yesterday Yvonne, Callum and I woke up at 4:00 AM to catch a 6:15 AM flight from Charleston to Ottawa, then drove for three hours (through some very light, peaceful snow – the first I have seen in years) to my parents’ cottage at Paudash Lake, just outside of Bancroft, Ontario.
a few hours later we traveled into Bancroft to Hastings Centennial Manor so that Callum could meet his great grandparents (on my mother’s side). My grandfather is in extremely poor condition and will likely die within the month (any day now, really), so we were very fortunate to have made it to Ontario in time for him and for my grandmother to meet their only great grandchild – for a while it didn’t look like we’d make it in time to see him. My grandfather was extremely skinny and unable to move very much at all but he brightened up considerably and was able to speak a few sentences when we arrived in his room with the baby.
it was a very bittersweet moment for me – sad, as I am quite close to my grandparents; they moved from Montreal to Toronto at the same time as my family did to be close to us, and we visited them quite often throughout my formative years; plus, I lived with them in Toronto for a year of high school while my parents and sister were living in Saudi Arabia. And yet it was definitely a happy occasion for my grandfather to meet his legacy before he passed away – in some way he shall continue to live on through this 11 month old boy. It seemed very right that we should come to see him before he passed away.
afterwards Callum met his great grandmother who is staying in the same building as my grandfather. She is suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease (as is her sister), so when we return to the Manor early tomorrow we might have to introduce her to Callum again for the first time, and then again on Saturday when she comes to the cottage for a visit. She is in some ways the opposite of my grandfather in that while my grandfather is very alert but physically unwell, my grandmother was extremely happy and well but unable to remember short-term events for long periods of time. However, when we came to see her she was aware of Callum’s existence in the world (she had pictures in her room) and of my marriage to Yvonne, plus Callum really opened up to her, smiling and giggling and playing, even though he’d just gone through a full day of plane flights and car rides. So for that we were very thankful.
this morning and early afternoon (while my parents were in Kingston for a doctor’s appointment) Yvonne and Callum and I went into Bancroft and bought a wide assortment of groceries that you can’t get in the States – Shreddies (a cereal), all-dressed and ketchup chips, plus some chocolate (Crunchie bars, Aero bars and Smarties). Needless to say we haven’t eaten very healthily at all today, but that is all part of the fun! Callum was sporting a thick snowsuit my mother had purchased pending his arrival and he didn’t quite know what to make of it – it inhibited most of the free movement he has been used to living down south and throughout our walk about town he sat in his stroller peering around with his eyes looking slightly dazed – albiet warm!
this evening I made dinner for everyone while Yvonne and Callum kept me company in the kitchen, then my father and I walked a few doors down (careful not to slip on the ice) to the cottage of some friends – a couple who at one point were the top distributors of Tupperware in Canada. My father, his friend Jack and I played pool for a couple of hours and drank a bottle of Shiraz that my father made last year at a place in Bancroft (I was suitably impressed). We had a good time – Jack seems like a really nice fellow and I promised to play a few more games with the group of them (another guy, Mike, usually plays but he has been sick with a cold) within the next couple of days.
tomorrow, as mentioned, we shall head back into town to see my grandparents again, and then I am not aware of what we will do next. My mother mentioned something about taking a trip to Peterborough within the next few days but I am not sure when that will take place. On Tuesday the three of us shall drive back to Ottawa where we will be staying with some friends for a couple of days. We plan to tour a bit, visit a few of my old haunts (I went to high school downtown) and a few new haunts (like a maple sugar bush!), and perhaps take a day trip to Montreal if our friends are able to join us.
finally, on the 27th of this month, we’ll be heading back to Charleston. The following day we’ll be moving all of our belongings to Columbia – so there’ll be lots to do once we return from our trip.