the same house, he’s 90 years old.”

After graduation, Mike took a two year pre-med course, decided it wasn’t for him and went into his own trucking business. In college he met Delilah Corbett. “We were the first students in the Kamloops College.

“We hit it off right away. She was the May Queen in Kamloops when she was 16. We were young when we met, went out for a couple of years, then got married.”

Years later Delilah finished her education degree in Cranbrook through a satellite program with the University of Victoria. Today she’s the vice principal at Kootenay Christian Academy in Cranbrook. The couple moved to Fernie in 1978 to White Spruce trailer court.

“We purchased land from Lloyd Phillips. Erin was three and Ian 18 months when we came here. We met Bob and Evelyn Cutts as neighbours in Kamloops. They convinced us to come and physically helped us move. We brought the trucking business here. Delilah worked at the bank and at Overwaitea, then I started at Line Creek. I was working both jobs, it became too much, so sold the trucking business, stayed at Line Creek until retirement a couple of years ago,” Mike says.

They made another move to Baynes Lake in 1999. “The kids were grown up so we scaled down. We had a couple of horses, and kids had country living growing up.”

Mike was seven when he started to learn the bagpipes. He was watching the Calgary Stampede parade when he saw pipers and expressed interest so his father found an instructor for him. He played with the Lions Club Pipe Band now known as Calgary Highlanders and even played in a Stampede parade. In Barrier, he joined the Legion Pipe Band, tutoring by age 11. He is listed twice in the Book of Pipe Bands of B.C., with the Kamloops band where he was a member for seven years and with Rocky Mountain Highlanders, a band he started in 1984.

“We had 14 members; we played all over the US border states, Alberta and B.C. We had lots of fun, lots of commitment back then. But now we are not active.”

He reminisces about the excitement of playing in Scotland in front of his brother who lives there. “I find it relaxing and calming, performing for two or a million it’s all the same. I don’t know how I remember but I keep doing it.”

Mike is a heavy duty mechanic. At 16 he rebuilt a Land Rover engine. His son Ian is a welder at Elkview Mine and Erin a registered massage therapist.

Now, days are spent helping do renovations for friends, specifically renovating the old Jaffray Pub into a new venue for the South Country Christian Fellowship Church that will provide seating for 100.

He checks routinely on older friends, doing snow clearing for them. He still enjoys salmon fishing and hunting. “Most of all I love being with family, if you don’t have family you have nothing,” says Mike.

There are many who give love to family, friends and community without reservation. I’m appreciative when I’m allowed the privilege of putting in writing a small summary of their life. It’s people like Mike that make the world a really good place to live in.