...I reckon I got to light out for the territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she’s going to adopt me and sivilize me, and I can’t stand it. I been there before.
Truth to tell, we feel no wiser or more civilized than we were a year ago but at least we’re a whole lot older than Huck Finn ever was. From the far-flung frigid west coast Jan and I extend our warmest season’s greetings. Perhaps our unaccustomed Arctic conditions are the result of excessive carbon emissions; maybe we could try blaming the frostbite entirely on George W. Bush. Everything else seems to be his fault so why not that too.
Mind you, as glass-house-residents I suppose we should be careful about throwing stones. We’re mostly getting about under our own steam these days but over the past few months we’ve left exhaust trails from London to Brugge, from the White Mountains of New Hampshire to the sandstone cliffs of southern Utah and myriad points hither and thither. In September we made a return pilgrimage to Canada’s First World War battlefields, appreciated the magnificent Canadian memorial at Vimy -- hidden from view during our inaugural visit in 2005 -- and completed a small personal mission, visiting the final resting place of all the Boularderie, Cape Breton, soldiers I’ve ‘adopted’ over the past several years.
Scientists tell us the north Atlantic suddenly warmed four degrees this summer. We could tell. We soaked up the wettest summer on record at Big Bras d’Or. Fortunately the roof of the summer palace kept the water out and we revelled in our customary allotment of loved ones’ conviviality.
Our fall migration in truck-and-camper from Cape Breton back to the west coast took us on a southward route through some of the most splendid American geography we’ve laid eyes on since retirement turned us into rolling stones a decade ago.
We enjoy the best of times and a bit of the worst as well. Sadly, Jan’s mum, Diane, died unexpectedly a month after our return to Victoria. Happily, Diane got to enjoy some time with the newest clan member before she left us. Jan is hopelessly smitten with her granddaughter, Alexandra Grace – ‘Lexi’ to her nearest and dearest. Once upon a time Jan feigned indifference on the prospect of becoming a grandmother but fact has turned fiction on its head. Have you ever seen a nana more dewy-eyed than the one featured here? Meanwhile I get to enjoy the miracle of being a grandfather without ever having had to endure the vicissitudes of fatherhood. How very grand it is.