August 18, 2011
Arrived home earlier this week after a 10 day hiatus in the home-province of Saskatchewan. Madonna’s 1980’s bubble-gum-chewing, lace-gloved, bustier-bearing tune “Holiday” is still resounding in my ears. After more than a year, I was excited to finally get away for a few days. Other than the fact I was ‘solo’ (hubby and grown kids had other commitments), I welcomed the retreat to Madge Lake at Duck Mountain Provincial Park, a picturesque get-away that borders Saskatchewan and Manitoba (I took the ‘scenic’ route there, but that’s for another blog entry). It was a fun-filled holiday spent with family; 20+ of us squeezed into tiny cabin-esque surroundings for a handful of days. Tight quarters, but fun. It’s a good thing that we all get along!
After the Lake, I spent a couple of days in the city of Regina. I unceremoniously invited myself to stay at my Aunty T’s. This is one fascinating lady. She is a picture of health at 73 years young and has always been a favourite family member of mine. Although her hair is almost white, she still sports all her own teeth (which she owes to decades of fastidious flossing and brushing) set in a wide, winning smile replete with a charming gap. One front tooth is still neatly trimmed in gold. For me (and the other cousins?), this is her trademark. Small as a bird, quick-witted and opinionated, T is quick to laugh and downright loveable. Not to mention, she is a force to be reckoned with. She is the only woman I know that has, for all intents and purposes, truly embraced her 45+ years as a domestic goddess and turned it into a full-on career. My late Uncle D (may he rest in peace) worked as a news producer for CBC for years and Aunty T kept the proverbial home fires burning. This included raising my incredibly talented cousin, S.
When I say that Aunty T made a career as housewife, I mean it. I swear that you can eat off that woman’s floors. Nothing is left undusted, unwiped or untucked. 1980’s appliances, in perfect working order, are spotless – in, out and behind. Her yard is impeccable (rumour has it she might even trim the lawn with scissors. I have yet to see it so I will merely chalk that up to urban legend or feeble family gossip). Aunty T knows how to get any stain out of anything, can cite the pros and cons of almost every household product, has managed several moves, renovations and landscaping projects, attends church regularly, has a recycling routine that would blow Al Gore’s hair back, and is extremely well-versed in current events and provincial and federal politics. She even recently acquired her drivers’ license. Aunty T drinks two full glasses of milk per day, takes her selection of vitamins religiously and finishes every day off with a dark rum and coke.
Anyway, while I was there, Aunty T and I settled into somewhat of a routine which included listening to the John Gormley Show every morning (she is a huge fan of the Show). Both of us listened intently and munched on our bowls of Bran Buds with sliced banana, all the while washing it down with cups of coffee. This was a most pleasant part of my days in Regina. In particular, we were bemused (dare I say, AMUSED) by the story where a city bus driver drove a hybrid bus into the non-designated parking quarters in the bus barn and rammed into a gas pipe. Hybrid buses carry a battery on their roofs which makes them larger than standard buses. Thus, these units are to be parked in alternate places in the barn. This driver made a serious (potentially, fatal) error. He was terminated on Monday as a result of the incident but claimed in an interview that the barns are an accident waiting to happen (http://www.thestarphoenix.com/Life/MMA+24/barns+unsafe+hybrids+says+driver+caused+leak/5260134/story.html). As of Tuesday, the union was expected to ‘grieve’ his dimissal. Aunty T and I both rolled our eyes at this. Designated parking spots in the bus barn are well labelled. Buses even have a sticker on the dash identifying that the craft is, indeed, a hybrid vehicle. How much more does a driver need in order to ensure his/her on-the-job competency? Sheeeeeesh!
The night before I was set to fly home, Aunty T took me for dinner to a new restaurant, Fushion Hero, in her neighbourhood (see review by David Ramsay) in the Leader Post: http://www.leaderpost.com/life/EPICURE+FORK+Fusion+Hero+offers+unique+East+meets+West+cuisine/5274263/story.html). After a tasty meal of Pad Thai (I highly recommend it), Aunty T suggested that we take a walk around the neighbourhood’s man-made lakes. Excellent idea! It was an opportunity to wear off a few of those calories that we accumulated.
I could hardly keep up with the old bird! What stamina! Aunty T put me to shame. I could barely keep up with her fast pace (physically-speaking) and, given that I was winded, could only nod in agreement with her political musings and philosophical insights.
I not only have tremendous fondness for this lady, but I have an unwavering respect for her as well. Sharp as a tack and in incredible shape, I can only hope to be half the person that Aunty T is when I am 73 years old!