Cogitation 44/221 Friday 1 November 2019 On The Road Week 5 in Wasaga Beach, Ontario, focused on family. Could we survive, thrive, in this first almost week-long assemblage?
We gathered at a cozy cottage/chalet, prepared tasty meals, turned on the fireplace as needed, told stories, played card games, took walks, did day trips, connected with people locally, some shivered in the high wind and first snowfall, and celebrated birthdays.
Wasaga Beach lies on Nottawasaga Bay, leading off Georgian Bay, leading from Lake Huron in the Great Lakes.
At the start of the week, brother-in-law Murray celebrated 70 years and at the end of the week brother Sandy celebrated 80. Happy Birthday to both!
A week with siblings could easily become a tradition, but that’s a decision to be made later.
On Tuesday, 10 of us walked some paces on the Bruce Trail, four of us did 10 kilometers and Christa did 26 km. Christa is three-fourths of the way to completing the 900 kilometer (540 mile) footpath from Queenston Heights (near Niagara Falls) to Tobermory on Georgian Bay.
Christa and Mark have been on the trail since October 4, staying in their Hymer GT550, a cozy home on wheels. They park at Boondocker-registered homes, a membership program where people share their driveways for a night or two. Mark does some walking and maneuvers the vehicles and bicycles from drop-off to pickup point while Christa covers 25-30 km per day. Mark walked regularly the first three weeks until he turned an ankle. Bravo Christa! Bravo Mark!
Marty and I completed the trail, with Christa and Mark and a few others, over seven weeks of seven summers, finishing in 2007. Bravo!
The National Flag of Canada was proclaimed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on January 28, 1965. It was raised for the first time in an inauguration ceremony on Parliament Hill in February 15, 1965.
In 1964-65 I was doing an exchange visitor year in Germany. I had a letter from Barney Faber with a few details about his family of origin in Germany and a drawing of the proposed Canadian flag to replace the Union Jack in preparation for the country’s sesquicentennial in 1967. Barney was a traveler in a small area of south central Ontario, occasional hired help among area farmers, a collector of whatever, a raconteur, something of a loner, sidelined but sustained in local society.
From a flyer related to the city of Sackville, NB, I learned that the flag was designed by Dr George F.G. Stanley, long-time Sackville resident, professor of Canadian Studies at Mount Allison, University (rated #1 undergraduate university in Canada by Maclean’s 2019), and at one time Governor General of New Brunswick. Alan Beddoe, retired naval captain and heraldic adviser to the Royal Canadian Navy, was also involved in the design.
From the Government of Canada History of the National Flag of Canada website: “The flag is the symbol of the nation’s unity, for it, beyond any doubt, represents all the citizens of Canada without distinction of race, language, belief or opinion.”
For Mark, their weeks on the trail have been cozy and fun. They’ve put 3,000 kilometers on their truck. Getting used to their small house on wheels has been a cozying-up part of the experience, he said. Having access to showers this week has been a plus.
Christa said their experience on the trail has been “absolute freedom.” It’s the kind of freedom they had during 10 years of teaching at an international school in Germany. They interacted with people, entertained visitors, but did much on their own. Now, to go off for six weeks without chores and everyday drudgery has been so good. “We can do what we want to do,” she said.
Planning for the week with extended family did make her nervous, she said. Just imagine, you’ve spent weeks on the trail, often without seeing another soul, and then being confronted with a hungry, happy, holiday crowd; well, that’s a significant change of pace. Fortunately, the congenial group pitched in in various ways to make the week at the chalet work. Christa and Mark did beautifully with the breakfast preparations, including the birthday breakfast for Sandy, while the rest took turns preparing the evening meal and washing up.
I recall, 10 years ago, going for groceries after a week on the trail. It was culture shock. Cars bopped about the parking lot and people drove their shopping carts like tanks. I had come from a world of serenity in the wild to a war zone of weekend shopping frenzy. I can just imagine how Christa and Mark felt the day we arrived. Hope they miss us as much as we’ll miss them. Thanks, Christa and Mark!
Meanwhile back at the chalet
And the birthday dinner
Memories. More stories to ponder and share. The road soon leads home. Distance we’ve walked this year to the end of October: 1,193.5 miles (1920.8 km). Best!