Monday, March 11, 2013

Taxi? Taxi?

I am often surprised when I take a plane trip alone and can negotiate the whole journey by myself.  When I travel in a group, I give up all sense of my own will and just follow the leader(s).  But alone?  I have to do the thinking for myself, so I led myself to the taxi queue when I had picked up my luggage on landing at the Calgary Airport.  Three women ahead of me with 3 suitcases each, 3 sets of skis, 3 carry-ons and 3 large purses jammed themselves into the small taxi that drove up to take them to their destination.  I got into the next taxi that would have carried five people and that much luggage with still lots of room to spare.  There is no telling what sense that made, except that it made no sense to me.   

The drive home was quiet until I told the driver I was born and raised in Calgary and had lived most of my life here. I told the taxi driver I have the best life.  I have four sons that live in the city and 4 daughters whom I can go visit – those are cheap vacations – a plane ticket and then I get free food and a free hotel.
 I love the foothills, watching them again as leave the airport for home.
 He began by saying he is from Ethiopia and his story tumbled out.  Famine, war, death, he speaks five languages all learned as a refugee, and has made it here, now to have a small family of two children.  God has preserved him, he said.   "And we should give thanks to God for everything he told me," ... a heartfelt expression of gratitude from him, and certainly mirrored by me in my happiness to have another day to live, more food to eat, and loved ones waiting for me at home.

I went to play cribbage with Zoe tonight.  She is the only person I know who dares call me on stupidity without worrying about hurting my feelings.  The deck of cards we play with has birds on the back of it, and birds on its face-side, as well as the numbers there.  For some reason I pick up the piles of cards, don’t really watch what I am doing and find myself shuffling the cards, now some of them face up and some face down.   Both sides look like birds and that was enough for me to make one large pile out of them.  Seeing what I was doing, Zoe reached over, took them from me, resorted them so they were all face-up, shuffled them for me and pushing them toward me for a cut said, “You have to pay attention to what you are doing.”

In a tinge of conscience she said, “It is OK, Arta.  You are old.” 

Old Arta

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