Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Saulte Ste. Marie, Ontario, by Margaret Ullrich, part 9, Transplanting

The Mama Robin is still on her nest.
The heat has been brutal.
There are constant warnings to stay hydrated and cool.
We've got fresh water in a bird bath right under her nest.
Even for Manitoba, it's damn hot.
Oh, well, what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.

We haven't gotten the rain we were supposed to get yesterday.
I won't fault the weather announcers.
I still cringe when I think about when I started hosting Better Than Chocolate.
It was the Thursday before the Thanksgiving weekend.
I called up Environment Canada / Winnipeg weather on the computer.
According to them, we were in for a sunny holiday weekend.
I told everyone it was a great time to drive and visit family and friends.
It wasn't.
It poured.
I was afraid I was going to get angry e mails.
So much for our tax dollars in action.

Since it's 10% Tuesday, I was at Sobey's as soon as it opened.
So was everyone else in the neighborhood.
We weren't just there to grab the sale items before they were sold out.
As the day gets hotter, the heat can change ice cream to a milk shake 
by the time one gets home.
No one was in a chatting mood.
By 11:00 a.m. I was home from Safeway.
Both stores shopped in three hours.
Except for perishables, we're set for the month.

Forty years ago it was a cooler sunny summer day.
Paul managed to see trains in Sudbury before we left.
To him that was a good omen.

We were surprised to see so many hitchhikers on the highway.
Some were reasonable.  Calgary.
Some were strange.  Tokyo.
I don't know if any of those kids had any luck getting a ride.

We were enjoying the pleasant driving conditions.
The music being broadcasted had lots of country tunes.
Paul said, 
Mary Wells should sing with Donna Fargo.  
They could call themselves Wells Fargo.
Yes, it was that kind of a morning.

We stopped for lunch in a town called Spanish.
The town's burger joint had its own Spanish burgers.
Tiny sliders that got lost in the salad on the bun.
We were used to the McDonald's basic:
Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, 
on a sesame seed bun. 
That wasn't enough for the folks in Spanish.
A vegetarian wouldn't mind sitting down to a Spanish burger.

Originally we were going to camp at Blueberry Hill.
It sounded nice: all the amenities, valet parking.
We got to Pioneer Trailer Park, in Saulte Ste. Marie, first.
It was more woodsy.
Each site came with its own barbecue pit.
Paul was still craving some meat.
A barbecue!  Wow!!
After Niagara, we were suckered by the au natural crap.
Yeah, Lucy made the same mistake in The Long, Long Trailer.

The first spot they assigned us was at a 75 degree angle.
It was about the right size for a Volkswagon Beetle.
The second site wasn't any better.
We were too embarrassed to ask for a third.
Somehow we squeezed into the site.
The bushes smashed into our faces every time we opened the door.
Rule #1 of the road: When hauling a trailer, go for practical, not pretty.

We went to the Dominion in "The Soo" for the groceries.
The prices were a surprise.
Chuck steak for $.79 a pound.
In New York it went for $1.09 a pound.
A 24 ounce loaf of bread sold for $.35.
In New York it would've been a dime more.

That night we barbecued for the first time.
The roaring fire did seem a little too intense.
We had to wait for it to settle down to a cooking level.
It took a while for everything to be ready.
But the daylight was lasting so long that it didn't feel like it was getting late.

We were losing all sense of time.
When we remembered we had to check in with our parents, Pop answered.
He wasn't pleased that we were calling so late.
He still couldn't believe that it was daylight where we were.
It was pitch black in New York.

Rule of the road Number 2: Call earlier.

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