Straight wry and a glass of wine

Interview with Paul St. Pierre was one to remember

Editor’s note: A celebration of life was held in Paul St. Pierre’s memory on Nov. 1. A story about the service can be found on this website.

Love him or loathe him, time spent with Canadian writer and politician Paul St. Pierre was always memorable.

My only interview with the Canadian journalist, screenwriter and novelist was more than a decade ago, when the last novel he ever wrote came out. It was Called Old Enough To Know Better — his musings on the world.

We agreed to do the interview at his Fort Langley hacienda.

He greeted me at his door with his white mutton chops, an open shirt and a smile. I can’t remember clearly if he already had a glass of wine in his hand, but it definitely came later. It was maybe 1 p.m.

His home was a collection of Mexican decor and artifacts.

His rancher had a massive open fireplace — a blazing fire was going when I arrived.

He said he wanted to talk out by his pool. It was mid-fall and a bit cool out but it wasn’t my place to argue.

We sat on old, rickety lawn chairs beside a pool that was littered with swirling leaves fallen from his backyard trees. He insisted I have a glass of his home-made white wine.

I don’t normally drink on the job, but there was something about being in Paul’s presence that made me take a sip.

The fallen leaves circled in his pool as he  answered questions about his life, his loves, and his notion that women would eventually take over the world.

From his book: “In the ideal society, women would do all the heavy lifting. The females would not only bear the children, do some cooking and provide some sexual entertainment, they would also be in charge of all industry, commerce, government and banking, to name a few.

This is only fair. They are the stronger sex . . . The male sex may be headed for extinction, leaving behind only a faint, warm racial memory of the swaggering gallantry with which we screwed things up.”

The book held life lessons for the descendants of his descendants, because, he claimed, his kids wouldn’t read his book.

After the article came out, I received a card from Paul thanking me for the piece.

What he wrote in the card seemed so very Paul, even though I didn’t know the man. Its absurdity made me spit out my coffee and cause me to read it out loud to the newsroom.

He told me to go forth and have lots of babies.

That was all.

To Paul, I was a woman, ergo, I must bring life into this world. It’s my god-given duty, I suppose. His unsolicited advice provided great comedy relief in our newsroom.

St. Pierre was a columnist at the Vancouver Sun when there wasn’t a TV in every household. It was a time when the people learned what was going on through their newspapers.

They would buy the local paper and know the writers by name. He was best-known for his tales about B.C.’s Cariboo region and his Cariboo Country CBC-TV series. He also did a four-year stint as a Member of Parliament for the Chilcotin.

He was a Canadian legend of sorts, as legendary as Canadians can get, which is pretty low-key, but he was an eccentric word smith who lived his life his way.

Langley Times