A life affirming experience

The past year involved a lot of traveling for me. Looking back I wondered why on earth I bothered, then I found this old column from 2010, so like many an old toot, I used it to refresh my memory. I can almost hear my late wife, Norma, the Pearl of the Orient stating, “Jack, that story sounds better every time you tell it.” Or was it, “Elliott! Get a grip and just shut up!

…It was the vacation of a lifetime; A trip across the great northwest of the continent from Drizzle Creek to the majesty of Alaska. Six weeks soaking up the best Mother Nature could serve up. Just father and son, communing with each other and the wonders of the world.

Cousin It was explaining the proposed agenda at the Bakery in Drizzle Creek a few weeks back.

“The Old Fellow and the Old, Old Fellow swear they are going to see it all. Leaving in May and won’t be back until mid-summer. I’ll believe it when I see it,” he opined, wise in the ways of past vacations of his father and his grandfather.

It was the end of the conversation and having finished two apple fritters and six cups of coffee Cousin It hurried off to a busy day wreaking havoc on various computers scattered around Drizzle Creek.

I personally had to leave the community myself for a couple of weeks having just completed a promotion campaign to make The Runt a legend of community spirit. I suspected being absent before it went to publication was the wisest course.

When I returned last week to the debating table at the Bakery in Drizzle Creek the meeting had a full quorum. The Runt eyed me with a certain amount of animosity.

Pickle eyed him and giggled. And there is still a bit of room on the pledge sheet to add your name if you wish to sponsor the Runt in the Relay for Life. Drop into the Bakery.

But I digress.

Cousin It pulled a chair up to the table and shaking his hair back out of his eyes, stated, “Well, they’re back.”

“Who’s back? The mosquitoes?” I wondered.

“The Old Fellow and the Old, Old Fellow. From their great trip to Alaska,” explained Cousin It, around a mouthful of his first apple fritter and a slurp of scalding coffee.

“So soon? I thought they were going for six weeks? Illness? Car problems?” I asked with genuine concern.

“No let me explain,” said Cousin It as he polished off the first fritter, wiped his hands, swept back his hair and settled back to concentrate on the facts.

“They took off in a rush on Day 1 and drove like hell all the way to Edmonton where they collapsed from exhaustion. Then another part of a day to Prince Rupert to catch the northbound ferry, but on arriving at Prince, they checked the map and decided it was considerably more distance to Fairbanks than they had figured. Besides, they’d already seen lots of mountains.

That’s when the first pangs of homesickness set in.

And since the southbound ferry was leaving before the northbound, they headed for Victoria. But then nearing Port Hardy, frugality hit when they saw how much cheaper it was to get off and drive from there to Victoria. Besides, they were a little weary and a hotel was in order. The room was $12 but so bad that they checked out an hour later and were in Victoria a few hours later. But there, the hotel rooms were 94 bucks, so they headed straight to the ferry and kept going to Chilliwack. The next day they made it over the continental divide and there was no stopping them now – they were on the downhill slope.

They rolled into Drizzle Creek last night. Is that 6 or 7 days?” concluded Cousin It as he tied into the second apple fritter.

“I’m not sure who they got tired of communing with, Mother Nature or each other,” he mumbled over a full mouth.