We arrived home late in the evening this past Thursday. We had such a great time in Edmonton with my husband's family that it was very difficult to leave after so few days.
Wednesday evening we attended an hilarious play at the Varscona Theatre, a remodelled former fire hall downtown. It is an excellent little venue with nary a poor seat in the house. The play is "Going, Going Gone", by Edmonton actor and now playwright, Jana O'Connor. Mark Meer was brilliant in his many roles throughout the play. Hearing my husband laugh that often and that deeply was even more of a joy than the play itself, as he is not one to laugh or even smile all that often. Perhaps the wine and cheese at intermission helped??
We got away from Edmonton before 7:30am Thursday and arrived just before 8am at a beautiful acreage near Devon to visit friends we made when we all lived in Olds Alberta and attended the Anglican church there together. For several years they permitted my husband to use their old dairy barn as his wood working shop. Now we are scattered here and there and it isn't as easy to get together of course. We have not seen them in nearly two years, so it was a most happy reunion. What a gorgeous acreage they share with one of their daughters and her family. It is like a rolling green park. I could have spent the entire day sitting on their balcony in a comfy chair surveying the scenery. Wow!!
Regretfully, we pulled ourselves away at 10:30am for the trip home. We opted for the slightly longer, but much faster route home this time: highway 16, the Yellowhead. We weren't certain how many campers and trailers we would meet on on the shorter route that consists of mostly two lane highways that connect various lakeside camps throughout the province. Route 16 to Route 11 gave us four lanes for the entire trip back to Regina. Whew...what a relief!
We stopped in Vegreville for lunch at Albert's. We have decided, after several attempts to eat in that town, that if there are any truly good restaurants they are well hidden from people who are only passing through. Our lunch was acceptable, just not spectacular. After lunch we returned to the town tea and gift shop where my husband has purchased some rather delicious teas on previous visits. We were so happy they are still operating and still carrying the particular flavour of tea he has only ever found in their store. It was not the quick stop we expected it to be. The owner and serving staff were very friendly, VERY friendly. We ended up spending half an hour or more there discussing everything from politics to religion to the latest diets they are on!! As we were finally wending our way to the door, a 5 year old grandson began telling us about his life: his dog, the dirt pile in his back yard, his Wii, his summer plans...it was hysterically funny and we were sad to have to leave before he was done telling us every last detail of his life. hahahahaha In short, we received the kind of small town welcome that is the epitome of that stereotype...the stereotypical small town welcome we have never received in any small town we have ever lived in!! It was wonderful...and, after our last small town living experience, rather healing in a way! Thank you Lord for that wonderful, warm, welcoming, welcomed encounter in Vegreville Alberta!!
We shared the driving for the trip, stopping briefly for a break in Lloydminster and a long supper break in Saskatoon. We even stopped in Davidson to purchase milk so that we wouldn't have to drive to the grocery in Regina before getting home. What glorious weather we had all day and instead of our usual headwind battle we enjoyed tail wind most of the way home, increasing our gasoline mileage dramatically!
Supper in Saskatoon was a fun experience. After snail crawling through the city between 5:30pm and 6pm in the worst traffic we have encountered in a long time, we arrived at the Perfect Ink restaurant in the Rand-McNally book store and gift shop outlet. It wasn't pre-planned as a destination. It was simply the last turn off from the highway before reaching the truck stops on the south end of the city on the way out. We spotted it as we were about to miss driving onto the exit ramp, made a quick swerve over and ended up at this little gem of a place. The restaurant is small but has a nice variety of food items. I enjoyed an individual tortierre and my husband had a delicious meat and veggie sandwich. We shared a slice of key lime pie afterward that was obviously brought in from elsewhere, but was surprisingly delicious! Then we toured the book store...for a LONG time!!! hahaha I bought some lovely French Soaps...oooh la la...they are huge bars that will last for several weeks and they smell wonderful. One is scented with lavender and one with coconut. Since I also picked up a few bars of scented soap in a health food store in Edmonton I have enough lovely soap now to last me for about a year!!
Nearly 15 hours after leaving Edmonton that morning, we finally arrived home, tired but most content with our trip. We needed that week at home between trips to debrief, to deal with the accummlation of stresses that built up over the six months prior to holiday time and to reset our hopes and expectations around our life here in Regina. Now we are relaxed and happy again. My husband is even looking forward to returning to work on Wednesday.
In less than 12 hours our son will be on his way to New York to live. We are praying for a safe and hassle free border crossing, we are praying that the boxes he sent on ahead will arrive safely and on time. We are praying that the room he has leased will be sufficiently large to accommodate his things and to set up a drawing table. We are praying that the summer employment will last until he can find another position for the autumn and that the interview he is having with a gallery next week will turn into some kind of work at some point. We pray he will be safe from the fall out of current American politics. Oh, we are praying for many things surrounding this move. We have peace of mind and heart that he is attempting the right move at this time and hoping that means it will be a mostly positive experience for him and for his future. We are even praying that his little fighting fish, 1-2-3, will be as loved and protected in his new home as he was over the past 2 years that our son has cared for him. Our son is shocked the wee fish is still alive as the don't normally live quite this long and it is very difficult for him to turn 1-2-3 over to someone else, caring pet owner that he is.
So, it is a bitter sweet time for us.
Good news for our relative who is fighting off cancer: the chemo treatments have come to an end, the worst of the side effects are starting to abate and 5 days of intense radiation therapy are on the horizon. The oncologist says that fatigue should be the only side effect this time, that compared to the chemotherapy side effects the radiation will be a "cakewalk". O Lord, please let that be the truth!!
So, HAPPY CANADA DAY everyone. Hope you have some kind of celebration planned to say thank you to our country for all she provides for us...freedoms we are quickly losing, such as freedom of speech and religion. Sigh....well, today is a birthday and it is a day to focus on the remaining wonderful positives in this country! Our own plans have changed. We expected to go into Moose Jaw for their annual ParkArt fair and exhibition, but being tired and sleeping in, the dampness after last night's rain that will bring out clouds of mosquitoes and just the idea of another drive out of town have effectively cancelled the whole idea. We may just confine our celebrating to walking over to the area of our local Wascana Park tonight where the fireworks will be set off, instead of simply stepping out our front door at 11pm to see most of them. This year it might be fun to wander over there so we don't miss the ground display.
It sure is good to be sleeping in my own bed the past couple of nights. Our mattresses this trip have been enough different from my own that by the time we got home the other night I could hardly stand the pain, but it is much improved today. How do backs become so accustomed to one set of springs and foam inlays that simply changing mattresses for a few nights causes issues??
Well, on with my day. I am celebrating Canada's birthday by washing floors and doing many a load of laundry! hahaha There are enough events coming up for me over the next 2 weeks that I don't feel ripped off if we don't attend any Canada Day events until this evening.
It is okay to be home again.