Veteran's day parting
To fully understand both the joys and sadness this day has for me, I need to take the story back to a few days before Veteran's day.
The first trip over to Canada to see my lovely friend Faye had been in the Summer of 2009, even though we had planned it months in advance. I still had to use CanAir as the flight, owing to the shortage of money available. This entailed a Tuesday to Tuesday schedule, being cheaper than Air Canada they flew once a week from Gatwick airport- it was a real pain to get to the airport, involving a six-hour wait for the flight and worried about nerves.
To make the best use of time, I went for six weeks on each trip, thus the October trip went into mid-November. We had arranged for a quick return in October to coincide with Thanksgiving, our anniversary of our first chat and birthdays. The second flight was from Heathrow-so much quicker and easier to get to and being Air Canada, they flew daily.
On the Monday afternoon before the trip was due to end, we were chatting on webcam to Faye's daughter Marge, when Marge asked “When is Al going back?”
I replied “Tuesday the 12th” thinking of my previous flight back.
Marge said “Wednesday is the 12th”
You can imagine our joy at the thought of having an extra day together.
The 11th of November being Veteran's day, there was a lovely parade in Lac La Biche. Ex-service personnel marched down the main street and down to the lake shore to cheers from the town's people. The veterans hospice is across road from the lake and has an ever-lasting flame in the front porch. As we stood and watched these brave people, many in chairs or with crutches; tears came to my eyes-every year it's the same.
After seeing the parade, Faye drove us down to the lake. Where we had our favourite snack of burgers with gravy and chips as we sat and cuddled waching the water lapping on he shoreline, at this time of year it was easy to see-if you looked carefully that the icy fingers of winter were up on you.
The lake is so large that it can be used for three junior ice-hockey ganes; car racing and ice skating with total ease. The lake freezes so hard it is used as an ice-road to the nearest town of Plamondon-not somewhere I wish to re-visit.
Sitting by the lake with the sun setting over the cold waters and with the hills on the far side blocking most of the light from the fading sun, the sun set looked just like a golden cross as it settled down, just before finally setting there was a really lovely moment when the darkened image of the sun glowed like an orb from under the clouds.
As we sat there enjoying our last full day together, just holding hands and cuddling I took the last photos of the lake-one I use as the cover to the book Nerja.
Veteran's day to me is not only a time of remembrance for those who gave their lives for our freedom but a reminder of the last day I spent with one of the lovliest I have had the pleasure to meet.
If you want to read more- the rest of the story is in Canadian memories http://www.amazon.co.uk/Canadian-memories-ebook/dp/B00891DFXG/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_8
I hope to bring a second volume out soon.
If you think you recognise the photo, you do- I used it as the cover to Nerja