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The Canadian Tour: First Stop – Winnipeg

August 29, 2011

In Winnipeg I was treated to Haiti-like weather with record high temperatures.  I really noticed the wind.

It was delightful to spend time with my granddaughters.  Little ones grow so fast and change so quickly.  My youngest granddaughter, Eve, was only a few weeks old when I left Canada.  Now at six months she is active and playful.  She has beautiful dark eyes, a fetching smile and a peculiar little laugh.  She is trying to crawl and gets very frustrated when she gets up on her hands and knees and then can’t quite figure out what to do next.  She loves her jumper and just about launches herself out of it in her enthusiasm.  I was very pleased that she warmed up to me very quickly.

Jamie, the older of my granddaughters, at six going on seven is a very busy girl.  I am always amazed at how much children learn how to do so early.  They grow up too fast.   She has been busy with her personal project of putting together a colouring book and crayon package for some of the children at street church.  She was thrilled that I had been able to bring her the seashells she had requested, including some very large ones.  Upon opening my suitcases upon arrival I discovered that one of those had not been particularly well cleaned.  It’s still soaking in bleach on the balcony.

It is always a pleasure to see family.   I stayed with my daughter’s family and enjoyed their company as always.  Meaghan is always up to come with me to do whatever I want to do and it is always a treat to try some of Mark’s culinary creations.  It is a pleasure to be able to pick up a few tricks from a chef.   To be told that my Crispy Plantain Chicken Fingers with Avocado Dip were the best chicken fingers he had ever tasted was a real compliment.  I also managed to put together a somewhat typical Haitian meal for Meaghan’s family and my sons Dylan and Sean – rice with bean sauce, chicken and vegetables in sauce, fried plantains and Yonese’s pikliz.

I helped Dylan, my eldest son, get ready for his move to Saskatoon to attend graduate school there.  Always the consummate student, he is looking forward to getting back to his studies.  I was surprised to hear that he has grown attached to his career as a caregiver in group homes and is weighing the merits of continuing on that path should a suitable professorship not be available when he graduates.  We addressed his needs for secure storage for his electronics (he does web design as a sideline) by purchasing a substantial contractor’s toolbox that will become furniture in his dorm room in a few days.

Barb arrived Thursday evening and visited briefly with Meaghan’s family and with Dylan.  On Friday she joined my siblings, Lorna, Shirley and Allan, and I as we gathered for what has become a bit of a summer tradition, our luncheon at Cora’s restaurant at the Franco-Manitoban Cultural Society to celebrate both my birthday and that of Shirley, the younger of my sisters.  I always marvel at how the four of us have always enjoyed each other’s company, and although we are each quite different in our approach to life, we have always been very accepting of one another.   This was the first time we have been together all being retired.

We then had a family gathering for all who could make it at the care home where my mother lives.  She is now 91 and time with her is precious, although seeing her decline is difficult.  She speaks very little most times, but is always glad to see any of us.  The gathering included the political debate that my family invariably engages in, passionate and animated, but always ending with the acknowledgement that we are all really saying the same thing, just in different ways.

Barb I had supper with my spiritual parents, Betty Anne and Allen, and later we were joined by a few of my friends and supporters from the Stonewall church I attended for many years after coming to know the Lord.  I am so grateful for their constant prayers and unwavering support for me.   Barb and I talked about what we are doing in Haiti and our experience there.

On Saturday we went with Meaghan to take Jamie to the Nature Playground at Assiniboine Park.  Meaghan was surprised that I had Jamie climbing the Spiderweb.  Apparently she had been encouraging her daughter to try it for some time without any success. Later Laurence and Pearl, who have been dear friends of mine for many years, treated us to supper at the Olive Garden.  Sunday morning Meaghan made Barb, Dylan and I breakfast at The Nook, the restaurant where both she and Mark work.  Later we had coffee with Sean at a Winnipeg landmark that had been one of my teenage haunts.  We were sorry to have been unable to connect with my middle son, Christian, who is leaving to set up an American style restaurant in a Beijing hotel.

Trying to get around to see everyone during Barb’s brief visit was difficult, but with everyone’s outstanding efforts to accommodate us we managed fairly well.  Allan, and Shirley, and her grandson, Duke, saw us off as we left for Vancouver on the next leg of our visit to Canada.

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