Hardy plant says farewell to a hard worker who had a magical remedy
Real Lapointe cuts his retirement cake alongside Primary Processing Manager Kathy Baker on December 21, at the Port Hardy Processing Plant.
January 4, 2018 - Port Hardy, B.C.
Real Lapointe retired in December after 15 years as a fish processor. The 65-year-old did not miss a day of work for five straight years. He attributes his good health to a flu-busting blend of citrus juice and paprika (recipe below).
He says his work ethic is from being part of a generation where if you didn’t work, you were fired.
“You just learn to work. You have work to do, and you pay someone to do a job. As long as you remember this, it is easy to work hard,” Real says.
He has had a long and varied working life.
He was born in Baie-Comeau in Quebec and worked at a papermill, a sawmill, and a hydroelectricity project before buying a milk delivery truck. For a decade he ran his own business serving 400 customers in Baie-Comeau.
About 2001 he saw a downturn in demand for milk deliveries so he sold his truck and business.
Meanwhile he had met a woman from Port McNeill playing cribbage online, and this prompted his move to British Columbia.
“I didn’t like the weather at first, and I went back. Then I asked her: if I come back, will you keep me? She said yes. We’re still together.”
It took him a year to get a job at the Englewood Processing Plant. He credits his coworkers for their patience with his poor English, as they worked on afternoon shifts that ran late into the night.
He was working in the value-added processing unit when the Englewood plant closed and its workers transferred to Port Hardy. When value-added processing stopped, he joined the grading team.
“My knees are telling me that I have to stop,” Real says. “I am happy enough to be alive at 65, and I don’t need to work anymore.”
In his retirement, Real plans to restrict his efforts to woodwork, fishing and some yardwork for neighbours. He will travel back to Quebec in the summer to visit his three children and four grandchildren.
“I will miss my friends at the plant, but I won’t miss the commute from Port McNeill,” he says.
Real’s miracle cure for colds:
3 oz orange juice
1 oz lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Mix and drink one shot in the morning, one shot in the evening. Do not drink for more than three days in a row.