CHILLIWACK, B.C. — Gold, glorious gold, will deliver financial security if you have more of it than the ring on your finger.
Today we say that if you're coming to British Columbia, bring cash as things are expensive here. This leads me to ask, is there another province or territory in Canada that isn't costly these days? Most of us would welcome a stack of gold bars weighing the standard 12.4 kilograms each as a reserve for the rapid evaporation of our money. Buying lottery tickets has mainly been undependable for gaining fiscal security in my experience.
Here in British Columbia, the high regard for gold is a vital ingredient of our history. For example, reports that pacer gold was found in gravel bars on the Fraser River in 1858 brought thousands of gold seekers to that river and beyond it. It was like being in a vast, long lineup for lottery tickets for a big jackpot prize today. But today, we tap our credit cards for a chance to make ourselves rich, while those arriving in the gold rush were gambling for gold with their lives. They, too, like us, were seeking financial security.
Of the 30,000 or so gold seekers who poured into British Columbia, most went home no more prosperous than when they came. However, many did stay and build their futures here. But, heroically, they did this without anything but themselves as the investment and guarantee of their future.
In two historical fiction novels, I write of the motivation of those searching the treacherous Fraser River by canoe for gold and the need of the gold hunters to trust their partners with their lives. Gold only gives financial security to those living.
Both novels highlight the raw and daring adventure of the day-by-day struggle to find gold and sufficient food and shelter. Both books mix non-stop action with humour and the developing treasure of trust and respect between the partners.
The Deadly Five (published in 2020) and its sequel, The Second Five (published in 2022), transport readers to the Fraser River Gold Rush, where five fictional characters search for gold over two years. The Deadly Five is the first search and The Second Five is the second quest for gold. The novels reveal how ordinary folks of every time period take up life’s challenges in both the mundane and dangerous to secure enough or more than enough for their present and future needs if possible.
The answers to gaining financial security today, as in every age, are challenging and wearisome. The folks who prospered most during the gold rush were often those who sold the miners supplies, food and entertainment. The same issues of today were evident in 1858. Then, people faced the high prices of supply and demand, inadequate housing in the sense of tents for every season, supply chain disruptions, an absolute shortage of doctors and political uncertainty. History always repeats itself.
Anyone interested in the novels can find information about them at raymondmaher.com.
Maher is also the author of a weekly inspirational column in a number of weekly newspapers in Saskatchewan, including the Battlefords Regional News-Optimist.