Monday, April 4, 2011

Road Trip: 1933 km, more or less

What I know is the road, but fog thick as smoke was a new thing. White on white, with semi trailers frequently tearing out of the monochromatic landscape to hurtle toward me.

On to Saskatchewan -- for so many reasons -- with many stops and several friends along the way.

The photos were uploaded in anti-chronological order. Oops. So I'll begin where I ended (which is also -- in so many ways -- where I began).

How I love the woods surrounding Middle Lake. No trip back would be complete without at least a cursory walk around the campground. I tried to get to the clearing I love best, but punched through snow up to my thighs, and thus had to remain content to stay on the lane.
I love this place. Lucien Lake Regional Park.
Dear Deer.

A squirrel presumably as ready for spring as I am.

You can't buy this.

And now to my friends ... here is Roger.






Friends at my birthday tea, at Eileen's home.
From left: Moi, Shirley, Bernice, Ruth (in back), Dori, Marie (in back), and Eileen.
I stopped in Outlook on my way to Moose Jaw, where I had several presentations.
It was great to see my Aunt Doreen and her husband, Irvin.

In Moose Jaw I visited my grandpa, Thomas Earl Greer. He was a lawyer, and a gunner in the 2nd World War.
I was five years old when Grandpa died, and I remember him well.

After my presentations in Moose Jaw I drove to Watrous and spent two nights with Jim and Helen, aka Mom and Dad.
Mom is in the Red Hatters' (but you probably guessed that).

This is Jeanne Marie, in Biggar. She's one of my best friends.

I believe Jeanne Marie is one of Canada's best poets, only Canada doesn't know it yet.
In the meantime, she operates a hair shop on Main Street.
She gave me a cut and high-lights.

This was a reading at Java Express in Moose Jaw.
I read with students from Vanier Collegiate, their teacher, and members of the public.
Loved the live music, too.

Mom and her great granddaughter, Ashlyn.

This is Leah, my great niece. She's four now.
And a real delight.

I turned 48 on April 2nd.
My daughter said: "Mom, it seems like you've been the same age forever."

My dad, Jim, and his great grandson, Reid.
Priceless photo of these two.

Back to Jeanne Marie's hair shop.
I usually cut my own hair, so this was a treat.

So it was the typical Shelley Leedahl whirlwind tour, with visiting and presentations and runs and practical matters -- checked on my house in Middle Lake, had my taxes done, that kind of thing.
Left Middle Lake this morning at 9:30, and got back to Edmonton at 5:00. What did I gain an appreciation for on this road trip?

Friends. Family. Health.
John Mayer's music.
Double lane highways.
Birthday cake.
E-mails from Greg in Mexico.
Returning geese.
Appreciative teachers.
Sunshine, and snowmelt.
The farmer in the Burger King in Moose Jaw who, upon hearing the fountain drink machine sputter as I put my plastic cup beneath the nozzle, came up to me and said:
"Sounds like a John Deere" (ah, I knew I was home).
Unexpected birthday greeting e-mails.
Beautiful messages from faraway offspring.
Scheduling that allowed me a cemetary visit.
Eating with friends.
New rubber boots from the Bargain Store.
A ring that looks like the one Diana wore, and now Kate Middleton wears.
Temple Garden Mineral Spa.
Nits Thai Food Restaurant in Moose Jaw.
An employer who allows me time off from my day job to travel
when my literary career requires it.
A good -- if not aging -- car.
Laughing till I cried.
Big bags full of carrots and parsnips.
Being where everyone knows your name.

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