Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Wotan, Pop and British Columbia by Margaret Ullrich, part 9, Weeding

About two weeks ago I wrote about family in literature and movies.
I just felt like it after reading Uncle Junior Soprano's  
Junior's Ten Tips to Living Long and Living Well
in Artie Bucco's The Sopranos Family Cookbook.

Recently we watched Great Performances at the Met on PBS.
PBS ran Wagner's Ring Cycle - the whole cycle - over four nights in a row.
Das Rheingold... Die Walkure... Siegfried... Götterdämmerung.

Thank goodness the longest one was on a Friday night.
Gotterdammerung ended at 1:00 a.m.
By Saturday we were zombies.
They couldn't have run them on Sunday afternoons?

Wagner's Ring Cycle is all about family.
Okay... not your average family.
But still family.

Die Walkure was about a father and his daughters.
Wotan had plans for his daughter Brünnhilde's future.
Then he changed his plans and wanted her to get with the new program.
When Brünny didn't, Wotan had her confined, to sleep in a ring of fire.
Maybe Wotan was afraid her sisters would follow her example.

Yesterday would've been Pop's eighty-eighth birthday.
Like Wotan and many other Dads, Pop had plans for his kids.
He owned three houses, next door to each other.
Each of his three children was to live in one of the houses.
Of course, each of us would be married and have kids.

Not quite the way it worked out.

As the eldest, I was first out of the gate.
Paul and I moved to White Rock, British Columbia.
With my parents' help, we bought a house in Surrey, British Columbia.

The house was a duplex.
A four-bedroom house, with a one-bedroom apartment in the basement.
We lived in the basement.
The tenants' rent covered most of the mortgage.
We would move upstairs when we needed the bedrooms for our kids.
After they left, we would retire to the basement.
The rent would sweeten our old age pension.
It was a dandy 80 year plan.

Not quite the way it worked out.

My folks visited us in Surrey, British Columbia.
Pop liked our new home.
In the early 1970s, Surrey was farmland.
Pop always wanted to live on a farm.  

He'd had a wall of cages filled with rabbits along a side of his garage.  
Rabbits were a regular dinner item in Maltese homes.
While in Surrey, Pop managed to find a farmer who had rabbits.
He really enjoyed his dinner that day.

My parents hated the winters in New York.   
Pop loved the milder west coast climate.  
He even talked of buying a farm near our house.  

After a year British Columbia's economy took a hit.
Paul's union said there was work in Winnipeg.
So, we moved to Winnipeg and sold the house.

Winnipeg is sometimes referred to as Winterpeg.
It is notorious for its -40º winters.
They come complete with Alberta Clippers and Polar Pigs.
We dress for the weather, not fashion.

Pop knew about winters on the bald prairie.
He didn't talk about getting a farm in Manitoba.
He didn't come up for a visit for another 15 years.
During that time we heard less from him and the rest of my family.
It was like there was a ring of fire around Winnipeg.
Maybe Pop was afraid my siblings would follow my example.

There's an old saying...
Man plans, God laughs.

No, I think He'd understand too much to laugh.

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