Saturday, 28 June 2014

A Road Trip to Remember

Three sisters, immigrants to Canada, who loved and supported each other: that’s the way the story started. They all married and had children and their children remember wonderful times together, full of laughter and stories.

We – my sisters and I – are the daughters of the oldest sister – a new generation of sisters trying to carry on what my mom and her sisters taught us: to love and support each

After our mom died, we promised each other we would get together once a year – no easy feat when one lives in Ontario, one in Alberta, and one in BC. It hasn’t always happened, but we try. This past week, our (sometimes) annual get-together consisted of a road trip from Edmonton through the mountains to Vancouver Island.                
We called our adventure The Three Chicks Road Trip. Sounds like a good name for a movie. It  would star one aging Hearing-Impaired woman (HI-1) lugging an Obus form for her aching back; another slightly younger woman, also somewhat Hearing Impaired (HI-Too), mostly hanging out in the back seat and keeping the peace as middle children often do; and a much, much younger woman who ended up doing all the driving, who we’ll call the Kid.

Here are some random scenes from the movie:

The Kid and HI-1 are heading to the Calgary airport to pick up HI-Too. “We’re getting close,” says the Kid. “You’ll have to text her to arrange a meeting place.” “I don’t text,” says HI-1. “How do you do that?” The Kid sighs. There follows an impromptu lesson, and a text is launched, full of crazy auto-correct errors, like, “We are yachting close.” But the job gets done. The Kid and HI-1 are creeping along at arrivals while HI-Too is waving wildly to get our attention. “Over here! Over here!”  We almost miss her (perhaps we’re just a mite sight-impaired, too). The security guard is bemused, probably wondering whether he should report three crazy old ladies who are giggling and hugging and trying to stuff a car with way too much luggage. Should they be let loose on the world?  The road trip is off to a roaring start.

We have found our condo in Canmore, appropriately located on Three Sisters Drive. How cool is that? We are outside, trying to take selfies featuring three sisters against a backdrop of the Three Sisters mountain peaks. It’s not going well. We stop a young couple and explain what we’re trying to do. “Uh, those are not the Three Sisters mountains,” says the guy. “Hush up,” says his girlfriend. “If these ladies say they are, then they are,” and she snaps a great shot of us. I like her spirit. She could be an honorary sister.

Looking for a place to have supper, we virtuously decide we have a hankering for a big salad at a Wendy’s restaurant.  The Kid, still driving, gets HI-1 to look up the location of the local Wendy’s on her I-Pad. “Uh, how do you do that?” The Kid sighs, gives another impromptu lesson while still driving – isn’t she amazing? But the Wendy’s is closed for renos, so we end up  at an A& W. “Mmm – teenburger!” murmurs the Kid as she parks. “Did you say Jalapeno burgers? Do they do jalapeno burgers?” asks HI-Too. This is a pee-in-your-pants funny moment, and we all have to head for the bathroom before we can place our orders ... for Uncle Burgers. Hey, we’re flexible.  That’s what we wanted after all, we decide, as we chow down on enormous Uncle Burgers loaded with bacon and cheese, and with sides of onion rings and fries. Yee haw.  Forget virtuous.

Since it’s raining, and since we’re in no hurry, and since a local thrift store has a 50% off sale ... well, need I say more? Because of various weight gains and losses, we find ourselves, for the first time in decades, fighting over the same pair of trendy capris. “You take them, they look so cool on you,” says one. “No, no! You take them, I have enough pants,” says the other. “Actually, they’re just a little tight on me,” says the third – and if you know me, you can guess who that one is. Youngest sister gets them, as it should be. She did all the driving.

As we’re driving through the mountains, the Kid waxes poetic about the amazing cloud formations we’re seeing – huge, billowing pillows with silvery edges. She finds clouds and skies fascinating – they make her heart sing, she says. HI-Too says songbirds are what makes her heart sing, and HI-1 gets excited about wild-flowers in ditches and tumbling mountain streams.

My sisters have been worried about what I am going to say about this trip. After all, they’ve replaced the resident sweetie as my companions, and they know they will find themselves in my blog. Well, here’s all that I can say about that: there are many things that make my heart sing, but the best of them all is this road trip with you.

We stopped overnight in Abbotsford to play with the grandgirls -- three sisters to carry on the tradition? I hope so.

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