Invariably, late in the evening, someone will ask, what were your favorite three things today. The question came up last night when we were sitting inside the house at the kitchen window, watching the sheet lightening filling the sky beyond Old Sicamous Mountain. To add ambiance we had darkened the kitchen, sitting there with only a candle, mocking ourselves at first because it is not a good idea to have a wooden candle holder, not matter how beautiful the tree root is out of which it was created. But soon that flame was snuffed out by Rebecca saying, “Too bright in the darkness that surrounds us between flashes of lightening.” I smelled the wine they were drinking, asked for my opinion about its smell. “Too bright? Too musky? Too fruity?” I am a novice with such smells and could only say that if this were a piece of new food and I was asked to eat it, I might say that I think it is over-ripe and would prefer not to, unless I was under edict to force it into my mouth. They laughed and said, yes, I had it just right.
We were at the end of a lovely evening. The.re had been two private parties going on at our house in different rooms. One was a Going-into-Grade-Three Party for Naomi and David. They were watching a movie and eating treats. In another room there was a “Going-into-Kindergarten Party for Audra and Rhiannon, and they too had age appropriate treats and films. Lurene had walked down to see Miranda and her babies who had left to go back to Calgary that morning. There was also a Werewolf Party going on at the Bates house – a game which starts out with screaming that only escalates until the game is over. Duncan and Xavier walked home from that event in what felt like a starless sky to them. They only got as far as the Woods (next-door, for those unfamiliar as to how far they had gone – up one driveway and down the next). They made a phone call for help from there. So Rebecca walked a flashlight down to them. By the time we were ready to go to bed, Alex should have been ready to come home from the same party, Rebecca was too tired and said she was going to bed. Bonnie and I, concerned Aunt and Grandmother, were walking a flashlight down to him – two really, leaving one and using one for the return trip as it was dark. The bushes moved and a speeding creature ran toward us, past us, back to us – sprinting in the darkness – Alex coming home with only the help of the light of his cell phone. “Slimguy? Or is that you, Goatman?”, she said, alluding to the names of protagonists in campfire stories the names of which all of the older children are forbidden to mention when they are in the company of eight year olds and under. In fact Duncan has been forced to say in their presence, that these creatures are not real. All he can cough out is “Some people think they are real, but personally, I don’t.” Well, that is a small comfort. Bonnie and I had seen Greg earlier in the day at the intersection of the Trans-Canada Highway and MacDonalds. He was not in MacDonalds, which is where Wyona and Darla had both been for lunch. He was stalled at the left-turning lane light. Bonnie yelled from our yield lane that was cutting into the Trans-Canada going back east, “Greg, GREG! Do you need help.” He signalled that he had already called for a tow truck. In the evening he told us that he saw us at 2 pm. The tow truck came at 3:30 pm. He said that from that vantage point he saw a lot of drivers run the yellow light and he watched the frustration of others who lined up behind him, not noticing, I guess, that he had on his flashing blinkers and the lid to his car engine was up. That 1988 Olympic Van might be destined for Vehicle Heaven, though it has been pointed in that direction many times before and then been revived before passing through the pearly gates to be then scavenged by others for parts. If this was to be its last day on the road, it had made a final trip to the dump, one where Greg said he threw his garbage in and then brought home someone else’s garbage – a table that is now set up in their garage ice-cream parlour and a small pink kiddies pedal car which Greg washed up to a bring shinny newness. I watched Kalina ride it for a minute. In the next 60 seconds she had back it up into Ivan’s toes and now trapped, he was crying out in pain. On this point, yesterday their house was at what our family calls for us a critical mass –28 people and two dogs, one of which is blind. The blind dog could be taken off the leash on the porch for a run around its perimeter, someone told me.
Yesterday some on our property saw Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Rebecca kept the kiln going so that she can get her pottery fired. Two twelve by twenty-four inch pans of cinnamon buns came out of the oven, since the 53 butterhorns from yesterday are all gone. I don’t like rolling the buns in the sugar and butter by myself and Richard was the one passing through the kitchen when I needed that help. I roped him in and to pay him for his efforts I tried to entertain him with stories about Aunt Erva and why I call those buns Aunt Erva’s Cinnamon Rolls whenever I teach the method on now to make them to someone. I don’t know what exists on paper about her life. I tried to write a short story on my mother once, and I began by saying, Wyora had a sister-in-law named Erva, and then the story morphed into all-about-Erva. I was writing for a mother’s day event at the library, one where we were posting vignettes about our mothers on the wall of the lunch room. I never did get something up about my mother, but I did post the side-story about Erva. Arta