To be clear, I’m 3200 kilometres from Union, Ontario, but I’ve arrived at my second home. Lance, Nona, Jaxon, Jagger and Jace have thoroughly welcomed me.
On Saturday, Holly and I had a sweet goodbye hug on her driveway. As I waved to her smiling face, I was already turning toward the kids who are the closest thing I have to children of my own. I knew we’d have fun for the next two weeks.
First though, it was back to Bruce and Isabelle’s place in Calgary for an afternoon visit. Bruce served me tea and I munched on banana bread and apple slices as we talked. Isabelle told me of her oldest daughter Andrea who once upon a time felt moved to go to India. She came back the richer for it. Andrea moved to Edmonton for school (either college or university) and gradually adopted another mom, this one of East Indian origin. Isabelle said she was genuinely happy that her daughter was close to this woman, who would be looking out for Andrea in the far north. (Okay, that was exaggeration: Edmonton is only three hours away from Calgary.)
Now here’s where my memory is doing tricks on me. It was either Andrea’s graduation or her wedding and both moms were present. The first person she went to after the ceremony was her Indian mother. Andrea knelt down and kissed both of her feet. Isabelle shared that she was sad that her daughter hadn’t come to her and kissed her feet. And there we have it, another one of those bittersweet moments that life presents to us. We want to be the most important person in someone’s life and yet we try to let go and rejoice in the loved one’s relationship with another. So not black-and-white.
Goodbye, Isabelle and Bruce (after they took me out for a delicious meal at an authentic Indian restaurant). My nose was turning to Longview, less than an hour south.
I had imagined the moment of arrival on the driveway. I would get out of Scarlet wearing my “Shine A Light Upon My Day” T-shirt (yellow print on red). That’s one of my favourite lines from Nona’s poetry. All together, I’d had three of them immortalized on shirts. I told her that months ago but I was hoping she’d forgotten the conversation. Oh, I love moments of surprise! Anyway, I could see Nona walking down the driveway, seeing the message, and being totally startled. However … it was cold on Saturday and I had my coat on. Hugs from everyone awaited in the hallway. Nice. Nona went to sit on a kitchen chair and I took my coat off. I moved to stand in front of her. (No, Bruce, You’re wrecking the surprise.) Well, I couldn’t resist. Nona’s eyes were going everywhere except my shirt. “Stop staring at me.” Finally I pointed at the poetry and she gave me a little smile. She doesn’t like to talk about her achievements. Oh well. Today I’m wearing “Lovely Is Your Heart” (white on black). I wonder if Nona will say anything.
We sat around the dining room table in the evening, eating watermelon. Young Mr. Jace (age 8) started in on me about raisins. He’s had fun on previous visits bugging me about my intense distaste for the noxious little wrinkled things. “They’re just dried grapes,” someone said. Great, now it’s a whole family thing. Jaxon (age 14 in a few days) thoughtfully placed three of the offending objects on my placemat while I was trying to consume the watermelon. Just as thoughtfully, I lifted my plate and plunked it down on the beasts. And on we went, with smiles all around … except for me, that is. I’ve made feigned revulsion into an art form. Good family fun.
Jaxon came up to me and said he had read Jody’s book. I’m glad he did. I was tempted to ask “Did you like it?” but I’ve learned not to go there. People will volunteer their reactions if they choose to. I told Jaxon how very much I miss Jodiette. He said that he misses Aunt Jody too. It was a quiet moment.
And then there’s the sixth member of the Doram family – Ember, their fuzzy black cocker spaniel. Driving down from Calgary, I wondered if she would remember me. After all, it’s been three years. As I made the hugging rounds, the little fur ball was bouncing at my feet. “Hi, Ember! Do you remember me?” I’d say the answer is yes. During the evening in the living room, Ember would often come over for rubs and lyings down but I wanted my little friend to go say hi to Jagger, Nona, Jaxon, Lance and Jace too. And she did, some. I guess I’m a novelty.
Here I sit two days later, on the same couch. Nobody else is up yet. It’s just Ember and me hanging loose. Later, I’ll see if Jagger wants to do some proofreading with me, and whether he wants to compose a final blog comment. And now for some toast and coffee.
Jaxon was upstairs and Jagger was down so I asked Jaxon if he wanted to proofread again. He said yes. And now … here’s Jagger!
“I don’t know. You’re never too old to have fun.”