Punch Buggy Green

 

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I saw the movie, Herbie the Love bug when it debuted in 1968.  I was very young and though I don’t remember the plot of the movie and have not seen it since, it remains etched in my history for one reason.

A Herbie replica was in the parking lot of the theatre and was being auctioned off for the price of a raffle ticket.  I wanted to win the car. My Dad explained that it would be many years before I could drive the car. It mattered little to me as I liked the idea of a car waiting for me until I would be old enough to drive.  I never won the car, but thought about it many times.

Eventually I would be old enough to drive, My first car was a 1980 Roadrunner, brand new with the same number of kilometres on the odometer as years I had been alive.  It was beautiful, the colour changing depending on the light.  Still, I would see many Beetles around, my daughters punching each other, playing the Beetle game and I would remember my first love.  It wasn’t practical I would think, as I loaded carseats, children and their items into larger vehicles.

A friend had an old Beetle, not running, and one day I happily sat inside the car while he pushed it.  For a moment I felt the wind in my hair, the dream realized.

The girls grew up, moved away and I found myself with the ability to choose whatever vehicle I wanted.  I would dream of the car as I worked endless hours on my house, watching the house rise from the ground to be a reality where once it had been a dream. The Beetle had been relaunched and no longer did I need to be a mechanic or handy at body work to own one.  Still,  I decided it would be a Jetta or a Golf, practical, and would spend hours thinking of the colour, the moment when it too would become a reality.

My eldest daughter was hit by a car that summer. It was a Jetta and just like that I didn’t want one.  I bought a Pontiac, and received a great bargain by having a friend that worked for GM.  Still, I would see the new Beetles around town and look at them with longing for what might have been.

The newest Beetle was launched, looking more like the original.  I spent much time on the internet building my dream car, tucking it into a folder on my desktop for “one day.” The day came and together my husband and I went into the dealership transferring the years of dreaming into a reality.  We would need to wait while it was built in Germany and then sent on its long journey to our dealership.  I could wait, could delay gratification, had been doing this for most of my life.

Five months later the moment arrived when we would pick up my car at the dealership.  In the time waiting, I built a lego model of a Volkswagen, surfed the net for accessories and dreamed of that moment.  I dressed that morning in a 60’s style shirt in celebration. The Beetle was  beautiful, the colour perfect, it exceeded my high expectations.  As I drove off the lot, the first song I heard on the radio was a song from the 60’s, it was perfect.

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Everyone it seems has a dream car, this one is mine.

The other day I was at a store and a young Mom and her daughters pointed at the car as I drove by.  In my rearview mirror, I watched the Mother playfully punch her children in the arm, and so it continues.  Punch buggy, green, no returns indeed!

 

 

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My Sister

I remember the day that you were born.  Dad came into the room where we were playing and told us that we had a baby sister.  There was a sadness to Dad’s words, that only with the clarity of time I understand.  You were born early, 28 weeks,  at a time when babies did not survive.  You were kept warm, fed. You were born in a remote area of Northern Alberta and the physician that cared for you had just completed his training at the Royal Alexandra hospital in Edmonton, his expertise and knowledge saved you.   There was no ventilatory support, no oxygen, still you thrived and survived.  You were a miracle.

They let me see you, sneaking me into the hospital, as siblings were not allowed to come into the hospital, unless they were at least twelve years old.   I screamed that there was a pin in your stomach.  It was the umbilical cord tied off and my six year old self without a frame of reference did not understand.  They ushered me out of the room quickly, telling me to be quiet, to stop screaming, that you were all right.  I didn’t believe their words of reassurance.

We moved away from Northern Alberta to Edmonton and I thought you had died and no one wanted to tell me.  I didn’t ask, too afraid to hear the words.  Joyfully, you came home to us three months later and I would sit beside your crib,  reading to you   I wanted you to be a professional reader.  I wanted to help in the only way that I knew.  You love reading, so perhaps

I grew up and worked in a world of babies born too early.  I don’t think that there is an accident to my career choice.  I wanted to make a difference, to help.  I wanted to understand more and move beyond the screaming six year old that I was.   The world of premature infants has changed drastically since you were born.  I like to think that babies like you paved the way for all the babies to come. We learned more and saved even more babies born too soon.

Six years apart seems like nothing now, though as children, it was a gulf impossible to bridge.  I left home when you were nine.  We went our separate ways and yet there was a link to each other through the years.  We both struggled with our children, trying to find the answers to questions that never seemed to have answers.  We are more alike than different, our experiences link us greater than our family connection.

Today you came to my office and we chatted about life, marriage, children and family. You will always be the link to the past, the road to the future.

 

Backpacking luxury item

In response to WordPress prompt luxury

a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/luxury/”>Luxury</a&gt;

The plan was a week long backpacking trip in the Rocky Mountains. The preparation and  planning consumed many days and sleepless nights. Each item carefully considered for its necessity and double if not triple function. 

 I read countless books on the subject and considered,  albeit briefly hollowing out my toothbrush to save weight. 

I took all food items out of their original packaging to save space and weight, marvelling at the volume of packaging rendered redundant. 

The pack weighed in at 45 lbs and only one last item remained, my personal luxury item. I chose my Olympus camera to record the journey.  I’ll never forget the freeing feeling of strapping my pack on my back and knowing that every item was necessary and I truly had all I needed. It’s odd, I felt light at that moment.  

During the trip I fantasized about any number of items that would have been nice to have, a luxury at the time. A glass of wine after a long hike, a warmer coat when it started to snow, a hamburger when I tired completely of dehydrated food and good old raisins and peanuts. 

Still, as I look at photos from that trip I know my choice was right. How blessed to hike in the back country surrounded by mountains, wildflowers, and cool mountain streams. What a luxury to be able to record the moment and freeze it in time where years later,  I am transported by those photographs and remember a cool breeze, the weight of my pack and how soothing the cool mountain stream was on my sore feet.  I remember the pine bough structure we built to keep busy during a cold, wet day, the alternative was feeling bitter and cold. How lovely our home was, warm, inviting complete with socks drying by the fire. At that moment I felt as though all my needs were met, luxury indeed!

Stone Town, last look

We have been informed that Stone Town is a great place to purchase Tanzanite, a perfect souvenir to commemorate our Kilimanjaro climb. Tanzanite is a beautiful gemstone. Its colour changes from blue to violet in different light.  It was discovered in Northern Tanzania in 1967 by the city of Arusha and Mount Kilimanjaro.  It was named by Tiffany and Company in 2002 for Tanzania where it originated.

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We wake early to peruse the many shops selling this stone.  In Canada and Hawaii I have seen a few examples of the stone, though here in Stone Town the options are more plentiful, the deep colours more prevalent.  John remarks that they aren’t giving them away and the price is dear.  We are worried about what we are buying as we have been told to purchase from the government where we can be certain of the quality.  It is a gamble and we decide we aren’t Gamblers.

We walk down to the water and see a group of cats waiting patiently.  They are waiting for the Fishermen to bring their breakfast.  Its comical to watch them, their fear of water overriding their hunger.  There are many cats in Stone town roaming the streets.  I suspect they keep the vermin under control and are fed collectively for their efforts by the people of Stone Town as they are not scraggly or thin.  Still, they look more street wise than our pampered cats in Canada.

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We stop at our favourite coffee shop for our final latte.  There are no chain coffee shops here and we are thankful for the reprieve.  This shop is located in a bookstore, adding to its ambience.  We peruse the dusty tomes and over priced bric-a-brac and settle into the comfortable chairs and enjoy a most excellent latte.

Too soon its time to gather our too many bags and haul them down the too many stairs.  We have enjoyed our time in Stone Town a great deal.  We wish we had more time in this magical place.  We cast a look behind, hoping to return this way another day, then set our sights on what comes next.

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Enchanted Evening in Zanzibar

We dress excited about our dinner reservation. We have booked Hurumzi, a rooftop restaurant in the heart of Stone Town and on top of the elegant Emerson Hotel.

Out of respect for the many Muslims that call Stone Town home, I’m careful to cover my arms and knees and choose a dress and shawl. I twirl in front of the mirror, loving the feeling of being dressed for dinner.

We arrive at the Emerson and marvel at the stairs, each with a different rise and run. We walk slowly, carefully and concentrate on each step as we ascend.

The restaurant is small and divided. One side has proper tables and chairs, the other features a large rectangular space with floor seating. We opt for the experience, remove our shoes and stake out our pillow for the evening. Our senses absorb the surroundings. The space has Persian rugs and richly coloured pillows of varying fabrics and textures on the carpet and backrest. There are short tables throughout the space. Above our heads a canopy of silk billows in the breeze, the air perfumed. We look over the short walls and are treated to a 360 degree view of the city and ocean.

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Our waiter arrives, dressed in a white robe and a gold hat. He washes our hands with rose water and teaches us this lovely custom. The meal is set, we only need to choose between three main courses. We sip our beverage as we await our meal. The dishes are exquisite each perfectly spiced, flavourful and beautifully presented. Our hands are washed again with rose water at the end of our dining experience.

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The call to prayer is announced. In years past, the Muzim, or leader would climb to the Minaret, a slender tower with a balcony where he would announce the call to prayer. Today this task is accomplished by a loudspeaker and occurs five times a day at specific times that change with sunrise, sunset and latitude and longitude. We listen to the last prayer of the day, the sounds melodic adding to this enchanted night.

We lean back on our pillows, shifting to find comfort and watch the live entertainment. The music is called, Taarab. It is a mixture of Indian, Arab and Swahili, the result unique. The dancer is spell binding as she elegantly moves, seemingly floating, her bare feet hardly touch the ground. She effectively draws us into her exotic world.  Bongo drums play softly in the background, the silk flutters above, stars peak on either side. Beneath, the city moves and life mundane rolls onward. Up here in the stars, magic exists on this night. I close my eyes not wanting this evening to end and commit this night to memory.

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Thanks to Gilles Chartrand for the photos of this night

That’s a Wrap!

Shortly after Costco opened its doors in Edmonton in the mid 80’s, my Mom purchased Resinite all purpose packing film. Really it’s just plastic wrap. The roll 2500 feet long and 11 inches wide has been in our family since that time.

It is not pretty having lost its luster  and serrated edge long ago. The box is falling apart, likely weighted down by all the memories its trying to contain. If the house was on fire, it is on the short list of items I would grab. Let me tell you why.

When Mom purchased this item, I laughed stating she now had a lifetime supply. Ironically, she did, though the present question is how many lifetimes? And whose?

Mom died in 2003 and as my siblings and I were sorting through her things I laughed when I saw the wrap, and shared the memory with them.  We all had a good chuckle, then they insisted it was now mine.

Later that year,  I moved into my new home and the wrap moved in too. Most days it wrapped mundane things,  chiefly leftovers as I struggled to learn to cook for one instead of four.  The following year it wrapped sandwiches for lunches, and rarely leftovers as my daughters moved in with me.  There was much entertaining for family, friends and later neighbours as I opened my home to the next part of life.

I met my soon to be husband and with him came more friends, family, entertaining, lunches, and our wedding   A few years later, we hosted a wedding shower for my youngest followed by her wedding reception.  We had a 50th wedding anniversary for his parents and a catered event for coworkers.  We hosted birthdays for friends and family, life events and special occasions and at every turn the wrap was there.

It’s used every Christmas when my sister, her family and mine get together. It’s there every Easter when we gather with our grandchildren,  great nieces and nephews for the annual Easter egg hunt. It’s there on Valentine’s Day as John and I prepare a special dinner to celebrate our love. It’s there every family birthday covering the leftover cake, or a care package to send with the girls to their homes. It’s there every BBQ in the summer covering the steaks and prized potato salad that Mom taught me how to make so long ago.

It preserves our memories too.  Now in addition to wrapping up today’s memories I can’t help but remember all the times it was used by Mom.  Vividly I remember her wrapping up tea biscuits after spending a day baking with my Grandma. It was used to wrap up the dishes she brought to family events, birthdays, BBQ’s, holidays.  It was put to good use wrapping all the Christmas baking we made together every year.

I’m almost afraid to see how much remains. These days I use it sparingly, partially to preserve the wrap itself and partially opting for other methods that are more convenient, bags, plastic or glass containers. My parents both died young. I think often of all that they missed and will miss and yet on the days when I pull down the ragged cardboard box, they are there, silent witnesses to life that continues to unfold.