Posted tagged ‘Canada’

“Fate chooses our relatives, we choose our friends.”

May 8, 2017

This morning is chilly. My heat went on earlier. The sky is peppered with clouds. I’m thinking it’s a day to stay close to home. Luckily I have everything I need and everything Maddie and Gracie need.

When I was a kid, the future was a day or two away.  Once in a while, I’d be asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. That always took me aback so I chose saying teacher just to have a ready answer. I actually had no idea. I was still planning what I’d do on Saturday. I always thought that was a silly question. People like my aunt the nun asked it because they had no idea how to talk to a kid. How’s school was their other question. Good, the great non-descriptor, was my answer.

My father used to drag us to Connecticut once a year to visit my aunt the nun. She was my father’s older sister. Getting there was quite a production. We’d wear our play clothes until my father stopped at a brick highway rest stop in Connecticut where my mother cleaned us up and we put on church clothes. My aunt was always a nun to me as she became one before I was born. Those were the days of black and white habits and wimples. My aunt never seemed comfortable with our visits. Mostly she just paid attention to my father whom she called brother. He hated that. I remember how quiet the convent was. A nun would deliver cookies and lemonade almost without making a sound. She just whished. Part of the visit was always a tour of the school where my aunt taught. We’d follow behind her from the convent to the school like ducklings behind their mother. The tour was always boring. We knew what schools looked like and hers was no different, but we were glad to be moving not just sitting in the reception living room. We’d finish the tour and then go back to the convent to say our goodbyes until next year. I swear we all let out sighs of relief, even my father, as we were leaving.

I was never close to that aunt even after she ditched the habit. She used to come from Connecticut every year to spend Christmas with my parents. We were all nice to her in a stilted sort of way knowing my cousins were favored and we were abided.

My father often said you could pick your nose but not your relatives. I always thought that was gross but he was right. I offer up my aunt the nun as proof.

“The cool thing about being famous is traveling. I have always wanted to travel across seas, like to Canada and stuff.”

August 21, 2011

The day is so very still, a typical August summer day. Nothing moves in the heaviness of the humidity, and I expect it will get even more uncomfortable if the sun, a here and there sort today, decides to hang around for the duration. Yesterday afternoon I turned on the air-conditioning as the humidity did us both in, the dog and me.

Early this morning, Gracie rang her poochie bells at four and again at 6 to go out. It is rare for her to ring them once let alone twice. I don’t know if she needed to go out or heard something in the yard. The second time I didn’t wait for her and left the backdoor open and went back to bed. She joined me in a bit. The dog door gives us both freedom.

Nothing much to do today. I do have to go to the grocery store later, one of my least favorite places, but the list is small so I should be in and out in a heartbeat. I’m thinking an afternoon nap will give me the strength to face the aisles and the hordes of carts blocking my way.

We went to Niagara Falls when I was about fifteen. I figure my parents must have saved a long time. I imagine my mother added another budget envelop labeled vacation at least a year before we left. It was the first time we ever stayed in a motel, and we went out to eat for dinner more than few times, a rarity for us. I remember we stopped for lunch at a McDonald’s, also a rarity. Usually my mother packed a picnic lunch for the road. We stayed on the American side, and my favorite memory is Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum. My dad tried three times to get the cashier to give him tickets, but she ignored him the whole time. Wax figures do that. He was flustered and embarrassed when he realized. We all roared. The chamber of horrors was my favorite part. We walked along the falls that night so we could see it lit in all those beautiful colors. I still remember thinking I hadn’t seen anything so beautiful before. The roar was loud and amazing as the water cascaded over the falls. We went to the Canadian side the next day. It was my first foreign country, and I was disappointed to think it looked exactly the same as the United Sates. They even spoke English. I wanted it to be exotic.

6 days and counting.