There are times in politics when the right decision just doesn’t feel that way, and the dismantling of the Transfer Beach Playground has been one of those trials for Mayor Aaron Stone.
“People need to understand that we’re all attached to that playground,” he said, when called for details about a comment he’d made at the July 6 Town of Ladysmith council meeting about getting engaged to wife Jacquie in the playground at Transfer Beach.
Their son Tyson was two years old at the time, and Stone wanted to involve him in the special occasion. He struck on the idea of having Tyson offer bride-to-be Jacquie her engagement ring and pop the big question.
He knew going into it that the strategy carried some risk. “It was a pretty good sized rock,” he remembered. “I thought: ‘This ring’s worth more than I’ve ever spent on any vehicle before.’”
But the die was cast, and on the big day he, Jacquie and Tyson went down to Transfer Beach as they’d often done.
When the right moment arrived, Stone went up the spiral slide with Tyson, while Jacquie waited at the bottom. He handed Tyson the ring, and reminded the toddler what to say: “When you get to the bottom say, ‘Mommy will you marry Daddy?’”
Things didn’t quite go as planned. Instead of handing over the ring and popping the question, Tyson took off with his prize in the general direction of the kayak rental shop, with Stone in hot pursuit.
Now Stone, Jacquie, Tyson and family have a memory to share and laugh about – a part of their family lore.
Special as that makes the Transfer Beach Playground to him, Stone knows the time has come to replace an ‘iconic’ spot on Ladysmith’s landscape.
But just because a new generation of children and parents will create new memories around a new playground, doesn’t mean the old will be forgotten. “We’ve had so many great times,” he said. “It’s important to remember the great things that happened there.”