Dailies: February 16, 2013
Today was a beautiful Saturday in Cremona; sunny and warm (5 or 6 degrees) we spent a great deal of it outside. Ryder and I managed to avoid sleeping in too late, even though it is Saturday. We had pizza that was left-over from last night for breakfast, which was a fun change from our usual eggs and toast. My cousins Brittany and John, my aunt Theresa and her husband Jim came up from Calgary for a visit today –I haven’t seen my cousins in a couple of years so this was a treat! We went out for a long lunch at the Coyote Grill in the Cremona Hotel and talked a lot about Canada.
My aunt was born and raised in Calgary, although she lived briefly in Edmonton and Winnipeg. She had never been to Ontario until she took a trip with Jim two years ago. At one point, they stopped their car along the highway to take a better look at some natural feature, perhaps one of that province’s plurality of lakes. Jim, a Toronto native, kept walking to the lake but Auntie Theresa was transfixed by the leaves shaking on the tree above her. They were maple leaves–not small Manitoba Maples, but regal Sugar Maples. Silhouetted against the sky, they appeared as the very leaf that adorns Canada’s national flag (and has, as we failed to mention, for 48 years as of yesterday). My aunt had never seen a true, broad maple leaf.
Auntie Theresa also mentioned to us that she had considered her Canadian heritage as a young woman, but had been stymied at points by it. That was, of course, until she travelled to Europe, where the warm reception of nearly everyone who learned of her nationality gave her renewed insight and a sense of resolution. (At this point, Jim, a formal Canadian Naval Officer, piped in: “Just try going to some of those places in uniform. In Amsterdam, you can’t get your wallet out of your pocket before they’re buying you drinks!”) The census taker asked Aunt Theresa to enumerate her cultural background at some point recently and Theresa thought about it before coming up with “Canadian. That’s what I am.” The census taker replied that there was no entry for that. Theresa had to settle for marking “Other.”
We spent much of the rest of the day travelling around Cremona to get shots for our first Road Report, which should be out soon. As the sun began to set we saw Jennie and Colleen closing up their coffee shop, so we turned around and went to say hi. Jennie invited us in for coffee as there was some left over. We had a long conversation until Jennie mentioned something about her family’s history in the area. Although she and her immediate family had come from Ontario, her ancestor was the surveyor David Thompson. Colleen said that Jennie’s family had an enormous family tree dating all the way back to the great explorer, and of course we asked to see it. We were not disappointed. The thing was huge! We never got it completely unfurled but we did scroll to the end and ultimately found Jennie and subsequent members of her family. The chart documented 10 generations and 769 names. Truly an incredible feat.