It was goodbye Lethbridge and hello Calgary yesterday. I had so much fun talking that I didn’t get a blog post written. I hope you didn’t think I was caput. I’m alive and happy.
The main route to Calgary goes through Fort Macleod and Claresholm. A fellow I was talking to in Wendy’s said that I’d save some time by going through Vulcan instead. Sure, sounds good to me. Hmm … Vulcan. That’s where they have the Star Trek display in honour of Mr. Spock, a pointy-eared Vulcan if ever there was one. I’m there!
As I approached the ordinary-looking prairie town, I figured I better ask where the Star Trek stuff was, so I pulled off the highway and walked into a restaurant. An Oriental hostess greeted me warmly but clearly wasn’t a Trekkie. She didn’t know anything about the Star Trek display. Then a huge “Ah hah!” look exploded on her face. She rushed to the window and pointed across the street. And there stood the Starship Enterprise. Perhaps I should scan my horizons more completely.
Off I went, taking photos of all things Trek, starting with a big board that featured the crew of the original Star Trek, plus Captain Janeway. You could undo the head piece from behind, shove your head through and be Kirk, Worf, Spock and other celestial heroes. There were plaques on the Enterprise monument, including a message written in Klingon. Across a parking lot stood the Vulcan Tourist Information Centre, a white building that looked suspiciously like an outpost on the planet Xerox. Inside a friendly lady said hello. I was trying to greet her with Spock’s “Live long and prosper” salute, but I couldn’t get my fingers going right. My guide had me close my eyes. She held my hand for a bit and asked me to relax. “Focus on your second and third finger and spread them apart … gently. (Pause) Now open your eyes.” It worked. My first and second fingers stayed magically glued together, as did my third and fourth. I’m all set to be an extra in the next Star Trek film.
And then Calgary. I was visiting Isabelle (70) and her husband Bruce (71). Isabelle and I met a few weeks ago on the steps of the Church of the Holy Trinity in Toronto. We were waiting for the doors to open for a session of Sanskrit chanting led by Krishna Das. He chants the names of God and we in the pews sing each line back to him. It was very moving. Isabelle, her daughter Elizabeth and I had a great time talking before and after. After I mentioned that I was travelling west, Isabelle invited me to visit her in Calgary. And here I am.
Both husband and wife are remarkable. Bruce decided at age 65 that he wanted to play the piano. So he started taking lessons and last night played us a tender rendition of “Pachelbel Canon”. Such an entrancing melody. Bruce missed a few notes but, hey, life is a work in progress. Good for him to commit himself to something brand new. He’s also a fine storyteller. He’s had a history of picking up things at garage sales, and reselling the items for a profit. One day, he showed up in the driveway with his truck and asked his teenaged kids to see what was inside. Little did they suspect … 180 rakes and hoes and tons of spades. Those poor children were dumbfounded into silence. I was as well when Bruce told the story. He resold the implements the next day.
Isabelle decided recently that it was time for singing lessons. And so she began, with a very important audience in mind – her grandchildren. She also worked up a routine for Yuk Yuk’s and presented it. So gutsy. Isabelle loves volunteering at a hospice and especially likes “the grumpy ones” because they need the most love.
As you can tell, I’ve met two fine human beings. And that’s what this trip is for me – being with people. Because they’re the best. I love the mountains and the lakes, the forest and the fields, but they pale in comparison with the communion of souls.
There. I’m sort of caught up, except I haven’t said anything about today. Tomorrow.