WAVING THE FLAG
Like many other people, this week I proudly hung my flag for all to see. Looking around the complex I noted many others also had flags flying from their balconies, also various sizes of flags dotted round the complex landscaping. Great to see I thought.
Covid has much to answer for and the cancellation of most Canada Day celebrations was one of them.
A drive through pancake breakfast provided by a joint effort of the Parks and Rec services and our volunteer firemen was a nice start to the day. However the idea of driving through and eating my solitary breakfast, in my car, had no appeal so I didn’t go. Surely the idea of celebrating is to get together and celebrate in solidarity. A breakfast where people could talk to friends, even across six feet of empty grass, would have been a celebration, sitting in my car seemed more like a funeral. I sadly stayed home.
I came to this country forty six years ago and loved it from day one. Born and raised in England and loving the countryside there, it was a huge decision to come here with husband and four young daughters. We had been for a visit and decided the wide open areas of B.C., the opportunity for a better life style for us and our daughters and the likeness of B.C. to much of the countryside of Northern England, was for us.
Arriving on Halloween of 1974* and spending our first couple of months in a fourteen foot travel trailer, with four small kids and our two dogs, in almost non stop rain could have dampened our spirits and made us question our decision. However, the fact that Dave got a job immediately and the fact that we had enough money for the deposit on our first home, gave us hope for better things.
We moved into our first home just before Christmas but we had very little celebration that first year as we were so terribly sad to have nobody to celebrate with. My whole family was very close to Dave’s parents and as we had celebrated every holiday and birthday with them, we really felt bereft. I had cried as I picked out and wrote greetings cards as I couldn’t imagine Christmas without them. We ate our turkey and wore our paper hats and pretended that all was great but the truth was that family is what makes Christmas and we were sadly missing ours.
Come the first of January and it was like starting a new life as we turned over the calendar. Dave’s parents were to join us in fall, just one year after we arrived. I started my job, working as a night nanny in a home for abused children. I arrived home at 7.20 every morning, just 10 minutes after Dave left for his job. This arrangement worked well as I woke the children and got them fed and off to school, I could then sleep until they came home. We would then all have dinner and spend the evening together, the children being in bed and asleep before I left for work.
Both of us working allowed for Dave to start turning the basement of our home into an apartment for his mom and dad who arrived on Thanksgiving weekend. We celebrated our turkey dinner with much more enjoyment than we had at our first lonely Christmas. What a difference it makes to be surrounded by loved ones, a true reason to give thanks.
We spent the next twelve years living in harmony and enjoying the loving environment, then, very sadly, Dave’s mom died from cancer. A few months later, my very lonely father-in-law met an older lady and moved in with her. We had already had one daughter marry and move into her own home and her year younger sister moved in with the young couple, to rent her little suite in their home. This worked well for them all as the newlyweds needed the extra income and my other daughter enjoyed the freedom of her own place. One of our younger daughters was in college and this seemed time to make the move and sell the big home.
Things change over the years and sadly, after fifty five years of marriage, Dave and I called it quits, both of us choosing to follow a different path.
No matter how our lives have changed we have all loved Canada, it’s people, it’s customs and it’s freedoms. This is my first year as a single person, my first year of living alone and my first real taste of independence. It is different but I am enjoying the person I have become and feel content with life. Even this crappy Covid thing is something we all have to accept and endure, who would ever have thought we could get used to living this way, but we have adapted.
Canada, I love you, so my red Maple Leaf is flying in the breeze. I would certainly love to join a host of others all coming together to celebrate and to act as one people for this one special day. I pray for next year to see us all back celebrating and that is the reason I am trying hard to keep social distancing, so next year we can all join together in the joy of being Canadian.