Rocking the Sixtieth Anniversary Countdown – continued from last post

Our whole lives my parents and I have been traveling by the little town of Field, B.C.on the side of the trans Canada highway as we have climbed or descended through the Rockies on various vacations. This morning, on the second day our travels to their Sixtieth Anniversary weekend destination, we all woke up in this, oh so picturesque, tiny town. I’d learned, googling on my iPad the night before that, “ Field was established during the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) as a locomotive depot for pusher engines required to help trains over the nearby Field Hill and Big Hill.”   train yard

While I waited for Mom and Dad to meet me for breakfast I strolled the mountain streets above the train yards, clicking away with my iphone camera, wondering if I had what it takes to start up a guest house- which appeared to be the main occupation in Field – could I bake a scone, turn down a bed, put up with guests ridiculous questions – like mine, “Hey, anyone know when the TransCanada will open?”

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Finishing off the fat sausages and thick toast with our coffees, we could gaze from the restaurant out to the highway and see that it would be a different sort of drive to the cottage and anniversary weekend.  It would be a drive completely void of the hundreds of big transport trucks normally taking this route to the coast, with the highway still closed at that crucial point behind us.

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As we motored along, winding through the mountains at a relaxed pace, we were stocking up for the weekend, purchasing early B.C fruit at one stand (sweet little strawberries), discovering a new baker at a Salmon Arm coffee shop (whole wheat sourdough), and finally buying the very last of a crop of asparagus to add to our haul – as long as three asparagus a piece for twenty-seven people would work out.

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We drove through Golden and Revelstoke, Sicamous, Salmon Arm and Sorento, traveling in and out of storms, through sunshine and under rainbows, before turning down our steep driveway to the cottage on the lake – where my dad took my mom’s hand, his lovely bride of sixty years, and helped her down the walkway to the party destination.

With my daughters and husband following behind us we’ll all have twenty-four hours  to prepare coleslaw and beet and rice salad, saute Alberta beef, bake nanaimo bars and ginger cookies, blow up air mattresses and freshen rooms, sweep the decks and buy the booze, twist the streamers and pick bouquets…stay tuned – will the ‘bridal couple reveal the secrets to seven hundred and twenty months of wedded bliss?

Sixty Years of Wedded Bliss and Alberta’s Flood Waters

More than ever I wanted my parents to have a special 60th anniversary.  Sixty! – for heaven’s sake – they have been married to each other, taken care of each other, put up with each other, for sixty years – 720 months, a zillion weeks – a long, long time.  June 1953 when they exchanged their wedding vows was a rainy wet month in southern Alberta – they sloshed through the muddy church yard hauling up the bride’s dress to keep it clean.  June 2013, the year of this diamond anniversary, has involved epics floods that have devastated their city of Calgary, Alberta.

For months, myself and my four siblings have planned a family celebration of our parent’s wedded bliss involving their children and spouses, the grandchildren and spouses, and the two little great- granddaughters all meeting at our cottage on Shuswap Lake in B.C. – a seven hour drive from Calgary.  When I said, “hey, just pack a bag and we’ll make a little trip of it,”  I had never fathomed we’d be housing evacuation victims,  and glued to network forecasts on the country’s number one highway being washed right out with storming mad flood waters.

As distracted as we were with the hardships going on around us – property destroyed, power out, transportation a mess – it seemed my eighty-three and eighty-four- year- old mom and dad still deserved to have us rally to mark the occasion, but there was that matter of the main highway having vanished under muddy debris. Image

We waited it out a day and then I told the folks we would scout out an alternate route.  And there we were a few hours later jammed packed with a line of transport trucks all headed north when we all needed to go west.  We met up with fifty troops of army reserves returning from natural disaster duty – at the A and W in Red Deer, then struck off west finally over miles of land that couldn’t have been more lush as the rain came down again.  Reaching the Rocky Mountains we were forced to go south now and finally, after five hours of detour, were back to the number one.  Tell me about your honeymoon, I said to my mom, as the sun crested a peak and my dad slept in the back seat.

We pulled into the iconic Chateau Lake Louise for a late, late afternoon coffee. The waiter there, learning it was the 60th anniversary didn’t charge for the two desserts we shared, and bid them a respectful (awe struck) congratulations before we pushed on a mere half hour further to the Kicking Horse lodge in Field, British Columbia, for a evening meal in the railway town before bedding down for the night. Image

And I do feel guilty for high tailing it out of Calgary when I see on Facebook and in the news that the horrible messy clean-up is just beginning.   But the clan is gathering and this anniversary party must go on – stayed tuned for the low down – how much asparagus do twenty-seven people eat?  Should I keep introducing my folks as the ‘diamond anniversary couple’ – will the grocery store comp me my hamburger buns?  Are twenty-seven family members – twenty-six too many to spend three days with?  Will the folks share their six decade secrets of long matrimony?  These answers and more in the days to come…