Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Familiar Waters

After a couple of days here in Vancouver, we are headed on the road again. This time it's over to Victoria. We'll take the ferry from Tsawwassen over to Swartz Bay, then drive the Patricia Bay highway down the Saanich Peninsual into the city. Victoria is both the southernmost city in BC, and the capital of the province. It is also the most temperate climate in the country, with very short winters, not a lot of rain, and very long summers. Were it not for the fact that it is on Vancouver Island, separated from the mainland by a 2 hour ferry ride, it would almost certainly be the most popular retirement city in the country. As a young man we referred to it as the "land of the newly wed and newly dead".

Victoria is a military town in part, with Esquimalt being the western base of the Canadian Navy. My Dad was in the navy when we lived there in the early years of my life. I was born there in the summer of 1955. We lived there until 1959 when my Dad was transferred to Halifax for a couple of years. We returned to Victoria in 1961, remaining there until my Mom left my Dad in 1963, taking her five sons with her over to Vancouver.

Yesterday I saw my daughter Meaghan with her daughter Charlotte. Today I hope to see my daughter Mary, who lives in Victoria, with her daughter Rose. Most certainly if I don't see them today I will see them tomorrow. I enjoyed seeing Charlotte yesterday although it was bittersweet. Charlotte clearly recognized my Mom and Ray as Grandma and Grandpa. She was uncertain who I was at first, then, slowly, as the afternoon went by, she became more comfortable with me. It reminded me once again that I see very little of Charlotte, and of Rose too. It made me wonder once again what they will remember of me once I am gone. It made me once again consider what stories they will hear of me, what they will be told of me.

I can't do anything much about this. I live in Calgary. I have chosen to live in Calgary, far away from the homes of my children and grandchildren. Even were I here, Meaghan and Charlotte live with my ex-wife in a house I will never go to again. Mary lives in Victoria although she would very much like to return to the mainland, still a long way from Calgary. I am grateful that my daughter Kate is moving to Calgary; once again one of my children will be nearby.

I'm not going to worry too much about all that. Today I plan on enjoying the drive, the ferry ride across familiar waters, time with my daughter and granddaughter. Today is what matters.

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