Epic trip ~ memories flood in upon the return to Manitoba

I had taken all this for granted when I lived there but clearly I had absorbed this landscape into my psyche

This week we are staying with family in Port Hardy, North Vancouver Island. The guys were accompanied by over sixty Orcas on their return into Hardy Bay after a moderately successful fishing day Tuesday. I have been relaxing and remembering…

Last week I ended my tale with leaving Saskatchewan and entering Manitoba, the province where I spent my formative years and then some. We had pulled off the main highway the night before and cozied up to several large grain elevators and the usual railway tracks in the border town of Reston, Manitoba. The next morning, as we walked to a little cafe for morning coffee, the smell of caragana nearly bowled me over with its associated childhood memories. I didn’t have to look far to find those ubiquitous hedges surrounding the nineteen-fifties style prairie ranch houses. The sky was streaked with those high thin clouds that spoke of scorching days, kids running through backyard hoses, popsicles and Koolaid. Later, there might be a spectacular thunder and lightening storm that would clear as quickly as it came, leaving cleansed air and great puddles to play in.

The restaurant was full and the breakfast was enormous. We had learned to share a meal when on the prairies. Farmers and ranchers eat considerably more than senior travelers! I began listening for the subtle changes in pronunciation, the different expressions. Later, as we continued east on the Trans Canada Highway, I found myself marveling at the enormous fields of sunflowers, canola, wheat and other cereal crops.

And the sky! The violet-blue of that enormous dome just knocked me out! I had taken all this for granted when I lived there but clearly I had absorbed this landscape into my psyche. Why else would I have done so many horizontal paintings in those days? How come I needed so much elbow room and an inordinate amount of time to myself? Are prairie folks really that different?

Because we especially wanted to spend time in Quebec and Newfoundland, we drove that entire day to the Ontario border and on through to Dryden. The weather was great, the dear old van was very comfortable, and a good thing too, because northwestern Ontario is not noted for the quality of this section of the Number 1 Highway. After an uneventful night in the Dryden Walmart, we continued through the land of the Group of Seven for three of four more days with short stops in Sault St. Marie, North Bay and Mattawa. We meant no disrespect but time was being gobbled up by the miles. Getting to the North Sydney, Nova Scotia ferry before hurricane season was a goal of mine. I’m a decent sailor but the Atlantic is not to be trifled with and I may be impulsive but I’m not usually an idiot. Besides, we were planning on a lengthier stay in Ontario on the return portion of our journey.

As we drew closer to the Ontario/Quebec border, I began cramming for the big test. Rats! Why hadn’t I worked harder on my feeble French before this? What was I thinking? I tried to run over a few phrases but when I began to recite my grade nine Parisian French, I noticed Paul looking puzzled, It seemed my ability to communicate in our second official language was seriously flawed. I panicked. Then I remembered Paul had grown up in Northern Quebec and began to pray fervently for his complete recall. We had heard the horror stories of people in Quebec refusing to speak English and there are just some things one can’t do without, especially for seniors, if you get my drift. I decided my line of defense was to carry a French/English dictionary tucked under my arm. A good decision as I will explain next week when I tell you about the truly beautiful province. Au revoir and till then…

 

Just Posted

Summerland Steam acquires Princeton Posse captain

Junior B team acquires Lane French in exchange for Tristan Hewitt

Public invited to comment on South Okanagan-Similkameen national park

The website includes documentation, maps and a 15-minute survey

Snow warning: Bad for the highways, great for the ski hills

Get your ski gear ready as area mountains are ready for you to enjoy all the Interior winter has to offer this season.

Man pulls out gun at Keremeos gas station

RCMP arrested an Olalla man around 10 a.m. Sunday after he pulled a gun earlier that morning.

Film shot in Penticton set to stream across North America

The Orchard is going to be streaming on all major platforms

VIDEO: Close encounter with a whale near Canada-U.S border

Ron Gillies had his camera ready when a whale appeared Dec. 7

2 facing animal cruelty charges after emaciated dog found in B.C.

Amy Hui-Yu Lin and Glenn Mislang have been charged with causing an animal to continue to be in distress

UBC Okanagan research says giant tortoise insights into longevity and age-related disease

After Lonesome George’s death he still provides clues to longer life

Out of the doghouse: B.C. city lifts ban on pup who barked too much at dog park

Cameron the Shetland sheepdog is allowed back into Uplands off-leash dog park under some conditions.

No flood of extremist returnees to Canada expected, federal report says

The report says some 190 people with connections to Canada are suspected of terrorist activity abroad

Canada-China relations turn icy over arrest of Chinese exec

The Huawei case has threatened to complicate U.S.-China efforts to resolve a bitter trade dispute.

Prosecutor signs off on former B.C. Liberal government’s quick-wins probe

David Butcher said in a statement released Monday that the RCMP recommended charges under the Elections Act

Canadian physicist who won Nobel Prize touts science for the sake of science

Donna Strickland, 59, said securing the field’s highest honour has given her a significant new platform

Most Read