It’s the other morning and it’s cool and Child #3, the African girl, is wearing purple mittens as we, all three children and I, walk down the sidewalk to school.
Child #2, the boy, is wearing shorts, ready for the beach.
Child #1, the other girl, the oldest, laughs at them both. The next day she comes down with strep throat that puts her down for a couple of days.
But now it’s today, the first day of the Big May Weekend, and the sun proves it will still win its tussle with what has been this northerly chill.
Child #1, having had her fill of lemon drinks and antibiotics and extra caresses, is back on her feet, and not only on her two feet, but on her two roller blades, all of us, now me and three children, (Mom is back home for some business) enjoying the Hamilton bayfront.
Yes it’s today, the first unofficial day of Canada’s summer (which, as you know, wraps Spring so nicely into it). The seagulls are cruising and the sailboats are skimming gently over the glistening water.
And I can’t think of anything better except the reassuring fact that it’s also the anniversary weekend of when My Bride and I had our first date, a life-changing event that was so unplanned and ridiculous in its unlikely serendipity that all these years later I still can’t take credit for a single minute of it.
“Where is everyone?” I say to Child #1 as she and I skate side-by-side around the bay’s beauty. “It’s such a day!”
“I don’t know,” she says to me. “Maybe everyone’s at home, stuck inside with their technology.
Speaking of … I’m getting over my own health issues, namely the stroke I had last weekend.
(No, not that kind of stroke. Just like last time, I recently saw the doctor take a good long look at things and conclude with some certainty that, sure, my stellar blood pressure might mean that I live to be riper than many other souls on this precarious planet.)
But the stroke – the Children’s Mother, I think, had a look that was even more stricken and ashen than my own – came in Ottawa last weekend when, the five of us returning from a tour of the Parliament Building, discovered our vehicle had been broken into in the hotel parking lot.
Our computers, both of them, had been stolen.
The family van became a crime scene.
Yes, sometime just before or during the time we listened to the wind-bagged but vital rhetoric of democracy from Parliament’s gallery, some lost soul crept around an underground parking and saw our vehicle and used his precious freedom and God-given creativity to take what wasn’t his.
Of course this was (almost) the biggest news, if not inconvenience, of this past week.
Imagine our mad scramble from our hotel room finding ways to change passcodes and locks (even for our Hamilton home’s front door – my set of house keys was also taken) while we were in fact, trying to have such a fine time preparing for the following morning at Rideau Hall.
Faithful Reader knows that we’re used to this sort thing in Africa. There was this reflection about African hoods. And this one, all routine nonsense that is part of what it means to live in Uganda, activities that stopped on our own African premises once we welcomed our friendly and sharp-toothed German Shepherd into the family.
(This is the dog you’ll recall got its formal introduction at the same time I publicly announced my, uh, snip-snip here, and then, to one dude’s great (yada, yada) consternation, here.)
Despite it all, we are still having a good time.
No, nothing will ever take away our family memory of Dr. Jean’s Order of Canada.
This blog is now hobbling back into business.
And this writer is thankful, in a strange way, for what, after all, is such a First-World problem. There are not only starving children in India without, say, a decent toilet. Some might not even have a screen to call their own.
Finally, both My Bride and I are thankful, so very thankful, for the very generous friends – Rachel and Glenn – who have already offered laptop replacements, another reminder that the light of certain people is always seen clearer when it’s so dreary out.
Coming Next! – The scenes behind the scenes at last weekend’s gala at Rideau Hall.