After leaving Ray and Joy’s place on Friday, I meandered north towards Jody’s cousin Holly in Red Deer, Alberta. There were people to touch en route.
My first meeting didn’t happen in a face-to-face way. I was dropping a letter off for Michelle, a welcomer at the visitor centre of the Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden in Lethbridge. On my way through a couple of weeks ago, Michelle and I had a great talk about life. And we hugged. I seem to be hugging a lot of people on my road trip whom I’ve never met before. I like it.
I told Michelle that I was coming back through Lethbridge on August 13 and 14 and that I’d love to visit her again. She said that she was off on the 14th but worked until 5:00 on the 13th. So my goal on Thursday was to get to her in time. Sadly, a delay in Kimberley, BC, another one at the border, and me forgetting about the time zone change between BC and Alberta nixed that idea. I was sad. No hug. And I had told Michelle that I’d be there. I hate not keeping my word. Let it go, Bruce.
Next up for me was seeing Gordon, my sister-in-law Nona’s father. He’s in a nursing home in Lethbridge. Gordon has always struck me as being a quiet person, but he and I have had some good conversations. On Friday, I showed up at Gordon’s bedroom door. He was sitting in a chair. As I approached, he looked up and smiled. He recognized me! I sat down opposite and we talked about many things – Nona, how he misses his home in Milk River, and the laughter of many staff members at his care facility. It was clear to me that I needed to pause after my comments so that Gordon could process what I said. And of course that was fine.
As I was about leave, I stood in front of Gordon to shake his hand and say goodbye. He was clearly determined to stand. I wondered if I should move his walker closer to him but Gordon stood quickly, moved forward to the walker and went fully upright. He was happy to shake my hand. And even happier to walk me to the front entrance, approximately at the speed of light. Nona and Lance call him “Flash Gordon”. Absolutely.
I decided to explore another planet on my way to Red Deer. Vulcan, Alberta is basically Spockland, from the original Star Trek. I dropped into the visitor centre to buy some T-shirts. A young woman greeted me, clearly in the throes of a bad cold. Even as stuffed up as she was, kindness came my way. She patiently explained Star Trek references of which I was unfamiliar. Such as the Green Girl, a seductive young lady who was rescued from certain doom by a certain William Shatner. Sadly, no green girl approached to sell me a water bottle.
On I went, certain of my route to Red Deer. I thought there was a “Stony Plain Road” that headed directly north to my destination. Slight miscalculation. Stony Road was actually a ring route around Calgary. I knew something was wrong when the mountains appeared directly in front of me instead of to my left. Oh well … being on time is highly overrated.
Holly welcomed me to her palace in Red Deer. Okay, it wasn’t that big but it was a lovely space. She took me out to a cool restaurant called Chopped Leaf and I had a decadent salad full of shrimp, served in a tilty white bowl. We just yapped and yapped, both there and back at her palace over a glass of wine. Holly remembered Jody as a teenager, walking her beloved dog Dutch in downtown Coaldale, Alberta. Dutch was a sausage dog – a dachshund. Then Holly told me that she got close to Jody only in the last few years, as they rediscovered each other via Skype and Facebook. They had planned to get together face-to-face. (Sigh)
Holly wants to bring all 16 of the Doram first cousins together for a reunion and hopefully a genealogy trip to England to meet some ancient Dorams. Make it so, Holly.
“Let the journey carry on.” A quote from my 14-year-old nephew Jaxon.