Molly Guilbeault, at Leung’s

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, I often slipped into Leung’s Grocery store at the top of Fifth Street in Courtenay, B.C. for a Denver sandwich at the lunch counter. There was something addictive about those sandwiches. Maybe it was the grease or the extra fresh onions. But I was hooked. I’d even take my toddler daughter there on weekends. She wasn’t a fan of the Denver sandwiches, but she loved their classic milkshakes.

On one particular Saturday, my daughter and I were sitting near the street end of the long 1950s-style counter playing eye-spy. The shelves behind the counter were jam-packed with stuff for sale: cigars, metal cigarette lighters, cribbage boards and other games, jigsaw puzzles and, of course, a display of fine pies. There were little signs tacked up everywhere with clever sayings.

While we waited, my favorite server stepped behind the counter. As she got ready to start her shift, Molly Guilbeault picked up a chrome napkin dispenser from the counter and used it as a mirror to apply her lipstick. I grabbed a picture at that moment. It’s still one of my favorite images.

George Le Masurier

Decafnation | Jan. 27, 2017

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