It’s just before 6am. I’m sitting in my hotel room in Drummondville, Quebec – after a night that would not qualify as a good sleep. I can see the highway that runs between Montreal and Quebec City from my room window. Traffic is already brisk.
The cameraman I’ve worked with since 1981 is asleep in the next room…at least I hope he’s sleeping. One of us needs to be completely on our toes for today’s shoot.
We drove in from Toronto last night, ninety minutes from our final destination of Thetford Mines, near the area known as the Eastern Townships. The Kinnon family once owned a 100 acre farm in this part of the world. (Along with a lot of property in the city of Montreal.) That was eighty years ago. When all of my family, save my Grandmother Kinnon spoke French as easily as they spoke English. Today I’m functionally unilingual. My French so rusty that I am likely to get directions to the men’s room as a response to my food order in my halting langue français.
Jim Aquila, my cameraman, and I are here to visit a pilot plant for a very green, nickel recovery operation. A client that I worked with five years ago (who is now with a new company) has asked me to produce a video about the work they are doing here. In a couple of hours, I will begin interviewing the genius behind the plant design – and then Jim and I will shoot throughout the plant. It will be an interesting and busy day.
Jim and I, choosing to drive rather than fly, have spent our time in the car reminiscing – about old friends, long forgotten production stories, changes in technology…even the church – though Jim would not identify himself as a believer. Jim and I began working together before I became a Christian and he knew the changes that happened in my life as a result – some of them actually positive. (Though he once took me off to one side on a production I was directing, where I was rather obviously losing patience with the producer and reminded me that I professed to be a believer – my frustration was suggesting otherwise.) He’s been a good friend through the ups and downs of life and it is great to be spending time working together again.
We chose to drive rather than fly as airport arrival needs in Toronto and baggage claims in Montreal would have only saved us about 90 minutes in time. (And besides, I got to rent a very cool Cadillac STS as our production vehicle – it’s large trunk swallowing our gear. It is a great handling, very comfortable car. Though one I will never own.) Our conversation made the trip pass more quickly than the clock indicated – and the Garmin GPS unit made our traversing of the Montreal highways a breeze. (I’ve been lost in Montreal a number of times before – once actually being forced by my dear wife to stop and ask a stranger for directions. How embarrassing is that!) The French-only signage is really quite dumb in a city that promotes itself as a tourist destination to Americans.
But rather than going off on a rant about the signs, I must get ready for the day. I’ll be back later.