Monday, July 18, 2011

heading home

We left my family on Wednesday morning (July 13) in good form, or so we thought, although we left a little later than we hoped.  The morning departure had followed many tears as we said goodbye to my two sisters, their husbands and my nieces and nephews.  Jesse was sobbing as we hugged for at least three minutes.  
While most thought it was due to the fatigue factor, I knew it was because he realized he would not see the most perfect and glorious auntie anyone could ever have for another two years.  That is definitely something to sob about.
Regardless of the reason - and I hold fiercely to mine - it was a wonderfully sweet and tender moment.
Oh how blessed I am to have all these treasures in my family.
The morning, too, had many hugs and tears saying goodbye to my brother, sister-in-law (much more like a straight up sister), the kids and my mom.  It had so many tears, on my part, that I didn’t even notice until a few minutes into the drive, when Maddy handed me a Toblerone bar, that my sister Kim had gone to the store, probably sometime the night before after we said all our goodbyes, and bought all kinds of treasures, treats and gifts for the kids.
Sweetness and thoughtfulness personified.
As I said, we thought we left in good form.  We found out about 15 minutes into our drive that this was not so.
Our tip-off?
Some maniac man in a silver VW bug in hot pursuit.
He pulled up beside us on the highway, flailing his arms (mild exaggeration) to get us to stop.  Actually, I guess he didn’t flail at all - he merely held up a stack of library books.
Our library books.
From the library in Fairfield.
Books that would have easily cost over $200 to replace.
Thankfully Glenda went into the basement, where the books were (I never even double checked the basement - like a fool**), ran up stairs like an Olympic relay runner who handed them off to Brent.
Brent, Glenda.  We are forever grateful.  For that and for putting up with us, feeding us, housing us, entertaining us for a really long time.
After that little road-side stop, we were really and truly off.
 Most people think the drive between Winnipeg, MB and Regina, SK (not to mention between Steinbach and Caronport - about 1.5 hours further) is the most boring drive anyone could do for 8 hours.
And indeed, I have to admit, they would be right.
It is flat as a perfectly lathed table and the road has about 6 slight curves over the entire course of the drive.  There is not much to see other than acres and acres of farmland with a few scattered trees.
To me, however, I hardly wanted to pick up a book, type on the laptop or settle an argument between two of might fighting children (okay, granted, that last one would be the case regardless of where we were driving).  I can’t get enough.
I’m sure if I lived back on the prairies it would be very different.  But knowing that I only get to see them every two years (although to me it always feels like the last time for ever), I drink it all in.
I want to take a picture about once a minute while driving on the prairies.  Every farm in the distance, every cloud in the endless sky, the wind mills, the silos, grain elevators, trains, abandoned and dilapidated farm houses, bales of hay and all the different crops - particularly canola, as mentioned (I really wanted one of the lavender flax fields as well, but they only came up on Eric’s side - wasn’t worth it, through the bug splattered windshield.).
I love it all.
 Eric made a lunch stop at A&W, just for me.
I love Whistle Dogs from A&W (and the kids were pretty enthusiastic to stop at the root beer restaurant).  The only problem is that I forgot to remember that they put that nasty relish stuff on I didn’t order it plain. 
Nothing like relish to ruin a perfectly good Whistle Dog.
 I survived the incident and we managed to make it through to Saskatchewan.  We even made it without throwing Lucy out the window.  How is it that one child can make that much noise, with that much energy for such a long, sustained about of time?  At least the songs she continually sings are entertaining.
 We got to Moose Jaw - complete with Moose statue,

 and on to our Alma Mater - Briercrest Bible College in Caronport (although it is now just called Briercrest College, it is still very much bible and Christ centred).

It was extremely delightful to have dinner with our wonderful friends the Taylors/Benaliks and then visited the Peters, my former boss/Eric’s basketball coach and his family.
How is it possible that one family - us - can be so abundantly blessed with so many incredible people in our lives?

The next morning we went for a bit of a tour of our old stomping grounds.... grounds that have changed significantly.
Thankfully we were with the president of the schools, so we got to see the new arena.  Hockey arena.
While looking around, I spotted the zamboni.
The kids know about the zamboni from the movie “Ice Princess” and I was pretty sure they would be thrilled to see it.
Dr. Uglem let the kids climb on the zamboni and pretend to drive.
From that point on, we probably heard the word “zamboni” about 329 times.  

 Mia even pretended to be a zamboni.
After saying a last goodbye to the Peters we headed off west for more prairie fun.
 We got to see the world’s largest tipi, although seeing the world’s second largest ball of twine would have been cooler.
Maybe another trip.
We spent twenty or so minutes in Swift Current, SK getting lunch, gas and contact lens solution.  Other than the gas prices being ridiculously high and the Subway sandwich maker didn’t know the difference between the cheeses other than their color, we had a lovely time.  Or at least I did.
Eric dropped me off at a store because I was out of lens solution, and he and the kids headed to get sandwiches and gas.  The store I went to could only be described as a Canadian prairie conglomeration of randomness.  Bright red price tags on everything. The closest relative would be a Super Walmart, but that would only prove to be a very distant relative, bearing very few of the same genes.  After I found my solution (and thoroughly enjoyed my shopping experience....I’m sure I looked like a complete idiot walking through the store with a big grin on my face, sort of chuckling to myself.), I waited outside for about 10 - 12 minutes for Eric and the kids to pick me up.  In that time I’m sure I was greeted verbally by 6 people, smiled at by 3 others and entered into brief  conversation with 2 others.  Only one person did not acknowledge my presence - in a friendly manner. 
One man asked if I was enjoying the sun and talked about what lovely weather we were having.  An older lady hobbled past and commented how it was so frustrating to having broke her hip.  I said “Oh, I’m so sorry!!”  She told me that I needn’t be sorry it was her own fault for having been so stupid.   She left shaking her head and sort of laughing at herself.
I love the prairies!!!
Everyone is so friendly.
We finally arrived at the Reimers, near Burdett, and settled into some good pizza and conversation.
One more good day, done.

**You’ll note that I often call myself insulting names: fool, idiot, moron.  I’m pretty sure my mom doesn’t like this a whole lot, thinking I am not very nice to myself.
The reality is that I’m not really bashing myself so much.  I am well aware that I am a supremely intelligent woman.  But therein lies the problem.  I am much too proud.  So essentially I am trying to do two things:  1) Humble myself - knock myself down to size, so-to-speak.
2) Convince you, the reader, that I am a mere mortal just like you - because otherwise you might be entirely intimidated by my superior skills in most everything (does writing that completely obliterate #1?)
Just to clarify - I’m joking about all this.....

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